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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.

Campus Watch

HPBOSE +2 Exam Results Declared, Private Schools Grab Top Positions in All Streams

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HPBose results 2019

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh School Education Board, Dharamshala, on April 22, 2019, has declared the class 12th result, examination for which was held between 6 to March 29, 2019.

As per the Board, out of total 95,492 students appeared in +2 for science, commerce and arts streams, 58949 students passed the exam and 16102 were placed under compartment. The overall result dropped to 62.1 % from 70.18% in 2018 and 72.89% in 2017. Total 49, 136 male students appeared in the exam and 28,375 passed it.  Among total 45,784 female candidates, 30, 574 cleared the exam.

Students of private schools have grabbed the top positions in all the streams. However, the number of students of government schools is reported to be higher than private schools in the merit list.

In Arts, Ashmita Sharma (DAV School Una) became the topper by obtaining 482/500 (96.4%) marks.  In Science, Anil Kumar (Sai Star School Dhalpur, Kullu) secured the first position by obtaining 493/500 (98.6%) marks. In Commerce, Preeti Birsanta (Career Academy School, Nahan) topped with 494/500 (98.8%) marks.

Candidates can visit the HPBOSE official website to check their results. However,  with the declaration of the results, the official website of the HPBOSE has become non-responsive due to high traffic.

Students can also check the result via SMS. One can send a message to 56263 — HP12 <space> roll number to access the result via text message. In addition, the results are also available HPBOSE’s partner websites like examresults.net and indiaresults.com

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Kotkhai Custodial Death: After Zaidi, Ex-SP Shimla DW Negi Gets Bail Too

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dw-negi-granted bail in custodial death

Shimla-Ex-Superintendent of Police, Shimla, DW Negi, who is an accused in the custodial death in Kotkhai’s Gudiya case, is also out on bail after Ex IG Zahur H Zaidi. Zaidi was granted bail by the Supreme Court of India on April 5, 2019. He had pleaded to the court that over 19 months have passed since the filling of charge-sheet but nothing was proved in the trial so far.

On April 18, Justice Sureshwar Thakur of Himachal Pradesh High Court, granted bail to DW Negi on the same pretext. He appealed to the court that CBI has recovered nothing from him in relation to the case. Now, the chances are high that remaining seven accused police officials would also get bail using the same argument.

The conditions of his bail included furnishing personal bond in the sum of Rs 3 lakhs and two local sureties. He would have to deposit his passport with the CBI. He will have to co-operate in investigation whenever the agency requires him.

A three-member team of CBI had arrested Negi on November 16, 2016, and was in jail since then. Before Negi, CBI had arrested ex-IG Zaidi and seven others on August 29, 2016.  All seven accused police officials were booked in relation to alleged conspiracy and custodial death of a Nepalese labourer Suraj.

Suraj was among the six initial accused arrested by Zaidi-led Special Investigation Team that was formed to probe alleged gang-rape and gruesome murder of a 16-year-old school going girl in July 2016. Later, when the case was transferred to CBI, the agency found that these six accused were innocent and were framed under a police conspiracy.


CBI had filed a chargesheet against the SIT members, I.G. Zahur H. Zaidi, D.S.P Theog Manoj Joshi, the then SHO Kotkhai Rajender Singh, ASI Deep Chand Sharma, Head Constables Surat Singh, Mohan Lal and Rafiq Ali and constable Ranjit Singh was filed in the special CBI court in November 2017.

The accused were charged under Section 302, 330, 331, 348, 323, 326, 218, 195, 196, 201 and 120 B. The chargsheet contains 600 pages including annexes and statements of about 50 eyewitnesses.

While granting Zaidi a bail, the Apex Court had stated in its order that;

  …Our attention has been drawn to the allegations against the accused-appellant and that he is in custody for the last 19 months. Though the accused-appellant is facing charge under Section 302, we are told that the trial has not made substantial progress beyond the framing of the charge. Completion of trial will take some time…

…the period of custody suffered and likely time that may be taken for completion of trial, we are of the view that the accused appellant should be released on bail in connection with FIR No.RC SI 2017 S0009 CBI/SC-I/New Delhi, on satisfaction of the appropriate condition(s) as may be imposed by the learned trial court…

The CBI had also pleaded in the court to shift the hearing of the case from H.P High Court to Delhi High Court for expeditious disposal. The Court did not adhere to this request and observed that the same would be considered after hearing all the accused.

Further CBI had also raised doubts that if the police officer was granted bail, he could influence and intimidate witnesses in the case as he was a high-rank police official. To this, the court observed that this cannot be a reason to deny bail at this juncture, and if such incidence comes to light then it is always open for CBI to apply for cancellation of Bail in the competent court.

The reason of delay in trial with a remark that nothing substantial had been done in the case after framing of charge had come to a major blow to the CBI.

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India’s Rank in World Press Freedom Index Drops to 140 in 2019, Report Points Out Hindutva and Nationalism Agendas

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India in world press freedom index 2019 report 2

The 2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has been released today. As a matter of huge concern in the list of 180 countries surveyed, India has dropped down to 140th position from last year’s 138.  Norway was ranked at number one.

India has been placed close to Pakistan at 142, and Bangladesh at 150.

The overall findings showed hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear. The number of countries regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media

As per the Index, threats, insults and attacks are now part of the “occupational hazards” for journalists in many countries.

“In India, where critics of Hindu nationalism are branded as “anti-Indian” in online harassment campaigns, six journalists were murdered in 2018,”

the RSF said in its Index.

Violence against journalists – including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters, and reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt politicians – is one of the most striking characteristics of the current state of press freedom in India, the report said.

As per the RSF report, at least six Indian journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2018. A number of doubts surround a seventh case. These murders highlighted the many dangers Indian journalists face, especially those working for non-English-language media outlets in rural areas.

“Attacks against journalists by supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi increased in the run-up to general elections in the spring of 2019. Those who espouse Hindutva, the ideology that gave rise to Hindu nationalism, are trying to purge all manifestations of “anti-national” thought from the national debate,”

the report said.

“The coordinated hate campaigns waged on social networks against journalists who dare to speak or write about subjects that aggravate Hindutva followers are alarming and include calls for the journalists concerned to be murdered. The campaigns are particularly virulent when the targets are women,”

the report noted.

Further, the RSF report said that the emergence of a #MeToo movement in the media in 2018 has lifted the veil on many cases of harassment and sexual assault to which women reporters have been subjected. It also said that criminal prosecutions are meanwhile often used to gag journalists critical of the authorities, with some prosecutors invoking Section 124a of the penal code, under which “sedition” is punishable by life imprisonment.

 The mere threat of such a prosecution encourages self-censorship.

Coverage of regions that the authorities regard as sensitive, such as Kashmir, continues to be very difficult. Foreign reporters are barred from Kashmir and the Internet is often disconnected there,

RSF report said.

It also suggested that when not detained, Kashmiri journalists working for local media outlets are often the targets of violence.

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