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First arrest in Virbhadra money laundering case, ED books LIC agent who facilitated Rs 5 crore investments in policies



Virbhadra ED Arrest

SHIMLA- The enforcement directorate (ED) made its first arrest in the on-going money laundering probe against Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh. On Saturday, ED arrested an LIC agent Anand Chauhan who was instrumental in investing Rs 5 crore in LIC polices in the name of CM’s family members including his wife and children.

A senior official from the agency confirmed that Anand Chauhan was called to Chandigarh for questioning and later arrested. The arrest has been made in connection to the case that the ED had registered against the Chief Minister and family members some months back, he said.

When asked if more arrests are expected, the official said, “You never know. It will all depend on investigations. Nothing can be said at this stage,” told the official to Indian Express.

Chauhan’s family members confirmed that he was taken to PGI Chandigarh for medical examinations by the ED teams late Friday night from there he was taken to Delhi for investigation purposes.

The ED action has pressed panic buttons in the Chief Minister’s camp. The agency had already attached assets worth Rs 7 crore belonging to Chief Minister’s son Vikramaditya Singh.

On Friday, the ED also summoned one Chunni Lal, owner of universal orchards Chunni Lal at Chandigarh for questioning. But it was only Anand Chauhan who has been detained by the agency.

Besides ED, CBI has also registered a case of disproportionate assets (DA) against the Chief Minister last year and also raided his house – Holly Lodge – on September 26. Last month, Singh was also called for questioning at the CBI office .

Charges against Singh relates to his term as union minister of steel in Dr Manmohan Singh government. It was alleged that Singh and his family members had amassed wealth of Rs 6.1 crore from unknown sources of income during 2009-2011.


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Misc News/Press Release

Rohit Kumar Saval joins as CM Jairam’s media adviser



Rohit Kumar Saval

Shimla: Rohit Kumar Saval, who has an extensive experience in media, today joined as Media Advisor to Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur, at Shimla. Later he called on the Chief Minister and discussed issues related to media in the State.

Chief Minister said that Rohit Kumar Saval has been working for a long time with media and has a rich experience of working at State and National level. He said the role of media is very important in the dissemination of programs and policies of the state government.

His appointment as an advisor will strengthen media liaison as well as promote professionalism in the government system, he said.

Political Advisor to Chief Minister, Trilok Jamwal, OSD to Chief Minister, Mahender Kumar Dharmani, Additional Chief Secretary-cum- Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Manisha Nanda, Director, Information and Public Relations, Anupam Kashyap, were also present on the occasion.

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Misc News/Press Release

HP E-Vidhan wing gifts Galaxy Note 8, laptop, printer to all MLAs, ministers



HP E-vidhan wing gifts mlas

The government said that these gifts were given to the MLAs and ministers by the E-Vidhan wing of the HP Vidhan Sabha and will be used for official work.

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Government on March 16, 2018, gifted electronic devices including a Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which currently costs between 68,000 to 70,000 INR, a laptop, and a printer to all the elected members of the 13th Assembly including the council of ministers.

The average cost per MLA is estimated to be above one lakh INR. The total cost touches almost 1 crore INR. The Information and Technology Minister, Ram Lal Markanda, personally visited the Speaker Rajiv Bindal to deliver the gifts.

The news has attracted criticism from several groups, especially on social media and regional online news portals. The Bhartiya Janata Party has been opening scathing attacks on the previous Congress government over a debt of 46,000 crores INR.

Also, the state government did not take timely cognizance of the media reports about a 16-year-old poverty-stricken girl of Solan district who required lakhs of rupees to undergo a kidney transplant after she lost both of her own kidneys.

In the list of priorities, the gifts did come above the announcement of relief money to the girl.

Therefore, the reason for the criticism was quite apparent.  

It is being speculated that some of the MLAs have even sold or handed their copies of devices to subordinate staff or family members as they already had high-end smartphones.

However, the government said that these gifts were given to the MLAs and ministers by the E-Vidhan wing of the HP Vidhan Sabha and will be used for official work  during the current government tenure.

The Speaker said, the MLAs and Ministers will be given training regarding the operation of these electronic devices.

The effect of this step will be visible directly or indirectly in coming days. The government’s explanation that these electronics were gifted as part of the E-Vidhan program will be visible if all the recipient make themselves available to the public online.

Currently, the State government’s official websites are either not user-friendly or are in tatters and hardly contains latest data or information.  As we had mentioned earlier, the official website of the State government has still not updated the name of the Chief Minister.

The average response rate to e-mails is critically low for the government departments and the offices of the ministers.

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Misc News/Press Release

16-year-old Solan girl suffering complete kidney failure might live as HP Govt comes to rescue: Reports



Solan girl kidney failure case

Shimla: Deepika, a 16-year-old girl of Darlaghat region of Himachal Pradesh’s Solan district, who was about to die after both of her kidneys failed, has finally seen a ray of hope. The mother, who is a widow, was helplessly watching her daughter dying on the hospital bed.    

A resident of Kashlog panchayat in Solan, Deepika is admitted at the PGI, Chandigarh. The hospital had asked the parents to arrange a donor along with depositing Rs. 19 lakh for the kidney transplant.

Before approaching the PGI, she remained admitted to the Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla.  

The mother, Sukhdai, came ahead as a donor. Despite having a donor, the widowed mother found herself unable to arrange this gigantic amount required for the transplant.

The call for help first appear on social media and made rounds of Facebook and WhatsApp before reaching the Hindi dailies. A couple of social organizations did extend monetary support, which proved to be insufficient.

Himachal Watcher also contacted the girl’s mother and talked to her about the status of monetary assistance from the government.

With the help of the local journalists, she was filing the required documents to complete the formality to get the monetary help from HP Chief Minister’s fund, she told Himachal Watcher today.

As per sources, a delegation of local journalists had also met the Chief Minister and apprised him of the situation.

HW had also written to the Chief Minister, the State Health Minister, Vipin Singh Parmar, and the Union Health Minister Jai Prakash Nadda seeking their attention to the dying girl.

It is pertinent to mention that the government was facing outrage on social media over the delay in taking cognizance of this critical issue related to life and death of a school-going girl. It was an opportunity for the new government to show commitment to its “Beti Bachao, Beti Padha’ campaign, and it should not lose it.  

Moreover, a couple of days ago, all the elected members of the State Legislative Assembly were given new Samsung Galaxy Note 8, a laptop, and a printer. The estimated price of the Galaxy Note 8 is between Rs. 68,000 to 70,000. 

The questions were being raised as to why the government spent over one lakh on each MLA while a girl dies of poverty.

So finally, as per sources,  the Chief Minister has immediately directed the hospital to prepare for the transplant process along with submitting the estimated cost of it.

Now, Deepika may soon get on her feet and join back her school.

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