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Nirbhaya case convicts hanged to death in Tihar jail

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Nirbhaya Rape Case

New Delhi, March 20 The four convicts in the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student were hanged at Delhi’s Tihar Jail at 5:30 am today amid slogans of ‘Nirbhaya zindabad’ and ‘live long Nirbhaya’ outside the jail premises.

After three of the four death-row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case moved the Delhi high court Thursday evening challenging the trial court order declining to stay their execution scheduled for early Friday morning, Supreme Court today also rejected the petition of death row convicts and refused to defer the execution.

The four rapists were finally hanged seven years after they and two others brutally gang raped the 23-year-old physiotherapy student and left her to die by the roadside.

Pawan Gupta, a fruit seller, had moved the Supreme Court claiming that he was a juvenile at the time of the offence in 2012 and should be treated under the Juvenile Justice Act. The court, however, rejected his plea.

Akshay Thakur, a school dropout, hailed from Bihar and came to Delhi in 2011. He was the conductor of the bus in which the crime was committed and had fled the city.

Thakur was arrested a few days later from his native village in Aurangabad district.  He had claimed that he was not in Delhi when the brutal incident took place but the probe revealed he was on the bus and involved in the crime.

Vinay Sharma was a fitness trainer and a resident of Ravidass camp, a slum in south Delhi. In 2016, Sharma had attempted to commit suicide by hanging himself in the Tihar Jail. He first took painkillers and then tried to hang himself with a towel in the cell.

Last December, Sharma had made a plea to President Ram Nath Kovind seeking immediate withdrawal of mercy petition. Through his counsel AP Singh, the convict claimed that the mercy plea sent to President Kovind by the Home Ministry was not signed by him.

Mukesh Singh is the younger brother of Ram Singh, driver of the bus who had allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail in 2013. Mukesh Singh was a part-time bus driver and a cleaner. The two brothers also lived in Ravidass camp.

In 2013, a fast-track court in Delhi had held the four men guilty in the case. Their conviction was also upheld by the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court later.

In May 2017, the four convicts had moved the Supreme Court against a Delhi High Court order which confirmed the capital punishment awarded to them by the trial court. The top court also upheld their death penalty.

A Delhi court on Thursday refused to stay the execution of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, which is scheduled to take place tomorrow morning.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition filed by Akshay Thakur challenging the rejection of mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind. 

The apex court had also rejected a plea filed by Mukesh Singh challenging a Delhi High Court’s order rejecting his claim that he was not in the national capital when the crime was committed.

The four convicts, along with two others including Ram Singh and a juvenile, had raped and brutally tortured a 23-year-old paramedic student on a moving bus in south Delhi on the night of December 16, 2012.

The victim, who was accompanied by her friend, was thrown out of the bus. Thirteen days later, the victim succumbed to her injuries on December 29 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

The juvenile was sent to a reform facility and released after three years.

Advocate Singh said, “There are death warrants issued in the instant matter. The petition under Article 32 was fixed for today. At the time of the hearing, I submitted each and everything before the trial court. During the hearing in the Supreme Court, a trial court passed the order dismissing to adjourn the execution.”

The court observed, “There is no annexure, no affidavits, no memo of parties. There is nothing in this matter. Do you (AP Singh) have permission to file this plea?”

Responding to this, Singh said, “No photocopy machine was working due to coronavirus. I am facing trouble.”

“I have been so hopeless because of coronavirus. The photocopies are not available. I have everything but was not able to give copy because there are no means to get the photocopy done,” he added.

The court ruled, “You (Advocate AP Singh) have moved three courts today. You cannot say that things are not accessible. We are here at 10 pm listening to you.”

Advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for Delhi Police/Tihar Jail Authority said that Pawan Gupta did not exercise his access to criminal appeal for two and half years.

India

Five new faces in Prasar Bharati board

The Prasar Bharati Board plays a crucial role in the general administrative functioning of the state broadcaster. Prasar Bharati is an autonomous body.

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Shaina NC

New Delhi, July 7 : With nine of the 13 posts in the Prasar Bharati board becoming vacant, the Centre on Tuesday appointed five key individuals, including BJP spokesperson Shaina NC and music composer Salim Merchant, as part-time members of the coveted board.

The other three are Sanjay Gupta, the editor-in-chief of a Hindi daily, media personality Alok Agawarwal and veteran journalist Ashok Kumar Tandon.

While Merchant’s tenure lasts till 2021, Agarwal and Shaina NC’s tenures last till 2023. Sanjay Gupta and Ashok Kumar Tandon’s tenures expire in 2025.

Speaking to IANS, Shaina NC said that thrust will be given on the All India Radio. “I think our endeavour will be to completely organise Doordarshan and Prasar Bharati, particularly mediums like All India Radio, which has tremendous connectivity and a lot of goodwill. I think that will be maximised to the best of our ability,” she said.

