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Punjab Police busts trans-border narcotic network; three held, 8 kg heroin seized



Chandigarh, June 11 (IANS) Punjab Police busted a trans-border narcotic smuggling network with the arrest of three smugglers and recovered 8 kg heroin from their possession, Director General of Police (DGP), Gaurav Yadav, said here on Tuesday.

Those arrested have been identified as Gursahib Singh, Sajan Singh and Satnam Singh, all residents of Amritsar District.

Apart from the drugs, police also recovered one .30 bore pistol and 26 cartridges from their possession and impounded a car and a motorcycle.

DGP Yadav said Counter Intelligence, Amritsar received inputs that some drug smugglers had retrieved a huge consignment of heroin dropped via drone at the Indo-Pakistan border that falls near Dharamkot Pattan Village.

Police were told that the smugglers intend to further deliver the drugs to supplier Satnam Singh near Kot Khalsa opposite Khalsa College in Amritsar.

Acting swiftly, the police team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police, Balbir Singh, laid a special checkpoint at Adda Khusro Tahli and apprehended Gursahib and Sajan, when they were travelling on their motorcycle and recovered 7.5 kg heroin and 16 cartridges from their possession.

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He said later the police laid a trap and arrested drug supplier Satnam Singh from Kot Khalsa and recovered 500 grams of heroin and one .30 bore pistol along with 10 cartridges from his possession and impounded his car.

The DGP said as per preliminary investigations, the accused were directly in touch with the Pakistan-based drug smuggler and were supplying heroin across the state after importing it from Pakistan.

The probe has also revealed that the Pakistan-based drug smuggler used drones to deliver the consignment.

Further investigation is going on to unearth linkages to reveal the entire network.



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Bengal school job case: ED, CBI attach assets worth Rs 161 crore so far




Kolkata, June 12 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducting a parallel probe in the West Bengal multi-crore cash-for-school jobs case, have so far attached assets and properties worth Rs 161 crore in the course of its probe and searches in connection with the case, the ED counsel told the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday.

Justice Amrita Sinha was told that of Rs 161 crore, Rs 148 crore had been confiscated by the ED and the remaining Rs 13 crore by the CBI.

Of the Rs 161 crore attached property, assets worth Rs 7 crore belonged to a corporate entity whose name has surfaced repeatedly in the entire school job case as well as in the coal smuggling case in West Bengal.

When Justice Sinha asked whether the source of funds for purchasing that attached fund had been identified or not, the counsel of CBI submitted a report to a bench in a sealed envelope.

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Although the details of the contents of the report could not be known, the CBI counsel said that their officials had tracked the person who collected money in the school job matter, but the collection was on behalf of someone else.

On Wednesday, Justice Sinha expressed ire over the lackadaisical approach of a section of the central agency officials in carrying out the probe process.

She also asked the central agency counsel to ask their officers to be more careful in the process of investigation since this is a court-monitored probe.

Justice Sinha also expressed anguish over not much progress in the investigation in the matter which is in relation to the voice-sampling test of one of the prime accused in the case, Sujay Krishna Bhadra.

She also expressed ire over the delay on the part of the state government in submitting its own report in the school job case in West Bengal to her bench.

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She said the next hearing in the matter will be on July 30 and by then the state government should submit its report in the case.



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Pre-monsoon showers likely to hit Himachal on June 17




Shimla, June 12 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh is likely to witness pre-monsoon showers on June 17, the weather department said on Wednesday.

The state on the day saw clear weather with no major relief from the scorching heat. The minimum temperature increased by two to three degrees Celsius, the local meteorological station said.

The Met Office has issued a heat wave alert in the state’s lower areas — Hamirpur, Una, Bilaspur, Solan, Sirmaur and Mandi — till Saturday.

“After four days, the western disturbance will become active with the possibility of rain and snowfall on June 17,” said Surender Paul, Director of the Meteorological Centre.

He said pre-monsoon rain is expected in the state on June 17 or 18. “The temperature will fall after the pre-monsoon begins.”

