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Special POCSO court in Bihar awards life sentence to man for rape & murder of toddler



Patna, Feb 24 (IANS) A special POCSO court in Bihar’s Jamui district on Saturday awarded life sentence to a person convicted of rape and murder of a 2-year-old toddler.

Special judge of the POCSO court, Direndra Bahadur Singh, also imposed a penalty of Rs 25,000 on Ranjit Manjhi, the convict.

The court further directed the state government to provide Rs 5 lakh to the victim’s family as compensation.

Ranjit Manjhi, a rag-picker, had kidnapped the two-year-old girl from outside her home in Jamui city on May 21, 2023. He then took her to an isolated place and sexually assaulted the toddler. After committing the crime, Ranjit strangled the victim to death and dumped her body at a bus stand in Jamui city.

“During the hearing of the case, the district police produced strong evidence, including CCTV footage from the bus stand, the accused’s confessional statement, post-mortem report, and forensic and scientific findings before the court,” said Manoj Verma, the special public prosecutor in the case.

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Verma said that on the basis of strong evidence, the court found Manjhi guilty under IPC Sections of 302 and 201, and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

“The accused will stay behind the bars till his last breath,” Verma said.



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17 new faces in Chandrababu Naidu’s team




Vijayawada, June 12 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu’s 24-member ministerial team, which was sworn-in along with him on Wednesday, has 17 fresh faces as the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief has given preference to young leaders.

The remaining seven had served as ministers either in Chandrababu Naidu’s Cabinet in bifurcated Andhra Pradesh or in the united one.

All the three ministers from Jana Sena and the lone minister from BJP have been inducted in the Cabinet for the first time.

Majority of the 20 ministers from TDP are young leaders with some of them elected to the Assembly for the first time.

In all, nine of the ministers in Naidu’s Cabinet were elected to the Assembly for the first time.

The most prominent fresh face is Jana Sena leader and actor Pawan Kalyan, who is set to be appointed Deputy Chief Minister.

The 56-year-old has been elected to the Assembly for the first time.

Pawan Kalyan, who studied till Intermediate, made his electoral debut from Pithapuram constituency in Kakinada District.

The younger brother of megastar Chiranjeevi, Pawan Kalyan is among three ministers from Jana Sena in Naidu’s government.

Jana Sena won all 21 Assembly seats it contested.

Pawan Kalyan’s close aide and Jana Sena’s Political Affairs Committee Chairman N Manohar has also been inducted into the Cabinet.

The 60-year-old has become a minister for the first time. Son of former chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh Nadendla Bhaskar, he served as Assembly Speaker in united Andhra Pradesh from 2011 to 2014.

Manohar, who did MBA from Osmania University, was elected from Tenali constituency in Guntur District. A three-time MLA, he quit the Congress to join Jana Sena in 2018.

Interestingly, Chandrababu Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh, who was part of the earlier TDP Cabinet, is also a first-time MLA.

Lokesh, K. Atchannaidu, Kollu Ravindra, P. Narayana and N Md Farooq were all ministers in the TDP government between 2014 and 2019.

Kolusu Parthasarathy and Anam Ramanarayana Reddy had served as ministers in Congress governments in a united Andhra Pradesh.

Farooq had also served as minister in the TDP government in an undivided state.

Anam Ramanarayana Reddy, who hails from Nellore District, had quit YSR Congress Party to join TDP last year.

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A senior minister in the Congress governments between 2004 and 2014, he was upset over his non-inclusion in the Cabinet by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

The 72-year-old was elected from Atamkur constituency in the recent polls.

He was first elected to the Assembly in 1983 as a TDP candidate. He had switched loyalties to the Congress in 1991.

Kolusu Parthasarathy had quit YSRCP to join TDP early this year and Naidu had promised him a Cabinet berth.

The senior leader, who comes from undivided Krishna District, had served as a minister in the Congress government in united Andhra Pradesh.

After the state’s bifurcation in 2014, he joined YSRCP.

Lokesh, who is TDP General Secretary, is also a first time MLA. In 2017, he was elected to the Legislative Council and served as minister for information technology and rural development in the Cabinet headed by his father.

The 41-year-old, who has done MBA from Stanford University, was elected from Mangalagiri constituency in Guntur District. He had lost from the same constituency in 2019.

Atchannaidu, who retained Tekali seat in Srikakulam District, has once again found a place in Naidu’s Cabinet. The six-time MLA is currently the President of the TDP’s Andhra Pradesh unit.

