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Telangana’s ex-Special Intelligence Branch chief denies phone tapping allegations

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Hyderabad, July 11 (IANS) Former chief of Telangana’s Special Intelligence Branch (SIB), T Prabhakar Rao, the main accused in the phone tapping case, has denied the allegations against him.

The retired Inspector General of Police, who is in the US, has communicated to the Investigating Officer (IO) that multiple health problems have forced him to defer his return to India.

He assured that he will fully cooperate in the investigation and answer all queries in person as soon as his health improves and upon his return to India.

“I am prepared to assist in the investigation in any kind of questioning over video conferencing or teleconferencing till the time I return to India,” he said in the letter dated June 23 that surfaced on Thursday.

The retired IPS officer requested the IO to conduct a fair and unbiased investigation as per the provisions of law.

Prabhakar Rao denied the allegations made against him.

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“I would once again want to reiterate what I conveyed to you via the Whatsapp call on March 22nd & 23rd, that I have not committed nor directed anyone to commit any illegal acts or omissions while discharging my duties as a police officer at any time including as Chief of SIB,” reads the letter.

The former SIB chief wrote that he had originally planned to return to India on June 26 but had to defer the same due to health issues.

He informed the IO that in addition to existing problem of malignant cancer, he developed high blood pressure due to stress, “I have been subjected to, after registration of the current case and by making wild and false allegations against me with constant deliberate leaks to media, thereby assassinating my character and reputation even prior to making me as an accused in the case.”

He stated that the false allegations were a great shock to him and his family which led to further deterioration of his physical and mental health.

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Prabhakar Rao said he was now suffering from cardiac and renal problems for which he was seeking appointments of specialists in the US.

He further wrote that his consulting doctors advised him not to travel out of the US till his health completely stabilised.

“However, I am willing to fully cooperate with the investigation and provide any information which you think is in my exclusive knowledge and possession through email. I don’t think that my no-appearance before the IO at an earlier point of time will hamper the investigation in any way as it is already evident from the outcome of the investigation and filing of the chargesheet,” he added.

Three serving police officers and a former officer have so far been arrested in the phone tapping case which came to light after the BRS lost power to Congress and an official in SIB who was part of the operation was found destroying the collected data.

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In March a case was registered with the Panjagutta police after a petition was filed by additional SP, SIB.

DSP Praneeth Rao was arrested after he allegedly destroyed hard disks and other data.

Later, the police arrested former additional SPs Bhujanga Rao and Tirupathanna and former Deputy Commissioner of Police, P Radha Kishan Rao.

–IANS

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NITI Aayog denies special status to any state, says Jitan Ram Manjhi

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Patna, July 14 (IANS) While JD-U leaders continue to demand special status for Bihar, Union MSME Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi asserted that the NITI Aayog has clearly ruled out the provision for any state, but noted the state’s financial needs will be met.

“The NITI Aayog has clearly denied special status to any state in the country. People from different political parties can do anything, but special status will not be given to any state, he said while interacting with media persons in Hajipur.

He added that the Central government has assured financial assistance to Bihar. “Whatever amount of money is needed for development, the central government and PM Narendra Modi will provide it,” Manjhi said.

Since the formation of the NDA government at the Centre, JD-U leaders have been advocating for special status for Bihar and Water Resource Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary and Building Construction Minister Ashok Choudhary have been vocal in their demands.

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Meanwhile, opposition leaders like RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav and Congress leader Meira Kumar have mocked the JD-U for seeking special status from the BJP despite being part of the NDA government.

–IANS

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Haryana STF nabs notorious criminal

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Gurugram, July 13 (IANS) Special Task Force (STF) of the Haryana Police has arrested Rakesh alias Kala Khairmpuria, a notorious criminal wanted for involvement in serious crimes across Haryana and Rajasthan, officials said on Saturday.

STF Chief Simardeep Singh said the accused operated under the alias Kala Khairmpuria and had been evading law enforcement agencies since he jumped parole in 2020.

“Throughout this period, he continued to orchestrate criminal activities initially from within India and after fleeing abroad from countries such as UAE, Armenia and Thailand,” Singh said.

Rakesh entered the crime world in 2014 and was involved in several serious offences like dacoity, robbery, murder, and illegal possession of firearms.

“Rakesh was first convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for a murder in 2015 in Bhadra, District Hanumangarh in Rajasthan. He was sentenced in 2018 and after serving the sentence till 2020, he was released on parole and he never returned,” Singh said.

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During this period, he evaded arrest and further expanded his criminal operations in Haryana and Rajasthan.

He committed another murder in Darauli in Fatehabad district of Haryana in 2021. Kala could not be arrested and was declared a proclaimed offender (PO) in 2023. The Haryana Police also announced Rs 1 lakh on his arrest.

“Utilising a fraudulently acquired passport, Rakesh fled the country in early 2023 and operated his criminal gang from abroad, forging alliances with local gangs and orchestrating violent acts. His affiliations extended to notorious criminal groups such as the Himanshu Bhau Gang and Neeraj Faridpuria Gang, contributing to a crime syndicate responsible for several high-profile crimes including targeted killings and extortion, the STF Chief added.

