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Kotkhai CBI Probe: Sentry given police security, CM’s IT Cell grilled

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Kotkhai Rape CBI Probe

Sentry, Dinesh Sharma, who was on duty at the Kotkhai Police Station on the night accused Suraj was killed in the police custody, is provided with police security as the CBI fears threat to his life.

Shimla: The investigation in the Kotkhai gang rape and murder case is witnessing sudden twists soon after the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a fresh status report in the Himachal Pradesh High Court on August 17, 2017.

CBI has finally reached the IT Cell advisor to the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in relation to the pictures of four persons posted on CM’s Facebook page. These photos were later deleted and the four persons were given clean chit by the police.

Photos of Kotkhai rape suspects

Edit history of the CM’s FB post shows four images were deleted

Officially CBI has confirmed nothing, but sources say the agency is trying to ascertain the source of these photos. How CM’s IT Cell ended up with posting these photos as suspects and then deleting them? Who sent these photos to the IT Cell?

Reports are coming in that CBI teams have conducted simultaneous raids yesterday on the houses of the persons in these photographs, who were identified as Prashant alias Happy and Ishan. It implies, CBI is keen to establish the relation of the case with these suspects.

CBI fears threat to life of Sentry Dinesh

Another big development in the probe is that the Sentry, Dinesh Sharma, who was on duty at the Kotkhai Police Station on the night accused Suraj was killed in the police custody, is provided with police security as the CBI fears threat to his life.

The Superintendent Police, Shimla, Soumya Sambasivan, confirmed that a constable was deployed for the same.

The statements of Dinesh are said to have put some officers of the HP Police SIT and Shimla Police under the scanner of the CBI. Police had claimed that Raju, a co-accused, had murdered Suraj on the night of June 18, 2017.

The entire staff posted at the police station was suspended next day and riots had erupted in the Kotkhai region. Outraged by the killing of the accused in custody, locals had vandalized and set the police station on fire after chasing away the police personnel.

Contrary to his previous statement, the Sentry reportedly gave CBI a different statement. Dinesh said he was on three-hour duty that night and Raju and Suraj were in the same lockup.

However, Dinesh said he did not see Raju killing Suraj during his duty hours. As per media reports, Dinesh told CBI that Suraj was taken to separate place by the Station House Officer.

When the CBI inquired Dinesh why he had given a different statement previously, he told the agency that his signature was taken on a pre-scripted statement.

His statement is believed to have landed some high-rank State Police officers in serious trouble. Therefore, CBI fear there is a considerable threat to the life of Dinesh.

As per a local Hindi daily, a DSP and ASI, who were investigating the case before the formation of the Special Investigation Team, were taken to Delhi for questioning in connection to the case.

CBI has also filed an appeal in the court for conducting a Narco-analysis test on all accused.

The case is haunting the fate of the ruling government in the upcoming legislative assembly polls and the credibility of the State Police.

Locals and the family of the victim believe the police tried to shield the real culprits and framed some laborers as a piece of meat. The suspicion of the people was fueled after four pictures appeared on the CM’s FB page and one of the accused killed in police custody.

The monsoon session of the assembly has begun on August 22 and the opposition is expected to create rucksack over the Kotkhai case.

Misc News/Press Release

IIT Roorkee Proposes Earthquake Early Warning System for Himachal

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Earthquake Early Warning System for Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-Seismic hazard in Himachal Pradesh is very high as the maximum area of the state lies in the Himalayas, which is one of the most seismically active regions in the world. A developed Earthquake Early Warning System could be an effort in the direction to mitigate the seismic hazards in the state.

Therefore, IIT Roorkee has sent a proposal to the State Government to establish an Earthquake Early Warning System(EEW). IIT Roorkee has already installed such Earthquake Early Earning System in Uttarakhand with the help of State Government, which is running very effectively by generating a database of earthquake events, generating public awareness and detailed research on seismic activities.

According to IIT Roorkee’s proposal, Himachal Pradesh may put earthquake sensors in different parts of the State which will detect earthquake activities in real-time. The warning may be communicated to the general public by a network of sirens. If the earthquake has its epicentre in Kangra or Mandi regions, the people in the State Capital may get lead time to take action say by 30 to 35 seconds.

Similarly, the expected lead time to the major cities if 1905 Kangra earthquake repeats in the region would be Solan 42 seconds, Mandi 20 seconds, Dalhousie 8 seconds, Dehradun 77 seconds, Chandigarh 43 seconds, Ludhiana 37 seconds, Amritsar 38 seconds, Panipat 93 seconds and Delhi 123 seconds.

