Investigating officer appointed, status report filed in BHEL woman official suicide case: Telangana govt to SC - The Daily Guardian
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Investigating officer appointed, status report filed in BHEL woman official suicide case: Telangana govt to SC

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New Delhi [India], February 10 (ANI): The Telangana government on Wednesday submitted to the Supreme Court that a senior officer has been appointed as investigating officer and a status report has been submitted to it on February 7 in the BHEL woman official suicide case.
The petition was filed by the mother of the BHEL sexually harassed victim, who allegedly committed suicide later, seeking a CBI investigation in the case.
“A senior officer has been appointed as an Investigating Officer, in terms of Court’s previous order and a status report has been submitted on February 7,” the Telangana government submitted to the top court bench, headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar.
The apex court also allowed the prayer of the Telangana government, which sought some more time to complete the investigation in the case, and adjourned the matter for four weeks.
The Supreme Court had earlier directed the Telangana government to immediately entrust some senior official to further investigate the matter pertaining to the BHEL sexual harassment victim case and had deferred the hearing for four weeks.
The mother of the victim, who was working as a finance officer in the BHEL, had moved the apex court through her lawyer, Alakh Alok Srivastava, seeking a CBI inquiry into the death of her daughter.
The victim had allegedly committed suicide due to repeated sexual harassment at her workplace at the BHEL Hyderabad office, the mother claimed in her petition.
The mother of the victim had filed the writ petition before the top court on July 5, 2020.
She sought a direction to urgently transfer the criminal investigation in the case to the CBI from Telangana police.
Srivastava, in the petition, stated that the petitioner’s deceased daughter was a bright, young, and intelligent finance professional, having other qualifications.
She had joined BHEL in 2009, at the young age of 23 years, and served BHEL till her last breath (till October 17, 2019), with utmost dedication and devotion to her duties. There was not even an iota of complaint against her work or against her mental behaviour during her long association with the BHEL, read the petition.
She was sexually harassed, molested, stalked, mentally tortured, and attempted to be raped by her own supervisor and by her own office colleagues at BHEL, Hyderabad, which forced her to ultimately commit suicide on October 17, 2019, at the young age of merely 33, the petition claimed.
The suicide note of the deceased and her last telephonic conversation with her sister, categorically established that her own supervisor and office colleagues subjected her to an extreme level of sexual, physical, and mental harassment and attempted to rape her, due to which she was forced to commit suicide, the petition claimed.
The petition claimed that the deceased daughter of the petitioner categorically stated that attempt to rape and repeated sexual harassment by the main accused, Arther Kishore Kumar, and other co-accused persons, had prompted her to commit suicide.
However, despite this, the Telangana police has not yet arrested the main accused, or any other accused persons and has not conducted their custodial interrogation, it said.
To their surprise, on the contrary, the Telangana police had illegally given a clean chit to the accused persons, in their latest report of June 2, 2020, filed before the National Commission of Women (NCW), the petition claimed and sought a CBI inquiry into the entire case to unravel the truth. (ANI)

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High drama at Tirupati airport, Naidu detained and sent back

Lokeswara Rao

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As a large number of cops arrived at the Renigunta airport and arrested TDP leaders, tension mounted amid rising political temperatures in Chittoor district. Police also blocked former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s visit to Tirupati. Naidu was prevented from coming out of the airport. Police also served notices to the TDP chief, saying that there was no permission for his visit because of the coronavirus guidelines and election code in force. They also pointed out that Naidu›s tour would have a debilitating impact on the municipal election process in the town.

Along with this, the police placed TDP leaders across the district under house arrest.

Due to the blockade, Naidu staged a sit-in at the Tirupati airport after police denied him permission to hold protest rallies at Chittoor district headquarters. After a request from the district administration, Naidu came back to Hyderabad from the airport itself. He had planned to protest in Tirupati against the alleged high handedness of YSRCP in urban body elections across Andhra Pradesh.

Tirupati Urban SP Venkata Appalanaidu said that the TDP chief was not allowed to visit Chittoor and hold protests as the election code was in force. Speaking at a press conference, the SP said that Naidu, who reached Renigunta this morning as part of a visit to Chittoor, was stopped at the airport by the police. “Despite the TDP leaders being given notices last night, they went on to hold protests,» the SP said. Permission from the Election Commission and the police is required for such activities. “Since the area where the TDP wanted to protest is a crucial area in Tirupati, permission was not granted to avoid clashes,” the SP said.

On the other hand, TDP state president K. Atchannaidu expressed his ire over the development. Speaking in Visakhapatnam, he wondered when the ruling party MPs are moving all over the state in an unrestrained manner, how come the government machinery could not find Covid-19 or State Election Commission norms then.

