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Already on bail, CM Virbhadra gets another setback from High Court in IT-returns case

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Virbhadra Singh IT Returns case

The entire ‘bumper crop” episode was just a fabrication. As per allegations, it implies that there were no additional apples produce in fact. If there were no apples, then nothing was transported to the market and nothing was sold.

Shimla: The HP Assembly polls are around the corner but the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who has already been on target of multiple investigation agencies, opposition, and even a group of own party-men over the alleged corrupted charges, did not appear to find any respite from any side. 

The only relief had come in May 2017, when the Central Bureau of Investigation court had granted Virbhadra and his wife Pratibha Singh in nearly Rs 10 crore disproportionate assets case. 

Now, as an another jolt, the state High Court on October 5, 2017, rejected Chief Minister’s plea challenging the orders passed by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT).

On March 18, 2014, the Income Tax Commissioner had rejected the fresh assessment of income tax returns of the Chief Minister pertaining to the 2009-2010 financial year.

Previous to 2009, the CM’s returns were between Rs 10 lakhs-Rs 20 lakhs. But in 2012, Singh filed revised income tax returns of Rs 6.5 crore from agricultural income over a period of three years ( Rs 2.21 crore in 2009-’10, Rs 2.8 crore in 2010-’11, and Rs 1.55 crore in 2011-’12.)

The assessing authority had accepted the revised returns, but the IT Department did not.

The CM had claimed the rise in income was a result of a bumper harvest of the apple crop.

The allegations said the documents showed that apples were shipped on scooters, oil tankers and motorcycles to a non-functional market. These apples were then sold to unknown firms with non-existent addresses.

In nutshell, the investigating agencies allege that the entire ‘bumper crop” episode was just a fabrication. As per allegations, it implies that there were no additional apples produce in fact. If there were no apples, then nothing was transported to the market and nothing was sold.

The allegations are that the Chief Minister tried to convert his black money into white by showing it as agricultural income.

The CM challenged the orders in IT Commissioner. On December 8, 2016, the Tribunal too upheld the Commissioner’s order.

The CM moved the High Court with a plea to quash the ITAT orders. However, now the court has also upheld the ITAT orders.

On rejection of the revised income tax returns filed by him, Virbhadra had termed it a “politically motivated” move. Virbhadra Singh had been maintaining that these cases are falsely framed to damage his political reputation.

Virbhadra had even alleged that the Income-tax Tribunal was set up by the Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley and two special judges were sent from Delhi to hear his case.

Recently, the CM had remarked that Prime Minister Narender Modi loves him so much that he has engaged three investigation agencies to probe one case against him. 

He had maintained that he would file an appeal in the High Court and also in the Supreme Court if the need arose.

Other than the IT-Department, the Central Bureau of Investigation had also filed a FIR against the CM based on these allegations.

Th Enforcement Directorate (ED) under union finance ministry followed the development and registered a case of money laundering against him, his wife and others in 2015. The ED alleged that Virbhadra Singh used “bogus entries” for transfer of the ill-gotten money.

In September 2017, a special court had confirmed the attachment of this farmhouse worth 27. 29 crore located in Dera Mandi near Mehrauli of south Delhi area under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The political campaigns of the opposition have been mostly feeding on the corruption charges against the CM. The fresh development in the case is likely to boost the trend.

Photo Courtesy: File Photo/Virbhadra Sing/FB

Misc News/Press Release

COVID-19: Kangra Crosses 300 Mark, Over 30 Including Policemen Quarantined After Rape Accused Tests Positive in Una

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Himachal pradesh rape accused test covid positive in una

Una-The Amb police station in Una district was sealed and over 30 people including policemen were home-quarantined after a rape accused tested positive for COVID-19. According to the initial information, the police had nabbed the accused in Tarn Taran, Punjab, on July 9 and brought him to the Amb police station. SP, Una, Karthikeyan Gokulachandran confirmed the report.

On Saturday, 11 new cases were reported in Himachal Pradesh. On Friday, the State had reported 31 new cases. On Sunday, two new cases were reported from Chamba district till noon. The COVID-19 tally for the State has now jumped to 1184, of which 262 are active cases, 898 cured, nine died, and 13 migrated to outside the state.

