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Patel, Nawab Malik facing similar allegations, claims Sanjay Raut; questions BJP

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut on Friday claimed the charges faced by Praful Patel of the Ajit Pawar faction of the NCP were similar to the ones Nawab Malik is battling and questioned the BJP over the difference in its treatment of the two leaders, reported news agency PTI. The Ajit Pawar faction of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), of which Praful Patel is a senior leader, is part of the ruling alliance in Maharashtra. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had on Thursday written to Ajit Pawar expressing the Bharatiya Janata Party's reservation over Malik's entry into the fold, reported PTI. "Like Nawab Malik, there are allegations against Praful Patel. It was the BJP that had alleged Patel dealt with people related to (fugitive gangster) Dawood Ibrahim. So why justice for Praful Patel and an attack on Nawab Malik," Sanjay Raut asked while talking to reporters, reported PTI. "Similar allegations have been made against Nawab Malik and Praful Patel. It has been alleged they had dealings with a person related to Dawood Ibrahim. The ED has also taken action and has confiscated Patel's property. BJP had questioned (Congress leader) Sonia Gandhi on this issue when Praful Patel was minister during UPA rule (at the Centre between 2004 and 2014)," he alleged, reported PTI. So the question must be asked about what Fadnavis thinks of Patel, said Sanjay Raut, a Rajya Sabha MP, reported PTI. Malik was arrested in February 2022 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the case allegedly linked to the activities of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his associates. Out on medical bail since mid-August, Malik attended the winter session of the state legislature here on Thursday. He was later seen in the office of Ajit Pawar-led faction of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the legislature complex. In the House, he was seen sitting in the last row, next to an MLA of the Ajit Pawar faction. Earlier in the day, Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrashekar Bawankule defended Fadnavis over his objection to Malik's inclusion in the ruling 'Mahayuti' alliance. "The BJP and I support the stand taken by Fadnavis in his letter to Ajit Pawar on the issue of Nawab Malik. Fadnavis has said there is no personal animosity against Malik, but he is facing serious charges," Bawankule told reporters in Nagpur, reported PTI. (With inputs from PTI)

09 December,2023 10:55 AM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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Mumbai's air quality in 'moderate' category, AQI at 111

Mumbai's air quality was in the 'moderate' category on Saturday morning. The air quality index from 0 to 100 is considered 'good', 100 to 200 'moderate', 200 to 300 'poor', 300 to 400 'very poor' and from 400 to 500 or above 'severe'. According to the SAMEER App, Mumbai's air quality continued to be 'moderate' with an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 111 at 9.40 am. The SAMEER App dashboard on Saturday showed Worli's AQI as 88 and Borivali's AQI as 97. Bandra's AQI continued to remain in the 'moderate' category at 104. While Chembur's AQI and Powai's AQI were in the 'good' category at 95 and 96, respectively. Meanwhile, Sewri's AQI slipped to the 'moderate' category at 197. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) in their daily forecast for the city and surrounding areas, said that the sky will remain clear today. The maximum temperature is likely to be around 33 degrees Celsius. While the minimum temperature is likely to be around 22 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, the Air Quality Index (AQI) remains in the 'very poor' category in parts of Delhi, as per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Visuals from the area around Akshardham, shot at 6:55 am showed smog engulfing the city. The air quality in the national capital was recorded in the 'very poor' category on Friday. As per the Central Pollution Control Board, the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) at Anand Vihar, Delhi, stood at 374 on Friday morning. Earlier on Thursday, the air quality in the national capital continued to remain in 'poor' category. The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi, as per SAFAR-India (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research), was recorded at 276 on Thursday morning. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted no rainfall in the National Capital till December 11. There will be clear skies with shallow to moderate fog in the morning across the city. Delhi has been experiencing air quality in the range of 'severe' to 'very poor' over the last few weeks. Congress MP Jairam Ramesh hit out at Union Minister Bhupender Yadav saying that he gave a "gol mol" reply to pointed questions on public health and air pollution inside Parliament. The Congress MP was referring to the reply he received from the Union Minister during Question Hour on 'air pollution in NCR and the country' in Rajya Sabha on the fourth day of the ongoing Winter Session. Jairam Ramesh asked a question about whether the Centre was considering a review of the Pollution Control Act that was passed in 1981 and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. (With inputs from ANI)

09 December,2023 09:51 AM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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Maharashtra: MAT rules termination of probationer as unlawful

The Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) reinstated a probationer who had been unlawfully terminated from the post of assistant secretary (technical) with the Maharashtra State Board of Technical Education. The applicant challenged the termination before the MAT stating she was selected through the MPSC in 2021 for the post of assistant secretary (technical) and that the action against her was against the principle of natural justice. The MAT heard the argument and passed the order on December 7 in favour of the applicant, after termination was quashed and she has been directed to be reinstated within the next three weeks. Interestingly, the MAT has not only set aside the termination order, but also directed the state to reinstate and pay her back wages, during the period of unlawful termination. The complaint Advocate Rajeshwar Panchal said his client Taramati Taji was appointed on January 7, 2021 to the post of assistant secretary (technical) with the establishment of the director, Directorate of Technical Education and posted in the Maharashtra State Board of Technical Education head office in Bandra East. In her complaint before the MAT, Taji stated that since October 26, 2021 she objected to some of the discrepancies found in the software services bills sent by the IT section for approval. As some services were not availed on account of the pandemic, so concerns were raised by the applicant and another assistant secretary with respect to approving the said three bills amounting to R12.75 lakh. Taji showed unwillingness to approve the said bills which eventually resulted in setting up a committee to examine the veracity of the bills. ‘Victimisation’ According to Panchal, irked by the stand taken by her, Taji was allegedly subjected to harassment and victimisation. She wrote to the government on January 17, 2023, requesting it to look into her grievances. However, she did not receive any response from the government. Terminated from service The secretary of the higher and technical education department terminated Taji from the service on May 19, 2023 on finding her guilty of five charges of misconduct. The charges include insubordination, negligence and lack of devotion to duty, misbehaviour with senior officers and colleagues, blaming senior officers and office for mistake and pressurising higher-ups.    Advocate Panchal contended the termination order to be illegal as no disciplinary proceedings as mandated under the law have been conducted to prove aforesaid charges and therefore bound to be set aside. Other side In their argument, S P Manchekar, chief presenting officer (CPO) for the State Board of Technical Education and K S Gaikwad, presenting officer for government and directorate of technical education, submitted that Taji was on probation and her probation period was not completed at the time of appointment. The CPO attributed the termination to her misconduct as spelled out in the five charges. Misconduct needs to be proved Justice Mridula Bhatkar, chairperson, and Medha Gadgil, member (A), stated in the order, “Misconduct is required to be proved and also opportunity is to be given to the delinquent officer by following the principles of natural justice. Hence the order dated May 19, 2023 is not sustainable by law.” The MAT court ordered the government and the department concerned to reinstate Taji to service within three weeks and pay her the back wages.   Advocate Speak “The applicant was under tremendous stress when she approached me after her termination. However, the respondents didn’t file their reply for almost five months although they had filed a caveat. The tribunal was graceful enough to take up the matter on priority in view of the order being prima facie illegal on its face.  We are grateful to the tribunal for rendering justice in our case,” Panchal said. Jan 7, 2021Day of appointment May 19, 2023Day of termination

09 December,2023 07:35 AM IST | Mumbai | Vinod Kumar Menon
The police recovered the baggage containing valuables worth R8 lakh after it had been left behind in an autorickshaw by the Arte couple

Mumbai: Cops recover elderly couple’s bag of jewellery in 30 mins

The Mumbai Police showcased their commitment to public service by promptly recovering a suitcase containing gold and silver ornaments, along with gift envelopes valued at approximately Rs 8 lakh. The incident unfolded on a Thursday evening at around 8.30 pm when Bharat Bhushan Arte, a 70-year-old man and his wife found themselves in an unexpected predicament on their way home from their daughter's wedding. Realising the oversight of leaving their baggage in an autorickshaw, Arte wasted no time and swiftly filed a report with the MHB Colony police station. This triggered an immediate and thorough response from the police force, determined to find the elderly couple’s valuables. The police officials played a pivotal role in the investigation, senior police inspector Sudhir Kudhalkar said, “In response to the report of the baggage being left behind in the autorickshaw and recognising the significant value of the items, we acted swiftly.” He said, “The key breakthrough in the case came through meticulous examination of CCTV footage along the route of Bharat Arte’s commute, leading to the identification of the autorickshaw’s registration number.” The police identified the autorickshaw’s registration number. “Armed with this information, we swiftly accessed the RTO app to retrieve the owner's details. Fortunately, the investigation revealed that the autorickshaw had not picked up any other passengers after Bharat Arte’s journey, streamlining the search process. The autorickshaw was traced to the Dahisar toll booth, where we intercepted it and recovered the bag within an hour of filing the report,” said another official from the police station. The recovered bag contained various pieces of jewellery and gift envelopes from the recently celebrated wedding. “The diligence and quick thinking of the Mumbai Police not only exemplified their dedication to public service but also showcased the effective utilisation of technology in solving such cases,” said a relative of Arte, requesting anonymity while talking to mid-day. Rs 8 lakhWorth of valuables 70 yearsAge of the complainant Bharat Bhushan Arte

