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Monday, November 29, 2021

Mumbai News Highlights: No evidence of conspiracy to commit offence, says HC bail order to Aryan Khan, 2 others

Mumbai news: In the bail order which was made available on Saturday, the Bombay HC has further stated, "Even if it is appreciated, the maximum punishment prescribed is not more than one year for such offence. Applicants have already suffered incarceration for almost 25 days."

By: Express Web Desk | Mumbai |
Updated: November 22, 2021 9:31:10 am
Aryan KhanBombay High Court's bail order to Aryan Khan and two others was made available on Saturday (file photo)

Mumbai Live Highlights:  The Bombay High Court’s detailed order granting bail to Aryan Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha was made available on Saturday. In the 14-page order, the court has said that there is no material to infer that applicants hatched a conspiracy to commit offence.

“There is hardly any positive evidence on record to convince this Court that all the accused persons with common intention agreed to commit unlawful act. Rather the investigation carried out till this date suggests that Applicant/Accused nos. 1 & 2 (Aryan and Merchant) were travelling independent of Applicant/Accused no. 3 (Dhamecha) and there was no meeting of minds on the aforesaid issue,” the court said.

It has said that it is difficult to infer at this stage that the applicants are involved in an offence of collecting drugs of commercial quantity. “After having gone through the WhatsApp chats extracted from Applicant/Accused no. 1’s phone, nothing objectionable could be noticed to suggest that Applicant nos. 1 & 2 or all three applicants along with other Accused persons in agreement have meeting of minds and have hatched conspiracy committing the offence in question,” Bombay High Court on chats shown by NCB allegedly recovered from Aryan’s phone.

Maharashtra on Saturday reported 833 fresh coronavirus positive cases and 15 fatalities, taking the infection tally to 66,29,577 and the death toll to 1,40,722, a health department official said. Mumbai city reported eight fatalities and the highest 336 new infections in the day in Maharashtra, followed by rural parts of Pune which added 100 cases.

Maharashtra’s Covid-19 recovery rate now stands at 97.67 per cent and the fatality rate is 2.12 per cent.

Live Blog

Mumbai Live Highlights: Mumbai reports 336 Covid-19 cases, 8 deaths; Congress to hold victory marches in Maha; Uddhav Thackeray says Centre should learn from 'humiliation' caused by farm laws; death toll in Ahmednagar civil hospital fire rises to 13.

00:56 (IST)21 Nov 2021
As MSRTC strike continues, rural students struggle with longer commutes, higher fares

Higher secondary and college students from remote areas of rural Maharashtra are among those hardest hit by the ongoing strike of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) staffers.

On October 20, colleges in the state reopened after almost 18 months. Rahul Pandagale, a final-year student of Elphinstone College, Mumbai, was planning to return to college after Diwali. But due to the MSRTC strike, he is stranded in his village of Hatola, 90 km from the main city of Beed. With his final-year examination scheduled on November 25, he is apprehensive about being able to take the test online due to the poor internet connectivity in his village.

With the transport strike going on for weeks, private vehicles have increased their fares. To travel to Mumbai, Pandagale has to shell out Rs 2,500 for a one-way ticket in a private bus. This cost him Rs 500 in an MSRTC bus. Read More

00:49 (IST)21 Nov 2021
Maharashtra govt slashes excise duty on imported liquor by 50%

The Maharashtra government has slashed excise duty on imported foreign liquor by 50 per cent to curb inter-state smuggling and bring the prices of imported liquor on par with those of other states. State government officials said the measure was expected to increase the government’s revenue by Rs 150 crore in a year.

State excise department officials said that excise duty on imported whisky, brandy, rum and vodka has been brought down from 300 per cent to 150 per cent of the manufacturing cost. “We expect that the sales will go up from the current 1 lakh cases per year to 2.5 lakh cases per year. The revenue is expected to increase from Rs 100 crore to Rs 250 crore,” said Valsa Nair Singh, principal secretary of the state excise department.

The excise reduction will apply only to imported liquor brands bottled and packed in the country of origin, and not to those international brands that are bottled in India. It also does not apply to Indian Made Foreign Liquor brands. The new excise rates have come into effect from the date of the notification, on November 18, Nair told The Indian Express. Read More

00:31 (IST)21 Nov 2021
Plea against Sameer Wankhede appointment in Bombay HC

A writ petition has been filed before the Bombay High Court challenging the appointment of Sameer Wankhede in the Indian Revenue Service.

