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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Mumbai News Highlights: Maharashtra reports 11 new Omicron cases; BMC reactivates jumbo Covid-19 centres

Amid the fear of spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, the BMC health department held a meeting on Tuesday and reactivated the jumbo Covid-19 centres in the city.

By: Express Web Desk | Mumbai |
Updated: December 23, 2021 8:25:45 am
Mumbai Today Live Update, News Mumbai Weather LiveBMC worker charging fine as a penalty to people who were not wearing masks at Marine Drive in Mumbai. (File Photo/Pradip Das)

Maharashtra reported 11 new Omicron cases on Tuesday, of which one was detected in Navi Mumbai. The remaining eight patients, detected during screening operations at the Mumbai airport, include one each from Kerala, Gujarat and Thane, while the rest are from Mumbai. A total of 65 Omicron cases have been detected in Maharashtra so far.

Amid the fear of spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, the BMC health department held a meeting on Tuesday and reactivated the jumbo Covid-19 centres in the city. Meanwhile, the state health department has sanctioned Rs 2.4 crore to buy S-gene testing kits to gauge the spread of the new Covid-19 variant as a part of its 20-day study.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday questioned Shiv Sena MLA Ravindra Waikar for over eight hours in connection with a case. Waikar, a three-time MLA from Jogeshwari East, is a close confidante of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

In other news, 8 accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, whose bail pleas have been rejected by the Bombay High Court, approached the HC on Tuesday claiming that the judgment denying them relief was based on a “factual error,” as they had in fact filed default bail pleas within the stipulated time period, contrary to the observations made by the court in its December 1 order.

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Maharashtra reports 11 new Omicron cases; BMC reactivates jumbo Covid-19 centres; state health department sanctions Rs 2.4 crore to buy S-gene testing kits; follow this space for more Mumbai updates

22:36 (IST)22 Dec 2021
Mumbai: Two constables suspended, helps acquaintance in police recruitment drive

MUMBAI POLICE have suspended two women constables for allegedly manipulating the marks of a police aspirant during the physical test of a recruitment drive conducted last week. The police said the two constables, identified as Shabnam Anwar Inamdar and Parveen Chandsaheb Sheikh, were acquaintances of the candidate due to which they influenced his marks to help him secure a job with the police force.

According to officials, the incident took place on December 16, when job aspirants had gathered for their physical test at the ground of Railway police headquarter in Ghatkopar.

Inamdar and Sheikh, currently posted at unit one of Local Arms department, were deputed at the ground. Read more

22:24 (IST)22 Dec 2021
Tank work at St Xavier’s ground far from complete, Parel residents protest being denied open space

Residents of Parel are complaining about closure of St Xavier’s ground and the resultant lack of access to one of the largest open spaces in the area. The ground has been taken over for construction of one of the two underground water storage tanks envisaged to eliminate flooding in Hindmata.

Citizens complained that when the work was started in March, the civic body had said that it would get over in two months’ time and that the premises would be restored for public use. But even after eight months, there seems to be no clarity on when the work will be over.

“In March this year, the playground was suddenly taken over. There was no intimation or information about the work. Read more

20:41 (IST)22 Dec 2021
Implement Muslim quota in Maharashtra: ex-Congress minister tells party leaders

Maharashtra Congress leader Naseem Khan on Wednesday demanded that the MVA government implement the 5 per cent quota for Muslims in jobs and education without further delay.
          
Khan, who had served as a minister in the then Congress-NCP government before 2014, wrote to state Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat and other Congress leaders   demanding that the incumbent MVA government take steps to implement this quota.
        
The Congress, which is a constituent of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi, should ensure that adequate funds are provided for various schemes initiated for the welfare of minorities. Khan also stated that the Muslim quota had been upheld by the Bombay High Court but the previous (NDA) government did not implement it. (PTI)

17:54 (IST)22 Dec 2021
Allowing unvaccinated people to use public transport will invite 'explosive transmission' of Covid-19: Maharashtra govt to Bombay HC

The Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that allowing unvaccinated people to mix with others by using public transport will endanger the lives of others, and invite "explosive transmission" of the coronavirus and its variants.
    
"The government of Maharashtra, as parens patriae (guardian of the state) cannot afford to take that risk," it said an affidavit submitted in the HC. The decision to prohibit people, who were yet to receive both doses of Covid-19 vaccine, from using public transport in the state had been taken to ensure those unvaccinated do not endanger the lives of others, it said. 
         
