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Maharashtra CM orders strict action against violators of COVID-19 rules

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 16 (ANI): Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday directed senior officials to take strict action against people or organisations who flout COVID-19 guidelines.
Thackeray and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar held a meeting with the divisional commissioners and district collectors of the state through via video conferencing today.
“If people do not wear masks or follow COVID-19 rules, then the district and police administration has the responsibility to strictly enforce these rules. They must take strict punitive and necessary action without showing any leniency,” stated Thackeray.
He directed officials to create a health map of the state with the help of health workers by carrying out “My family, my responsibility” campaign.
Thackeray expressed displeasure over improper implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOP). “Over the past year we have set SOPs for various sectors while fighting COVID-19, but it does not appear to be implemented. It is a serious concern,” said the chief minister.
“Wedding ceremonies, parties and other social events are seen taking place without following guidelines. We have extended the times of restaurants and hotels but we do not see that the rules are being followed,” said Thackeray.
He directed the officials to send local administration teams to visit the places of gathering and take strict action if violations of rules are found.
“Revoke the licences of halls where rules are not followed at weddings or other ceremonies. Strict action should be taken immediately if hotels and restaurants are not following SOPs,” he said.
The chief minister directed the municipalities in the state to spray disinfectant at public places regularly. The state government also decided to increase the testing by sending mobile testing facilities to villages.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra reported 3,663 new COVID-19 cases and 2,700 recoveries on Tuesday.
“A total of 19,81,408 patients have been cured and discharged. The total active cases of COVID-19 in the state stand at 37,125. The patient recovery rate in the state is 95.66%,” said Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope. (ANI)

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Army recruitment racket busted in Pune, 3 including two ex-army personnel held

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Pune (Maharashtra) [India], February 28 (ANI): Three persons including two ex-army personnel have been arrested for allegedly running an Army recruitment racket in Pune, police said.
In a joint operation on Sunday, officials of Military Intelligence of Indian Army and Crime branch unit of Pune city police have busted the racket in Pune who allegedly promised to leak question papers of Indian Army relation recruitment.
Three accused including two ex-army personnel namely Ali Akhtar and Mahendra Sonavane were arrested by police in the case. The third accused has been identified as Azad Khan.
According to a complaint received by the police, the accused were about to leak the exam papers of the Indian Army Relation recruitment exam being held in Pune on Sunday.
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.
The Pune Police said that some candidates had already paid Rs 1 lakh as an advance amount and the remaining Rs 1 lakh was supposed to be paid after the recruitment.
According to the Police, the ex-army men were running the recruitment racket while Azad Khan who was working as a civil defence cook at the Bombay Sappers Unit of the Indian army was coordinating with them.
A case has been registered against all three accused under relevant sections and further investigation is underway. (ANI)

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Sanjay Rathod resigns from ministerial post, demands fair investigation in Pooja Chavan death case

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 28 (India): Ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly Budget session, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Rathod, who is allegedly involved in the death case of 22-year-old girl Pooja Chavan, on Sunday resigned from the post of Maharashtra Forest Minister and demanded a fair investigation in the matter. 

He submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray during a meeting at the Chief Ministers’ residence where Urban Development and Public Works Minister Eknath Shinde was also present. The meeting lasted for more than two hours.

After submitting his resignation to the Chief Minister, Rathod said, “I have submitted my resignation to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. The media and others tried to spoil my and my community’s image. I want a fair investigation in this case. They (opposition) are warning us that they won’t allow the budget session to function, I believe in Ambekar’s Constitution. The way the opposition is behaving, I have distanced myself from all this for a fair investigation. Let the police investigate it.”

Rathod also said: “I have tendered my resignation to CM Uddhav as a Minister, not as an MLA.”

On Thursday, former Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis hit out at the state government over Rathod’s alleged involvement in the murder of a woman, saying that the government was more interested in celebrity tweets.

On February 8, Chavan had allegedly jumped off a building in Pune to end her life. Hailing from Parli town in Beed, Pooja had gone to Pune for an English speaking course. A couple of days after her death, some of her audio clips went viral on social media which the opposition took up and pointed fingers at the Maharashtra Forest Minister Sanjay Rathod, demanding an investigation into the case.

The BJP has alleged that Rathod is connected with the mysterious death of the woman in Pune. However, Rathod had denied all allegations.

