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Kotkhai CBI probe: IG Zaidi, DSP with 6 others arrested, remanded to police custody

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hp police ig arrested

Shimla: As the biggest and a stunning development in the ongoing investigation of in the gangrape and gruesome murder of a minor girl in Kotkhai region of Shimla district so far, the Central Bureau of Investigation on August 29 arrested eight Police officials of Himachal Pradesh including Zahur Zaidi, Inspector General of Police and Manoj Joshi, Deputy Superintend, Theog.

It’s for the first time in the history of Himachal that an IG rank official was arrested.

Zaidi was the head of the Special Investigation Team of HP Police that had investigated the rape and murder case.
These arrests were made in relation to the custodial death of one of the accused Suraj Singh at the Kotkhai Police Station on July 18, 2017.

The arrests have come as a huge blow to the credibility of the State police and government. The others arrested officials include a Sub-Inspector and then SHO, Kotkhai, an ASI, three Head Constables and one Constable.

The arrested accused were produced in the competent court in Shimla on August 29. The court remanded them to police custody till September 4, 2017.

The HP SIT had earlier arrested six accused in this case claiming the case was solved and all the accused were behind bars. These accused included Ashish Chauhan (29), Rajinder Singh (32), Subash Singh Bisht (42) Surat Singh (29), Lok Jan (19), and Deepak (38). Suraj and Lok Jan were Nepalese laborers who were working in the orchard of a wealthy and renowned apple grower of the region.

Out of these, Suraj Singh was killed under mysterious circumstances in police custody. The local police had put the blame on a co-accused Raju of killing Suraj inside the lockup.

CBI had registered two cases on July 19, 2017, following orders issued by the State High Court (in CWPIL No.88 of 2017). CBI had taken over the investigation of two cases filed by the local police.

First case (FIR No. 97 of 2017) was earlier filed at Police Station, Kotkhai on July 6, 2017, under Sections 302, 376 of IPC & Section 4 of POCSO Act relating to gangrape and murder of a minor girl whose naked dead body was found in the forest of Halaila in Kotkhai region same day.

The second case (FIR No. 101 of 2017) was filed at the same police station on July 19, 2017, under Section 302 of IPC relating to the custodial death of one of the accused arrested by the HP Police SIT.

Photo: The Tribune

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HP Met Predicts More Thundershowers/Hailstorm, Issues Orange Alert for June 5 and 6

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Himachal pradesh weather prediction july 2020

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Meteorological Department, Shimla, has issued a yellow alert for June 4 and an orange alert for June 5 and 6.

During this time, the State is expected to receive wide-spread thundershowers with lightning, hailstorm and gusty winds (40-50 kms/h) at isolated places.

Intermittent rains from 26 May onwards have caused a sharp dip in the average temperatures. On June 3, various parts of the State including Aghar, Nahan, Mandi, Rajgarh, Baldwar, Kasauli, Dharampur & Pandoh, Kufri, Kahu, Bhuntar, Jogindernagar, Bharmaur, Bilaspur, and Solan received rains and hailstorm.

At the time of writing several parts of the State were receiving a moderate spell of rain.

Himachal PRadesh weather prediction for july

According to the Met, the temperature was recorded to be below average in the State for this time of the year. The average maximum temperature in Himachal on June 3 was recorded to be 5 to 6 degrees Celsius below normal, and the minimum temperature was 3 to 4 degrees below average. The minimum temperature in Shimla was recorded to be 12.3, compelling people to wear warm clothes. A spell of heavy rain and hailstorm hit Shimla yesterday. Una recorded the highest temperature at 34.8 degrees Celsius and Keylong lowest at 8 degree Celsius.   

Further, this wet spell is likely to continue till June 9 except for June 8.

In lower-hills, the rain has brought respite from the heat but the weather has been bothering apple/fruit growers as their season is nearing. Hailstorm and gusty winds have inflicted heavy damage upon their crops, implying financial losses, which could increase in the coming days considering the Met Department’s prediction.

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HP Cabinet Decisions: Nod to Amend Income Criteria for Scheme for  Houseless & to Form ‘State Disaster Mitigation Fund’

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Himachal Pradesh Cabinet Meeting Decisions on June 4, 2020

Shimla-A meeting of the Himachal Pradesh Cabinet was held on June 4, 2020. Various decisions were taken including a consent to amend the income criteria for eligibility of 3/2 Biswas land in Rural/Urban areas of the State to houseless persons/families by enhancing it from existing Rs. 50,000 to Rs. one lakh per annum, so that more people could get the benefit of this scheme.

The Cabinet also gave nod to constitute 6th State Finance Commission. The Commission will review the financial position of the panchayats and urban local bodies and make recommendations to the Governor regarding measures needed to improve the financial position of these panchayats and urban local bodies determination of taxes, duties, tolls and fees, grants in aid to panchayats from the consolidated Fund of the State and any other matter regarding sound finances of the Panchayats and urban local bodies.

The Cabinet also decided to increase the honorarium of Jal Rakshaks/Para Fitters and Para Pump Operators in Jal Shakti Vibhag by Rs. 300 per month. With this increase, now Jal Rakshaks would get Rs. 3300 per month whereas Para Fitters and Para Pump Operators would get an honorarium of Rs. 4300 per month.

The Cabinet accorded its approval for procurement, supply and distribution of school bags under Atal School Vardi Yojna to the school students of 1st, 3rd, 6th and 9th classes on e-tender basis through Himachal Pradesh State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd. for the year 2020-21. The Government said it would benefit 2,56,514 students of these classes.

