The Indian Express | 2 days ago | 22-06-2022 | 02:45 pm
The Bombay High Court Wednesday extended the interim protection from arrest till July 6 to senior IPS officer Rashmi Shukla in her plea seeking to quash an FIR lodged against her in Pune. The FIR filed at Pune’s Bund Garden police station is in connection with the alleged illegal phone tapping of state Congress president Nana Patole during the tenure of the previous BJP-led government in Maharashtra.Rashmi Shukla had filed a plea earlier this year through advocate Sameer Nangre, which claimed the FIR was lodged arbitrarily with “political vendetta” and that she was “falsely implicated”.Earlier, senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani representing Shukla had said that she is being targeted by the ruling alliance in Maharashtra, as she had submitted a report disclosing the involvement of various political leaders in transfers and postings of police officers in Maharashtra. Jethmalani said that she should be granted interim protection from arrest pending a hearing in the plea.The Bombay High Court had granted interim protection from coercive action to Shukla on March 4, which was continued from time to time on her assurance of cooperating with the probe.Last year, Patole had alleged that his phone was tapped during 2016-2017 on the pretext that it belonged to one Amjad Khan involved in “narcotics smuggling”. Patole had also alleged that the phones of Union minister Roasaheb Danve’s personal assistant, then BJP MP Sanjay Kakade, and other elected representatives were also tapped.Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil had then announced that the government will probe the allegations made by Nana Patole. A three-member committee headed by the director general of police Sanjay Pandey was formed to conduct an inquiry into this matter. The other members of the committee included the state intelligence department commissioner and the additional commissioner of the special branch.As per Pune police, the three-member committee had conducted an inquiry to ascertain whether the illegal phone tapping of elected representatives was done with wrong political motives between 2015 and 2019. The police said that the committee had stated in its report that Rashmi Shukla illegally tapped phones at the time when she was the commissioner of Pune City police between March 2016 and July 2018.After being transferred from Pune in July 2018, Rashmi Shukla headed the Maharashtra State Intelligence Department (SID). Shukla is currently posted in Hyderabad as the Additional Director General of the CRPF (South Zone).The Bombay High Court has earlier granted interim protection from arrest to Rashmi Shukla in another plea against the FIR lodged against her by Colaba police for alleged tapping of phone calls of Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut and NCP leader Eknath Khadse.
JAIPUR: A family of a 36-year-old person donated his organs after he was declared brain dead while undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Jaipur. His kidneys, liver and heart were transplanted in needy patients. His heart and one kidney were transplanted to patients at SMS Hospital, while one kidney and liver were transplanted to patients at Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, said Dr Manish Sharma, consultant State Organ Tissue Transplant Organisation (SOTTO). The donor, Prashant Rajendra Shinde, was a resident of Pune, in Maharashtra, who had suffered a stroke on June 18. He was rushed to a private hospital, but he was declared brain dead on June 23. He was posted as an engineer at Govindgarh in Jaipur. The doctors counselled her family, following that, the family gave its consent for donating his organs. His heart was transported from Fortis hospital, where he was undergoing treatment to SMS hospital by creating green corridor. Th heart was transplanted into a woman. The surgery continued for six hours.
PUNE: The state’s booster or precaution dose consumption has surged with the initiation of the doorstep Covid-19 vaccination programme. Going by the latest report of the state health department, nearly 3.16lakh residents over 60 years of age across 36 districts have availed of the benefit of the third dose since the beginning of the special Har Ghar Dastak drive on June 1. “We aim to administer this precaution dose to every eligible person over 60 years in the state and cover the maximum people by the end of July,” said state immunisation officer Dr Sachin Desai. The response to the precaution dose had gone down drastically after Covid cases dipped between February and May. The cases have started slightly rising over the last two weeks, which is also prompting people to seek a booster dose. Currently, only residents over 60 years of age and healthcare/frontline workers are eligible for a free booster dose. Citizens in the 18-59 age bracket are not privy to the free booster shot under the country’s Covid vaccination programme, and have to bear the cost of the shot at designated private hospitals. This is also one of the prominent reasons why most districts have registered extremely low consumption of the booster dose in the 18-59 age bracket, while a few have recorded zero jabs. The Union government allowed the booster shot for the 18-59 age group at private centres from April 10 this year. Earlier in June, state health minister Rajesh Tope had asked the Centre to give the booster dose for free for the younger group to push up vaccination numbers.