In Kullu district, after a COVID-19 case was reported from Ward Number 7 of Kullu Municipal Council, the district administration has sealed area falling between Loarn, Khalada road on the northern side and Sarwari Khad on the southern side and declared it as containment zone. The remaining area of the ward has been declared as a buffer zone.

 Earlier, the police line in Solan district was sealed and about 30 policemen were quarantined after two constables tested positive on Friday. Their samples were taken as part of routine sampling, and it was yet to be ascertained as to how they got infected. SP, Solan, Abhishek Yadav, confirmed the report.

 ESI Hospital, Parawanoo, was also sealed after a doctor tested positive. The doctor is believed to have contracted the disease while taking samples for testing.  

According to the official statistics released by the State Health Department on July 11 (9 PM), a total of 98367 persons have been tested for COVID-19 in the state. Currently, 20392 persons are under active surveillance.

District-wise, Kangra has reported highest 303 cases, followed by Hamirpur (272), Solan (177), Una (138), Chamba (61), Shimla (55), Bilaspur (51), Mandi (38), Sirmaur (42), Kinnaur (35), Kullu (8), and Lahaul-Spiti (4).

HP Health Department’s Daily COVID-19 Bulletin (12 PM) for July 12, 2020

Latest Himachal Pradesh corona updates

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Read HP Cabinet Decisions on Hike in Bus Fare, UG Exams, School/College Admissions, Jobs & Others

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Himachal Pradesh cabinet meeting july 10, 2020

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Cabinet has given an approval to hike bus fare by 25 percent in the State.  The decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting held on July 10, 2020. The Transport Minister, Govind Singh Thakur, said a notification regarding the same would be issued soon. Private bus operators had been demanding hike in fares since the opening of public transport services. Most of the private transporters had declined to resume service with the State Government’s condition of 60 percent occupancy. The government had later allowed plying of public transport with 100 percent capacity, but the private bus operators still pressurized the Transport Minister to hike the bus fare.

Though the official notification was yet to be released, the decision has already begun to face resistance from the people and oppositions.

The State unit of Indian National Congress, Shimla Nagrik Sabha and Communist Party of India have released statements questioning the timing of the decision. Former Mayor of Shimla, Sanjay Chauhan, termed this decision against the public interests as a hike has been made when the majority of people are going through a financially tough time due to the lockdowns in wake of coronavirus outbreak.

Further, Nagrik Sabha said that the private transporters and HRTC staff should have been provided relief by the state government but instead, the burden has been put on the public, which is not justified. About 70 percent of people employed in private sector and small businesses are partially or completely hit due to the corona pandemic, the Sabha said. 

UG Final Year Exams and School Admissions

Further, the Education Minister, Suresh Bhardwaj, informed that the Cabinet has given nod to the Education Department’s proposal to start admissions in government schools and colleges from 13 to 25 July. The admissions in schools/colleges would facilitate the students who have passed Class 10 and Class 12. Students can apply for admission online, telephonically, or by physically visiting the schools/colleges, he informed.

Regarding the examination of the final year of under-graduation and post-graduation would be held in August (after 16th) and September respectively. The Minister said that according to the new guidelines issued by the UGC, it would be mandatory to conduct examinations for the students of last semester/year of under graduation. The examination could be conducted at centres or online, the Minister said. In case the students are not able to appear in the examination at the colleges and universities, they would be given a facility to appear in the exam in nearby centres. In case, some students fail to appear in the examination due to some genuine reason, another chance would be given to such students to take the examination in the same academic year.

However, no decision was taken regarding the examination of the first and second years students of under-graduation. In case it is decided to promote students of these years, the criteria would be set after further discussions, the Minister informed. 

Job Opportunity for Eligible Unemployed Candidates

The Cabinet also gave its nod to the draft policy for engaging ‘Part-Time Multi Task Workers’ in government schools. It will initially provide an opportunity for 7852 eligible unemployed candidates to earn honorarium at the local level. These workers will be paid an honorarium of Rs. 31.25 per hour for six hours per day for ten months in an academic year.

