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CBI officer probing Asthana sent to Andamans, team disbanded

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Mumbai, Oct 24: The Central Bureau of Investigation has overhauled the team probing allegations of corruption against its former Special Director Rakesh Asthana, bringing in completely new faces, officials said on Wednesday.
Changes have been effected from the investigation officer to the supervisory level, they said.
M Nageswar Rao, who took over the duties and functions of CBI director late on Tuesday night, appointed Satish Dagar as superintendent of police to probe the case, they said.
Dagar has earlier probed cases against Dera Sachcha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
His first supervisor will be Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Tarun Gauba, who investigated the Vyapam cases.
At the joint director-level, V Murugesan has been brought in. He will hold additional charge as joint director, Anti-Corruption-I, in the CBI headquarters.
The Supreme Court had reposed faith in Murugesan in the coal scam probe, officials said.
The previous investigating officer, Deputy SP A K Bassi, has been shunted to Port Blair in ‘public interest’ with ‘immediate effect’, they said.
Asthana had alleged in his complaint to the Central Vigilance Commission that Bassi was carrying out ‘roving inquiries’ against him on the directions of Alok Verma, the CBI director who has been divested of all powers by the government along with him.
In another order, the CBI transferred Joint Director-Policy Arun Kumar Sharma and posted him as joint director of the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA), probing former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination case.
Senior officer, A Sai Manohar, has been transferred and posted as joint director Chandigarh zone while Amit Kumar, DIG Economic Offence-III, will hold additional charge of joint director-policy.

 

CBI director challenges his transfer in SC

 

New Delhi, October 24: Alluding to government interference in sensitive cases, CBI director Alok Verma, in a petition in Supreme Court, challenged the government order that divested him of all charges early on Wednesday, saying it was illegal and had bypassed a high-powered committee.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said Verma’s plea would be taken up on October 26 after his counsel pressed for an urgent hearing on the order issued against him following an escalation of rift between the top officials at the agency over bribery charges. (Follow live updates here)
Taking note of the internal feud in the agency, the government in a 2.30am order on Wednesday divested Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana of all duties and appointed Nageshwar Rao as the interim chief.
In his petition, Verma argued that the shunting out violated law that provides for a fixed tenure of two years. He said the transfer of a CBI director has to be with the consent of the high powered committee. The order sending him on leave had bypassed the mandate of the committee.
Verma has asked for a stay of the order against him and says “the present action gives serious credence to the requirement that CBI be given independence from the DoPT, which seriously hinders the independent functioning of the agency”.
He also said that not all influence exerted by the government is explicit or in writing. “More often than not, it is tacit, and requires considerable courage to withstand it.”
He also accused Asthana of creating hurdles in decisions crucial to the progress of investigation in sensitive cases, some of them being monitored by SC and had ”concocted evidence to impugn Verma’s reputation”.
Verma also offered to furnish details of sensitive cases that led to his removal.
The CBI chief has also challenged the decision to appoint Rao as head of the probe agency.


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All laws in Kashmir should be at par with rest of India: Shiv Sena

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New Delhi, Apr 20: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has said that all the laws in the State of Jammu and Kashmir should be at par with the rest of the country.
Coming down heavily on the Indian National Congress, the Shiv Sena chief said that Congress does not want to abolish Article 370.
“All laws in Kashmir should be at par with the rest of India. Congress does not want to abolish Article 370. Leaders like Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have said that if Article 370 is abolished there will be no one to respect the tricolor,” the Shiv Sen chief said while addressing a public rally in Aurangabad.
He also that Shiv Sena wanted a Prime Minister who could attack Pakistan and that is why Shiv Sena went into an alliance with the BJP.

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CB registers case: 129 fake appointments in health dept at B’pora

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Srinagar, Apr 20: Crime Branch Kashmir (CBK) has registered a case against various officers, officials for fraudulently making 129 appointments in three medical blocks of Bandipora.
According to CBK official handout, it received a communication from Directorate of Health Services Kashmir regarding 129 persons in Bandipora suspected of holding fictitious GPF numbers and with no record in District Fund Office Bandipora.
“During the course of inquiry by CBK, it came to fore that 129 employees of District Bandipora, 26 from Block Bandipora, 17 from Hajin and 86 from Block Gurez possess fictitious GPF A/C NOs, with allotted computer code 7501,” it stated, adding that the offices of Block Medical Officer Bandipora, Hajin and Gurez have reflected the fictitious GPF Code 7501 on the LPCs issued by them in favour of the fraudulently appointed employees.
The CBK further said that the appointment orders purportedly issued by Chief Medical Officer Baramulla were found fake and fictitious as the persons were appointed in fraudulent manner and then transferred to different Medical Blocks with their service books / LPCs prepared and dispatched.
“In this manner, a huge number of illegally and fraudulently appointed employees have been drawing salary deceitfully since long under a well-knit criminal conspiracy in league with concerned officers/officials. A huge loss has been caused to the state exchequer due to fraudulently appointed employees” the handout stated.

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Transparency in cross-LoC trade: Demands ignored by successive govts,says KCCI

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Srinagar, Apr 20: Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCC&I) on Saturday said that their demands aimed at bringing transparency in cross-LoC trade were ignored by the successive governments in the state.
“Over the years, no effective steps were taken to implement various suggestions given by stakeholders,” a spokesman of KCC&I said in a statement.
He said that the decision of installation of full body scanner was taken several years ago it was caught in procedural delays.
“Demands aimed at bringing transparency to the trade including installation of a full body scanner, close circuit television camera’s (CCTV’s), banking facility, communication infrastructure, re-verification of traders, regular rotation of officials posted at Trade Facilitation Centres etc have been ignored,” he said.
He said that in July 2018, the then Governor N N Vohra had issued deadlines for the implementation of the aforementioned measures but till date no action has been taken resulting in the suspension of the trade itself.
He also said that the allegation that businessman Zahoor Ahmed Wattali was the President of LOC Traders Association is also unsubstantiated as per our knowledge.
“This has allowed the alleged flow of narcotics, fake currency and weapons into the State. In view of the serious nature of the allegations, responsibility needs to be fixed for the glaring lapses,” he said.
He said that the order of suspension has been issued without taking into account the difficulties genuine traders would be facing.
“No opportunity has been given to settle accounts and traders have been left with huge stocks, many of them perishable, which would be of no use. In addition, thousands of persons connected with the trade have been rendered jobless and in debt,” he said.

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