Pune News

Maharashtra: Tele callers dupe man on pretext of mobile tower installation
Times of India | 14 hours ago
Times of India
14 hours ago

PUNE: The Vishrantwadi police are investigating a complaint registered by a 32-year-old jobless man on Sunday stating that tele callers duped him to the tune of Rs 27,460 on the pretext of installing a mobile tower on his plot at Daund near Pune in December last year. “The tele callers called Suyog Adhav a resident of Bhairavnagar in Dhanori and told him that a mobile company had planned to install a mobile tower on his property. The callers lured him by saying that the company will pay a deposit of Rs 15 lakh and will pay monthly rent of Rs 12,000 to him,” said inspector (crime) Vijay Shinde on Monday. Shinde said, “The tele callers instructed Adhav to deposit registration fees among other charges of Rs 27,460 for finalising the deal and collected photo copies of his voters card and Aadhar card. Adhav did not meet the tele callers in person and nor did he verify their credentials and nor did he contact the company for verifying details. Believing them to be genuine representatives of the firm, Adhav transferred money via e-wallet in the tele caller’s bank account.” Adhav later realised that he was cheated because the callers continued to make money demands. An FIR relating to cheating was registered under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act,” he added. Adhav was not available for comments when TOI staffer contacted him on phone.

Maharashtra: Tele callers dupe man on pretext of mobile tower installation
MSEDCL to set up 2 EV charging stations in Nashik city
Times of India | 1 day ago
Times of India
1 day ago

Nashik: The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) will be setting up two electrical charging stations in the city where people can get their electrical vehicles (EVs) charged. An MSEDCL official said, “One of the charging stations will be set up at the sub-station on Indira Nagar-Pathardi road in the city and the spot for the second sub-station is being finalized.” He added, “The criteria for setting up the charging station is being discussed. It is mainly for visitors who are coming to Nashik in an EV. As such Indira Nagar-Pathardi area is one sport where the EV charging station with multiple ports will be set up and the second likely be on Gangapur Road area which is abuzz with the movement of the tourists.”The official added that people using two or four-wheeler electric vehicles could avail the charging facility by paying appropriate charges. “The MSEDCL has been appointed as nodal agency for setting up the electrical charging stations. Also, another EV charging station is being constructed at Maharashtra Road Transport Corporation’s Nashik division office. The station will enable charging of Shivai buses that could soon start running between Nashik and Pune,” the official said. Besides, several more charging stations are being planned by private players who are demanding the setting up of infrastructure on their premises. The interested parties will have to provide all the necessary documents after which EV charging station would be set up.

MSEDCL to set up 2 EV charging stations in Nashik city
Pune police bust group of cellphone thieves from Jharkhand targeting Pandharpur Wari pilgrims
The Indian Express | 1 day ago
The Indian Express
1 day ago

The Pune Rural police have busted an interstate gang of cell phone thieves comprising six people, including three minors, from Jharkhand, who had come to Pune to target pilgrims during the Pandharpur Wari Palkhi processions, said officials Sunday.The three arrested suspects and three minors belong to a village in the Seraikela Kharsawan district of Jharkhand. The arrested suspects have been identified as Somra Nagar Mori, 26, Akash Dilip Mori, 25, and Chandan Nagar Mori, 22. According to the police, they have recovered as many as 101 stolen cell phones worth around Rs 14 lakh.On June 24, a team from the Daund police station responded to a call about a cell phone theft from the Amar Society in Daund taluka of Pune district. A team led by inspector Vinod Ghuge launched a probe based on the clues available from the theft.Over the next day, the police arrested three people and detained three minors who were believed to be part of the gang active in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Jharkhand.Inspector Ghuge said, “The arrested suspects have said that they had come to Pune particularly during the time period of Pandharpur Wari to steal cell phones from the Wakaris who participate in the Palkhi processions.”The police probe suggests that the suspects have also stolen cell phones from places like Itarsi in Madhya Pradesh and Bhusaval, Nagpur, Jalgaon, Nashik, and Amravati in Maharashtra and some places in Jharkhand.Before this, the Pimpri Chinchwad police arrested as many as 55 people, including 12 women, suspected to be involved in petty thefts and robberies which took place during the Palkhi processions. They were arrested by police teams comprising personnel who were disguised as Warkaris.

Pune police bust group of cellphone thieves from Jharkhand targeting Pandharpur Wari pilgrims
"Traitors" Won't Be Forgiven: Sena Workers Protest Against Party Rebels
Ndtv | 1 day ago
Ndtv
1 day ago

In view of the rally, the Mumbai police tightened security in the city.Mumbai/Pune: Amid the ongoing political crisis in Maharashtra following a rebellion by senior Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde and others, the loyalists of party president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray took out a two-wheeler rally in Mumbai and held protests in parts of Pune against the dissident leaders on Sunday.Sena workers and its local functionaries, led by the Pune city unit president Gajanan Tharkude, staged 'jode maro' (hit with footwear) protests at two places - outside Balgandharva auditorium and in Kothrud - and raised slogans against the rebels.The party workers were seen hitting Mr Shinde's photo with footwear."These protests are meant to put out a message that Shiv Sainiks will not forgive the traitors," Mr Tharkude said.Party corporators, local office-bearers and workers took part in the agitations, he said, adding that a two-wheeler rally was also organised in support of Mr Thackeray.On Saturday, Sena workers, led by corporator Vishal Dhanwade, had vandalised the office of rebel MLA Tanaji Sawant in Katraj area for "betryaing" chief minister Thackeray.Meanwhile, in Mumbai, a large number of party workers, including women, assembled outside the office of 'Saamana', Shiv Sena's mouthpiece, at Prabhadevi and took out a two-wheeler rally raising slogans against Mr Shinde and rebel MLAs.A Sena supporter, who took part in the rally, said, "Hindutva is with Uddhav Thackeray. If rebel MLAs have to say anything, then they should come to Mumbai instead of sitting in Guwahati.""Shiv Sena belongs to Balasaheb Thackeray. Nobody else can stake claim to it. We are here to support Uddhav Thackeray," another party worker said.In view of the rally, the Mumbai police tightened security in the area, an official said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comMeanwhile, a signboard carrying the name of Byculla MLA Yamini Jadhav, who is one of the party rebels, was found blackened. The board is positioned under the Byculla bridge, a police official said.(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

