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Lady Hardinge staff protest abrupt termination, allege extortion for rehiring

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Lady Hardinge Staff

New Delhi, July 30 : Agitated with the sudden termination from jobs, the contractual workers of Centre-run Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) and associated hospitals hit the streets on Thursday.

Under the banner of All India Central Council of Trade Unions, dozens of aggrieved protesters gathered outside the LHMC, a dedicated Covid-19 facility, and protested against the hospital administration. They said that over 75 of the Multi Tasking Staff (MTS) at the hospital had been “illegally” asked to leave from August onwards.

Besides, they also leveled extortion charges against the coterie of intermediaries, including the hospital officials. According to them, the contractual workers are being demanded to pay a hefty sum of money to secure their jobs.

Veenita, 35, (name changed) claimed that the workers were threatened following which many used up their savings to meet the extortion demands. “Those who budged to the extortion demand were able to save jobs,” she said.

The workers also claimed that the demand for cash went as high as Rs 80,000. “We don’t even receive the minimum wages. How would we be able to pay such a hefty sum,” asked Vijay Kumar (name changed).

Many of the workers have been employed since 2015 as MTS staff who were engaged in patient care duties and maintaining medical wards, including those with Covid-19 patients. The MTS employees usually help out with patient management, starting from dressing them to moving them from one ward to the other and sometimes disposing of used protective gear. Third-party contractors hire them.

However, usually, their period of employment keeps getting revised. The current contractor of these workers is Jai Balaji Security Services.

According to the claims, as many 200 workers, out of the total 275 contract staff at the LHMC, have succumbed to the pressure and accepted the alleged demand for money. These employees have not been asked to leave, the workers added.

IANS tried to contact the contractor, but the calls went unanswered. Multiple calls to Sonu Kumar, Deputy Director (Administration) at LHMC, also went unanswered.

The workers also claimed that they had been asked for money in the exchange of job security twice in the last five months. They said that similar demand was made in February as well, which most of them obliged. “We had no option. We were desperate. Now we have understood that this demand will keep increasing if we keep on accepting,” added Vinneta.

Surya Prakash, state secretary of AICCTU who spearheaded Thursday’s protest, said that termination of these workers was illegal.

“The job of these workers is perennial in nature, and they can’t be replaced at one’s wishes,” he said.

Prakash also referred to a 2015 order of the Delhi High Court judgment, according to which principal employers are restrained from replacing one contractual employee with another in such cases.

Prakash also said that the core of the problem lay in the hiring policy. A new contractor is hired every six months, which brings in new workers as part of the MTS Staff. This lacuna gives space to illegal activities like favoritism and extortion.

Meanwhile, the All India Kamgar Union, along with 35 of the MTS staff, has filed a petition against removing these workers in the Delhi High Court. The matter is listed for hearing on Friday before the court of Justice Pratibha M Singh.

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Constable among 5 from Delhi Police family to crack UPSC

Apart from Alam, Vishakha Yadav, the daughter of ASI Raj Kumar posted in Dwarka district, and Navneet Mann, the daughter of Inspector Sukhdev Singh Mann posted with the vigilance unit, have secured 6th and 33rd all-India rank, respectively.

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Delhi Police Logo

New Delhi, Aug 5 : Five aspirants from the Delhi Police family have cleared the 2019 Civil Services exam, the results of which were declared by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on Tuesday.

Constable Firoz Alam has made Delhi Police proud by securing the 645th in the prestigious all-India examination.

Apart from Alam, Vishakha Yadav, the daughter of ASI Raj Kumar posted in Dwarka district, and Navneet Mann, the daughter of Inspector Sukhdev Singh Mann posted with the vigilance unit, have secured 6th and 33rd all-India rank, respectively.

Congratulating the successful candidates, Delhi Police Commissioner S.N. Shrivastava tweeted: “Very happy to share that at least 5 successful Civil Services aspirants come from the Delhi Police family. Heartiest congratulations to Vishakha d/o ASI Rajkumar (6 rank), Navneet d/o Insp Mann (33), ACP Natisha (37), ACP Garima (459), Ct Firoz (645).”

