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Priyanka Gandhi alleges irregularities in NEET results, seeks probe

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New Delhi, June 7 (IANS) Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Friday alleged irregularities in the NEET 2024 results and sought a probe to “resolve legitimate complaints”.

Taking to her official X handle, Priyanka Gandhi stated, “First, the NEET exam paper was leaked, and now students are alleging a scam in the results. Serious questions are being raised over six students from the same centre scoring 720 out of 720 marks, and various irregularities are coming to light.”

Highlighting the rising suicide rates among students after the result announcement, the Congress leader expressed her distress over the deaths.

She said, “There are reports of many children committing suicide across the country after the results were announced. This is very sad and shocking.”

Priyanka also targeted the administration for not taking appropriate action in the paper leak issue.

“Why is the government ignoring the voices of lakhs of students? Students want answers to legitimate questions related to the rigging of the NEET exam results. Is it not the government’s responsibility to investigate and resolve these legitimate complaints?” she questioned.

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Following the announcement of the entrance exam results, several aspirants and parents demanded an investigation, alleging irregularities and seeking clarification from the National Testing Agency (NTA) on how 67 candidates, including six from the same centre, secured the top rank.

In response, the NTA dismissed these allegations, attributing the high scores to changes in the NCERT textbooks and the provision of grace marks for lost time at examination centres.

–IANS

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NCP bats for reservation for Muslim community in education in Maharashtra

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Mumbai, June 12 (IANS) After a dismal performance in the Lok Sabha elections, the Ajit Pawar-led NCP on Wednesday strongly supported reservation for the Muslim community in education in Maharashtra.

This is a fresh attempt by the NCP, which won just one of the four Lok Sabha seats it contested, to step up its outreach with the Muslim community and garner their votes in the forthcoming Assembly elections slated for September-October this year.

The NCP is a part of the Mahayuti government and the party plans to make a pitch with the BJP and Shiv Sena for providing educational quota to the Muslim community, which along with Dalits and Tribals voted against the Mahayuti.

They feared that their existence would come into jeopardy if the Constitution was changed by the BJP after crossing the 400-seat mark and forming the government at the Centre.

The NCP will have to make a hard bargain with big brother BJP which did not take the initiative during its rule for the implementation of reservation in educational institutions upheld by the Bombay High Court.

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Maharashtra NCP chief spokesman Umesh Patil said, “We stand firm on our position that the Muslim community should get reservation in education in the state.

“The Bombay High Court accepted the decision taken by the Congress-NCP government of giving 5 per cent educational reservation to the Muslim community. However, later, the issue was pushed behind.”

However, newly-elected MP from Raigad, Sunil Tatkare said, “We held a meeting of the party’s Minority Cell yesterday and have heard their side. Another meeting will be held on this issue. After that we will declare our position on it.”

The NCP’s move is crucial after party legislators at their meeting with Ajit Pawar last week submitted that the party lost heavily in Osmanabad, Baramati and Shirur after Muslim voters by and large voted for the Maha Vikas Aghadi candidates.

They further pointed out that the Mahayuti in general was hit after Muslims, Dalits and Tribals polled against its candidates fearing loss in their reservation after change in the Constitution.

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–IANS

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Rahul Gandhi hints at relinquishing Wayanad, BJP hits out at 'cheating' (Lead)

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Wayanad (Kerala), June 12 (IANS) Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is in Kerala on Wednesday, admitted that he was in a dilemma as to which Lok Sabha constituency he should relinquish — Wayanad or Rae Bareli – but then in Wayanad, dropped enough hints that he will be dropping the Kerala seat.

State BJP chief K. Surendran, who had contested against Gandhi and finished a distant third, termed Gandhi’s indication “cheating”. Meanwhile, advertisement boards have come up in Wayanad which welcome Gandhi’s sister and party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi to contest the by-election.

Gandhi, who arrived at the Kozhikode airport in the morning, drove to Edavana in the Malappuram district which is part of his constituency. He was given a rousing welcome and in his first public meeting, he said he was in a dilemma about Wayanad and Rae Bareli. “Unfortunately like Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, I am not guided by god, as I am a human being…God takes all decisions. But I don’t have that luxury as I am an ordinary human being. My god is the poor people of India. My god is the people of Wayanad… What I will commit to the people of Wayanad and Raebareli… whatever decision taken … all of you will be happy,” said Gandhi.

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Addressing another meeting at Kalpetta in Wayanad, Gandhi said his relationship with Wayanad will be forever and it will be beyond elections or votes.

“Speculations have started whether it’s Wayanad or Rae Bareli. Everybody knows the answer except me. In politics, all know except the person who has to make the decision. Don’t worry, the people at Rae Bareli and Wayanad will be happy with the decision, I will be making,” he said.

He said he is well aware of the issues in Wayanad. “There are issues of man-animal conflict, night travel, and health sector. The Congress and I are well aware of all these and I assure you all issues of Wayanad will be addressed,” he added.

State Congress President and Kannur MP K. Sudhakaran spilled the beans by saying he was both happy and sad at the turn of events. “The victory of the Congress and Rahul’s wins makes me happy, but his leaving Wayanad makes me sad,” Sudhakaran said.