The maximum temperature in the state was 40 degrees Celsius or more at several places. Neri recorded a maximum temperature of 45.3 degrees Celsius, Una (43.2 ), Dhaula Kuan (43.1), Bilaspur (42.6), Hamirpur (41.7), Kangra (41.3), Sundernagar (41.2) and Mandi recorded a maximum temperature of 40.8 degrees Celsius.

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The state capital Shimla saw a high of 30.3 degrees Celsius.



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Raising 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' slogan has become wrongful act under Congress rule: K'taka LoP




Dakshina Kannada, June 12 (IANS) Senior BJP leader and the leader of opposition in the Karnataka Assembly, R. Ashoka, claimed on Wednesday that raising the ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ slogan has become a wrongful act in the state under the Congress rule.

Speaking to the media after visiting two BJP workers who were stabbed for allegedly raising the ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ slogan at a hospital in Dakshina Kannada, Ashoka said, “The Congress government has handed over the state to goons. If ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ or ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans are raised, people are stabbed.”

Stating that the BJP will ensure such incidents are not repeated, Ashoka said, “We will always stand with our party workers. The government should investigate the matter and also provide compensation to the victims.”

“Under this Taliban-like government in Karnataka, pro-Pakistan slogans are raised without any hesitation. The issue will be brought up during the Assembly session. Despite visiting the hospital, neither the Assembly Speaker nor the Minister for Health bothered to meet the stabbed workers,” Ashoka claimed.

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After the stabbing incident, the police lodged a case against some Hindu activists, alleging that they had issued statements referring to Pakistan.

“If this is true, let the police release the video or evidence in this regard. The attempt is being made to lodge a fresh case and hush up the case of stabbing,” Ashoka alleged.

The incident took place on the night of June 4 after the announcement of the Lok Sabha election results. The BJP workers were chased and attacked by a mob and later stabbed for allegedly raising the ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ slogan.



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Brothers in arms: Pawan Kalyan’s swearing-in makes Chiranjeevi proud




Vijayawada, June 12 (IANS) It was a moment Jana Sena leader and actor Konidala Pawan Kalyan had been waiting for years.

Taking oath as a minister in the presence of his elder brother and megastar Konidala Chiranjeevi in front of thousands of people was a big achievement for the actor-politician.

‘Power star’, as Pawan Kalyan is popularly known in film circles, was the first minister to take oath after Nara Chandrababu Naidu was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday.

There were loud cheers from his fans and supporters as the Jana Sena leader took oath.

Chiranjeevi, who was seated with superstar Rajinikanth and actor-politician N. Balakrishna on the adjacent dais, was seen clapping while his wife Konidala Lezhneva, who was present in one of the VIP galleries, was delighted.

Chiranjeevi, whose political tryst ended in a disaster 15 years ago, was proud to see his younger brother taking oath, and the centre stage of Andhra Pradesh politics.

After meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chandrababu Naidu, and Governor Abdul Nazeer, Pawan Kalyan headed to the adjacent dais to take the blessings of Chiranjeevi by touching his feet, as the megastar hugged his brother to congratulate him.

Pawan Kalyan, after the completion of the swearing-in, went to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and requested him to meet his elder brother. The PM obliged and held the hands of the siblings and raised them in a show of bonhomie.

Pawan Kalyan in a way gifted his win to Chiranjeevi. The victory came after his hard work of the last 10 years and the big setback of 2019 when he lost both the Assembly seats he contested.

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Jana Sena, which had fought the elections in alliance with the BSP and the Left parties, could win just one seat in the 175-member Assembly and even the lone MLA had later defected to the ruling YSR Congress Party.

This time, Jana Sena changed its strategy to strike an alliance with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). By winning all 21 Assembly and both Lok Sabha seats it contested, Jana Sena had a 100 per cent strike rate in the polls.

Pawan Kalyan was elected from the Pithapuram constituency in Kakinada district with a margin of 70,000 votes to finally make it to the Assembly.

The Jana Sena led by Pawan achieved what the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) floated by Chiranjeevi could not in 2008.