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Bihar CM Nitish recommends CBI probe into Sushant Singh case

Sushant Singh Rajput’s family on Tuesday made a formal request to the Bihar government through their lawyer, Vikas Singh, that a CBI probe should be ordered in the case.

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Nitish Kumar Sad

Patna, Aug 4 : The Bihar government on Tuiesday recommended a CBI inquiry into the alleged suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

Kumar Saturday said that he was open to recommending the CBI probe into Sushant’s death if the late actor’s father requests the state government for it.

Sushant’s family on Tuesday made a formal request to the Bihar government through their lawyer Vikas Singh that a CBI probe should be ordered in the case.

“The DGP spoke to Sushant Singh Rajput’s father this morning and he gave consent for CBI inquiry. So now, we are recommending CBI probe in the matter,” Bihar CM Nitish Kumar told ANI.

Sushant’s father Krishna Kumar Singh (74), who resides in Patna, had last month lodged a complaint with the Bihar Police against actress Rhea Chakraborty, her family members and six others for abetment to suicide of his son and fraud. Singh has accused Chakraborty, the purported girlfriend of Rajput, of having befriended his son in May 2019 with the intention of furthering her own career.

He also wanted a police investigation to ascertain where the Rs 15 crore deposited in a bank account held by Sushant was transferred. However, the investigation has flared into a tug of war between the Bihar and Mumbai Police. Amid escalating acrimony between Mumbai and Bihar police over jurisdictional issues, an IPS officer who had landed in Mumbai on Sunday for leading the SIT probe in the case, was quarantined under the COVID-19 regulations in force in the city, a development Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar called “inappropriate and forcible”.

Bihar police chief Gupteshwar Pandey said in Patna that the state police would lodge a formal protest with the Mumbai municipal authorities over the “forcible quarantine” of Vinay Tiwari who was on official duty.

The issue resonated in the two Houses of Bihar legislature, with lawmakers across the political divide demanding a CBI investigation into the death of the 34-year-old Patna-born actor.

Both Mumbai and Patna police are probing the case parallelly.

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IPS officer under house arrest on pretext of quarantine: Bihar DGP

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Gupteshwar Pandey IPS

Patna, Aug 4 : Expressing his displeasure over what he called non-cooperation of Mumbai Police in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey claimed that IPS officer Vinay Tiwari was put under house arrest in Mumbai on the pretext of quarantine.

Tiwari was ‘quarantined’ by the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation on Sunday night after he arrived in the metropolis regarding the investigations into the Rajput case. The IPS officer from the Bihar cadre is heading a team of state police investigating the case.

Speaking to IANS, Pandey alleged that the Mumbai Police was “not cooperating” with Bihar Police in the probe into the alleged suicide case of the Bollywood actor and was “speaking the language of actress Rhea Chakraborty” who has been blamed by the bereaved family for the death of Rajput.

“Mumbai Police is parroting Rhea Chakraborty’s stand. She is saying Bihar Police can’t investigate the case and the Mumbai Police is supporting her contention,” Pandey remarked.

“There is a certain respect that is due to an IPS officer. What message does the Mumbai Police want to convey to junior officials? They go like thieves and put an officer under house arrest. A few days ago, one of our officers was shoved and forced to sit in a prisoners’ van. I denied all this to the media to save the reputation of the Mumbai Police. But this did happen as all saw the incident.”

“We are trying to bring out the truth in the case. We too are adamant that we will not let the matter rest,” the Director General of Police said.

The Bihar DGP said that the situation was so bad now in Mumbai that he was sure to be put under house arrest if he visited the metropolis to clear up things.

Pandey claimed that he had tried many a times to talk to the Mumbai Police chief but his calls had not been received. Nor has there been any revert from Mumbai Police, he added.

“A day after Rajput’s body was found in his Mumbai flat, I tried to talk to Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh, but he did not take the call. He also did not call back. I even sent a WhatsApp message, but there was no reply.”

The Bihar DGP said he had tried to call up again on Monday, but in vain. “We are now waiting for the Supreme Court to decide the issue. The investigations in the case can’t be done without cooperation between the Bihar and Mumbai Police.”

He alleged that the Mumbai Police was not even ready to show them the post-mortem report, CCTV footage, ‘panchnama’, forensic lab report etc regarding the case.

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