As per procedure, an accidental death (AD) case was registered with the Wanawadi police station in Pune. No complaint has so far been registered by Chavan’s family. (ANI)

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Two held in Ludhiana with 2.17 kg heroin

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Ludhiana (Punjab) [India], February 28 (ANI): Ludhiana Special Task Force (STF) arrested two persons and seized 2.17 kg heroin from the Sabzi Mandi area on Saturday.
Acting on information, police intercepted a truck near Salem Tabri area in Sabzi Mandi and seized 2 kg and 17 gm of heroin.
Police arrested Kamaljit Singh Kamal and Bhupendra Singh and registered cases against them under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, Surendra Kumar Superintendent of Police (SP) STF Ludhiana told reporters here.
According to police, the accused have brought the heroin from Attari border to hand it over to a person namely Pavan in Ludhiana.
Further investigation is underway. (ANI)

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Telangana CM congratulates ISRO for successful launch of PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 mission

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Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], February 28 (ANI): Chief Minister of Telangana, K Chandrashekhar Rao has congratulated the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for the successful launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)-C51/Amazonia-1 mission.
The CM said that with the launch of PSLV-C51, ISRO has proved to be one of the world’s leading space research organization.
Rao also remarked that many countries have chosen ISRO for their technical needs and it has once again brought reputation to the country. He further congratulated the scientists, engineers, other technical staff and employees of the ISRO for achieving success.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, for the successful launch of Brazil’s Amazonia-1 satellite by ISRO.
ISRO in its first launch in 2021, launched PSLV-C51 carrying Amazonia-1 and 18 other satellites on Sunday at 10:24 am.
PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 is the first dedicated commercial mission of NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a Government of India company under the Department of Space. The NSIL is undertaking this mission under a commercial arrangement with Spaceflight Inc. USA.
Amazonia-1 is the optical earth observation satellite of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE). This satellite would further strengthen the existing structure by providing remote sensing data to users for monitoring deforestation in the Amazon region and analysis of diversified agriculture across the Brazilian territory.
PSLV-C51, which is the 53rd mission of PSLV launched Amazonia-1 of Brazil as the primary satellite. A total of 18 Co-passenger satellites were also lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 10:24 am on Sunday.
The 18 co-passenger satellites include four from IN-SPACe (three UNITYsats from the consortium of three Indian academic institutes and One Satish Dhawan Sat from Space Kidz India) and 14 from NSIL.(ANI)

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CBDT Chairman Pramod Chandra Mody gets further extension for three months

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New Delhi [India], February 28 (ANI): The re-appointment of Pramod Chandra Mody as Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has been extended for a further period of three months, said Department of Personnel and Training, the Government of India on Sunday.
Mody is a 1982-batch Indian Revenue Service officer, was appointed as the CBDT chief in February 2019.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved an extension for a period of three months with effect from March 1, 2021, to May 31, 2021, the order said.
“The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved extension in the re-appointment of Shri Pramod Chandra Mody as Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), for a further period of three months with effect from March 1, 2021 to May 31, 2021 or until further orders, whichever is earlier,” read the order.
Earlier, Mody’s tenure was last extended in August last year for six months. (ANI)

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No one is talking about unemployment, attempt to divert attention from real issues: Tejashwi Yadav

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New Delhi [India], February 28 (ANI): In a veiled attack at the Bharatiya Janata Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav on Sunday said no one is talking about unemployment and problems of people and asserted there is an attempt to divert attention from the real issues.
“Talk about the concerns of youth, jobs of the unemployed, about the interest of jawans. In democracy, no one is talking about the problems of people, farmers and unemployment. Instead of this, talks are being held to divert attention from the real issues,” read a tweet by the RJD leader translated from Hindi.
Yadav has stepped up their criticism of the BJP-led Central government as Assembly polls in 4 States and Puducherry are around the corner. Earlier on Friday, he rode a bicycle from his residence to the secretariat in Patna as a mark of protest against the fuel price hike.
He has said that the RJD will contest Assembly elections in Assam.
“Our party used to be a national party & we want to expand now. Assam is the gateway of NorthEast. We have decided to contest Assembly polls in Assam. We have discussed with Congress about the alliance and will also be speaking to Ajmal sahab (AIUDF),” said Yadav. (ANI)

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