"Allowing unvaccinated persons to mix with other people by using public transport will only endanger the lives of others, and will invite explosive transmission of the coronavirus and its subsequent variants," the government said in the affidavit filed through its chief secretary. The Maharashtra government told a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M S Karnik that such a decision was "reasonable", and not discriminatory or in breach of a citizen's fundamental rights. (PTI)

16:29 (IST)22 Dec 2021
Karnataka govt needs to show more respect to Shivaji Maharaj: Maharashtra minister

Maharashtra minister Eknath Shinde on Wednesday said the Karnataka government needs to show more respect towards Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his legacy, and an act to defame an icon like him cannot be pardoned. Seven people were recently arrested in neighbouring Karnataka for allegedly desecrating the Maratha warrior king's statue at Bengaluru. 
       
Shinde on Wednesday made a statement in the Maharashtra Legislative Council over the incident. "The whole incident is to be condemned. I strongly express my condemnation as we all respect Shivaji Maharaj. His contribution towards us is inspirational, and defaming an icon like him is an act that cannot be pardoned,? the state urban development minister said.
        
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has used Shivaji Maharaj's name several times. He even used his name at the time of a function in Kashi recently. But, the Karnataka government needs to show more respect towards Shivaji Maharaj and his legacy," the Shiv Sena leader said. The alleged incident in Bengaluru had raised tempers in the border district of Belgaum, which Maharashtra claims should belong to it. (PTI)

15:47 (IST)22 Dec 2021
Din in Maha Assembly after Shiv Sena MLA 'mocks' PM Modi, apologises

BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday accused Shiv Sena MLA Bhaskar Jadhav of mocking Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Legislative Assembly and making certain gestures, evoking sharp reactions from the opposition MLAs leading to stalling of the proceedings. 
         
Jadhav later apologised when the House reconvened after two adjournments, saying that making hand gestures was his natural way of speaking and that he didn't use any unparliamentary word against the prime minister. 
                
Jadhav made the remarks, as alleged by Fadnavis when a discussion on a calling attention notice on power issues was underway. Speaking in the Lower House, BJP MLA Sudhir Mungantiwar sought to know why state power minister Nitin Raut has "backtracked" on his promise to waive electricity tariff of customers up to 100 units. 

Raut recalled that he had only said that waiving of the tariff would be considered. However, as the power department provided uninterrupted supply to customers during the lockdown period, the tariff for the same has to be paid. (PTI)

15:01 (IST)22 Dec 2021
Allowing only fully-vaccinated persons to avail public transport doesn’t violate rights: Maharashtra government

Maharashtra Chief Secretary Debashish Chakrabarty on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that the decision to permit only “fully-vaccinated” persons to board suburban local trains in Greater Mumbai area was taken as the Constitution allows reasonable restrictions to be imposed in the interest of the general public.

The chief secretary claimed the decision did not violate any fundamental rights of the citizens and that their objective was to protect the lives of citizens.

The High Court on December 15 had directed the chief secretary, who is also the CEO of the state disaster management authority and the chairperson of the state executive committee, to file an affidavit explaining the rationale behind the state government’s decision to make a distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens. Read more 

14:11 (IST)22 Dec 2021
Social media post on farmers: Kangana fails to appear before Mumbai Police

Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut failed to appear before the Mumbai Police on Wednesday in connection with an FIR registered against her for a post that allegedly linked farmers’ protests to a separatist group, an official said.

An FIR was registered against Ranaut at Khar police station last month following a complaint by a Sikh organisation.

The police earlier this month issued a notice to her for questioning. Her counsel had told the Bombay High Court that she would appear before the Khar police on December 22. Read more 

13:12 (IST)22 Dec 2021
Winter session begins today: Speaker election row likely to rock House

The elections for the post of Speaker in the upcoming winter session of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly has set off a slanging match, with the BJP criticising the ruling parties’ decision to conduct elections through a voice vote, stating that it reflects their lack of confidence in their own legislators. The Maha Vikas Aghadi government, meanwhile, has dared the BJP to move a no-confidence motion against the government during the winter session of the state legislature that will commence from Wednesday. Read more 

11:19 (IST)22 Dec 2021
11 new Omicron cases reported, one from Pimpri-Chinchwad; state tally 65

Eleven new cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 were reported in Maharashtra on Tuesday, of which one each is from Pimpri-Chinchwad, Navi Mumbai and Osmanabad. The remaining eight patients, detected during screening operations at the Mumbai airport, include one each from Kerala, Gujarat and Thane, while the rest are from Mumbai. Of the eight patients, two had travel history to Dubai, four to England and two others had returned to Mumbai from Uganda via Dubai.

