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BRS leader K. Kavitha sent to 3 days CBI custody in excise policy case

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New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) A Delhi court on Friday sent Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC K. Kavitha, to Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) custody for three days, till April 15, in a case related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam.

Special Judge Kaveri Baweja of Rouse Avenue Court pronounced the order after hearing both parties at length.

The CBI, which arrested Kavitha from the Tihar Jail on Thursday and produced her before a Delhi court on Friday, had sought five days custody on the grounds that witness statements, retrieved WhatsApp chats, and financial transaction documents related to a land deal have implicated her as a major conspirator in a scheme to pay Rs 100 crore to the AAP through accused Vijay Nair and others, in exchange for favourable provisions in Delhi’s 2021-22 Excise Policy.

The CBI has said that investigations revealed that a liquor businessman from south India met Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on March 16, 2021, at the Delhi Secretariat to seek support for business under the new Excise Policy for 2021-22.

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CM Kejriwal allegedly assured support and said that Kavitha would contact him about funding the AAP.

“Kavitha called the businessman on March 19 and met him on March 20 in Hyderabad, where she referenced her coordination with Kejriwal’s team on the Excise Policy,” the CBI has claimed.

The CBI’s investigation revealed that chats from the mobile of her CA Butchi Babu indicate her involvement in M/s Indospirit through proxy Arun R. Pillai. Other partners included approver Raghav Magunta and accused Sameer Mahendru.

“Despite allegations of blacklisting and cartelisation, M/s Indospirit was granted an L-1 Licence under pressure from Manish Sisodia. Additionally, under Vijay Nair’s influence, M/s Indospirits became a wholesaler for M/s Pernod Ricard India Pvt. Ltd., which holds a 35 per cent market share in Delhi,” it said.

The chats also show Kavitha’s efforts to help Raghav Magunta secure a NOC for his company, M/s Pixie Enterprises, for the Airport Zone.

The central probe agency’s remand application discloses that Sharath Chandra Reddy engaged in the business in Delhi on Kavitha’s assurance of her connections within the Delhi government and her ability to aid in the liquor business under the new Excise Policy. She instructed him that payments of Rs 25 crore for wholesale and Rs 5 crore per retail zone were to be made to the AAP through her associates Pillai and Abhishek Boinpally, who would coordinate with Vijay Nair, CM Kejriwal’s representative.

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The CBI has further said that the investigation revealed that in June-July 2021, Kavitha pressured Sharath Chandra Reddy into entering a sale agreement for agricultural land in Telangana, despite his lack of interest and knowledge of the land’s value. Kavitha insisted he pay Rs 14 crore for the land and facilitated the sale through Mahira Ventures Pvt Ltd, an Aurobindo Group company.

The total payment was made through bank transactions — Rs 7 crore in the first week of July 2021 and another Rs 7 crore in mid-November 2021.

“Kavitha was required to be arrested in the instant case to conduct her custodial interrogation for confronting her with the evidence and witnesses to unearth the larger conspiracy hatched among the accused/suspect persons regarding formulation and implementation of the Excise Policy, as well as to establish the money trail of ill-gotten money generated and to establish the role of other accused/suspect persons including public servants as well as to unearth the facts which are in her exclusive knowledge,” the CBI said in its plea for custody.

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–IANS

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Bangladesh national detained from village near LoC in Jammu

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Jammu, May 26 (IANS) A purportedly mentally challenged Bangladesh national was detained near the Line of Control (LoC) in J&K’s Jammu district on Sunday, officials said.

Officials said that the Bangladesh national, disclosing his name as Taffajjal Bablu, 36, was detained from a village near the LoC in the Pallanwalla area of Akhnoor in Jammu district.

“He claimed to belong to the Alupotti Natore area in Bangladesh. A Bangladesh currency note, 3 SIM cards, a student card, some bills and a pocket diary were recovered from him. His mental condition is being determined, through psychiatric examination, before any further action is taken in the matter,” an official said.

–IANS

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J&K Police constable involved in drug trade sacked

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Jammu, May 26 (IANS) A police constable in J&K’s Reasi district was dismissed from service on Sunday for being involved in the drug trade, officials said.

