Nithari killings: Koli, Pandher get death sentence for murder of Pinki Sarkar
New Delhi:MMNN:24 July 2017
Surinder Koli and Moninder Singh Pandher were pronounced guilty by the CBI court in the murder and attempted rape of 20-year-old Pinki Sarkar. This is eighth of the 16 murder cases against the two. Judgment has already been given in seven cases.
Ghaziabad: A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ghaziabad awarded death sentence to Moninder Singh Pandher and his help Surinder Koli on Monday in connection with one of the 16 cases of attempted rape, murder, abduction and criminal conspiracy in Nithari, Noida.
CBI Special Judge (anti corruption) Pawan Kumar Tiwari, who pronounced the sentence, called it a ‘rarest of rare’ case.
“The concept of ‘blood for blood’ cannot be made applicable operational in society. Still, the work of the state is to strive for a decent society. This is possible only when such people, who have become dangerous for the society, are punished with death. They crossed all barriers of inhuman act with the victim ... such trend is not observed even in animals... (sic),” CBI Special Judge, Pawan Tiwari said while delivering the sentence.
“Such culprits deserve hard punishmet so that others think a thousand times before committing such crimes. Koli lured victims inside the house where he raped and attempted rape before murdering them and later threw their body parts and ate some of them in a heinous manner. Moninder Singh Pandher was part of the conspiracy... There is no scope for their (the accused’s) reform or rehabilitation. This case falls under the category of rarest of rare and both deserve death penalty,” the CBI special judge said.
Before their sentencing, Pandher’s lawyer argued that there was no evidence against his ailing client and he has already been in jail for eight long years. Koli, on the other hand, voiced his anger as he made his own closing arguments on Saturday.
“You give me any punishment as you feel like... there is no evidence against me. The CBI has framed me. The court should be equal to both the sides (defence and prosecution) and I feel I have been denied justice. There is no eyewitness in the case and the victim family never made any allegation against me. The DNA test of the victim did not confirm rape.” Koli said in court.
Both Koli and Pandher stood in the witness box while the judge pronounced the death sentence.
They were handed copies of the judgment and sent to Dasna jail.
On Saturday, the CBI court held both the accused guilty of attempted rape, murder and destruction of evidence. Out of the 16 cases filed against the duo, eight have been decided so far and the Ghaziabad court has awarded death penalty to prime accused Surinder Kohli in each of these cases.
Arrested in December 2006, Pandher walked out of Dasna jail in September 2014 after securing bail in all cases. Koli is still in the same prison. After being held guilty in the case in question, Pandher was again taken into custody and sent to Dasna jail.
The case on which the court pronounced verdict on Saturday was the second case in which both Pandher and Koli have been named accused.
In the first case, the CBI court awarded death sentences to both in February 2009. However, following an appeal, the Allahabad High Court acquitted Pandher and upheld Koli’s punishment.
The CBI Special Judge on Saturday held Koli guilty of murder, abduction, attempted rape and destruction of evidence in the eighth case. The victim was 20-year-old Pinki Sarkar who worked as a domestic help in Noida Sector 30. She was reported missing since leaving the house of her employer after watching a television serial on October 5, 2006.
“We looked for her everywhere, but could only find her clothes and slippers. We left Nithari after she was presumed dead, as we had to pass by Pandher’s house on way to work and couldn’t bear the sight of it. Every time I passed by the house, tears streamed down my eyes. We have waited 11 years for them to be hanged,” Bandana Sarkar, the victim’s mother, said.
Noida police arrested Pandher and Koli on December 29, 2006 after the discovery of bones, skulls and other remains from the former’s backyard sent shockwaves and stirred the collective conscience of the country.
The horiffic Nithari killings took place in 2005 and 2006 after minor girls, young women and children disappeared mysteriously from around Pandher’s Sector 31 residence in Noida.
The CBI said Koli, who is from Mangrukhal in Uttarakhand, lured victims to his employer’s house where he raped them and later dismembered their body parts before dumping them in bags and burying them in the backyard.
He sold momos, dreamt of Audi: How Delhi murder suspect took shortcut to luxury
New Delhi:MMNN:13 July 2017
He sold momos at a roadside stall in Noida and dreamt of driving a black Audi one day, claim Delhi Police. It was his craze for a life of luxury that drove him to take a short cut to becoming rich, police said.
Roshan, who also goes by the name Balram, was arrested on Wednesday for murdering a 53-year-old woman in Amar Colony and stealing cash and jewellery of about Rs 23 lakh. Police said Roshan has confessed that he came to Delhi about a month ago with the plan to make a quick buck.
“He sold momos in Atta market at Noida. He was from a village in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh. He wanted to live a life of luxury and having an Audi was in his bucket list. This instigated him to enter the world of crime,” said DCP South East Romil Baniya.
According to Baniya, Roshan posed as a cook and took up the job of a house help with a family in Amar Colony. On Tuesday morning, he took help of his three friends to rob and murder his employer Sarita Jain. The incident took place when the woman’s husband and son were not at home. Roshan let his three associates into the house and together they tied up the old domestic help and killed the woman when she tried to raise an alarm, police said.
The incident came to light, when the woman’s husband returned home and found the house locked. He entered using a duplicate key and saw one his old domestic helps had been injured and tied to a chair while his wife had been murdered. Roshan and his aides had fled with over Rs 23 lakh worth of jewellery and cash.
DCP Baniya said investigations revealed that Roshan had joined the family as a domestic help recently and the family had not conducted his police verification. The police caught Roshan and one of his associates from Noida’s Atta Market on Tuesday and he confessed that he had done the crime out of his love for Audi.
“He along with his associates was later arrested with the help of Facebook. Roshan, who used the name Balram, was active on social media even after murdering the woman. The accused Roshan was hired without any servant verification. The family members did not have any personal details about him such as contact number, local and present address, photo etc. We request everyone to get their domestic help verified through police. Door safety chain and CCTV cameras should be installed where women stay alone,” Baniya said.
The police now looking for three others who were also allegedly involved in the crime
Man misbehaves with CISF woman cop at Delhi airport, held
New Delhi:MMNN:5 July 2017
“Initially, he started staring at her and then initiated a conversation. Later, he misbehaved with the woman, shouted at her and even made lewd gestures when she asked him for his identity proof and other travel documents,” said a police officer.
A man has been arrested for allegedly misbehaving with a 28-year-old Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) woman constable, who was on duty at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in plain clothes. According to police, the incident took place on the intervening night of June 27 and 28. The accused, 45-year-old Purushottam Lal Bagga, who hails from Punjab, was departing for New York via Kuwait Airways, police said.
“He reached a help desk in the check-in area, where he saw the woman. Initially, he started staring at her and then initiated a conversation. Later, he misbehaved with the woman, shouted at her and even made lewd gestures when she asked him for his identity proof and other travel documents,” said a police officer. “Bagga was offloaded and handed over to Delhi Police. He was found to be drunk, and was arrested under IPC section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman),” the officer added.
Wettest June in Delhi in last 10 years, but it’s still not monsoon yet
New Delhi:MMNN:30 Jun 2017
NEW DELHI:The monsoon has overshot its June 29 date with Delhi and is now expected to arrive by July 2. However, the Capital has been receiving heavy pre-monsoon showers — highest in over a decade for the month of June.
Delhi hasn’t received so much of rain in June in a decade. Met officials said that these are all pre-monsoon showers. But where is the monsoon?
Experts at the Indian Meteorological Department said on Friday morning that the monsoon is still hovering over Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. It is likely to reach Delhi-NCR only by July 2 or early next week. The official date for arrival of the monsoon in Delhi is June 29.
“The monsoon has not moved over the past two days at least. We are expecting that it would start moving from today and cover Delhi NCR by this weekend or early next week,” said a senior official of met department.
But monsoon or not, heavy showers have already started causing waterlogging leading to traffic jams on the road.
“Traffic slowed down in several areas such as NH-24, Azad Market Chowk, Moolchand, AIIMS, Ajmeri Gate Chowk, Saket, Jahangirpuri and Munirka among others,” said traffic police personnel. At least two trees got uprooted because of the intermittent rains that have hit Delhi since Wednesday.
“Since June 1, New Delhi area (Safdarjung observatory) has received 191.9mm of rain. This is the wettest June, Delhi has witnessed since 2007,” said the official.
90% pickpockets at Delhi Metro are women, be careful at these 8 stations: CISF
New Delhi:MMNN:24 Jun 2017
NEW DELHI: The chief minister's iftar on Friday lost its sheen with most of the prominent invitees, including Vice-President Hamid Ansari, lieutenant governor Anil Baijal, former CM Shiela Dikshit and former LG Najeeb Jung, giving it a miss. Most of them had attended the iftar hosted by the chief minister last year.
While AAP's Kumar Vishwas, who has been accused of eyeing the party convener's post in place of Kejriwal, didn't turn up, MLA Amanatulla Khan, who recently slammed Vishwas for being a BJP agent, was seen going around obliging fans who wanted selfies with him. After greeting the CM, who is also the chairman of Urdu Academy in Delhi, Khan was not seen around him.
Masid Deobandi, vice-chairman of Urdu Academy, told TOI, "An invitation was sent to Vishwas but we don't know why he didn't turn up." He added that the Vice-President could not attend because of an iftar President Pranab Mukherjee hosted on Friday evening.
The event, organised at Palika Services Officers Institute in Nehru Park along with Urdu Academy, did not appear to be a common man's affair. Amid many tents for general guests, an enclosure was erected for Kejriwal and other "well connected" guests.
Quite a few guests even left fuming when they were not allowed entry into the VIP enclosure.
In addition to a dozen of fans, 10 heavy duty coolers were placed around the neatly carpeted VIP enclosure. A dark red carpet led the guests to the enclosure.
The iftar was, however, well planned. No mad rush for food was witnessed as there were enough counters for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian items.
Not many AAP functionaries were seen at the event. However, most party MLAs as well as deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia were among the key guests.
90% pickpockets at Delhi Metro are women, be careful at these 8 stations: CISF
New Delhi:MMNN:10 Jun 2017
The CISF has identified Kashmere Gate, Chandni Chowk, Shahdara, HUDA City Centre, Rajiv Chowk, Kirti Nagar, New Delhi and Tughlakabad stations as the metro stations that are prone to pickpocketing.
They usually board the Metro in groups and are accompanied by toddlers. In a crowded train, they distract unsuspecting victims by engaging them in a conversation or by drawing attention to the accompanying child. While one of them diverts the victims, the others pick their pocket at an opportune moment.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is responsible for the security at Delhi Metro stations, says that such women gangs are responsible for over 90% of the incidents of pickpocketing in the Delhi metro. In 2017 so far, the CISF has caught 373 pickpockets of which 329 were women. The CISF has also identified Kashmere Gate, Chandni Chowk, Shahdara, HUDA City Centre, Rajiv Chowk, Kirti Nagar, New Delhi and Tughlakabad stations as the ones prone to pickpocketing.
Regular complaints have prompted the CISF to form an anti-theft squad at every line. The job of these squads is to identify pickpockets and keep an eye on them. “As per the law, we cannot stop anyone from entering into metro premises. But we are aware of the groups that come to metro only for pickpocketing. Now, our staff start follow them as soon as they enter the metro premises and keep a watch so that they do not commit any offence,” a CISF official said.
On May 22, $20,000 was stolen from a passenger by a group of thieves at Karol Bagh. The group was later caught by the CISF. On May 31, another passenger complained of missing of his phone at Shadipur station. “We analysed the CCTV footage but they had left the metro station by that time. On June 2, they entered again from Subhash Nagar metro station and were stopped by the CISF. They usually commit the offence in a moving crowded train, making it difficult to get evidence,” the official added.
On June 2, 21 women pickpockets were caught. On June 3 and June 4, again, another 15 and 16 women were caught on the respective days and stolen gold jewellery and cash was recovered from them.
In 2016, at least, 41 male and 438 female suspected pickpockets were caught by the CISF.
How 5 Delhi teens robbed delivery boys using stolen bikes, snatched phones
New Delhi:MMNN:3 Jun 2017
A five-member gang of teenagers in south-west Delhi’s Najafgarh amassed a fortune in five months with this modus operandi until police busted the ring and arrested three of them on Thursday.
First they steal motorcycles and ride around neighbourhoods to snatch smart phones from pedestrians. Then they order goods from e-retailers through the stolen phones and rob the delivery man.
A five-member gang of teenagers in southwest Delhi’s Najafgarh amassed a fortune in five months with this modus operandi until police busted the ring and arrested three of them on Thursday.
The arrested gang-members are 18-year-old Hemant alias Laddu, Sunil and Mohit aka Tony, both aged 19. Two of their partners are on the run.
Besides bikes and phones, the booty included expensive electronic gadgets, home appliances, branded clothes, wristwatches and shoes.
MCD Election 2017: Will Close Delhi Landfills If We Win, Says Congress
New Delhi:MMNN:17 April 2017
The Congress on Sunday said it will ensure closure of all sanitary landfills in Delhi in two years if elected to power in Delhi municipal bodies.
At an event organised by Congress at the Gazipur landfill site, former Union Environment Minster Jairam Ramesh termed the presence of such sites in the national capital as a "disgrace" not only for the incumbent government but also for the society as a whole.
While accepting the magnitude of trash generated by a city as populous as Delhi (approximately 9,000 metric tonnes daily), he said that more than 40 per cent or 3,600 metric tonnes of this waste goes untreated.
He said efficient waste management system including proper segregation and composting needs to be deployed in Delhi at the earliest, and added that households will be given free blue and green bins for waste segregation.
"The Congress-led municipal corporations will build a mechanism to transport biodegradable waste to the local compost machine which will then be converted into fertiliser bringing down the amount of waste going to landfill sites," he said.
Mr Ramesh said that Congress-run civic bodies will strictly adhere to the revised Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
"Keeping up with the best practices, the municipal bodies will follow the 5-R concept for waste-management, that is, reduce, reuse, recover, recycle and re-manufacture," the former Minister added.
He said he made efforts for closing the landfills located in Narela-Bawana, Bhalaswa, Okhla and Ghazipur localities during his tenure as the Union Environment Minster. But all directives sent by his Ministry fell on deaf ears in the BJP-ruled civic bodies.
Accompanied by the local Congress leaders and the candidate, Mr Ramesh also erected a flag bearing "Mission Zero Landfill Delhi" on the giant waste mountain.
Ola-Uber strike back in Delhi on Tuesday: Brace for high fares, long wait
New Delhi:MMNN:17 April 2017
Brace for higher cab fares and longer waits on Tuesday as drivers' of online cab aggregators Ola and Uber are going to start round two of their protest.
Though a one-day strike, the protest could severely hit the private transport service sector in Delhi-NCR as this time even the rivals of Ola-Uber drivers, kaali-peeli taxi operators, have joined hands.
While most taxi and autorickshaw drivers, of an estimated 1-5 lakh app-based taxis in Delhi-NCR, have decided not to take out their vehicles on April 18, they also plan to do a protest march to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence in Civil Lines from the Majnu Ka Tila Gurudwara. The drivers have renewed the stir as they feel their demands have fallen on deaf ears - "neither the companies nor the Delhi government has done anything," they claim.
In February, Delhi-NCR got its first taste of a strike by Ola-Uber drivers against the cab aggregator companies, which impacted lakhs of commuters for almost two weeks. Leading the fresh protest is the same drivers' union, Sarvodaya Driver Association of Delhi (SDAD), which had organised the previous strike.
"Nothing has changed since our February protest. Drivers continue to slog for 16-18 hours daily and still are barely earning enough to eat and pay the car EMIs. Fares of registered city taxis can only be fixed by the government, whereas, Ola-Uber still continue to levy their own rates," said Kamaljeet Gill, president SDAD.
Foes turn friends
Tuesday's strike has received support from at least a dozen transport unions active in the capital.
Until now, drivers of kaali-peeli taxis, those with All India Taxi Permit (AITP) and auto-rickshaws had always protested against the Ola-Uber drivers for eating away into their earnings as the app-based cab service gained huge popularity.
"Drivers of Ola-Uber are suffering because they are working like bonded labourers and are earning pittance. Like we have always been demanding, they also want meters installed in cabs and rates to be fixed by the government. Our issues have now become common and so we will fight together," said Sanjay Samrat of Delhi Taxi Tourist Transporters Association.
He added that the app-based cab companies are flouting not only laws but also directions issued by the Supreme Court. "Cabs are illegally being run on shared basis. Ola and Uber are giving away cars with AIT permits to drivers on a small down payment of R 35,000. As per the law, vehicles with these permits cannot be run on point-to-point basis," Samrat said.
No Jat protests today but police checks hit traffic across Delhi, border areas
New Delhi:MMNN:20 March 2017
Traffic movement took a hit in Delhi on Monday morning due to security pickets across entry points to the city and many busy stretches, put up in view of the Jat protests.
Delhi Police on Sunday evening had relaxed all restrictions after the Jats called off their protest march to the national capital, but security arrangements at the borders remained intact.
Jams were witnessed in the Lutyens' zone on Monday, said Garima Bhatnagar, joint CP (traffic), who attributed this to the security pickets that remain in New Delhi area.
"There will be heavy checking in New Delhi area because we do not want to take any chances. So, we would advice motorists to keep off this area unless it is unavoidable. They must plan their travel accordingly," Bhatnagar said.
Police barricades are in place every 300-400 metres across central Delhi and border areas. The cops are not even allowing people to gather in front of roadside shops.
A large number of traffic and police personnel have also been deployed strategically in several other parts of the city, particularly near the borders. They have been asked to keep an eye out for any mischievous elements who might try to sneak into the city although the Jat agitation has been called off.
Vehicles are being checked frequently than usual and thereby traffic is slow.
"Any car with more than three people are being checked by the cops at Delhi-Noida border. Security forces donning riot gear were seen keeping strict vigil," said a commuter from Noida.