"Traitors" Won't Be Forgiven: Sena Workers Protest Against Party Rebels
Pune police begin crackdown on illegal banners, hoardings in city
The Indian Express | 2 days ago
The Indian Express
2 days ago

Pune city police have initiated action against illegal hoardings and banners in the city. A press release issued Saturday stated that as many as 1,400 illegal hoardings and banners were identified in the Pune city limits.Pune News1Pune police begin crackdown on illegal banners, hoardings in city2Pune: A celebration of writing and reading at DAV Public School’s literature conclave3Pune Municipal Corporation elections: Woman voters outnumber men in 6 wardsMore from PuneThe city police, along with the Pune Municipal Corporation authorities, have initiated legal action against these illegal hoardings and banners, it said. Amitabh Gupta, Commissioner of Pune city police, has appealed to citizens to inform the police at control room number 112 if they find any illegal hoarding against which action hasn’t been taken. Express SubscriptionDo not hit the wall, subscribe for the best coverage out of India starting at just $5 per monthSubscribe NowThe city police, along with the Pune Municipal Corporation authorities, have initiated legal action against these illegal hoardings and banners, it said. Amitabh Gupta, Commissioner of Pune city police, has appealed to citizens to inform the police at control room number 112 if they find any illegal hoarding against which action hasn’t been taken. Express SubscriptionDo not hit the wall, subscribe for the best coverage out of India starting at just $5 per monthSubscribe Now

Pune police begin crackdown on illegal banners, hoardings in city
Rebel camp confident of favourable ruling as Maharashtra political tussle looks headed for court: Key points
Times of India | 2 days ago
Times of India
2 days ago

NEW DELHI: The Maharashtra assembly deputy speaker has summoned 16 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs on a disqualification petition. They have been asked to respond by Monday. But the rebel camp is confident that the ruling will go in its favour if the matter lands in court. The Shiv Sena in an executive committee meeting on Saturday authorised party chief Uddhav Thackeray to take action against the rebel MLAs led by Eknath Shinde. Both sides are doubling down on their respective positions, as Maharashtra stares at a protracted political turmoil. Congress leaders Balasaheb Thorat and Ashok Chavan met NCP chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai this morning. Maharashtra political crisis live updatesHere are the latest developments from the unfolding political saga in Maharashtra: Sena activists demonstrate against rebels in Mumbai, Pune Despite prohibitory orders in place, Shiv Sena workers hit the streets in large numbers for a bike rally to protest against the rebel MLAs outside the Saamana office in Mumbai. In Pune too, Sena workers vented their anger against Eknath Shinde and his loyalist MLAs. Pune, Maharashtra | Shiv Sena workers hold 'joote maro andolan' against rebel Shiv Sena MLAs https://t.co/fFvLrtIJM2— ANI (@ANI) 1656223717000No provision for split, merger only option for Shinde: ExpertsFormer principal secretary (legislature secretariat) Anant Kalse felt that the Shinde camp’s homework on the anti-defection law was grossly inadequate, while retired Justice B G Kolse Patil said that the Shiv Sena leader has been trapped and it may not be possible for him to come out of it. Former speaker Arun Gujarathi and former minister Eknath Khadse said that in the days to come, Maharashtra will witness a long-drawn legal battle involving the deputy speaker, governor and the election commission. Read AlsoMaharashtra political crisis: Eknath Shinde, state may be staring at long-drawn legal battleA senior NCP leader said since merger is the only option before Shinde, it will not be a smooth affair.Rebel camp confident of a favourable court rulingRebel Sena MLA Deepak Kesarkar, who is in Guwahati, told TOI that the group supporting Eknath Shinde will move the Bombay high court early next week to challenge the decision of Uddhav Thackeray to replace Shinde from the party chief whip’s post and to appoint a new MLA to the post. “We will be moving court by Monday or Tuesday. Our group has the backing of the majority of Sena legislators. We are confident the court would give its verdict in our favour,” Kesarkar added, stating the rebel group would also make a similar move if the 16 MLAs are disqualified. Read AlsoFighting to save Sena from MVA’s crocodile grip: Eknath ShindeAttempting to tighten the screws as reports emerged on Saturday that Shiv Sena’s rebel MLAs may have to merge with another party to escape anti-defection laws, Sena MP Sanjay Raut tweeted after the party resolution, “If they want to ask for votes it should be in their father’s name, not inProhibitory orders in Mumbai till July 10The prohibitory orders issued by the city police under section 37 of the Mumbai Police (MP) Act in the first week of June, ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections, will continue to remain in place till July 10. It bans the assembly of five or more persons at one place. With tempers running high among Shiv Sena workers following the rebellion by party leader Eknath Shinde, the Mumbai police have deployed its personnel at the city-based offices of various political parties and leaders, including ministers, MLAs and MPs, and their residences as a security measure, an official said on Saturday.

Rebel camp confident of favourable ruling as Maharashtra political tussle looks headed for court: Key points
16 districts in Maharashtra bank on RAT more than RT-PCR
Times of India | 2 days ago
Times of India
2 days ago

PUNE: Sixteen districts in Maharashtra continue to bank on Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits more than the RT-PCR tests despite the recent rise in Covid-19 cases and the weekly positivity rate touching 11%. The government had mandated that the RT-PCR kits should be used more for Covid tests. Unless the RT-PCR tests are conducted, the positive samples cannot be sent for genome sequencing. A state health official said genome sequencing was critical at the current situation when the Covid cases ware slowly and steadily rising. Though the spike in cases is largely restricted to Mumbai, Pune, Raigad, Palghar and Thane, all other districts of Maharashtra have been directed to step up testing to find out if the Omicron sub-variants were detected in samples from those districts. The official said data revealed that districts such as Ahmednagar, Nashik, Satara and Jalgaon were carrying out more RAT than RT-PCR tests this week (See graphic). Ahmednagar collector RB Bhosale told TOI that the district had “enough laboratories” to carry out RT-PCR tests. “Many citizens on their own are using the RAT test kits. We have directed officials and also the laboratories to ensure that citizens opt for RT-PCR tests if they have Covid symptoms,” he said. The official said people found Covid positive following the RAT tests should also carry out the RT-PCR tests. A periodic analysis of the cases was necessary with respect to time, location and person to help the authorities formulate localised action plans. “Geographical distribution of the cases is important to find out the clusters,” state surveillance expert Dr Pradip Awate said. State additional chief secretary health Dr Pradeep Vyas has sent out a letter to the districts to increase testing and follow the WHO mandate of 140 tests per million or 980 tests per million each week. Districts such as Amravati carried out 833 tests out in a week, while Nandurbar was way behind at 409. A Nandurbar official said the administration had sent out teams to vaccinate people and check for any Covid symptoms in them.

