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CBI books former Forensics officer for tampering with reports

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New Delhi, Sep 27 : The CBI on Friday booked a former officer of the state-run Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) for alleged irregularities in forensic reports of two rape cases and one case of sodomy and murder.

A senior CBI official said that an FIR was registered against A.K. Srivastava, who was a Deputy Director in the FSL’s facility in Rohini, Delhi, when the reports were submitted.

In all three cases, forensic reports were given in favour of the accused. However, the CBI’s re-examination proved that the reports had been tampered with.

Apart from Srivastava, his colleague at the FSL at the time the forensic reports were allegedly tampered with, L. Babyto Devi, has also been booked by the CBI in the case.

The re-examination had been ordered on the basis of orders by the Delhi High Court in August 2018.

As per the CBI’s FIR, one of the rape cases was registered at Badarpur police station in Delhi in 2013.

A trial court had acquitted the accused on the basis of the tampered report submitted by the FSL. While a three-member board that undertook the re-examination on the basis of the High Court’s orders found that the report submitted by Srivastava did not conform to actual scientific findings.

The second case pertains to the charges of sodomy and murder in an FIR registered at Mahindra Park police station of Delhi in 2012.

Findings in the report submitted by Srivastava and Devi were found contrary to scientific evidence, it said.

In the second case of rape registered at Samaypur Badli police station in 2012, data submitted by the FSL did not match with the subsequent report prepared by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory.

“Enquiry has prima facie established that reports/opinion given by Ms L Babyto Devi and Dr AK Srivastava in the above mentioned cases are inconsistent with the reports given subsequently by experts of FSL, Rohini and experts of CFSL CBI, New Delhi,” the FIR stated.

The accused have been booked under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and under sections 201 and 218 of the Indian Penal Code.

India

Govt ready to give written assurance on MSP, changes in farm laws

Thousands of protesters have blocked Delhi borders at five points connecting it to Chandigarh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, crippling supply chains to the national capital.

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Ghazipur Border

New Delhi, Dec 5 : With the fifth round of talks between the Centre and farmer leader set to begin on Saturday afternoon, the Union government is learnt to have decided to give a written assurance on MSP, and also agree to amend the contentious three new farm laws enacted in September.

As per sources privy to the developments, the government has decided to accept the farmers’ demand for written assurance on Minimum Support Price (MSP) by an “executive order and not by legislation”.

The development comes after a high-level meeting at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence here this morning, in which Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar participated.

After over one-and-half hours meeting with the Prime Minister, the source said, the government may accept to effect amendments to the farm laws that farmers dub as “black” and “anti-farmer”.

The laws are The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The decision was taken after four earlier talks between the Centre and farmer representatives here in the national capital remained inconclusive.

The fifth round of talks will start at 2 pm at Vigyan Bhavan in central Delhi. A group of nearly three dozen farmer leaders will participate in the meeting. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State Som Prakash and Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal will join the meeting.

The farmers had put out a five-point demands that include framing of a specific law on MSP, no punishment for stubble-burning, repeal of the three farm laws, settlement of objections about proposed Electricity (Amendment) Act, 2020 and written assurance on MSP.

The farmer union representatives in earlier talks had rejected the government’s argument that the three farm laws were in the interest of farmers, saying the laws will only benefit big business and corporate houses.

Giving an example of sugarcane procurement, the farmers’ organisations had also objected to contract farming and pointed out its drawbacks.

The Bharatiya Kisan Union, Bharatiya Kisan Sanyukt Morcha and Krantikari Kisan Union are among more than 34 farm unions which have demanded a special session of Parliament to frame a law on MSP as well as repeal of the farm laws.

Thousands of protesters have blocked Delhi borders at five points connecting it to Chandigarh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, crippling supply chains to the national capital.

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India

Ahead of farmer talks, PM Modi meets Amit Shah, Narendra Singh Tomar, Rajnath Singh

The government, however, maintains that the new laws will provide farmers with better opportunities. It has also accused the opposition parties of “misleading” the farmers.

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DM PM HM

Ahead of the Centre’s fifth round of talks with agitating farmers on Saturday, a high-level meeting commenced at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence on Saturday morning.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister Piyush Goyal are present at the meeting.

On Thursday, talks between the Union government and farmers’ representatives at Vigyan Bhavan did not reach any conclusion, though the Centre softened its stance on some demands. Another round of talks with the farmers is scheduled for 2 pm on Saturday.

