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Hoshiar Singh row: Court orders CBI probe as it finds police investigation unconvincing

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CBI probe in hoshiar singh case

Mandi: The probe into the mysterious death of forest guard Hoshiar Singh in Seri-Katanda beat of the Karsog division, Mandi district was complete for the Himachal Pradesh Police and the State Crime Investigation Department (CID). However, the police has failed to convince the State High Court that a fair probe was conducted and it was indeed a case of suicide.

A division bench comprising of acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Sandeep Sharma has eventually ordered a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to unearth the truth.

If the police probe was found fraudulent, more police officials would be joining ex-Inspector General of Police, Zahur H Zaidi, and seven other police officials, who were arrested by CBI on August 29 over the alleged custodial killing of Suraj Singh – one of the accused in the Kotkhai rape and murder case.

The court had taken suo motu cognizance of the case on June 20 after public outrage in Karsog region that was spreading to other parts of the state. People have even formed a dedicated platform, Siraj Manch, under which several protest rallies were organized. The Manch and the relatives of late Hoshiar Singh had been demanding a CBI probe as they did not trust the local police and the government.

The CID and police had been investigating the case for over 100 days since the discovery of the body of the deceased guard on June 10, 2017.  The guard was missing since June 5.

It is pertinent to mention that CID and police claim to have completed the probe in which it was established that Hoshiar had committed suicide as an insecticide containing Chlorpyrifos and Cypermethrin was found in his body.

Six people including forest officials were arrested based on the information extracted from two pieces of paper and a diary. As per police, these papers were suicide notes. In these notes, Hoshiar had made stunning revelation regarding a strong nexus of the forest department with forest mafia.

The forensics confirmed that the handwriting matched with that of Hoshiar.

Four more people of the same family were arrested in August based on the videos and photographs recovered from Hoshiar’s mobile phone.

However, the amicus curiae appointed by the state High Court raised several questions and pointed out serious loopholes in the probe. The probe did not explain why the body was hanging upside down from a tree in a half-naked condition and whether the poison was self-administered or Hoshiyar was forced to consume it.

However, without investigating the facts related to administration of poison, police had told the court that it was a case of suicide.

The amicus had questioned the police that the guard had reportedly consumed rice, cereals, and salad at the house of a TGT teacher on July 5. As per postmortem report issued on July 10, these components were found undigested on the day of postmortem. Normally, the human body takes five to six hours in order to digest a meal.

Hence, the probe could not establish the accurate day and time of the death of the deceased, which is very crucial to the investigation, had said the Amicus.

The court had asked the police to convince it why the case should not be given to CBI for a probe. The agency was given ample time, but it failed to convince the court as several questions were still unanswered.

At the same time, the state forest department is also under the scanner for its inaction despite discovering evident proofs of illegal felling of the trees in the Karsog division. The department had conducted an internal inquiry and recovered hundreds of stumps and wood of illegally felled trees.

Questions were raised in court as to why the department did not make any progress in internal inquiry despite solid evidences against its officials.

The state government is allegedly evading action against the officials of the department for the fear that the allegations labeled by people and the oppositions will be proved right in that case. The polls for the state legislative assembly are hardly two months away and the state government is already facing public wrath in the Kotkhai rape and murder case.

The state government has been maintaining that the state police and CID are capable of conducting a fair probe in the case. However, the transfer of the case to the CBI had come as huge blow to the credibility of the state law enforcement agencies.

People are now hopeful that Hoshiar will now get justice.

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HP JCC Meeting 2021: New Pay Scales for HP Govt Employees, Regularization Period Reduced Two Years

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HP Govt JCC Meeting 2021 decisions

Shimla: In the meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) of the Himachal Pradesh Non-Gazetted Employees Federation, Himachal Pradesh Government on Saturday announced new pay scales for the employees of the State Government with effect from 1 January 2016. The pay of January 2022, would be payable in February 2022 as per revised pay scales.

The HP Government also announced a reduction in the period of contractual employees of the State Government for their regularization from three years to two years.  He said that one-one year would also be reduced for regularization/daily wages conversion in respect of daily wage employees, part-time workers, water guards and water carriers etc.

All the pensioners and family pensioners would also be given revised pension and other pensionary benefits from 1 January 2016. The Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief would be given on revised pay scales and revised pension/family pension.  These new pay scales and revised pension would put an additional burden of Rs. 6000 crore annually on the State exchequer.

Implementation of New Pension System   (Invalid Pension and Family Pension )  from 15th May 2003 according to Office Memorandum dated 5 May 2009 of Central Government to the employees of the State Government was also announced. This would put an additional burden of about Rs. 250 crore on the State exchequer.

Further, release of additional Rs. 10 crore for clearance of pending medical reimbursement bills was also announced.

