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Top official denies Sasikala gets special facilities in jail

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SASIKALA

Bengaluru, July 13 : Karnataka’s Director General of Prisons H.N. Satyanarayana Rao on Thursday denied charges by a woman police officer that he had taken money to provide special facilities to jailed AIADMK General Secretary V.K. Sasikala.

Director Inspector General (DIG) of Prisons D. Rupa Moudgil has alleged that Sasikala, 59, was getting VIP treatment with a makeshift kitchen in her cell in the Parappana Agrahara Jail on the city’s southern outskirts, with another inmate preparing food for her.

Moudgil levelled the charges in a report to Director General of Police R.K. Dutta and Chief Secretary S.C. Khuntia on Wednesday.

State Law Minister T.B. Jayachandra has promised to launch a probe and take action, if necessary.

Rao, however, said the allegations were false.

“There is no facility given to Sasikala. She is an ordinary prisoner. No undue favours have been given to her,” he said.

He said if Moudgil had come to know about the so-called special facilities, she should have discussed it with him. “But to go and discuss it in the open without evidence is wrong.”

Rao said in the past he had given memos to her on two occasions when she had gone public on some issues.

Refuting Moudgil’s charges, Rao asked his deputy for proof to corroborate that special provisions were made for Sasikala in the women’s cell of the jail.

“If Moudgil had observed something unusual during her inspection of the jail premises, she should have brought it to my notice and discussed with me than going to the media. If she thinks she has serious charges against me, I am ready for a probe,” Rao told reporters here.

Maintaining her charge, Moudgil demanded a fact-finding probe into what she had said. “There are facts in the report (sent by me).”

Asserting that she had no vested interest in accusing Rao and other prison officials of grave charges mentioned in her four-page report, Moudgil said she was shocked to find many irregularities in the jail premises during her inspection rounds on return from leave recently.

“In mentioning about the charges and rampant corruption in the prison in the report, I have not flouted any rule or norm. I am ready to substantiate them (charges),” Moudgil told reporters here.

The 2000 batch IPS officer is the first woman in the southern state to have been recently (June 23) appointed the DIG of Prisons Department.

She also alleged that Sasikala paid Rs 2 crore bribe to Rao and jail officials, including its warden for undue favours.

Convict Sasikala and two co-convicts — her sister-in-law Elavarasi and nephew V. K. Sudhakaran — are serving a four-year sentence in the central jail since February 15 after they were held guilty by a trial court in September 2014 and upheld by the Supreme Court on February 14 in the two-decade-old disproportionate assets case of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.

In a related development, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah ordered a high-level inquiry into the bribery and other charges Moudgil levelled in her report to the state government.

“I request all to wait for the outcome of the inquiry. Strict action will be taken against any person found guilty of wrong doing,” said Siddaramaiah in a tweet.

Meanwhile, AIADMK spokesperson C.R. Saraswathi said in Chennai that Sasikala was dragged into a fight between the two officials because she was a VIP, as accusation against an ordinary person would not have attracted (media) attention.

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Snake rescued from Delhi Assembly premises

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File Photo: Delhi Legislative Assembly

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) A five-feet-long snake was rescued on Wednesday from the Delhi Assembly complex here by an animal welfare NGO.

The snake, which was identified as a non-venomous Royal Snake, was found taking refuge in an air cooler installed in the library block on the premises, following which it was rescued by Wildlife SOS.

The team said several snakes had been rescued from the Vidhan Sabha complex in the past, though this was the second case of rescue of a Royal Snake.

“Several snakes have been rescued from the premises since it is located very close to Kamla Nehru Ridge, which is home to a variety of wildlife,” said Wildlife SOS Special Projects Manager Wasim Akram.

Protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, Royal snakes are excellent climbers and are found on trees, low bushes and hiding in crevices.

Delhi is home to 13 species of snake, of which only two — common krait and common cobra — are venomous.

IANS

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Improper to dub Asaram as rapist: Ex-cop Vanzara

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Jodhpur: Asaram Bapu gets life term in 2013 rape case. Photo: IANS

Ahmedabad, April 25 (IANS) Former Gujarat top cop D.G. Vanzara came out in defence of Asaram Bapu after the self-styled godman was convicted and handed a life term in jail in a 2013 rape case of a minor by a Jodhpur court in Rajasthan on Wednesday.