The petition, filed by a man who states that he is a social worker, seeks directions to the Caste Certificate Scrutiny Committee to verify his caste certificate after claims that he had availed of reservation meant for Scheduled Castes despite being a Muslim. (ENS)

00:26 (IST)21 Nov 2021
BMC to take up beautification of Thackeray statue

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will take up the beautification and illumination work of the statue of Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray near Regal Cinema.

The statue was inaugurated on January 23 on his 95th birth anniversary at the traffic junction in Fort near National Gallery of Modern Arts (NGMA).

According to civic officials, the work will include permanent lighting near the 9-foot bronze statue, beautification of the platform, and laying of red carpet up to the statue. "The lawn will be developed around the statue and maintained by the appointed contractor. More CCTV cameras will be installed at the traffic island where the statue is installed, "said an official from BMC.

The BMC has floated tender for appointing the contractor for the beautification project. (ENS)

20:46 (IST)20 Nov 2021
Swachh Survekshan survey: Mumbai ranked 1st for innovation among cities with population over 40 lakh

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) won first prize for 'Innovation and Best Practices' in the Swachh Survekshan Survey 2021 under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban). Mumbai has won the award among the cities that have a population of more than 40 lakh. 

Secretary of Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Durga Shankar Mishra handed over the award to Dr Sangita Hasnale, Deputy Municipal Corporation (Solid Waste Management) on Saturday in an event at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.

20:39 (IST)20 Nov 2021
Antilia bomb scare case: Court grants first bail to bookie Naresh Gaur, then stays order after NIA objects

A special NIA court here on Saturday granted bail to Naresh Gaur, a cricket bookie, arrested for his alleged role in the Antilia bomb scare and businessman Mansukh Hiran murder case but stayed the order after the prosecution prayed that they wanted to challenge it before a higher court.

Gaur was the first accused in the case, in which dismissed Mumbai police officer Sachin Waze is the prime accused, to be granted bail.

The court stayed the bail order for 25 days after the prosecution requested that they wanted to challenge it before a higher court. Gaur's bail plea was allowed by special judge A T Wankhede.
The NIA, citing a Bombay High Court order, submitted that the special court has powers to stay its order. The defence strongly opposed the application and submitted that there is no such provision.

However, the special judge ruled that this (special NIA) court can exercise the power to stay its order for a few days under relevant provisions of the CrPC. Considering the request of the NIA and that the probe agency wants to assail the order of this court, Gaur's bail order passed has to be stayed for further 25 days, the court said. (PTI)

20:07 (IST)20 Nov 2021
Mumbai: Constable held for ‘molesting’ minor

A 28-year-old police constable working with the Local Arms unit of Mumbai Police has been arrested for allegedly molesting a 10-year-old girl.

The police said the incident took place in the crowded market outside Bhandup railway station. The authorities suspended him on Friday and an inquiry has been initiated against him.

According to police officials, the accused has been identified as Harshal Bodke, a resident of Kalyan who has been working with the force for five years. Read More

19:51 (IST)20 Nov 2021
Valuables worth Rs 1.5 lakh stolen from Mumbai home after residents left for work

Valuables worth Rs 1.5 lakh were stolen from the residence of a 36-year-old man at Khar (East) when the family members were at work. The complainant, Prashant Sonavane, is a resident of Jawahar Nagar where he stays with his parents, wife and daughter.

All four family members had left for work on Wednesday morning after locking the door. When Sonavane returned in the evening, he saw that the door’s lock had been tampered with. Inside, the cupboard’s lock was broken too and the burglar had stolen valuables including mangalsutra, gold chain and a gold ring, collectively worth Rs 1.5 lakh.

An FIR has been registered at Nirmal Nagar police station for burglary under IPC sections 454 and 457 (house-trespass or house-breaking). The police are tracking history-sheeters and checking CCTV cameras in the vicinity to nab the accused. Read More

15:01 (IST)20 Nov 2021
Nothing in WhatsApp chats to suggest conspiracy was hatched: HC in its bail order

The Bombay High Court, in its order granting bail to Aryan Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha, further stated, "After having gone through the Whats-App chats extracted from Applicant/Accused no. 1’s phone, nothing objectionable could be noticed to suggest that Applicant nos. 1 & 2 or all three applicants alongwith other Accused persons in agreement have meeting of minds and have hatched conspiracy committing the offence in question," Bombay High Court on chats shown by NCB allegedly recovered from Aryan's phone.

