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SC to deliver verdict on Satyendar Jain's bail plea on Monday

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New Delhi, March 17 (IANS) The Supreme Court will deliver on Monday its verdict on the regular bail petition filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain in connection with an alleged money laundering case.

In January this year, a Bench headed by Justice Bela M. Trivedi reserved its judgment in the matter after hearing the oral arguments advanced by senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Jain and Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, representing the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The Bench, also comprising Justice Pankaj Mithal, will also deliver its verdict on a plea filed by Ankush Jain and Vaibhav Jain, the other co-accused in the case.

Satyendar Jain is currently out on interim medical bail.

The apex court had initially granted Jain interim relief in May last year for six weeks but the same was extended from time to time.

The AAP leader had moved the Supreme Court seeking bail against the Delhi High Court order dismissing his regular bail plea.

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In April 2023, the Delhi High Court had dismissed the bail plea of Jain stating that the applicant was an influential person and can tamper with evidence.

–IANS

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Bihar witnesses 55.85 pc voter turnout

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Patna, May 20 (IANS) Bihar Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) H.R. Srinivasa on Monday said that the state recorded 55.85 per cent voter turnout during the fifth phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha election.

“Around 55.85 per cent voter turnout was witnessed in Bihar which was 1.22 per cent less than compared to the 2019 Lok Sabha election which saw 57.07 per cent voting,” the CEO said.

He said that the highest voting took place in Muzaffarpur where 58.10 per cent of votes were polled which was less than the 2019 Lok Sabha election, which recorded 61 per cent polling.

Srinivasa said that apart from a few untoward incidents, the voting for the fifth phase for the five seats was by and large peaceful.

The polling was held in Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur, Madhubani, Saran and Hajipur Lok Sabha constituencies.

There were reports of some incidents at polling centres in Saran, Sitamarhi and Madhubani Lok Sabha constituencies.

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In Saran, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, the BJP candidate, claimed booth capturing by the RJD supporters.

In Sitamarhi, a total of 57.55 per cent polling was registered. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections Sitamarhi had recorded 59.08 per cent polling.

In Hajipur, 56.84 per cent polling was recorded which is higher compared to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which only saw 55.22 per cent polling.

Saran registered 54.50 per cent as compared to 56.48 per cent in 2019.

In Madhubani, the voter turnout was the lowest (52.20 per cent) among the five Lok Sabha constituencies which had recorded 53.72 per cent in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

The voters of two polling stations in Gaighat and Aurai in Muzaffarpur boycotted the polling over local issues.

–IANS

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Andhra Pradesh SIT submits report on poll-related violence to DGP

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Amaravati, May 20 (IANS) The Special Investigation Team (SIT), which probed cases related to poll-related violence in Andhra Pradesh, submitted its report to the Director General of Police (DGP) here on Monday.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vineet Brij Lal, who headed the 13-member SIT, met DGP Harish Kumar Gupta and submitted the 150-page report, which will now be forwarded to the Election Commission of India (ECI).

In the last two days, the SIT probed violent incidents that were reported from Palnadu, Tirupati, and Anantapur districts on the polling day (May 13) and the following days.

The SIT, which was constituted on the direction of the ECI, has provided details of the incidents that occurred and the actions taken by the police in the report.

The SIT was divided into four sub-teams, each headed by a DSP-level officer. Two of the sub-teams visited Palnadu while one sub-team each was sent to Anantapur and Tirupati.

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The sub-teams thoroughly reviewed the cases, visited the spots from where violence was reported, interacted with the investigating officers and victims, and verified the evidence collected so far along with the statements of the witnesses.

The team identified 33 incidents of violence that took place in the three districts. A total of 22 cases in three Assembly segments of Palnadu district, seven cases in Tadipatri in Anantapur district, and four cases in two Assembly segments in Tirupati district were registered.

As many as 1,370 people were cited as accused in the FIRs registered in connection with 33 incidents of violence. The police have so far arrested 124 accused and issued notices to 94 others under Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The SIT noticed that many of these offences were extremely serious in nature because a multitude of miscreants brazenly participated in them as two groups, pelting stones indiscriminately, which potentially could have led to serious injury or even death.

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The SIT also identified many lapses in the investigation and gave clear instructions to the investigating officers for compliance at the earliest.

The investigating officers have been directed to constitute special teams to identify and arrest the accused and add appropriate sections to the FIRs.

They have also been asked to gather digital evidence and file charge sheets in the case within the specified period.

Expressing satisfaction over the report, the DGP directed the district SPs concerned and other top officials to take the next steps to complete the investigation in coordination with the SIT.

It may be recalled that Chief Secretary K.S. Jawahar Reddy and DGP Harish Kumar Gupta had appeared before the Election Commission on May 16 to explain the reasons for the failure of the administration to contain post-poll violence in the state.

The Election Commission had approved the transfer of the Palnadu District Collector and the Tirupati Superintendent of Police (SP), and suspension of Palnadu and Anantapur SPs, and 12 subordinate police officers in the three districts.

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A department inquiry has been initiated against these officers.

The poll panel directed the Chief Secretary and the DGP to take stern action against those involved in the violence.

