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Preeti Sompura



Arnab Goswami
Arnab Goswami

Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly abetting the suicide of 53-year-old interior designer, Anvay Naik, in 2018, and sent to a judicial custody for two weeks. This comes after investigations were reopened for the two-year-old case recently.

The manner in which the anchor was arrested was criticised by many, including several Union ministers who called it a reminder of the “Emergency era” when the Indira Gandhi government had unleashed a crackdown on the press.

A team of Alibaug police picked up Goswami from his Lower Parel house in Wednesday morning, arresting him under Sections 306 (abetment of suicide) and 34 (acts done by persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. “This (arrest) pertains to the 2018 case of a man and his mother committing suicide. We have evidence (against Goswami),” a police official said.

The late interior designer, Anvay Naik, had reportedly named Goswami and two others, Feroz Shaikh and Nitesh Sarda, in a suicide note, accusing Republic TV of not paying him his dues after he designed the channel’s set-up. According to the note, Goswami owed him Rs 83 lakh for a Bom-

bay Dyeing studio project, Shaikh owed Rs 4 crore for the Laxmi 3rd and 4th floor Idea Square project in Andheri, and Sarda owed him Rs 55 lakh for Magarpatta and Baner projects. Shaikh and Sharda were also arrested.

After his arrest, Goswami was produced before a magistrate court in Alibaug where he complained of physical assault at the hands of the police team that had come to his house. Goswami›s lawyer, Gaurav Parkar, also alleged injuries caused to the Republic TV journalist. The court directed the police to take him to the civil hospital for medical check-up.

A fresh FIR against Goswami, his wife, his son and two others was also registered at N.M. Joshi Marg Police Station by Raigad police officials. According to the FIR, the five accused obstructed police officials while they were serving their duty. The FIR noted that they misbehaved with the Raigad police and even pushed and manhandled them. A case has been registered under Section 353 of the IPC.

Reacting sharply to the arrest, Union Home Minister Amit Shah called it a “blatant misuse of state power”. “Congress and its allies have shamed democracy once again. Blatant misuse of state power against Republic TV and Arnab Goswami is an attack on individual freedom and the 4th pillar of democracy. It reminds us of the Emergency. This attack on free press must be and WILL BE OPPOSED,” he tweeted.

Likewise, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar saw “shades of the Emergency” in the police action. “The arrest of Arnab Goswami is an attack on the freedom of press. Those who really believe in this freedom must speak up!”

“We condemn the attack on press freedom in Maharashtra. This is not the way to treat the Press. This reminds us of the emergency days when the press was treated like this,” said Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar.

Several media bodies and editors also condemned the arrest.

The Editors› Guild of India expressed shock at the incident, saying: “We condemn the sudden arrest and find it extremely distressing. The guild calls upon Maharashtra to ensure that Goswami is treated fairly and state power is not used against critical reporting by the media.”

The News Broadcasters Federation (NBF), the largest federation of news channels in India, too expressed its anguish over the arrest of Goswami. It called upon the Government of India and the Maharashtra government to follow the due process of law and ensure fair treatment to Goswami.

“The early morning arrest of Arnab Goswami by the Mumbai police is shocking and is a direct attack on the fourth pillar of democracy. This is sheer disrespectful, fascist and anarchist action against the freedom of expression and the press in the history of the country,” said R. Jai Krishna, Secretary-General, News Broadcasters Federation. 

Kartikeya Sharma, founder of ITV Network and Vice President of NBF, too condemned the police move. “The sudden arrest of Arnab Goswami is condemnable. The entire media fraternity should come together to stand against such actions against freedom of the press,” he said.

Responding to the issue, however the Shiv Sena denied that the arrest was a vindictive move. “The law is followed in Maharashtra. Police can take action if they have evidence against anyone. Since the formation of the Uddhav Thackeray government, no action has been taken against anyone for revenge,” said senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut.

The Congress, a partner in the state›s ruling coalition, accused the BJP of “selective outrage”.

In May this year, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh announced a fresh probe into the case after a fresh complaint by Adnya Naik. Deshmukh said that Adnya had alleged that the investigation had been “suppressed only because of Arnab Goswami”.

The arrest comes in the wake of Goswami›s row with Mumbai Police over its investigations into an alleged TRP scam. The journalist had accused the police of harassing his colleagues and pursuing a vendetta over his channel’s criticism of Mumbai Police›s handling of the Sushant Singh Rajput case.

