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Nun rape case: Bishop Franco Mulakkal sent to police custody till 24 September

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Kottayam Sep 22 : Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who has been accused of raping a nun multiple times between 2014 and 2016, has been sent to police custody till 24 September. His lawyer had filed for a bail application, which was dismissed by the court.

In its remand report, the police said that Mulakkal came to the convent with the intention of sexually assaulting the nun and on 5 May, 2014, he illegally confined her in Room 20 of the guest house at around 10.48 pm and “subjected her to unnatural sexual assault”.

The police further said that the accused threatened the nun with dire consequences if she ever revealed the incident. “He raped her the next day (6 May, 2014) as well. Between 2014-2016, the victim was subjected to rape and unnatural sex 13 times in the same room,” the remand report stated.

Mulakkal, who headed the Roman Catholic Diocese in Jalandhar, Punjab, was arrested on Friday in Tripunithura after three days of questioning. He was to be produced in a Kottayam court the same day.

However, on the way he developed chest pains and had to be admitted in a hospital barely 10 km away from Kottayam.

After spending the night in the Cardiology Department of the state-run Kottayam Medical College hospital, the doctors decided to discharge him on Saturday.

As he stepped out, the public jeered at him. Mulakkal would be kept at the Kottayam Police Club till the time he was produced, the police said.

This is first time in the country that a bishop has been arrested for rape and the police have charged him for illegal confinement, rape, unnatural sex and criminal intimidation.

The action came after a nun complained that she was raped several times between 2014-16. The crime had occurred at a convent in Kottayam district.

The police probe team has till 8 p.m. to produce the bishop.

Mulakkal’s counsel would be moving a bail plea, while the police would seek his custody for three days.

The five nuns who took to the streets in Kochi in an indefinite protest demanding the bishop’s arrest, on Saturday told the media the protest would be called off.

“This protest would not have taken place, had our church authorities taken our complaints seriously.

“We never did this for our benefit, instead we wanted to ensure that there would never be another bishop like Mulakkal who would turn a tormentor,” said a nun before leaving to the protest.

Auto

BS-IV vehicles needed for public utility services & purchased up to March 31 be registered: SC

The issue of pollution from vehicles had cropped up before the apex court which is hearing a matter related to air pollution in the Delhi-national capital region (NCR).

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Toyota car sales Down

New Delhi, Sep 18 : The Supreme Court Friday said BS-IV vehicles, which were purchased on or before March 31 this year and are necessary for municipal corporation in Delhi to carry out essential public utility services, should be registered.

The apex court had in October 2018 said that no BS-IV compliant vehicle would be sold or registered in India from April 1, 2020.

In 2016, the Centre had also announced that India would skip the BS-V norms and adopt BS-VI by 2020.

BS emission norms are standards instituted by the government to regulate output of air pollutants from motor vehicles.

The matter came up for hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde which dealt with applications related to registration of three types of vehicles — CNG , BS-IV and BS-VI compliant — for being used for essential public utility services.

“Insofar as CNG vehicles are concerned, there cannot be any valid rejection to the vehicles, as the emission from these vehicles is within the limits. Therefore, we direct that these vehicles may be registered,” said the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

It noted that BS-VI norms came into force on April 1, 2020 and vehicles purchased up to March 31 this year were BS-IV compliant.

“Admittedly the emission from BS-VI compliant vehicles is within the norms and hence the vehicles purchased on or after April 1, 2020 and which are BS-VI compliant, should also liable to be registered,” it said.

The top court noted in its order that BS-IV compliant vehicles purchased up to March 31 this year must have been registered with the E-Vahan portal of the government before the cut-off date to establish the date of purchase.

“If the purchase had been made on or before March 31, 2020 and these vehicles are BS-IV compliant, such vehicles necessary for the municipal corporation to carry essential public utility services should also be registered. But such cases shall be scrutinized by the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA),” the bench said.

The bench said to avoid repeated applications being filed before the court just for the purpose of getting registration, “we direct that the EPCA shall scrutiny the pending cases and submit a report to this court so that a common order could be passed without the necessity for several interlocutory applications.”

The issue of pollution from vehicles had cropped up before the apex court which is hearing a matter related to air pollution in the Delhi-national capital region (NCR).

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Coronavirus: Karnataka’s Covid tally crosses 5 lakh

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Coronavirus in India

Bengaluru, Sep 19 : With 8,626 fresh cases across the state on Friday, Karnataka’s Covid-19 tally crossed the 5 lakh mark, while 10,949 people were discharged after treatment in the last 24 hours.

“The number of positive cases across the state is 5,02,982, including 1,01,129 active cases, while 3,94,026 cases were discharged since March 8,” said the health bulletin.

With 179 patients succumbing to the infection during the day, the state’s toll has gone up to 7,808.

Bengaluru, which is the epicentre of the disease in the state, registered 3,623 cases during the day, taking its tally to 1,87,705, including 41,914 active cases, while 1,43,198 patients were discharged till date, with 2,725 in the last 24 hours.

With 37 deaths during the day, the city’s toll has increased to 2,592.

“The number of patients in the intensive care units (ICU) across the state is 814, including 271 in Bengaluru Urban district, Dharwad 74, Ballari 67 and Hassan 62,” the bulletin said.

Mysuru saw 600 new cases, Udupi 493, Dakshina Kannada 456, Ballari 296, Shivamogga 257 and Belagavi 221.

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India

Anil Dhasmana is new chief of NTRO, spy agency that keeps an eye from the sky

Anil Dhasmana is the former chief of India’s external spy agency, R&AW

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Anil Dhasmana with Amit Shah

Former Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) chief Anil Dhasmana has been appointed as National Technical Research Organisation, India’s technical body that is responsible for geospatial intelligence and satellite imagery.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cleared the appointment and the decision was formally conveyed to the retired Indian Police Service officer on Friday.

Dhasmana succeeds former Intelligence Bureau officer Satish Jha who demitted office on Thursday.

Dhasmana, a 1981 batch Indian Police Service officer, is a Pakistan expert and was the lead planner of the Balakot air strikes in February 2019 after Pakistan-backed terrorists killed 40 CRPF soldiers in the Pulwama car bombing.

Dhasmana had stepped down a few months later when his extended term due to the general elections ended in June 2019.

The top police officer returns to the center of action 14 months later at a time the NTRO is playing a crucial role, tracking movements of the China’s People’s Liberation Army near the many friction points along the Line of Actual Control that have seen heavy deployment of soldiers and support elements from both sides. The two countries have been speaking to each other at military and diplomatic levels to resolve the stand-off but there are some indications that the stand-off would continue for some time.

Dhasmana had joined R&AW, India’s external spy agency in 1993 from his parent cadre Madhya Pradesh and had worked extensively with the agency’s Pakistan desk.

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