09 December,2023 07:31 AM IST | Mumbai | Prasun Choudhari
MJPJAY officials said they will resolve the issue soon. Representation Pic

Mumbai: Malfunctioning MJPJAY site prevents approval of beneficiaries

The state government’s flagship insurance scheme Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MJPJAY) has encountered a temporary setback. Patients are unable to avail themselves of all benefits under the MJPJAY during times of crisis due to technical errors on the website. There are about 1,000 empanelled hospitals, including approximately 196 public health facilities, while the rest are private health facilities. About 57 public and private hospitals in Mumbai are supposed to accept MJPJAY. “For the past two days, we have had to inform patients that their application approval will be pending because of issues on the website,” said MJPJAY staff at KEM Hospital. The website is unable to show the uploaded documents of new beneficiaries. “Neither can we see them at the time of registration, nor can higher officials view them. So, the approval for the procedure to be availed under the scheme or the required medicines remains pending as the identity cannot be verified,” said an MJPJAY staffer. No meds sans prior approval At present, the scheme provides insurance coverage up to 1.5 lakh to over 50 lakh patients. As per protocol, MJPJAY officials have communicated with all the hospitals not to halt treatment for those whose approval is pending. However, in the case of KEM, while doctors proceed with the medical procedure, the subsidised pharmacy at the hospital refuses to provide medication without prior approval. For instance, Sajan Khambe’s brother is undergoing an operation at KEM after an accident. “For the last two days, we have been visiting the centre to check for approval. In the end, we had to spend Rs 6,000 on the purchase of medicines as the medical shop refused free-of-cost under MJPJAY,” he said. MJPJAY officials mentioned that while, in the past two days, some private hospitals have denied treatment pending approval, that has not been the case at large. “The issue occurred suddenly, and we are in the process of resolving it at the earliest,” the official said. 

09 December,2023 07:29 AM IST | Mumbai | Eshan Kalyanikar
Members of the expert committee examine the reservoir on Thursday morning

Mumbai: Expert panel finally checks Malabar Hill reservoir

After more than a month, the committee that was formed to offer suggestions regarding the feasibility of reconstructing the Malabar Hill reservoir was finally able to visit the site on Thursday morning. A citizen’s representative said that the parts of the 135-year-old reservoir examined by the team were in great shape. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), however, has kept mum on the matter. The committee will look at other parts of the reservoir soon. The BMC had decided to construct an additional tank and repair the old reservoir on Malabar Hill, but residents opposed this plan as it entailed the removal of 389 trees at Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens, popularly known as Hanging Gardens. In light of demands from residents and the local MLA, the BMC formed a committee on November 8 comprising Deputy Commissioner (Special Engineering) Chakradhar Kandalkar; IIT professors R S Jangid, Jyoti Prakash and Dasaka Murthy; and citizens’ representatives Dr Vasudev Nori and Alpa Seth, who are engineers, and architect Rahul Kadri. Committee’s initial observations The expert committee inspected reservoir numbers 2A and 2B on Thursday between 8 am and 10 am. It is expected to review the current proposal and suggest the appropriate course of action. Seth, the citizens' representative, said, “The reservoir is in excellent condition. We are satisfied with the maintenance taken by the BMC. The structure is 135 years old and a heritage precinct. It may require some functional repair but no need for reconstruction. As far as our visit, we do not think there is any need for tests for the structural stability of 2A and 2B as they seem to be in fine condition.” Seth added that they will assess the other parts, 1A and 1B, after around 10 days. Official Speak A BMC official said, “The first phase of the visit of the expert committee was completed on Thursday and it is under consideration to inspect the rest of the reservoir in the coming days.” Deputy Commissioner Kandalkar didn’t respond to mid-day’s calls and messages while the IIT professors weren't available for comment. Another civic official said, “The reservoir compartment was completely emptied and refilled for an internal inspection of the reservoir. The water supply was cut to some of the parts of the city while some areas received low-pressure water. Citizens may receive muddy water for one day after resuming the supply.” Deadline extension The committee will evaluate the suggestions and submit its final report by January 15. The original submission date was December 1. But not a single meeting was held in one month and so after the letter from guardian minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha on November 28, civic chief I S Chahal extended the deadline by 45 days.