The 54-year-old, who is a graduate, served as minister of handlooms, textiles, Backward Classes welfare, empowerment and information & public relations in the TDP government between 2017 and 2019. He is the younger brother of former Union minister late K Yerran Naidu and uncle of K. Ram Mohan Naidu, who was inducted as a minister in the PM Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet on Sunday.

Kollu Ravindra has also become a minister once again. He had served as minister for excise and BC welfare between 2014 and 2019.

The 51-year-old has studied BA, LLB. Elected from Machilipatnam constituency in Krishna District, Ravindra is a member of the TDP politburo, the highest decision-making body of the party.

Ponguru Narayana, founder of Narayana Group of Institutions, is one of the highly educated ministers. The 68-year-old had served as minister for municipal administration and urban development between 2014 and 2019. Naryana, who has done MSc and PhD, was elected from Nellore City constituency in Nellore District in the recent elections.

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N. Md Farooq is the lone Muslim minister in the Cabinet. The 74-year-old was re-elected from Nandyal constituency in Nandyal District.

Farooq, who has studied up to PUC, served as a minister in Naidu’s Cabinets both in undivided Andhra Pradesh and in the bifurcated state.

A four-time MLA, he had also served as Deputy Speaker of the Assembly in united Andhra Pradesh.

Vasamsetti Subhash is among the first-time MLAs who have become ministers.

Belonging to the Settibalija (BC) community, he was elected from Ramachandrapuram constituency in Ambedkar Konaseema District.

He has studied B.Sc, LLB and he had resigned from the YSRCP to join the TDP a few months before elections.

Vangalapudi Anitha is one of the three women ministers in the new Cabinet. Elected from Payakaraopeta constituency in Visakhapatnam District, the 45-year-old is a first-time minister.

A member of the TDP politburo, she has done Masters in arts and literature.

Nimmala Rama Naidu is also a new face in the Cabinet. In the recent elections, he was elected for a third time from Palakonda in West Godavari District. The 55-year-old has done MA, M. Phil and PhD.

Payyavula Kesav is one of the key TDP leaders, who has been finally rewarded with a Cabinet berth. He had entered politics in 1994 and was recently elected to the Assembly from Uravakonda in Anantapur District for the seventh time.

He had retained the seat even in 2019 when there was a YSRCP wave.

At 42, Kondapalli Srinivas is one of the youngest ministers in the new Cabinet. He is the first-time MLA from Gajapathinagaram constituency in Vizianagaram District. Hailing from a political family, Srinivas is a software engineer who had been actively participating in social service.

Gummadi Sandhyarani is another first-time minister. She is also the first-time MLA, having been elected from Saluru constituency in Parvathipuram Manyam District. The 51-year-old has studied B.Sc. In 1999, she had unsuccessfully contested for the Assembly on a Congress ticket. She later joined the TDP but could not win the elections in 2009 and 2014.

Anagani Satya Prasad is a three-time MLA from Repalle in Bapatla District. The 52-year-old is a graduate.

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Dola Balaveeranjaneya Swamy has been elected to the Assembly for a third-consecutive term from Kondapi in Prakasam District. The 54-year-old is a MBBS and worked at a primary health centre in Kondapi.

Gottipati Ravi Kumar was recently elected for the Assembly for the fourth-consecutive time from Addanki in Bapatla District. The 48-year-old has done engineering and is in the granite business. In 2009, he was first elected to the Assembly on a Congress ticket. He retained the seat as YSRCP candidate in 2014 but joined the TDP in 2016. He won the seat again in 2019 and 2024 on a TDP ticket.

Kandula Durgesh of Jana Sena is also a first-time MLA who has made it to the Cabinet. He began his political career with the Congress party and was defeated in 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Rajahmundry constituency. He joined Jana Sena in 2018. He contested unsuccessfully as Jana Sena candidate from Nidadavole in West Godavari District.

The TDP’s BC Janardhan Reddy was elected to Banaganapalli constituency in Nandyal District for a second time. The 55-year-old has studied up to eighth standard.

Satya Kumar Yadav is the only BJP representative in the Cabinet. He is a first-time MLA, having been elected from Dharmavaram constituency in Sri Sathya Sai District in the recent elections. He has done MA in political science. He served as Personal Secretary of former Vice President Venkaiah Naidu. In 2018, he was appointed National Secretary of the BJP. He is currently co-incharge of BJP in Uttar Pradesh and incharge for Andaman and Nicobar.

TG Bharath, who has done MBA in UK, is a first-time MLA. The 48-year-old was elected from Kurnool constituency. He is the son of former minister TG Venkatesh.

