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After BJP MLA booked for forgery, now sitting MP charge-sheeted in corruption case

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BJP Virender kashyap sting operation

Earlier on January 4, 2018, sitting MLA of BJP, Jeet Ram Katwal, was booked for alleged forgery

Shimla: Another state leader of Bhartiya Janata Party in Himachal Pradesh is in trouble in relation to the alleged case of bribery that dates back to 2009.

Earlier on January 4, 2018, sitting MLA of BJP, Jeet Ram Katwal, was booked for alleged forgery in providing information sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The Chotta Shimla police station has registered a case of forgery on January 4, 2018, under Section 465, 466 and 469 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)on the complaint of Pratap Singh Verma.

As another jolt to the BJP, which had made the corruption charges against then Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh a major issue before the recent assembly elections.

The sitting Member of Parliament from Shimla and BJP leader, Virender Kashyap, has been charge-sheeted in a case relating to a sting operation conducted by a TV channel on April 20, 2009 assembly polls. The sting had created a huge political controversy back then.  

The BJP came to power in the State right after the sting broke out and Kashyap also won the elections on a BJP ticket. The case was allegedly hushed up by the district police, Solan, due to political pressure.

However, owing to the petition filed in the High Court by an RTI activist, Dev Ashish Bhattacharya, the case was re-opened in 2013.

Let us remind you that in the newly elected Legislative Assembly of Himachal Pradesh include 22 MLAs who are facing criminal cases. As per a report of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), two of the 21 Congress MLAs and 18 of the 44 BJP MLAs and 1 CPM MLA and one of the two independent MLAs have declared criminal cases against them in their affidavits.

About Virender Kashyap Sting Operation

As per the reported contents of the CD of the said sting operation conducted by a TV channel, Kashyap was seen allegedly accepting a packet of money in exchange of some favour.

As per the audio, it was an alleged bribe from a private party about setting up of an educational institution. However, Kashyap was not holding any official position at that time.

After the sting created a huge political drama, Kashyap claimed that he had found the money in the hotel saying someone might have forgotten it there. A BJP party-worker even handed over the money to the local police next day.

The matter was allegedly hushed up initially, but ruling BJP government had to order an inquiry in 2010 under pressure. The Solan police formed a special team in February and filed a probe report on March 2

The police findings claimed no offence was committed by Kashyap. As expected, the BJP leader was given a clean-chit.

Later in 2013, Dev Ashish Bhattacharya, an RTI activist, challenged the finding of the inquiry conducted by the government in the court. The division bench comprising Justice D.D. Sood and Justice Kuldeep Singh had quashed the investigation report of the police.

In the same year, the court had also served a notice to Kashyap to file a reply within four weeks.

The activist had alleged that the police gave the BJP leader a clean chit without forensic testing like matching the audio with the voice-sample of Kashyap. He alleged the district police did not conduct a fair probe due to high political pressure.  

On gaining back the power in 2012 assembly polls, the Congress government also ordered a probe by the Vigilance Department.

The Vigilance sent the said CD for forensic testing. After receiving positive results, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau filed an FIR under Section 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988.

Now, the District and Session Court, Solan, has finally framed the charges against the sitting MP.       

The MP, however, is still refuting the charges and calling it a conspiracy.

The State Congress party, which faced a humiliating defeat in the 13th assembly polls in 2017, has found it as an opportunity to poke the BJP government over the corruption charges on the sitting MP and FIR against a sitting MLA.

The Congress is questioning the silence of the BJP over the said case.

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Himachal: Daily New COVID-19 Cases Crosses 1000 Mark, State Govt Directs Admins & Police to Show Strictness in Implementing SOPs

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Himachal Pradesh daily COVID-19 update april 12

Shimla– Reeling under the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Himachal Pradesh continues to report a huge surge in daily new cases and fatalities. On Monday, the state recorded 1089 cases – the highest in 24 hours this year. Nine more people succumbed to the infection, taking the COVID-19 death tally to 1111. Highest three deaths were reported from Una district, followed by Mandi (3).  View more details on fatalities below:

covid-19 deaths

Kangra district reported the highest 249 cases, followed by Solan (166), and Lahaul-Spiti (114). Find more district-wise details below:

himachal pradesh covid-19 surge

Source: HP NHM

Today’s cases also include former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Virbhadra Singh, who tested positive. Earlier, his son Vikramaditya had also tested positive for COVID-19. Pertinent to mention that Vikramaditya Singh had campaigned in the Municipal Corporation elections that were concluded on April 7. 

Further, 18 cases were reported from Pine Grove School, Solan. 

The state government, which had been mostly showing a casual approach towards the surge since the beginning of the second wave of the pandemic, is now coming hard on it in its review meetings.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur is now asking elected representatives of the local bodies to ensure that the people strictly follow the SoPs regarding temples and marriages.  The PRI members are being directed to motivate and advise the old people, those with co-morbidity to avoid going to public places as they are most prone to this virus.

“Such persons must be reverse quarantined meaning that their movement outside their houses should be minimized to the extent possible,” Chief Minister today said.

Yesterday the state government had made it mandatory for people arriving from seven high load states to carry RT-PCR negative report. The decision would apply from April 16 onwards, the government had decided.  However, he had added, that the state would remain open for tourists.

