In another explosive development in the Antilia bomb scare case, suspended Mumbai Police assistant inspector Sachin Vaze attempted to submit before the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Wednesday a letter with grave corruption allegations against former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, state transport minister Anil Parab and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.
Vaze, who is being probed by the NIA in the Antilia bomb scare-Mansukh Hiren murder cases, was produced by the agency for further custody when he attempted to submit this letter. The court, however, told him to follow the due process and did not accept it.
Vindicating the allegations of former Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh that Vaze was asked by Deshmukh to collect money from bars in the city, Vaze mentions this aspect in his letter. He says he was called in January 2021 to the minister’s residence Dnyaneshwari. “The minister sir told me that there are approximately 1650 bars and restaurants in Mumbai and told me to collect Rs 3-3.5 lakh each from these for him,” the letter stated. It mentioned that the minister’s PA Kundan was present.
He further says in his letter that he had told the minister he would not be able to collect the money and that it would be beyond his capabilities. Immediately after coming out of the cabin, he says, PA Kundan advised him that he must comply with the minister’s instructions if he wished to keep his job and post intact. Vaze says he had informed the CP about this, and expressed his apprehension that in the future, he may be embroiled in a false controversy. “The honourable CP encouraged me and categorically instructed me not to involve in any such illegal collection of money from anyone and for anyone,” the letter stated.
Another instance mentioned in the letter of Deshmukh engaging in corruption is when Vaze was reinstated in service last year. The letter states that Sharad Pawar had ordered that he be suspended and that Deshmukh had informed this to him on phone from Nagpur and then asked him to pay Rs 2 crore and assured that he will convince Pawar. He said he had expressed his inability to pay such a huge amount and that Deshmukh had told him he could pay later.
Making allegations of corruption on Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, the letter says that in November last year, he was approached by one Darshan Ghodawat who was very close to Pawar. The letter read, “He explained about illegal gutka and tobacco trade in Maharashtra and gave me phone numbers. The said Mr Godhawat insisted that I should collect a monthly amount of Rs 100 crore from these illegal gutka sellers. I denied to do such an illegal act and the person warned me that I may lose my post again.” The letter went on to state that since the first day of 2021, he started all-out efforts against illegal gutka sellers and crores-worth illegal gutka was seized and action was initiated against the owners of factories too.
“On such action, Mr Ghodawat came to my office and conveyed displeasure expressed by Hon Dy CM Sir to him regarding initiation of action against these manufacturers and insisted on me to ask these manufacturers to meet either him or directly the honourable deputy CM sir.” Vaze said he refused to comply with the directions.
The letter further contains allegations against minister Anil Parab. It said he was called by Parab to his official bungalow in July or August 2020. “At the meeting, the minister Sir asked me to look into the SBUT complaint which was under preliminary enquiry and asked me to bring the trustees of the SBUT to him for negotiation about the enquiry. He also insisted to initiate primary talks to get Rs 50 crore from the SBUT in order to close the said enquiry,” the letter said, adding that again, he had expressed his inability to do this as he did not know anyone from SBUT nor he had control over the inquiry. It added that in January this year, Parab again called him to his official bungalow and asked him to look into fraudulent contractors listed in the BMC and asked him to collect at least Rs 2 crore from 50 such contractors. He said further that the inquiry was upon an anonymous complaint and until his transfer from the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) nothing incriminating was found.
The letter dated 3 April ended stating, “Your honour, I am putting these facts before your honour to get justice for me.”
On Vaze’s allegations, minister Anil Parab said, “So many days have passed, but to malign the image of Uddhav Thackeray, he has made allegations now. Since the past few days, the BJP has been saying they are going to attack one more minister which means this seems to be planned…the BJP already knows about this.”
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SURAT TEACHERS ORDERED TO REGISTER COVID DEAD BODIES
Surat Corporation has gone too far in handing over the responsibility of Covid-19 management to its employees. Teachers have been assigned Covid-19 work. They are given the task of registering the bodies coming for the funeral. Teachers, along with SMC (Surat Municipal Corporation) employees, will also be on duty in three shifts of eight hours each. It’s teachers responsibility to ensure that there is no disruption in the registration of the bodies coming to the crematorium.
During the pandemic, all SMC employees were assigned different tasks, in which the teachers were asked to be outside the homes of the infected Covid patients.
There were orders to go with Dhanvanri Rath to carry out survey work, and distribute food grains, which were performed by the teachers as part of their duty amid such a difficult situation in the city.
At that time, the teachers who were assigned to the operation of the cemetery have been put in a dilemma.
A teacher, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “The process of registering a body in a cemetery is not appropriate for us.. We made a presentation for our Teachers’ Union last night on this matter. We were given a message about this operation through social media. The Union has informed our appointees to cancel this order. Union officials have also vowed to inform the Municipal Commissioner and the State government about handing over the work to teachers.”
UTTARAKHAND CM RAWAT CONFIDENT TO CONDUCT HARIDWAR KUMBH MELA SAFELY
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat on Friday said that the state government is determined to conduct Haridwar Kumbh Mela safely.
He inaugurated the Command and Control Room and Adarsh Barrack of the Police Surveillance System built for the Kumbh Mela, at the CCR Tower in Haridwar.
On this occasion, the Chief Minister said that the state government is fully committed to the modernization of the police.
He said, “Our government is determined to conduct Haridwar Kumbh Mela safely. 310 CCTV cameras have been installed in the area. Command and Control Room of Police Surveillance System has been set up at CCR Tower, Haridwar.”