Brace for summer, temperature to cross 30 degrees this week
New Delhi:MMNN:20 March 2017
After bidding a long and tiring adieu to winter in the national capital, it may now be time to welcome summer in the national capital. Delhi may have to brace scorching temperatures this week as weathermen have predicted maximum and minimum temperatures of 30 and 15 degrees Celsius respectively on Monday, and are also expecting the mercury to keep rising during the course of the week.
Though the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had forecast the possibility of some rain on Sunday, Delhi was dry as a bone with temperatures fluctuating between 15.6 and 29.8 degrees Celsius, both a notch below the expected normal temperature.
The normal temperature expected during this time of the year is between 17 and 31 degrees Celsius.
However, India Meteorological Department officials expect the mercury to rise as high as 34 degrees Celsius and not drop below 17 degrees Celsius by Thursday.
"This is just seasonal change. With the advent of summer, there is a general warming trend. We expect the temperature to be recorded at two to four degrees above normal levels in Delhi and neighbouring north western parts of India during the week," said an IMD official.
The weatherman also said that after peaking on Thursday, temperatures may drop a little and start moving back to normal ranges. The minimum temperature is set to rise further by Saturday, to 18 degrees Celsius, but the maximum temperature will drop to 33 degrees Celsius.
So it might be time to trade those woollens in for lots of water and a good sunscreen to keep you hydrated, and to keep you protected from harmful rays.
Minimum temperatures in March normally fluctuate between 12 and 18 degree Celsius, with the mercury rising as the month moves along.
'Will Turn Delhi Into London': Arvind Kejriwal's Plan Amuses Internet
New Delhi:MMNN:6 March 2017
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has an ambitious plan - to turn Delhi into London. While campaigning for the upcoming Municipal elections, the Chief Minister promised to make the capital look like London in a year if his party wins the civic body polls. "In the assembly polls you gave us 67 seats but this time do not leave any such gap. If we win the MCD polls, we will spruce up Delhi and make it look like London within a year," he said while campaigning in Delhi's Uttam Nagar.
Arvind Kejriwal boasted that his two-year-old government has done what the BJP governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh failed to do in 10-15 years. He also claimed their government in Delhi delivered on the promises they made two years ago for the assembly polls.
Delhi has three municipal bodies - north, south and east corporations. The polls for the civic bodies are due in April. BJP currently manages the three civic bodies in the capital.
This is not the first time a political leader has promised to turn an Indian city into its international counterpart. In 2011, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee made public her plan to turn Kolkata into London and Darjeeling into Switzerland.
Ramjas incident: Court asks Delhi Police to file ATR
New Delhi:MMNN:6 March 2017
Police was today ordered by a court to file a report on a plea for an FIR in the Ramjas College incident in which alleged anti-national slogans were raised but questioned the complainant on the genuineness of the video.
The court directed the SHO of Maurice Nagar police station in North Delhi to file an action taken report (ATR) on the complaint by March 30 and asked the complainant to submit a chronology of events of February 21 and 22 when the clashes allegedly took place.
"Notice be issued to the SHO concerned to file ATR before the court on March 30," Metropolitan Magistrate Abhilash Malhotra said.
The magistrate asked the advocate, who is also complainant in the matter, whether the video of the alleged incident was shot by him and what was the source of the footage.
"Have you shot the video yourself? We are in an electronic age now and videos are being doctored. So we cannot believe in it. Even you are not sure about its genuineness," the court said.
To this, complainant Vivek Garg and advocate Puneet Goel said he was not aware of the person who shot the video and added that the CD made from video was shown by news channels and at social media. He said a certificate under the Evidence Act can be given by the reporter who had shot the video.
"It is a fact that an offence was committed at Ramjas College but who did it is a matter of investigation. No case has been lodged by the police on the incident that took place on February 21," Goel argued.
Narrating the chain of events, Garg said JNU student Umar Khalid, against who a sedition case was lodged last year, was "deliberately" invited as a speaker in the seminar in Ramjas College and when the authorities got to know about it, they withdrew the permission to conduct the event.
Delhi Police Crime Branch Begins Probe In Ramjas College Clashes
New Delhi:MMNN:25 Feb. 2017
Delhi Police's Crime Branch on Friday begun its probe into clashes between ABVP and AISA members in Delhi University's Ramjas College.
"Since it was Mahashivratri, students were not present in the campus. Police will begin recording the statements of students tomorrow and will collect all the video evidences in the matter," said a senior police officer.
Officers analysed all the complaints received from both the parties, he said. Meanwhile, there was police presence in the campus and adjoining areas today to ensure peace despite it being a holiday.
Ramjas College had on Wednesday witnessed large-scale violence between members of AISA and ABVP supporters. The genesis of the clash was an invite to JNU students Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid to address a seminar on 'Culture of Protests' which was withdrawn by the college authorities following opposition by the ABVP.
Tension continued to simmer across Delhi University's North Campus yesterday with students' groups holding protests against police "high-handedness" during the violent clashes even as three policemen were suspended for "unprofessional" conduct.
While students of JNU and DU who are members of All India Students Association (AISA) staged a protest at the Delhi Police Headquarters at ITO, the Congress' student wing National Students Union of India (NSUI) took out a peace march to Maurice Nagar police station, near the North Campus.
ABVP, on its part staged a protest reiterating that "they will not allow any repeat of JNU like events in Delhi University".
While the DU authorities maintained that the varsity proctor's office is looking into the issue, the HRD Ministry had yesterday sought a report from the university over the issue.
A case was registered in connection with the violence and yesterday it was transferred to Crime Branch.
2,500 cops to be deployed for Gurdwara polls on Sunday
New Delhi:MMNN:25 Feb. 2017
As the campaigning to elect 46 members for the Delhi Sikh gurdwara management committee (DSGMC) elections came to an end on Friday, the directorate of gurdwara elections, Delhi government, has commissioned 2,500 police personnel to guard 560 polling stations where the voting will take place on February 26.
"We are taking no chances, police will be deployed on roads and mohallas, which have a high concentration of Sikh voters, on Sunday" said Shurbir Singh, director of gurdwara elections.
There are a total of 51 members in the house, of which 46 are elected, two are co-opted, two are chosen by lottery from among the Singh Sabha gurdwaras of national capital and one is a representative of Shiromani Gurdwara parbandhak committee (SGPC), which has its headquarters in Amritsar.
According to the directorate, 57 polling stations were declared hypersensitive and 111 as sensitive. "We are putting additional security on all the identified polling stations," Singh said.
Main contenders in the elections are Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), led by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) outgoing president Manjit Singh GK, SAD (Delhi) led by Paramjit Singh Sarna, who was the president for over 10 years from to 1996 to 2013, and Panthic Sewa Dal, an organisation formed by the Aam admi party (AAP).
A total of 334 candidates are in the poll fray, counting of which would take place on March 1.
SAD (Badal), which is facing a stiff competition from AAP in the upcoming Punjab assembly polls on February 4, and Paramjit Singh Sarna led-SAD (Delhi), which has been out of power in the gurdwara politics for four years, have been trying to stage a comeback.
Apart from the management of 10 historic Gurdwaras in the national capital, including Bangla Sahib, Sis Ganj, and Rakabganj Sahib, and an annual budget to the tune of Rs100 crore, the DSGMC has 6 industrial training institutes, 6 post-graduate colleges affiliated to Delhi University, 18 public schools, 2 hospitals and an upcoming university under its management.
Delhi's Minimum Temperature Dips To 6.6 Degrees Celsius, Mornings Foggy
New Delhi:MMNN:19 Dec. 2016
The minimum temperature dropped to 6.6 degrees Celsius in the national capital this morning, a notch below normal, even as moderate foggy conditions delayed 24 trains.
The visibility was recorded at 400 meters at 8:30 AM, both at Safdarjung and Palam, said a Met department official.
According to a senior Railway official, 24 trains were running late while five trains were rescheduled.
The Met office has predicted mainly clear skies for the day.
"The skies will be mainly clear. The maximum temperature is expected to settle at 23 degrees Celsius, " the weatherman said.
Why shouldn't diesel buses be barred in Delhi: NGT to six states
New Delhi:MMNN:19 Dec. 2016
The National Green Tribunal has questioned six states around Delhi on why they should not be instructed to completely stop diesel buses from coming to the capital.
Noting that air quality was poor during winters, a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana to take a clear decision on switching to CNG vehicles and buy buses with additional fuel cylinders to resolve the issue of providing sufficient fuel in these buses.
"It is contended before us that ambient air quality is much poorer compared to the prescribed standards and there are serious environmental and public health issues arising from the pollution. It is so more particularly in the areas of Anand Vihar, Patparganj and Sahibabad," the bench said.
"The counsel appearing for the state of Uttarakhand, UP, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to take clear instructions from their governments as to why they should not be directed to stop operating diesel buses destined to Delhi or passing via Delhi and instead operate CNG buses...," the bench added.
The NGT also directed Delhi Pollution Control Committee and Uttar Pradesh pollution control board to submit complete details on the air pollution resulting from the industries in Patparganj, Sahibabad and Anand Vihar within a week.
It asked them to find out what pollutants are discharged by industrial units in these areas and steps that are required to be taken by them. The matter has been listed for next hearing on December 23.
In October, the green panel had rapped the states for not being clear on their policy for CNG vehicles and warned of halting state transport if they did not introduce CNG, saying most particulate matters in the air inhaled by people in Delhi emanated from there.
The bench was hearing a plea filed by Kaushambi Apartments Residents Welfare Association (KARWA). In its petition, KARWA had highlighted how the presence of two bus terminuses within 200 metre of each other in Kaushambi has exacerbated air pollution in the area and sought to relocate the Kaushambi bus stand.
53 trains running late, 13 cancelled due to fog
New Delhi:MMNN:15 Dec. 2016
Foggy weather around New Delhi and adjoining areas continued to disrupt flight and train services even on Thursday. News agency reported that 13 trains which were scheduled to arrive in New Delhi got cancelled and as many as 53 trains were arriving late in the national Capital. Poor visibility on the tracks led to rescheduling of 23 trains.
Also, a total of 8 flights were delayed on Thursday among which were the five arriving international flights at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA). Early morning reports suggest that three domestic flights were delayed (Two scheduled for arrival and one for departure from IGIA) and one was cancelled. Low visibility on the runway had been causing a lot of cancellations and delays over the past few days.
The northern India region is reeling under a cold spell leading to frequent cancellation and delay of transport services. Even on Wednesday as many as 61 trains had been running late which were scheduled to arrive in New Delhi area. In Uttar Pradesh, 17 trains were running late on Wednesday.
Foggy weather conditions in states like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar and Haryana caused inconvenience in roadway transport services as well. Low visibility on the highways caused states like Uttar Pradesh to experience connectivity issues. However, there may not be any respite soon.
According to weather reports, the cold wave is likely to intensify in the coming days.
Delhi Property Dealer Held; 7 Kg Jewellery, Rs. 64 Lakh Seized
New Delhi:MMNN:15 Dec. 2016
A real estate agent was arrested after 7 kg jewellery valued at more than Rs. 1 crore and over Rs. 64 lakh in cash were seized from him, including over Rs. 11 lakh in new Rs. 2,000 currency notes, the Delhi Police said on Wednesday.
The Income Tax Department and Inter-State Cell of the Crime Branch conducted searches at accused Sukhbir Shokeen's house in Chhawla village late Tuesday night following a tip-off.
Mr Shokeen, who runs Shokeen Real Estate Ltd., was present at his house during the searches. He has invested in many real estate projects in the area, the police said.
"Of the total Rs. 64,84,000 seized, Rs. 11,34,000 was in Rs. 2,000 notes. Besides, jewellery valued at Rs. 1,06,57,235 was also found at Shokeen's house," Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Ravindra Yadav said.
The cash was kept in in six bags, the police officer said.
"Most cash was in Rs. 100 notes, Rs. 73,000 in old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes and Rs. 11,34,000 in new Rs. 2,000 currency."
Mr Shokeen was living in style, with mirror lift and water fountain in his house's parking area, where his expensive cars such as Mercedes, Audi Q7 and Bentley were found parked.
Further investigation by the Income Tax Department is on. Survey proceedings are being carried out at his company office at Rangpuri in Delhi, Joint Commissioner of Police Yadav said.
Arms dealer arrested, 27 high-end pistols seized
New Delhi:MMNN:12 Dec. 2016
Delhi Police Special Cell has arrested an arms dealer and recovered high quality pistols from his possession, which he was going to deliver to his associates in Delhi and NCR.
Police said the operation was part of their ongoing process of neutralising the supply of illegal arms.
According to police, the accused has been identified as 50-year-old Ram Singh, a resident of Madhya Pradesh.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Special Cell, Pramod Singh Kushwah, said they received a tip-off on Saturday that an inter-state gang - involved in supplying illegal pistols to criminals based in Delhi, Haryana and UP - would be coming to deliver a consignment to a receiver on NH-24 near Akshardham Sethu.
A special cell team was constituted to nab the accused. During questioning, Singh disclosed that he had come to deliver illegal pistols which were concealed in the bag. On checking, the police team found 27 0.32 bore pistols in it, he added.
Police said Singh had come to supply arms in Delhi and NCR on previous occasions as well. He had been convicted in an Arms Act case in Madhya Pradesh, added police.
"Further investigation is underway and efforts are being made to trace his associates in Delhi, NCR and Madhya Pradesh," said an officer.
In third raid on Delhi lawyer, Rs 13.5 crore seized
New Delhi:MMNN:12 Dec. 2016
A little known lawyer whom many could not recognise by name in the Supreme Court or the Delhi high court where he claimed to have a "thriving practice" was caught by I-T authorities a third time with a hoard of unaccounted cash, stashed in bundles of banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes as well as in wads of Rs 2,000, totalling at least Rs 13.48 crore.
A joint team of the I-T department and Delhi police's crime branch found cabinets and secret chests at Rohit Tandon's office in the upscale GK-1 area filled with notes on Sunday. Several cartons containing cash were also found. The police said Tandon had gone underground. Search is on for him.
Delhi Police had kept Tandon under surveillance for at least two months, ever since the I-T department made a stunning haul of Rs 125 crore in its first raid on the lawyer on October 7. Sunday's raid was the third on him, the second being two weeks ago and yielding Rs 19 crore in unaccounted income.
The involvement of police in what would have normally been treated as a tax matter is part of a new trend where the I-T department has brought in the CBI and the ED to crack cases which, while being essentially about tax evasion, seems to also involve criminality.
I-T officials are flummoxed at how Tandon managed to collect Rs 2.61crore in newly minted Rs 2,000 notes . Complicity of bank officials has not been ruled out and some top bank functionaries may be arrested. The first raid came within a week of the Income Disclosure Scheme coming to an end. The IDS was an opportunity for people to declare their black money by September 30. At the time, the I-T department had claimed that it had come across documents suggesting money laundering. Tandon had, however, refused to respond to queries sent by TOI. After the first two searches, Tandon had declared Rs 144 crore in unaccounted income. With Sunday's seizure, the total unaccounted income recovered from the lawyer has touched Rs 157 crore. Tandon had become a talking point when TOI, in its edition on October 20, reported his disclosure of Rs 125 crore in unaccounted income a few days after the raid on his premises. The raids was part of a coordinated attack on 'fixers' and middlemen ruling 'Delhi circles'.
He was on the department's radar for some time, particularly after he had purchased a property in Delhi's tony Jor Bagh for a consideration believed to be more than Rs 100 crore.
Tandon's connections and his financial transactions were still being trailed when I-T officials made another search of his bank lockers and discovered new accounts. The second search led to seizure of Rs 19 crore from banks. The third I-T raids and police searches began on Saturday night and continued through Sunday.
Man Allegedly Strangled To Death Allegedly By Friend In Delhi
New Delhi:MMNN:8 Dec. 2016
A 28-year-old man was strangled to death allegedly by his friend after an altercation while they were having liquor together in southwest Delhi's Baba Hari Dass Nagar in New Delhi, police said on Wednesday.
The deceased, identified as Sumit Sharma (24), was strangled allegedly by Naresh with a piece of cloth used for turbans and later his neck was pressed with a big stone until he died on the intervening night of December 5 and 6, said a senior police officer.
Naresh was arrested on Tuesday evening from his sister's house in Chhawla village in southwest Delhi, he added. According to police, Mr Sumit had gone out with his three friends to have liquor on December 5 and the next day, his body was found lying in a vacant plot.
Mr Sumit was last seen roaming with his three friends Naresh, Lavish and Suresh on December 5, police said.
When they were having liquor, an argument broke out between Naresh and Mr Sumit over the mention of some person, said the officer.
"Naresh lost his temper and he allegedly murdered Mr Sumit in a brutal way. The accused has three cases of murders pending against him," he added.
The accused allegedly smashed Mr Sumit's face with a stone so that he couldn't be identified.
Police is also questioning Mr Lavish and Mr Suresh to ascertain their involvement.
Two Malaysian tourists duped in Delhi on pretext of exchanging demonetised notes
New Delhi:MMNN:8 Dec. 2016
Two Malaysian tourists alleged on Wednesday that they were duped of their Indian and foreign currency notes by a west Delhi resident, in the name of demonetisation and cash crunch.
The tourists accused Rishabh of cheating them on the pretext of exchanging Rs 10,000 in the scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations with new banknotes. In the complaint, they also said that the man took away 1,000 US dollars and 200 Malaysian Ringgit from them, apart from fraudulently using their credit cards for paying his bills.
The Malaysians met the Delhi resident through Couch Surfing, an online hospitality service, which provides a platform for its members to stay at the other member's home as a guest. After landing in Delhi from Malaysia on November 27, they stayed at Rishabh's Sunder Vihar home near Peeragarhi in west Delhi for the next two days.
"The man, Rishabh, as named in the complaint, duped the tourists, saying exchanging foreign currency notes has become difficult and a time taking process because of demonetisation," police said.
The fraudsters are using demonetisation as an opportunity to cheat innocent people in the name of exchanging old currency with new banknotes on commission basis, ranging between 10% and 30%, the officer said.