The farmers are demanding the repeal of the three farm laws passed by Parliament in September.

The government, however, maintains that the new laws will provide farmers with better opportunities. It has also accused the opposition parties of “misleading” the farmers.

Farmers’ doubts will be cleared in today’s meeting with Centre. In recent meetings, some issues were clarified. It’s Opposition’s politics, they’re instigating the protest. The meeting will be fruitful & we expect farmers will roll back protest, said MoS Agriculture, Kailash Choudhary

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Adar Poonawalla, CEO Serum Institute among 6 named ‘Asians of the Year’ by Singapore daily

The Serum Institute was founded by Poonawalla’s father Cyrus Poonawalla in 1966.

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Adar Poonawalla

Singapore, December 5 : Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India, is among six people named ‘Asians of the Year’ by Singapore’s leading daily, The Straits Times, for their work in fighting the Covid pandemic.

Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) has collaborated with the University of Oxford and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for making the Covid vaccine, ‘Covidshield’, and is conducting trials in India.

The other five named in the list are Chinese researcher Zhang Yongzhen, who led the team that mapped and published online the first complete genome of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that sparked the pandemic, China’s Major-General Chen Wei, Japan’s Dr Ryuichi Morishita and Singapore’s Professor Ooi Eng Eong, who are among those at the forefront of developing vaccines against the virus, and South Korean businessman Seo Jung-jin whose company will enable the making and dispensing of the vaccines and other Covid-19 treatments to the world.

Collectively referred to as “the virus busters”, they are heroes of a kind, having devoted themselves to the pressing cause of resolving the coronavirus pandemic, each in their own capacity, the daily said.

“Sars-CoV-2, the virus that has brought death and hardship to the world’s largest and most populous continent, is meeting its tamer in The Virus Busters,” the award citation said.

“We salute your courage, care, commitment and creativity. In this peril-filled hour, you are a symbol of hope for Asia, indeed the world.”

The Serum Institute was founded by Poonawalla’s father Cyrus Poonawalla in 1966.

Poonawalla joined the Serum Institute of India in 2001 and became the CEO of Serum Institute with complete control of the day-to-day operations of the company in 2011.

Poonawalla said that he had put USD 250 million of his family fortune into ramping up his institute’s manufacturing capacity.

“I decided to go all out,” said Poonawalla, 39, who has pledged that his firm’s COVID-19 vaccines will help supply lower- and middle-income countries that face significant disadvantages in the quest to obtain them.

Poonawalla said his institute is helping poorer countries level up in access to vaccines.

In the big picture of ending the pandemic, commonality of purpose is key, said The Straits Times, Singapore’s mainstream daily.

The Straits Times Asians of the Year have led the way, as have scores of other individuals in their own fields. When an end comes into sight, it will be due in no small part to these people who – undaunted by the tumult – have committed themselves to the sobering, much-needed work to put together an exit plan from the crisis, for humanity.

“There has not been a day this year when the pandemic has not been in the news. Straits Times’ editors felt there could be no more deserving recipients this year than the people squaring up to Asia’s biggest-ever health challenge, engaged in pioneering and courageous efforts to prevent the highly contagious virus from wreaking more damage,” Bhagyashree Garekar, Straits Times’ foreign editor, said on Saturday.

“In a year that is ending with a wish for great resets… Asia’s virus busters are the face of hope on the horizon,” said Garekar.

Between them, the recipients of the 2020 award capture the entire trajectory of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In deciding to honour The Virus Busters, Straits Times editors had in mind those who have, in one way or another, enabled the complex, multi-stage process of preventing as many people around the world from getting the deadly disease in as little time as possible.

“Each year, ST editors seek out a person, team or organisation that has not only made or shaped the news, but also helped contribute positively to Asia in the process,” said Warren Fernandez, editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings’ English/Malay/Tamil Media Group and editor of Straits Times.

“This year, we naturally looked to those involved in the fight against Covid-19, which has dominated the headlines. We debated long and hard, but finally agreed on a group of people who have done the most to help find an answer to the crisis brought on by the virus.

“They are a disparate group whose collective efforts have pushed forward the search for vaccines, allowing these to be discovered and delivered with an urgency never attempted or seen before. Their commitment and actions have helped save lives and give hope to people all around Asia, and the world,” Fernandez said. PTI

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