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Bengal govt finalises SOPs to make medical reports in cases of sexual assault concise

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Kolkata, June 7 (IANS) After detailed discussions with experts which began in January 2023, the West Bengal government on Friday came out with Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for making medical reports in cases of rape and other sexual offenses, more concise.

The medical examination report is considered the most crucial scientific evidence in sexual assault cases.

The state health department has issued a notification directing all state-run hospitals to follow the new two-page format of medical reports which is more concise and to-the-point compared to the previous long format that could range from 16 to 30 pages.

According to sources, the concise format has been drafted in such a way that there is no scope for ambiguity and omission of crucial points that are instrumental in carrying out investigation in cases under different sexual offenses Acts, the most important among which is the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).

“Preparing detailed medical reports in the previous format took a long time and delayed the handing over of the report to the Investigating Officer, particularly in the case of rape or other sexual offenses. This delayed the entire investigation process.

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“In the new format, preparation of the report will be expedited to a great extent,” pointed out the state health department official.

He added that the new format will also save the time of already overburdened doctors in state-run hospitals.

It is learnt that the proposal to make the medical report in case of rape and sexual offenses more concise and to the point was first mooted at a state-level stakeholders’ seminar on status of implementation of POCSO Act, 2012 in November 2022.

After the draft report was prepared last year, the state health department formed a three-member committee to finalise the new format.

Now the new format has been circulated among state government officials.

–IANS

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Goa CM seeks Rs 700 cr from Centre for water augmentation projects

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Panaji, June 23 (IANS) Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has demanded a grant of Rs 700 crore from the Centre for Goa to construct dams and to enhance the capacity of existing dams as well as to prevent soil erosion.

Sawant on Saturday attended the pre-budget meeting chaired by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and placed the demands.

He said that there is a need to strengthen the water reservoirs and also protect coastal areas from soil erosion.

“I have demanded Rs 700 crore for water augmentation projects and for taking measures to stop soil erosion,” he said.

Sources informed that the Water Resources Department is planning to construct new dams in the coastal state.

The Chief Minister said that these initiatives are essential for Goa’s development, and expressed certainty that they will be included in the upcoming Union Budget 2024-2025.

Sawant had recently urged locals to take bamboo production to protect coastal areas from soil erosion.

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“We have focused on bamboo plantation. Wherever there are rivers and beaches, soil erosion is taking place on a large scale. We can stop this by planting bamboo,” Sawant said.

According to the Environment and Climate Change department, the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) in the Beach Carrying Capacity Report has observed that overall for a coastal stretch of about 105 km, 35 per cent of the coast is rocky terrain, 20 per cent of the coast is stable, 27 per cent is under erosion and 17 per cent of the coasts experiences accretion.

MLAs from the coastal areas of the state had complained about the soil erosion taking place on beaches, which is affecting the tourism business.

–IANS

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Vegetable prices skyrocket in Kolkata after scanty rainfall

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Kolkata, June 23 (IANS) Vegetable prices in Kolkata have skyrocketed following scanty rainfall in South Bengal.

Some of the staple vegetable items whose prices have skyrocketed include eggplant, bitter gourd, green chilly, cucumber, tomato, capsicum, beans, cauliflower and cabbage.

While eggplant price ranges from between Rs 120 and Rs 150 a kilogram, the same for bitter gourd is between Rs 100 and Rs 120. The price of green chilli, a must in cooking for any average Bengali family, is between Rs 150 to Rs 200 a kilogram. Cucumber, an essential salad item, is selling between Rs 100 and Rs 120 a kilogram.

Tomatoes are priced between Rs 100 and Rs 120 kilograms while capsicum being priced at around Rs 200 a kilogram has become a matter of luxury now. Cauliflower at Rs 50 a piece and cabbage at Rs 60 a piece are selling at a comparatively higher price.

A member of the task force constituted by the state government to keep the price of essential commodities in the retail markets of the state under control said that they have done a review of the situation and found that the lack of supply of vegetables as per demand is resulting in the current high price of the products.

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“We interacted with the vegetable vendors at different retail markets in the city. They claimed that because of the insufficient rainfall, there had been a hit in the production at the vegetable hubs of the state. So the supply is much less compared to the demand. As claimed by the retailers, since they are also purchasing the same vegetables at higher prices from the wholesale markets, they are charging more to maintain their profit margin thus pushing up the price of vegetables in the retail markets,” the member of the task force said.

However, he added, the task force members are not ruling out the possibility of a section of the vegetable traders taking advantage of the prevailing situation and resorting to hoarding.

He said that we expect the vegetable prices in the retail markets to stabilise with the arrival of a full-fledged monsoon.

–IANS

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Man from Andhra among 4 killed in US shooting

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Amaravati, June 23 (IANS) A 32-year-old man from Andhra Pradesh was among four persons killed in firing at a grocery store in Arkansas in the United States.

