Mistaken identity: IAS aspirant kills Security Guard
New Delhi: A 21-year-old youth was arrested for murdering a security guard in Safdarjung Enclave in south Delhi early on Wednesday. The youth stabbed the 65-year-old man in the neck after mistaking him for an auto rickshaw driver with whom he had got into an argument a few days ago. Confirming the developments, DCP (south) Vijay Kumar said that the accused, Benzi, is a native of Imphal, Manipur. He was living on rent in Humayunpur and preparing for competitive exams. The incident came to the fore at 3am on Wednesday when the victim, Ram Bahadur, a security guard at Block B-6 in Safdarjung Enclave, came to his house in an injured condition with blood gushing from his neck. He told his family that he was resting in a parked auto rickshaw when an unknown person stabbed him in his neck with a knife. The suspect fled before Bahadur could identify him. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he died during treatment. An investigating team scanned CCTV footage from the area and noticed a youth running away from the scene of crime. The youth was tracked to Humayunpur village and arrested on Wednesday afternoon. Benzi told police that a few days ago he had got into an argument with an auto rickshaw driver, who lives in the vicinity. He had since been seeking an opportunity to take revenge. On Wednesday, he noticed a man sleeping in the auto rickshaw and mistook Bahadur for the auto driver. He returned with a kitchen knife and stabbed him in the neck before running away.
Aadhaar Stays, Minus Fangs & Pangs
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the validity of the Aadhaar Act, terming it a beneficial legislation, but weeded out provisions which had potential for misuse. Aadhaar will no longer be mandatory for opening bank accounts, buying mobile phone SIM cards, getting school admissions, or for appearing in board or common entrance examinations. The SC also ruled that Aadhaar would be voluntary for those who do not intend to receive any subsidy, benefit or services under welfare schemes, and should only be given to Indian nationals. However, those filing income tax returns must link their Aadhaar with their PAN (Permanent Account Number). A five-judge Constitution bench of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan upheld the NDA government’s Aadhaar legislation by a 4-1 majority, but said its insistence on linkage to bank accounts and mobile phones was disproportionate and every citizen could not be suspected of acquiring black money.
“The portion of Section 57 of Aadhaar Act which enables corporate bodies and individuals to seek authentication is held to be unconstitutional,” the majority verdict said, agreeing with the petitioners that such a provision could lead to sharing of protected data and privacy of citizens with private bodies. The court, while taking note of apprehensions expressed about Aadhaar’s potential misuse, rebuffed their opposition to passage of the Aadhaar Bill as a money bill and said it was perfectly justified. The opposition could have stalled the bill in the Rajya Sabha. However, the Lok Sabha Speaker upheld categorization of the Aadhaar legislation as a money bill — which reduced the Upper House’s role to rendering a mere advisory on corrections required in the bill. Of the 1,448-page judgment, Justice Sikri wrote the majority judgment for himself, CJI Misra and Justice Khanwilkar, running into 567 pages. Justice Bhushan penned a separate but almost concurrent 400-page opinion.
Locals feared collapse but corporation slept
New Delhi: The menace of illegal constructions claimed seven lives on Wednesday morning when a four-storey building with about 12 people inside collapsed at Sawan Park in northwest Delhi’s Ashok Vihar. Among the seven victims were four children and two women. Five other occupants are battling for their lives at a private hospital. Fourteen people had a narrow escape as they had left for work early. This tragedy was entirely avoidable as the building on a 25 square yards plot, with matchbox size rooms, had developed cracks on the walls over a fortnight ago and locals claim they had reported this to the civic body. They say a notice had been served on the house owner and that the building, over 20 years old, had been marked dangerous three years back when it had started tilting. North corporation officials deny this. They say they hadn’t visited the site in this unauthorised regularized colony and didn’t have any knowledge about the precarious condition of the building. Mayor Adesh Gupta, who visited the site, said after an inquiry, strict action would be taken against anyone found guilty. DCP (northwest) Aslam Khan said a case of culpable homicide has been registered against the owner, Dharmender, and his partners, Sachin and Roshanlal, after it was found that they had ignored warnings about the cracks on the building and constructed multiple floors. They had rented out one of the floors just four days back. They are all absconding now.
