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Former judges, police officers write to President, say unsubstantiated allegations being made about arrest Disha Ravi

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New Delhi [India], February 19 (ANI): A group of citizens comprising former judges and former senior police officers have written to President Ram Nath Kovind expressing concern over “unsubstantiated allegations being presented to the media as well the public in general through social media” with regard to arrest of climate activist Disha Ravi by Delhi Police in ‘toolkit’ case.
In a letter to the President, the signatories including former Chief justice of Sikkim High Court Justice Permod Kohli and former Karnataka DGP Raghavendra Auradkar said the central government should ensure that Delhi Police is able to do its investigation in a free and fair manner without any undue pressure from vested interests and “to bring to book all those rogue elements who have allowed themselves to be used by secessionist forces in India and abroad, trying to spread anarchy and provide intellectual cover to anti-national forces to serve their own selfish ends”.
Referring to Disha Ravi, they said she has been arrested “for being a member of a group of conspirators that prepared a toolkit that contains a document, meant for circulation among a few people to guide them on…to defame India in the international forum and incite anti-social and anti-national acts by using some farmer groups protesting on the outskirts of Delhi”.
They strongly denounced “the narrative being created by some individuals and organisations against national interests” and stressed that it is the onerous duty of every citizen to unite against the forces of disruption and protect the sovereignty and integrity of India.
The signatories said a democratically-elected government has constitutionally passed the farm laws and is conscious about its duty towards the people of India.
“Few immature individuals with vested interests are making attempts to magnify the legal action by the police to hide their anti-national activities by making such baseless allegations and indulging in slander against the Delhi police to demoralise them,” they said.
“Information available on open sources clearly establishes that the toolkit document contains the list of persons or groups to be followed having linkages with ISI and Khalistani groups,” the signatories said, adding that the petitioners also noted that a few Indian citizens had actively engaged with banned elements and organisations who planned and organised protests outside Indian embassies, High Commissions and Consul-General offices abroad.
“Such actions to instigate protests against Indian embassies and thereby building international pressure against India’s farm laws need to be condemned as these are highly objectionable that is normally not undertaken by people of ordinary prudence,” they said.
The letter said it has now been well established that “the so-called environmental activist has been conspiring with banned anti-national elements and persons who were acting in a manner which would adversely affect the friendly relations with foreign countries and create unrest affecting the public order in our country”.
Disha has been sent to three days in judicial custody by a Delhi court on Friday in connection with the ‘toolkit’ case on the farmers’ protest.
She was produced before Patiala House Court by the Special Cell of Delhi Police, as her five-day police custody ended today.
Disha was arrested from Bengaluru on February 13.
The police had earlier registered an FIR against unidentified persons in connection with the creators of the ‘toolkit’. (ANI)

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Due process of law will be followed against SOP violators: Army on recruitment exam paper leak

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Pune (Maharashtra) [India], March 4 (ANI): On the recent case of leakage of question paper for Common Entrance Examination for recruitment of soldiers, the Indian Army on Thursday said that due process of law will be followed against persons who may have violated the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the conduct of such examinations.
“In pursuance of Indian Army’s resolve to ensure transparency and eliminate corrupt
practices in recruitment, Indian Army and Maharashtra State Police are jointly
investigating the recent case of leakage of question paper for Common Entrance
Examination for recruitment of Soldiers (General Duty),” read a statement from the Indian Army.
“The results of the inquiry will be incorporated into the existing system of the recruitment process to make it more foolproof and robust. Due process of law will be followed to proceed against persons who may have violated the standard operating procedures for the conduct of such examinations,” the Army said.
Seven people including two serving defence personnel, a defence civilian and two ex-Army personnel were arrested in an Army recruitment exam paper leak case on Tuesday.
The Army relations recruitment exam scheduled for February 28 was cancelled by the Indian Army after the alleged paper leak. So far city police officials have registered two different FIRs against 10 persons and have arrested seven accused.
“The exam was scheduled at 40 centres across the country and more than 30,000 students were supposed to take it. Two teams were formed to investigate the matter immediately after we received information about a possible paper leak on February 26,” said Dr Ravindra Shisve, joint commissioner of Pune city police.
“The people arrested have been taken into custody including some retired army personnel and some of them are running pre-military training centres. We are investigating how the paper reached these people and who else was involved,” he added. (ANI)

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2 new Kendriya Vidyalayas added, total number increases to 1247