S Savitha was elected to the Assembly for the first time in recent elections from Penukonda in Sri Sathya Sai District. She is the daughter of former MP and minister S. Ramachandra Reddy.

Mandipalli Ram Prasad Reddy is one of the youngest ministers in the new Cabinet. The 43-year-old is a first-time MLA from Rayachoti in Annamayya District. He had quit YSRCP to join TDP in December 2023.



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Shivraj Chouhan takes up 100-day action plan for agriculture sector




New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Wednesday held a detailed discussion with senior officials on the 100-day action plan of the ministry.

Agriculture Minister Chouhan told the officials that they should focus their entire attention on farmer-oriented works so that work can be done speedily as per the sankalp (resolution) of the Prime Minister, the ministry said in a statement.

He said that the availability of quality fertilizers, seeds and other inputs to farmers should be ensured on a priority basis. The Agriculture Minister asserted that the farmers should not face any problem in this regard and special care should be taken on this.

He emphasized that agricultural production and productivity should increase in the country, and there is a need to implement a concrete action plan so that the country can export quality agricultural products to other countries of the world and meet domestic needs as well.

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In the meeting, senior officials gave presentations of department-wise schemes.

Union Ministers of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Ram Nath Thakur and Bhagirath Chaudhary, Agriculture Secretary Manoj Ahuja and other senior officials were present at the meeting.



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Sex videos case: Prajwal Revanna handed over to SIT custody in rape case




Bengaluru, June 12 (IANS) Prime accused in the sex videos case, former JD(S) MP Prajwal Revanna was handed over to the custody of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in connection with a rape case by a court on Wednesday.

The 42nd Additional Chief Metropolitan and Magistrate (ACMM) court passed the order in this regard and gave the custody of former Prime Minister, HD Deve Gowda’s grandson Prajwal Revanna, to the SIT till June 18.

The court had earlier sent him to judicial custody till June 24 and Prajwal was sent to the Bengaluru Central Prison on June 10.

As per the request of the SIT, Prajwal was produced before the court by the jail authorities in connection with a rape case registered against him under FIR Number 2/2024.

The court had obliged the request.

Prajwal Revanna was given undertrial number 5664 during his stay in the central prison. He was kept in the quarantine cell and he was given food as per the menu of the jail.

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Earlier, the court did not listen to his plea for a comfortable stay at the SIT facility.

The SIT has booked cases against Prajwal under IPC Sections 376 (2) N (committing rape repeatedly on same woman), 506 (criminal intimidation), 354 (A) (1) (behaving in unwelcome way, explicit sexual behaviour, demanding sexual favours), 354 (B) (using criminal force on woman) and 354 (C) (voyeurism, capturing image of a woman in a private act without her consent) and Under Sections of the Information Technology Act.



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Mohan Majhi takes oath as Odisha CM with 2 Dy CMs, 8 Cabinet Ministers (Ld)




Bhubaneswar, June 12 (IANS) Mohan Charan Majhi on Wednesday created history after he was sworn in as the first BJP Chief Minister of Odisha.

Odisha Governor Raghubar Das administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mohan Majhi and his Council of Ministers during a grand event at the Janata Maidan here, which was attended by 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.

Six-time MLA from Patnagarh, Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo, and first-time MLA from Nimapara, Pravati Parida, took oath as Deputy Chief Ministers.

The Governor also administered oaths to eight Cabinet ministers and five state ministers with independent charge.

Veteran leader and Brajrajnagar MLA Suresh Pujari, Kuchinda MLA Rabi Narayan Nayak, Umerkote MLA Nityananda Gond, Dhenkanal MLA Krushna Chandra Patra, Chilika MLA Prithiviraj Harichandan, Loisingha MLA Mukesh Mahaling, Gopalpur MLA Bibhuti Bhushan Jena, and Morada MLA Krushna Chandra Mahapatra were sworn in as Cabinet Ministers.

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Jashipur MLA Ganesh Ram Singh Khuntia, Dhamnagar MLA Suryabanshi Suraj, Sukinda MLA Pradeep Bal Samanta, Polasara MLA Gokulananda Mallik, and Paradeep MLA Sampad Chandra Swain were sworn in as state ministers with independent charge.

The Chief Ministers of nine BJP-ruled states attended the grand event.

Several important decisions are expected to be taken at the first Cabinet meeting of the first-ever BJP government in the state later on Wednesday evening.



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NCP bats for reservation for Muslim community in education in Maharashtra




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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