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17 killed as massive fire breaks out in hotel in Delhi’s Karol Bagh

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New Delhi: At least 17 people were killed as a massive fire swept through a hotel in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh area early on Tuesday, police said.

The fire broke out at Arpit Palace hotel located on Gurdwara Road in Karol Bagh.

A call about the fire was received at 4.35 am and 24 fire tenders were rushed to the spot, a senior officer from the Delhi Fire Service said.

 

A senior Delhi Police official said 17 people were killed in the fire.

The injured were rushed to three hospitals, including the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital. Thirteen bodies are at the RML Hospital, a senior doctor said.

The dead includes a child.

A video of the incident showed two people jumping from the fourth floor of the burning building. According to eyewitnesses, most deaths were caused due to suffocation.

They said wooden panelling in the corridors of the hotel contributed to the quick spread of the fire.

A fire department official said some fire extinguishers were found used suggesting people trapped inside tried to douse the fire in a bid to escape.

Cooling process is under way and the cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, he added.

The Delhi government has ordered a magisterial probe into the massive fire at Karol Bagh, its Home Minister Satyendar Jain said.

Jain, who visited the Arpit Palace Hotel where the fire broke out in the early hours of the morning, told reporters that he has also directed the fire department to inspect buildings which are five floors or more and submit a report on their fire safety compliance within a week.

“We have ordered for a magisterial inquiry into the case. Seventeen people have died, most of them of suffocation. Apparently, there were lapses (from the hotel administration’s side) and action will taken against those found guilty,” he said.

Generally, four floors are allowed for such establishments, the minister said.

“We saw a canopy was put up on the terrace and tables and chairs were laid out. Inside in the rooms, wooden panels were there on the walls,” Jain said.

“So I have also directed the fire department to inspect such multi-storeyed buildings which have five floors or more and submit a report in a week’s time,” he said.


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National

Grant full statehood status to Delhi: Kejriwal appeals to PM Modi

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New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Wednesday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to grant full statehood status to Delhi, an issue that the ruling AAP is expected to rise in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls in an emphatic manner.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Tuesday said it will hold a door-to-door campaign to tell people how the BJP had done them “injustice” on the issue.

Reacting to the PM’s greetings to the people of Arunachal Pradesh on their Statehood Day on Twitter, Kejriwal tweeted, “Sir. Delhi is also waiting for its statehood day. U had promised to the people of Delhi that you wud grant full statehood to Delhi. Kindly do it, sir. People of Delhi have faced injustice for 70 years now.”
Sir. Delhi is also waiting for its statehood day. U had promised to the people of Delhi that you wud grant full statehood to Delhi. Kindly do it sir. People of Delhi have faced injustice for 70 years now.

 

The culture of Arunachal Pradesh is special and its people are known for their wonderful nature as well as patriotic zeal.

May the state continue to prosper in the years to come.According to its strategy for the general election, the AAP will distribute the BJP’s manifestoes for previous elections, including that of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, in which, it said, the saffron party had supported the demand for full statehood to Delhi.

The BJP’s Delhi unit, however, said the campaign was a “new drama” by the AAP and its chief Arvind Kejriwal.

Recently, in a major setback to the AAP government in Delhi, two judges of the Supreme Court agreed that the Centre should have the final word on posting and transfer of bureaucrats in the national capital administration, but their disagreement on finer details resulted in a split verdict and the matter got referred to a larger bench.

“We will go door-to-door, telling people how the BJP has done them injustice on the issue of full statehood,” Delhi AAP convener Gopal Rai had said on Tuesday.

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Money laundering case probe: Robert Vadra appears before ED

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi: Robert Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, on February 20 appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case probe, officials said.

He reached the agency’s office at Jamnagar House in central Delhi at about 10.30 a.m. along with his lawyers, they said.

This is a scheduled appearance of Mr. Vadra before the investigating officer (IO) of the case in a criminal complaint related to allegations of money laundering to purchase assets abroad. He had skipped the summons on February 19, citing bad health.

 

Vadra has been questioned by the ED in this case for 23 hours over three days of deposition earlier this month. He has been asked by a Delhi court to cooperate in the probe being conducted by the central probe agency.

The ED case against Mr. Vadra relates to allegations of money laundering in the purchase of a London-based property located at 12, Bryanston Square worth £1.9 million, which is allegedly owned by him.

The agency had told the court that it has received information about various new properties in London which belong to Mr. Vadra. These include two houses, one worth £5 million and the other valued at £4 million, six other flats and more properties.

Vadra has denied the allegations of possessing illegal foreign assets and termed them a political witch hunt against him. He said he was being “hounded and harassed” to subserve political ends.

Vadra’s statement is being recorded under Section 50 (powers of authorities regarding summons, production of documents and to give evidence) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

His first appearance before the ED earlier this month acquired political overtones after his wife Priyanka Gandhi, recently appointed Congress general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, accompanied him to the investigating agency’s office on one day while she picked him up after questioning the next time.

Vadra had similarly deposed before the ED twice in Jaipur in an another money laundering case related to an alleged land scam in Bikaner.

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Sarada chit fund probe: SC judge recuses himself from hearing CBI plea

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New Delhi: Supreme Court judge Justice L. Nageswara Rao on Wednesday recused himself from hearing the CBI’s plea alleging obstruction in its probe into the multi-crore Sarada chit fund scam probe by West Bengal authorities.

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Rao and Sanjiv Khanna adjourned the hearing on pleas of the CBI, saying that one of the judges was not inclined to be part of the bench to hear the matter.

Justice Rao said he had appeared for the State as a lawyer and therefore cannot hear the case.

 

The bench has now posted the matter for hearing on February 27 before an appropriate bench of which Justice Rao is not a part.

On February 18, West Bengal Chief secretary Malay Kumar De, DGP Virendera Kumar and Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar had filed separate affidavits in the apex court on the contempt petition moved by the CBI in connection with the scam and had tendered “unconditional and unambiguous apology”.

The apex court had on February 5 directed them to file replies on the contempt pleas filed against them by the CBI.

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