Dependra Pathak, joint commissioner of police (south western range), confirmed that a complaint was filed by one of the Malaysian tourists, identified as Wong Hwa Yo. "The complaint was forwarded to the Mianwali police station and an FIR has been registered. We are looking into the case and all possible assistance will be provided to the tourists," said Pathak.
Wong in his complaint alleged that Rishabh stole 26 US dollars and some Malaysian Ringgit while during their two days stay at his home. They gave $1,000 to Rishabh to exchange them with Indian currency notes. However, they got back only Rs 30,000. "We gave him Rs10,000 in scrapped Indian currency notes, but he returned only Rs 2,500 and kept the remaining money," Wong said in his complaint.
According to Wong's complaint, when they asked Rishabh to return their money, he made them leave home, saying there was an emergency in his family and he had to lock the home and reach his ancestral home.
The two were left with no choice but to stay in a hotel on their own expenses. Rishabh blocked their mobile numbers on his phone so that they could not contact him, the officer said. "Efforts are on to nab Rishabh," added the officer.
According to Delhi Police records, a total of 113 cases of crimes against foreign nationals were reported in Delhi in 2015. Statistics show that 168 crimes were committed in Delhi by foreign nationals.
Delhi Police teams sharing notes to see if three cases of chopped bodies linked
New Delhi:MMNN:5 Dec. 2016
Delhi Police teams that are probing the three mutilated bodies found in south Delhi within a 10 km radius of each other in the last 10 days are comparing notes and sharing information to see if the three murders could be connected.
The modus operandi of all three killings seems identical, and though the cops have not confirmed a link between them, a frantic scan of missing reports of people between 30 and 40 years of age is on to discover the identity of the victims whose bodies were recovered from Munirka, Amar Colony and Sangam Vihar.
The body found in a Munirka sewer on November 25 was a woman's with her head missing. The Amar Colony body was just the lower torso of a woman, discovered on December 4 in a drain near the Delhi Jal Board office.
The one found in Sangam Vihar on December 2 was a man's body that had been hacked into three parts. In all the three cases, police are yet to recover the murder weapon.
Officers probing the cases say that, prima facie, it appears that all the three were murdered elsewhere and their bodies dropped at the spots where they were found.
Another similarity, police say, is that the bodies were either naked or in their undergarments. But the police says it doesn't want to jump to conclusions. "It is too early to say that the three murders are related. It looks like a coincidence. Our officers are working round the clock and will nab the culprits soon," said joint commissioner of police, Dependra Pathak.
Police In Touch With US Woman Who Was Allegedly Raped At Delhi Hotel
New Delhi:MMNN:5 Dec. 2016
Delhi Police is in touch with a US woman who was allegedly raped by a group of men at a five-star hotel in Delhi in April and she may come to India to join the probe.
The woman had alleged that she was raped by the men for two days. They also threatened her with dire consequences if she reported the matter to anybody.
"After the incident, the woman went back to the US without informing about the incident even to those accompanying her in the trip. Initially, she approached an NGO which sent an email about the incident to Delhi Police and yesterday she mailed her complaint to police.
"We are in touch with her and we are trying to convince her to come to India. She might come here but no date has been fixed for her visit," said an officer privy to the probe.
Police suspected that the accused had targeted a couple of other women tourists, a source said.
Teams have been formed to nab the accused, one of whom is a hotel employee and his relative, the source said, adding that the accused even shot a video of the act and threatened her with making the clip public if she filed a complaint.
Fog disrupts flight operations in Delhi
New Delhi:MMNN:1 Dec. 2016
Flight operations at the Indira Gandhi International Airport were affected for the second day today with four domestic flights diverted to other aerodromes amid low runway visibility due to dense fog.
Flight operations at Delhi airport are "intermittent" but not "suspended", an airport official said.
"The low visibility procedure was implemented at 3 AM. ATC is clearing arrivals and departures as per the fog situation," the official said.
He said four aircraft arriving at Delhi airport from different destination were diverted to other airports as they could not land here.
Delhi air turns severe again, Kejriwal govt decides on 6 steps to fight pollution
New Delhi:MMNN:1 Dec. 2016
Holding a high-level meeting, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday directed immediate implementation of six new measures to curb the menace of air pollution in the national capital.
These steps include:
Design and execute induced-draft creation units at five major traffic intersections in Delhi.
Study feasibility of using cow dung, sewage sludge, alum sludge for possible fuel pellets, tiles, bricks or other useful material.
Design an air pollution control system for green crematorium.
Design a way to control pollution generated by brick kilns.
Design a passive venting system for dumpsite.
Design a clean tandoor community kitchen system.
The ideas and their proposals stem from scientific reports of Government of India by CPCB, CSIR and NEERI and orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), a research institute, created and funded by Government of India, has been given the mandate to design and implement these solutions.
In collaboration with the PWD, NEERI will design and execute induced-draft creation units at five major traffic intersections in Delhi. The IDC at IIT Bombay will help NEERI design for these traffic intersections.
Such a unit has the potential to reduce carbon monoxide and particulate emission by 40percent to 60percent emission in 20-30 metres of radius during peak hours of traffic.
Pilot study executed in IIT Bombay on JVLR Road shows reduction of 55-76per cent for PM2.5 and 73-88 percent for PM10. Air quality sensors, anemometers, camera and counters will be mounted on these units for better mapping which will enable robust data assimilation and analysis.
This step will also execute directions of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to DPCC dated December 29 2015, which requires action on creating green buffers along traffic corridors, and reduce curbside pollution and intervene at road traffic intersections using different technologies, as per the directions.
The Deputy CM also ordered that DPCC conduct the five following studies regarding air pollution along with NEERI, which will result in concrete deliverables, which will help the Delhi Government to curb the menace of air pollution
High-level meeting attended Environment Minister Imran Hussain and officials from PWD, Environment and Delhi Pollution Control Committee.
CSIR NEERI, a science R and D institute of the Government of India, will design and implement the measures. Induced-draft air treatment systems to be installed at five major traffic intersections in Delhi by CSIR NEERI in collaboration with the Public Works Department (PWD)
Five design and technical studies for targeted solutions to be conducted CSIR NEERI in collaboration with DPCC.
Delhi is expected to witness dense to shallow fog over the next several days. Several flights were also delayed at the Delhi airport on Wednesday morning due to dense fog.
As per the forecast, dense fog is expected across the city on Thursday as well, while both Friday and Saturday will see moderate fog.
On Sunday, while the fog is expected to be shallow, the minimum temperature is expected to reach 9 degrees Celsius.
Unfortunately, fog is expected to worsen the air quality of the city which has already touched "severe" levels at many places.
Famous Madame Tussauds wax museum to open in Delhi
New Delhi:MMNN:24 Nov. 2016
Merlin Entertainments, a leading visitor attraction operator on Wednesday said it will be opening a branch of the world-famous wax museum Madame Tussauds here in mid-2017.
Madame Tussauds is famous for lifelike wax figures of celebrities.
"We are delighted to be announcing that our 22nd Madame Tussauds attraction will be opening in Delhi. Ever since we introduced Amitabh Bachchan as the first Bollywood figure in Madame Tussauds London in 2000, we have seen how Madame Tussauds appeals to the Indian consumer...having a permanent attraction in the heart of the country's capital made perfect sense for the evolution of the Madame Tussauds story," Merlin Entertainments Chief New Openings Officer John Jakobsen said.
The museum will be launched mid-next year in the Regal Cinema at Connaught Place and will be spread over two floors.
UK-based Merlin Enterprises runs 116 attractions in 24 countries and the company will be foraying in the Indian market with the launch of Madame Tussauds Delhi.
Centre Removes Delhi Chief Secretary Kewal Kumar Sharma
New Delhi:MMNN:24 Nov. 2016
The Centre on Wednesday removed Delhi Government's Chief Secretary Kewal Kumar Sharma and named him as Secretary in the Department of Higher Education in Union HRD Ministry, a move which is likely to start a fresh tug of war between the Arvind Kejriwal government and Narendra Modi dispensation.
"The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet-led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved appointment of Mr Sharma as Officer on Special Duty in the Department of Higher Education.
"The officer will take over as Secretary, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resources Development, on superannuation of the present incumbent Vinay Sheel Oberoi", an order issued by Department of Personnel and Training said, without citing any reason.
Mr Oberoi's retirement is due in February next year.
Mr Sharma, an 1983 batch IAS officer of Union territories cadre, had taken over as the Chief Secretary in the Delhi government on March 9 last year.
Girl of 4 sexually assaulted, murdered in Delhi
New Delhi:MMNN:21 Nov. 2016
In a shocking incident, a four-year-old girl was sexually assaulted and murdered, allegedly by unidentified persons in North West Delhi's Keshavpuram here on Monday. The police said that the nail and bite marks on the girl's body are signs of sexual assault which they suspect caused her death.
The suspects in the case have not been identified yet.
Autopsy report awaited
"There was no strangulation mark on the body which is why it is possible that the extensive injuries caused to her during the sexual assault could have proved fatal. The post-mortem report is awaited which will establish the cause of death," said Deputy Commissioner of Police (North West) Milind Mahadeo Dumbere.
The case was reported to the police around 7 a.m. on Monday when a relative of the victim spotted her body near the railway tracks close to Lawrence Road. The place is also close to the slum, where she lived with her family.
"It was lying abandoned in an unused old building near the tracks," said Mr. Dumbere.
Missing since Sunday night
The victim had been missing since Sunday night and family members had been looking for her ever since, said the police.
A police team reached the spot and sent the girl's body to a nearby hospital for post mortem.
A case of rape and murder has been registered at the Keshavpuram police station and further investigations are on. It is not clear yet whether there are any CCTV footage of the area is available but police are questioning the neighbours and relative of the victim as well as those residing close near the tracks for more clues.
Enthusiasm masks pollution as Delhi runs half marathon
New Delhi:MMNN:21 Nov. 2016
Thirty five-year-old Shikhar Sharma was worried whether he would be able to complete his 21-kilometre run at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday.
He has been preparing for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM) for over six months. But, for two weeks, before the race, he could not practice like he wanted to.
The spike in the pollution had kept him home.
"I don't know how I finished the race. It is an achievement for me. Though I was pretty happy with my practice till October, I could not go out and run when pollution levels shot up," said Sharma. He said he finished the race 12.5 minutes slower than usual.
Though he could not run outside, he kept up practice by cycling and running on a treadmill in his gym. However, it did not help much, Sharma said.
Many among the 12,000 participants at Sunday's half marathon were seen running wearing masks, at least for the first lap, to protect from the infamous Delhi air.
"Wearing a mask throughout the run is slightly uncomfortable because your breath cycle is not in your control. As you sweat, it gets drenched and gives off a weird stench. I wore a mask for the first five minutes to warm up," said 24-year-old architect, Saudamini Srinivasan.
Runners also wrote to the event organisers, requesting them to postpone the run because of the unhealthy levels of pollution.
This raised a red flag among the organisers, who claimed to have kept a close watch on pollution for the last fortnight.
Before the marathon, medical director of the race, Tomorish Kole, told HT it would be unhealthy to run on Sunday due. He advised advised participants with lung and cardiac problems to give it a miss.
The organisers also sent out mails to the registered participants last week, saying, "...due to air pollution being at its peak for the last few days, it is advisable for all participants to seek medical advice and wear protective gear as best advised to them."
Though the levels of particulate matter in a cubic meter air in Delhi were lower on Sunday compared to the first week of November, it was still almost six times the prescribed standards. A hazy layer of smog had enveloped the air as the runners prepared to start the race in the morning.
Dr GC Khilnani, professor, department of pulmonary medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said running increases toxic pollutants inhaled.
"When you exercise, you breathe faster and deeper. This leads to people inhaling more volumes of minute pollutants, which get lodged in the lungs. It is not advisable to run, especially in the early mornings and late evenings, when the level of pollutants in the air is at its highest," he said.
The air quality seemed to affect runners who were not from Delhi a little more than it did residents.
"I had heard a lot about the Capital's pollution. Today, I could feel it. After a while I could literally feel my eyes burning. But all is well when the race is over," said Mithun Pratap, a runner from Chandigarh.
Last week, the Delhi High Court told the government to issue a health advisory, warning people of the dangers of running the half marathon. The bench said, "...if someone can run in Delhi, they can run anywhere."
Second edition of Delhi Walk Festival to begin on Nov 19
New Delhi:MMNN:17 Nov. 2016
Delhi Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra on Wednesday said the second edition of the 'Delhi Walk Festival' will start from Saturday in which several known dignitaries and artists will participate.
"We are going to hold second edition of the Delhi Walk Festival from November 19 and it will end on December 4. This festival will have 200 walks led by 50 walk experts (organisations/individuals) making it the largest walk festival in the country," Mishra told reporters here.
Mishra said that the walks would be held at many popular as well as unexplored places of Delhi, including Tughlaqabad Fort, Nizamuddin, Khan Market, Connaught Place, Humayun's Tomb, Lodhi Garden, C.R. Park, Paharganj, Hauz Khas, Kashmere Gate, Qutub Minar, Sonia Vihar and Khirkee, among others.
"Delhi is a city rich in heritage, nature, arts and culture. So through this walk festival, we will explore all aspects of cultural heritage of the city," Mishra said.
He said the first edition of Delhi Walk Festival was organised in February 2016 and received an overwhelming response.For the second edition, some walks will be led by eminent Delhiites such as Pradip Krishen (environmentalist and author), Ravish Kumar (journalist and author), Gursimran Khamba (stand-up comedian), William Dalrymple (author), and Gautam Bhan (author and gay activist).
The second edition of the Delhi Walk Festival is being organised by Delhi Tourism in association with State Bank of India and 'Delhi I Love You'.
'Delhi I Love You' is an 18-month-old cultural and social movement in Delhi started in May, 2015 with an aim to promote and connect people/organisations and celebrate the city at large.
Kerala youngsters bring affordable purifier to Delhi's air pollution problems
New Delhi:MMNN:17 Nov. 2016
Meet Geevarghese Thomas, 25, and Abhilash John, 25, the two entrepreneurs who have come up with perhaps the cheapest air purifier in the world, priced at just Rs 2,500.
They are two youngsters from Kerala who are now offering a solution to the air pollution in the national Capital. Meet Geevarghese Thomas, 25, and Abhilash John, 25, the two entrepreneurs who have come up with perhaps the cheapest air purifier in the world, priced at just Rs 2,500.
Fresh out of college, these youngsters stood up to a personal health crisis. Rather than hoping for someone else to come to their rescue, these young men took it upon themselves to find a solution to the asthma suffered by Thomas.
DEVELOPS AFFORDABLE AIR PURIFIER
Thomas, who hails from Thiruvalla in Kerala, completed his schooling from Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya before moving to Delhi. In 2012, he completed his graduation in Economics from the Delhi University. He then began preparing for the civil services examination. But then came winter of 2015 when Thomas got afflicted with asthma. When he consulted the doctor, he was advised to use air purifier.
But Thomas's search for an affordable air purifier went in vain - there was nothing below the price of Rs 30,000 in the market. It was then Thomas realised the urgency to come up with a solution to the problem. Air pollution was not just affecting him, but the common man as well. He thought of doing something about it.
SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHED A TECH-STARTUP
Thomas discussed the idea with his schoolmate Abhilash John, who hails from Adoor in Kerala. After completing his BTech in industrial engineering from College of Engineering, Trivandrum, John had also moved to Delhi and successfully launched a technology start-up.
DEVELOPS PURO MODEL
After a bit of research, the duo realised that a HEPA filter and a fan is what it all needs to make an air purifier. Soon, they came up with a air purifier and named it PURO model. After beginning to use their own air purifier, Thomas stopped taking medicines for his asthma. Soon they spread their idea among their friends and that resulted in the launch of Saafair.com in October 2016.
LOOKING FOR CAPITAL
From March 2016, both of them are working tirelessly to make air purifiers affordable for the common man. They believe in working for the betterment of society. "We sold over 200 purifiers in one month. Now we are finding it difficult to cater to the rising demand because of our limited resources. We are looking for investments from those who want to bring a change in the society," Thomas told Mail Today.
The duo founded SaafAir, which is a social enterprise involved in manufacturing affordable air purifying solutions, banking on the same technology which the big brands use.
"We are promoting a holistic solution to the rising air pollution by using air purifiers, N95 masks, air cleaning plants, HEPA filters and activated carbon filters. We are proudly promoting the cheapest air purifier available in India, Saafair PURO. Our mission is to promote holistic and affordable solutions to the menace of pollution and to work towards a sustainable environment," said John.
Two More Die As Demonetisation Turns Tragic, Chaos At Banks In Delhi
New Delhi:MMNN:14 Nov. 2016
Two elderly men standing in seemingly unending queues at banks suffered heart attack and died in a tragic fallout of demonetisation of high-value currency notes as hassled people continued to descend on ATMs and banks in droves leading to arguments and scuffles.
A 69-year-old man died in Madhya Pradesh's Sagar town after suffering a heart attack while standing in a queue to exchange demonetised currency notes outside a bank here, police said today.
"We got the information that an old man (Vinay Kumar Pandey) suffered a heart attack while he was standing in queue outside a bank to exchange his demonetised notes. He was rushed to a private hospital where he died later during treatment," Police Inspector V S Chauhan said.
Another report of such death was received from Limdi town of Surendranagar district in Gujarat where a 69-year-old man died after heart attack.
Mansukh Darji was standing in a queue outside a Bank of India branch in Limbdi when he suddenly collapsed.
"Though he was rushed to the civil hospital by others in the queue, he died shortly thereafter during treatment. We learnt that he suffered a heart attack. His family members informed the doctors that he was a heart patient," said the Police Station Officer (PSO) of Limbdi, Navghanbhai.
As serpentine queues continued to be seen outside banks and ATMs across the country today, patience wore thin among the hassled public leading to heated arguments and jostling, with banks and cash vends running dry soon after they opened their shutters.
With banks scheduled to remain closed tomorrow on account of Guru Nanak Jayanti, people scrambled to withdraw new banknotes to meet their daily needs and exchange existing high value notes after demonetisation of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8.
In Muzaffarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh, angry people clashed with bank employees and threw stones at the branch at Sujru village, leaving three persons including a woman injured. Police said as the branch ran out of new notes, the people who had gathered there in large numbers clashed with bank employees. Over a hundred people have been booked in connection with the incident.
In the national capital, people continued to face hardship as they queued up in large numbers outside banks and ATMs to get cash to meet their daily need.
Heated arguments were exchanged as cash in ATMs and banks ran dry as the day drew to an end.
Security was beefed up outside bank branches, after there were rumours about stampede, people plundering goods from a mall in Seelampur yesterday.
"Since it's a Sunday, we expected more crowds outside banks and ATMs. We made adequate security arrangements to ensure no untoward incident occurs," said a senior police official.
To manage anxious crowds, as many as 3,400 personnel of paramilitary and Delhi Police along with 200 quick reaction teams have been deployed at ATMs and banks.
Tired of Standing in ATM Queue, Woman Strips in Delhi
New Delhi:MMNN:14 Nov. 2016
With each passing day, people seem to be resorting to extreme measures to get their hands on new currency notes.
A woman waiting in line at an ATM in Mayur Vihar Phase 3 in New Delhi took off her shirt to protest against the shortage triggered by the ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes , leaving bystanders stunned.
The woman was taken to Ghazipur Police Station after women personnel who were called to the scene made her cover up.
The woman's dare seemed to have paid off as, after brief questioning, she was taken to an ATM nearby where she was able to withdraw cash.
Crowds outside banks and ATMs across India showed no signs of abating on Sunday as people line up to exchange demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes for new ones.
Delhi pollution: In a first, NGT passes orders to tackle 'emergency' like situation
New Delhi:MMNN:10 Nov. 2016
In a significant order to crack down on air pollution in case of an 'emergency' like situation, the National Green Tribunal's chairperson bench has issued specific actions that Delhi and neighbouring states should follow.
This is the first time that the NGT or any court issued directions for emergency situations. The directions will be applicable to Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. It has also passed a series of other directions to tackle air pollution.
According to the NGT order, whenever pollution of PM10 and PM2.5 (particles smaller than 10 micrometers and 2.5 micrometers diameter) reaches a severe level of 431 and 251 respectively, the following measures should be taken.
1. Helicopters should sprinkle water in the Delhi-NCR region, especially in those areas where pollution levels are in excess of prescribed standard limits.
2. States shall immediately provide happy seeders or other such machines in agriculture fields for removal of agriculture residue and incentives should be provided to farmers to sell their paddy straw to biomass plants, industries and board making unit.
3. State governments shall issue orders to all companies, plants and public undertakings to discharge CSR responsibilities and collect agriculture residue from farm fields by providing farmers with monetary support and financial incentives.
4. In emergency situations, stone crushers should be directed to shut down.
5. If thermal power plants, hot mix plants and brick kilns are found to be emitting pollution more than prescribed standards during an emergency situation they should be shut down temporarily till they reduce level of emissions.
6. In emergency situations, all construction and demolition activities and transportation of construction material should be halted temporarily.
7. Government schools and municipal schools should be provided air purifiers.
8. NGT has ordered constitution of an interstate Central committee and also state committees to enforce their orders on vehicular pollution, dust pollution, solid waste burning and paddy straw burning. The Central committee has to prepare an action plan for environmental emergency as well as prevention and control of pollution.
9. Each state committee in their first meeting has to notify one district where land use of agriculture is high and make it a model district for implementing orders to stop crop burning.
10. All the five state governments have to begin vacuum cleaning of roads to prevent dust pollution and mixing of dust and vehicular pollution. Gradually, states should completely move towards mechanical cleaning of roads.
11. NGT also ordered that Delhi should strictly enforce their existing order on deregistering diesel vehicles older than ten years and petrol vehicles older than 15 years. Other states have also been ordered to consider ban on old diesel and petrol vehicles.
Cops impound old vehicles, trucks turned away from Delhi
New Delhi:MMNN:10 Nov. 2016
A day after Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung issued directions to the Delhi Police and the Transport Department, a special drive to check pollution saw 236 non-distant vehicles being turned away from Delhi borders and 568 vehicles challaned for not having pollution under control (PUC) certificates.
According to a senior government official, while new PUCs are not being issued in line with National Green Tribunal directions, an estimated 100 vehicles had been impounded by it over the few weeks for not having valid PUCs.
Meanwhile, 5,218 'old-looking vehicles' were inspected out of which 11 were found to be older than 15 years and were impounded.
Apart from the challans, 50 major construction works were stopped by the police.
The drive comes a day after the Delhi Police and the Transport Department were asked to stop overloaded and non-destined trucks from neighbouring Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana from entering the Capital.
Both agencies were also instructed to take up robust checking of PUC certificates and take strictest action against violators in addition to installing smoke meters at all borders.
Delhi Pollution And Who Created 'Gas Chamber': Supreme Court To Consider
New Delhi:MMNN:7 Nov. 2016
With Delhi turning into a "gas chamber", the Supreme Court will tomorrow consider how and whether to intervene in what has become a public health crisis.
The top court will tomorrow consider whether its various earlier orders on combatting pollution - like limiting the number of old trucks entering the city - have been ignored consistently.
Schools in Delhi have been shut down till Wednesday as the city struggles withe one of the worst spells of air pollution - anywhere in the world - in recent years.
In the past week, a thick layer of smog has enveloped the city, with people complaining of irritated eyes, throats and lungs. The Delhi government and the centre have traded charges on who is to blame.
The Delhi government on Sunday put all construction projects on hold, shut down schools till Wednesday, and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has advised residents to stay indoors as much as possible and work from home.
He also banned the use of all diesel-powered electricity generators for the next 10 days.
Other measures announced by the government include fighting fires at landfill sites, sprinkling water on main roads to suppress dust and shutting down a power plant.
The Chief Minister on Saturday compared the state to a "gas chamber," primarily blaming crop-burning by farmers in neighbouring states like Haryana and Punjab for the smog.
A combination of smoke from burning farm residue in surrounding states, fireworks for Diwali, dust from construction works and vehicle emissions has pushed up levels of the most dangerous particles, known as PM 2.5, to more than 15 times the safe limit.
The Delhi government has said it is considering whether to include another session of the odd-even scheme, which restricts the use of private cars to alternate days.
The dense cover of grey haze shrouding Delhi for almost a week is, according to some experts, reminiscent of the 1952 Great Smog in London, when "4,000 people died prematurely" because of extreme air pollution, they said.
Curbing Delhi smog: Here's all you need to know about cloud seeding
New Delhi:MMNN:7 Nov. 2016
While chief minister Arvind Kejriwal suggested using cloud seeding for inducing rain to clear away the smog that has enveloped the Capital since Diwali, experts are divided on its effectiveness given the timing and Delhi's usually dry weather.
Here's all you need to know about cloud seeding:
What is cloud seeding?
It is a process to induce rain in moisture-filled clouds by sprinkling the upper reaches of clouds with chemicals such as common salt or silver iodide, usually with the help of jets fixed to aeroplanes.
Usually, rain occurs when moisture content in a cloud becomes too heavy and can no longer be held. Cloud seeding aims to accelerate this process by making more chemical nuclei available to facilitate the process.
The chemicals induce nucleation - the water in the cloud condenses around the newly introduced particles, and then goes to form ice. The much-heavier ice particles then melt on their way to the ground.
For cold clouds, sodium iodide crystals are used and for warm clouds - such as those in India - common salt crystals are used.
Rain generally follows 30 minutes after the seeding. But the process is only meant to increase the precipitation and rainfall isn't guaranteed.
How effective is it?
The technology was first invented in the United States in the 1940s but its success rate has been patchy, especially in areas with a warm weather. Several countries, including China, France and Australia, have tried to induce rain with seeding but with various degrees of success.
Australia, for example, found that the technology was ineffective in the plains but successful over the island, Tasmania - probably because of increased moisture levels.
The most enthusiastic user of the technology is China, which has pumped in millions of dollars -- $150 million a year, by some estimates -- into cloud seeding and exports machinery to other countries, including India.
Beijing has used the weather modification technology to induce rain, clear away pollution and even inhibit precipitation - like during the 2008 Olympics, when it overseeded clouds to inhibit storms/rainfall and ensured clear skies for sports.
Experts also warn of secondary air and water pollution as an outcome of chemicals used.
But the bigger problem is, there is simply no effective metric to determine whether the rainfall after seeding a cloud would have fallen anyway.
How has it worked out in India?
India's experiments with modifying rainfall first started in 1951 over the Western Ghats but saw a spurt in recent years with states such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra opting for trial runs of the technology.
Last year, Maharashtra conducted a cloud seeding run after August to reverse the effects of drought but it wasn't very effective because most of the moisture-laden clouds had withdrawn by then. Similarly, experiments by previous governments in Karnataka had largely failed.
This year, the Maharashtra government had earmarked Rs 30 crore for cloud seeding but shelved the project after above-average rainfall.
Will it work in Delhi?
Unlikely, experts say, because of the Capital's dry weather and the time of the year, when moisture in the air isn't very high. Cloud seeding works best just before or during the monsoon, which receded from northern India at least two months ago.
As winter approaches, the number of moisture-laden clouds decreases and in the absence of these, cloud-seeding is unlikely to succeed. This, combined with the technology's patchy record, don't hold good news for Delhiites. The chance of rainfall washing away pollution and the blanket of haze hanging over the city is little.
Delhi shrouded in smog for third day in a row, air quality 'severe'
New Delhi:MMNN:3 Nov. 2016
THREE DAYS after Diwali, the capital's air quality continued to be in the "severe" category despite experts predicting that it would improve to "very poor" by Wednesday.
According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), levels of Particulate Matter (PM) 10 levels breached the 500 mark in Delhi. With no wind to disperse pollutants, pollution remained trapped close to the ground.
According to officials, air quality is expected to remain 'severe', though below the 500 mark, on Thursday. The levels on Friday are expected to see a slight improvement, with PM 10 levels expected to drop closer to 400.
Anumita Roychowdhury from the Centre for Science and Environment attributed this to adverse weather conditions. "With no wind and calm weather, pollutants remain close to the ground. Pollution levels always increase with winter setting in. This, combined with the Diwali pollution hangover, increased vehicular traffic and burning of trash, leads to a rapid build up of pollutants causing the air quality to drop further," she said.
Air quality at all of SAFAR's centres remained "severe" and is expected to remain so on Thursday.
The National Air Quality Index also reported air quality in Delhi at "severe", with PM 2.5 being the prominent pollutant.
Meanwhile, in Gurgaon a thick haze engulfed the city all through Wednesday, with officials confirming it was smog as opposed to the misconception that it could be fog.
"The concentration of PM 2.5 in the air has increased steadily over the last three days. Its prescribed standard is a reading of 60, but in the last 24 hours, between 6 pm on Tuesday and 6 pm on Wednesday, the average reading has been 445.86. In the 24 hours prior to that, the reading was 322.55," said an official of the Haryana Pollution Control Board. "This gives a sense of the seriousness of the situation," he added.
Govt cancels pollution meet following Sisodia's detention
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Wednesday had to cancel a Cabinet meeting, which was scheduled to deliberate on measures to control air pollution, following the detention of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. The minister was detained by police while he was on his way to meet the family of an ex-serviceman who committed suicide over the issue of One Rank One Pension (OROP).
"We are having to postpone the Cabinet meeting. Why? Because the Centre has resorted to hooliganism," said Kejriwal.
Pakistan recalls six High Commission staffers from Delhi
New Delhi:MMNN:3 Nov. 2016
In a further blow to Indo-Pak ties, Pakistan today pulled out six officials at its High Commission here, days after a mission staffer Mehmood Akhtar was expelled by India over alleged espionage. Though there was no official announcement here about Pakistan withdrawing its diplomats, according to Pakistani sources, six mission officials have returned home.
The officials, who left India, included commercial counsellor Syed Furrukh Habib and first secretaries Khadim Hussain, Mudassir Cheema and Shahid Iqbal whose names were referred to by Akhtar during his interrogation in connection with the spying scandal, according to sources in the Pakistan High Commission. "The decision has been taken after it became impossible for the officials to work in this vitiated atmosphere," adding that, "Indian government is threatening and blackmailing our diplomats. So, in this condition, it is impossible for us to stay in this country and work."
The development comes days after India declared Pakistani official Akhtar persona non-grata for espionage activities, triggering a tit for tat action by Islamabad, which also expelled an Indian High Commission official posted there.
Earlier, media reports emerging from Islamabad said Pakistan may ask at least two officials of the Indian High Commission to leave the country for their alleged involvement in subversive activities.
The two officials were identified and their photographs were being flashed by different TV news channels in Pakistan. Geo TV reported that commercial counsellor Rajesh Agnihotri and press counsellor Balbir Singh may be expelled. Indian officials said because of such media reports the security of these diplomats has been "hugely compromised".
Citing sources, the channel claimed that Agnihotri was directly linked with RAW, while Singh was working for Intelligence Bureau (IB). The duo, it was alleged, were using their positions in Pakistan as cover to hide their real identities. It claimed Singh was also running a network of militants in Pakistan and expelled High Commission official Surjeet Singh was also part of his network.
Expelled Pak High Commission Officer Met Alleged Spies At Delhi Zoo
New Delhi:MMNN:27 Oct. 2016
A Pakistan High Commission officer has been asked to leave India over alleged espionage. He was caught by the police on Wednesday at the Delhi zoo, with two men who allegedly leaked to him sensitive information on the deployment of forces at the border.
The men were arrested but the official, Mohammed Akhtar, has been let off because of diplomatic immunity. He has been declared "persona non grata" for espionage, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit was summoned and told by the foreign ministry on Thursday. Denying the allegations, Abdul Basit registered strong protest with Foreign Secretary S Jaishanker and said Akhtar's "detention and manhandling" was a "violation of the Vienna convention."
The staffer was recruited by Pakistani Inter-Services intelligence or ISI three years ago and later posted in the High Commission in Delhi, the police said. He worked in the Visa section allegedly so he could recruit potential spies.
The men who were arrested, Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir, accessed sensitive defence-related documents and information for Akhtar.
"Documents recovered from them had details of deployment of the army and Border Security Force (BSF) at the border, a list of current and former soldiers...," a police officer said.
Akhtar and the two would meet at a designated place every month. On Wednesday, that meeting place was the zoo.
When police teams tracking them for months confronted them, Akhtar produced an Aadhar card. "The card was fake. On sustained questioning, he invoked diplomatic immunity," the police said.
Maulana worked at a Madrasa in Rajasthan. He allegedly enlisted Subhash Jangir, a grocery shop owner, after learning that he badly needed money.
In exchange for information, the two are believed to have been paid up to Rs. 50,000.
More employees at the Pakistani mission are believed to be under scrutiny. Last year, five people including an Air Force officer were arrested after a spy ring associated with Pakistani intelligence was exposed. The police say today's arrests may be connected to that network.
Ties between India and Pakistan have been strained over terror attacks from Pakistan, especially last month's Uri attack in which 19 soldiers were killed. In what was widely seen as retaliation, the army carried out surgical strikes on September 29 across the Line of Control to target staging camps for terrorists planning to target cities in India.
Will Tata's Taj Mahal Hotel on Mansingh Road in New Delhi be auctioned off?
New Delhi:MMNN:27 Oct. 2016
The Delhi high court is set to rule on the auction of the iconic Tata group-owned Taj Mahal Hotel on New Delhi's Mansingh Road on Thursday.
Here's what to know about the dispute.
Why is the Taj Mahal hotel important?
The Taj Mahal Hotel is run and managed by Indian Hotels Co. Ltd (IHCL), a subsidiary of the Tata group.
The ousted chairperson of Tata Sons Ltd, Cyrus Mistry, in a letter to the board of directors, said that IHCL, owing to poor acquisition strategies, has written down its net worth.
Investors will keenly follow what happens in the case.
The hotel is also a five-star one in a prime location in central Delhi.
What will the high court decide?
A two-judge bench comprising justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha Rani will decide the appeal filed by IHCL against a 5 September verdict of justice V. Kameshwar Rao, which denied any right to extension of the licence to IHCL over the property. Accordingly, the hotel was to be put up for auction to receive a fair and competitive price for the right to run it.
What are the facts of the case?
The NDMC or New Delhi Municipal Committee (as then called) entered into an agreement with the IHCL a subsidiary of Tata Sons Ltd, on 18 December 1976 to construct and run a five-star hotel in one of the prime locations in Central Delhi-1, Mansingh Road.
The hotel became functional on 10 October 1978. According to IHCL, the original licence agreement-with NDMC as the licensor and IHCL as the licencee-later became a joint venture with two equal partners. The high court rejected these claims.
The original licence operated for a period of 33 years from late 1976 and concluded in 2010. Thereafter, several ad hoc extensions were granted.
Justice Rao decided that IHCL was not entitled to an automatic extension as the NDMC Act required any transfer of rights in the property at a "value at which such immovable property could be sold, leased or otherwise transferred in normal and fair competition".
Will this be final?
No. The decision of the two-judge bench of the high court can be appealed in the Supreme Court.
Illegal casino busted in Delhi, 36 held
New Delhi:MMNN:24 Oct. 2016
Police on Sunday busted an illegal casino in Delhi, arresting 36 persons and seizing tokens valued at nearly Rs 1.37 crore.
Acting on a tip, the casino was raided in Neb Sarai of south Delhi.
"A total of 36 persons including players, table attendants and proprietors were arrested. Two separate cases under the Delhi Gambling Act and Delhi Excise Act were registered," said Deputy Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh.
Police also seized 11 luxury cars and several bottles of liquor. A manhunt has been launched for Harnendra Kaushik, the owner of the premises, and Kunal Chandra, the proprietor of the casino.
"We are moving the court requesting that the premises used for the casino be sealed under the Delhi Gambling Act," Ishwar Singh said.
