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Bengaluru Cafe blast: NIA detains two more suspects

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Bengaluru, March 28 (IANS) The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has detained two more suspects in connection with the Rameshwaram Cafe blast case, sources said on Thursday.

The accused were picked up from Bengaluru. Sources said the accused were suspected to be in touch with the bomber and the detained persons were associated with banned Al-Hind Trust.

However, the official statement from the NIA is yet to be made. So far no arrests have been made in the blast case. Four persons have been detained, including the two on Thursday. A suspect was detained earlier but was allowed to go after questioning.

The sleuths had conducted raids at five locations in Bengaluru, 15 in Shivamogga and six in Chennai on Wednesday.

The NIA has identified the main accused in the blast, a native of Shimoga in Karnataka, said sources. There were intelligence inputs from the central agencies about the main accused having stayed in multiple locations in Tamil Nadu along with his aide.

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The agency had detained two suspects in connection with the Rameshwaram Cafe blast case in Bengaluru on Tuesday. The preliminary probe revealed that the two were in direct contact with the suspected bomber.

Even as the NIA and police teams have launched an extensive search operation in various states, the bomber has remained elusive. The authorities had obtained the bomber’s images and videos from CCTV footage on March 1, soon after the blast incident.

Sources said that the sleuths were suspecting that the bomber had come from Tamil Nadu and had stayed in a neighbouring state for two months before carrying out the blast.

The hair samples of the accused were gathered from the hat of the accused which he abandoned in Bengaluru near a religious place. The authorities have sent the samples for the DNA testing and were hoping for a breakthrough.

The Rameshwaram Cafe bomb blast took place on March 1 in the Brookfield area. Low-intensity Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was used to carry out the blast and nine persons were injured in the incident.

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–IANS

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669 candidates, including 238 women, file nominations for Nagaland civic polls

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Kohima, June 12 (IANS) As many as 669 candidates, including 238 women, have filed their nominations for the much-expected urban local body (ULB) elections in Nagaland to be held on June 26, officials said on Wednesday.

After more than 20 years, elections for the three municipal councils and 36 town councils will be held in the state amid the vote boycott call given by the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO).

Officials in the State Election Commission (SEC) said on Wednesday that the scrutiny of nomination papers will take place on Thursday with June 20 as the last date for withdrawing candidatures.

Importantly, the upcoming local body polls are the first-ever municipal elections in the state to be held with 33 per cent reservation for women.

The government took initiatives several times in the past to hold the ULB polls, but objections from the tribal bodies and civil society organisations against the reservation for women and the tax on land and properties had held back the polls.

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The elections were finally announced following the intervention of the Supreme Court.

Municipal elections in Nagaland were last held in 2004, and the terms of the civic bodies ended in 2009-10.

Meanwhile, ENPO, the influential Naga body, has already announced to boycott the June 26 civic polls, and urged the people of the six eastern Nagaland districts to abstain from voting.

Governor La Ganesan, the state government, the State Election Commission, and various other authorities have separately appealed to the ENPO and the people of eastern Nagaland to participate in the polls scheduled on June 26.

The SEC also severed a show-cause notice to the ENPO, but the Naga body remains firm on its decision.

The Lok Sabha polls for the lone seat in Nagaland were held on April 19 amid a call by the ENPO to the people of the six districts to abstain from voting over its demand for a separate state.

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The people in the six districts, which have over four lakh voters, remained indoors on April 19, responding to the ENPO’s call to press for its statehood demand for ‘Frontier Nagaland Territory’.

Since 2010, the ENPO has been demanding a separate ‘Frontier Nagaland Territory’, or a separate state, comprising six eastern Nagaland districts — Kiphire, Longleng, Mon, Noklak, Shamator, and Tuensang, inhabited by seven backward tribes — Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Phom, Tikhir, Sangtam, and Yimkhiung.

–IANS

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Tribal welfare board scam: SIT arrests man behind creating fake bank accounts, seizes Rs 10 crore cash

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Bengaluru, June 12 (IANS) In a major development, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the tribal welfare board scam and suicide of an employee of the board has arrested a person behind the creation of fake bank accounts and seized 16 kg gold and Rs 10 crore cash, sources said on Wednesday.