"Even if it is appreciated, the maximum punishment prescribed is not more than one year for such offence. Applicants have already suffered incarceration for almost 25 days. The Applicants were not even subjected to medical examination so as to determine whether at the relevant time, they had consumed drugs,” it added.

While the NCB had argued that high degree of evidence is not required at this stage of the proceedings to establish the case of conspiracy, the HC said that it is required to be sensitive to the fact that there has to be presence of basic material in the form of evidence so as to substantiate the case of conspiracy against the Applicants. "Merely because of Applicants were travelling on the cruise, that by itself cannot be termed as satisfying foundation for invoking provisions of Section 29 (conspiracy) against the Applicants," the court said.

14:59 (IST)20 Nov 2021
'No evidence to suggest all accused with common intention agreed to commit unlawful act': HC in its bail order to Aryan Khan, others

The Bombay High Court's detailed order granting bail to Aryan Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha has been made available today.

In the 14-page order, the court has said that there is no material to infer that applicants hatched conspiracy to commit offence. "There is hardly any positive evidence on record to convince this Court that all the accused persons with common intention agreed to commit unlawful act. Rather the investigation carried out till this date suggests that Applicant/Accused nos. 1 & 2 (Aryan and Merchant) were travelling independent of Applicant/Accused no. 3 (Dhamecha) and there was no meeting of minds on the aforesaid issue," the court has said.

It has said that it is difficult to infer at this stage that applicants are involved in an offence of commercial quantity. The single bench of Justice Nitin Sambre has said the while the NCB argued that confessional statements can be relied upon at this stage, it can also be considered only for purpose of investigation.

"...it is worth to clarify here that such confessional statements can be considered by the investigating agency only for the investigation purpose and cannot be used as a tool for drawing an inference that Applicants have committed an offence under the NDPS Act as has been alleged against them," the court has said.

13:13 (IST)20 Nov 2021
Repealing farm laws will prove detrimental for farmers: Maharashtra BJP chief

State BJP chief Chandrakant Patil on Saturday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to repeal the three farm laws as the latter was left with no other choice. Patil added that such a decision will prove detrimental for the farmers.

Patil said, “We still believe farm laws were necessary. These laws were framed keeping the welfare of farmers in mind. The implementation of the farm laws would have brought prosperity to farmers.

“Unfortunately, Prime minister Narendra Modi had to repeal these farm laws under unavoidable circumstances. There was no alternative.”

09:56 (IST)20 Nov 2021
Centre should take other parties in confidence to avoid such 'embarrassment': Thackeray on repeal of farm laws

Hours after the Centre announced its decision to repeal three contentious farm laws, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday advised the Union government to henceforth take other parties into confidence to avoid such "afterthoughts and embarrassment" in future.

The announcement of repealing the three farm laws underscores the power of common man in the country. The Union government should hold talks and take other parties into confidence to avoid the afterthoughts and embarrassments like today," Thackeray said in a statement while welcoming the Centre's decision. 

09:54 (IST)20 Nov 2021
Congress to hold ‘victory marches’ across Maharashtra

The Congress has decided to organise victory marches across the state on Saturday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision to repeal the farm laws.  The AICC has sent directives to all states to hold marches.Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief spokesperson Atul Londhe said, “This is a victory of the farmers and happened due to the firm support of Congress under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.’’ The main celebration is at state Congress headquarters at Tilak Bhavan.

09:53 (IST)20 Nov 2021
Nawab Malik says Wankhede owns restaurant and bar in spite of being in service

Three days before the Bombay High Court is expected to pass an order on IRS officer Sameer Wankhedes’ father’s interim plea seeking NCP Minister Nawab Malik be restrained from making defamatory remarks against him and his family, Malik kept up with his attack on the officer on Friday.

Malik alleged that Sameer, the NCB Mumbai Zonal Unit Director, had violated central civil services (conduct) rules by owning a restaurant and bar in Navi Mumbai in spite of being in service. Service rules do not permit government officials to own businesses.

