Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 16 (ANI): As many as five people have been killed and at least five others were injured in a collision between multiple vehicles on Mumbai-Pune Expressway near Khopoli last night.
The injured were taken to a nearby hospital.
More information is awaited. (ANI)
The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.
For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.
33-YEAR-OLD RAPE VICTIM SET ON FIRE IN RAJASTHAN’S HANUMANGARH
Jaipur: A 33-year-old rape victim was set on fire at her home in Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh district, police said on Friday. The victim has been admitted to a hospital in Bikaner with serious burn injuries, the police said, adding that accused Pradeep Vishnoi has been detained for questioning. The woman was allegedly raped by Vishnoi in 2018 and the trial in the case is currently on. The victim, who has a daughter, was living with her maternal grandmother following a dispute with her husband, police said.
A man entered their house in the early hours on Thursday, sprinkled kerosene on the floor, knocked on the door and called the woman by her name. As she opened the door, the man dropped a burning stick on the floor, resulting in serious injuries to her, Golupura Station House Officer (SHO) Omprakash said, adding that the victim’s maternal grandmother has accused Vishnoi of committing the crime.
A CCTV footage obtained from the area is being examined, the SHO said. “The woman has been staying separate from her husband after a dispute with him. The matter is being probed from all angles and any arrest will be made only after confirmation of involvement,” he said.
Former chief minister Vasundhara Raje condemned the incident.
State Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas said stern punishment like death penalty should be given to those who commit such crimes. “The priority of the government is to save the life of the victim. The culprits of such incidents should get death penalty,” he said.
PUNJAB FARMERS ARE NOT ANTI-NATIONALS, THEY’RE PATRIOTS: CAPT AMARINDER
Launching a frontal attack against BJP leaders over their reprehensible statements against the farmers, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday asserted that the farmers and farm workers of Punjab are not anti-nationals but are the same patriotic and nationalistic people who gave their lives for the country in Galwan valley last year to protect India’s integrity and sovereignty.
Calling for an immediate end to attempts to defame the dynamic Punjabi farmers by branding them miscreants or ultras, the Chief Minister said in the Vidhan Sabha that “they have never done anything anti-national, they are not anti-national, and they will never do anything against the unity and integrity of this country.”
“They are patriotic and nationalistic – while one son ploughs the fields in the village, the other brother is busy guarding the country’s borders. These are the same people who gave their lives for the country, along with soldiers from other States too, in Galwan last year protecting the sovereignty of our country,” said the Chief Minister, urging the Government of India to ensure that this defamation campaign against farmers is immediately ended.
Pointing out that despite 11 rounds of discussions, the Government of India was unmoved and unconcerned about the protests of the farmers across the country, and had not taken any positive step to meet their demands, the Chief Minister said that “Instead, the statements and allegations of some of the leaders who are not familiar with the ground realities have aggravated the situation and have further anguished the farmers.”
Drawing the attention of the House to some of the most reprehensible statements of the BJP leaders, at the Centre and in Haryana, the Chief Minister said it was shameful that they were heading the governments at the national level and in the neighbouring states. Their statements raised the worries and apprehensions not only of the farmers and farm workers but also of our government as these do not augur well for our future, the Chief Minister strongly condemning the use of terms “anti-national and Khalistanis” against the farmers.
Taking strong exception to Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal’s allegation of the Punjab government trying to mislead farmers, the Chief Minister said there was no reason for his government to interfere in the farmers’ agitation as they had always been peaceful. The Punjab Government has always supported the farmers, and shall continue to protect their interests in all circumstances, he asserted. He also slammed Goyal on the latter’s totally baseless and malicious claim that Maoists and anti-national elements have hijacked the farmers’ protest, advising him not to provoke the peaceful farmers. In any case, if Goyal has any information on anti-nationals being part of the agitation, why does his government not take action against them.
Reacting sharply to BJP National Secretary Tarun Chugh’s allegation of misleading and deceptive narrative being created on the agricultural bills and causing misunderstanding to spread among the farmers, the Chief Minister asked why the Government of India, with all the powers at its disposal, has failed to create a narrative favourable to the farmers.
Referring to disgraceful remarks of Haryana Agriculture Minister JP Dalal that the farmers who lost their lives during the agitation would in any case have died in their respective homes, the Chief Minister said he had believed that the duty of the Agriculture Minister is to speak of farmers’ welfare and their well-being and not undermine their hard work and sacrifice. He demanded an unconditional apology from Dalal for his insensitive conduct, pointing out that a more than 200 farmers (including 125 from Punjab) had so far died during the agitation.