Till date, a total of 65 Omicron cases have been reported in Maharashtra, said state Surveillance Officer Dr Pradeep Awate. Read more 

10:57 (IST)22 Dec 2021
Mumbai: Two women who stole gold ornaments from passengers on express trains arrested

The Kalyan Government Railway Police (GRP) has arrested two women, accused of stealing gold ornaments and other valuables from passengers on express trains. The GRP said they had recovered valuables worth Rs 4.27 lakh in seven cases from the duo.

The arrested accused are Rekha Kamble, 43, and Roja Kamble, 22. The GRP arrested them in a theft case that took place on December 11 around 7.15 pm. The complainant, Sangita Domade, 42, a resident of Ulhasnagar, was boarding Tapovan Express from platform No 4 at Kalyan railway station when the two women opened the zip of her purse and stole the ornaments. Read more 

10:45 (IST)22 Dec 2021
Mumbai: Three arrested for impersonating MLA Geeta Jain and her PA to cheat hotelier

The Kashimira police in Mira road on Tuesday arrested two men and a woman for allegedly impersonating MLA Geeta Jain and her personal assistant (PA) over the phone, and attempting to dupe a hotelier by asking him to donate for a social cause.

On December 20, complainant Amir Mukhi, a hotelier by profession, received a phone call purportedly made by MLA Geeta Jain’s PA Aman Shelar.

The fraudster told Mukhi they would be organising a function for marriages of widows, and needed him to donate money to the social cause. To convince Mukhi, a woman came on the phone and asked him to donate to the cause. Read more 

22:35 (IST)20 Dec 2021
No Covid-19 death in Mumbai for fourth time this month; 204 more test positive

For the fourth time in December, Mumbai did not report any fresh fatality due to coronavirus on Monday, keeping the death toll unchanged at 16,365, while 204 new cases took the infection count to 7,67,331, civic officials said.
  
A day after Mumbai logged 336 COVID-19 cases, the number of daily cases came down to 204, while the daily fatalities slipped to zero in the last 24 hours from two on Sunday.

According to the officials, the financial capital has reported zero fatalities for the  fourth time this month. Earlier, no death of patient linked to coronavirus was reported on December 11, 15 and 18. On October 17, the city had recorded zero fatalities for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic in March last year. The metropolis had reported its first coronavirus case on March 11, 2020, and its first death 6 days later on March 17. (PTI)

21:37 (IST)20 Dec 2021
Man injured in firing, sword attack in Mumbai

Two motorbike-borne men opened fire and attacked a person with a sword in suburban Chembur on Monday, leaving him injured, a police official said.
  
According to the official, the incident took place at RNA Park at around 5 pm when the assailants came on a motorbike. One of them fired one round from a weapon, while the other one attacked the victim, identified as Ravindra Gaikwad, with a sword.
Gaikwad was injured in the attack whose motive was not yet known, he said.

The police have launched a manhunt to nab the attackers, one of whom has been identified as Ajay Marimuthu Peraswamy alias 'Chembur Anna', the official said.

The police were scanning CCTV footage of the area to collect more information about the incident. Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Krishnakant Upadhyay said, "We are in the process of registering an FIR against the two persons, one of whom opened fire, while the other one attacked (the victim) with a sword. An investigation was on." (PTI)

20:42 (IST)20 Dec 2021
Maharashtra govt urges hospitality industry to support state EV policy

The Maharashtra government on Monday urged the hospitality industry to support the state's EV Policy that aims to convert 15 per cent of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) fleet into electric vehicles by 2025.
          
"The state's comprehensive EV Policy has been developed to fortify Maharashtra's position as the leading destination for EV manufacturing and utilisation. With standard operating procedures (SOPs), infrastructure mandates, and incentivization, we look forward to the widespread acceptance of EV's in the state," state Tourism and Environment Minister Aaditya Uddhav Thackeray said after a meeting with Chalet Hotels.
        
The aggressive implementation of the Policy is critical and cannot be fully successful without support from the private sector, the minister said in a statement. The minister on Monday met with Chalet Hotels which has committed to convert 100 per cent of its vehicular fleet to EVs by 2025, along with setting up of EV charging stations, across its portfolio hotels and commercial office spaces. (PTI)

19:52 (IST)20 Dec 2021
Aggregator taxi PIL seeks grievance redressal system; Bombay HC asks Maharashtra, Uber to reply

The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Maharashtra government to file an affidavit detailing the statutory rules under which taxi aggregators such as Uber and Ola are granted licences to operate in the state. A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik also directed Uber India to file a reply clarifying whether it had secured a licence under the Maharashtra City Taxi Rules, 2016. 
        
