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Virbhadra DA case: Malafide CBI probe might end Congress leader’s political career, Delhi HC told

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Virbhadra CBI Inquiry

Sibal asked how CBI could register a PE without taking any consent of the state

SHIMLA- Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, an accused in a disproportionate assets case along with others, claimed in Delhi High Court on Thursday that process of probe conducted suggests an “element of enthusiasm” on CBI’s part, which is indicator of an element of “malafide”.

His counsel, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, questioned CBI’s jurisdiction in registering the case and told Justice Vipin Sanghi that the court should look into the “ramifications” of the matter as  CBI’s probe might damage political career of the Congress leader. As per CBI’s case, all assets alleged to be disproportionate to the known source of income were in Himachal Pradesh and the agency should not have lodged the case in Delhi, on the basis of the fact that his client was then a union minister here.

The manner in which probe was conducted (by CBI) shows an element of enthusiasm which would not have been there in normal circumstances. That is why a court-monitored mechanism is essential. There is an element of malafide in the matter,

Sibal told the court.

He also suggested biasedness of CBI based on the political party which is in power in the Centre or the state.

Sibal said CBI had conducted first preliminary enquiry (PE) and thereafter sought to close the case, but later it carried out a second PE on the same set of facts which were dealt with earlier. He argued that the check period in a DA case “cannot give CBI the jurisdiction to lodged a case here” as jurisdiction would be made out at the place where the offence is alleged to have been committed.

There must be a court crafted roadmap in such matters What will give you (CBI) jurisdiction is the place where an offence is committed,

Sibal said during the arguments which would continue on September 23.

CBI had earlier told the high court that its probe in the DA case against Singh and others was “complete” and it wanted to file the charge sheet in the matter. The Himachal Pradesh High Court in an interim order on October 1, 2015, had restrained the agency from arresting, interrogating or filing a charge sheet against Singh in the case without court’s permission.

During the hearing today, Sibal also asked how CBI could register a PE without taking any consent of the state.

This means the CBI will start conducting a PE without anybody’s consent. They should have reported the information received by them to the concerned authority in the state, he said.

Court has to look at the ramification of this probe. They (CBI) can keep on doing the investigation my (Virbhadra’s) political career may be finished,

Sibal said.

To this, the court observed

History has shown that no politician has been indicted due to prosecution.

Sibal responded saying,

I (Virbhadra) am not saying that I am immune. What prevents the state from investigating me? This is not a case of corruption.

The matter, in which Himachal Pradesh HC had passed the interim order, was transferred by the Supreme Court to the Delhi High Court, but the interim order has not yet been vacated or stayed. The Delhi High Court on April 6 this year had directed CBI not to arrest Singh while asking him to join the probe.

The direction had come when the court was disposing of CBI’s application seeking vacation of the Himachal Pradesh High Court order, which, the agency claimed, had “seriously held up” its investigation in the case.

On November 5 last year, the apex court had transferred Singh’s plea from Himachal Pradesh HC to Delhi HC, saying it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, but “simply” transferring the petition “in interest of justice and to save the institution (judiciary) from any embarrassment”.

CBI had moved the apex court seeking transfer of the case to Delhi High Court and setting aside the interim order granting protection from arrest and other relief granted to Singh. A DA case was lodged against the Chief Minister and others by CBI under sections 13(2) and 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and section 109 (punishment for abetment) of IPC.

Image: WpJurist

Misc News/Press Release

Five More COVID-19 Deaths, Three Suicides, Shimla’s Kotkhai Nagar Panchayat Sealed

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shimla kotkhai nagar panchayat sealed

Shimla– Five more COVID-19 casualties were reported in Himachal Pradesh on September 23, 2020. According to the official update from the Health Department, a total of 280 cases were reported till 9:00 pm today . The COVID-19 death tally is rising at an alarming rate with the onset of a community spread. Currently, a total of 135 persons have lost their lives due to COVID-19.(Scroll down for district-wise statistics)

These deaths were reported from Solan (1), Kangra (2), and Mandi (2). The deceased aged between 58 years to 77. Read the reasons for deaths below:

Shimla- kotkhai nagar panchayat sealed

Kotkhai Nagar Panchayat Sealed for Four Days

Kotkhai Nagar panchayat of Shimal district was sealed today after four persons tested positive at the CHC, Kotkhai. However, there is one case which has increased worries for both the people and the administration.

According to the BMO, Kotkhai, one of these persons, identified as Kavinder Kanwar, runs a car parking at the Kotkhai Bazaar. He also runs a newspaper distribution agency in the same area and deals in mobile recharge business. He frequently handles keys of cars parked in the parking as part of his routine task, it was informed.

“It is quite possible that the concerned positive person has also surely visited several shops and public places in Kotkhai bazaar during the last four days. In this situation, it is difficult to find out the exact contact tracing history due to which there is a high risk of surface transmission and risk of a direct contact person to person,”

informed the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Theog, in a notification issued today.   

Therefore, the administration has declared the entire Kotkhai Nagar panchayat as containment zone and sealed it except for essential services for four days (till September 27th).

The local police have been directed to restrict any entry to or exit from the area. The BMO has been asked to undertake contact tracing and the Secretary of the Nagar panchayat area has been directed to sanitize the entire area.   

COVID-19 Positive Woman Ends Life at DDU, Shimla

A woman, who was tested positive for COVID-19, and was admitted to the DDU hospital, Shimla, ended her life on the intervening night of September 22-23. The exact reason for the suicide was yet to be ascertained.