Calling out Chandrababu Naidu for his alleged “theatrics” at the Renigunta airport on Monday, state minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy played down the whole episode by saying that it was a mere PR stunt orchestrated by Naidu to gain relevance following the dismal performance of the yellow outfit in the recently concluded panchayat elections. He said: “He knew that permission was not given due to Covid restrictions; the dharna potentially causing inconvenience to the citizens, as the MCC is in place due to the municipal polls. Despite that, he decided to travel. This is only to run a propaganda against the government using certain media outlets controlled by him. Why would he travel, knowing that permission wasn’t given? This shows that it was merely a PR stunt.”

Earlier in the day, Superintendent of Police for Chittoor S. Senthil Kumar also addressed the media to set the record straight, amid many allegedly false claims being made by TDP leaders, with an intention to mislead the people of the state. He said, “The district police denied permission due to the following circumstances. The party was planning to gather 5,040 supporters. This violates all Covid regulations. Secondly, these many people gathering in the city would cause a lot of inconvenience to the citizens. Therefore, TDP was asked to look for another protest site outside the city which they refused to do. Thirdly, the MCC is in place due to the municipal elections and a protest of this nature violates the same. The police have no objection if the party obtains permission from the SEC. Despite laying out the following reasons, the TDP chief and his party intentionally did what they did. Hence, the detention.”

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No glitches, corona vaccine registration only on Co-WIN portal, Arogya Setu: Govt

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Dispelling rumours of a glitch in the Co-WIN platform, the Union Health Ministry on Monday clarified that the Co-WIN app is “only for administrators” and that people who want to book an appointment for Covid-19 vaccination should visit the Co-WIN website instead.

Empowered Group on Vaccine Administration chairman R.S. Sharma said that the confusion was created by spreading misinformation that vaccination registration is being done through the mobile application.

The Co-WIN platform has been created to track the delivery, distribution and utilisation of the Covid-19 vaccine in real time.

Speaking to ANI, Sharma said, “There has been no glitch right from the start. What happened was that some people spread misinformation that there is a Co-WIN app. So, people started searching for the app which is not ours. That is why there was some confusion among the people. After clarifying there is no Co-WIN app, we have given an extension in Aarogya Setu app for registration and provided a portal ‘cowin.gov.in’.”

Reassuring that the Co-WIN portal is functioning without any issues, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “There are many people in the country who can’t access or face difficulties in booking. All these systems will be streamlined within one week. As of now, there is no issue with the Co-WIN portal.”

The second phase of the nationwide vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease started on Monday. This phase is directed at senior citizens and people over the age of 45 with co-morbidities. Since morning, 17 lakh people had registered on the Co-WIN portal to receive the vaccine.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine on Monday too. He visited the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) early in the morning to take his first dose and appeal to everyone eligible to get themselves inoculated.

RS Sharma also hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for receiving the jab, adding that this will send a strong message and reduce vaccine hesitancy among people. “Vaccine hesitancy is a social perspective. But today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the jab on the first day itself is a big message and people will be encouraged for taking the vaccine. Gradually, it will end the vaccine hesitancy,” he said.

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik also received their shots.

The Empowered Group chairman further said, “We have given the instruction to all, whether private or public, that as soon as a vaccination is completed, a certificate must be given to the person on the spot. That certificate will also be made available digitally as well on Aarogya Setu.”

Dispelling rumours of a glitch in the Co-WIN platform, the Union Health Ministry on Monday clarified that the Co-WIN app is “only for administrators” and that people who want to book an appointment for Covid-19 vaccination should visit the Co-WIN website instead.

Empowered Group on Vaccine Administration chairman R.S. Sharma said that the confusion was created by spreading misinformation that vaccination registration is being done through the mobile application.

The Co-WIN platform has been created to track the delivery, distribution and utilisation of the Covid-19 vaccine in real time.

Speaking to ANI, Sharma said, “There has been no glitch right from the start. What happened was that some people spread misinformation that there is a Co-WIN app. So, people started searching for the app which is not ours. That is why there was some confusion among the people. After clarifying there is no Co-WIN app, we have given an extension in Aarogya Setu app for registration and provided a portal ‘cowin.gov.in’.”

Reassuring that the Co-WIN portal is functioning without any issues, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “There are many people in the country who can’t access or face difficulties in booking. All these systems will be streamlined within one week. As of now, there is no issue with the Co-WIN portal.”

The second phase of the nationwide vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease started on Monday. This phase is directed at senior citizens and people over the age of 45 with co-morbidities. Since morning, 17 lakh people had registered on the Co-WIN portal to receive the vaccine.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine on Monday too. He visited the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) early in the morning to take his first dose and appeal to everyone eligible to get themselves inoculated.