Selection grade police constable Tariq Hussain Shah was booked last year under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

SSP Reasi, Mohita Sharma ordered the dismissal, officials said.

“He was dismissed for prolonged unauthorised absence from duties and for being an accused in drug trafficking. He was booked under sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act at Jammu’s Bakshi Nagar police station last year,” an official said.

“The SSP said in the order that charges of violations of police rules and regulations, absenteeism, grave misconduct, indiscipline, and negligence were proved against the constable making him unfit to serve the department. The stern departmental action of dismissal has been taken after the delinquent cop did not pay heed to series of signals, attendance notices and show cause notices which were served upon him,” the official added.

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After the present DGP R.R.Swain took over the command of the J&K Police, instances of misconduct, indiscipline, corruption, or rudeness to the public which have been brought to his notice have received prompt attention and action.

–IANS

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Doctors save 18-month-old girl who ingested mosquito repellent

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Hyderabad, May 26 (IANS) Doctors at a hospital in Hyderabad saved an 18-month-old girl who accidentally ingested a mosquito repellent. The girl from Bhilai was airlifted to Hyderabad after her condition deteriorated.

After struggling to breathe, she was initially taken to a local hospital and then transferred to a hospital in Raipur, where she was placed on a ventilator. As her lungs began to fail, and she couldn’t breathe properly despite full ventilator support, the hospital in Raipur contacted KIMS Cuddles, Kondapur in Hyderabad.

A specialised team of six, including two intensivists, a perfusionist and a cardiac surgeon, flew to Raipur.

Upon examination, they diagnosed severe chemical pneumonitis caused by hydrocarbons in the insecticide.

As the ventilator was ineffective in oxygenating her body and her heart was failing severely, the medical team decided to use ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) to support her breathing and stabilise her condition.

The girl received one of the rarest and most complex treatments, involving the insertion of a cannula near her neck to bypass her heart and lung to save her life.

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After the procedure, the baby was transported via road ambulance to Raipur Airport and then transported via charter air ambulance to Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad.

From there, she was taken to KIMS Cuddles, Kondapur.

She was on VA-ECMO for nine days, showing gradual improvement. Then, she spent another five or six days on a ventilator.

Afterward, she was placed on high-flow oxygen, and eventually low-flow oxygen.

During this period, an infection was treated with antibiotics.

After 18 days of treatment, the baby fully recovered, became active, and was discharged last week in good health with a normal neurological outcome.

“The treatment provided significant support to her heart and lungs. The advanced facilities at KIMS Cuddles Kondapur, combined with the expertise of a highly skilled medical team, made it possible to transport her to ECMO from Raipur and treat her successfully. Experienced cardiac and vascular surgeons ensured precise blood vessel cannulation,” said Dr. Parag Dekate, Clinical Director of Pediatrics and Head Of Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, KIMS Cuddles, Kondapur.

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–IANS

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Rajkot fire: CM Bhupendra Patel conducts on-site inspection

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Rajkot, May 26 (IANS) Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on Sunday conducted an on-site visit to assess the aftermath of the devastating fire at TRP Gamezone in Rajkot, which claimed 35 lives.

Chief Minister also visited the Rajkot AIIMS and other hospitals to check on the injured and interacted with victims and their families.

He also met the families of those who lost their lives, offered condolences and assured them full support.

At Rajkot’s Hirasar Airport, Chief Minister Patel held a high-level review meeting to discuss the relief and rescue operations. He directed a thorough investigation and insisted on strict punitive action against those responsible.

A 100-bed burn ward has been set up at PDU Medical College in Rajkot to treat burn victims. Additional doctors and paramedical staff have also been deployed to ensure no lapse in medical care. Expert surgeons and trained nurses from Jamnagar, Ahmedabad, Morbi, Junagadh, and Bhavnagar have also been deployed in Rajkot.

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At least 20 ambulances have also been put into service to enhance transportation facilities for quick intensive care.

Air ambulance services have also been put into service to transport DNA samples of the deceased and their family members’ referral samples to the Gandhinagar Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) for urgent identification.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) has also been formed to probe the incident which will be headed by Additional Director General of Police Subhash Trivedi.

