SOLAN-After a Regional Manager of Himachal Pradesh Road Transportation Corporation was recently arrested for smuggling drugs in his official car, now a senior official of Himachal Pradesh Industries Department was caught red-handed demanding and accepting bribe of Rs. 5 lakh from an industrialist. The Joint Director of Industries Department, Tilak Raj Sharma, and one another conduit was nabbed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday after agency laid a trap on the complaint of a Baddi-based pharmaceutical company.
Initial inquiry from the arrested persons suggests direct links of the Joint Director with the Chief Minister Office in Delhi, said reports. As per an English daily, another name PS Raghuvanshi, Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the CM in New Delhi, has come into light. The recordings have revealed that the money was to be allegedly sent to an advocate in Delhi who is fighting a court case for the Chief Minister. For now, a case has been registered under section 120-B of the IPC and Section VII of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
As per information provided by the CBI, the Charted Accountant associated with the pharma company had made a complaint with CBI last month alleging that the said official, though his conduit, had demanded a bribe in exchange of clearing paperwork for grant of capital investment subsidy on purchase of new machinery in the factory. The official had demanded Rs. 10 lakh for clearing subsidy of Rs.50 lakh. However, the CA of the company preferred to approach CBI instead of paying bribe.
CBI reportedly provided digital microphones and spy cameras to the CA and managed to get recordings of the deal. The accused were arrested in Chandigarh as they were accepting the first installment of Rs. 5 lakh.
After nabbing the accused, his residence in Sector 19-C, Chandigarh was raided by CBI. As per report, agency has recovered of some cash, US dollars and euros, bank locker keys, 170 gram of gold, 350 gram of silver, LIC policies etc. The office premise was yet to be searched.
Bhartiya Janata Party has open attack on the Virbhadra Singh led Congress Government for prevalence and encouragement of corruption. The Chief Minister had recently received relief from Delhi High Court in money laundering case as he was, along with eight other accused, was granted bail. Opposition also said that it’s a common culture to extract money from rich firms/industrialist willing to establish industry in the hill State. Critics have suggested it as one of the reasons behind unwillingness of industrialist to chose Himachal as suitable place for their industries.
The arrested official and the conduit were sent on a two-day remand after they were produced in the local court.
Video: Fire in Shimla’s Gumma devours Rs. 40 lakh property
Shimla: In a tragic incident of fire breakout in Gumma area of Kotkhai region in Shimla district on Saturday, about six rooms of a three-story building were lost. The fire brigade saved the two storeys and buildings adjacent to it.
No loss of life was reported, but the estimated loss of assets was initially assessed at about 40 lakh rupees.The owner of the house was identified as Rohit Chauhan.
Rohit’s mother was alone at the house when the fire broke out at about 3 PM. His mother called for help. However, the fire gutted six rooms on the third storey along with all belongings by the time the fire service reached the spot.
The cause of the fire is believed to be a short-circuit.
While the other two stories housed shops, the third one was Rohit’s home.
The district administration has given Rs. 20,000 as a relief to the victim family.
Sirmaur Tragedy: 7-year-old mauled to death by pack of stray dogs
Shimla: In a spine-chilling incident, a pack of about half-a-dozen stray dogs on Saturday attacked and mauled a 7-year-old boy in Amarkot village in Paonta sub-division, Sirmaur district, Himachal Pradesh. As per the initial reports, the brutal attack by the dogs inflicted severe injuries on the head, throat, and neck.
On hearing the cries of the boy, the nearby people rushed to rescue the boy. However, dogs were so aggressive that they bit a couple of these people too.
The boy succumbed to the injuries on the way to the hospital. The boy was identified as Vikki, son of a migrant labour of Uttar Prades. The family was heart-broken after their piece of heart died a horrible death.
The head of the Amarkot village, Rakesh Mehraloo, said repeated complaints were made regarding the growing stray dog menace to the administration. Rakesh told media that some incidents of attack by stray dogs were also reported previously, which were also brought to the attention of the administration.
The administration, however, turned a blind eye towards the complaints and did not take any measure to solve this grieve issue, he said.
If the administration had acted timely, such a horrific incident could have been prevented.
It is pertinent to mention that the state government has also ignored the provision of dog-shelters and showed lackadaisical attitude in regular sterilizing of stray dogs.
Rest, the littering of food waste attract stray dogs and facilitate their reproduction, leading to such a nightmare.
The incident has created panic among the residents about the safety of their children.
Drought-like situation haunts Himachal as no rain, snow in stock, HP DM holds emergency meeting
Shimla: As snow and rain continue to evade the peak winter season in Himachal Pradesh, which is already facing 49 percent post-monsoon rain deficiency, the State Disaster Management called a meeting to embraces for the impact of the drought-like situation in the State.
Today, the maximum day temperature in the capital Shimla was recorded at 19 Degree Celsius while the day was hottest for Una at 27 Degree Celsius.
While a debate over the role of global warming behind erratic changes in the weather can also be heard, the Met Department blamed the western disturbances, which, it said, are not strong this year, hence, there is no precipitation.
The nigh temperature in winters remains close to seven to nine Degrees Celsius, which is four to five notches above from the average temperature witnessed during this time of the year. If the same pattern continues for the next two weeks, then it will not only hit the Rs. 20,000-crore apple industry but the tourist influx too.
The apple growers need moisture and several hundred chilling hours to ensure ample apple crop, and this year they are short of the required chilling hours.
The apple production, which was over 850 metric ton in 2011, has already been reducing.
Other crops like green almonds, tomatoes, pears, apricots, cabbage, cauliflower etc will also be affected due to dry weather.
The hoteliers and ski resorts are witnessing fall in tourist influx as the chances of snowfall are scarce.
Meeting of HP Disaster Mangement
In wake of the drought-like situation, the Principal Secretary (Revenue and Disaster Management) Onkar Chand Sharma held a meeting with senior officers of various departments including the Deputy Commissioners of all 12 districts video conferencing.
Onkar Sharma said the government has analyzed entire rainfall data of all districts. It was found that there is a deficiency of 49 percent in the State (post-monsoon).
The meteorological department has predicted chances of scattered to moderate rainfall during 23-24 January 2018. Except that, the weather is likely to remain mostly dry until January 22 and January 25 onwards.
However, the government said that the state has received ample rainfall during December 2017, therefore, the Rabi crops and the drinking water supply are unaffected so far.
The Disaster Managment will prepare a contingency plan to combat the drought-like situations, said the Secretary.
There are 45 labs of the IPH department for the testing of drinking water supply, he informed.
The Deputy Commissioners were asked to ensure water quality testing randomly up to the subdivision level and arrange water tankers in water-scarce areas as well as fodder for livestock.
All the districts were also directed to take remedial measures to stop contamination of drinking water sources. Besides it, the Secretary directed super chlorination in all districts to prevent water-borne diseases like Jaundice.
Special Secretary, Revenue and Disaster Management Shri D.C. Rana, Director, Indian Meteorological Department Shri Manmohan Singh, Chief Engineer of IPH Department, senior officers from Horticulture and Agriculture also attended the meeting.
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