The superstar had launched PRP amid much fanfare in 2008 when it was compared to legendary actor N. T. Rama Rao’s political plunge with the formation of TDP in 1982, which changed the course of Andhra Pradesh politics.

Pawan Kalyan was then the leader of the youth wing of PRP. The duo along with their brother and actor Naga Babu and other family members had actively campaigned during the 2009 elections. However, the party came a cropper, winning just 18 seats in the 294-member Assembly of united Andhra Pradesh.

Chiranjeevi himself suffered defeat from Palakollu in his home district of West Godavari, but was elected from Tirupati.

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The death of then Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash in 2009, a few months after retaining power, and the subsequent developments altered the political scene in the state.

In 2011, Chiranjeevi merged PRP with Congress and the latter rewarded him with nomination to the Rajya Sabha and induction into the Union Cabinet as Minister of State for Tourism (independent charge).

The bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 triggered huge public anger against the Congress in the Andhra and Rayalaseema region as the party drew a blank in simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

The elections also saw the two brothers in rival camps. While Chiranjeevi was leading the Congress campaign, Pawan Kalyan had vowed to finish off the party which ‘divided’ the state. He did not contest the elections but campaigned for the TDP-BJP alliance, which stormed to power in bifurcated Andhra Pradesh.

After the Congress’ complete rout, Chiranjeevi distanced himself from politics and started focusing on films once again. However, Pawan Kalyan was determined to play a long innings.

The Jana Sena leader later parted ways with both the BJP and TDP for failing to deliver on the promise to accord special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

The maverick star vowed to continue his fight for new-age politics and took up campaigns on some major public issues. He, however, came under criticism from rivals for being a part-time politician. Unfazed by this criticism, he continued his efforts.

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After the disaster of 2019, he revived the alliance with the BJP. He became active about two years ago and started working to bring together the TDP and the BJP, which had snapped ties in 2018 on the issue of special category status.

This time, he vowed to end the ‘misrule’ of YSRCP and took the initiative to align with the TDP. He finally succeeded in bringing the BJP on board and even sacrificed a few seats to avoid a split of anti-incumbency votes.

He made it clear to his supporters that he is not in a hurry and that he remained committed to bringing about a change and achieving his goal of new-age politics.

As someone who does not fear defeat, the ‘Power Star’ was determined to carry on his fight. The actor-politician, who connects well with people, especially the youth, started gaining acceptance.

His strategy paid rich dividends not only for the Jana Sena, but also for the alliance which stormed to power with a landslide victory.

Pawan, who made his film debut in 1996 with ‘Akkada Ammayi, Ikkada Abbayi’ and has a string of hits under his belt, is seen as a person yearning for some higher purpose in life.

He admitted on several occasions that sometimes, he used to feel completely out of place in the movies.

Now with his entry into the Assembly and as the Deputy Chief Minister, he is set to play a new real-life role.



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Joshimath is now 'Jyotirmath', Uttarakhand government renames teshil in Chamoli




New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) Joshimath tehsil in Chamoli district will now be known by a new name ‘Jyotirmath’, the Uttarakhand chief minister office announced on Wednesday.

Jyotirmath is the ancient name of Joshimath and the state government’s proposal to effect a name change for the tehsil was approved by the Centre on Wednesday.

The move is being hailed by the local residents of Joshimath as they believe that the restoration of tehsil after its original name will not just showcase its ancient roots but will also honour its rich cultural and historical heritage.

Notably, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami publicly announced his government’s decision to rename the tehsil and restore its ancient glory at an event in Chamoli district last year.

The locals had been demanding the name change for a long time. Taking into consideration the sentiments of people, Dhami government moved a proposal to the Centre to rename the tehsil.

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This was approved by the Centre on Wednesday.

Locals believe that Adi Guru Shankaracharya visited this place in 8th century. He is understood to have practiced penance under Amar Kalpa tree and attained divine knowledge and light here.

The place was then known as Jyotirmath but as time passed by, it became popular by another name, Joshimath.



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