09 December,2023 07:28 AM IST | Mumbai | Prajakta Kasale
The accused being taken into custody after his partner’s remains were found in his Mira Road flat. File Pic/Hanif Patel

Chemical analysis doesn’t prove Mira Road ‘murder victim’ drank pesticide

The Naya Nagar police station have received chemical analysis (CA) reports in connection with the case of the woman who was allegedly poisoned and chopped into pieces by her live-in partner in early June. The accused, 56, was apprehended on June 8 and the police investigation revealed that he had allegedly boiled some of her body parts in a pressure cooker and fed a few to stray dogs. “The hospital had conducted a chemical analysis on her remains, and the report is inconclusive as to whether she had consumed pesticide before her death. However, this will not hamper the case as before this, DNA reports and blood samples had been matched. The accused will be punished according to the law,” said Jayant Bajbale, DCP, Zone I. According to the police, the accused claims the deceased had consumed pesticide on June 4. He had stated that she was lying on a bed and foam was gushing out of her mouth. He claimed that fearing that the police take action against him for abetting ‘her suicide’, he decided to chop up the body and dispose of the parts. However, the CA report couldn’t conclude whether she had indeed consumed pesticide. “The body was sent in a very bad state and hence it would have been difficult for forensic scientists to determine whether there were traces of poison in the remains,” said a police officer on the condition of anonymity. According to the FIR, the accused killed the woman on June 4, used a chainsaw to dismember the body and pressure-cooked and roasted the parts in an attempt to get rid of them.  June 4The day of murder

09 December,2023 07:25 AM IST | Mumbai | Apoorva Agashe
The dustbins are expected to prevent strays and rodents from creating a mess. They require a special mechanism to take the garbage out

Mumbai: Civic hospitals to get underground dustbins

AMID the prevailing difficulties in installing underground community bins in the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to set them up in all civic hospitals in a phased exercise. The BMC will consider installing the underground community bins in all public places later. According to civic data, there are around 1,500 traditional community bins on the city’s streets. In 2019, the civic body decided to install underground bins. “In the first phase, we have decided to install 15 underground bins in civic hospitals. This will help mitigate the solid waste problem in hospitals. The underground bins will be a neater arrangement than traditional community bins. This would also prevent rodents and stray dogs from pulling garbage out of the bins,” the civic official said. There are around 21 civic-run hospitals in the city, five of which are major hospitals and 16 are peripheral hospitals. In addition, there are 30 maternity homes and one hospital is being built at Bhandup and Chandivli each. In the second phase of the exercise, the remaining hospitals would be equipped with the bins. 700 kg junk in one bin  According to the civic official, the capacity of the underground bins will be 2.2 cubic meters which means one bin can accommodate around 700 kilograms of waste. Each open community bin costs around Rs 1 lakh, while one underground community bin costs around Rs 10 lakh. “Yes, the cost is very high but new types of community bins are needed in the city,” the official added. “Entering the bins is not possible so a different kind of mechanism would be used to extract the garbage by accessing them from below the ground,” the official said. The BMC will consider setting up the bins at other public places later.  The civic body has been facing difficulties in installing the underground bins owing to 29 utilities such as water pipelines, sewage and stormwater lines. It has managed to install underground bins in 11 public places so far. Rs 10LCost of one underground community bin

09 December,2023 07:22 AM IST | Mumbai | A Correspondent
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Mumbai: Two arrested for pushing 12-year-old into flesh trade