The former Deputy Inspector-General of Gujarat, who was allegedly involved in fake encounter cases, stated that it was improper to dub Asaram a “rapist”.

“We respect the judgment and are not contesting or supporting any action proven in a court of law.

“However, it is improper to dub Asaram as rapist for being convicted in the sexual assault case,” said Vanzara, who arrived at Asaram’s Ahmedabad-based ashram after the Jodhpur SC/ST Court Judge Madhusudan Sharma pronounced the verdict.

Vanzara said: “In the FIR lodged by the victim or in the chargesheet filed, nowhere does it say that she was raped. What it says is that he tried to touch her improperly,” said Vanzara.

According to Vanzara the victim never stated that she had been raped even during the trial.

“Her virginity was found to be intact when medical tests were carried out after the complaint. This was never a case of rape. The sentence is not based on rape committed.

“The victim said that Bapuji had touched her with bad intent, which is also a crime. But I doubt whether Asaramji did so. He has been convicted in this matter but decision of any court is not final,” Vanzara added.

“We respect this decision but will go to the higher court against it. We believe that we will get justice,” he said.

Vanzara, in the past too, had claimed that the case against Asaram Bapu was a frame-up. “Being a police officer, I know that the entire case against Asaram Bapu is a frame up. The FIR against him is fake,” he had said in 2016.

Vanzara said that the case against Asaram was a conspiracy, as the 77-year-old godman was a “protector of the Sanatan Hindu dharma”.

The survivor, who was a Class 12 student at Asaram Bapu’s Chhindwara Ashram in Madhya Pradesh, was raped in August 2013.

Following complaints about her sickness while in Chhindwara, the godman had summoned the girl and her family to his ashram in Manai village on the outskirts of Jodhpur in Rajasthan.

According to the victim’s complaint, she was raped for an hour by the godman on the intervening night of August 15-16, 2013.

She reported the matter to her parents, who in turn had filed a zero First Information Report (FIR) with the Kamla Nagar police station in New Delhi on August 20.

Asaram Bapu was arrested in Indore and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013. He has been in judicial custody since September 2, 2013.

The godman was convicted on Wednesday under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act and the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act. Two co-accused were also convicted in the case.

The police chargesheet against Asaram Bapu and four other co-accused Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash was filed on November 6, 2013, under the Pocso Act, the JJ Act and the IPC.

Informed sources said the court also convicted Shilpi (warden of Asaram’s ashram) and Sharad, while Shiva and Prakash were acquitted in the case.

Asaram Bapu is facing trial in another sexual assault case in Gujarat.

IANS

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SunSource to set up 2.5MW solar plant at Jamia Millia university

With the installation of the 2.5MW plant, the university is expected to save over Rs 1 crore annually apart from significantly contributing to the environment.

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solar plant at Jamia

New Delhi, April 24 : Solar solutions provider SunSource Energy said on Tuesday that it is on course to set up a 2.5MW solar rooftop plant at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University, by the end of June 2018.

In a statement, the Noida-based SunSource said the plant would help the university save around Rs 1 crore in energy costs per year.

“Jamia Millia recently signed an MoU with SunSource (which in turn was approved by the Solar Energy Corporation of India) to execute the project on a turnkey basis for the next quarter of a century under the Renewable Energy Service Company model (RESCO).

“Electricity would be supplied at Rs 3.39 per unit for a period of 25 years,” it said.

The installation of solar panels on over 50 rooftops of various buildings like central library, colleges and departments of Jamia and the hostels had already started, it added.

Commenting on the developnment, university Vice-Chancellor Talat Ahmed said in a statement: “Jamia Millia University’s current project is an attempt to run the university on renewable energy and will position it as a leader among central universities in the use of renewable energy. The solar plant would also greatly benefit students pursuing BTech and BVoc degrees at Jamia Millia.”

The university “will incur no cost on the setup and maintenance as it will be taken care of by SunSource Energy, with the support from the SECI”.

“With the installation of the 2.5MW plant, the university is expected to save over Rs 1 crore annually apart from significantly contributing to the environment,” said SunSource COO and Co-founder Kushagra Nandan.

SunSource has executed some prestigious solar rooftop projects here including at the India Habitat Centre and Vasant Valley School, and is currently involved in over 200MW of solar projects in India and internationally and targets to reach 1.5 GW (gigawatt) capacity by 2025, the statement said.

The firm expects to reach an annual turnover of over Rs 600 crore by 2020.

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