Citizens' Issues
CID quizzes suspended Bengaluru cop on lottery scam

An IPS officer of 1994 batch, Kumar's name figured two-three times along with that of five other high-ranking police officers in the report on the multi-crore lottery scam, thriving across Karnataka despite an official ban

 

CID sleuths on Sunday interrogated suspended Bengaluru additional commissioner of police Alok Kumar on his alleged nexus with lottery scam kingpin Peri Rajan.
 
"A team of four officers interrogated Kumar for over seven hours since afternoon on his meetings and conversations with Rajan on the basis of mobile and landline call records in connection with the illegal single digit lottery scheme in the state," a CID official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IANS.
 
As the interrogation will continue on Monday, the official declined to share more details but said the role of other serving and retired police officers who figure in the CID report would be investigated.
 
An IPS officer of 1994 batch, Kumar's name figured two-three times along with that of five other high-ranking police officers in the report on the multi-crore lottery scam, thriving across Karnataka despite an official ban, as such schemes were operative in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
 
The state home ministry ordered a CID probe into the scam after a Kannada news channel telecast in April a sting operation on Rajan who boasted connections with top police officials and that "the law dare not touch him".
 
Though the CID sleuths took Rajan into police custody at Bangarpet in Kolar, his arrest was not made public.
 
Earlier, Superintendent of Police, Lottery Squad, Dharanesh was suspended earlier this month, as he was heard talking to Rajan in the sting operation's video clip.
 
In addition, names of a serving additional director general of police and inspector general of police, and retired director general of police Shankar Bidari and another ADGP figure in the CID report.
 
"Kumar has been accused of interfering with the CID probe into the lottery scam and attempting to prevent Rajan's arrest by calling up the jurisdictional sub inspector at Bangarpet on April 28," the official said quoting from the interim report.
 
Kumar, however, told the probe team that though he knew Rajan as a friend and a well-wisher, he was not aware of the latter's illegal activities such as operating the lottery scheme of other states in Karnataka despite the ban.
 
"I was introduced to Rajan four-five years ago and has been meeting me now and then. But I never knew he was into such activities," h said in his defence.
 
Bidari too denied knowing Rajan and refuted charges levelled by Janata Dal-Secular lawmaker and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy of involvement in the scam.
 

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Learn from Nepal quake, stop illegal construction: Himachal High Court

A division bench consisting of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan pointed out that even though the latest studies indicated that most of Himachal Pradesh fell in seismic zone V and the remaining in zone IV, this fact had failed to move the authorities in Shimla

 

Taking notice of haphazard development and encroachments in the state capital, where "most buildings are precariously hanging", the Himachal Pradesh High Court has observed that the devastating earthquake in Nepal last month had failed to shake the authorities out of their slumber and curb illegal construction that has turned Shimla into a "slum".
 
In a 29-page strongly-worded judgment delivered last week, a division bench consisting of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan pointed out that even though the latest studies indicated that most of Himachal Pradesh fell in seismic zone V and the remaining in zone IV, this fact had failed to move the authorities in Shimla. 
 
The quake-prone erstwhile summer capital of the Raj cannot avert a Himalayan tragedy of the kind that killed thousands and caused massive destruction in Nepal, the bench said, while taking suo motu cognisance of encroachments in Shimla markets.
 
"It is high time that building byelaws are suitably amended by taking into consideration the recent seismic activity in the entire Himalayan region," it said while asserting that illegal structures won't be regularised.
 
The order mentioned that Shimla's north slope of the Ridge and open space just above the Mall, which extends to the Grand Hotel in the west and Lower Bazaar in the east, was slowly sinking.
 
"Most buildings are precariously hanging on the steep slopes and clinging to one another. A moderate to high intensity temblor can be catastrophic for congested settlements, with no escape routes. They are likely to collapse like a pack of cards, more particularly when none of the authorities has ever cared to carry out the seismic pounding effects in buildings," the court added.
 
"We can only fasten the blame on the haphazard and illegal constructions being carried out and all-out efforts being made for converting the once scenic seven hills of this town into a concrete jungle," the judges said.
 
"It cannot be denied that haphazard, unplanned and illegal constructions have marred the beauty of hill towns, more particularly the capital, Shimla.
 
"Why then is the administration permitting it to be converted into a slum," the judges asked and directed the Shimla Municipal Corporation to demolish all illegal projections within six weeks.
 
During the hearing, the amicus curiae pointed out that it was not only the market roads that had been encroached upon in Shimla but also public roads had been choked, making it difficult for emergency vehicles to reach the spot of a mishap in time.
 
The high court said that after decades of haphazard development and environmental degradation, there was a ray of hope for Shimla getting the Unesco World Heritage Site Tag.
 
"But can the city get the status in the current scenario where the encroachers are having a field day and the roads are completely choked?" the bench asked.
 
Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma told IANS that the government was planning to decongest the capital by moving out some government offices to its peripheral areas.

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Nepal Stock Exchange resumes operations after one month

Though the share market witnessed a huge loss, Nepse believed the market could rise in the coming days

 

The Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse) resumed its operations on Sunday almost a month after the April 25 earthquake that wrought severe devastation in the Himalayan country.
 
The market re-started transactions after relocating from some buildings which were badly damaged by the 7.9-magnitude quake last month. Nepse has been operating its system from its head office while the server is located inside the home ministry.
 
Though the share market witnessed a huge loss, Nepse believed the market could rise in the coming days.
 
"We could not operate for 19 working days. However, in the coming weeks, we are hopeful that the scenario will be revived," Sitaram Thapaliya, general manager of Nepse, told Xinhua news agency.
 
Trading has also started in major four cities -- Biratnagar, Pokhara, Dharan and Narayanghat -- from Sunday.
 
The Stock exchange had closed on April 23 at 938.19 points.

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