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New Delhi [India], March 4 (ANI): The Union Education Ministry on Thursday announced the opening of two new Kendriya Vidyalayas — one in Karnataka’s Belgavi and the other in Punjab’s Ropar. With this addition, the total number of KVs reached 1247, informed the Union Education Minister Ramesh ‘Nishank’ Pokhriyal.
“Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan has added two new Kendriya Vidyalayas in its list making the total number 1247 in the list. One Kendriya Vidyalaya is launched at IIT Ropar, Punjab and another one in Belgavi, Karnataka,” tweeted the Union Education Minister.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Education, KV Sadalaga in Karnataka’s Belagavi district and KV IIT Ropar in Punjab will be the two new additions to the family of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan.
“With this, the total number of KVs across the Country will raise to 1,247,” the statement read.
“Initially, these two KVs will function with classes 1 to 5 and thereafter grow consequentially up to class 12. When these Vidyalayas start functioning in full capacity, around 1000 students of the area will be benefited from each school. The Admission process in both the Vidyalayas will start in the academic session 2021-22,” the ministry said.
KV Sadalaga is a ‘Civil sector Vidyalaya’ and will start functioning in the building provided by the state government till the construction of the new building.
KV IIT Ropar will start functioning in its own building provided by the institute.
KV Sadalaga is in the Chikkodi Parliamentary constituency (district Belagavi) of Karnataka, while KV IIT Ropar is in Anandpur Sahib Parliamentary Constituency (district Roopnagar) of Punjab.
From 20 schools in the year of establishment in 1963, KVS now has 1,247 schools in the year 2020-21 including 3 KVs abroad- Moscow, Kathmandu, Tehran. The total enrolment of students as on date is 13,93,668. (ANI)

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Punjab cabinet approves restructuring of 4 departments to create employment opportunities

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Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], March 4 (ANI): Punjab Cabinet on Thursday approved the restructuring of four more departments, including the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), to create more employment opportunities in place of archaic, non-essential and long-vacant posts.
“Besides PPCB, the departments that will be restructured in this phase are Governance Reforms, Environment and Climate Change, and Employment Generation, Skill Development and Training,” said the official spokesperson of the government after the virtual Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

To incentivise Class 10th students of government schools, the Punjab government has also decided to increase the Hargobind Khurana Scholarship amount from Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 per month.
“The scheme, being implemented by the School Education department since August 1, 2013, will also now be amended to promote brilliance among students by making it applicable to those obtaining 90 per cent marks or above instead of the earlier ceiling of 80 per cent. Students studying in Adarsh Schools run by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) would be paid the scholarship amount by the Board out of its own funds,” the spokesperson said.
In another decision, the Cabinet cleared the presentation of Supplementary Demands for Grants for the year 2020-21 along with CAG audit reports for the year 2018-19, in the ongoing budget session of the Vidhan Sabha.
It also approved the tabling of Finance Accounts and Appropriation Accounts for the year ended March 31, 2019, in the House.
The Cabinet also approved the Annual Administrative Reports of Town and Country Planning department for the years 2017-2018 and 2018-19. (ANI)

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Muraleedharan clarifies BJP has not yet decided to name Sreedharan as CM candidate for Kerala polls

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New Delhi [India], March 4 (ANI): Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Thursday clarified that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not yet decided to nominate former Delhi Metro chief E Sreedharan, popularly known as ‘Metroman’, as the Chief Minister candidate of the party for the upcoming Kerala Assembly polls.
Speaking to ANI, Muraleedharan said: “There were some statements that E Sreedharan will be CM candidate in Kerala. I heard media reports that the party has announced him as the CM candidate.
“After I talked to the party president he said that he hasn’t made any statement and he was only referring to some issue in Kerala, So it should not be considered as an announcement, I m clarifying it,” he added.
Earlier today, Muraleedharan told ANI that Sreedharan would become the Chief Ministerial candidate for the upcoming Kerala Assembly elections.
“BJP will fight Kerala polls with E Sreedharan Ji as its chief ministerial candidate. We will defeat both CPIM and Congress to provide a corruption-free, development-oriented Governance for the people of Kerala,” he tweeted.
“Kerala BJP under the able leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji will strive to take care of the needs of the people of Kerala. The New Kerala under E Sreedharan Ji will pave the way for an efficient & effective Govt in the state.” he added
Prior to that, Kerala BJP chief K Surendran had said that the face of the state can be changed if Sreedharan is made the CM of the state.
“If Metroman becomes the chief minister, the face of Kerala can be changed,” Surendran told ANI.
Former Delhi Metro chief E Sreedharan formally joined BJP in Malappuram on February 25 in presence of Union Minister RK Singh. He joined the party during BJP’s ongoing Vijaya Yatra led by Kerala BJP Chief K Surendran.
On February 18, Sreedharan announced that he will join the BJP. “If BJP comes to power in Kerala, I am ready to become the chief minister. The party has not asked me till now as it is too premature. But if BJP asks me, I am willing to take up the post and show how a state can be run efficiently like we are running DMRC,” Sreedharan had told ANI earlier.
The election for 140-member Kerala Assembly will be held on April 6, the Election Commission of India (ECI) had announced. (ANI)