–IANS

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Any effort to derail conducive environment in J&K will be dealt strictly: CS

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Srinagar, May 20 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary (CS) Atal Dulloo on Monday said that any effort to derail the “conducive environment” in Kashmir would be dealt strictly.

“The dividends of peace prevailing in the UT from the past 4-5 years have been substantial and encouraging for all. Bumper tourist arrivals and significant voter turnout in the ongoing parliamentary elections are visible indicators of peace and harmony witnessed here during this period,” the Chief Secretary said.

He also impressed upon the law and order-maintaining agencies to be vigilant against the inimical forces and ensure concerted coordination for the safety of tourists, political workers and other civilians in J&K.

He added that the participation of people in large numbers in the ongoing elections has “unnerved” certain elements who would never be allowed to succeed in their designs by the security forces.

He said that security forces must devise Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be adhered to by the different stakeholders to minimise the chances of any terror incident by terrorists.

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He called for initiating certain prophylactic measures to ensure the least disturbances in day to day business and routine of the citizens.

–IANS

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Achievement of Congress in last one year is 'big zero': K’taka BJP President

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Bengaluru, May 20 (IANS) Karnataka BJP President B.Y. Vijayendra on Monday claimed that the achievement of the Congress during its one-year tenure is a “big zero”.

He alleged that more than 692 farmers have committed suicide in the last year and that the government has not initiated any responsible measures to stop farmers’ suicides.

Addressing a press conference in Bengaluru, he slammed the Congress government, stating that in one year, it had not undertaken a single development project.

“Congress had won a clear majority which raised expectations. However, the Congress is projecting development through advertisements. The common man is left wondering where the development is happening,” he said.

He said that the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister are projecting the implementation of guarantees as their party’s achievement. However, the actual achievement of this government is taking a hostile stand against the Central government and blaming it for everything.

“Congress in Karnataka is only known for running a murderous government. Irresponsible statements are being given about cases of love jihad and the murders of Hindu activists,” Vijayendra said.

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Senior BJP leader and Leader of the Opposition R. Ashoka said he is unable to understand whether Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has “thanked” the “murderers” or the people of the state for the completion of one year in office.

“One year of the Congress rule has brought cheers to murderers and left the treasury empty. People are concerned about who will be the next target after Neha Hiremath and Anjali Ambigera?” Ashoka said.

–IANS

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At 59 per cent, Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency records highest-ever turnout: EC

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Srinagar, May 20 (IANS) Voting in J&K’s Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency ended peacefully on Monday with a record turnout, pegged at around 59 per cent, as per election officials – the highest since 1996’s 46.65 per cent, and much above 2019’s 34.16 per cent.

J&K’s CEO P.K. Pole told a press conference that the poll percentage in Baramulla constituency is expected to be 59 per cent.

“As per the reports available with us, voting is still going on in some villages. The poll percentage in the constituency is likely to be 59 per cent and this can marginally increase as reports are still coming about the exact number of votes polled in the constituency. The biggest thing about today’s polling in Baramulla has been the highest voter turnout and completely peaceful and violence-free election process,” the CEO said.

He said that the highest voting percentage, segment-wise, has been in Handwara with a 67.5 per cent turnout and lowest in Gurez, at 40.82 per cent.

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Langate has witnessed second-highest voter turnout of 66 per cent.

“In the democratic history of Baramulla, today’s 59 per cent turnout is matched only by 1984 when the same voter turnout was recorded while there was no militancy in the Valley. But since militancy started in J&K, today’s turnout in Baramulla is not only the highest, but it also reflects the people’s faith in democracy and their firm belief that development and progress can only be achieved through this democratic process,” the CEO said.

“A heartening news has come from the Sopore segment which had recorded just 4 per cent voter turnout in 2019. The voter turnout in Sopore has been 44 per cent today, which is a jump of 40 per cent over 2019,” he added.

Pole said: “We had deployed over 8,000 poll staff and over 10,000 CAPF personnel who provided security to today’s poll process in Baramulla constituency. I am thankful to the civilian poll staff and to CAPF and local police for doing their duties steadfastly to ensure the safety of the voters and a peaceful polling process.”

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He said that 26 special polling stations had been set up for 22,000 migrant voters and among these, the Jammu and Udhampur polling stations recorded 32 per cent and the Delhi polling station 50 per cent turnout.

The CEO attributed the high voter turnout to the faith of people in democracy and also to the improvement in the ground situation during the last 4 to 5 years in Kashmir. “Various candidates, whether they belonged to recognised political parties or newly-formed political parties or independents, also campaigned pro-actively by going to every nook and corner of the constituency to seek votes,” he said.

Questioned about the reports of an untoward incident in the Pattan segment, the CEO said that some members of a particular community were holding peaceful protests there.

“Since you have brought this to my notice, I will find out the details and take appropriate action,” he said.

Prominent candidates in the Baramulla election were National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah, PDP’s Faiyaz Ahmed Mir, J&K People’s Conference chief Sajad Ghani Lone, and AIM chief, Engineer Rashid, who is presently behind bars.

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–IANS

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–IANS

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