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Sexual harassment case: Delhi court dismisses ex-WFI chief's plea seeking further probe, lists hearing on framing of charges for May 7

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New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) A Delhi court on Friday dismissed an application by BJP MP and former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, seeking further examination of evidence concerning his whereabouts on the date — September 7, 2022 — of an alleged incident. Singh is accused in a sexual harassment case in which several women wrestlers accused him of indulging in inappropriate behaviour.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Priyanka Rajpoot of Rouse Avenue Court dismissed Singh’s application. The judge also listed the matter concerning the framing of charges against Singh for May 7.

On April 18, the court deferred the hearing on framing of charges after Singh’s application seeking further investigation in the case.

He had told the court that he was not in Delhi when one of the complainant wrestlers was allegedly sexually harassed.

The application had argued for a detailed investigation into Singh’s claims of being abroad when the incident purportedly took place.

The application had also demanded that the Delhi Police produce the Call Detail Record (CDR).

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Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava, representing the Delhi Police, had opposed the application, arguing that the timing of the request was strategic and intended to prolong the case.

He had stressed the potential legal ramifications of reopening the investigation at this stage.

Meanwhile, the legal counsel for the complainants had criticised the application as a tactic to delay the proceedings.

They argued that the necessary documents should have been procured earlier under Section 207 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which deals with the communication of evidence to the accused.

In February, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh had sought to be discharged in the case, citing delay in reporting the alleged offence and contradictions in the complainants’ statements.

Earlier, during the proceedings, the complainants and police said that there was ample evidence to proceed with the trial against the accused individuals.

The Delhi Police had refuted the arguments of the accused that certain incidents occurred overseas and thus fell outside the jurisdiction of Delhi courts, contending that the alleged acts of sexual harassment, attributed to Singh, both abroad and in India, including Delhi, constituted part of the same offence.

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His counsel had told the court that the incidents were said to have occurred in 2012 but were only reported to the police in 2023.

In addition, he had contended discrepancies in the timing and locations of the alleged incidents, asserting no clear link between them.

The defence counsel had pointed out contradictions between the complainants’ affidavits and statements.

The Delhi Police contended that incidents of alleged sexual harassment, whether occurring overseas or within the country, were interconnected and part of the same transaction.

Hence, the police said that the court had jurisdiction to hear the case.

The BJP MP had earlier questioned the jurisdiction of the Delhi court claiming that there was no action or consequence which happened in India.

Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava, representing the Delhi Police, had argued that under Section 354 of the IPC, the case is not time-barred, as it carries a maximum punishment of five years.

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Addressing the issue of delay in filing complaints, Srivastava had brought up the issue of fear among the women wrestlers, saying that wrestling held immense significance in their lives, and they were hesitant to come forward due to concerns about jeopardising their careers.

The prosecution had argued that Singh’s defence, claiming his actions were fatherly, demonstrated awareness of his acts. The BJP MP’s justification that he was checking breathing patterns had contradicted the victims’ statements about inappropriate touching.

The police claimed that there were sufficient prima facie evidence to proceed with the trial against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

The prosecution had earlier said that the act of sexual harassment of the victims was a continuing offence, as it did not stop at any particular time.

Delhi Police had also told the court that Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh never missed an opportunity to “sexually harass” women wrestlers, adding that there is sufficient evidence to frame charges against him and proceed with the trial.

–IANS

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BJP youth leader shot in Indore; search to nab suspects underway

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Bhopal, June 23 (IANS) A BJP youth leader was allegedly shot dead in Indore at the Chiman Bagh Chowk early on Sunday morning, police said.

The victim has been identified as Monu Kalyane, a youth wing leader of the BJP’s Indore District unit.

Kalyane was supposed to organise a ‘Bhagwa Rally’ by Sunday evening, for which, he along with his associates, had been putting up banners at several places in the city.

“Monu and some of his friends were putting up poster, banners early on Sunday morning, during which, he was shot dead,” a senior police officer told the Press.

Police have launched a search operation to nab two suspects, Piyush and Arjun, who are Monu’s neighbours.