RS Sharma also hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for receiving the jab, adding that this will send a strong message and reduce vaccine hesitancy among people. “Vaccine hesitancy is a social perspective. But today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the jab on the first day itself is a big message and people will be encouraged for taking the vaccine. Gradually, it will end the vaccine hesitancy,” he said.

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik also received their shots.

The Empowered Group chairman further said, “We have given the instruction to all, whether private or public, that as soon as a vaccination is completed, a certificate must be given to the person on the spot. That certificate will also be made available digitally as well on Aarogya Setu.”

“They can download the link and get it printed as well. This will be a digitally signed certificate. After every vaccination, a certificate will be issued. After first vaccination, a provisional certificate will be provided and a final certificate will be issued after the second dose,” he added.

Those who could not attend the scheduled vaccination drive can reschedule, cancel, or take a reappointment for the same.

Meanwhile Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan pointed out that in the next few days the “walk-in system” for people will be further streamlined in states to ensure smooth functioning. “We have given some relaxation to state governments. In the next few days, the walk-in system will be streamlined, a provision is in place for this. A certain number of people can go to the centres after taking appointments through booking,” he said.

Citizens can register for vaccination using the Co-WIN portal with their mobile number. Features for adding beneficiaries, editing details and booking appointment(s) will be available in the citizen’s account. The records would be locked and will not be valid for editing/deleting details once the person gets vaccinated. Documents like Aadhaar card, electoral photo identity card, passport, driving license, PAN card, NPR smart card or pension document with a photograph can be used for online registration.

Sharma also said that digital and paperless authentication is possible only through the Aadhaar Card. If a person brings Aadhaar, he or she does not need to bring a hard copy of documents. In case of driving license, passport and other ID proofs, a photograph of the document will be taken along with a photo of the person.

Responding to questions about data privacy and safety, he said, “Data privacy is also important for us and it is a fundamental right. We are just asking for name, gender and age related data. It is not extremely sensitive data. This is important for us so that a person who gets a particular vaccine should get the same vaccine in the second dose as well. Whatever data we have is safe.”

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Chinese hackers target India’s Covid vaccine makers: Report

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A Chinese state-backed hacking group has in recent weeks targeted the IT systems of two Indian vaccine makers—Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India (SII)—whose coronavirus shots are being used in the country’s immunisation campaign, cyber intelligence firm Cyfirma told news agency Reuters.

China and India have both sold or gifted Covid-19 shots to many countries. India produces more than 60 per cent of all vaccines sold in the world.

Goldman Sachs-backed Cyfirma, based in Singapore and Tokyo, said Chinese hacking group APT10, also known as Stone Panda, had identified gaps and vulnerabilities in the IT infrastructure and supply chain software of Bharat Biotech and SII, the world’s largest vaccine maker.

“The real motivation here is actually exfiltrating intellectual property and getting competitive advantage over Indian pharmaceutical companies,” said Cyfirma Chief Executive Kumar Ritesh, formerly a top cyber official with British foreign intelligence agency MI6.

He said APT10 was actively targeting SII, which is making the AstraZeneca vaccine for many countries and will soon start bulk-manufacturing Novavax shots.

“In the case of Serum Institute, they have found a number of their public servers running weak web servers, these are vulnerable web servers,” Reuters quoted Ritesh as saying, referring to the hackers. “They have spoken about weak web application, they are also talking about weak content-management system. It’s quite alarming.”

SII and Bharat Biotech declined to comment. The government-run Computer Emergency Response Team, with whom Cyfirma said it had shared its findings, had no immediate comment.

The US Department of Justice said in 2018 that APT10 had acted in association with the Chinese Ministry of State Security.

Microsoft said in November that it had detected cyber attacks from Russia and North Korea targeting Covid-19 vaccine companies in India, Canada, France, South Korea and the United States. North Korean hackers also tried to break into the systems of British drugmaker AstraZeneca, Reuters reported.

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PM MODI LEADS INDIA’S COVID VACCINATION DRIVE 2.0

The Prime Minister takes Covaxin—developed by Bharat Biotech and ICMR—shot at AIIMS, becoming the first beneficiary in the second vaccination phase.

Aditya Nair

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the Covid-19 vaccine shot at Delhi’s AIIMS hospital early on Monday, becoming the first beneficiary in the second phase of nationwide vaccination against coronavirus. PM Modi took a dose of the indigenous Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

“Took my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at AIIMS. Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against Covid-19. I appeal to all those who are eligible to take the vaccine. Together, let us make India Covid-19 free,” said PM Modi on Twitter after being administered the vaccine.

The leader was vaccinated by two nurses—Rosamma Anil from Kerala and P. Niveda from Puducherry. Both the nurses were thrilled by the experience and later remarked as to how the PM had said “Vanakkam” to them and even joked to ease the mood.