It decided to create a State Disaster Mitigation Fund and approved the guidelines for the administration of the Fund under Disaster Management Act, 2005 and Rules, 2011 to meet the expenses on mitigation, as preparedness and response activities are covered under a separate fund known as State Disaster Management Fund.  Under this Fund, 20 percent of the State Disaster Risk Management Fund would be used for mitigation, which comes to Rs. 90.80 crore for the current financial year. Besides, funds worth Rs. 50 crores have also been recommended for managing Seismic and Landslide Risks in hill States from National Disaster Mitigation Fund to the State.

It gave its consent to establish a Silkworm Seed Production Centre at Thunag in Mandi district alongwith creation and filling up of four posts of different categories to man this Centre.

The Cabinet accorded its nod to open a new Government Polytechnic Institute in Sulah Vidhan Sabha area of Kangra district alongwith creation and filling up of 29 posts of different categories to manage this institution.

It decided to create and fill up three more posts of different categories in Civil Hospital, Tihra in district Mandi for its smooth functioning.

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HP Health Dept Scam: Vigilance Probe an Eyewash, ‘Medical Mafia’ Given Time to Destroy Evidence, Alleges CPI(M)

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Himachal PRadesh Health department scam vigilance probe

Shimla-The alleged scams in the Health Department of Himachal Pradesh Government in the purchase of medical equipment like PPE kits, ventilators, sanitizers etc. in a time of a pandemic has shocked the people. Alleged corruption in the Government Departments has come as a shock because during an emergency like corona pandemic when the positive cases are still spiraling upward in the State, it was expected that corrupt officials and politicians would spare the people as it was about their lives.  

Also Read: HP Health Dept Scam: Accused Director Granted Bail

The State Government led by the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur might have ordered a probe into the scam but questions are being raised over the authenticity of these investigations as influential politicians from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have been linked to these scams.

Also Read: Official Suspended in ‘HP Secretariat Sanitizer Scam’

The opposition, some senior leaders of the ruling party, MLAs, and activists in the State are of the opinion that the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau is just another tool under the State Government. Chief Minister Jairam Thakur is running the Health Ministry, and the sudden resignation of BJP Chief Rajeev Bindal after a week the scam came to light has already raised several questions.

Also Read: HP Health Dept Scam: There is More to It Than Just Alleged Bribery

The opposition Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have been expressing fears of biased investigations in which justice won’t be served. Both had been demanding transfer of the case to the State High Court. Congress has already submitted a memorandum regarding the same to the Governor. On June 3, 2020, Theog MLA Rakesh Singha with a delegation of CPI(M) also met the Governor with a demand of transferring the case to the State High Court for a fair probe.   

In its memorandum, the party said that there is prima facie evidence to establish the failure of the government to prevent corruption in the purchase of vital health equipment required to combat corona pandemic. 

Also Read: HP Health Dept Issues Clarification Over Alleged Irregularities in ‘Ventilator Purchase’

In the memorandum, the party cited several reasons to convince the Governor that the Vigilance Inquiry instituted by the HP Government is just an eye wash.

Following are the reasons/facts cited in the memorandum:

(Note: The below-given information has not been edited by Himachal Watcher and published as mentioned in the memorandum)

  1. The Vigilance investigation failed to take steps between 21.05.2020 and 25.05.2020 to siege relevant documents, question the possible chain of culprits, and take relevant persons in their custody when one of the accused Dr. AK Gupta was allowed admission in IGMC. In fact, it is with the tacit approval of the Vigilance that the accused was permitted to avoid investigation at the earliest point of time and opportunity was given to the “Medical Mafia” to destroy relevant evidence available. Political Powerful of the ruling party are remote controlling the Corruption Gangsters.
  2. It is indigestible that Mr. Prithvi Singh the Marketing Manager of Apex Diagnostics and Former President (SC Morcha) BJP, District Sirmour was not taken into custody under the provisions of Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption (Amended) Act 2018. He has been given preferential treatment for obvious reasons.
  3. The of the Vigilance team is determined to exonerate the accused, which is evident from the fact that by examination of the purchase of various items essential for dealing COVID19 pandemic would have unearthed another corruption deal of the 10 ventilators purchased by the Health Department. Which, as per the report of the Danik Jagran, the so-called ventilator were purchased for approximately Rupees Ten lacs each while the same ventilator cost approximately Rupees 3 lacs only. Had it not been for the vigilante media, this vital fact would also have been brushed under the carpet.

Moreover, historically the organ of Vigilance department has been used as a tool by successive governments:

(i) To dilute the obvious resentment of the people whenever corruption cases are brought to light by the media, by competing groups attempting to corner the fruits of corrupt practices, or unearthing corrupt deals by progressive forces in the society.

(ii) To shield the corrupt but at the same time create illusions amongst the people that the government is serious on the issue of corrupt practices and the culprits would not be spared.

“ You are also well aware under the era of crony capitalism the nexus of the corporate, bureaucracy and politicians needs to be smashed to save the system from a total collapse which is heading towards given the depth and intensity of the crises which is the visible world over,”

the memorandum stated.

Therefore, the party requested the Governor to intervene under the special  powers bestowed  on his honorable office  by the Constitution  of India to direct the government  on specific  issues i.e.:

  1. To direct the Government to hand over the corruption case of purchase of medical items and equipment (e.g. Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs), sanitizers etc.) being investigated by the Himachal Pradesh Vigilance department to the Hon’ble High Court for appropriate directions as well as investigations.
  2. To direct the Himachal Pradesh Government to place all fund collections received by it for combating COVID-19 pandemic in the public domain by publishing a white paper.
  3. To advice the Government to constitute an Ethical Committee for approval of all medical equipment purchased for dealing with COVID-19 as mandated per the Medical Devices Rules, 2017 and abide by the guidelines of the Drug Controller General of India in relation to items which fall within its purview. The system should be placed to put all the details of purchases, tenders and stock be placed in the public domain, preferably on Government web site.

 

 

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