The building located on a corner plot of A block began creaking around 9am and began to collapse. “I had gone to buy vegetables from a shop at the adjacent building when people started shouting that the building was coming down. I ran leaving the vegetables at the shop. Fortunately, it hit the adjacent building first and then crashed on the road,” said Harish Pal, a resident of A block. Harish helped others rescue one of the women who was admitted to a government hospital. Delhi Fire Service and National Disaster Response Force teams reached the spot within half an hour. The NDRF team had to cut through the concrete slabs with stone cutters to pull out the victims, most of whom had suffered head injuries or had fractured limbs. They were taken to Deep Chand Bandhu Hospital from where three were referred to LNJP for treatment. All the houses in the vicinity of this building were evacuated by the NDRF. Two children — Ashi (2) and Saurya (3) — and a woman, Munni Devi (40), were declared dead on arrival. Two other children, Sumnesh (12) and Rajnesh (4), were pulled out an hour later. They died on the way to the hospital. Seema (25) and Lakshman (25) died during treatment, police said. Neighbours say three years back the building had started tilting and was finally resting on a chopped off trunk of a Sheesham tree that had grown against its wall. Two years ago, the owner hacked off a part of the tree to construct the top floors. This weakened support to the walls. Cops suspect that the rain in the past few days had washed off the soil at the base, causing the collapse.
“The building toppled and fell on an adjacent building that injured a few passersby and neighbours as well,” recalled Najma Khatun, a resident of an adjacent block who had come looking for her son, Afsar, who has been missing since the incident. “There was a loud crash and a cloud of dust as the building fell. We ran for cover into the nearby houses as pieces of bricks and concrete flew everywhere.” She was lucky to finally locate her son. Neeraj Kumar, an RWA member, claimed that the building had started developing cracks on the wall next to the adjacent building as the owner had constructed the second and third floor with bricks on thin concrete slabs. Each floor had two-and-a-half rooms, with a kitchen and washroom. Kumar said the 25 square yards plot had been carved out of a 200 square yards one which had been divided and sold off to different people. “Two years back, Sanjeev Gupta, a resident of the ground floor of the ill-fated building had proposed to the owner that the structure be demolished and a new one built but he refused,” said Kumar. Suresh Garg, who owned a shop on the ground floor of the house said that despite a warning, the tenants, most of them migrant labourers, had refused to vacate the house unless they were provided with an alternative.
670 rescued from Himachal district after recent Snowfall, Rain
Shimla: As many as 672 people were rescued from Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul and Spiti district after recent snowfall and rains closed off most roads in the region, officials said on Wednesday. The operations via road were taken up by the Border Road Organisation (BRO) and 641 stranded people were reported to have been rescued, officials said. The rescued were taken to safer areas in Manali by road through Shishu tunnel in Lahaul, they said. Thirty-one stranded people, including fifteen foreigners, were airlifted to safety by the Indian Air Force, officials said. IAF helicopters made several sorties to rescue the stranded from Baralchala and other areas in Lahaul tehsil. The rescued were flown to a temporary helipad at Dhalpur Ground in Kullu district, officials said. An official of the Himachal Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority said that most of the 614 roads of the state, including Chandigarh-Manali road, have been reopened. He added that the total number of rescued people were 672 from Lahaul and Spiti district. However, around 40 people are still stranded there, the official said. Keylog sub-divisional magistrate Amar Negi told the reporters that five persons had been airlifted to Stingri on Tuesday evening. Negi said that two IAF helicopters continued airlifting operations till evening. The IAF focused operations mostly in the inaccessible areas, including Koksar and Baralacha. The weather conditions are favourable now and BRO personnel are on the job to clear debris from the roads, he said, adding that more roads may open up by Thursday morning, the SDM said in his statement.