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Five more arrested, one more FIR registered in Army recruitment paper leak case




Pune (Maharashtra) [India], March 2 (ANI): Five more persons have been arrested and one more First Information Report (FIR) registered in connection with the army recruitment paper leak case, said an official statement on Monday.
Earlier, three persons including two ex-army personnel were arrested for allegedly running an Army recruitment racket in Pune district.
The accused have been identified as Kishore Giri, Bharat, Yogesh Goswai and Madhav Gite.
In a joint operation, officials of Military Intelligence of Indian Army and Crime branch unit of Pune city police have arrested five more people and registered one more FIR in connection with the army recruitment paper leak case.
So far eight accused have been arrested in the paper leak case and two different FIRs have been registered with Pune city police. Officials suspect the involvement of more accused in this case and are likely to make more arrests in the matter. Earlier the Army had announced postponement of the exam after this leak.
According to a complaint received by the police, the accused were about to leak the exam papers of the Indian Army recruitment exam being held in Pune on February 28.
The police said that the accused had promised recruitment in the Army to those appearing for exams and had asked them to pay Rs 2 lakhs to Rs 3 lakhs for leaked paper.
A case has been registered against all the accused under relevant sections and further investigation is underway. (ANI)

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Covid vaccination is a message to the countrymen that it is safe for all and rumours against the Covid vaccine are baseless, Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti and Social Justice and Empowerment Rattan Lal Kataria said on Monday.

Addressing a press conference here on the ongoing Covid vaccination drive, Kataria said vaccination at Private Hospital has been capped at Rs 250 per person per dose.

“The beginning of Covid-19 vaccination, the elderly, aged 60 plus and 45 plus with co-morbidities, are all set to enter a decisive phase in the fight against virus,” he said.

“The state has also allowed all Private Hospitals empanelled under State Government Health Insurance Scheme to promote as CVCs along with using health facilities of all PSUs and all Government health facilities as CVCs. Vaccination at Private Hospitals are capped at Rs. 250 per person per dose,” he added.

Further the minister said, Haryana will use around 10,000 hospitals under Ayushman Bharat PMJAY and 687 Hospitals under CGHS as Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs).

Meanwhile he informed that the Budget outlay for Health Sector has been increased to Rs. 2,23,846 crores in FY 2021-22 from Rs. 94,452 in FY 2020-21, with an increase of 137%. An Amount of Rs. 35,000 crore has been announced to manufacture and make accessible the Covid-19 vaccine.

He said that a new centrally sponsored scheme, “PM Aatma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojna” has been announced with an outlay of Rs. 64,180 crore over six years. This will be in addition to the National Health Mission. In this scheme, setting up of integrated public health labs in all districts and 3,382 block public health units in 11 states has been done.

Talking about the PM’s dream project ‘Nal Se Jal’, he said the government is committed to provide tap water to 19.5 crore households till 2024. As many as 2 lakh households are being connected with tap water every day.

The Minister also informed about the new programme ‘Cash the Rain- where it falls, when it falls’. He said that Haryana has planned to setup water conservation system in various schools, warehouses and other buildings to cash on the rainwater.

He informed that Haryana has been selected under Atal Bhujal Yojana, launched in December 2020. For this, the state has been provided an amount of Rs. 700 crore out of the total allocation of Rs. 6000 crores for the project.

He said that under the project there is a plan to revive the traditional resources of water conservation like Bawdis in Kalka, ponds at Morni Hills and wells at different places in the country to upgrade the groundwater level.

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Preeti Sompura



A Mumbai court on Monday issued a bailable warrant against actor Kangana Ranaut after she failed to appear before it in connection with a defamation complaint filed against her by lyricist Javed Akhtar. The Andheri metropolitan magistrate’s court issued summons to Ranaut on February 1, directing her to appear before it on March 1.

However, Ranaut failed to appear on Monday following which the court issued a bailable warrant against her. The court has posted the matter for further hearing on March 22. Last month, the police submitted a report saying that an offence of defamation was made out against the actor. Akhtar had filed the complaint against Ranaut for allegedly making baseless and false statements against him which according to him damaged his reputation.

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Modi regime looting poor to benefit his corporate friends: Sunil Jakhar



Slamming the Modi regime for deliberately letting the prices of essential commodities spiral, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President Sunil Jakhar on Monday said BJP has shamelessly exposed itself in its utter failure to govern the country on each front.

Modi dispensation is conspiring with and sponsoring this atrocious public loot to benefit his corporate friends, Jakhar said mincing no words while hitting out at central government for crushing the poor under the burden of ever high prices of LPG, Diesel and Petrol.

Leading a massive protest march here from MLA Hostel to gherao the Raj Bhawan to raise the voice of poor suffering under this vicious assault from BJP’s insane financial policies, senior Congressman said a party which had stolen votes of poor in the name of development has completely forsaken them now. Poor who were already reeling under the Covid stress now can’t make their ends meet while PM’s close corporate friends become richer each second by millions, Jakhar further said.

Forcibly stopped by Chandigarh Police outside the MLA Hostel here from marching ahead to gherao Raj Bhawan along with party MPs, MLAs, and senior members, Jakhar addressed the massive gathering lambasting centre for decimating small and medium businesses resulting in millions of job and livelihood losses across various sectors of economy.