Terming Haryana Chief ML Khattar’s conduct “most regrettable”, Captain Amarinder said the Government of the neighbouring state had gone against the established norms of democratic functioning by using force against the agitators and also digging roads and putting barricades etc in their way. He also lashed out at Khattar’s claim on his government having “inputs” on presence of Khalistani separatists in the ongoing farmers’ agitation, and also that “the Punjab Chief Minister is fanning this protest and office bearers of the Punjab Chief Minister’s office are leading the protest”. If the Haryana Chief Minister has any firm information on separatist, why does he not give such information to his party’s government in Delhi, instead of defaming the Punjabi farmers, asked Captain Amarinder, adding that Punjab does not instigate agitations, but refuses to interfere in most peaceful agitation of farmers being carried on in a democratic manner.
The Chief Minister also lambasted other BJP leaders like Ashwani Sharma, Harjit Singh Grewal and Surjit Singh Jiyani for their shameful comments and statements on the farmers’ agitation, terming their behaviour as disgraceful.
Days after G23 meet in Jammu, Azad says Congress win in upcoming polls a priority
Days after leading the Congress’ ‘Shanti Sammelan’ in Jammu attended by senior party leaders, Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday said the party’s victory in forthcoming Assembly elections in four states and one Union Territory is his top priority at the moment.
“Victory of Congress party in forthcoming assembly elections is my priority at the moment,” he told ANI. Senior Congress leader Azad who recently retired from Rajya Sabha and has been advocating reforms in Congress including immediate internal elections.
He also said he is available wherever he is invited by candidates or the party for campaigning.
Azad is one of the key members of ‘G-23’ (or the group of 23 dissenting leaders, who had questioned the party’s functioning in a letter to interim president Sonia Gandhi) calling for sweeping reforms in the party.
Last week Ghulam Nabi Azad along with other senior leaders openly expressed displeasure with the current state of affairs within Congress.
Recently at another public event, Azad drew parallels between himself and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stating that the latter has not forgotten his roots and proudly calls himself a “chaiwala” as well as he does not hide his true self.
Following the statement, Congress party workers burnt his effigy and raised slogans against him in a protest in Jammu.
Many senior party leaders including Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president (JKPCC) Ghulam Ahmad Mir called the remark an “anti-party activity” and demanded clarification from him.
A total of 824 assembly constituencies will be going for polls in four states–Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam– and the Union Territory of Puducherry between March 28 and April 29. Results will be declared on May 2.
With ANI inputs
RHEA WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN PROCURING, FINANCING DRUGS: NCB IN SUSHANT SINGH CASE
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), which has been probing a drug angle in the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, on Friday filed a chargesheet before a special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) court.
The chargesheet has named 33 accused, including Rhea Chakraborty, and contains the statement of 200 witnesses. The hard copy contains over 12,000 pages and the digital format is around 30,000 pages.
As per a report by news agency IANS, the chargesheet mentions briefly the role of Sushant’s girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty for being instrumental in procuring and financing the drugs.
A senior NCB official related to the probe wishing anonymity told IANS: “There have been instances in which the role of Rhea has been mentioned briefly in the charge sheet filed by the NCB in a court here.”
“Rhea was instrumental in procuring and financing drugs,” the official said, adding that Rhea’s financial transactions have been corroborated in the case.
The official pointed out that the cash transactions of Rhea and then digital transfers have been mentioned in the chargesheet corroborating the use of the money for procuring and financing drugs.
The first arrest by the agency was made in September; NCB had six months’ time to file the chargesheet. The case was registered in August after the Enforcement Directorate shared private WhatsApp chats sourcing drugs between Rhea Chakraborty, her brother Showik Chakraborty and some of Sushant Singh Rajput’s staff.
Rhea, Showik and Sushant’s staff, Samuel Miranda, Deepesh Sawant are out on bail, the agency arrested over 30 people in connection with the case.
The agency conducted raids in several locations of Maharashtra and claimed to have busted some rackets actively operating in the city and allegedly inside Bollywood in the last six months.
The agency recorded statements of actors Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, Rakul Preet, Shraddha Kapoor, Arjun Rampal among others.
Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik’s son-in-law Sameer Khan was also arrested in January. The NCB arrested film director Rishikesh Pawar who was a friend of Sushant Singh Rajput in February. Kshitij Ravi Prasad, who was previously associated with Dharma Production.
All the statements by the agency have been submitted to the court which will be verified and then the accused will have to appear in the court.