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Meanwhile, Surendran said that Gandhi’s decision to vacate Wayanad was cheating the people of the constituency. “We had told the voters that he would ditch Wayanad. Earlier he said Wayanad’s people are his family, but now he says it’s Rae Bareli’s people who are his family… before it was Amethi. He did not even have the courtesy to tell the voters of Wayanad before the elections that he would vacate it. Now that a by-election is thrust on the voters of Wayanad, they will give the Congress an apt reply,” he said.

Gandhi retained his Wayanad seat easily but with a reduced margin of 3.64 lakh votes, against 4.37 lakh in 2019.

–IANS

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Maharashtra: Woman govt officer plotted 'supari' killing of father-in-law for Rs 22-crore property

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Nagpur, June 12 (IANS) Investigations into the bizarre case of a government woman officer who allegedly carried out a ‘supari’ (contract) killing of her father-in-law, has revealed that the black deed was carried out to grab family properties worth around Rs 20-22 crore, a senior police officer said here on Wednesday.

Nagpur Commissioner of Police Ravinder Singhal told the media that so far, six accused individuals have been arrested in the sensational case after the ‘hit-and-run’ killing of a senior citizen, Purushottam Puttewar, a businessman, on May 22.

The prime accused is Archana Manish Puttewar, 53, an Assistant Director in the Gadchiroli District Town Planning Department, who was arrested last week, more than a fortnight after her father-in-law met with an ‘accident’ by a rashly driven car.

Simultaneously, another senior bureaucrat, Prashant Parlewar — Archana Puttewar’s elder brother — has also come under the police radar for his alleged complicity in the accident-turned-murder case, and has been arrested, said the police chief.

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Parlewar is a Director with the MSME Department in Nagpur and Singhal said that the police are now establishing his connections and links with Purushottam Puttewar’s killing – which was originally registered as a road accident matter, but later filed as a murder case.

Besides the siblings, Archana M. Puttewar and Prashant Parlewar, the others arrested include her assistant Payal Nageshwar, the family driver Sarthak Bagade, and two others, Neeraj Imje, Sachin Dharmik, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Nimish Goyal.

So far, the police have recovered gold, cash, mobiles and a car — totally worth around Rs 17 lakh, that was the purported part pay-off for the gruesome murder that was disguised as an accident.

On May 22, Purushottam Puttewar was returning home on foot after visiting his wife convalescing at a nearby hospital when a speeding car knocked him down, injuring him seriously and he succumbed soon afterward during treatment.

Singhal also clarified that contrary to earlier reports that Purushottam Puttewar’s properties were worth Rs 300 crore, they were actually in the range of around Rs 50 crore, with a dispute centering on assets worth about Rs 20-22 crore.

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Archana, the wife of a prominent ENT surgeon, Dr. Manish P. Puttewar – who lodged the first complaint after his father’s death – had hired the assailants by promising to pay them Rs 1 crore and parted with the cash and gold jewelry and asked them organised a second-hand car for the planned killing.

The sister-brother duo also lured Dharmik with other benefits like premises and a beer bar license, after which he hired Imje and involved Bagade into the dark conspiracy.

The police chief Singhal, said that in May, the accused had made a couple of failed attempts to eliminate Purushottam Puttewar, but he survived with minor injuries, so the family did not register a police complaint.

Incidentally, after the killing, the driver, Bagade, went on a pilgrimage to Vaishnodevi Temple in Jammu, and was arrested after his return on Tuesday.

While Archana M. Puttewar is currently in judicial custody, the other accused are being produced in court for police remand, and further investigations are underway.

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The probe would encompass the official track records of the woman who is said to have high political connections, as well as her brother, both holding important posts in key government departments.

–IANS

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Mohan Charan Majhi takes oath as CM as BJP makes debut in Odisha

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Bhubaneswar, June 12 (IANS) Mohan Charan Majhi took oath as the Chief Minister Odisha on Wednesday in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many other Central Ministers, including Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, and party President J.P. Nadda, among other dignitaries.

Apart from Majhi, two Deputy CMs also took the oath of office — Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo and Pravati Parida — during a grand ceremony at the Janata Maidan in state capital Bhubaneswar.

Naveen Patnaik, who was the Chief Minister of Odisha for 24 years before the BJD lost power to the BJP, was also present on the stage, and extended his greetings and good wishes to the new government.

Notably, this is the first time the BJP came to power in the eastern state by unseating the dominant Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the Assembly polls.

The Chief Ministers of many BJP-ruled states also attended the swearing-in ceremony.

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Earlier in the day, Mohan Majhi paid tributes to many eminent personalities of the state. He also visited outgoing CM Naveen Patnaik at his residence and invited him to the swearing-in ceremony.

–IANS

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Goa FDA warns against commercialisation of human milk

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Panaji, June 12 (IANS) Goa’s Directorate of Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has warned against unauthorised commercialisation of human milk in the coastal state.

FDA Director Jyoti Sardesai told IANS that the processing or sale of human milk is not permitted under the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006. “We have informed the Food Business Operators about this,” she said, adding that no such case has been noticed in the state.

“All such activities related to the commercialisation of human milk and its products should be immediately stopped,” she said, citing the Central government’s directives.

“Any violation may result in the initiation of action against the Food Business Operator in accordance with the FSS Act,” Sardesai added.

–IANS

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