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'Detailed & sustained interrogation necessary', Delhi court says while sending K. Kavitha to CBI custody (Ld)

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New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) A Delhi court on Friday sent Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC K. Kavitha, to the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody for three days — till April 15, noting that a “detailed and sustained interrogation” of the accused is necessary.

Special Judge Kaveri Baweja of Rouse Avenue Court pronounced the order after hearing both parties at length in a case related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam. Based on the submissions and evidence collected by the investigating agency, and after reviewing the Case Diary provided by the Investigating Officer, the court concluded that it is apparent that a “detailed and sustained interrogation” of the accused is necessary.

This is also considering the number of accused involved in the alleged conspiracy and the nature of the alleged offences.

The CBI, which arrested Kavitha from the Tihar Jail on Thursday and presented 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 excise policy.

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“The investigating agency has been able to show from the records that custodial interrogation of the accused on certain aspects is necessary for confronting her with the evidence collected so far and also the witnesses in order to unearth the larger conspiracy in the matter,” the court noted.

Judge Baweja also dismissed an application filed by Kavitha seeking rejection of CBI’s request to seek her remand.

The court further directed that the interrogation of the accused during this period should take place in a location with CCTV coverage, following guidelines set by the Supreme Court, and the footage should be preserved by the CBI.

The accused should undergo a medical examination once every 48 hours.

Moreover, the accused should be allowed to meet her advocate for half an hour daily between 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., ensuring that their conversations are not overheard by CBI officials, the court said.

The accused is also permitted to meet her family members and have home-cooked food brought by an assistant.

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Furthermore, the accused is allowed to have certain personal belongings and books.

The CBI seeking Kavitha’s remand in its plea said: “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/suspected persons including public servants as well as to unearth the facts which are in her exclusive knowledge.”

–IANS

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Progressive bodies to stage protest against Prajwal Revanna at his native district

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Bengaluru, May 29 (IANS) Progressive organisations in Karnataka have given a ‘Hassan Chalo’ call on Thursday to protest against absconding JD-S MP Prajwal Revanna, the prime accused in the alleged sex video scandal in Karnataka.

Hasaan is the native district of Prajwal Revanna, who is also the sitting JD-S Lok Sabha MP from there.

Activists attached to more than 113 organisations headed towards Hassan from across the state, demanding stern action against Prajwal Revanna, who’s is the grandson of former Prime Minister H.D. Revanna.

The organisers have erected a huge platform in Hassan where more than 10,000 people are expected to gather by Thursday.

Prajwal Revanna’s uncle and JD-S state President H.D. Kumaraswamy has claimed that the agitation is politically motivated.

Meenakshi Baali, the President of State Janawadi Mahila Organisation, said on Wednesday that H.D. Deve Gowda’s family is known for issuing false statements and lies.

Thousands of people are going to participate in the agitation demanding justice for the victims of the alleged sex video scandal, she said.

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She also said that forces in the state are making an attempt to prevent people from attending the agitation, but they are not going to succeed.

Author and senior counsel Bhanu Mustaq said that Prajwal Revanna took oath under the Constitution, yet he committed atrocities on women who had come to him seeking his assistance.

“This is an unforgivable act. This development needs to be condemned by the civil society. This agitation is being organised to demand the arrest of Prajwal Revanna,” she said.

Meanwhile, Prajwal Revanna has said that he will return to India on May 31 and present himself before the authorities.

Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara has said that Prajwal Revanna will be arrested once he lands in the Bengaluru airport.

–mka

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Fire breaks out in a multi-story building in Patna, residents rescued

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Patna, May 29 (IANS) A massive fire broke out in a multi-story building on Patna’s Fraser Road area on Wednesday evening and more than 20 fire engines were working to douse the blaze, officials said, adding all the residents had been rescued safely.

The incident occurred on the ninth floor of the Surya Apartments located just behind Hotel Maurya and adjoining the residence of former Union Minister C.P. Thakur.

Apart from the Fire Department, the police of Gandhi Maidan and Kotwali police stations rushed to the spot to take control of the situation.

The reason for the fire has not been ascertained yet.

“We have received information about the fire which broke out in the multi-story building. We immediately went there and rescued the family members living in the building. One person was trapped inside the building. We broke the window and rescued him. He had sustained injuries. We are currently focusing on dousing the flame as soon as possible. The reason for the fire could be a short circuit,” DIG, Fire Services, Mritunjay Kumar said.

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–IANS

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Elephant cub rescued from deep well in TN's Nilgiris, reunited with herd

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Chennai, May 29 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu Forest Department on Wednesday safely rescued an elephant cub from a 30-feet deep well in Kolapellur in the Nilgiris district, and reunited it with its waiting mother, officials said.

The elephant cub, according to local people, fell into the well late on Tuesday night.

Forest Department officials were informed and by 3 a.m., a group of 40 officials led by Gudalur DFO, Vengatesh Prabhu, reached the spot and rescued the elephant cub by the evening after herculean efforts.