Notable incidents include the murder of a Sarpanch in Sonipat in December 2023, the firing incident on a famous sweet shop in Gohana in January this year, a murder at Murthal eatery and the shootout at a Burger King outlet in Rajouri Garden, Delhi last month.

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To nab him, the STF carried out a thorough investigation to locate him. During the course of the investigation, STF teams were able to establish and unearth a fake identity on which Kala had got his passport.

Once his identity was established, the teams tracked his travel details and mounted surveillance on the target. After strenuous efforts, he was zeroed in a foreign country.

The STF immediately coordinated with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and also got the relevant Interpol references and notices issued against Kala.

The MHA promptly took cognizance of the matter and coordinated with the various agencies both in India and abroad.

Meanwhile, the STF teams also got his passport, which he had obtained through fraudulent means, revoked. The required legal documents about establishing his identity and criminal record were shared with concerned law enforcement agencies through MHA.

This collaborative effort led to the deportation of Rakesh alias Kala and he was then apprehended by the STF teams.

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The STF Chief said that the arrest of Rakesh sends a resolute message regarding Haryana Police’s unwavering commitment to control crime and maintain law and order in the state.

–IANS

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Parents accuse DPS Dwarka of harassing students after row over outstanding fees

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) Parents of at least 20 students of Delhi Public School (DPS) Dwarka have accused the institution of not allowing their children inside classrooms and publishing their wards’ names on its official website over their outstanding fee dues.

According to some parents, the action followed their refusal to pay the revised fee, which, they claim, was increased “without following Directorate of Education (DoE) norms”.

They said that the public display of their children’s names breached their ward’s Fundamental right to personal space and privacy.

“The school maligned the reputation of children calling them defaulters though the parents have paid the complete fee and that too in advance,” a parent said.

Parents accused the school of harassing their children by demanding “unapproved” revised fees. “We have submitted numerous complaints since 2021 but got no relief,” another said.

They also accused the school management of hiring bouncers in 2022 to stop children (who have outstanding fees) from entering the school.

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“They (school management) sent bouncers in school buses so that children cannot board the bus. Teenage girls felt so uncomfortable travelling with bouncers who are more of a threat than a safety,” a parent told IANS.

“The DoE has not taken any concrete action so far… and has continuously failed to get its order implemented. The DoE nominees are not even allowed to enter the school and they just remain mute spectators,” another parent said.

“We are left with no choice but to accept the school atrocities as the matter relates to our children’s future,” said the father of a student, whose name was published on the school’s website.

“We moved the court against the DoE and the school… and the court ordered that parents will have to pay 50 per cent of the revised fee and names which had been struck off from the rolls should be immediately restored immediately but the school has no respect for the court order either,” another parent said.

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“It seems that the Chairman and Vice Chairman (of the school) are so powerful that even no court or no department can touch them and they can do whatever they want,” he claimed.

–IANS

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Left calls 12-hour Tripura shutdown on Sunday to protest murder of CPI-M Zilla Parishad candidate

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Agartala, July 13 (IANS) Tripura’s opposition CPI-M-led Left Front called a 12-hour statewide shutdown on Sunday to protest against the murder of a CPI-M candidate for the South Tripura Zilla Parishad in the August 8 three-tier Gram Panchayats elections.

The Congress has expressed its support.

Tripura Left Front convener Narayan Kar alleged that Badal Shil was critically injured in a deadly attack by ruling BJP-backed assailants on Friday at Rajnagar in South Tripura district. The CPI-M leader, after preliminary treatment in the local hospital, was shifted to the government-run Govind Ballabh Pant Medical College and Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries on Saturday afternoon, Kar told the media on Saturday night.

More than a dozen Left party leaders and members were injured across the state in the BJP attacks after the panchayat election schedule was announced on July 10.

CPI-M Tripura state Secretary Jitendra Chaudhury said that the Left parties would not organise any picketing on Sunday in support of the state-wide shutdown and appealed to the people to spontaneously observe the dawn-to-dusk strike.

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Congress Working Committee member and former Minister Sudip Roy Barman said that his party would support the Left Front-sponsored shutdown on Sunday.

However, BJP spokesman Nabendu Bhattacharjee said that his party would strongly oppose the shutdown as it would disturb the normal situation of the state ahead of the panchayat elections.

Elections to the three-tier Gram Panchayats in Tripura will be held on August 8 and the votes will be counted on August 12. Amidst sporadic incidents of political violence, candidates of various political parties are submitting their nominations in 370 seats in 606 Gram Panchayats, 423 seats in 35 Panchayat Samitis, and 116 seats in eight Zilla Parishads.

–IANS

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Sajad Lone terms amendments as systematic disempowerment in J&K

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Srinagar, July 13 (IANS) J&K Peoples Conference President Sajad Lone on Saturday voiced strong opposition to the recently passed amendments, characterising them as part of a continued systematic disempowerment of the people of J&K.

“The amendments passed yesterday are part of a continued systematic disempowerment of people of J&K. Another move to disempower and humiliate the people of J&K,” he wrote in X.

He added that these amendments even violate the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act – 2019.

“Yet again a humble appeal. Please don’t strengthen the perception of being at war with your own people in J&K,” Lone said.

–IANS

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