Police said the preliminary investigation suggested that the murder was the result of a personal rivalry.

Local BJP leaders, including former BJP MLA Akash Vijayvargiya, son of senior BJP minister Kailash Vijayvargiya reached the victim’s home.

Sources told IANS that Monu was close to Akash Vijayvargiya.

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Meanwhile, a group of people pelted stones and set vehicles on fire that were parked outside Piyush and Arjun’s homes.

Police were trying to control the situation. Further details are awaited.

–IANS

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Union ministers Jaishankar, Puri pay tributes to victims of Kanishka bombing on 39th anniv of terror attack

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New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) Union Ministers S. Jaishankar and Hardeep Singh Puri paid homage on Sunday to the over 300 victims of the Air India ‘Kanishka’ flight bombing, commemorating the 39th anniversary of the terrorist attack.

In a post on X, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar expressed his condolences, stating, “Today marks the 39th anniversary of one of the worst acts of terrorism in history. Pay my homage to the memory of the 329 victims of AI 182 ‘Kanishka’ who were killed on this day in 1985. My thoughts are with their families. The anniversary is a reminder why terrorism should never be tolerated.”

Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, also took to X, sharing images of his tribute.

He remarked, “My homage to 329 victims of Air India ‘Kanishka’ Flight 182. This dastardly bombing on 23 June 1985 remains one of the most reprehensible acts of terror committed against India.”

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Puri further condemned the ideology behind such attacks, stating, “Actions anchored in such extremism have no place in a sane & civilised world. Unfortunately, the systems & mindsets that condoned Kanishka bombing & subsequent acts of terrorism continue to find forces & sympathisers violating international norms & commitments to combat violent extremism & terrorism.”

The Air India Flight 182, en route from Montreal to New Delhi, exploded 45 minutes before it was scheduled to land at Heathrow Airport, London, on June 23, 1985.

All 329 people on board, mostly Canadians of Indian descent, lost their lives.

The bombing was attributed to Sikh militants, believed to be retaliating against ‘Operation Bluestar,’ a 1984 Indian Army operation aimed at removing terrorists holed up inside the Golden Temple with arms and ammunition.

–IANS

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Yogi govt to plant 350 million saplings this year

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Lucknow, June 23 (IANS) The Yogi Adityanath government plans to plant 350 million saplings this year to expand Uttar Pradesh’s green areas.

The goal is to increase the state’s green cover from 9 to 15 per cent by 2026-27 with public cooperation.

Specific targets have been set for all departments and divisions in the state-wide campaign. The Yogi government has also directed proper preparations to ensure the availability of high-quality saplings for all stakeholders.

As in the previous year, this year, preparations have begun for a safe plantation and the achievement of the target.

The goal is to plant 350 million saplings, with specific targets assigned to various departments: 140 million from Forest, Environment, and Climate Change, 125.9 million from Rural Development, 25 million from Agriculture, 15.5 million from Horticulture, 12.8 million from Panchayati Raj, 10.6 million from Revenue, 3.5 million from Urban Development, 1.8 million from Higher Education.

Besides, 1.3 million saplings each will be planted by Public Works, Railways, and Water Power, 1.2 million from Basic Education, 1.1 million from Health, 900,000 from Industry, 800,000 each from Industrial Development and Secondary Education, 700,000 each from Home-Animal Husbandry, 600,000 each from Energy and Cooperation, 500,000 each from Housing Development, Defence, and Technical Education, and 300,000 each from Labour and Transport.

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Under the campaign, saplings will be planted in all 18 divisions.

Targets for all have been fixed. Lucknow division has been given the target of planting the maximum number of saplings.

Four crore saplings will be planted in the Lucknow division, 3.13 crore in Kanpur division, 2.76 crore in Chitrakoot, 2.58 crore in Jhansi, 2.27 crore in Mirzapur, 2.20 crore in Ayodhya, 1.95 crore in Devipatan, 1.89 crore in Prayagraj, 1.87 crore in Bareilly, 1.78 crore in Varanasi, 1.76 crore in Moradabad, 1.74 crore in Agra, 1.43 crore in Gorakhpur, 1.34 crore in Azamgarh, 1.20 crore in Aligarh, 1.14 crore in Meerut division, 1.08 crore in Basti and 88 lakh in Saharanpur division.