Sushant was found dead on 14 June 2020 after which many investigations were carried out and later the Narcotics Control Bureau started its probe into the drug angle from August 2020.
With ANI inputs
SNUBBED BY OPEC, INDIA LOOKS AT EXCISE ROUTE TO REDUCE FUEL PRICES
Sources say that the duty cut may be as high as Rs 8 per litre on petrol and diesel so that consumers are provided immediate relief.
International oil prices rose after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) ignored India’s plea to ease production control. However, the government may surprise consumers with a sharp cut in excise duty on petrol and diesel to tame the rising prices of auto fuels in India.
Sources privy to the development said that the duty cut may be as high as Rs 8 per litre on the two fuels so that consumers are provided immediate relief.
“The revenue projection from the oil sector for FY22 gives the government room to cut excise duty on petrol and diesel sharply to provide immediate relief to consumers. This is being examined and a call may be taken soon,” a government official was quoted as saying by news agency IANS.
Brent crude, the most widely used benchmark, on Friday rose nearly 1% to $67.44 a barrel after the OPEC+ agreed not to increase supplies in April awaiting more substantial recovery in demand.
Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had in the run-up to Thursday’s OPEC meeting urged the producers’ group to ease production curbs to fulfil their promise of stable oil prices, citing that rising international oil prices were hurting economic recovery and demand. Earlier this week, Pradhan had said that India, where fuel demand is recovering to pre-pandemic levels, wants reasonable and responsible oil prices.
India is the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer, importing about 85% of its oil needs, and local retail rates in the country are benchmarked to international prices. India had supported the decision of OPEC+ to cut production last year in view of the oil demand collapsing due to the spread of Covid-19.
“At that point in time, the producers, especially OPEC, had assured the global market that by the beginning of 2021, demand will be coming back and production will be as usual. But I am sorry to say the production is yet to be normal,” he said. “If you do not supply properly, if there is a gap in demand and supply artificially (created), there is a price rise.”
The average price of crude oil India imports was less than $50 per barrel between April and December 2020 and comparable to the 2019-20 average rate of $60.47 in months thereafter. However, retail petrol and diesel prices are at historic highs now as the government has so far not rolled back the taxes it levied when prices plummeted almost a year back, and would rise further if the oil companies decide to pass on the surge in international oil prices to consumers.
Suvendu Adhikari on Mamata’s decision to contest from Nandigram: ‘Will see you on battlefield’
Midnapore (West Bengal) [India], March 6 (ANI): BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari on Friday dubbed West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee as an “outsider” after she announced her decision to contest from Nandigram in the upcoming Assembly election in the state.
Adhikari, who was a trusted aide of Banerjee had switched from the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) to join the BJP late last year, is an MLA from Nandigram.
“Honourable chief minister will contest from Nandigram as per the candidate list. Very good, it is welcomed,” Adhikari said during a rally in Midnapore yesterday.
He also asked the people of Nandigram to raise their voices. “We want the son of Midnapore, not outsiders. We will see you on the battlefield. On 2nd May, you will lose and leave,” he said. Nandigram falls under the East Midnapore district.
The chief minister has often lashed out at the BJP terming it as an “outsider” party in the state.
On Friday, Mamata released the list of 291 TMC candidates for the elections and said she will contest from Nandigram instead of Bhawanipore, her current constituency, where she has been the sitting MLA since 2011.
“We are the first political party to announce the candidate list. Today, we are releasing a list of 291 candidates, which includes 50 women, 79 SCs, 17 STs and 42 Muslim candidates. On three seats of north Bengal, we are not putting up our candidates. In three seats — Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong — Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) will contest the elections and whoever wins will support us,” she said.
The TMC chief said the party was not able to provide seats to many because they have to bring new candidates forward.
West Bengal Assembly elections will be held in eight phases starting from March 27 with the final round of voting on April 29. The counting of votes in the state will take place on May 2. (ANI)
Opinion5 months ago
South Block’s mistakes will now be corrected by Army
Sports8 months ago
When a bodybuilder breaks Shoaib’s record
News10 months ago
PM Modi must take governance back from babus
News8 months ago
Chinese general ordered attack on Indian troops: US intel report
Sports8 months ago
West Indies avoid follow-on, England increase lead to 219
News7 months ago
Things don’t add up in Sushant’s suicide: Swamy
Defence8 months ago
GALWAN: CHINA’S INFORMATION WAR
Defence6 months ago
Sino-Indian logjam: Facts, risks, options and the sum of all fears