“Are you going to be using a thicker needle, the kind veterinarians use? Well, politicians are thick-skinned, you might need it for me,” the PM joked to the nurses. This was met with laughter and clarifications that the syringe was the standard one.

Both the nurses were informed of their task only early in the morning, once they had come in for their shift. “This is one of the biggest days of our lives. He asked where we were from and after getting jabbed, was surprised that it was done so quickly,” said P. Niveda.

Rosamma Anil, the other nurse involved in the procedure, said that she was flattered by the humility the leader showed. “When I told him I was from Puducherry, he tried speaking to me in Tamil. Later, while leaving post the observation period, he came to meet us again and said thank you, Vanakkam.” Analysts say that political symbolism was also visible as the PM was seen wearing Assamese gamcha and the two nurses were also from poll-bound Kerala and Puducherry. 

Union Home Minister Amit Shah also got himself vaccinated on the first day of phase two of the nationwide Covid-19 inoculation drive. He was vaccinated by doctors in Medanta hospital in Gurugram. 

Minister for External Affairs (MEA) S. Jaishankar, too, was vaccinated on Monday. “Got my jab. For the curious, it was #Covaxin. Felt secure, will travel safely,” he tweeted after getting the shot.

The move by the Prime Minister to get vaccinated first and that too by the home-grown Covaxin certainly set the ball rolling in terms of the second phase of vaccination drive that was launched on 1 March.

“PM Modi taking the jab on the very first day would instil confidence among the public and remove any hesitancy and doubts that they might have about the vaccine. People should come forward to get themselves inoculated and get India rid of the disease,” said AIIMS director Randeep Guleria.

The second phase of India’s vaccination drive against Covid-19 began on Monday, with the Union Health Ministry saying that those eligible for immunisation can register and book appointments from 9 am to 3 pm on 1 March.

From Monday, people eligible for the next phase can walk up to a vaccination centre to be registered for a dose. The decision will allow anyone above the age of 60 and those older than 45, but with comorbidities that make them more vulnerable to Covid-19 to approach government and private hospitals for shots. While the doses will be administered for free at government facilities, private hospitals can charge up to Rs 250 per dose.

Those with any of the 20 specified comorbidities will have to produce a medical certificate attested by a registered medical practitioner at the time of vaccination at the chosen vaccine centre. The conditions include congenital heart disease that leads to pulmonary arterial hypertension, end-stage kidney disease, or cancers such as lymphoma, leukaemia and myloma, decompensated liver cirrhosis (deterioration of liver function due to scarring), primary immune deficiency conditions, and sickle cell anaemia. 

The vaccine type available at a vaccination centre, however, will not be displayed to citizens at the time of online registration. “A Covid vaccination centre shall usually have only one type of vaccine throughout the vaccination drive. This is necessary to avoid mixing of vaccine types in first and second dose of a beneficiary,” said the government’s guidelines.

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Pune ACB team arrests doctor for demanding bribe to issue antigen test report

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Pune (Maharashtra) [India], March 2 (ANI): An Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) team of Pune has arrested a doctor from Daund town of the district for allegedly demanding a bribe to issue an antigen test report.
According to an official statement, Dr Milind Kamble was working in a government hospital in Daund area. He demanded and accepted around Rs 1,500 bribe from labourers to issue an antigen test report. Around 19 labourers from the area had gone for an antigen test at a government hospital on February 26. Despite the test being offered free by the government at government hospitals in the state the doctor on duty demanded a bribe from labourers.
The ACB team caught the doctor red-handed.
A case has been registered against him under relevant sections. Further investigation is underway. (ANI)

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Kerala HC asks police not to arrest teacher accused of fracturing student’s hand

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Kochi (Kerala) [India], March 2 (ANI): The Kerala high court directed the police not to arrest a woman maths teacher, who is accused of fracturing the hand of a Class 10 student by beating with a cane. The court issued this directive while hearing an anticipatory bail plea filed by the teacher.
A bench of Justice Shircy V heard the bail plea filed by the accused teacher Mariamma KV.
The Aluva police in Kerala have registered a First Information Report (FIR) against a government school teacher for allegedly brutally hitting a student with a cane in school. The incident took place at the Kuttamassery Higher Secondary School in Aluva, Kochi on February 17. The victim is a class 10 student, a boy.
She has been booked under section 324 of Indian Penal Code and section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act.
The petitioner said in her plea: “Even though the incident was alleged to have occurred at 9.30 am on February 17, the student had attended the exams conducted in the afternoon session and on subsequent days. The complainant got the right hand plastered after five days. The complaint before the police was filed at the instigation of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) president of the school, who is a local political leader.” (ANI)

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