There will also be geo-tagging of plantation sites. The Forest Department will plant 12.60 crore saplings in the divisions, and other departments will plant around 22.40 crore saplings.

The Yogi government has directed officials to plant trees statewide to turn Uttar Pradesh green.

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Trees will be planted on forest land, village panchayat and community land, around expressways and canals, on land owned by development authorities and industrial complexes, on defence and railway land, on medical and educational institution grounds, on other government properties, on private farmland with farmers’ cooperation, and by citizens on their private premises.

–IANS

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Under-construction bridge collapses in Bihar's East Champaran

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Patna, June 23 (IANS) An under-construction bridge collapsed in Bihar’s East Champaran district in the wee hours of Sunday.

The incident occurred in the Ghorasahan block in the district. The construction of the bridge was underway under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana with a cost of Rs 1.59 crore. The 40-foot-long bridge was built between the Amwa village of Ghorasahan block and the Chainpur railway station.

Locals claimed the concretisation of the bridge was taking place late on Saturday night. As soon as the concretisation was done, it collapsed.

The bridge was built by Motihari’s Dhiraj Construction Private Limited. The foundation stone of the bridge was laid by Rama Devi, former BJP MP of Sheohar, on March 10 this year.

“The bridge is being constructed in two spans. The concretisation of the bridge was done from one side on Saturday. After that, last night dozens of anti-social elements came at the construction site in some vehicles and broke the support of the bridge. Due to this, the bridge collapsed. The administrative officer has been informed about this,” said SN Mandal, Executive Engineer, PWD Dhaka sub-division of East Champaran district.

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Meanwhile, the villagers claimed that the material being used in the construction of the bridge was of low quality. The bridge is not being constructed as per the estimate. As a result, it collapsed along with the casting.

“The bridge collapsed due to the irregularities being done in the construction. A high-level investigation is needed here. The engineer is using low-grade materials for the construction of the bridge. This is the reason why the bridge collapsed,” said Deepak Kumar Singh, a villager.

Earlier, a 30-foot-long bridge built on the canal of the Gandak River in Siwan collapsed on Saturday. That bridge was 40-45 years old. People said that the bridge collapsed due to soil cutting during the cleaning of the canal.

Last week, another bridge built with an estimated cost of Rs 12 crore in the Sikti block of Araria collapsed before its inauguration.

–IANS

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Woman ends her life after poisoning minor sons in UP

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Hamirpur, June 23 (IANS) In a shocking incident, a woman allegedly poisoned her two minor sons to death and then committed suicide after a fight with her brother in Muskara in the Hamirpur district of Uttar Pradesh.

According to the family members, Mohini, 26, had a love marriage against the wishes of her family, but was presently living separately from her husband.

Recently, following a fight, her brother had rebuked her and asked her to go back to her husband’s place.

On Saturday evening, she forcibly fed eatables laced with poison to both her sons and then committed suicide by consuming the same.

Police, on being informed, rushed to the spot and shifted all three bodies to the mortuary for post-mortem examination.

Her family members said that Mohini had a love marriage with Hemant, a resident of Kachhuwa village in the Rath area, ten years ago.

“It came to fore that due to frequent disputes between the husband and wife, she had been staying in Noida for the last two years with her two children Gautam, 5, and Harsh, 3, and was earning her living by working as a daily-wager. Last week, she came to her parents’ house in Bandwa from Noida,” the family members said.

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After coming to her maternal home, she had a fight with her brother Golu who asked her to leave the house and go back to her husband’s place.

On Saturday evening, she told her mother and other siblings that she was going to Noida with her two children but instead of going to Noida, she along with her children committed suicide by consuming poison near the premises of Bank of Baroda in the area.

Police station in-charge Shashi Pandey said, “The matter is being investigated thoroughly. Action will be taken against the culprits on the basis of a complaint and autopsy report.”

–IANS

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