The bench passed the directions while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Savina Crasto highlighting the lack of an effective grievance redressal mechanism for customers using Uber India app to use their cab services. Crasto cited an incident from November last year when she booked an Uber ride in the city and was dropped off mid-way ?at a shady dark place". She then found the Uber app had no effective option for lodging complaints. 
        
On Monday, Crasto showed the HC bench how the app worked on her phone and explained that the app's current grievance redressal mechanism had only a list of pre-set complaints that a customer could click on. The counsel for Uber India told HC the current mechanism available to those using its app covered all possible issues that one could face. (PTI)

19:01 (IST)20 Dec 2021
PILs challenge Maha decision to lift liquor ban in Chandrapur

Several public interest litigations have been filed in the Bombay High Court challenging the Maharashtra government's decision to revoke a liquor ban imposed in April, 2015 in Chandrapur district. The petitions, filed by Dr Abhay Bang, former MLA WS Chatap and a few tribals, have challenged the decision of the state cabinet as well as a consequent circular dated June 8, 2021 repealing the ban on the sale of liquor imposed in Chandrapur.
        
The petitions came up for hearing before a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M S Karnik on Monday. Bang's counsel Rafiq Dada and advocate Uday Warunjikar told HC Chandrapur is a tribal area and if liquor is allowed then people there would get addicted, and in such cases women and children are the worst affected.
        
After hearing the matter briefly, the court noted that the Nagpur bench has the jurisdiction to hear this matter. Dada, however, told HC the decision (to revoke the ban) was taken in Mumbai. (PTI)

18:18 (IST)20 Dec 2021
Will not interfere with Bombay HC order rejecting Mumbai police commissioner’s plea in Domestic Violence case: SC

The Supreme Court has refused to interfere with a Bombay High Court order rejecting a plea by Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant N Nagrale seeking quashing of an application moved by his wife under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

A bench of Justice U U Lalit and S Ravindra Bhat instead transferred the proceedings from a Pune court to the Bombay High Court where her appeal against the divorce granted to them by a family court is pending and asked the high court to dispose it as early as possible. Read more

17:32 (IST)20 Dec 2021
Bombay HC rejects bail plea of actor Armaan Kohli in drugs case

The Bombay High Court on Monday refused bail to actor Armaan Kohli, arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for alleged possession and consumption of drugs. A single bench of Justice N W Sambre rejected Kohli's application seeking bail. The court will pass a detailed order giving its reasons later.
        
Kohli was arrested in August this year for possession of 1.2 grams of cocaine, a quantity falling under 'small category meant for consumption'. Later, the NCB arrested the drug peddler from whom commercial quantity was recovered. Kohli approached HC after a special court rejected his bail plea.
        
Kohli's advocate Aabad Ponda had argued the offences against the actor were bailable considering he had been allegedly found with a small quantity of drugs. He also contended that except for statements and panchnamas, there was nothing to justify why sections 27A (illicit trafficking) and 29 (conspiracy) of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act were invoked. (PTI)

17:04 (IST)20 Dec 2021
Varavara Rao must go back to prison as other old people also in jail: NIA to Bombay HC

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday urged the Bombay High Court to direct poet-activist Varavara Rao, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, to surrender before the Taloja prison authorities, saying that several "other old people" in need of medical treatment were also in prisons.
         
The NIA made the submission as a bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and S V Kotwal extended the time for 83-year-old Rao to surrender till January 7, 2022. Rao was granted temporary medical bail for six months by the HC in February this year and was supposed to surrender on September 5, but he applied for the extension of such bail, stating that he continued to suffer from several ailments. 
        
The HC has extended his bail multiple times due to reasons like the need for further medical care, and time sought by the NIA to get him medically examined. On Monday, as Rao's counsel Anand Grover sought time to file an affidavit responding to his medical examination reports submitted by the Nanavati Hospital here, the NIA opposed any further extension of time for surrender. (PTI)

NCP minister Nawab Malik on Tuesday said that BJP leaders — MLC Suresh Dhas and former Ashti MLA Bhimrao Dhonde from Beed — have usurped land belonging to religious places and siphoned crores of rupees by indulging in benami transactions.

Dhas was previously associated with the NCP and was a minister in the state Cabinet of the erstwhile Congress-NCP government. He had quit the party in 2017 to join the BJP.

Malik’s allegations came a day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted searches at five places related to his son Faraz Malik in a case where a nationalised bank was duped of Rs 149.89 crore.

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