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Dabholkar murder: CBI yet to get ballistic report of recovered gun

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Narendra-Dabholkar

Even six months after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), probing the murder case of rationlist Narendra Dabholkar, recovered the weapon suspected to be used in the crime from the Arabian Sea, the federal agency is yet to get the ballistic test report from the forensic team.

According to highly-placed CBI sources, the agency has asked the laboratory to expedite its testing on the weapon that was recovered by foreign divers from Thane creek in Maharashtra’s Thane district.

“We have asked the laboratory to submit the details of the ballistic report of the weapon that was recovered from the creek at the earliest,” a source said, adding that once the laboratory reports come, it will ease the work of the agency as it will ascertain whether the weapon recovered from the creek was the one used in the crime.

The CBI team had recovered the weapon in March this year, after hiring a foreign sea explorer agency to search for and recover the firearm used in the killing of Dabholkar.

The CBI earlier claimed in a Pune court that one of the accused shooters, Sharad Kalaskar, dismantled the firearm used in the crime and threw it into the creek.

“A weapon has been recovered during the search operation, but whether it is related to the crime or not will only be confirmed after the ballistic report from the forensic laboratory,” a CBI official had said in March.

Dabholkar, 67, who was chief of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), was gunned down near his Pune residence while on a morning walk on August 20, 2013.

The CBI has registered a case on June 2, 2014, following the Bombay High Court’s May 9, 2014 direction.

Five years after Dabholkar’s killing, the agency made the first breakthrough arrest of the alleged shooters – Sachin Andure on August 18, 2018 from Aurangabad and Kalaskar from Palghar on September 3, 2018.

Following their interrogation, the name of Virendrasingh Tawde, arrested earlier in another case, came to light as the conspirator in the Dabholkar murder.

The CBI also arrested advocate Sanjeev Punalekar, who allegedly advised Kalaskar to destroy the firearms used in the crime.

Punalekar, before his arrest, had represented members of the Sanatan Sanstha and other activists in various cases in courts.

The CBI earlier claimed in the Pune court that during the investigation, it came to light that in June 2018, Kalaskar visited Punalekar’s chamber in Mumbai where he revealed his role in the killing of Dabholkar, and was told to destroy the firearms used in the killings, including of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru.

The agency also told the court that on July 23, 2018 that Kalaskar dismantled four country-made pistols, by taking out barrels and sliders, and threw them from a bridge into the Thane creek while on way to Nallasopara in Palghar from Pune.

India

CBI arrests labour official in TN in bribery case

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 The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said on Sunday that it had arrested a Regional Labour Commissioner on the charge of demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 30,000.

P Sivarajan, posted as Regional Labour Commissioner (Central) in Madurai, was held along with a private person N Murali after the CBI laid a trap on Saturday and caught them with the bribe amount.

A case was registered after a complaint that Sivarajan was demanding undue advantage from Murali, representing a private company, for issuing labour licence.

Searches were conducted at five places in Chennai and Madurai (Tamil Nadu), including the residence and offices of the accused, said the CBI.

Both the accused were produced in the court of Principal Special Judge for CBI cases, Chennai, and remanded to judicial custody till February 4.

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Farmers’ stir: Preparations on for Jan 26 tractor rally

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As the farmers’ agitation at the Delhi borders entered the 60th day on Sunday, all eyes are on the farmers’ tractor rally on the Republic Day.

The farmers sitting at the Ghazipur, Singhu and Tikri borders have been making preparations for the tractor rally.

Joginder Singh, the farmer leader of Punjab’s Malwa region and President of the Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta (Ugrahan), said more farmers were marching towards Delhi along with their tractors from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and other provinces of the country to take part in the tractor rally.

“Volunteers have been assigned specific works for the farmers’ parade”, he said, adding that more than one lakh tractors were ready to take part in the parade, and women too would march to Delhi in open trolleys.

The leaders said they were making preparations to carry out the farmers Republic Parade on the outer ring road within the National Capital Region (NCR).

Punjab farmer leader and General Secretary of the BKU, Parminder Singh Pal Majra, said lakhs of farmers would participate in the rally. He informed that this rally would take place within a radius of 100 km in the NCR.

The farmer unions have clearly said they would carry out the tractor rally in a peaceful manner.

Earlier, the unions held talks with the Delhi Police on Saturday where the former claimed to have taken permission to carry out a tractor rally, while the police said the talks were in final stages.

The farmers have been demanding a repeal of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020, implemented by the Central government last year as well as the legal guarantee for the procurement of crops at the Minimum Support Price (MSP).

The farmers have been sitting on protest at the Delhi borders since November 26 last year. The farmers’ unions have held 11-rounds of talks with the Central government so far.

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India records 14,849 new corona cases; active cases 1.84 lakh

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India recorded 14,849 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, taking the active cases to 1,84,408 and total tally to 1,06,54,533, Health Ministry data said. A total of 155 more fatalities took the country’s COVID death toll to 1,53,339.

In all, 1,03,16,786 patients have recovered so far, pushing the national recovery rate to 96.82 per cent, the Ministry said.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 19,17,66,871 samples have been tested so far in the country, including 7,81,752 on Saturday.

India’s corona cases’ tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7 last year, the 30-lakh mark on August 23 and the 40-lakh mark on September 5. It went past 50 lakh on September 16 last year, 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and one crore on December 19.

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