Timely action may save many lives if there is an earthquake in the State in future and such an early warning system is in place and institutionalized and such EEWS will help generating a database of earthquakes in the state and generating mass awareness on earthquake safety.

Regarding this proposal, a meeting to develop Earthquake Early Warning System in Himachal Pradesh was held under the Chairmanship of Principal Secretary Revenue and Disaster Management Onkar Chand Sharma today.

After detailed deliberations, Onkar Sharma said that the State Government may consider and more discussion will be held to take up this proposal.

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Misc News/Press Release

HP Excise and Taxation Department Collects Rs. 6421.55 crore in 2018-19 Financial Year: Govt

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HP Excise and Taxation Department tax collection for 2018-29

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Excise and Taxation department collected Rs. 6421.55 crores towards government ex-chequer during the financial year 2018-19 against the target of Rs. 5860.63 crores.   The department has collected Rs. 1159.74 crores up to May 2019 during current fiscal. This information was released by Principal Secretary (E&T) Sanjay Kundu.

Kundu stressed on the need to run special campaigns for the realization of arrears due under all heads so that more revenue could be added to government ex-chequer. He also directed to work for plugging loopholes and leakages at all levels.

While expressing concern over pending arrears, he directed the department to take a fresh look at the provisions of Excise and Toll policy to make it more effective and realistic to achieve and secure higher revenue. He exhorted to make the excise policy more tourist-friendly by amending the relevant provisions and also by securing the government revenue. 

He emphasized conducting intensive and adequate training programmes for capacity building and to emulate the best practices and models available in the country.

He directed that the department should adopt a more proactive approach for revenue enhancement under Goods & Services Tax Act. The departmental officers in the field should take more interest in tax collection from the service sector in co-ordination with various government departments.

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Campus Watch

HPU VC Faces Backlash After Varsity Releases PG Merit List Without Settling UG Results

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ABVP Protest at HPU against suspension 3

Shimla– The Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh Univesity, Sikander Kumar, is facing backlash from students after he made the varsity a laughing stock by releasing merits list for PG classes without completely declaring and settling results of UG classes.

Both student organisations, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Student Federation of India (SFI) are up in arms against the VC, alleging him of incompetence to handle the affairs of the varsity properly. Also, both students organizations have been alleging the varsity of irregularities in admissions to P.hD and MCA.  

The students are alleging that not only the dictatorial attitude of the VC mentally harassing thousands of students across the state but also harassing those students who are protesting against prevailing disorder and irregularities in the working of the authorities.

It’s pertinent to mention that the varsity on Thursday suspended 10 members of the ABVP for staging protest over delay and irregularities in the UG results due which students were facing huge inconvenience.

ABVP, during another protest on July 19, termed it a dictatorial and one-sided action aimed at suppressing the voices protesting against corruption and the harassments students were facing.

SFI also criticized this action of the varsity. Irrespective of the organization to which they belong, SFI condemns the suspension of these students who were protesting against prevailing disorder at the campus, said SFI campus secretary Jeevan Thakur.

Today, ABVP staged another protest over the suspension of its members at the campus in which students laid down on the ground pretending to be dead bodies, terming it a symbolic representation of the future of students.

ABVP Protest at HPU against suspension5

The students warned that a movement similar to JP Narayan of 1975 that was organized to end the emergency like situation would be re-created against VC’s dictatorship.  ABVP demanded to revoke the suspension of 10 students and properly declare the UG results. The organization warned that if the varsity does not accept these demands, a massive protest would be organized on July 22 – the foundation day of HPU. Chandel has warned that not even the Chief Minister would be allowed to enter the varsity campus on that day.

ABVP Protest at HPU against suspension6

SFI also alleged the current VC of adopting a completely dictatorial attitude towards students and raised questions over the working of the varsity authorities.

The varsity failed to settle the results of the sixth semester of UG classes by July 19. The students are compelled to visit the varsity themselves to get their results corrected. Moreover, without settling UG results, the varsity has released the merit lists of the entrance exams for PG classes, said SFI.

It said the VC is more concerned about protecting his staff responsible for creating disorder and indulging in corrupt practices. Letters with false allegations against them were being sent to the parents of those students who were taking part in protests, which is leading to mental harassment of both students and parents, SFI alleged.

Students are being treated like captives in hostels. Even 24×7 library was made inaccessible to students. The inter-hostel outing in girl hostels was also suspended, said SFI.

The campus president of SFI Vikram Thakur alleged that the varsity is consistently depriving students of their democratic rights. He urged the students to unite in order to end this dictatorial attitude of the VC.

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