Chief Minister has asked the representatives of the PRI to keep an eye on the people visiting from other State, particularly from the high load states.

“As far as possible such people must be asked to remain in home quarantine for 10 to 14 days and getting themselves tested for COVID-19 and should not mix with the general public of the area,” he said.

The Transport Department was directed to ensure the sanitization of buses and other public transport.  Shopkeepers were told to strictly follow the ‘No Mask, No Service’ policy. Private bus operators were also asked to properly sanitize their buses and also ensure plying buses without overcrowding.

District administrations were asked to ensure that social functions such as marriages etc. strictly follow the maximum limit prescribed for such events.

Chief Minister said that action if required could be taken against the violators.

The District administration of Kullu district was directed to ensure that all the tourists visiting the district strictly follow SoPs issued from time to time. He told the administration that all the guidelines need to be followed and implemented strictly.

He said that the Ayurveda Department must also provide ‘kada’ to the patients under home isolation. The Police Department was directed to ensure that no casualness be adopted by the tourists, particularly in tourist spots such as Manikaran, Kasol, Manali etc.    

Deputy Commissioner Mandi Rugved Thakur, informed that 1,33,878 total sample done in the district, active cases were 443 and positivity ratio was 8.25 percent and fatality rate 1.2 percent. He said that 51 per cent cases in the district were from urban areas.

 

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HP Govt Makes RT-PCR Negative Report Mandatory for People Arriving from Seven States

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entry of tourists in himachal pradesh

Shimla-Tourist movement to Himachal Pradesh is likely to get hit during the peak season as the state government has made it mandatory for people of seven high load states viz. Punjab, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh need to carry 72-hour prior RT-PCR negative report while visiting the State. The restriction would apply after April 16th.

The decision came after Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, who had been insisting that there would be no restriction on tourist movement to avert economic losses to the tourism industry, held a review meeting amid a massive surge in new cases and deaths.  

The state government has decided to allow tourists to visit the State, but at the same time, hotel owners and tourists should strictly adhere to the SoPs, Chief Minister said.

“The virus was spreading at a fast pace which was the biggest concern. During the last 45 days, the State has reported 10,690 new covid cases. 120 deaths were reported in the State during the last 45 days,” he said.

Over 900 new cases with 12 fatalities were reported on Saturday only.  On Sunday, according to the Health Department’s daily update, the state recorded 512 new cases. 

Pertinent to mention that Maharastra, Delhi and a few other states had been suggesting that a complete lockdown could be imposed if the high rate of resurgence continued in the coming days.

Though the Chief Minister had been maintaining that lockdown would be the last resort, the tone appears to be changing with the worsening of the COVID-19 situation.

Further, laying stress on twin strategy for testing, tracing and treatment with effective surveillance of micro containment zones, Chief Minister said that greater emphasis must also be laid on RT-PCR tests to achieve the target of 70 percent RT-PCR tests.

He said that the State Health Department must also take steps to increase bed capacity to meet out any eventuality.

Meanwhile, no restriction has been put on the devotees visiting various temples in the State during the Navratri festival.

The government said no overcrowding would be allowed in buses and other public transport and private vehicles. Wearing face masks even in vehicles must be enforced strictly.

Chief Minister, who faced widespread criticism over violation of SOPs during the political campaigning for elections to the Municipal Corporations, blamed laxity shown by the people for a sharp resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the State.  

 

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Himachal Pradesh: 662 New Cases & 7 Deaths in 24 Hours, Over 4500 Cases & 55 Deaths in 9 Nine Days

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Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 report

Shimla– The number of new daily COVID-19 cases and deaths in Himachal Pradesh was reported to be 662 and seven respectively on Friday till 7 pm. Kangra district reported the highest 165 new cases and four fatalities, while Sirmaur, Shimla, and Mandi recorded one fatality each.

View details of COVID-19 deaths below:

Daily covid 19 deaths

Source: HP NHM

Solan followed Kangra district with 132 new cases.

Find district-wise details of new cases below:

Daily COVID-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

Source: HP NHM

The COVID-19 case and death tallies have now reached 68173 and 1090 respectively. In April, the state has recorded a huge surge in cases. In the nine days of this month, the state has recorded 4568 new cases and 55 COVID-19 deaths – a rate of more than six deaths per day.

The state government today reviewed the situation in its Cabinet meeting and expressed concern. However, no restrictive measures were taken except extending the closure of all educational institutes till April 21.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had been maintaining that a lockdown would be the last resort.

Further, the state government today said that to make vaccination people’s movement, 11th to 14th April may be celebrated as ‘Teeka Utsav’.

The government said that the biggest matter of concern was that the virus was spreading at a fast pace. In addition to this, the number of death has also increased rapidly. All the districts have been advised to enhance their capacity be it bed capacity, quarantine capacity and medical equipment capacity etc.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said that strict action must also be taken against those involved in gross violation of SOPs. He said that the hoteliers must also strictly follow the SOPs so that the State Government may not be forced to take action. He said that laxity shown by the people has resulted in sharp resurgence of Covid cases in the State.

It’s pertinent to mention that during the campaigning for the elections to Municipal Corporations, all parties and their leaders including the Chief Minister violated all SOPs without attracting any action. The parties also faced criticism for ignoring public health for the sake of political interests, thus, setting wrong examples for the public.  

Feature Image: Pexels@polina-tankilevitch

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