16 districts in Maharashtra bank on RAT more than RT-PCR
College of Engineering, Pune, Asia’s third-oldest engineering institute, is now a public university
Times of India | 2 days ago
Times of India
2 days ago

PUNE/MUMBAI: The College of Engineering, Pune, Asia's third-oldest engineering institute, will now be called CoEP Technological University, stated a Maharashtra government notification to award the college a public university status. Accordingly, the institute will no longer remain affiliated to Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) and students who enrol at CoEP Technological University from 2022-23 academic year will receive their degree certificates whenever they pass out of CoEP University. As a result, the focus will be on integrated M.Tech, PhD, B.Tech-MBA courses and the aim would be on research and skilling. The June 21 Maharashtra government's notification stated, "In exercise of the powers conferred by the sub-section (2) of section 1 of the Maharashtra CoEP Technological University Act, 2022 (Mah. XXXV of 2022), the Government of Maharashtra hereby appoints June 21, 2022 to be the date on which the said Act shall come into force." CoEP was granted the total autonomy for academic, administrative, managerial, and financial aspects, by the state in 2003-04 with the appointment of late Dr. F.C. Kohli as chairman of the board of governors of the institute in 2004. The officiating director of CoEP Technological University, Mukul S. Sutaone, said, "We will fill 100% of the seats through the state's entrance exam. But for the additional capacity, we will admit students nation-wide via JEE. That will improve our geographical and cultural diversity," said Mukul Sutaone, officiating director of COEP. "After two years, which means aspirants are informed well in advance, we may shift to admitting candidates only through the JEE. We may also conduct our own entrance test." The state minister of higher and technical education, Uday Samant, in February 2020, had constituted an empowered committee, headed by Sanjay Dhande, a former director of IIT-Kanpur, for the articulation of the draft Act for conferment of State Unitary Technological University status to CoEP. In February 2022, the committee submitted the draft to the government of Maharashtra for conferment of the university status to CoEP through enactment by state legislation. The draft was passed as Bill in both the legislative houses of the state on March 25, and the Bill was endorsed as Act by the governor of the state on May 11. The university which now has an additional student intake capacity of 25%, will admit candidates based on the JEE scores to improve its classroom diversity. The first year intake is 630 and additionally, there is a supernumerary quota, which takes the total undergraduate capacity to 800; with the additional 25% seats, the number goes up to 1000. The number of postgraduate seats is 600, but the varsity has not sought any increase in capacity at that level. With the university status, COEP plans to go in for an administrative overhaul. That apart, it has adopted the school structure by combining departments. "We have also decided to offer the integrated MTech programme. The student who joins after grade XII completes MTech by spending five years. Also, an integrated MBA will be offered," said Sutaone.

College of Engineering, Pune, Asia’s third-oldest engineering institute, is now a public university
Covid data not uploaded due to technical glitch in state
Times of India | 2 days ago
Times of India
2 days ago

Mumbai: A ‘technical glitch’ kept Maharashtra’s daily Covid tally low on Saturday even as the latest genome sequencing report of 364 Covid-positive samples from Mumbai revealed that Omicron’s BA.2 and its offspring BA.2.38 are dominant (90%) variants in the city. State surveillance officer Dr Pradip Awate said Covid data could not be uploaded on the ICMR website due to technical glitches. Maharashtra, which recorded 4,000-5,000 cases a day, had 1,728 cases, including 840 in Mumbai. Experts held BA.2.38 sublineage responsible for the present Covid surge in the state. The survey also found 23 cases of the newer BA.4 and BA.5 variants of Omicron in Mumbai. With this, Mumbai’s tally of BA.4 and BA.5 cases has increased to 28, followed by Pune (15), Nagpur (4) and Thane (2). “BA.2.38 has been detected in other Indian cities as well,”' said BMC executive health officer Dr Mangala Gomare. “As these variants have an Omicron lineage, the new infections are milder,”' she said. When BA.2.38 was found in Pune, experts had said that it’s leading the surge. BMC doctors said as their clinical analysis of BA.2.38 samples is not complete, they cannot say if it’s responsible for the surge.State Covid task force member Dr Rahul Pandit said the surge was also the result of people’s failure to wear face masks and dropping Covid antibody levels almost six months after the third Omicron wave in January.tnn

Covid data not uploaded due to technical glitch in state
Maharashtra: Covid-19 hospitalisations rise, but still nowhere near 3rd-wave level
Times of India | 2 days ago
Times of India
2 days ago

PUNE: Covid-19 hospitalisations have gone up in some parts of the state (including Pune and Mumbai), but data shows numbers are still well below levels from December last year, when the third wave began. According to the state health department, there were 1,141 hospital admissions till June 20 this year. But last year, towards December-end, the state had 4,380 Covid patients in hospitals. This number surged to 29,110 by around January 10, 2022, nearly 20 days into the third wave. The recent surge also began around 20 days ago. And a comparison of the two surges shows current hospitalisation are much lower, even though the state has more than twice the number of active cases it had by December-end. In fact, only about 4.6% of the active cases are currently in hospitals, compared to the 38% hospitalised by end of December. The number of severe cases in hospitals in Maharashtra is also nearly 20 times less than January 10, 2022. Till June 20 this year, the state had 274 patients with severe Covid symptoms. On January 10, the number was 5,775. Health officials said the data suggests milder Omicron variants are still circulating in the state. "Transmission of BA.4 or BA.5 has not been as intense as seen in countries like South Africa. These two Omicron subvariants appear to replicate better in lung cells than the original Omicron variants. But the percentage of the two still isn't that much in Maharashtra," said a health official, adding that most infections seem to be a result of BA.2 and BA.2.38. "Also, BA.4/5 don't seem to have replaced BA.2 in the state, one of the reasons why the share of hospitalisations and severe cases is still quite low," the official added. BA.4 and BA.5 surges have varied from country to country. In South Africa, where the two subvariants were first detected, doctors saw only a small rise in hospitalisations and deaths despite a widespread surge. In Portugal, however, BA.4 and BA.5 saw more significant impact - hospitalisations were similar to levels seen during its first Omicron wave. Scientists said this difference was largely because of a more elderly population. Trends observed by officials indicate Maharashtra too may be seeing an impact on its elderly population. Dr Avinash Supe, head of the state Covid death audit committee said, "Nearly 25 Covid patients have died in Maharashtra in June so far. Most of them were the elderly, with comorbidities." He added that cause of death (in most of these cases) did not include serious symptoms such as drop in oxygen levels or pneumonia. "Most were incidental Covid admissions, in hospital for other reasons. So the majority of these deaths were incidental Covid mortalities." Dr Supe said Maharashtra's low number of deaths in the recent surge suggests most of the new patients are experiencing mild disease. "Covid-related oxygen saturation is also very low," he said. Dr Jitendra Oswal, deputy medical director at Bharati Hospital, said, "Most Covid patients admitted are manifesting mild disease and rarely need oxygen support. Many are coming in with non-serious illness and are being given treatment at the OPD, without need for admission." Dr Mahesh Kumar Manohar Lakhe, an internal medicine specialist at Manipal Hospital, said, "We are seeing clusters of Covid-19 cases in families, but infection severity is not much, not like the Delta wave we had. Covid vaccination may have had a role to play in reduction of hospitalisations and severity. An unvaccinated patient who was admitted here recently, did go on to develop severe illness."