Further, two suicides in Kangra district have been associated with the financial distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the deceased worked at a fuel station.  The second person was a cab driver. According to the English daily, The Tribune, he had recently received a notice from the bank over non-payment of his loan that he had taken to buy a cab. These suicides are indicators that the people are in dire need of relief from the state government. 

HP Health Department COVID-19 Bulletin- September 23, 2020 (9 PM)

Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 Fatalities on september 23

 

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Misc News/Press Release

13 More COVID-19 Deaths in 2 Days, Total Mounts to 130

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Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 update for september 22, 2020

The COVID-19 fatality rate in Himachal Pradesh is on the rise as the death tally reaches 130 with 13 new deaths in the last two days. According to the Health Department’s official COVID-19 Bulletins, State reported seven deaths on September 21 and six on September 22. 

Today, the state registered 331 new confirmed cases with which the COVID-19 tally for the state rose to 12769. Of this total, 4124 are active cases, 8491 have recovered, and 20 migrated to outside the state. The infected also include Nachan MLA Vinod Kumar.

Details of COVID-19 Casualties on Sept 21-22

details of COVID-19 deaths in Himachal pradesh

Today, the highest cases were reported from Sirmaur district (79), followed by Mandi (66), Shimla 48, and Solan 38, and Kullu (25). (Scroll down to view more district-wise statistics.)
However, the actual number of cases could be higher as the state is in the community spread phase. No projection regarding the actual number of cases and deaths has been issued by the state government.

So far, the state government has tested only 271449 persons for COVID-19. Considering the community spread, the state government is supposed to increase the number of tests.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said that people should refrain from going to crowded places and take all precautions. However, tourists thronging the state are hardly following any rules. After lifting all restrictions on inter-state movement, the state government is now preparing to open the inter-state bus services, which would fuel the community spread.  The people are already expressing their resentment with the decision to suddenly lift all restrictions on movement of tourists. Amid these uncertain circumstances, rising fatality rate is the main concern. 

HP Health Department COVID-19 Bulletin- September 12, 2020 (9 PM)

  

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Campus Watch

UHF Nauni Bags Rs.25 Crore Funding, Set for Major Overhaul

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UHF Nauni gets IDI funds

Solan: The learning and teaching environment at the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni is set for a major overhaul under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s (ICAR) National Agricultural Higher Education Plan (NAHEP) funded by the World Bank, informed the Public Relation Officer, Suchet Attri. He said that under NAHEP, UHF has been awarded the prestigious Institutional Development Project  (IDP). The total outlay of the three-year project is Rs 25 crore with ICAR share of Rs 20 crore and Rs 5 crore funded by the state.

He said that this is one of the biggest projects in UHF’s history and a major achievement for the university. It will help to provide a holistic learning and teaching environment to the students and faculty as scientists and students will be exposed to foreign universities to learn and exchange researchable ideas and issues. The University Vice-Chancellor is the project leader while Dr KK Raina, Professor and Head, Department of Business Management is the coordinator and Principal Investigator of the overall project, he informed.  

The main objective of the project entitled ‘Quality Education in Horticulture and Forestry to generate Human Resource’ is to revamp the university’s UG education through innovative and modern pedagogy, skill development, improving placement opportunities and catalyzing entrepreneurship through global thinking and input. He further said that under IDP, the university will look to strengthen collaborations with leading academia and industry for student exchange and faculty development programmes. 

He informed that around 150 UG students and 50 faculty members will be selected through a competition, to visit top-flight foreign universities for a period of 3-6 months. Organization of webinars and seminars, workshops and capacity building, and engaging industry experts as adjunct faculty is also included in the project. In addition to the creation of several student amenities, the university will establish UG and language labs for improving soft skills, eight smart and two virtual classrooms. He said that the project will also push green initiatives like the use of solar energy for cooking, lighting, use of battery-operated vehicles, solid waste management and recycling, campus landscaping and development of nature parks.

He said that one of the highlights will be the development of Short-Term International Certificate course on temperate horticulture and forestry crops and the strengthening of Student Development and Career Development Cell by developing a proactive industrial interface to create job and internship opportunities. Remedial courses, special attention towards weak students, agri-incubation centres on hi-tech plant nursery, processed food and forest products for entrepreneurial and agribusiness skills will also be taken up during the course of the project.

He further informed that several works have already begun under the project, and initiatives like raising new plantations have been undertaken. The students are eagerly looking forward to this project and have been actively taking part in all activities. A review meeting of the core project team and the statutory officers under the chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor was held on Saturday. Director Extension Education Dr PK Mahajan, Deans Dr Bhupinder Gupta and Dr ML Bhardwaj also took part in the meeting. 

“This is a very proud moment for the university as we are among the national group that has got grants under this project. It will help us to improve the work culture and change the outlook of the students by providing a holistic learning environment. Besides, it will also help to enhance the quality of study and potential of the faculty will be fully utilized,”

said Dr Parvinder Kaushal, UHF Vice-Chancellor.

He said that only a select few agricultural universities have managed to bag the project through nation-wide competition.

The university will further focus on skill enhancement of students through study programmes with international collaborations and provide an inclusive and equitable quality education for the students through the faculty development programme. Dr Kaushal added that under the project, the university will ensure the sustainability of quality education and system effectiveness through the strengthening of the University Alumni network and industry interface. 

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