Love, hate & murder: In 9 months, two brutal killings over a woman
Hyderabad: When Ramesh murdered his neighbour Mahesh Goud over their lady-love, a married woman, nine months ago, he did not anticipate he would also meet the same fate. After coming out of prison a few months ago, Ramesh sensed his life was in danger and started staying on the outskirts, without revealing his whereabouts to Mahesh’s family. But, Mahesh’s family, who were hounding him, finally managed to locate him on Wednesday and hacked him to death. On December 25, 2017, Ramesh took his neighbour V Mahesh Goud, 24, son of Kishan Goud, from Jummerat Bazar to Maisigandi temple in Kadthal with three of his associates on the pretext of performing a puja. En route, Ramesh purchased liquor. Ramesh and his associates ensured that Mahesh was drunk. While returning, Ramesh slit Mahesh’s throat with a knife in their car, Maruti Celerio, at Shamshabad. Later, they dumped the body at Muchintal in Shamshabad and set it ablaze. Ramesh assumed he would not be caught, but his luck ran out. After the murder, Ramesh took the car to a service centre at Shamshabad. Service centre staff noticed blood stains and alerted police.
Police nabbed Ramesh when he went to pick up the vehicle and arrested him. Based on his confession, the murder came to light and police arrested his associates— P Naresh, 21, of Dhoolpet, M Shiva, 26, of Jiyaguda and G Yadaiah, 60, of Jiyaguda. On interrogation, Ramesh confessed he had an affair with a housewife and Mahesh became close to her too. Despite warnings, Mahesh continued his relationship with her. On learning about her affairs, her husband shifted to another place. Enraged over losing his lover, Ramesh killed Mahesh. Ramesh came out on bail a few months ago. Fearing revenge attack, Ramesh’s family moved out of Dhoolpet. Ramesh started staying at Patancheru. Kishan and Laxman came to know Ramesh would attend court on Wednesday. “They waited for Ramesh with an axe and killed him,” Rajendranagar inspector G Suresh said. Shamshabad police said trial in the Mahesh murder case was on. TIMES VIEW: Two back-to-back attacks in broad daylight should serve as a wake-up call for the police to increase patrolling. They should also conduct more drills for their quick response teams, patrol parties and traffic cops to ensure prompt intervention in cases of emergency.
Violence specter keeps city jittery as bandh enforcers flex muscles
Kolkata: Buses up in flames, trains stalled on tracks, shops being forced to down shutters: familiar bandh-day scenes from not so long ago returned on Wednesday as BJP workers bent on enforcing a shutdown clashed with Trinamool Congress supporters and cops equally determined to keep Kolkata and Bengal running. Transport was near-normal throughout Kolkata for the major part of the day and major sectors, including government and the IT hub in Salt Lake, saw normal attendance. But Wednesday still ended up as a possible sign of what things may be as well as a reminder of a not-so-distant past. The threat of violence and sporadic incidents, which could be signs of coming together of an opposition determined not to be a total pushover, kept many citizens indoors, a reminder of how bandhs used to be during the Left regime. Predictably, many of the areas that reported violence — pockets of North Dinajpur, Cooch Behar, Hooghly — were also places where the BJP established itself as a credible presence in this year’s panchayat polls. In Kolkata, too, the bandh was most apparent in Burrabazar, where the BJP has always had a base. Bandh supporters stormed a state-run bus on the Brabourne Road flyover, splashed petrol on the floor and then set it alight, forcing the panic stricken driver and passengers to jump off the moving bus. A passenger, Naihati resident Sanjib Singh, fell and was injured; two cops, Raj Kumar Singh and Bidesh Samanta, who tried to intervene, were also hurt. Elsewhere in the city, too, bandh supporters resorted to guerrilla tactics, playing a cat-and-mouse game with cops. The situation that played out again and again across the city was best encapsulated in an incident that occurred at Behala No. 14 Bus Stop around 10.15am.