Maharashtra: Covid-19 hospitalisations rise, but still nowhere near 3rd-wave level
Protests against rebel MLAs across state
The Indian Express | 2 days ago
The Indian Express
2 days ago

At least 10 incidents of violence by Shiv Sena workers against rebel MLAs have been reported across Maharashtra till 8 pm on Saturday. This comes amid the Mumbai Police extending its June 4 order of banning unlawful assembly of five or more persons in the city till July 10.While incidents of violence took place in Pune, Navi Mumbai, Parbhani, Osmanabad, Satara, Thane, Nagpur city, Nanded, Palghar and Kolhapur, a senior state police officer said that except for the cases of violence in Pune and Thane, the rest were “minor” incidents. The local police have lodged FIRs in connection to all the 10 incidents.In Pune, Sena workers attacked the office of rebel Tanaji Sawant at Katraj on Saturday. Sawant runs the Bhairavnath Sugar Work Limited Company, which has a registered office at Katraj in Pune. Vishal Dhanawde, a Sena corporator from Pune, and other party workers ransacked the Katraj office around 11 am.At Thane’s Ulhasnagar, at least five Shiv Sena supporters were detained on Saturday for allegedly pelting stones at the office of Shrikant Shinde, the Lok Sabha MP from Kalyan and the son of rebel leader Eknath Shinde.The incident took place at Shrikant’s Gol Maidan office. A video that has gone viral on the social media showed some persons throwing stones at the office, damaging a board and raising pro-Uddhav Thackeray slogans.Besides, posters of Eknath Shinde were blackened in Navi Mumbai, Nagpur and Nashik. A demonstration was also held against all rebel MLAs at Hadapsar in Pune.At Navi Mumbai and Parbhani, effigies of Eknath Shinde and other MLAs like Bharat Gogawale, Mahendra Dalvi, Mahendra Thorve and Gulabrao Patil, were burnt. At Osmanabad, while the Sena again targeted Tanaji Sawant, party workers threw chappals on Sawant’s poster in Satara.In Nagpur, Sena workers blackened and tore posters of Eknath Shinde outside his office. While at Nanded, the workers tried to burn the effigy of MLA Balaji Kalyankar, at four places of Boisar in Palghar, Sainiks threw ink on the posters of Shinde.On Friday afternoon, the Nehru Nagar police had taken local Sena leader Dilip More and 19 workers from Kurla in Mumbai into custody for damaging a board outside the office of rebel MLA Mangesh Kudalkar.The Mumbai Police, meanwhile, has stepped up security at the residences and offices of ministers, MPs, MLAs andcorporators.

Protests against rebel MLAs across state
  • High drama outside hotel housing rebel Sena MLAs, protesters held
  • Times of India

    Guwahati: The drama outside Radisson Blu Hotel here on Friday was as intense as the one unfolding inside on the third day since Eknath Shinde and his men started checking in to challenge Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership.The day was marked by bouquets for Shinde and his men from ally Ramdas Bandu Athawale’s Republican Party of India and brickbats for BJP and Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma from Congress and AAP.But the one who hogged the limelight was a lone figure from Maharashtra, who identified himself as Sanjay Bhosle, deputy chief of Shiv Sena’s Satara district unit. He was carrying a placard urging Shinde to return to ‘Matoshree’.“I came here to tell him just one thing that you remember the last words of Balashaeb Thackeray to stand with Uddhav and Aditya and return. Like Shinde, I am also a diehard party worker. I want to tell Shinde that Shiv Sena has given him a lot and he should return to Matoshree,” Bhosale told the media.Bhosle was whisked away in a police vehicle to the nearest police station where he is stated to have been detained.

Unsung Heroes | B C Ravindra, forensic expert who provided invaluable leads in cases such as Kalburgi murder
The Indian Express | 2 days ago
The Indian Express
2 days ago