State Cabinet approved the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Himachal Pradesh (Amendment) Rules, 2019. The government said it would extend the provision of ‘Fixed Term Employment Workman’ in respect of industrial establishments under their domain as per provisions of Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 and Rules made thereafter. This would offer the ‘Fixed Term Employment Workman’ the same statutory benefits as were being proportionately given to regular workers, thus, decrease the exploitation of contract workers as the employer would directly hire the workers without any mediator in the form of contract for a fixed term, the government said.

Other Cabinet Decision of HP Govt

The Cabinet gave its approval to Himachal Pradesh Ease of Compliance to Maintain Register under various Labour Laws, Rules, 2019.

It granted its approval to adopt CPWD works Manual 2019 and other publication of CPWD in Himachal Pradesh Public Works Department.

It decided to open new Horticulture Division in Public Works Department at Shimla. The government said that all the existing Sub-divisions of the Horticulture would be brought under the administrative control of this Division. This new Horticulture Division would help build green roads by ensuring roadside plantation and slope stability activities through bio-engineering technology.

The Cabinet gave its consent to establish a training academy centre at Barchwad in Sarkaghat area of Mandi district to train those youth who are willing to join Indian Army/Navy/Air Force and other paramilitary forces to serve the country.

It decided to enhance the honorarium of part-time water carriers engaged in Elementary and Higher Education Departments of the State Government by Rs. 300 per month from Rs. 2400 to Rs. 2700 per month.

The Cabinet decided to provide a monthly ‘Loktantra Prahari Samman Rashi’ of Rs. 8000 per month to those persons who have undergone 1-15 days incarceration and Rs. 12000 per month to those who have undergone 15 days or above incarceration during the emergency between 25th June 1975 to 21st March 1977 under MISA –Maintenance of Internal Security Act and DIR-Defence of India Rules as a token of respect to them for standing up for democracy and fundamental rights of the people.

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‘Airborne Transmission’ of Coronavirus Can’t be Ruled Out, Especially in Crowded, Poorly Ventilated Spaces: WHO

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coronavirus Airborne

Geneva-It’s already known that COVID-19 spreads primarily through small droplets expelled from the nose and mouth of an infected person. But these droplets, according to previous studies, sink to the ground after travelling in the air for a few meters.

However, after 239 scientists in 32 countries wrote to it regarding evidence of airborne transmission of coronavirus in their studies, the World Health Organizations finally acknowledged this possibility and updated its guidelines regarding “Modes of Transmission” on Tuesday.

In the newly added information, WHO said that outside of medical facilities, some outbreak reports related to indoor crowded spaces have suggested the possibility of aerosol transmission, combined with droplet transmission, for example, during choir practice, in restaurants or fitness classes.

“In these events, short-range aerosol transmission, particularly in specific indoor locations, such as crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces over a prolonged period with infected persons cannot be ruled out,”

the WHO said.

“These theories suggest that a number of respiratory droplets generate microscopic aerosols (<5 µm) by evaporating, and 2) normal breathing and talking results in exhaled aerosols. Thus, a susceptible person could inhale aerosols, and could become infected if the aerosols contain the virus in sufficient quantity to cause infection within the recipient,”

the WHO added.

At the same time, the Organization said that further studies are needed to determine whether it is possible to detect viable SARS-CoV-2 in air samples from setting.

Further, the Organization acknowledged that airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can occur during medical procedures that generate aerosols (“aerosol-generating procedures”).

The Organization said that getting infected through airborne mode can be prevented when precautions are appropriately used, including the wearing of medical masks as a component of the personal protective equipment (PPE). 

An experimental study quantified the number of droplets of various sizes that remain airborne during normal speech. However, the authors acknowledge that this relies on the independent action hypothesis, which has not been validated for humans and SARS-CoV-2. It also said that another recent experimental model found that healthy individuals can produce aerosols through coughing and talking, the WHO said. 

This acknowledgement has worried the scientific community that on hearing that the virus can spread through the air, health workers and the people could get panicked.  In this panic, the requirement of better PPEs like N95 masks could increase, leading to a shortage for the developing countries.  

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