The arrested person has been identified as Satyanarayana Varma, a resident of Hyderabad in Telangana.

According to the police, the accused had opened 18 fake accounts in various banks and huge funds were transferred to these accounts from the Karnataka Maharishi Valmiki Scheduled Tribes Development Corporation (KMVSTDC).

The accused’s role had come out during the verification of bank accounts to which the reserved government funds were transferred. The SIT sleuths are likely to bring him to Bengaluru.

The scam in the corporation came to light following the suicide of Chandrashekaran (50), who was working as an Account Superintendent in the Tribal Welfare Board.

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He was allegedly pressurised to move large sums of money to various illegal accounts.

It was alleged that the funds were diverted to Hyderabad to be used by Congress for the Lok Sabha election in Telangana and other states.

Congress has denied all the allegations.

B. Nagendra who was Minister for Youth Empowerment, Sports and Tribal Welfare has tendered his resignation in connection with the case. The BJP has been demanding the resignation of the Medical Education Minister Sharan Prakash Patil.

The BJP has also been pointing fingers at Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, senior Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.

–IANS

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PM Modi reviews Kuwait fire tragedy, announces Rs 2L ex-gratia for Indian victims

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New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a review meeting on the fire tragedy in Kuwait in which a number of Indian nationals died and many were injured, here at his residence on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Modi also announced ex-gratia relief of Rs 2 lakh to the families of the deceased India nationals from the Prime Minister Relief Fund.

The Prime Minister expressed his deep sorrow at the unfortunate incident and extended condolences to the families of the deceased. He wished speedy recovery of those injured.

Prime Minister Modi directed that the government should extend all possible assistance. “MoS External Affairs should immediately travel to Kuwait to oversee the relief measures and facilitate expeditious repatriation of the mortal remains,” he said.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs Kirtivardhan Singh, Principal Secretary to PM Pramod Kumar Mishra, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra and other senior officials were also present in the meeting.

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–IANS

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Dalit youth assault: Junagadh protesters demand fast-track probe, addition of Section 120B

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Junagadh, June 12 (IANS) A protest rally was organised in Junagadh on Wednesday in support of the Dalit community demanding justice for NSUI leader Sanjay Solanki, who was allegedly assaulted by the son of a BJP MLA following a verbal altercation.

The rally, which began at the Babasaheb Ambedkar Chowk, saw participation from leaders and members of the Dalit community.

The protesters marched to express their solidarity with Solanki and put forth their demands before the state government.

“The Dalit community through the rally has put forth four primary demands to the government: the addition of Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) against all accused individuals, the appointment of a special public prosecutor to handle the case, a fast-track trial to ensure the case is resolved within six months and emphasis was placed on holding the accused accountable, specifically targeting Jayaraj Singh Jadeja and his family,” sources said.

The controversy began on May 30 when Sanjay Solanki, the president of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) city unit, filed a complaint alleging assault by BJP MLA Geetaba Jadeja’s son, Jyotiradityasinh alias Ganesh Jadeja alias Ganesh Gondal and his associates following a verbal altercation at Kalwa Chowk, Junagadh.

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Solanki claimed he was kidnapped, taken to a deserted farm in Gondal, and subjected to further assault and humiliation, including being forced to apologise on video under threat of a firearm.

Following the complaint, Ganesh and the others involved were arrested by Junagadh police on June 5.

In a show of solidarity, Dalits held a rally demanding strict action against Ganesh Jadeja, and others involved in a caste-based atrocity case.

The protest led to the closure of Gondal’s Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), the largest wholesale market in Gujarat, on Wednesday.

Operations at the APMC in Gondal town, located in Rajkot district, came to a complete halt.

–IANS

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Sachin Pilot to address students at Oxford University on Friday

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Jaipur, June 12 (IANS) Oxford University in the UK has invited senior Congress leader Sachin Pilot to address its students on June 14.

The university has invited Pilot to share his views and have a detailed interaction with the students and the faculty on a wide range of issues.

The event is open to the public and can be accessed online as well, said a member of Pilot’\s team.

“I will be speaking at the Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government on Friday, 14th June at 2 PM (UK) / 6.30 PM (India). I look forward to an engaging interaction with the students and faculty members there. The event is open to the public and can be joined online,” Pilot said in a post on X.

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