With no concrete leads in hand on the killing of well-known writer M M Kalburgi, 77, outside his home at Dharwad on the morning of August 30, 2015 by an unidentified gunman, officers at the Criminal Investigation Department of the Karnataka police decided a new course of action a month later.Going by the modus operandi in the murder including the use of a 7.65mm countrymade gun, the CID decided to take a closer look at evidence found in two similar murders that occurred in 2013 and 2015 in Maharashtra – where rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, 69, was shot dead on August 20, 2013, in Pune, and Leftist thinker Govind Pansare, 81, on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur.Investigations in Maharashtra had made some headway but the perpetrators of the murders were not found.On September 22, 2015 a judicial magistrate’s court in Karnataka approved a CID request to collect cartridges and bullets found at the crime scenes of the two murders in Maharashtra.Over the next few weeks ballistic evidence from the Maharashtra murders arrived at the Karnataka State Forensic Science Laboratory in Bengaluru and a deputy director in the ballistics unit of the lab, B C Ravindra, began comparing evidence from the Kalburgi murder with that from the Maharashtra murders.Ravindra, a veteran of crime-scene and ballistic investigations who retired in 2017, burnt the midnight oil poring over the markings on the bullets and cartridges from the three crimes under stereo and comparison microscopes at the forensic science unit.The comparisons were being done to see if there were similarities in the characteristic marks of gun firing pins on the cartridge cases recovered from the different crime scenes and the pattern of micro-striation lines on the bullets recovered from the bodies of the victims and crime scene in the murders.Guns are known to leave unique markings on cartridges and bullets – when the cartridge is struck by the firing pin and the bullet travels through the barrel of the gun – on the lines of human fingerprints.Ballistic fingerprinting has helped solve many a case around the world, and as deputy director at the ballistics unit of the lab, Ravindra had already cracked a few himself for the Karnataka police before the evidence from the Kalburgi, Dabholkar and Pansare murders landed at the lab.Around 45 days after the Kalburgi murder, the CID received its first major lead in the case – a ballistics report from the forensic lab that said three cartridges found at the Pansare shooting scene in Kolhapur and two cartridges found at the Kalburgi shooting site were fired from the same gun.It also said that one bullet in the Pansare case and two in the Kalburgi case were fired from one gun.Around two months after the Kalburgi murder, the CID got another big lead in the case – comparison of ballistic evidence from the Dabholkar murder with that from the Kalburgi murder cartridges and bullets had not thrown up a match, but a similar comparison of evidence between the Dabholkar and Pansare murder cases revealed that two cartridge cases found in the Pune murder had the same markings as two cartridge cases in the Kolhapur murder.The findings from Ravindra’s analysis had revealed that the three murders were inter-linked – the Kalburgi and Pansare murders were linked by one gun and the Pansare and Dabholkar murders were linked by a second gun – suggesting that one gang using two 7.65mm countrymade guns was behind all the three murders. Despite the big leads, the three murder investigations remained inconclusive and open-ended for nearly two years.In September 2017, shortly after Ravindra retired from the forensic lab, the leads he had provided in 2015 came into play again when journalist Gauri Lankesh, 55, was shot dead outside her home in Bengaluru. A special investigation team (SIT) of the Bengaluru police sought opinion on the ballistic evidence from the crime scene and its comparison with the unsolved murders involving similar modus operandi and 7.65 mm countrymade guns. The ballistic evidence once again provided a breakthrough – Gauri was killed with the same gun that was used on Kalburgi.A massive investigation carried out by the SIT with the help of the CBI and the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad eventually led to arrests in 2018 of over 20 members of a secretive, organised right-wing crime syndicate linked to fringe Hindutva groups such as the Sanatan Sanstha which were identifying and killing progressive thinkers and rationalists after labeling them “anti-Hindu”.One of the unsung heroes of the investigations that cracked the four murder across two states, B C Ravindra, is a B Sc degree holder from a Bengaluru college and has a diploma in forensic ballistics from Delhi. He was the go-to man for the Karnataka police for several years until his retirement. His opinion is still sought in tricky criminal cases and he is a teacher for police trainees.At the end of March this year, a sessions court in Belagavi convicted gangster Bannanje Raja for the murder of a businessman R N Nayak in the coastal town of Karwar in December 2013. Among the key evidence in the case was a ballistic report showing the bullets fired to kill the businessman had been  fired from a gun that was seized near the scene of crime. A hand swab collected by the ballistic expert of the main shooter who was shot dead near the crime scene by Nayak’s bodyguard also revealed that the dead man had been firing a gun during the crime.In 2003, soon after H Nagappa, whom forest brigand Veerappan had kidnapped, was found shot dead in the forests bordering Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the Karnataka police turned to Ravindra to ascertain who killed the Janata Dal politician.The forensic expert analysed 164 guns that were being used by the Karnataka special task force (STF) to find out if the bullet that killed the politician was fired by the police in a failed attempt to rescue Nagappa from Veerappan’s custody. The exercise remained inconclusive after the Tamil Nadu STF, which was also patrolling the forests, did not provide their weapons for forensic analysis.While ballistics is his area of expertise, Ravindra is also considered an expert crime-scene investigator, having spent hundreds of hours analysing crime scenes across Karnataka over the years – including bomb blast sites. “While I have a diploma in forensic ballistics, there have been hours and hours spent reading scientific reports on crime scenes to learn to analyse them. A lot of learning has also come from the experience of analysing crime scenes and bodies of victims,” Ravindra said.In several controversial deaths – such as the suicides of D K Ravi and M K Ganapathy – the police turned to Ravindra for early leads on the nature of the deaths.“I traveled around the state 24×7. I went anywhere I was called to carry out analysis, at any hour of the day. Many forensic doctors who conducted postmortems were wary of my opinions because I would find contradictions,” said the forensic expert who served the Karnataka police for over 30 years.The high point of Ravindra’s service was a chief minister’s medal for meritorious service that he received many years ago. “The satisfaction I have is that I helped solve cases all over Karnataka,” he said.

Unsung Heroes | B C Ravindra, forensic expert who provided invaluable leads in cases such as Kalburgi murder
Robotic manhole cleaners make life easier for manual scavengers, bring back dignity of labourers
The Indian Express | 2 days ago
The Indian Express
2 days ago