The HP Government also announced that a committee would be constituted for appointment on compassionate grounds under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary. The Committee would give its presentation in the next Cabinet Meeting.  The Government said it would also consider providing a tribal allowance to daily wage and contract employees serving in the tribal areas of the State.

The NPS employees would now have the freedom to choose any Pension Fund for investment for ensuring better returns. Till now, the government said, these employees have to invest in only those Pension Fund selected by the Government. All the NPS employees were being provided Death-cum-Retirement Gratuity benefits and now the Government has decided to provide Gratuity to NPS employees deprived of this benefit from 15th May 2003 to 22nd September 2017.

The State Government said it was spending about 43 per cent of its total budget on employees and pensioners which would increase up to 50 per cent after the implementation of the 6th pay Commission. During the last about four years, the State Government said, it had enhanced the DA of employees and pensioners of the State by 22 per cent and financial benefits of Rs 1320 crore were provided to them. Two instalments of IR of 12 per cent were also provided to them, thereby providing the benefits of Rs 740 crore, the state government said.

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Shimla Police Nabs Escaped Murder Accused from Tara Devi Forest After Two Days

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Shimla Police has nabbed the undertrial accused of murder who had escaped from the custody of policemen on Wednesday. The accused was re-captured from the forests near the Tara Devi temple after a search operation of two days. The teams of police used drone cameras and search dogs in this search operation.

On November 17, 2021, Dadi Ram aka Sagar (37) – a Nepalese who was booked for the rape and murder of his mother-in-law on July 31, 2020, in Theog, Shimla district, and was kept at the Model Central Jail Kanda – had ditched two policemen near Tavi mod (curve) while he was being taken to the court for a hearing. He had jumped down the forest and was at large since then.

CCTV footage from a nearby building had also appeared in which the accused was seen escaping the custody of policemen. The incident had drawn flak for the Shimla Police, and several questions were raised on the working of the police. The people raised various questions; like why a murder accused was not handcuffed? Why the police didn’t use a vehicle to take him to court?

According to the district police, after the accused escaped, teams of police from Boileauganj and other concerned police stations were formed and deployed in re-capturing him. The teams also included jawans from the 6th India Reserve Battalion and Rapid Action Force. Alongwith search operations in Forests around Taradevi and Shoghi, checking of buses and vehicles at barriers and trains was also conducted regularly.

As per the police, on November 19, 2021, the accused was spotted in the forest near Tara Devi through a drone camera. The teams of police cordoned the forest and searched for the accused. Eventually, the teams succeeded in capturing the accused. He has been brought to the Boileauganj police station.  

 

 

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Negligence of HP University in Mark-Sheet Evaluation Allegedly Costs One Year Loss to Student, HC Issues Notice to Varsity on PIL

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Shimla-Himachal Pradesh University is again in the news after a student of Government College, Hamirpur, filed a Public Interest Litigation in the State High Court alleging loss of one year to his career due to negligence of the varsity in evaluating his answer sheet.

It’s pertinent to mention that, varsity administration, especially Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sikandar Kumar, is already under fire for allegedly tweaking rules to allow admission of his ward and wards of a couple of other officials to PhD by bypassing mandatory entrance exams/NET/JRF.

In the current case, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Sabina issued notices to the Registrar and the Controller of Examination of  HP University, Shimla.

As per the petitioner, Keshav Singh, he was a student of B.Sc (Maths) in the Government College, Hamirpur, for the session 2017-2020. He appeared in the examination for the 5th semester in November 2019.  In February 2020, he appeared in IIT Jam and scored 40.33 marks out of 100 and became eligible to get admission in M.Sc(PG Course) NIT.

However, in June 2020, the results of the 5th semester were declared and he was given only 5 marks out of 70 in one of the subjects, due to which he could not get admission to the NIT.  He has further said that he had a good academic record and attempted most of the questions in this exam. He applied for rechecking of his paper.  After re-checking, 42 marks were enhanced and he scored 47 marks in that subject. But the re-evaluation result was declared after counselling for the M.Sc. By that time, all the seats were filled up and he couldn’t get an admission.

Though he again cleared the exam for  IIT Jam, 2021, the student alleged that the mental harassment and mental distress he faced was irreparable. He lost one year during the era of this cut-throat competition and thousands of people overtook him, he said. He also alleged that due to negligence of the respondent University, he remained deprived of investing his one year for making his career bright as he could not attend any counselling of IIT/NIT JAM and could not fill up any forms for any competitive exam. For this loss,  the varsity is liable to pay compensation to him, he pleaded.

The petitioner has prayed in the court to direct the respondents to pay him adequate compensation and to adopt a fair and proper manner of checking the answer sheets so that in the future no one faces the same situation as has been faced by him.

The HP High Court directed the respondents (varsity) to file their reply within three weeks and posted the matter for December 8, 2021.

 

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