Diwali 2016: A week before Diwali, Delhi's air quality goes into red zone
New Delhi:MMNN:24 Oct. 2016
Diwali is a week away but the capital's air quality has already plunged to "very poor" levels, breaching the hazardous "red zone" on Sunday for the first time this season - a level, if sustained for three straight days, prompts Beijing authorities to shut factories and curb outdoor activities.
Delhi's air quality index, separately calculated by CPCB and SAFAR, showed a common reading of 318 on Sunday. An AQI of more than 300 is considered "very poor". While the city's air quality falls to even more hazardous levels during the winter, it's unusual for levels to rise this early in the season.
Even US embassy's air quality monitoring stations, located at the relatively clean Chanakyapuri, showed "unhealthy" levels as per their AQI measurements. Delhi was the worst among all cities monitored by CPCB.
On Sunday, air quality was visibly poor with a light smog over the city. Contributing to the pollution were weather conditions, heavy preDiwali traffic and smoke from crop fires.
"Diwali traffic has been a factor and it won't improve soon," said Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director of Centre for Science and Environment.
"The onset of winter pollution has begun and as conditions begin to get colder, pollution levels will rise slowly," Chowdhury said. the onset of winter pollution has begun and as conditions begin to get colder, pollution levels will rise slowly," Chowdhury said.
"The weather and cold will mean the particulate matter stay closer to the ground. Leading up to Diwali, the air is expected to stay very poor," she added.
Chowdhury said, other contributing factors such as crop burning would also affect air pollution levels. "Already the air is starting to get choked and preventive measures now need to be looked at as the quality will deteriorate further after Diwali," she added.
At the US embassy , the air quality index read 177 on Sunday , which is classified as 'unhealthy', despite it be ing recorded in the relatively clear Chanakyapuri area.Experts said weather conditions, coupled with wind conditions also contributed to a high reading. The wind speed in Chanakyapuri was 0.8ms, meaning the particulate matter could not disperse in the area.
"The temperature is starting to dip and the air quality has been fluctuating between poor and very poor in our data. Low wind speeds will mean a high reading as pollutants don't disperse easily and the low temperature will keep the pollution levels like this in the coming week as well," said a SAFAR scientist.
Delhi lawyer's unaccounted Rs 125 crore income stuns taxmen
New Delhi:MMNN:20 Oct. 2016
A lawyer practising in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court has sent ripples through the capital's legal circles by declaring unaccounted income of over Rs 125 crore.
The lawyer made the stunning declaration as sleuths of the income tax department searched his south Delhi residence, taking them by surprise.
The lawyer, who first came to the limelight when he bought a bungalow in central Delhi for Rs 100 crore, is reputed to be well networked in legal circles. Sources in the I-T department said their search threw up documents about several other properties of the lawyer, besides his investments allegedly in shell companies.
The "search" on the lawyer coincides with a larger I-T drive against "consultants", "lobbyists" and others with a reputation for getting things done.
The operation has focused on those engaged with sectors such as aviation, infrastructure and defence and departments like I-T and customs.
The exercise had earlier led the I-T department to Sanjay Bhandari, who deals in the defence sector, Deepak Talwar, "a corporate consultant" known for his deep "insights" into aviation and roads-highways sectors as well as links with influential politicians and PN Sanyal, a well known-figure in the income tax-customs community.
The I-T searches on the lawyer's premises came just within a week of the closure on September 30 of the government's income disclosure scheme, a four-month window for declaring unaccounted money.
Indications are that the I-T department will move on high-profile targets who are suspected to have huge amounts of undeclared money but failed to avail of the window offered by the I-T department.
Delhi HC seeks govt's response over steps taken for aircraft safety, maintenance
New Delhi:MMNN:20 Oct. 2016
The Delhi high court on Wednesday sought a response from the Central government on the steps taken with regard to observation of mandatory conditions for the maintenance and safety of aircraft.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) brought by Alok Kumar, an advocate, seeking compliance by private airlines with airworthiness and safety guidelines issued by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DCGA) under the Aircraft Act, 1934 and rules.
A bench headed by Delhi high court chief justice G. Rohini asked the Centre to respond to a list of suggestions submitted by the petitioner, which included constitution of an independent expert committee to monitor the DCGA functioning and also regular monitoring of aircraft usage.
The Central government was also asked to report its progress in complying with the recommendations of the Zaidi committee. These included laying down flight times, maintenance of records and a monitoring mechanism for the same.
He also suggested vacancies in the DGCA, claimed to be at 30% currently, should be filled up.
In light of the large number of daily flights and repeated usage of aircraft involved, the PIL sought the constitution of an independent expert committee to overlook the activities of private airlines and check that they were not in violation of the regulations governing these aspects.
It was contended that the absence of proper maintenance and safety regulations could lead to major aviation accidents leading to loss of lives and property.
In 2015, India witnessed an 18% growth in air passenger traffic, which was approximately 85 million passengers and the figure is slated to grow to over 150 -200 million in a decade.
Delhi autos get people-friendly, reject offer of fare hike
New Delhi:MMNN:13 Oct. 2016
For now, there will be no hike in the fares of autorickshaws in Delhi. In a major shift from their strategy, auto unions are now strongly opposed to a hike and have also rejected the Delhi government's proposal to initiate any such process.
Until May this year, autorickshaw drivers were demanding that the government revised the fares due to rising costs of spare parts, insurance and CNG. But facing stiff competition from cab aggregators, they want to focus on the ouster of these companies from the capital.
"It will be our loss if auto fares are increased under the existing circumstance. We demand that cab aggregators should be banned as they are flouting all norms," said Rajendra Soni, general secretary of Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh and Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union.
"Firstly, they are charging more than the government-approved rates and surge pricing has also not ceased. Secondly, almost all cars that are plying under them are not registered under the respective company's name," he said.
Autorickshaw drivers had majorly contributed to Aam Aadmi Party's victory in the Assembly elections last year. Addressing a mega rally of autorickshaw drivers in May last year, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that their fares would be revised on April 1 every year. He had also constituted a four-member fare-fixation committee which was supposed to come up with a formula that will be used every year to revise fares automatically.
However, the All Delhi Auto-Taxi Transport Congress Union also said that such a hike was unlikely. But the union is planning a protest against cab aggregators sometime around Diwali. "A protest is planned and we are also in talks with Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ajay Maken for moving court against these cab aggregators. But, we do not want any fare revision in auto-rickshaws or our economy taxis," said Kishan Verma, president of ADATTCU.
He added that after the three-day strike of autorickshaw drivers in July, the government had also offered to revise auto fares, but unions unanimously refused the proposal. Last revised in 2013, the base fare for autos is Rs 25 for the first two kilometers and Rs 8 for every subsequent kilometer.
Government officials confirmed the development. "Fares are not going to be increased any time soon as the unions themselves do not want it. About their concern of cab aggregators eating up their earnings, the issue is being dealt by the special committee, which has been constituted under the directions of the Delhi High Court," an official said.
The committee set up by the Centre includes one senior official each from the Ministry of Information Technology, Central Pollution Control Board and Delhi Traffic Police apart from obtaining advise of a transport expert from Niti Aayog. It is examining all issues related to existing permits given to taxis and cab aggregators.
At Delhi Congress get-together, pickpocket steals the show
New Delhi:MMNN:13 Oct. 2016
The Delhi Congress organised a high tea last week with the idea of giving its leaders and workers space for free interaction and bonding. As it turned out, the space was best utilised by pickpocket( s), who did more than just rub shoulders with budding netas. At least three netas found their wallets missing, with around Rs 35,000 in cash gone.
One of the victims, Heera Lal Solanki, 47, lost Rs 22,000 while two others have reported around Rs 10,000 and Rs 2,400 missing.
In his complaint, Solanki said he had gone to the DPCC office (Rajiv Bhawan) at Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg on October 8 and was interacting with other workers, when he realised that cash kept in his right pocket was gone.
Solanki, a resident of New Rohtak road, raised an alarm and alerted others in the gathering. Soon, some other people also complained about their pockets being picked. Harikrishna Sharma from Mubarakpur Dabas and Sunil Kumar from Kirari said their money, along with debit cards, was missing. The victims immediately blocked their cards.
The thefts led to chaos at the get-together, even as somebody called up the police. "We received the call from DPCC office around 6pm and rushed to the spot. The area was scanned but the culprit had probably managed to flee. A case under section 379 (theft) was made out. A team under a sub-inspector is investigating," an officer said.
The cops are scanning CCTV footages to identify the daring thief. They suspect a man disguised as a worker may be behind the act.
Freed Delhi teen was abducted for Rs 50 crore
New Delhi:MMNN:10 Oct. 2016
With the arrest of four criminals, the Delhi Police Crime Branch on Sunday cracked the kidnapping case of a teenager in which the abductors had asked for Rs 50 crore, the highest ever ransom demanded in the city.
On Sunday, had reported that the case had been solved and at least three men had been nabbed.
Joint commissioner (crime) Ravindra Yadav announced the breakthrough on Sunday afternoon, adding that his teams were on the lookout for at least eight other men who played different roles in the kidnapping.
Two of the conspirators, Mahesh and Manjeet, are property dealers and small-time workers of a political party. They nursed a grudge against the teenager's father and had hired professional criminals to carry out the abduction.
The arrested criminals have been identified as Vikrant Shokeen and Vinod Kumar from Chhawla in southwest Delhi, Vichitra Vir from Swaroop Nagar and Anand (27) from Prahladpur Bangar. Vinod is also an accused in a gang rape case lodged at Najafgarh police station in 2006.
"We are trying to ascertain the whereabouts of their associates and the ransom money. We have recovered the BMW of the victim, the Scorpio and Swift used in the crime, a Pulsar, sedative tablets and ampoules. The kidnappers panicked due to the pressure built by the Crime Branch and released the victim for Rs 1 crore," joint CP Yadav said.
The victim, 19-year-old Rocky (name changed) is the son of a former councillor. He was abducted from Subhash Place in northwest Delhi while he was on his way to college in his BMW on September 27.
The criminals, dressed as policemen, intercepted his car in their Scorpio and took him to a "police station" to issue a challan for breaking the traffic signal.
The police, however, were alerted through a PCR call from an eyewitness, Aman, who said he had seen some men accost the teenager. An FIR was lodged against unknown people for kidnapping an unidentified youth.
Meanwhile, Rocky's father received a ransom call from the kidnappers from his son's cellphone. After negotiating for five days, the father managed to bring down the "immediate ransom" to Rs 1 crore. The money was paid and the teenager released on October 4.
"Teams led by DCPs Bhisham Singh and Ram Gopal Naik were deployed to crack the case. On October 7, cops got a tip-off that the gang-members would come to Jhatikra More in southwest Delhi. A Swift car (HR 26 BW 1234) coming from Chhawla side was intercepted by a team led by ACP Sanjay Sehrawat and inspector Sunil. The four occupants of the car were overpowered after a brief scuffle," Yadav said.
On interrogation, the arrested men revealed that they were friends with one Mahesh of Prahladpur and worked as bouncers at a toll plaza, apart from dealing in property.
A few months ago, Mahesh told them about Rocky's father saying they could easily earn Rs 50-60 crore. They then hatched the plan to kidnap the teenager.
Doctor Arrested For Allegedly Raping Patient In Delhi's Dwarka
New Delhi:MMNN:10 Oct. 2016
A 47-year-old orthopedic surgeon of a civil hospital in Gurgaon was arrested from New Delhi on Sunday for allegedly raping a patient, police said.
The 44-year-old victim in her complaint to the police on Friday alleged she recently visited Dr Arvind Jindal at Gurgaon civil hospital following pain in her leg which was operated upon by him two years ago, a senior police officer said.
Mr Jindal advised her for an X-ray and when she visited the hospital with the report she was asked to wait.
When the hospital OPD closed, Mr Jindal took her to his friend in Dwarka on the pretext that he would help her get a job in an NGO.
Later, he took her to his flat in southwest Delhi's Dwarka area and raped her there, he said, adding the doctor also allegedly threatened her of dire consequences if she reported the matter to police.
Initially, she kept quiet but approached police on October 7, he said, adding the doctor was arrested the same day.
"We have conducted the medical examination of the victim which confirmed rape," the officer said. A case under section 376 (punishment for rape) of IPC has been registered against the accused, he added.
Missing 11-Year-Old Girl's Body Found In A Sack In Delhi
New Delhi:MMNN:6 Oct. 2016
Body of an 11-year-old girl, who was missing since Tuesday, was found stuffed in a sack in northeast Delhi's New Usmanpur area on Wednesday.
The girl, a resident of Gautampuri in the area, had gone to buy some household items on Tuesday afternoon but did not return and on Wednesday her body was found, metres away from her house, police said.
Her body was found at around 7 AM by a rag-picker who saw the sack lying in one of the lanes of Gautampuri area and opened it thinking it must be containing garbage.
He raised an alarm when he saw the girl's body and police was informed, a senior police official said.
The deceased was a student of class V in an MCD school in the area and had returned home early on Tuesday since she was not feeling well.
Around noon, her mother had sent her to buy an adhesive but the girl did not return for a long time, following which the mother then informed her husband, an autorickshaw driver, and her relatives.
They approached the police and a case was registered. The girl's family alleged that she was sexually assaulted before being killed, as there were injury marks on the body.
"A case of murder has been registered and we are awaiting post-mortem report to find out whether she was sexually assaulted," Deputy Commissioner of Police (North East) Ajit Kumar Singla said.
Police is suspecting the involvement of someone known to the victim's family since there was no ransom call or threat call received by the family.
"The girl's family has expressed suspicion on a relative who had enmity with their over some property and could have plotted the kidnapping. The person will be called for questioning," said a senior police officer.
'Bulk of Delhi's pollution comes from neighbouring States'
New Delhi:MMNN:6 Oct. 2016
An analysis of Delhi's air pollution and future trends says that 60% of Delhi's particulate matter pollution comes from neighbouring Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Moreover, even if Delhi were to adopt the cleanest-grade fuel available, ensure that power plants in the vicinity adopt stringent emissions and ensure tidy pavements, pollution would persist well above globally-recommended safe levels, unless neighbouring states too adopted similarly stringent policies.
Even if Delhi's neighbours were to cooperate, it would at best halve Delhi's pollution and still be short of the government-ideal of 40 microgram/cubic metre. This is because Delhi's geographical location and land-use patterns are such that a fixed mass of particulate matter will persist. Delhi's particulate matter pollution hovers between 300 and 900 microgram/cubic metre, depending on the weather.
The findings were part of a study conducted by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), a CSIR body, along with researchers the Austria-based International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIAS). Though these findings are yet to be peer-reviewed or published in a journal, they were discussed with officials at the Central Pollution Control Board at meeting on Wednesday.
The researchers based their analysis on measurements of a range of sources of pollution - from burning biomass, vehicles, road-dust, cook-stoves - in Delhi. In their assessment, transport sector contributed nearly a fifth of the PM 2.5 - the ubiquitous residual particulate matter resulting from incomplete burning of matter - in Delhi. PM 2.5 is linked to respiratory diseases and cancer.
However, the scientists didn't disaggregate the relative role of big diesel cars and transport vehicles in pollution cause by 'transport.' Other key sources, in Delhi include the burning of biomass in cooking stoves, secondary inorganic aerosols from power plants and ammonia from agriculture. Attributing the sources of pollution in Delhi has been a controversial exercise with different experts, over the years, disputing the relative role of agriculture waste, vehicles, industry and road dust in exacerbating air pollution.
"The research identifies a range of measures...including road paving to reduce road dust emission, a rapid transition to clean cooking fuels in Delhi and neighbouring states and managing agriculture and municipal waste," said Padma Rao, senior scientist at NEERI and a co-author of the report.
"Majority of Delhi's pollution comes from outside with half from the surrounding states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, a quarter from sources even further away and a quarter from natural sources," the authors said a in a press statement. "Even Pakistan is a contributor though there's also pollution going out from India. We haven't specifically modelled that," Markus Amann of the IIAS, who led the study, told The Hindu.
The study finds that nearly a fourth of the 15,000 tonnes of PM2.5 emitted annually is due to road dust and about 40% due to power plants and residual and commercial combustion. Road transport, in this estimate, contributes about 16%.
If Delhi were to continue on its growth trajectory, road dust and burning waste would together become the biggest sources of pollution-about half put- together-- by 2030, the NEERI analysis adds. The team arrived at their results through a modelling study-funded by the Department of Science and Technology-that accounted for the local meteorological conditions around Delhi, projected weather patterns into 2030, recorded traffic movement, as well as gauged emission patterns from commercial and private establishments.
"Tackling the multiple sources of air pollution in Delhi…will not only reduce the estimated 8,900 premature deaths a year from air pollution in Delhi, but also cut the city's greenhouse gas emissions," said Amann.
Delhi is among the world's most polluted cities. In 2014, it was ranked the most polluted globally in terms of PM 2.5, by the World Health Organisation (WHO). In a May-update by the WHO, Delhi was toppled by Zabol, in Iran. Gwalior and Allahabad, meanwhile, came a close second and third in terms of PM 2.5, while Patna and Raipur are ranked 6th and 7th.
Cops bust fake coin factory in Delhi
New Delhi:MMNN:3 Oct. 2016
This was a mint making coins of 5 and 10 denominations, except that it wasn't run by the government. In a rare catch, police have stumbled upon a clandestine factory in Bawana area of outer Delhi which was minting coins that looked like the real ones.
The racket was busted when one of the distributors, Naresh Kumar, was detained on suspicion by cops at a check-post in Rohini. Around one lakh coins were later seized from the factory.
Teams have been formed to arrest the two alleged masterminds of the operation, who are known by code-names Raju and Sonu. The factory manager, Rajesh Kumar, has been detained.
Police are yet to crack the entire chain through which the coins were distributed. They suspect the gang could be getting assistance from across the border.
Kumar was arrested after a surprise check of his vehicle yielded two plastic bags, each stuffed with 20 packets of counterfeit Indian coins. Each packet had 100 coins. Cops at the post near Shree Balaji temple in Rohini said Kumar first tried to speed past them, but was forced to stop. On being questioned, Kumar said that he was a bank manager and was running late for a meeting.