09:51 (IST)20 Nov 2021
Sena: BJP stalled agreement with MSRTC staffers like it did with appointment of 12 MLCs

Calling it “politics of blackmail and terror”, Shiv Sena on Friday alleged that the BJP has stalled an agreement with the striking employees of the Maharahstra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) in the same manner it has stalled the appointment of 12 MLCs that remains pending with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

“The Opposition is well aware that the merger of MSRTC with the state government is not possible at present. The workers have also accepted this fact but they have been cornered by BJP leaders. The way BJP has stalled the approval of the file on 12 MLCs, the MSRTC employees’ strike is also stuck. This is the politics of terror and blackmail,” said the editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana.

09:48 (IST)20 Nov 2021
MSRTC terminates services of 238 temporary employees, suspends 297 staffers

As the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) workers’ strike entered its 23rd day on Friday, the corporation has started suspending more staffers and are in process of hiring candidates who were on the recruitment waiting list.

On Friday, services of 238 temporary employees were terminated and 297 employees were suspended, taking the total suspensions to 2,776 of the odd 94,000 staffers.

Earlier this week, around 100 candidates who were on the corporation’s recruitment wait list were hired. As many as 2,500 such candidates could be hired, said officials.(With Vallabh Ozarkar)

19:42 (IST)19 Nov 2021
Vishaka Shinde arrested in Ahmednagar fire, gets bail

Dr Vishaka Shinde arrested under section 304 (culpable homicide) in the Ahmednagar fire, got her bail on Friday. She will be released tomorrow.

17:33 (IST)19 Nov 2021
Internet services restored, curfew lifted partially in Amravati

Amravati City Police Commissioner Arti Singh allowed internet services to be restored Friday afternoon and passed an order to lift the curfew in the city from 9 am to 6 pm. From now, the curfew will begin again at 6 pm and end at 9 am.

The Indian Express had reported Friday that the decision on the issues will be taken today. The city has been under curfew for seven days since Saturday last week soon after violence erupted during a bandh called by BJP.

Thursday, the curfew was relaxed between 11 am to 5 am only for essential services like buying groceries, medicines and vegetables. Government services like banks resumed and government employees were allowed to go to their workplaces.

Read More

16:20 (IST)19 Nov 2021
Major fire at mall in Mumbai’s Vile Parle, 1 injured

A major fire broke out on the first floor of a four-storey mall in suburban Vile Parle on Friday, injuring one person. Sixteen fire engines, 11 water tankers, one turn table ladder, a breathing apparatus van and an ambulance were pressed into service. The fire was finally doused at 2:58 pm.

12:52 (IST)19 Nov 2021
DPR being made for Mumbai, Nagpur bullet train project

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) is preparing a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the proposed 766-km bullet train corridor between Mumbai and Nagpur. The DPR is expected to be submitted to the government in early next year. Officials said a series of surveys, including the lidar survey, aerial survey, social impact assessment (SIA) and environmental impact assessment (EIA), have been completed for the Mumbai-Nagpur bullet train project. “The data collected is being analysed for the DPR,” said an official.

The bullet train project will pass through 10 districts. Land would be needed to be acquired in some districts, said officials.

Mumbai New Live Highlights:

Maharashtra Cyber department said in the past four to five days they have flagged 36 inflammatory and fake news posts on social media. These posts were majorly related to Tripura violence and were circulated triggering violence in various parts of Maharashtra.

Also, a local court Wednesday allowed an application filed by Mumbai Police for declaring former city police commissioner Param Bir Singh and two others as absconding accused in connection with an extortion case after the Crime Branch submitted that the three of them could not be found at any of their known addresses.

On November 6, Dr Vishakha Shinde, a senior resident doctor posted at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Ahmednagar District Hospital for months on Covid duty, reported to work as usual. Her day was cut short by a fire in the ICU, leaving 11 Covid patients dead. Within 72 hours, Shinde, 27, found herself in the district sub-jail along with nurses Sapna Pathare, Asma Shaikh and Channa Anant.

Eleven days later, the four continue to be in jail, even as officials are yet to act on the preliminary investigations that showed the hospital did not have a fire No Objection Certificate, nor were its water sprinklers functional. While the fire is suspected to have started due to a short-circuit, police are still awaiting the electrical inspection report. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has written to the state government alleging an attempt to “shift the blame” to medical staffers, while the state doctors’ association has sought “a fair probe”.

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