After 10 years of handling sewage, 35-year-old Sachin Suryawanshi has finally got relief and dignity when labourers involved in cleaning manholes in the city started using robots for the work called ‘Bandicoot’.The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) recently started using `Bandicoot’ designed by the Kerala-based GenRobotics Innovation Pvt Ltd for cleaning manholes.Suryawanshi, a labourer with a contractor providing manhole cleaning services to the PMC, said, “The ‘Bandicoot’ machine has come as a boon for us labourers. It has brought an end to the manual handling of sewage waste for cleaning manholes. I have been very happy since the day I was trained to use the robotic machine to clean manholes.”He recalls the tough situations he faced in the past while doing the work for a living. “I have been working as a labourer for cleaning manholes for the last 10 years. The PMC was using other machines to end manual scavenging to clean manholes but that too involved some contact with sewage. This new machine ensures minimum contact with sewage waste while cleaning manholes,” Suryawanshi said.Suryawanshi, who is still being trained on how to use the machine, said it will keep him and the others engaged in the job away from serious illnesses.‘Bandicoot’ has already given Suryawanshi and the others a dignified life. “There is a change in public perception towards us. Earlier, people used to stay away from us when we used to clean sewage but now that has changed. I am no longer a labourer and have become an operator of a robotic machine. People come close to me and enquire about the machine and watch me getting the manhole cleaned using a robot,” he said.The Pune Smart city has provided three ‘Bandicoot’ machines to the PMC. Sanjay Kolte, CEO of Pune Smart City, said, “Pune smart city has been promoting the use of technology to improve civic services. Thus, three robotic machines, each of Rs 49 lakh, were bought by the Pune smart city and handed over to the PMC for operation since the smart city does not have the manpower for the machine’s operation. We are hopeful that this will transform the lives of the labourers involved in cleaning manholes.”The machines are being used on a pilot basis and based on the workability of the machines, PMC may purchase more such machines to clean the manholes, Kotle said.The robotic machine works with pneumatic, electrical actuators along with a software-supporting architecture and is capable of completely eradicating manual scavenging and safeguarding the health of labourers popularly termed as safaimitras. It has a capacity of up to 1,000 litre a day.The robotic machine has four waterproof night vision cameras and a monitor where the actual situation inside a manhole can be seen. The operator uses the electronic machine to remove any blockage in a manhole and clears the path of the sewage line.“The best feature of the machine is that it is very user friendly and portable and can be used anywhere, including small lanes, to clean manholes, which was not possible by any machine earlier and labourers had to resort to manual scavenging. It requires just an operator and a helper along with a driver for the vehicle to carry the portable machine to the location,” said Shwetambari Nikte, a junior engineer who has been given a ‘Bandicoot’ machine to use whole getting manholes cleaned in Mangalwar Peth.The robotic machine also sends alerts on poisonous gases inside manholes. Nikte added, “The PMC has decided that it would not allow any manual handling of sewage and the robotic machine is helping achieve the goal. The machine has gas sensors for the safety of the operators and helpers involved in cleaning manholes.” The PMC has also made use of all safety equipment mandatory for those involved in cleaning manholes.Santosh Tandale, superintending engineer in-charge of PMC’s drainage department, said the PMC was impressed with the demo of the robotic machine and has pressed it into service on a pilot basis. “There are around 1.25 lakh manholes across the city with most of them being on the streets, followed by nallahs and a river on the sewage line network of over two thousand kilometre across the city. It is necessary to get them cleaned regularly to ensure proper disposal of sewage waste. This machine is bringing in a lot of change in the maintenance of the sewage lines,” he said.“The machine will be primarily used in Aundh, Baner and Balewadi areas as it comes under the area-based development of Pune smart city. The labourers of the private contractors are being trained by Genrobotics for using the machine,” Tandale said adding, the initial cost of the robotic machine is high but its operational cost is very less compared to other machines being used for the purpose.It is the latest technology equipped with all safety measures and efficient in manhole cleaning without human intervention and will have less operating and maintenance cost as compared to the traditional grab or recycler machines which can only be used on major roads, he said.

Robotic manhole cleaners make life easier for manual scavengers, bring back dignity of labourers
Know Your City: A 1793 rhinoplasty performed in Pune that became a milestone in plastic surgery
The Indian Express | 2 days ago
The Indian Express
2 days ago

A letter to the editor published in ‘The Gentleman’s Magazine’ in October 1794 proved to be a watershed moment in the history of plastic surgery and especially in the field of corrective rhinoplasty. The letter, appearing under the heading ‘Curious Chirurgical Operation’, gave a brief account of a nasal reconstruction surgery carried out in Pune (then spelt by the British as Poonah) by a native potter on an Indian bullock cart driver who had suffered nasal mutilation. The letter introduced the ‘Indian method’ of nasal reconstruction using a forehead flap to Europe which quickly caught on in the West.The letter was accompanied by a full-page portrait of the patient, identified as Cowasjee, after his recovery from the operation. The appearance of the patient indicated a very successful result.“Cowasjee, a Mahratta of the caste of the husbandman, was a bullock-driver with the English army in the War of 1792, and was made a prisoner by Tippoo who cut off his nose and one of his hands. In this state, he joined the Bombay army near Seringapatam and is now a pensioner of the Honorable East India Company. For about 12 months he has remained without a nose when he had a new one put on by a man of the brickmaker caste, near Poonah. This operation is not uncommon in India, and has been practised from time immemorial,” wrote the person who identified himself only as ‘BL’. “The artificial nose is secure and looks nearly as well as the natural one; nor is the scar on the forehead very observable after a length of time,” he wrote.The details of the letter were subsequently published in other newspapers and journals in Europe and USA and led to considerable interest.The first surgeon to make practical and successful use of this information in England was Dr Joseph Carpue, an anatomy expert and surgeon at a private medical school in London, who performed two successful surgeries in 1814 and published the results. Subsequently, the procedure gained popularity in Europe.This method of rhinoplasty, which was introduced to the West through Cowasjee’s case, became known as the ‘Indian method’. There were two other known ways of performing nasal reconstructions at the time, namely the Italian and the French.In the Italian method, the flap of skin was taken from the arm which necessitated that the arm was attached to the face for at least a fortnight. A Venice based surgeon Gasparo Tagliacozzi is said to have performed this operation many times, but after his death in 1599, it fell out of fashion, largely because of the requirement of keeping the hand attached to the face.The French method spared the discomfort of having one’s hand tied to the face by using lateral and facial flaps. But the results of the rhinoplasty weren’t found to be as good as in the Indian method.Dr D F Keegan, who was a residency surgeon at Indore in the late 19th century and performed scores of nasal reconstructions, opined that the Indian method gave far superior results. “… an experience of rhinoplasty in India, extending over more than twenty years, has nevertheless convinced me that the Indian operation…always affords a good prospect of success and that a nose restored in this way is far superior to any artificial substitute.”“A flap taken from the forehead is a much better covering for the nose than one taken either from the arm or the cheek,” wrote Keegan in his book ‘Rhinoplastic Operations: With A Description Of Recent Improvements In The Indian Method’ published in 1900.Nose – an organ of honourNose being an ‘organ of honour’ in South Asia, cutting off a person’s nose was frequently resorted to during ancient and medieval periods as an act of vengeance or shaming. Majority of victims of retributive rhinectomy were women who incurred jealousy of the husbands owing to suspicion of an affair.Mutilation of body parts was a punishment frequently awarded by the rulers for crimes ranging from theft, arson, adultery, murder, or those against the state. Dacoits were also known to resort to mutilations during ambushes.Dr Norman Chevers, in his ‘Manual of Medical Jurisprudence in India’ (first published in 1856), links this prevalence of nose cutting – as punishment given by the state or as a result of individual retribution – for having led to local expertise in nasal reconstruction.How Cowasjee met the potter-surgeonLieutenant Colonel Ward, who was the commanding officer of Cowasjee in the 1792 war, conveyed the following additional details to Dr Carpue, upon inquiries, about how the nasal surgery came about in Pune.“Many months after Cowasjee and others returned to Poonah, one day a native merchant came to the house of Charles Malet offering to sell oilcloth. A cicatrix or scar being observed on the centre of the merchant’s nose, he was asked how he came by it, upon which he showed another scar on his forehead and explained the operation he had undergone. He confessed that he had been deprived of his nose by the executioner as a punishment for adultery, and added that his new one was the work of an artist who lived where he resided and who frequently did the same for others,” Dr Carpue wrote in 1816.“Upon receiving this account, and immediately thinking of Cowasjee and his fellows, Sir Charles Malet caused the operator to come to Poonah, where he gave new noses to all the five,” he wrote.Considering that the letter published in ‘The Gentleman’s Magazine’ proved to be a watershed moment for the rhinoplasty surgery in Europe, attempts were made, in the late 1900s, to determine the identities of those involved in the affair. As mentioned earlier, the writer of the letter had identified himself only with his initials: BL.In 1970, surgeons Thomas J S Patterson and Felix Freshwater concluded that the likely author of the letter was an army surgeon Colley Lyon Lucas who had probably performed nasal reconstruction surgeries while in India after observing the local practitioners. This finding was questionable as the initials did not match and that the author of the original letter had mentioned in the opening lines that “a friend had transmitted to me the information from East Indies” thus placing ‘BL’ out of India and thereby removing Lucas as a candidate as he was residing in India during the period.The mystery continued to intrigue reconstruction surgeons, and in 2009, Phillip J Sykes, Iain Whitaker and others identified a well-known London engraver Barak Longmate as the ‘BL’ who read about Cowasjee’s nasal surgery in the English press from reports and drawings sent by James Wales, the Scottish artist who stayed in Pune for several years. The ‘BL’ letter was published seven months after Wales published the Cowasjee engraving and details of the surgery in newspapers ‘Hircarrah’ and ‘Madras Gazette’ among other publications.The most important giveaway is the fact that the engraving published along with the letter is signed ‘Longmate’ in the fine print. “Wales’ publication appeared in Bombay seven months before the letter, in time to make the sea journey to London where Barak Longmate, spotting an opportunity, copies the text and, being a skilled engraver, did a new engraving of Cowasjee that is remarkably similar to the Wales version…,” conclude Sykes and his colleagues.While Cowasjee’s name appears in every telling of the rhinoplastic operation, none of them mentions the name of the potter-surgeon who performed it, except that he stayed at a location about 400 miles from Pune and that he belonged to the potter or bricklayer caste.