He was asked to step out. The coins were found in the car.
Kumar was arrested and questioned at length. He broke down and confessed that he was associated with two brothers who were making counterfeit coins. The duo had promised him a handsome commission for distributing the coins.
Kumar lead the police to the factory in Bawana, where workers were not allowed to come out.
"A team led by inspector Samarpal raided the factory in Bawana Industrial area. We have seized machines, dyes and chemicals. We are still investigating where they sourced their raw materials from," said DCP M N Tiwari, who is leading a special team formed by joint commissioner Sanjay Singh to bust the entire syndicate.
Delhi's civic bodies start spending Swachh Bharat Mission funds
New Delhi:MMNN:3 Oct. 2016
Eighteen months after receiving funds from the Centre under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), the municipal corporations (MCDs) have started buying modern equipment to improve the system of garbage disposal in the city.
The three corporations received Rs 120 crore in March 2015. The funds were to be spent on building toilets in poor households, community toilets, management of garbage and spreading awareness about the Clean India programme. However, it took more than a year for the corporations to start putting the money to use.
MCD officials said the clauses attached to the programme led to the delay.
PK Gupta, commissioner, North Delhi Municipal Corporation said, "As per the guidelines, the Centre was supposed to give 20% of the amount and 6% had to come from the state government. The corporation was supposed to contribute 74%. But we were already in a financial crisis and not in a position to invest. We had a series of meetings with the Central government officials. Finally, last month, the Centre agreed to give 35% of the
According to him, a plan worth Rs 100 crore to buy equipment for garbage disposal has been cleared. "We also plan to buy tippers for lifting garbage. Though we have assigned private concessionaire in five out of six municipal zones, we provide tippers if they need them," said Gupta.
The corporation will also construct community toilets. Currently, North Delhi Municipal Corporation runs 848 toilets, out of which 349 are unusable.
Out of Rs 31.6 crore received from the Centre, South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) will use Rs 20 crore for buying heavy-duty machines.
"We have ordered six excavators and bulldozers for levelling garbage at landfills. Tenders have been called," a senior SDMC official said.
The SDMC has also ordered 12 suction machines. But the purchase needs the approval of the standing committee. "These machines will help in deep de-silting of big drains. Both the projects will cost us Rs 15 crore," said the official.
"The Solid Waste Management Rules, notified in 2016, lay a lot of emphasis on information, education and communication. We have kept a budget of Rs 5 crore for spreading awareness among citizens about sanitation and hygiene," he said.
The East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), which has received Rs 42 crore, would be using Rs 20 crore for buying equipment for the Ghazipur dumpsite. "We will also spend funds on publicity programmes and giving technical training to the sanitation staff," said Jitender Chaudhary, standing committee chairman at EDMC.
Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, the national capital will receive Rs 360.01 crore over five years of the Mission Period (2014-19). As of May 2016, Delhi has received Rs 139.60 crore.
Delhi on high alert after Indian Army carries out surgical strike across LoC
New Delhi:MMNN:30 Sept. 2016
A day after Indian Army's surgical strikes across the LoC, the national capital-Delhi- has been put on high alert.
The Delhi police has stepped up security across Delhi with the police having been asked to remain alert and increase patrolling at market places and tourist spots.
SECURITY BEEFED UP, PATROLLING INCREASED
Vigil at important spots like bus terminals, foreign embassies, railways stations, IGI airport and metro stations has been stepped up.
Emergency response vehicles, bomb squads, SWAT teams and anti-terror unit have been asked to be on guard.
Security and surveillance around India Gate, Chanakyapuri, Connaught Place and areas under Parliament street police sation have been beefed up.
The Delhi police is making sure that CCTVs are properly working, particularly the ones located at crowded places.
It is not just Delhi Police, but also CRPF, railway police and linesmen who have been asked to stay on alert. There will also be patrolling throughout the city for few days.
THURSDAY MEETING ON SECURITY SITUATION IN THE AFTERMATH OF SURGICAL STRIKES
On Thursday afternoon, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh met CISF Director General OP Singh and MoS Kiren Rijijy to discuss the security situation in the aftermath of the surgical strikes by the Indian Army.
Following the meeting, on Thursday evening, senior police officers met with the intelligence agencies' officials and discussed the possible threats and the steps to be taken.
Later, barricades were placed at major roads, with the Delhi police keeping a tab on every vehicle.
Delhi Police said that the security was beefed up also keeping in mind the festive season. Officials said with Dusshera, Durga Puja and Diwali round the corner, the threat perception was naturally higher.
Delhi was also put on high alert after the Uri attacks and the threat is greater after the surgical strikes carries out by the Indian Army.
Delhi's dapper ride in tuxes and sherwanis for a cause
New Delhi:MMNN:30 Sept. 2016
Dressed in their smartest and crispest formals, around 200 bikers from Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon and beyond, rode from NH-8 through Delhi and along the Noida Expressway as part of a global initiative, Distinguished Gentlemen's Ride (DGR), on Sunday.
DGR is one of the world's largest motorcycle charity events, which involves 50,000 riders in 500 cities across 90 countries, dressing in formals and riding on the last Sunday of September to create awareness about prostate cancer and combat the often-negative stereotype of men on bikes.
Tarique Afaque, founder of Royal Mavericks - a bikers' group that hosted the Delhi chapter of the event, said, "Not only did we have a great turnout, but we also managed to raise $2,800 (Rs 1.8 lakh approx) for prostate cancer awareness through the ride."
The bikers rode through landmarks in Delhi such as Lodhi Gardens and AIIMS, before entering Noida through the DND Flyway and riding along the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, making their way to the finishing point in Greater Noida. At 68, DR Naidu was one of the oldest riders in the group. The sexagenarian, who has a prosthetic leg, said, "What I love most about this concept is the feeling of community and brotherhood it generates. It's a unique event in the bikers' community."
Laia Orotco, a Spanish national, said she was heartened to see the participation of women and the event helped break the stereotype of Delhi being unfriendly towards women.
"Whenever I come to India, I don't always feel 100% comfortable walking on the streets because of what all we hear and read about Delhi. But this morning, looking at the participation of the women here, I am so happy. This goes a long way in changing the city's image," the Barcelona-born biker said.
The men's sartorial choices became the envy of many. Neelam Chauhan, a participant, said, "First of all, I wasn't expecting so many people to turn up, and to turn up dressed so immaculately! The men here are giving me a serious complex. I feel so underdressed in comparison!"
But not everyone enjoyed a breezy ride. At the starting point, the Delhi Traffic Police officials were checking the licences and registration documents of the bikers. There were a number of participants who had turned up with a learners' licence or documents showing they had applied for the licence. But the cops turned them away.
Coming soon: A green space like London's Hyde Park in Delhi
New Delhi:MMNN:26 Sept. 2016
The Delhi Development Authority has decided to come up with urban parks in the national capital similar to London's Hyde Park and New York's Central Park.
The land authority is planning to develop large green spaces at three places - Hauz Khas, Aastha Kunj near Nehru Place and Swarn Jayanti Park in Rohini.
Sources in DDA said that the Hauz Khas park, spread over an area of 400 acres, might be the first one to get the 'urban' tag.
Officials in the DDA said they had plans to build a deer safari, museums showcasing Delhi's history, a water lily pond and a butterfly corner in the Hauz Khas park.
A senior official of DDA said there are three picnic huts in the complex, which will be converted into museums.
He said the habitat inside the enclosure made for deer and the surrounding woodland will be converted into deer safari. "We, however, need a no-objection certificate from the environmental department before we go ahead with the proposal," he said.
A DDA official said that the proposal has been shown to the authority's top officials and its feasibility is presently being examined by architects. It may take more than five years to develop these parks.
The Aastha Kunj park, near Nehru Place, is second on the list of the DDA to be developed, followed by the 250 acres Swarn Jayanti park in Rohini.
Aastha Kunj park, spread over 200 cares, is situated near Iskon Temple on the one side and Nehru Place on the other. It functions as an important link between the Nehru Place metro station and residential areas of Sant Nagar and Garhi Village. DDA plans to develop facilities like playgrounds, gardens, public restrooms and picnic facilities here. "We are also considering the idea of landscaping the area with beautiful tree, tunnels, artificial lakes, fountains and bridges," he said.
Residents living in the area said they were looking forward to the revamp as the park had gained notoriety for becoming a meeting place for criminals. Lack of proper lighting and security guards has added to the problems.
"The residents of Garhi village had formed a special security teams to guard their locality. This security team of nearly 20 people, aged between 40-50 years, used to guard the entry and exits of the park leading to the colony," said Sahil Sharma, a resident of the area.
DDA is yet to chalk out a detailed plan for developing Swarn Jayanti park.
A DDA official said that the idea of developing the parks was mooted as most of the big cities in other countries have such large parks which serve as their 'identities.
Delhi has, however, thus far lacked its unique 'identity', he said.
Delhi Traffic Constable Run Over By Truck, Driver Arrested
New Delhi:MMNN:26 Sept. 2016
A 27-year-old Delhi Traffic Police constable was on Sunday crushed to death by a speeding truck, police said.
Police said the driver, identified as Pramod Singh, of Haryana's Bhiwani, was arrested from the spot.
"The incident took place at 4 pm, when the constable, Ravinder, a resident of Police Colony in Narela, was on routine traffic movement on his motor bike at Ashok Vihar's traffic circle.
A speeding truck hit him from behind and crushed him. He was taken to a nearby hospital where doctors declared him dead," said Deputy Commissioner of Police, Northwest, Vijay Singh.
A case was registered against the driver in Mahendra Park police station.
Man, who stabbed woman 22 times in Delhi, sent to police custody
New Delhi:MMNN:22 Sept. 2016
A Delhi court on Wednesday sent a man to police custody for four days for allegedly murdering a 21- year-old woman by stabbing her 22 times on a busy road in New Delhi in front of hoards of onlookers. Metropolitan Magistrate Muneesh Garg remanded 34-year-old Surender Singh to police custody till September 25 after the cops produced him before the court and apprised him about his crime.
The brutal murder, which was captured in CCTV camera, took place on Tuesday morning when the victim, Karuna Kumar, a teacher in a North Delhi school, was going for her work, police said, adding that Surender had been stalking her for over 18 months.
Police said Karuna, along with her cousin Neha, was on her way to work when Surender attacked her with a pair of scissors near Labour Chowk in Burari. As Surender caught Karuna off guard and plunged the single blade of scissors in her body, a man rushed to stop him but soon backed off fearing attack on himself.
Within about three minutes, Surender had stabbed Karuna 22 times, as onlookers kept away, it said. Neha told police that she was also threatened by Surender and had to back off but she kept shouting for help.
The victim was taken to Sushruta Trauma Centre in Civil Lines where she was declared brought dead.
The accused was beaten up by the locals, who caught him and handed him over to the police. He was arrested and a case of murder under section 302 IPC has been lodged against him.
Surender, son of a retired Delhi Police sub-inspector, is going through divorce proceedings and has two kids.
Delhi Firefighters Families To Now GetRs 1 Crore Ex-Gratia
New Delhi:MMNN:22 Sept. 2016
The families of Delhi Fire Services personnel who lose their lives while on duty will now be provided Rs. 1 crore compensation, a policy of the Delhi government which until now covered other uniformed services personnel.
A decision in this regard was taken today in a Delhi Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The cabinet approval brings Delhi Fire Services on par with the armed forces, paramilitary forces and other uniformed forces in terms of compensation, an official statement said.
"This compensation policy also covers the uniformed personnel killed on duty outside Delhi, but whose families reside in the national capital," it said.
The government also cleared a proposal to institute "bravery awards", which it said will be given on Independence and Republic Day every year.
"Ten awards will be given on both the days, carrying a cash amount of Rs. 2 lakh each. Members of the public will have a right to send nominations for these awards," the government said.
Ink-attack on Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia outside LG Najeeb Jung's residence
New Delhi:MMNN:19 Sept. 2016
Ink was thrown at Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia on Monday while he was speaking with the media after leaving LG Najeeb Jung's residence.
The attacker reportedly claimed that he had no political affiliation and did it to show his anger over absence of AAP ministers while Delhi was suffering from increased cases of Dengue and Chiknguniya.
The attacker, Brajesh Shukla, said: "He is going abroad on our money and people of Delhi are suffering."
Delhi AAP ministers, including CM Arvind Kejriwal, have been facing a lot of criticism because of their absence while the menace of Dengue and Chikunguniya is increasing.
Sisodia, who also serves as Education Minister of New Delhi, was in Finland for a work-related visit where he was assessing the education system of the country.
Delhi through the years: A story of the past and the present through images
New Delhi:MMNN:19 Sept. 2016
Ever wondered how the famed Connaught Place looked in early 20th century? Or how different was the traffic at the Rashrapati Bhawan back then? Well, Yuvraj Khanna, a 24-year-old lawyer in High Court took to the lens to provide a glimpse of the Capital's history.
But his are no usual landscape shots. He captures the city's past and present by juxtaposing old images from the early 1900s with those from the present .
"I had a fascination with the history, New Delhi is the 11th city we saw today. I want to show how the city has changed over centuries so I capture it the way it has evolved.
I didn't want stereotypical before and after images, therefore clicked a sync picture. Through these images I want to present the glorious side of Delhi," says Khanna.
He sources all his pictures from Internet and been working on the project for the last five months. "I sourced all the pictures online and cut them in a manner that was very monument specific so as to create a visual juxtaposition.
I selected around 50 pictures but all of them didn't turn out correctly and only 11 created picture perfect scenes," says Khanna. For more images you can check his Instagram account.
You Can't Die Of Chikungunya, Google Says So: Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain
New Delhi:MMNN:15 Sept. 2016
Resolute on his stand, Delhi's Health Minister, Satyender Jain, has reiterated that Chikungunya cannot cause deaths, and added that this is a fact that is available on Google, and not his opinion.
Speaking to the media in New Delhi, Mr Jain said that people in Delhi need not panic and that all they needed to do is to take precautions and go to the hospital only if they experience symptoms of the vector-borne disease.
"People of Delhi have no need to panic. The state government is ready to provide help at all cost. But one should get admitted only if the doctor advises them to do so and not because they are scared," he said.
Talking about the recent casualties, Mr Jain stated that four of the five deaths had been reported from the same hospital, which made the situation quite suspicious.
"Chikungunya deaths are not happening across the world. Why is it only in a select few Delhi hospitals? And upon enquiry, I have discovered that most of the deaths are of people who were aged and already sick with other ailments," the minister said.
Union Health Minister JP Nadda said that no complaints of shortage of medicine or doctors and testing facilities have been reported, adding that the Centre is fully prepared to tackle the crisis.
Mr Nadda said the Centre has held a review meeting in this regard and found out that there is an increase in cases of Chikungunya in Delhi, whereas the hike in cases of Dengue have been reported from West Bengal, Odisha and Karnataka.
Meanwhile, some people in West Bengal have tested positive for malaria as well.
Mr Nadda said, "Today we held a review meeting in regard with the upsurge of vector borne diseases. In Delhi, an increase in cases of Chikungunya has been reported, and meanwhile, large number of cases of fever has been reported. In West Bengal, Odisha and Karnataka, cases of dengue have been reported. In West Bengal, cases of malaria have been reported."
Mr Nadda further said that the Centre has also held three video conferences in this regard, and added that he had also called on the Delhi Health Minister, the NDMC and the MCD, and guided them on protocols to be followed to counter the spread of this disease.
"In one video conference, I addressed the state Health Ministers. The second was addressed by the Secretary and the third was done by heads of vector borne diseases," he said.
Mr Nadda also urged the people not to panic and help in pacifying the current upsurge of vector borne diseases.
Dr DS Rana, the chairperson of the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said, "Have just received an e-mail from the Government of India that deaths reported in the Ganga Ram Hospital of chikungunya positive patients should be probed a little more and information should be given to them."
"By and large the message is very clear that Chikungunya is not a very fatal disease, people should not get frightened. Hospitals are doing their best, be it government or private," he added.
Pakistani girl Madhu Kumari resumes classes in Delhi
New Delhi:MMNN:15 Sept. 2016
Roll no 6244. Class IX-C, government co-ed senior secondary school Bhatti mines, Sanjay Colony. That is Madhu Kumari, the Pakistani teenage refugee whose gentle smile indicated a successful culmination to her two-year struggle for education as she sat shy and beaming attending a science lecture.
On Wednesday morning, Madhu finally managed to get admission in the government school near her house. By next week, she will be one among the students when she will get a uniform of her size.
Class IX C is an all-girls section. The girls were taking science lesson, when Madhu joined them. They welcomed her with laughter.
"Thank you," that is all Madhu could manage to say, feeling nervous and excited as the Delhi government, as per the orders of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, "walked the extra mile to accommodate her desire to pursue study in its school".
"She is a girl who has struggled for education. She has earned it," said Advocate Ashok Agarwal as he introduced her to other students. Mr. Agarwal had written to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in August after which the matter was highlighted by the media.
"We will befriend her, don't worry. She will adjust here quickly," the students said jocularly.
Madhu's struggle started when she arrived in Delhi from Pakistan's Punjab some two years ago with her family as they fled religious persecution and settled in Sanjay Colony.
Robbers loot passengers on train in northwest Delhi
New Delhi:MMNN:12 Sept. 2016
In a brazen train robbery in the capital, a group of men barged into the Gorakhdham Express near Shakur Basti railway station on Saturday evening and took away cash and valuables at knife-point from about half-a-dozen passengers.
Before passengers could raise an alarm, the men had fled with the booty. Two of the victims who tried to fight back were injured and had to be taken to hospital. It's not clear how much money and valuables were taken.
Senior railway officers blamed the robbery on encroachments "dangerously close" to the tracks near Shakur Basti, northwest Delhi. Due to these settlements, train drivers have been directed to drive slowly on this stretch, which gives an opportunity for miscreants to board the train.
There have been other robberies on this stretch, the officials said.