The victim from Andhra Pradesh was identified as Dasari Gopikrishna, a native of Bapatla district who had gone to the US only eight months ago.

He was working at the Mad Butcher grocery store at Fordyce, a small town in Arkansas, where a gunman opened fire on June 21.

Gopikrishna, who was at the billing counter, sustained critical injuries. He succumbed at a hospital the next day. His family in Yajali in Karlapalem mandal of Bapatla district was shattered on receiving the news.

Gopikrishna is survived by a wife and a son.

Four persons were killed and nine injured when the gunman opened fire inside the store and at the parking lot.

Meanwhile, CCTV footage of the assailant entering the store and opening fire on the man at the counter has emerged. As the victim collapsed on the ground, the gunman jumped over the counter and escaped after lifting something from the shelf.

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–IANS

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SC to hear anticipatory bail plea of OAS officer in DA case

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New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) Supreme Court (SC) will hear a plea filed by Odisha Administrative Service officer, Bijaya Ketan Sahoo, seeking anticipatory bail in connection with a money laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for possession of assets disproportionate to the known source of income.

As per the cause list published on the website of the apex court, a vacation bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Rajesh Bindal will hear the matter on June 24.

Earlier, the Orissa High Court, in its May 10 order, refused to grant anticipatory bail, saying a prima facie case stands against the OAS officer since he was involved in the acquisition of the properties in dealing with the “proceeds with crime”.

However, a bench of Justice Chittaranjan Das of the High Court had directed that in the event Sahoo appears before the Special Court and moves for grant of regular bail, the same shall be considered on its own merits.

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The ED initiated a probe under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after an FIR was registered with Cuttack’s Vigilance Police Station against Odisha Financial Official Nalini Prusty, her husband Sahoo, and other family members for possession of disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs. 5 crore.

The enquiry further revealed that the bureaucrat couple had acquired six plots and flats and had constructed a triple-storied building at Bhubaneswar’s Chandrasekharpur in the name of their relative who had no independent source of income.

On the basis of the ED’s complaint, the PMLA court in Bhubaneswar issued summons to Sahoo for his appearance.

–IANS

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JD(S) MLC Suraj Revanna arrested in sexual assault case

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Hassan, (Karnataka) June 23 (IANS) In yet another jolt to former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda’s family, Karnataka Police arrested JD(S) MLC and Gowda’s grandson Suraj Revanna in connection with a forceful unnatural sex case.

Suraj Revanna is the brother of arrested former JD(S) MP, Prajwal Revanna, the prime accused in the sex videos case.

Suraj Revanna was arrested in the wee hours of Sunday by the Holenarasipura Rural police in Hassan District.

Suraj Revanna had appeared before the police on Saturday night following the lodging of an FIR against him.

The Karnataka Police had lodged an FIR against Suraj Revanna on Saturday night and summoned him to the police station for questioning in connection with the alleged sexual assault case lodged by a JD(S) worker, police said.

The police had registered an FIR against Suraj Revanna under IPC Sections 377 (unnatural sex), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

The victim in the case had sent his complaint to the office of both the DGP and the Hassan Superintendent of Police.

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The police after getting the copy of the complaint in this regard had transferred the case to the jurisdictional Holenarasipura Rural police station.

The police had contacted the victim in connection with the alleged sexual assault case and recorded his statement.

The police had also taken the victim for a medical test.

Reacting to the development, Suraj Revanna had said that it was a political conspiracy against him.

“Baseless allegations are made against me and I outrightly reject these allegations. Things will be dealt with legally and an FIR has also been lodged,” he said.

The victim alleged that he had met Suraj Revanna at a function organised by him. Impressed by his organisational skills, Suraj Revanna allegedly shared his mobile number and started sending cosy messages with love symbols.

The man was called to Suraj Revanna’s farmhouse where he was allegedly sexually abused.

Suraj Revanna’s elder brother and former JD(S) MP, Prajwal Revanna has been arrested in connection with the sex video scandal.

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His father JD(S) MLA, HD Revanna was jailed and is out on conditional bail in a kidnapping case linked to the sex video scandal.

His mother Bhavani Revanna is facing an investigation in a kidnapping case and was recently granted conditional bail by a court.

The Karnataka Police have also filed an FIR against two persons on charges of extortion following allegations of sexual abuse against Suraj Revanna.

Suraj Revanna’s aide Shivakumar filed a case against the victim and his kin at the Holenarasipura police station.

Shivakumar said in the complaint that false allegations were made against Suraj Revanna to extort money.

The complaint claimed that the accused had threatened Suraj Revanna with lodging a case of sexual abuse if he failed to pay Rs 5 crore.

The police have registered a case under IPC Sections 384 (extortion) and 584 (criminal intimidation).

–IANS

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