Know Your City: A 1793 rhinoplasty performed in Pune that became a milestone in plastic surgery
Covid cases drop slightly in Maharashtra; CM Uddhav Thackeray urges warkaris to use masks
Times of India | 3 days ago
Times of India
3 days ago

MUMBAI: While Covid-19 cases dipped in Maharashtra on Friday, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray appealed to lakhs of warkaris walking towards Pandharpur during Ashadhi Wari to use face masks to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission. The state had registered its highest single-day tally in this surge on Thursday at 5,218, but cases dropped by 20% to 4,205 on Friday. Mumbai saw a 24% drop, with 1,898 cases registered on Friday. "We had a problem updating our data on the ICMR website for a couple of days and that led to a bunching up of cases on Thursday. But the data is now updated and Mumbai is back to reporting less than 2,000 cases a day," said BMC executive health officer Dr Mangala Gomare. Two nonagenarians with chronic conditions succumbed to Covid-related complications in Mumbai while the neighbouring Thane city registered a death. Daily hospitalisations which had gone past 100 dropped on Friday to 96. The daily test positivity rate which had increased to 20% a few days back was 12% for the second consecutive day. Dr Gomare said that cases should start plateauing soon. Dr Gautam Bhansali, who is a member of the state Covid task force, said that despite the surge, patients are recovering with minimum medication within a few days. "There is no need to panic at all,'' he said. The surge has been limited to five districts-Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Palghar and Raigad-but the state administration is worried about the Pandharpur yatra. Of the 4,205 cases on Thursday, 3,354 (80%) were detected in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. A state official said, "Active cases in the state have crossed 25,000 as compared to 626 a couple of months back. In this backdrop, the chief minister held a video-conference instructing district collectors, municipal commissioners and district police superintendents to take steps to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19.'' Meanwhile, another patient of BA.5 variant has been detected in Nagpur. State surveillance officer Dr Pradip Awate said a fully vaccinated 27-year-old female tested Covid-positive on June 19. "She was mildly symptomatic initially but has since become asymptomatic and is stable and in home isolation,'' he added. The total tally of BA.4 and BA.5 variant cases in the state has increased to 26-15 in Pune, five in Mumbai, four in Nagpur and two in Thane.

Covid cases drop slightly in Maharashtra; CM Uddhav Thackeray urges warkaris to use masks
Chemists in Maharashtra districts with high Covid cases to keep records of self-test kit buyers
Times of India | 3 days ago
Times of India
3 days ago

PUNE: With Covid cases rising in the state, especially in Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Palghar and Raigad, the state health department has directed chemists' associations to maintain records of buyers of self-test kits or rapid antigen kits so that they can be shared with local authorities. "Considering the sudden rise in Covid cases, we have directed manufacturers, chemists/pharmacists supplying and selling home antigen testing kits to provide information to us. There may be some cases that have been tested with home test kits but not reported on the ICMR portal. In such cases, we cannot track the patient and it becomes difficult for us to contain the spread of the virus," said a state public health official. Anil Belkar, secretary, chemists' association, Pune district, said that they have circulated the message to all retail medical stores to ensure that details of the buyers are noted down so that they can be shared with the local health officials, if required. The health department had directed chemists to maintain records of buyers of self-testing kits during the third wave, too. Now, again with cases rising in mainly five districts, chemists have been directed to ensure that details are noted down diligently. Association members of the state chemists and druggists' association said that many people are buying the testing kits from online sites, which also needs to be monitored. Chemists have also been told to educate buyers of self-testing kits about the application they need to download. Through the app, the test data is connected with the ICMR portal and citizens have to ensure that it is uploaded within the given time frame. State surveillance expert Dr Pradip Awate told TOI that if self-testing kits are used then the data should be uploaded. "With cases increasing in clusters, we need to stress more on RT-PCR tests than RAT tests," he said. Those detected positive with RAT have to follow it up with RT-PCR tests as samples have to be sent for genome sequencing," he said. Dr Awate said that while the daily cases in the state are hovering around 4,000-5,000, severity of cases continues to be low.