The robbers boarded around 8.30pm, when the train had almost entered the station. As the entire stretch remains encroached, the trains approaching stations usually crawl in at a low speed.
"About four to five men got into the train with knives and sharp weapons. They started asking passengers to hand over their cash. Some of the persons have alleged that their valuables were snatched," said a senior police officer.
"Two men, who were carrying Rs 40,000 and 70,000, were robbed of their money. When they tried to protest, they were overpowered and stabbed. However, they escaped with minor injuries. An FIR has been lodged after a written complaint was received from three passengers," the officer said.
Seeing the train entering the station, the men jumped out and ran away. It was then that the passengers reported the matter to the police and the injured were taken for treatment.
DCP railways Milind Dumbere said no major headway has been made in the case so far. "There are no CCTV cameras at the station. Local staff and others are being questioned to identify the miscreants," Dumbere said.
Shashi Kumar, senior divisional security commissioner of the Railway Protection Force, refused to comment on the matter.
Divisional railway manager (Delhi division) Arun Arora termed the robbery as unfortunate and said a special drive had been launched to ensure RPF's presence on trains passing through these crime-prone areas. The help of Government Railway Police has also been sought to nab the culprits, he said.
"At present, we only have CCTV cameras installed at big stations which have heavy rail traffic and larger footfalls. Rs 12.5 crore has been sanctioned from the Nirbhaya Fund which will be used for installing cameras at other stations, including the small ones," the DRM said.
Areas where similar incidents have been reported recently are Daya Basti, Mayapuri, Azadpur and Lawrence Road.
According to the railways, some of the heavily encroached areas in the Delhi division causing obstruction in rail movements are along Rewari railway line in Mayapuri, Sukhdev Nagar railway line, railway lines near Rakhi Market in Zhakira, Old Seelampur railway lines, Lal Bagh Shriram Nagar and Shahdara (near the railway crossing).
Road rage: Doctor thrashed with iron rod in Delhi as his wife, kids pleaded for mercy
New Delhi:MMNN:12 Sept. 2016
In a case of road rage, a doctor was thrashed with iron rod on Sunday night in Vasant Kunj area of Delhi. The victim was identified as Pradeep Chauhan, a dentist with Fortis Hospital, Gurgaon. He received severe head injuries and was admitted at Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj.
The incident took place around when Chauhan was returning home in his car from Janakpuri in west Delhi after paying a visit to his in-laws. He was heading towards Sangam Vihar in south Delhi with his wife, Anjana and two kids, 12-year-old Daksh and 10-year-old Ansh, when his Ritz car hit a WagonR, which came to an abrupt halt.
The traffic was heavy on the route at that time. Suddenly, driver of the car moving ahead of Chauhan applied emergency brake and came to a halt. By the time he put the brakes on, his car touched that car. This was enough for the occupant, who was traveling with his wife, to go belligerent. He came out of his car shouting at Chauhans.
The wife and kids of the dentist came out of their car and apologized to the man heading towards them. But, he did not relent. He, now, headed towards Doctor Chauhan, who also got out of the car and apologized for the incident.
It seemed for a moment that the matter was resolved as the aggressor walked towards his car, but he came back with an iron rod, kept in his car and hit the dentist on his head several times. Anjana and the two kids kept pleading, but the assaulter didn't pay any heed. The wife of the accused also intervened but to no avail. He would leave Chauhan almost half dead, flattened on road.
A crowd gathered at the site and the accused was overpowered by people. Police was informed about the incident. A lawyer friend of Pradeep Chauhan, Rahisuddin was also informed.
Rahisuddin took Chauhan, who was bleeding profusely from head, to hospital. Anjana also received injuries in the scuffle and was also admitted in the hospital.
Police arrested the accused, who was identified as Vineet Kumar, a resident of Khidki Extension near Malviya Nagar. A case under relevant sections of IPC has been registered against the accused.
Anna Hazare threatens to agitate against Arvind Kejriwal's AAP government in Delhi
New Delhi:MMNN:8 Sept. 2016
Two days after expressing his anguish at how the Aam Aadmi Party has turned out, Anna Hazare is considering another agitation in the National Capital - after the Lokpal bill agitation in 2011.
His target this time? Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Describing Kejriwal's reputation as 'damaged' due to the company he keeps, Hazare was quoted by The Times of India as saying, "If he wishes to win over the confidence of people again, he should give up power and serve the nation again... Had Kejriwal selected people of good character in his party, he would not have faced this problem."
And if concrete evidence against Kejriwal's colleagues is found, Hazare is planning to return to Delhi and agitate against his one-time confidant.
On Tuesday, on the topic of sacked AAP minister Sandeep Kumar over an alleged sex scandal, Hazare said, "I am sad and deeply hurt to see all this. The high expectations I had from Kejriwal are over now." He added, "It is my misfortune that the dream of change which I saw in (Kejriwal) has been shattered now."
With the Punjab Assembly election around the corner, the BJP appears to be sparing no opportunity to ensure AAP is sufficiently weekend before polling begins. With that in mind, BJP Delhi unit president Satish Upadhyay wrote to Hazare on Tuesday inviting him to speak in the National Capital.
Wrote Upadhyay, ""I request you to please rise for the nation, come to Delhi and speak clearly to people from the Jantar Mantar on what you feel about the unhealthy politics of AAP and guide the nation like you did to fight corruption under the past regimes."
It's hard to tell if Hazare's threat to return to Delhi is linked to this invitation and whether or not Hazare will make good on his threat.
For now, some serious house-cleaning is in order for Kejriwal.
Delhi HC refuses maintenance to working woman
New Delhi:MMNN:8 Sept. 2016
CP or Connaught Place in A professionally qualified woman should be able to take care of herself, the Delhi high court has said, denying maintenance demanded by a chartered accountant from her estranged husband.
"The appellant/wife, who is a qualified chartered accountant and has been in the profession since 2003, need not be granted interim maintenance under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act," a bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha Rani observed while rejecting her plea.
The wife had appealed against a trial court order that awarded her Rs 22,900 a month towards maintenance of her two children but declined to award an interim maintenance to her, pointing out that she was a chartered accountant with sufficient means to maintain herself.
According to the woman's petition, the duo had got married in 2005 in Delhi. The estranged husband, an electrical engineer, runs his own business. He filed for divorce owing to "differences".
The wife had sought an interim maintenance of Rs 3 lakh per month for herself and their two children, and around 1 Rs lakh towards litigation expenses.
When the trial court refused she appealed against it arguing that her income is Rs 7,000 per month but HC refused to buy the claim and noted that "a well-qualified wife who is working as a CA since 2003, cannot be expected to earn only Rs 7,000 per month, which is below the minimum wages payable to an unskilled worker."
The wife also mentioned her reasonable wants from her husband which includes house rent, household expenses, miscellaneous expenses as well tuition fees and transport charges.
But the trial court dubbed her claim of having no sufficient means to support herself and children as "jugglery of accounts."
Appearing for the husband advocate Anirudh Mudgal assured HC that he will ensure good education for his children and bear the additional burden in case the school fee or transport allowance is increased.
The court then dismissed the plea of the wife saying the terms set by the trial court are reasonable.
Arvind Kejriwal-Najeeb Jung battle for Delhi moves to Supreme Court
New Delhi:MMNN:5 Sept. 2016
The fight for power of Delhi's government is far from over. The Supreme Court has said it will on Friday hear six appeals by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government over who is the administrative head of the Delhi government - the Chief Minister or the Lieutenant Governor.
The Arvind Kejriwal government has been facing off against Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung ever since it came to power in 2015. It has gone to the top court against the Delhi High Court's ruling that administrative primacy rested with the office of the LG.
Soon after the Delhi High Court verdict, Jung had reversed a number of measures taken by the AAP government, on the grounds that it did not have the authority to have taken the steps in the first place.
AAP had made an election plank out of getting more power for the Delhi government.
Delhi presently does not have full statehood. AS the national capital, some powers such as land and police rest in the hands of the Union Home Ministry, and is administered by the Lieutenant Governor.
Since it took charge of the Delhi government, Kejriwal and his ministers have repeatedly pointed out the spheres of government over which his regime had little to no control .
Kejriwal has also repeatedly alleged that the Centre, through the LG, was preventing the AAP government from doing any work.
Here's what Delhi's iconic Connaught Place looked way back in 1938
New Delhi:MMNN:5 Sept. 2016
CP or Connaught Place in New Delhi is also an ever buzzing hub, with something to offer to each person in the city. While the heart of the city is home to beautiful cafes and cool hangouts, it also hosts some treasures the city continues to hold close - Regal Cinemas, Wengers' Deli, Cambridge Book Depot etc.
But was CP always the same? Brimming with people, sounds of their chatter and the epic National Flag hoisted right in the middle? A 1938 video of Delhites' favourite hangout place has gone viral on social media. The short clip shows how British introduced India - whose love was earlier restricted to only tombs, temples and palace gardens and therefore, went on to construct so many of them - to the "business centre of the modern India".
Unlike how we picture CP today - complete with traffic jams, shops and makeshifts at every nook and cranny, the 1938 CP was different, yet to get used to busy work going humans flocking the place.
This vital part of Delhi was named after Field Marshal Prince Arthur, 1st Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and the construction work began in 1929 and was completed in 1933.
Today, CP is one of the largest financial, commercial and business centres in New Delhi, India. It is often abbreviated to CP and houses the headquarters of several noted Indian firms.
Delhi Speaker lets LG know: Official ordered out was key to panel probing charges against you
New Delhi:MMNN:1 Sept. 2016
In a two-page long letter to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung against the repatriation of Delhi Assembly secretary Prasanna Kumar Suryadevara, Speaker Ram Niwas Goel has pointed out that the senior official was involved in the functioning of several committees, including those looking into allegations against the LG himself.
Citing reasons why Suryadevara should not be removed from his post, Goel pointed out that the secretary's position was crucial to the functioning of the assembly, and the various committees constituted by it, including the one looking into the CNG fitness 'scam'.
"The committees were constituted with the unanimous resolution of the House. I have no option but to reiterate the fact that the matters under examination include charges of irregularities/illegalities levelled against Najeeb Jung. The special inquiry committee and petition committee have been examining the feasibility of seeking deposition of Jung before the committee for the functioning of the committees as mandated by the House… competent secretary is essential for functioning of committees. Moving him out would attract conflict of interest," wrote the Speaker.
The order relieving Suryadevara from the post of Delhi Assembly secretary and repatriating him to parent cadre All India Radio (AIR) had come days after Goel wrote to AIR, requesting that Suryadevara be allowed to continue in his post. Goel had also requested AIR to allow Suryadevara's permanent "absorption".
Speaking to The Indian Express, the Speaker said he wrote the letter to Jung after his attempts to speak to the LG on the phone were unsuccessful.
Goel said it was due to his 'specific request' that Suryadevara was deputed by the Delhi government and later, given an extension till July 2018.
Claiming that the decision to repatriate Suryadevara was an "attack" on the Speaker's constitutional post, Goel wrote,"I take issuance of impugned order as an affront to the independence and constitutionally guaranteed powers of legislature…"
Delhi drowns in rush-hour downpour, roads flooded
New Delhi:MMNN:1 Sept. 2016
It was a morning of mayhem in the capital on Wednesday as the year's heaviest rain spell left arterial roads clogged with water, several feet deep at many places, resulting in massive rush-hour jams that yet again exposed the authorities' lack of monsoon preparedness.
Buses and cars broke down on waterlogged roads and stranded commuters had to wade through dirty streams of rainwater to reach safety.
Safdarjung, the city's main weather station, recorded as much as 62.7mm of rain in three hours between 8.30am and 11.30am, making Wednesday the wettest day of 2016.
The chaos started during peak hours when major arterial roads got waterlogged. Aurobindo Marg and Ring Road near Hyatt hotel were choked for nearly an hour as several feet of water on the road stalled traffic. The tail-back jammed other roads. A similar situation was reported at Chatta Rail underpass in north Delhi.
In Noida's Sector 18, rainwater entered basements of shops, damaging goods and flooding the vault of State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur. Gurgaon, however, managed to keep moving despite portions of major roads going under.
SC to hear Delhi govt's challenge of HC verdict in favour of L-G
New Delhi:MMNN:29 Aug. 2016
The Supreme Court will on Monday hear a plea of the Delhi Government challenging the Delhi High Court judgment as per which Delhi continues to be a Union Territory and the Lieutenant Governor its administrative head.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had adjourned the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)'s original suit on wanting administrative control of Delhi which was filed on June 29.
The Delhi government informed the Supreme Court that it will file a Special leave Petition (SLP) against the high court order within a week.
The apex court will hear AAP government's original suit and SLP against the Delhi High Court's judgment on interpretation of Article 239 AA of the Indian Constitution.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi has also said that the Delhi Government can't claim two remedies at one time.
The AAP-led government recently suffered a blow as the Delhi High Court had declared that the Lt Governor has administrative control of Delhi.
In a series of tweets, Kejriwal said, "Why centre not clearing names suggested by SC collegium? Does centre want BJP lawyers to be appointed as HC judges?… Shocking how centre interfering in judiciary and stalling it." He also retweeted many articles and comments on the SC's admonishment to the Centre.
Delhi's DND Flyway Stays 'Toll Free' A Day After Protests
New Delhi:MMNN:29 Aug. 2016
Delhi's DND flyway - connecting Delhi and Noida in Uttar Pradesh - continues to be "toll-free" a day after a group of protesters led by BJP leader Nawab Singh Nagar forced the toll bridge employees out of their posts and let the vehicles pass through without paying.
The call for protest was made by over two dozen groups from Noida, forming the "Janhit Morcha".
Hundreds of activists camped near the toll plaza and the DND office on Sunday, demanding that the plaza be made toll-free and an inquiry be set up to check the alleged financial irregularities.
City magistrate Bachu Singh said they were "trying to have a settlement with Janhit Morcha" and doing their best to "end the protest end as soon as possible".
"This protest is not politically motivated, it is to fight corruption. The Noida toll bridge company spent Rs. 183 crore for its construction. They claimed they used over Rs. 400 crore, but even that cost has been covered. Now they are just continuing to loot people. This is not the first time we have protested," Nawab Singh Nagar, a former UP minister, told.
A plea was filed in the Allahabad High Court in 2012 by the "Federation of Noida Residents Welfare Associations (FONRWA)" which stands with Janhit morcha on the issue. The court has issued a notice to DND flyway authorities but no order has been passed yet.
Detailing the terms of agreement of the flyway, a DND spokesperson Monisha Macedo said, "People with vested interests have stopped toll collection activities even though Section 144 (ban on large gathering) is in force in Noida."
The flyway, she said, is a privately owned public amenity and has over 80,000 shareholders who invested in India's first private-public partnership road facility.
"DND's Concession Agreement with NOIDA is for a period of 30 years, that is till 2031, which is not unlike other National Highways Authority Of India or NHAI concessions. Such activities cause concern among investors about public money/investments in PPP projects and the infrastructure sector in the state/country," Ms Macedo added.
The expressway, operational since 2001, considerably reduces the travel time between Delhi and Noida. At present, Rs. 30 is collected as toll from each vehicle. On an average one and a half lakh vehicles use the route.
44-year-old Sanjeev Kumar, who appeared happy to not pay the toll, said, "If this protest is in support against the corruption I am for it."
Delhi's Population Is Gradually Decreasing Because Pollution And Crime Is Making People Leave
New Delhi:MMNN:25 Aug. 2016
Population levels in Delhi are finally declining after decades as people are leaving the city due to dangerous levels of pollution and high crime levels, the Delhi High Court said today. It also said that authorities seem unable to control it.
A public-interest litigation (PIL) was raised by the court after the Nirbhaya gang-rape incident of December 16, 2012, which angered the entire city. Since then the court has constantly been giving directions to the authorities to make the city safer and cleaner. A part of the bench of justices, Badar Durrez Ahmed and Ashutosh Kumar said, "People are leaving Delhi because of pollution and crime rate which you (authorities) are not willing to control."
They added that the seemingly declining population is mainly because of these two gargantuan problems, where women in the capital do not feel safe and pollution levels are causing massive health problems.
When Meera Bhatia, Amicus curiae, told the court that there have been several incidents of rapes in the city this year, the court said, "what is happening to the city?"
Romong Lepcha, a 32-year-old Video Editor moved out of Delhi after five years in the capital. He told IndiaTimes, "Delhi being one of the most air polluted cities in the country definitely played a role in me moving out. I guess I became conscious to its hazards." He now lives and works in Goa.
A team of researchers at The University of Surrey conducted a study on Delhi's air pollution in 2015. Team member Dr Prashant Kumar said,"Air pollution has been placed in the top ten health risks faced by human beings globally. Delhi has the dubious accolade of being regularly cited as the most polluted city in the world, with air pollution causing thousands of excess deaths in a year in this growing megacity."
"While it might be easy to blame this on increased use of vehicles, industrial production or a growing population, the truth is that Delhi is a toxic pollutant punchbowl with myriad ingredients, all of which need addressing in the round," he further added.
In a 2015 story, The Indian Express wrote, "For the first time in history, Delhi is officially the rape capital of India" and reported the following statistics - the city reported 1,813 rapes in 2014 and 1,441 in 2013.
Former Paramilitary Personnel Kills Alleged Robber In Delhi
New Delhi:MMNN:25 Aug. 2016
A former paramilitary personnel shot dead an alleged robber who along with his accomplice fired at him in Rohini area of outer Delhi, police said on Wednesday.
Ramesh Chandra Sharma, 42, who took voluntary retirement from the BSF in 2013, lives at Majra Dabas and works as a security officer at a private construction company.
"Ramesh was returning from work last night on his bike when he was intercepted by two men on a scooty in Rohini Sector 24. When he resisted to their robbery attempt one of the duo whipped out a pistol and fired at him. He retaliated using his licensed pistol and the shot hit the robber in the chest," said a police officer.
The accomplice of the killed robber fled the scene leaving behind the scooty. Ramesh called police who rushed the robber to hospital where doctors declared him dead, he said.