A woman from Powai and a hotel manager have been arrested for pushing a girl aged 12 years into prostitution. Durga Singh, 34, was apprehended along with Mohammed Naved, 23, in an operation conducted by Unit X of the Mumbai Crime Branch on Wednesday, December 6.  Singh allegedly pushed the girl into prostitution to make quick money. Based on credible information, Unit X conducted the operation within the jurisdiction of the MIDC police. A raid, wherein a police officer pretended to be a customer, was conducted at the Silver Cloud Hotel in Marol on December 6. The raid led to the discovery that the girl was trafficked by Singh. Police detained Singh and Naved, who is the manager of Silver Cloud Hotel. The girl was rescued by the police and then released. The police also seized Rs 7,000 in cash and two mobile phones. The Unit X said in a statement, “The woman and Naved, the hotel manager, engaged in the act [of trafficking] were detained, and the minor girl in their custody was released.” An officer from Unit X told mid-day, “The girl lost her father some time back and then her mother remarried. This made life difficult for the girl. Singh convinced her to get into prostitution.” Singh and Naved have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

09 December,2023 07:20 AM IST | Mumbai | Prasun Choudhari
The police are reviewing CCTV footage from in and around the hospital in an effort to identify the woman. Representation pic

Newborn girl found dead at Sion hospital; cops investigate suspected infanticide

The Sion police have filed an FIR against an unidentified woman after the body of a newborn girl was discovered on the premises of Sion hospital. As per the police, the incident came to light on December 8 around 5.30 am when cleaner Saraswati Dongre, 66, from Lokmanya Tilak hospital found the body in a dustbin near a toilet. “She was cleaning all the bins, but when she touched the one near the toilet, it felt heavier than usual. Upon opening it, she discovered the body of a newborn baby girl wrapped in a black polythene bag,” said a police officer. Dongre immediately informed the doctors, who, upon examination, pronounced the baby dead. The police are reviewing CCTV footage from in and around the hospital in an effort to identify the woman. “At present, we’ve filed an FIR against an unknown woman, suspecting that she might have killed the girl due to a possible unwanted pregnancy. Further investigation is ongoing,” said Senior PI Manisha Shikre of Sion police station.

09 December,2023 07:18 AM IST | Mumbai | Apoorva Agashe
The BMC increased the number of misting machines, which require much less water to spray water and settle the dust

Mumbai: BMC missing daily target to wash 650 km of roads

A month and a half after launching the exercise to wash at least 650 km of roads daily to mitigate air pollution, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has not achieved its daily target. The mist cannons, however, have helped it cover 500 km of roads. Washing roads is one of the BMC’s measures to tackle air pollution. It has issued anti-dust norms for building contractors and served notices to errant ones, it removed furnaces and has considered setting up air filters on vehicles. Of the total 2,050 km of roads in the city, it aimed to wash 650 km daily so that each road is washed at least every three days. Its next target was to wash 1,000 km of roads daily to reduce the interval between every wash to two days. However, water tankers deployed by the BMC are able to cover only 350 km to 400 km of roads daily. The BMC increased the number of misting machines, which are able to cover 150 km of roads every day. The mist cannons help settle dust particles in the air onto the roads. “We have asked civic wards to increase the distance of roads covered and the number is rising daily. In addition to that, misting machines are doing a good job of settling the dust with very little water. We are able to cover 500 km of roads for dust mitigation every day,” a BMC official said. Wards wait for funds “We try to cover as much distance as possible but the roads are empty for only a few hours. It may not be possible to cover one third of a ward every day with the infrastructure available,” said a ward officer. He added that wards have not received funds to wash roads yet. The civic commissioner had approved in principle the approximate cost of Rs 13 crore to clean 650 km of roads daily for four months. “If this amount is not sufficient, wards will demand more funds,” said an official.  According to a civic report, on Wednesday, December 6, the civic body washed 348 km of road using 8.47 lakh litres of water. An average of 2,500 litres of water was used per km of road. The quantity of water required to wash roads is also a concern. It varies between 2,000 litres and 3,500 litres per km for each ward. On Wednesday, K West ward washed 26 km of roads with 1.10 lakh litres of water, whereas P West ward used 1 lakh litres of water to wash 21 km of roads. “Roads with wide footpaths and large widths require more water than narrow gullies. The water is being drawn from borewells and not from wells with potable water,” said an official. The report adds that around 153 km of city roads were misted on Wednesday by using just 6,253 litres of water, with an average of 41 litres of water used per km.  ‘Pointless exercise’ Former corporator and opposition leader, Ravi Raja, said that washing roads is not the solution. “The BMC is spending crores on washing roads and misting but it won’t help in curbing air pollution. Instead, they should act against the construction sites and force them to follow the rules,” Raja said.

09 December,2023 07:16 AM IST | Mumbai | Prajakta Kasale
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