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In a first, COVID-19 vaccine storage freezer, powered by hybrid renewable energy launched in Hyderabad

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Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], March 4 (ANI): In a first-of-its-kind initiative, a COVID-19 vaccine storage chiller and freezer that runs on the hybrid renewable energy source of both wind and solar energy was launched in Hyderabad on Thursday.
Rockwell Industries Ltd, a commercial cold chain appliances manufacture, Thursday launched its new product called ‘Chillermill’ here. The product is both a freezer and chiller useful to store COVID-19 vaccine at the required temperatures.
Speaking to ANI at the launch of the product, Prateek Gupta, Director of Rockwell Industries Ltd said, “The vaccine storage chiller and freezer called ‘Chillermill’ is the first of its kind as it runs on hybrid renewable energy, which takes its source from solar as well as wind. This chiller/freezer gets its required power from the renewable energy source.”
Prateek Gupta added, “The ‘Chillermill’ fits the Covid-19 vaccine temperature requirements. This chiller/freezer can provide a temperature setting upto -20°C. This has been approved by the World Health Organisation. Some vaccines need temperatures to be between 2°C to 8°C while some other need temperatures to be at -20°C.”
Ashok Gupta, the Managing Director of Rockwell Industries Ltd said, “Till date, Rockwell has been able to offer its services into various segments like beverages, dairies and mostly ice-creams. But now we have decided to enter the medicine segment. We have developed a Cold chain supply system for the vaccines to be delivered and stored at the right temperatures called ‘Chillermill’, which is both a freezer and a chiller.”
He said that the major difference between other freezers and ‘Chillermill’ is that the latter runs on hybrid renewable energy which means it can run on both wind and solar energy. “The cost varies from Rs 40,000 to Rs 1 Lakh plus the energy source,” Ashok Gupta said.
“We are also planning to partner with the government to provide these freezers to the hospitals and health care units of rural areas, where there is a need for such machines. Though these machines are a bit costly, the government has developed a scheme. Under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds expenditure, these machines can be purchased and donated to the hospitals when needed,” he added.(ANI)

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Mumbai: IT raids at 28 premises of actress, 2 production houses, 2 talent firms

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 4 (ANI): The Income Tax (IT) Department is carrying out search and survey operations, which started on March 3 on two leading film production companies, a leading actress and two talent management companies in Mumbai.
According to an official statement, the search operation is being carried out at Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Hyderabad.
“The group is mainly engaged in the business of production of motion pictures, web series, acting, direction and talent management of celebrities and other artists. A total of 28 premises are being covered in different locations, which include residences and offices,” said the IT department.
It added that during the search, evidence of huge suppression of income by the leading film production house compared to the actual box office collections has been unearthed.
“The company officials have not been able to explain the discrepancy of around Rs 300 crore,” it said.
The statement said evidence related to manipulation and under-valuation of share transactions of the production house amongst the film directors and shareholders, having tax implications of about Rs 350 crore has been found and is being further investigated.
“Evidence of cash receipts by the leading actress amounting to Rs 5 crore has been recovered. Further investigation is going on,” it said.
Apart from this, IT department also found non-genuine or bogus expenditure to related concerns by the leading producers/director having tax implication of about Rs 20 crore has been detected. “Similar findings have been made in the case of the leading actress also,” it said.
At the office premises of the two talent management companies, the investigating agency said a huge amount of digital data has been seized in the form of emails, WhatsApp chats, hard disks, which are under investigation.
“During the search, seven bank lockers have been found which have been placed under restraint. Search is continuing in all the premises,” it added further.
Earlier on March 3, high-placed sourced told ANI that Income Tax Department started conducting raids at the properties of film director Anurag Kashyap, film producer Vikas Bahl and actor Taapsee Pannu in Mumbai. (ANI)

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