Officials told IANS that immediately after the elephant cub fell into the well, a herd of elephants camped near it, and first, the Forest Department team had to drive these elephants away so that they could commence the rescue operation.

Additional Chief Secretary, Environment, Climate Change and Forests, Supriya Sahu in a post on X said: “A very heartening news is coming in just now about the successful rescue and reunion of a juvenile elephant in Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu Foresters in Gudalur Forest Division in Nilgiris have successfully rescued a juvenile elephant from a 30 feet deep sand well in a farmland where the young elephant had accidentally fallen.”

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“After 8 hours of challenging battle the team succeeded in making a ramp for the elephant to safely walk out of the well. After the rescue the team united the baby elephant with her mother who patiently waited nearby with the herd. Big appreciation to DFO Gudalur, Vengatesh Prabhu who led the operation with a team of 40 people from 3 am onwards.”

–IANS

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Delhi HC launches free Wi-Fi facility, new website for lawyers, public

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has introduced a free Wi-Fi facility on its premises for lawyers, litigants, and the public.

Phase I of the Wi-Fi service was launched on Wednesday by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan, Justice Rajiv Shakdher, and other judges.

During the launch event, Justice Manmohan cited the significant role of judges in managing the administration of the high court, which places it at the forefront of judicial reforms.

He stressed the ongoing commitment of the court to introduce further improvements, noting that additional facilities would be inaugurated after the summer recess.

The initial phase of the Wi-Fi facility covers A Block, B Block, C Block, the Extension Block, the mediation centre, and the lawyers’ cafeteria.

The service is designed to handle a large number of users, providing reliable and fast internet access with robust security measures to protect user data.

In addition to the Wi-Fi facility, the high court also unveiled its newly designed website which features a responsive design that adjusts to different screen sizes, ensuring seamless functionality across desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.

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The new site includes integrated applications such as e-filing, e-RTI, e-Sewa Kendra, accessibility helpline, and more, eliminating the need for users to navigate to separate URLs.

The other new features of the website include True Copy Application, an online mechanism for obtaining true copies of court documents; a virtual tour of Delhi High Court; landmark judgements, a section that will soon feature significant judgements from the high court.

–IANS

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Telangana snooping row: SIB team allegedly tapped phones of 1,200 people, claims arrested cop

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Hyderabad, May 29 (IANS) Phones of about 1,200 people, including political rivals, their family members and supporters, judges, journalists, and business persons were tapped by a special team in Telangana’s Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB) under the previous BRS government, according to a suspended police officer and a key accused in the sensational phone tapping case.

D. Praneeth Rao, who headed the Special Operations Team in the SIB under the supervision of then SIB chief Prabhakar Rao, made some sensational revelations in his confession before the investigating officials.

He revealed that ahead of the November 2023 Assembly elections, the team snooped on leaders of opposition parties, and their funders and intercepted the vehicles transferring money.

The confession of Praneeth Rao, a Deputy Superintendent of Police in the SIB, came to light after similar statements of former Deputy Commissioner of Police Radha Kishan Rao and Additional Superintendents of Police N. Bhujanga Rao and M. Thirupathanna.

Praneeth Rao revealed that they prepared profiles of political rivals of the BRS with the help of a technological tool, provided by a private company.

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Praneeth Rao, the first to be arrested in the case which came to light in March after the Congress formed the government, stated that 17 computers and special servers were used for phone tapping. As many as 56 personnel of the SOT were used for the operation.

He reportedly confessed to doing certain unofficial works as he was indebted to Prabhakar Rao for promoting him as DSP. He was operating from two rooms allotted to him next to Prabhakar Rao’s chamber in the SIB office.

Before the 2023 Assembly elections, the team also tapped the phones of candidates of rival parties and seized money from their funders, relatives and aides. The information was passed on to police officials Radha Kishan Rao, Bhujanga Rao and Thirupathanna so they could intercept the money. The seized money was shown as hawala money so that the Election Commission did not get suspicious about the seizures.

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Praneeth Rao also revealed that the phones of dissidents within the ruling party were also tapped. He also confessed that after Congress came to power, Prabhakar Rao directed him to stop phone tapping and also allegedly directed him to destroy records before his resignation. He claimed that 50 hard discs were destroyed with a cutter in the SIB office and old servers were replaced with new ones.

When he wanted to switch off CCTV cameras in the logger room before destroying the hard discs, the in charge of CCTV cameras refused to give permission but he told him that Prabhakar Rao had given the orders and warned that if the in charge failed to obey, a memo would be issued.

Praneeth Rao stated that he destroyed the evidence between 7.30 p.m. and 8.15 p.m. on December 4, 2023. He dumped the destroyed CDs in the Musi River at Nagole and Moosaram Bagh. The CDR and IDPR equipment was burnt down. Reformatted phones and pen drivers were thrown in the Begumpet nala.

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–IANS

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