The SIT has been asked to furnish the preliminary report to the state government within three days.

Rajkot City Police has ordered the closure of all game zones in the city as a precautionary measure as the inspections for fire safety and other security measures are ongoing.

Administration has said that immediate punitive action will be taken against game zones operating without a Fire No Objection Certificate (NOC) or any other necessary permissions, and they will be shut down.

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–IANS

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KTR accuses Telangana govt of Rs 1,000 crore scam in rice procurement

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Hyderabad, May 26 (IANS) Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) working president K. T. Rama Rao has accused the Congress-led Telangana government of Rs 1,000 crore paddy lifting and rice procurement scam.

He demanded Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy and civil supplies minister Uttam Kumar Reddy to clear themselves of the allegations. He challenged them to initiate a judicial inquiry with a sitting judge

He accused CM Revanth Reddy and minister Uttam Kumar Reddy of being implicated in the scam in the civil supply department.

Addressing a news conference at BRS central office, Telangana Bhavan in Hyderabad, KTR accused the Congress party of looting the government exchequer.

He claimed that the civil supplies department, under the supervision of Uttam Kumar Reddy and Chief Minister Revanth Reddy, awarded tenders to four companies to lift paddy from rice millers in the state. He accused both the Chief Minister and the minister of constituting a committee, issuing guidelines, and calling for tenders — all on January 25 itself.

“The government showed no urgency in fulfilling electoral promises, but it swiftly awarded these tenders dubiously in one day with jet speed,” the BRS leader remarked. He alleged that the Congress government was looting government funds in the name of global tenders for 35 lakh metric tons of paddy.

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He noted that local rice millers were ready to purchase the same paddy for Rs 2,100 per quintal, but the government sold it at prices ranging from Rs 1,885 to 2,007 per quintal to companies like Kendriya Bhandar, LG Industries, Hindustan Company, and NACAF, who secured the tenders by quoting lower rates.

KTR further accused these four companies of blackmailing local rice millers, demanding Rs 2,230 per quintal, which is Rs 200 more than their tendered rates, leading to Rs 800 crore scam. He pointed out that according to the tender agreement, these companies had no right to demand money instead of paddy from the rice millers.

He stated that these companies failed to lift the paddy within the stipulated 90-day period, which ended on May 23, and they sought an extension from the government, which is under positive consideration. He accused the government of trying to extend the period to fleece more money from the millers instead of taking action against the companies for violating tender conditions.

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KTR demanded that the government release a white paper detailing how much paddy had been lifted and address the allegations of money collection from millers instead of paddy. He criticised the government for its silence on this multi-crore scam for over two weeks. KTR also faulted the government policy for tendering fine and raw paddy at the same price.

He criticised the government for purchasing fine rice at Rs 15 more per kilogram than the market price. He noted that the BRS government, under KCR, had introduced fine rice for school and hostel students as a humane initiative, but the Congress government was exploiting this noble cause for corruption. Even today, new fine rice with 10 per cent broken rice is priced at around Rs 42 per kilogram in the market, while the government is paying Rs 57 per kilogram to companies.

He highlighted that the same four companies involved in the dubious paddy lifting tenders were also awarded tenders for buying fine rice, raising public doubts. These companies quoted the nearly same rate in tenders, blatantly rigging the process, KTR said.

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KTR reminded that the erstwhile government used procured paddy for fine rice supply, securing better quality fine rice at just Rs 35 per kilogram. He accused the government under Revanth Reddy and Uttam Kumar Reddy of engaging in a Rs 300 crore scam in fine rice procurement by procuring 2.20 lakh metric tons. He demanded the immediate cancellation of tender awarding letters for fine rice procurement from these shady companies.

KTR urged the BJP and its leaders to show their commitment by involving central agencies and the FCI to investigate this scam. He reminded that the FCI always monitors paddy procurement and minimum support price transactions as per the Food Security Act. The central government’s silence also raised suspicions of collusion with the Congress government in this paddy scam.

If the Congress and BJP fail to clarify their roles in this thousand-crore paddy and fine rice scam, KTR warned that they would seek judicial intervention.

–IANS

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