(With ANI inputs)
CELEBRATIONS IN JAMMU AFTER THE RELEASE OF COBRA COMMANDO BY NAXALS
As soon as the news of Rakeshwar Singh Manhas’ release reached Jammu, there were celebrations not only in his village but in other adjacent villages as well. Earlier his wife Meenu had appealed to the government that her husband should be rescued from the Naxals and the Congress leaders of the Jammu region visited the family and made her talk to the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister who assured all help and action.
People in the villages adjacent to his hometown were glued to television sets and expressed their joy when he stepped out of an ambulance as shown by different media channels.
Meenu Manhas exclaimed, “This is the happiest moment in our lives. Hope never died though we were anguished for his safe return. I am thankful to the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh and also to the Central government as everyone stood by us.”
Earlier, the relatives of Manhas and villagers protested and blocked the traffic for hours, appealing to the government to intervene and save him from the captivity of Naxals. He was posted in Chhattisgarh and was captured alive by the Naxals in a fierce gun battle in which dozens of his colleagues were killed while over 15 Naxals were also killed.
DELHI SCHOOLS TO REMAIN SHUT FOR ALL CLASSES AMID COVID SURGE: KEJRIWAL
NEW DELHI: The Delhi government on Friday announced that all schools will be shut given the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the national capital.
“Due to increasing cases of COVID-19, all schools, government and private, in Delhi are being closed for all classes till further orders,” the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted. Schools have been shut ever since the pandemic broke out last year but for those from Classes 9 to 12 had resumed their classes. The board examinations for Class 10 and Class 12 are slated for May-June.
Several other states and Union territories have also closed down schools and colleges to curb the surging infections.
Delhi on Thursday reported 7,437 fresh cases and 24 related deaths over the last 24 hours. As per the daily health bulletin, the total positive cases in the city now stand at 6,98,005, including 23,181 active cases and 6,63,667 recoveries. So far, 11,157 lives have been claimed by the infectious virus.
Covid chaos in Gujarat, waiting list in hospitals, cemeteries & crematoria
The state of Covid-19 spread in Ahmedabad seems frightening. The scenario in various cemeteries and crematoria of the city is bad with people waiting for hours for the burial and cremation of the dead bodies.
A total of eight bodies were brought to a cemetery in Vadaj cemetery in the city for burial around the same time. There is also a two-hour wait for the funeral at Thaltej. Both chimneys are currently in operation at the city’s Vadaj crematorium, where relatives of the deceased have been seen waiting.
There are no vacant beds in hospitals because of the surge in Covid-19 cases. As the number of patients keeps on increasing, the beds are getting filled. In some hospitals there is no stock of injections and while at other hospitals videos of missing oxygen are emerging. Extremely heart-rending videos surfaced on Friday at the Vadaj Cemetery in Ahmedabad, where eight bodies were being prepared for burial while many others were waiting in the cemetery. Similar is the case with Thaltej cemetery in Ahmedabad.
As a result of the worsening situation due to Covid-19 in Gujarat, relatives have to wait in hospitals for as long as 12 hours to get the body of the deceased in cities like Rajkot and Surat. Not only that, even after getting the dead body, they have to wait for 8 to 10 hours for cremation. Worse, the rising death toll at Rajkot Civil Hospital is waiting not only for cremation but also for ambulances to take the dead bodies to the cemetery.
In the Nagarwada area of Vadodara, a 65-year-old man died of Covid-19 and his body had to be taken in a handcart as the ambulance was not available to take him to the crematorium.
ALL-PARTY MEET TO DISCUSS LOCKDOWN IN MAHARASHTRA
State reports 58,993 Covid cases and 301 deaths in 24 hours.
In view of the alarming spike in Covid-19 cases in the state, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has called an all-party meeting on 10 April. The government will take stock of the Covid-19 situation in the state.
The meeting will be attended by prominent leaders of the three parties involved in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, leaders of BJP, MNS, API, SP, and others.
On Friday, State Disaster Management Minister Vijay Wadettiwar said that he has proposed a complete lockdown in the state, during a virtual meeting earlier in the day, given the continued spike in Covid-19 cases and upcoming festivals. While speaking to India Today, the Minister said that it was crucial to close all shops and establishments to break the chain of the pandemic.
“Every day we are witnessing 50,000 to 60,000 cases. We have 5.31 lakh active cases today. If the upsurge continues like this, we will have over 10 lakh active cases soon,” the Disaster Management Minister said to India Today. “If we have to break the chain, it’s not possible keeping half the shops and establishments open. In the virtual conference that took place today, I have suggested a strict lockdown of three weeks to break the chain,” the Minister said.
Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Pravin Darekar said the decision to organise the all-party meeting was taken this afternoon.
“This decision was taken during the meeting held today to decide the postponement of MPSC exams scheduled for Sunday,” he said.
When asked about the weekend lockdown that comes into force from Friday night, Darekar said the state government should decide on financially supporting small businesses.
Maharashtra Chief Minister will brief all parties regarding the covid situation. Maharashtra is planning a complete three weeks lockdown.
Maharashtra on Friday reported 58,993 coronavirus cases and 301 deaths in 24 hours amid a second wave of infections. Pune, with 10,084 Covid cases, was the worst-affected district today, followed by Mumbai with 9,200 single-day infections.
After the new additions, the total of active cases has reached 5,34,603. The state had reported 56,286 cases and 376 deaths on Thursday.
With Agency Inputs
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