Underscoring the fact that PM Manmohan Singh never let the prices of oil rise even when the crude oil became costly in the international market, Jakhar pointed out that despite the low crude prices internationally Modi government has not even ever passed on the benefit of low price to the public. Dr. Manmohan Singh Ji ensured that buying petrol and diesel remains within the reach of poor people by subsidizing it for masses when prices rose internationally, Jakhar pointed. Crude oil was selling at $147 per barrel in 2008 when Congress was running the government at Centre and while it is now available at around $60 a barrel Modi Ji is selling petrol and diesel at exorbitant prices to people, Jakhar pointed out.

Training his guns on both SAD and AAP for their negative politics, Jakhar said both these outfits now only exist as BJP spokespersons. Questioning their deafening silence over rise in prices under BJP misrule, Jakhar said both Akalis and AAP have lost the trust of people of Punjab forever.

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Srinagar: In a record time of 58 days, BRO has cleared heavy snow on Srinagar-Zojila road allowing the truck loads to pass with essential items to Kargil and Leh from Srinagar.

Srinagar-Leh highway used to remain closed for months together as the heavy snow covered the stretch from Sonamarg to Zojila Pass. In order to keep the supplies ready for the people and for the army especially in the backdrop of standoff with Chinese army in eastern Ladakh, BRO pressed a huge number of workers and machinery to clear the snow in record short time. Border Roads Organization (BRO) spokesman told the media in Sonamarg that the highway is officially open for the traffic and initially they will allow all the truck loads of essential items to pass through Zojila into the union territory of Ladakh.

DG of BRO Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhary officially opened Srinagar-Leh highway and appreciated engineers and all the workers for making it happen while on the day of opening there was fresh snowfall on the Zojila Pass.

The Union government has not only started massive works in the villages of Ladakh but they have also started the work on the Zojila tunnel in order to make this Srinagar-Leh highway a fair weather road for all the seasons. In the past, Srinagar-Leh highway used to remain closed for more than six months and this is for the first time that BRO has cleared the road within 58 days despite the fact that Sonamarg-Zojila stretch witnessed a series of heavy snowfalls during the current winter. 

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Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury claims that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has used his vaccination to further the BJP’s poll agenda in election-bound states.



Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury stirred a controversy on Monday when he said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his Covid-19 vaccination to further his poll agenda in election-bound states.

Speaking to news agency ANI, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “In PM’s inoculation visuals, there was ‘gamcha’ from Assam, and nurses who vaccinated him were from Kerala and Puducherry. Coincidentally, there are elections in these states. It would have been 5 states had he also carried Rishi Aurobindo’s photo and Geetanjali.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the first jab of indigenous Covid-19 vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech Covaxin on Monday. Soon after receiving the first dose of the vaccine at AIIMS Delhi, he tweeted, “Took my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS.”

PM Modi was among the first to be inoculated as part of phase 2 of India’s Covid-19 immunisation drive, which will cover all people above the age of 60 and people above the age of 45 who have co-morbidities.

While AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria said that PM Modi’s move to get vaccinated will help cull vaccine hesitancy, the Congress leader from West Bengal see it as a political move and linked it with upcoming assembly polls in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry.

Hitting back at Chowdhury, BJP leader and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan termed his comments as ‘dirty politics on vaccine’. Talking to the media, Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, “Those doing politics on vaccine are not just accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi but also playing with the health of the people of the country. The country will never forgive such people.”

Chouhan hailed PM Modi for waiting his turn to get vaccinated, “unlike several other heads of the state” and claimed that if the government had not divided the immunisation drive into several phases and categories, political leaders would have been first to secure vaccines for themselves.

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad too urged the Opposition parties not to indulge in politics over vaccines and unite in the efforts against fighting Covid-19. “It is a matter of great assurance that today, when the turn of people above 60 years came, the Prime Minister in the most unassuming manner went to AIIMS at 7 am to take the vaccine and lead from the front. I want to tell the opposition parties that you will have enough opportunities to do politics in elections and otherwise, can we not unite in efforts against Corona?” Prasad said while speaking to ANI.

“Modi ji had clearly said that our Covid-19 warriors would be vaccinated first, and then us. To those who were questioning him, he has replied, “I was waiting for my turn”. We ministers have decided to avail of paid vaccination facility,” he added. “Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against Covid-19,” he added.

As India is helping its neighbouring countries and others amid the pandemic by providing Covid-19 vaccines, Prasad asserted that it is significant that the vaccine developed by India is being recognised, appreciated and sought by many countries and not just by our neighbours. He added that the vaccines are meant for all Indians, beyond political, regional, and ethnic divide.

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, however, was not alone in slamming PM Modi after his vaccination. TMC MP Santanu Sen pointed out that the PM was not wearing a mask while getting inoculated. “@narendramodi ji is getting #COVID19 vaccine, Publicity defeats Medical Science. Photograph is more important than Protocol. Mask will make the newly grown rabindrik beard invisible. Feeding peacock & getting vaccine… Not same. God save India. @MamataOfficial saves Bengal.”

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