Chemists in Maharashtra districts with high Covid cases to keep records of self-test kit buyers
Koregaon Bhima inquiry commission gets another extension till December 31
The Indian Express | 3 days ago
The Indian Express
3 days ago

MAHARASHTRA GOVERNMENT has granted yet another extension to the Koregaon Bhima Commission of Inquiry. An order to this effect has been issued by the home department on June 20. As per this order, the commission has been given an extension of six months till December 31, 2022.The two-member commission, headed by retired high court judge Justice J N Patel with former chief secretary Sumit Malik as the other member, was constituted by the state government on February 9, 2018, to inquire into the “exact sequence” of events that led to violence on the 200th anniversary of Battle of Koregaon Bhima on January 1 that year. One person had died and several others were left injured in the violence.The commission was initially given four months to submit its report, but its tenure had to be repeatedly extended to allow it to complete its work. Subsequently, the commission received extensions from time to time. The Commission received a two months extension from February 8, 2020 to April 8, 2020. But due to the Covid-19 outbreak, on March 23, 2020, the commission issued a letter postponing the hearings till further notice. Meanwhile, the period of extension granted to the commission by the government expired on April 8.The commission then sought further extension of at least six months, saying that it intended to examine nearly 40 to 50 more witnesses, including police and revenue officers, and a few prominent political leaders. Accordingly, the state government gave the commission an extension till December 31, 2021. The commission then conducted hearings in Pune and Mumbai, but a few important witnesses remain to be examined. So, the panel sought another extension of six months from the state government.Then, the government again granted extension to the commission till June 30, 2022. During this period, the commission examined some witnesses including Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar. However, some important witnesses are part heard and yet to be examined.“So we submitted a status report of the commission and sought one more extension from the government. So far, examination of 38 witnesses is completed. And the commission wants to examine about 15 more witnesses. Government has granted an extension of six months till December 31, 2022. The schedule for the next hearings will be released soon,” said V V Palnitkar, secretary of the Koregaon Bhima Commission of Inquiry.On Thursday, IPS officers Vishwas Nangare Patil and Suvez Haque deposed as witnesses before the commission in Mumbai. Their examination in chief was recorded by commission’s lawyer Aashish Satpute. Currently, joint commissioner (law and order) of Mumbai police, Nangare Patil was the special inspector general of police, Kolhapur range at the time of violence in Koregaon Bhima area (in the jurisdiction of Pune rural police), which was under his supervision. Haque is currently attached to the CBI and was the superintendent (SP) of Pune rural police at the time of Koregaon Bhima violence.

Koregaon Bhima inquiry commission gets another extension till December 31
CM reviews Covid-19 situation in state, asks officials to take steps to avert outbreaks
The Indian Express | 3 days ago
The Indian Express
3 days ago

With Daily Covid cases crossing the 5000-mark in Maharashtra and considering the possibility of increased transmission of the infection during the Ashadhi Wari, which sees lakhs of devotees heading out of Pune towards Pandharpur, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has instructed key officials to stay alert and undertake measures to avert major outbreaks.Dr Pradeep Awate, Maharashtra surveillance officer, told The Indian Express that the CM had conducted a meeting via video conferencing with all District Collectors, Municipal Commissioners and District Police Superintendents on Friday. “The concern is that that the Ashadi Wari may enhance transmission as residents of cities like Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Raigad and Palghar, where the Covid weekly positivity rate is high, may participate in the wari. We cannot rule out the possibility of this infection then spreading to areas where there are very few active cases,” Dr Awate said.Active cases in the state have reached 25,000 compared to 626 a couple of months back. Around 4,205 new cases were detected in the state on Friday while the case fatality rate stood at 1.85 per cent.Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxThe Chief Minister, during the meeting, said that even though mask use is not mandatory in the state, those participating in the Ashadhi Wari, and even others, should wear masks regularly.Meanwhile, according to the latest report of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, a patient of BA.5 variant has been reported from the district. The patient is a 27-year-old fully vaccinated woman who tested positive for Covid-19 on June 19. “Initially, she was mildly symptomatic. At present, she is asymptomatic, stable and in home isolation,” Dr Awate said.With this, the total tally of BA.4 and BA.5 variant cases found in state has gone up to 26. Pune has reported 15 cases so far followed by Mumbai (5), Nagpur (4) and Thane (2).

CM reviews Covid-19 situation in state, asks officials to take steps to avert outbreaks
CM Uddhav Thackeray asks officials to stay alert to stem Covid-19 spread during Ashadhi Wari
The Indian Express | 3 days ago
The Indian Express
3 days ago

With the daily Covid-19 cases crossing 5,000 in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, during a review meeting has instructed key officers to stay alert and take adequate measures considering the possibility of increased transmission of the infection during the Ashadhi Wari. Lakhs of devotees have moved out of Pune and are headed towards Pandharpur.In a virtual meeting with all district collectors, municipal commissioners and district police superintendents held Friday, the CM said that all those participating in the Ashadhi Wari and even others should wear masks regularly.Dr Pradeep Awate, Maharashtra surveillance officer, told The Indian Express, that the major concern is that the Ashadhi Wari may enhance the transmission rate of Covid-19 as devotees from Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Raigad and Palghar where the weekly positivity rate is high are likely to participate in the ‘Wari’. “We cannot rule out the possibility of the infection spreading to areas where there are very few active cases,” Dr Awate said.4,205 new cases in MaharashtraAround 4,205 new cases were detected in Maharashtra Friday taking the total number of active cases in the state to 25,000. The case fatality rate in the state is 1.85 %.According to the latest report of the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, one patient – a 27-year-old fully vaccinated woman from Nagpur – has been diagnosed with the BA.5 variant. The patient tested positive on June 19. “Initially she was mildly symptomatic but at present, she is asymptomatic, stable and in home isolation,” Dr Awate said.With this, the total tally of BA.4 & BA.5 variant cases in Maharashtra has gone up to 26. Pune has reported 15 cases so far followed by Mumbai 5, Nagpur 4 and Thane 2.

CM Uddhav Thackeray asks officials to stay alert to stem Covid-19 spread during Ashadhi Wari