MUMBAI: The political drama unfolding in Maharashtra now has legal experts divided too on whether disqualification can be sought for the ‘rebels’ in the Shiv Sena. However, most are in agreement that the MLAs cannot be disqualified on grounds of not attending recent party meetings as that is outside the ambit of legislative affairs. The party’s petition to the deputy speaker seeking disqualification of 16 MLAs including rebel leader Eknath Shinde has sought to invoke para 2 (1) (a) of the 10th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, which governs ‘disqualification on grounds of defection’. A senior counsel from Delhi said the party may be relying on a 2019 Supreme Court judgment in a Karnataka case to argue that the actions of the MLAs would “portray defection.” The Sena plea is that at a “crucial time” during “political uncertainty” when the party needed to consolidate, meetings were called on June 21-22 and despite issuing notices, these MLAs did not attend and instead left for Surat and Guwahati which are in BJP-ruled States. The plea said the BJP, in a conspiracy with these MLAs, is trying to topple the govt and in these circumstances, their not attending the meetings amounted to voluntarily giving up membership of the party; remaining incommunicado and not responding to the call of the leadership also shows that they have given up membership and hence they should be disqualified, it said. However, former attorney general S G Aney said the disqualification process would be “void” legally as not attending the meetings would not amount to quitting the party. Lack of attendance at meetings “cannot be taken into the realm of legislature’s action and the Speaker has no authority over the matter. At best it would be a matter for the party’s internal consideration for consequences on such unbecoming behavior,” said Aney. Anil Sakhare, a senior counsel, also agreed that at this juncture it may not attract disqualification. Senior counsel Prasad Dhakephalkar said the situation is “very fluid’’ but if by their conduct it can be shown that they have left the party, then it may attract disqualification. “But rebels can claim merger,” he added. To overcome any threat of disqualification they have to show 2/3rd members of a party have merged with another party. Under the 10th Schedule paragraph 4, disqualification on grounds of defection would not apply in case of a merger with another party. “It will eventually depend on the facts which at the moment are not all clear,’’ said another senior counsel from Delhi. He added, “At this stage prima facie, there can be no disqualifications since not attending the meeting does not amount to voluntarily giving up the membership of the party. It would depend on the explanation that the member may give. A party cannot single out a few members if there is support of two-third members in the rebel faction. The Karnataka case was different on facts.”
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.
NASHIK/AURANGABAD: Members of Shiv Sena in Ahmednagar and Jalgaon municipal corporations are in 'tight spot' following the rebellion by Eknath Shinde. Ahmednagar civic body has 25 Sena corporators and shares power with NCP. Sena got its mayor in Jalgaon Municipal Corporation last year after a defection of 30 BJP corporators engineered by Shinde. Sena sources in Ahmednagar city unit told TOI that at least 10-12 Sena corporators have endorsed the stand taken by Shinde about toeing the Hindutva line. Adav told TOI that although he has huge respect for Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, he fully endorses and supports Shinde. He also said Uddhav is still the chief of Sena. "The party is moving away from its core principle by aligning with parties that are not natural allies of Sena," he said, adding the leaders deputed by central leadership to oversee party affairs in Ahmednagar are ruining Sena in the district. Sena leaders from Jalgaon claimed there is no threat to the ruling party in the civic body, one of the defectors admitted he is watching the political developments keenly. "If the Shinde faction joins hands with BJP to form the government, there is a possibility of a political turmoil in the Jalgaon civic body," added Sena sources. Jalgaon city president Suresh Bhole mocked the defectors saying that they have 'dug their own grave' by deserting BJP. In Aurangabad, which had Shiv Sena and BJP in alliance for the municipal corporation, party workers were confident of bagging more than expected number of seats. The term for the previous body elected ended in April 2020 and since then, the AMC is being headed and run by administrator Astik Kumar Pandey. Former Shiv Sena mayor Nandkumar Ghodele said, "For the first two days, we felt that the rebellion would dent the party. But with the passing of time, we sense a growing sympathy and love for Sena and Thackeray family." He said that in the upcoming civic body elections, Sena will definitely get more seats as people are criticising the rebel camp. During the previous term, Shiv Sena won 28 seats and post election, seven independents joined the fold.