The Prasar Bharati Board plays a crucial role in the general administrative functioning of the state broadcaster. Prasar Bharati is an autonomous body.

Recently, the state broadcaster made headlines after its spat with news agency PTI. Prasar Bharati had shot off a letter threatening to end its “relationship” with PTI over the alleged “anti-national” reportage by the news agency, a charge refuted by PTI’s former Editor-in-Chief M.K. Razdan, who called it “preposterous”.

Asked about whether deciding the fate of the “relationship” between the broadcaster and the news agency will be on the table, Shaina NC said, “I am sure a lot of issues will come up,” adding that it won’t be right for her to “predetermine” at this juncture.

Earlier, in her tweet, the BJP leader also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar for her appointment to the prestigious board.

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Health

Health Ministry steps in to curb black marketing of Covid drug

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has given approval for the manufacturing and marketing of Remdesivir to Cipla, Hetro and Mylan.

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remdesivir antiviral drug

New Delhi, July 7 : The Union Health Ministry has asked all the states to strengthen their vigil so that black marketing of Covid-19 drug Remdesivir is prevented.

The Directorate General of Health Services under the Health Ministry has written to the Drug Controllers of the states to prevent sale of Remdesivir above MRP.

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has given approval for the manufacturing and marketing of Remdesivir to Cipla, Hetro and Mylan.

The DGHS said that it has received a letter from LocalCircles routed through the Health Ministry, raising concerns over black marketing and overpricing of Remdesivir by certain unscrupulous persons.

“In view of the above, you are requested to instruct your enforcement officials to keep strict vigil on the matter to prevent black marketing and sale of Remdesivir injection above the MRP,” the DGHS said in the letter to the states.

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Cities

LG Polymers CEO among 12 arrested over Vizag gas leak mishap

According to police, while 12 people died on May 7 and 8, three more villagers succumbed on May 25 and afterwards. A total of 34 animals also died in the incident.

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Visag Gas Victims Protests

Visakhapatnam, July 7 : LG Polymers Managing Director and CEO, Sunkey Jeong and Technical Director D.S. Kim were among 12 officials of the company arrested by Visakhapatnam police on Tuesday, in connection with the styrene gas leak tragedy that left 15 dead and hundreds hospitalised in May this year.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, R.V.S.N. Murthy, who is also the investigation officer, said the accused were booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

They were also booked under Indian Penal Code”s Sections 278 (Making atmosphere noxious to health), 284 (Negligent conduct with respect to poisonous substance), 285 (Negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter), 337 (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (Causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) read with section 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).

The gas leak from LG Polymers plant on the intervening night of May 6 and 7 affected Venkatapuram and five other villages.

According to police, while 12 people died on May 7 and 8, three more villagers succumbed on May 25 and afterwards. A total of 34 animals also died in the incident.

The development comes a day after the High Powered Committee (HPC) submitted its probe report to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.

The HPC probe report had listed several lapses on the part of the LG Polymers management, which led to the styrene gas leakage.

The other accused arrested on Tuesday are LG Polymers” and Additional Director (Operations) P.P. Chandra Mohan Rao, HOD, SMH (in-charge) K. Srinivas Kiran Kumar, team leader production Raju Satyanarayana, engineers C. Chandrasekhar, K. Gowri Sankara Nagendra Ramu, K. Chakrapani, operator Muddu Rajesh, night duty officer (operations) P. Balaji, incharge GPPS S. Atchyut and safety officer in night shift K. Venkata Narasimha Ramesh Patnaik.

According to the investigating official, the investigations disclosed that the incident at M6 styrene storage tank took place due to negligence of the accused who were also having knowledge that their acts are likely to cause death.

“The investigations so far made disclosed that the accident occurred to the poor design of M6 Tank, inadequate refrigeration and cooling system, absence of circulation systems, inadequate measurement parameters, weak safety protocol, poor safety awareness, inadequate risk assessment and response, poor management, slackness of management, insufficient knowledge amongst staff, insufficient understanding of the chemical properties of styrene, especially during storage under idle conditions and total breakdown of the emergency response procedures,” the police said.

Meanwhile, in a related development in the case, the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) suspended environmental engineers R. Lakshmi Naryana and P. Prasada Rao for negligence.

Acting on the report of the HPC, APPCB suspended Prasada Rao, environmental engineer, regional office, Visakhapatnam, for gross negligence in allowing operation of LG Polymers without environmental clearance, allowing import and storage of huge quantity of styrene without verifying safety and environmental issues. Lakshmi Narayana, environmental engineer, zonal office, Visakhapatnam, was also suspended on the same charges.

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