Two youths rode a bike to the stand, picked up a brick and hurled it at the windshield of a bus. They expected it to shatter but, when it did not, they fled. Only one passenger got off, rattled by the incident, but everyone else stayed on the bus that left a little later. Life went on, just as it did in the rest of the city, but after a scare. But an underlying fear of violence kept many cabs and private buses off the streets. The state transport department did go all out to ensure normality and deployed the entire fleet. But passengers were fewer than usual with the undercurrent of apprehension clearly playing in the minds of people. At the airport, cabs were at a premium during rush hours when multiple flights arrived, pushing up the waiting time for a taxi to half an hour. Among the sectors that did not feel the bandh effect at all was IT. Techies reported for the morning shift as usual. “We had 98%-99% attendance across all IT and BPO firms. Only some sections of employees, who depend on trains, have joined work late,” Salt Lake Sector V Stakeholders’ Association President S Radhakrishnan said. Suresh G Menon, vice-president and GM (East) at Tata Consultancy Services, which has over 40,000 people on its rolls spread across 15 locations in Kolkata, added that it was business as usual on Wednesday. Attendance in government offices was also nearly 100% both in Kolkata and the districts. The government had issued an ultimatum to employees, warning of pay cuts if they did not report to work, not just on bandh day but the two days immediately prior to and after the bandh day.
Goldsmith selfie in bar helps nab “new buddy” with Rs. 9 Lakhs stolen Gold
Chennai: Here’s another reason to flee people with selfitis. Police on Wednesday arrested a thief, identifying him from a selfie by a goldsmith who took a shine to the rogue in a Tasmac bar on Wall Tax Road on Tuesday night, before the man slipped away with a bag containing 301g of gold worth Rs.8.8 lakh. Hemanth, 43, who supplies showrooms in the city with jewellery made in a shop on Wall Tax Road, told police that the suspect appeared familiar though he couldn’t quite place him. Hemanth was returning to his shop on Tuesday evening with 301g of gold and an order for ornaments from a jewellery outlet in T Nagar when the suspect accosted him outside a Tasmac store, an investigating officer said. “The man greeted the goldsmith as if they were acquaintances and insisted that they have a drink together,” he said. “Hemanth had work to do but the man sweet talked him into accompanying him into the bar attached to the liquor store”. After a first round, in the first flush of warming cockles, Hemanth decided that he’d found a kindred soul. He whipped out his cellphone and insisted on a selfie with his new drinking buddy. “I said the selfie would make the occasion memorable,” the goldsmith told police. After a few more drinks, Hemanth’s companion politely excused himself, the officer said.
“The man stepped out, saying he needed to relieve himself,” he said. “Hemanth was enjoying his drink and did not notice that the man swiped the bag with the gold”. “The man, whom we later identified as Karunakaran, 35 of Kondithope, took the bag with the expertise of a professional thief. The goldsmith had placed the bag on an empty chair that he drew close to himself so he could keep an eye on it, but it was only several minutes later, when Karunakaran failed to return, that he realized the bag was missing too,” the officer said. Sober in an instant from the shock, Hemanth rushed to the Seven Wells police and lodged a complaint. Investigators had few leads to work on till the goldsmith, examining his cellphone, discovered the selfie he’d taken with the suspect. Police arrested Karunakaran a few hours later and seized the stolen gold from him. “Karunakaran was aware that Hemanth often carried gold to his shop on Wall Tax Road after he received an order to make jewellery,” the officer said. “It was a well-planned crime. And Hemanth proved an easy target”.
WW-II bombings had sent shockwaves to Space
London: Bombing raids by Allied forces during World War II not only caused devastation on the ground but also sent shockwaves through the Earth’s atmosphere which were detected at the edge of space, according to a study. Researchers at the University of Reading in UK have revealed the shockwaves produced by huge bombs dropped by Allied planes on European cities were big enough to weaken the electrified upper atmosphere — the ionosphere — above the UK, 1,000 kilometres (km) away. “The images of neighborhoods across Europe reduced to rubble due to wartime air raids are a lasting reminder of the destruction that can be caused by manmade explosions,” said Chris Scott, a professor at the University of Reading. “But the impact of these bombs way up in the Earth’s atmosphere has never been realised until now,” Scott said. Researchers studied the ionosphere response records during the 152 Allied air raids and found the electron concentration had significantly decreased due to shockwaves caused by the bombs.