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Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi sworn in as Lokpal member

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New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) Former Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi (Retd), was administered the oath of office as one of the three judicial members of Lokpal at the Lokpal of India office here on Wednesday.

Justice Awasthi was serving as the Chairperson of the 22nd Law Commission of India since November 2022. He tendered his resignation to the Union Ministry of Law and Justice on Tuesday.

Under his chairmanship, among other things, the law panel had recommended the retention of Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) dealing with sedition, and solicited public views to examine the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).

The President of India, Droupadi Murmu, recently appointed Justices Lingappa Narayana Swamy, Sanjay Yadav, and Ritu Raj Awasthi as judicial members of the anti-corruption body.

Earlier this month, former Supreme Court judge Justice Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar was sworn in by President Murmu as Lokpal’s Chairperson.

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Justice Khanwilkar on Wednesday also administered the oath of office to Pankaj Kumar, a 1986 batch IAS officer from Gujarat cadre, and Ajay Tirkey, former Secretary in the Department of Land Resources, as members of Lokpal.

–IANS

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Goa BJP MLA claims traffic cops prioritising challans over road safety

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Panaji, June 23 (IANS) BJP’s Calangute MLA Michael Lobo on Saturday alleged that the Traffic Police were prioritising targets to issue challan against traffic violations instead of taking measures to stop accidents.

Former Minister Lobo expressed concerns over the rising number of accidents in the coastal state and advocated the need to take measures at accident-prone zones.

“Accidents are taking place due to rash and negligent driving and also because of lack of traffic signage boards, unpainted speed breakers and uneven roads. Officers and local bodies should see that all these things are done properly,” Lobo said, adding people’s lives are more important.

“Strict measures should be taken. They (Traffic Police) are taking these measures to issue challans to traffic violators. They are busy giving challans for violation of seat belts, no entry, etc. They stand in such places, where ‘No Entry’ boards are not properly seen and then take action against the public,” he said.

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“They are trying to show that the order given by authorities has to be obeyed and hence they fulfill a target of 50 challans per day. All traffic cells have been given a target and to accomplish it traffic cells are issuing challans. This can’t be accepted,” Lobo added.

“I will speak about this issue with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and will raise the issue in the Assembly session. Such targets will not reduce the number of accidents,” he said.

Earlier, MLA Lobo had said that Traffic Police harass tourists by imposing fines, which should be stopped or the wrong message will be sent by the state.

Lobo is the third BJP MLA, who has openly alleged that Traffic Police harass tourists visiting the coastal state.

Earlier, Goa Revenue Minister Atanasio Monserrate and Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte had also alleged that tourists were being harassed by the Traffic Police.

–IANS

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Centre orders CBI probe into allegations of irregularities in NEET-UG

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New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) The Centre on Saturday ordered a CBI investigation into the alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG 2024.

The National Testing Agency (NTA) conducted the NEET-UG on May 5 in the offline OMR mode.

“Certain cases of alleged irregularities/cheating/impersonation/malpractices have been reported. For transparency on the conduct of the examination process, the Ministry of Education, Government of India after a review has decided to entrust the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for comprehensive investigation,” the Centre said in a statement.

“Central government has also enacted the Public Examination (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, to prevent unfair means in the public examinations and to provide for matter connected therewith or incidental thereto,” it added.

The NEET-UG, an abbreviation for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Undergraduate), is conducted by the NTA for admission in undergraduate medical programs.

–IANS

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Bihar EOU submits NEET paper leak probe report to Education Ministry

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Patna June 22 (IANS) The Economic Offences Unit (EOU) of Bihar Police probing the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) paper leak case submitted its report to the Union Education Ministry on Saturday.

Nearly 24 lakh students appeared for NEET-UG 2024 for undergraduate medical programmes on May 5. The results were released ahead of schedule on June 4. However, controversy arose with claims of question paper leak and the awarding of grace marks to more than 1,500 students, leading to widespread protests and legal actions, particularly in Bihar.

Nayyar Hasnain Khan, the Additional Director General of EOU, met the officials of the Education Ministry in Delhi on Saturday and submitted the report, which includes the statements of 13 arrested persons, admit cards, partially burnt question papers, booklets, and booking records of the NHAI guest house where the aspirants memorised the answers after the papers were allegedly leaked a day before the test.

As per sources, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan is likely to do a hold review meeting with the officials, including Khan, on Monday.

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–IANS

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Union Minister Kumaraswamy holds meeting with HMT officials in B'luru

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Bengaluru, June 22 (IANS) Union Heavy Industries and Steel Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Saturday held a meeting with the top officials of the ailing PSU Hindustan Machine and Tools (HMT) in Bengaluru.

During the meeting, the Minister had discussions with the company’s Chairman and Managing Director Rajesh Kohli, along with other senior officials.

The officials observed demonstrations and received comprehensive information about the company’s activities.

Chairman Rajesh Kohli outlined the various problems HMT was facing, including financial crises, lawsuits, and overall losses.

He stressed the need for the Union government’s intervention to resolve these issues.

In response, Minister Kumaraswamy promised to address these challenges.

Minister Kumaraswamy reviewed details on turnover, net profit, and other key metrics.

He discussed the financial, production, and operational conditions of the company with the officials.

The once-glorious HMT is currently facing significant challenges.

The Minister emphasised the need to strengthen the company and instructed Rajesh Kohli to submit a proposal to the Union government for necessary support.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self-Reliant India) initiative was highlighted as a framework for HMT’s revival.

Minister Kumaraswamy encouraged the officials to adopt this vision and lead the recovery efforts, assuring them of the Union government’s assistance.

The Minister noted that HMT produces tools for the Department of Defence and space programmes, and has manufacturing units across the country.

He suggested that the company should enhance its capacity.

–IANS

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Nine Bangladeshi nationals including 6 women held in Tripura

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Agartala, June 22 (IANS) A total of nine Bangladeshi nationals including six women have been apprehended at the Agartala railway station while they were trying to board trains destined to different parts of the country, including the national capital, the police said on Saturday.

An official of the Government Railway Police (GRP) said that all the nine Bangladeshi nationals, aged between 20 and 45 years, illegally entered Tripura and came to Agartala.

The detained individuals told the GRP officials that they intended to go to Delhi and Bengaluru in search of jobs.

Including the fresh detainees, a total of 55 Bangladeshi nationals have so far been arrested in Tripura in less than two months.

All of them had entered India through clandestine routes, in search of jobs in various parts of the country.

–IANS

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