A case has been registered and efforts are on to identify the killed robber, he added.
Jigisha Ghosh Murder Case: Delhi Court To Pronounce Sentence Today
New Delhi:MMNN:22 Aug. 2016
In a setback to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led A court in Delhi will pronounce the quantum of sentence to three men convicted for murdering and robbing IT executive Jigisha Ghosh in New Delhi in 2009 on Monday, with the Delhi Police today seeking death penalty for them saying they killed her for "pleasure" and showed no remorse.
Additional Sessions Judge Sandeep Yadav reserved the order on sentence after the arguments concluded today and a pre-sentencing report (PSR) was submitted by probationary officer.
"Pre-sentencing report received...Copy has been supplied to counsel for the convicts. Arguments heard. Order on sentence to be pronounced on Monday," the judge said after hearing the arguments of prosecution, convicts and perusing the pre-sentencing report which gave details about the bakground of the guilty persons.
However, the judge ordered for maintaining confidentiality of the report.
28-year-old Jigisha, working as an operations manager in a management consultancy firm, was abducted and killed on March 18, 2009 after she was dropped by her office cab around 0400 hours near her home in Vasant Vihar area of South Delhi.
Her body was recovered three days later from a place near Surajkund in Haryana, police had said.
Seeking death sentence for the convicts - Ravi Kapoor, Baljeet and Amit Shukla, Special Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan argued that they had abducted Jigisha, robbed her, killed her and used her debit card for shopping, and a CCTV footage of their shopping showed they had no remorse for their act.
"There was no provocation. There is no mitigating factor in the matter. It was murder for pleasure. The footage shows they had no remorse at all, which is an aggravating factor," he said.
Rebutting the arguments of prosecution, defence counsel sought minimum sentence of life for the convicts contending that they did not have any previous criminal involvement and were young at the time of the incident.
Advocate Amit Kumar, appearing for convicts Baljeet and Amit Shukla, argued that his clients have already spent over seven years in jail and maintainted good conduct.
The counsel for convict Ravi Kapoor sought leniency for his client saying he suffered from a life threatening disease and belonged to a poor background.
The defence counsel also termed the PSR contradictory and biased contending that it did not mention the incident when convict Amit Shukla was brutally beaten inside the jail.
During arguments when the SPP referred to the alleged involvement of the three convicts in the Soumya Vishwanathan murder case, the defence counsel objected to it saying it was a separate case which was still pending and referring to it would cause them prejudice during the proceedings.
The court had, a month ago, held the three men guilty of murder, abduction, robbery, forgery and common intention under IPC, saying it was "abundantly clear" that they had committed the crime. Kapoor was also convicted for the offence of using firearms under the Arms Act.
While convicting them on July 14, the judge had said "they committed her murder and disposed of her body in bushes and circumstantial evidence makes it clear that it was these men who committed the crime."
The police had filed the charge sheet in the case in June 2009 and trial began on April 15, 2010.
Recovery of the weapon allegedly used in Jigisha's murder had led to the cracking of the murder case of Soumya Vishwanathan, who was a journalist with a news channel.
Soumya was shot dead on September 30, 2008 while she was returning home in her car from office in the wee hours.
Police had claimed robbery as the motive behind the killing of both Jigisha and Soumya.
The accused had used Jigisha's ATM card to buy expensive goggles, wrist watches and shoes from Sarojini Nagar market in South Delhi, police had said.
Delhi could be the fourth state to ratify GST Bill
New Delhi:MMNN:22 Aug. 2016
The Delhi government may become the fourth state to ratify the Constitution amendment bill to roll out the goods and services tax (GST), with the state assembly set to meet for a four-day session beginning on Monday.
Implementation of GST will increase the Delhi government's share in central taxes, said leaders of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has been supporting the bill.
Senior leaders in the party said that the Delhi assembly will ratify the bill once the house receives a notification from the Centre.
The AAP is in a majority in the 70-member legislative assembly, with 67 members.
The development comes despite the constant tussle between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre and the Delhi government ever since the AAP came to power in 2015. Delhi is a special state, where matters of law, order and land come under the Union home ministry.
The 122nd Constitution amendment bill received Parliament's nod earlier this month. The bill needs to be ratified by 50% of Indian states before it can be sent for Presidential assent. So far the bill has been ratified by the state assemblies of Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand.
While the states of Assam and Jharkhand are led by the BJP, Bihar led by the Janata Dal (United) government became the first non-BJP state to ratify the bill.
Mint reported last week (http://www.livemint.com/Politics/k7dQkHagy4EKfs666xBE9L/GST-Bill-likely-to-be-ratified-by-seven-more-states.html) that 11 states are in the process of calling a special sitting of legislative assemblies to ratify the GST bill. This includes the Trinamool Congress-led West Bengal assembly and the BJP-led governments in Goa, Haryana and Maharashtra.
GST is a far-reaching tax reform that aims to unite the country into a common market and remove all barriers across states. It will subsume most indirect taxes levied by the Centre and the states, including excise duty, service tax, value-added tax, luxury tax, entertainment tax and entry tax.
Apart from the GST bill, the AAP government will table two other bills during the session, including one that proposes to remove luxury tax on hotel room renting.
Delhi has regressed to British times, representatives have no right to run govt, says CM Kejriwal
New Delhi:MMNN:16 Aug. 2016
In a setback to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Addressing people on the occasion of Independence Day at Chhatrasal Stadium, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said citizens of Delhi needed an explanation for being treated like "half-citizens" of the country.
A year since he sought to bring about a "working arrangement" with the Centre in his maiden Independence Day speech, Kejriwal Monday said Delhi had regressed to British times when people chose their representatives but the representatives had no powers. "In the last year-and-a-half, the elected government had as good as no rights. It can take no decisions on its own," he said.
Using pre-independence analogy, Kejriwal said, "In 1935, the British brought in the Government of India Act. In that Act, the British gave Indians the right to appoint their representatives. But these representatives had no right to run the government. The British would run the government, the people would only choose their representatives. The arrangement in Delhi is the same as that enforced by the British in 1935. You can choose your MLAs, your ministers, your chief minister, your public representatives but your representatives have no right to run the government. The government will be run by someone else," said Kejriwal.
Since it took charge of the Delhi administration in February 2015, the AAP government has been engaged in a turf war with the BJP at the Centre. Earlier this month, the Delhi High Court ruled that the capital continues to be a union territory under the authority of the Lieutenant Governor.
"The people of Delhi are very angry. They want to know why the value of their vote is less than that of the people in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh or Haryana. If the value of a vote in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh or Haryana is 100 points, in Delhi it's less than 20 points. The people of Delhi want to know. Why are we treated like half-citizens of this country? Do we pay less tax? Are we less patriotic than people in other states? Why don't people in Delhi have their democratic rights?"
The chief minister also announced that the AAP government had decided to revise minimum wages in the state by over 45 per cent.
"Inflation has made it difficult for even a poor person to get his meals or send his children to school. Gandhi ji has also said that when you do something, do it keeping the last person in mind. Our government is for everyone but it is more for the middle-class and the poor," said Kejriwal.
He added that the government had decided to increase the minimum wage for unskilled labourers from Rs 9,500 to Rs 14,000, for semi-skilled labourers from Rs 10,600 to Rs 15,500 and for skilled labourers from Rs 11,600 to Rs 17,000. He said the decision will be finalised in a Cabinet meeting later this week.
"I appeal to finance ministers in all states and the prime minister to similarly increase minimum wages all over the country," said Kejriwal.
Minor Girl's Body Found In Delhi, Murder Suspected
New Delhi:MMNN:16 Aug. 2016
The naked body of an eight-year-old girl was found in south Delhi's Vasant Kunj area,
police said on Tuesday.
A telephone call about the body in the Rangpur Pahari forest was received at 7:10 AM,
a senior police officer told.
It seems the girl was murdered some elsewhere and the dumped there,
the officer added.
The body has not yet been identified.
Dying man on Delhi road: Indians are voyeurs, they rarely help accident victims
New Delhi:MMNN:11 Aug. 2016
In a setback to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led A man hit by a tempo bled on a Delhi road for 90 minutes on Wednesday morning. Thousands of people drove past the dying man, but not one person came forward to help. The only one who walked up to the injured man ended up helping himself: He walked away with the dying man's mobile phone.
Let us puff our chests and say it out aloud, zor se bolo, Bharat Mata ki Jai.
If you think the shameful, inhuman behaviour caught on a CCTV camera in Delhi is an aberration, stand in front of a mirror and introspect. Ask yourself, when was the last time you stopped to help a road accident victim? How many of us just whizzed past after confirming that the victim was not a friend or a relative, silently telling ourselves, kaun lafde main parega (Why should we get into trouble?)
Unfortunately, most of us Indians are like this only. Self-centred insensitive quislings with a grossly exaggerated opinion of ourselves, with delusions and empty slogans of greatness. We are a country of tamaashbeens - fascinated spectators - not conscientious citizens ready to help.
Remember Jyoti Singh Pandey and her friend? Remember their plight?
"After raping Jyoti, the attackers threw us out. We were lying on the road without any clothes. I tried to get up and wave at the moving traffic. Some cars stopped, saw us and left without helping. Then the highway patrol van spotted us and called the police and we were taken to the hospital. People kept staring at me in the hospital. I was lying in a pool of blood on the floor without any clothes. I was pleading with them to call my father as I remember his phone number," her friend recounted his 90-minute ordeal on that fateful night of 16 December.
Consider the hypocrisy: Not one person stopped by to help the victims while they were lying on the road, bleeding, unconscious and stripped of clothes. And a few days later, half of Delhi were on the roads, seeking justice for Jyoti. ''Saari Delhi yahan hai, Sheila Dixit kahan hai" - remember? Where was saari Delhi when Jyoti and her friend were seeking help?
Remember Kanhiya Lal and his family? In 2013, Kanhaiya's wife and infant daughter were hit by a vehicle in Jaipur. For almost one hour, clutching their bodies to his chest, Kanhaiya and his son kept pleading for help. But nobody stopped and the victims bled to death. For the next few days, the media howled at the new low in public apathy, anchors screamed that India wants to know why its people have become so insensitive and shameless. Nothing changed.
Remember Vinay Jindal? In July 2015, hundreds of spectators watched him bleed to death after an accident in east Delhi. His death and public apathy prompted even Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ask people to help road accident victims. But, we never learn. Nothing changes. Accidents keep happening, victims keep bleeding and spectators keep watching or driving away. Because, O darling! This is the real India.
In 2013, a survey by Savelife Foundation - an NGO working on road safety - found that 74 percent of Indians were unlikely to help an accident victim, whether alone or with other bystanders. Much of this apathy is because of the fear of getting drawn into legal cases, being harassed by cops and mulcted by hospitals. The laws and the system, frankly, are loaded against anybody willing to help.
Yet, what does it take to save a victim of a road accident? In many cases, just a phone call. Decades ago, when mobile phones were not around, it would have been understandable if people considered themselves helpless spectators of accidents. But now, with a penetration level of more than 80 percent, is it such a big deal to stop for a minute and summon an ambulance or inform the cops? But no, we would rather outrage on social media against a nation's apathy instead of taking timely action.
No wonder, India has just a percent of the world's vehicles. But we contribute to 10 percent of total global deaths in accidents. Fifty percent victims die of injuries that could have been treated.
So, think about this: Every year around 1.5 lakh Indians die in accidents. Every four minutes, one Indian is killed on the roads, every day 16 children die in accidents. Half of them could have been saved if someone would have provided timely help.
Bolo, Mera Bharat Mahaan!
Class 10 Student Gang-Raped In South Delhi Flat For 2 Days
New Delhi:MMNN:11 Aug. 2016
Deputy Chief Minister A 16-year-old girl was gang-raped allegedly by two men in a flat at South Delhi's Kalkaji area, police said on Wednesday.
The class 10 student of a government school in Gurgaon was allegedly held captive in the flat on Saturday and Sunday (August 6 and 7) by accused Karan Singh and Sanjay Kumar who gangraped her even as two of their associates, Mahesh and Kala, filmed the entire act on mobile phones.
Praveen Malik, SHO, Badhshahpur police station, where the victim lodged a complaint on Monday, said Karan, a native of Palra village, was known to her, while Sanjay was a native of Dhani Shkohpur and Mahesh and Kala were residents of Karan's village.
According to the victim, Karan had picked her up from a Gurgaon bus stand on Saturday and took her to Kalkaji temple on his motorcycle.
"The victim alleged that after the visit to the temple, Karan took her to a flat in the same area and later, three of his friends joined them."
"Subsequently, while Karan and Sanjay took turns to rape her, Mahesh and Kala videographed the act. They also threatened her with dire consequences if she reported it to anyone," said the SHO.
The victim was released after being held in captivity for two days. She reached home at Badshahpur in Gurgaon on Monday and narrated the incident to her parents who lodged the police complaint, he added.
The victim had initially alleged that Mahesh had raped her as well, but later, before a magistrate, she accused Karan and Sanjay of rape and Mahesh and Kala of filming the act on mobile phones with the intention of blackmailing, said Mr Malik.
Medical examination of the victim has confirmed rape, said the SHO, adding that a case under sections 363 (abduction), 365 (abducting with an intent of secretly and wrongfully confining a person), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was lodged against all the four accused, while Karan and Sanjay were also booked under section 376D (gangrape), IPC.
No arrest has been made as the accused are absconding, he said.
L-G is the head of administrative power in Delhi, rules HC
New Delhi:MMNN:4 Aug. 2016
In a setback to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government, the Delhi high court on Thursday upheld the administrative powers of the Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) in matters of land, law and order and police in the national capital territory of Delhi.
The judgment comes at a time when Delhi chief minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal is away for 10 days for vipasana (meditation therapy). AAP leaders, meanwhile, said that the government will appeal in the Supreme Court.
"Directions under the notification granting independent decision making power to the Lt. Governor, neither illegal nor unconstitutional," said G. Rohini, chief justice of Delhi High Court, while pronouncing the order.
The court emphasized on the administrative capacity of the L-G, while holding that Delhi should be seen as a Union Territory under Article 239AA of the Constitution and Transaction of Business Rules.
In accordance with this, several cases where inquiry had been initiated by the state government without concurrence with the L-G were dismissed and held illegal. All notifications passed to effect the same were struck down under the court's orders.
These included Delhi government's inquiry into the alleged scam involving the issuance of compressed natural gas or CNG fitness certificates to vehicles and the probe into the alleged malpractices and irregularities in the functioning of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), among others.
"Any policy related decision of Delhi's council of ministers would have to seek approval of the Lt. Governor," it was held.
The issue arose with the passing of a notification by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) on 21 May, which replaced a 1998 notification on the powers of the L-G and the Delhi government.
The 1998 notification said that in matters of public order, police and services, the L-G of Delhi would consult the chief minister, and in cases otherwise, the reasons would be recorded. The new notification, however, said that in police and other service matters, the L-G could make decisions independently.
This led to a face-off between the Central government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the AAP-led Delhi government over various issues, including bureaucratic appointments. Delhi is a special state wherein matters of law, order and land come under the central MHA.
Challenging the MHA notification, while claiming that it extended unprecedented power to the L-G, the Delhi government moved the Delhi high court in May 2015.
Senior leaders of the AAP, however, said that the party will move the apex court.
"Delhi government disagrees with the decision of the hon'ble Delhi High Court on powers distribution and will challenge the HC verdict in the SC," said a spokesperson of the Delhi government.
"The Delhi government has previously been stopped from taking action against corruption and this has been upheld. We will take this to the apex court. Will have to see the final order," said Delhi home minister Satyendra Jain.
As the matter proceeded to be heard, several pleas which arose from the jurisdiction tussle between Delhi L-G Najeeb Jung and the state government over distribution of powers were brought before the court.
The Centre had claimed that under Article 239 AA, which carved out special provisions for Delhi, it was a Union territory. The office of the L-G is different from that of a Governor, as he is the executive head of the state, it was maintained.
On the other hand, the Delhi government contended that the L-G could not have the discretion of taking independent decisions and had to take the advice of the council of ministers in matters within the purview of land, police and public order.
Responding to today's judgment, Ajay Maken, president of Congress' Delhi unit, wrote on Twitter, "High Court rules against Kejriwal Government! Upheld Lieutenant Governor notifications- LG-Kejriwal spat wasted 18 months-brought Delhi to a standstill".
On 1 July this year, the Delhi government moved the Supreme Court, seeking a stay on the Delhi high court's proceedings in the tussle between the Centre and the city-state.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for Delhi government, said that an authoritative ruling by the apex court was required on whether Delhi can be considered a state under the Constitution.
A bench headed by justice Dipak Misra, however, restrained from any interference by the apex court on the issue, since the judgment at that point in time had been reserved by the Delhi high court.
Fixing potholes in Delhi: Manish Sisodia seeks daily report from PWD minister
New Delhi:MMNN:4 Aug. 2016
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia Thursday wrote to Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Satyendar Jain, saying despite the steps taken by the government to attend to complaints of water-logging and potholes, there appeared to be deficiencies on the ground.
"The government of NCT of Delhi has taken several steps to handle the problem of waterlogging and other related issues for monsoon 2016. However, on the ground, there seem to be some deficiencies in our efforts to address the problem. Several media reports have published photographs of instances of waterlogging, potholes and caved-in footpaths, resulting in severe inconvenience to the people of Delhi. The quantum of potholes and the instances of caved-in footpaths etc pose a serious threat to the safety of the road users, which is the top-most priority of our government," Sisodia wrote to Jain.
The minister cautioned, "The waterlogging may also result in the spread of dengue, which is yet another important reason to address the problem at the initial stage itself." Jain is also in charge of the health department.
Sisodia - who is at the helm of the Delhi government while Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is attending a 10-day Vipassana course - said he was confident that the PWD, with over 1,000 team members on the field, will monitor the situation round-the-clock.
However, he asked the minister to submit a daily report of the action taken by the PWD - on complaints made by citizens as well as those taken by the department proactively - "so that people can be made aware of our efforts and our determination to handle the problem collectively."