Delhi Police pulled up for lackadaisical Unitech probe
A court here has pulled up Delhi Police for its lackadaisical approach in conducting investigation, and termed as "eyewash" the report filed in a case of misappropriation of funds by real estate company Unitech Ltd.
 
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gaurav Rao asked the deputy commissioner of police to appear before him on October 14 and directed the investigating officer to file a detailed report on the probe, which should be forwarded by the office of the police commissioner along with his remarks.
 
The order was delivered last week but was released to the media on Wednesday.
 
The court was hearing a case of cheating and misappropriation of funds by the company and other accused, where it was alleged that Unitech Ltd. launched a housing complex project in Gurgaon's Sector 70.
 
As per the agreement entered between the parties in 2011, the project was to be completed by 2014 and the possession handed over to the buyers.
 
It was submitted by the investors that the accused collected sums of around Rs.500 crore from the investors/complainants as well as banks and not even a single penny of the amount so collected was utilised towards the fulfillment of the contractual obligation.
 
Instead, the amount was misappropriated for some other purposes, they said.
 
The court was not satisfied with the police probe.
 
"This is yet another case wherein the builder lobby has taken hundreds of innocent investors for a ride," the court said.
 
"I am not satisfied with the investigation conducted by the investigating officer. The report is nothing but an eyewash," the judge said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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US FDA Pulls Four Cigarette Brands Off Market
One of the brands whose sales were halted is popular among youth smokers
 
The FDA has halted the sales of four cigarette brands including Camel Crush Bold, which is a popular brand among youth smokers, marking the second time this summer that the agency has exercised its authority under a far-reaching 2009 tobacco-control law to regulate the industry.
 
The agency said it ordered the four brands, which carried new features such as a higher level of menthol, off the market because R.J. Reynolds, the second-largest tobacco company in the country, failed to prove that they do not present any more health risks than products previously sold.
 
“These decisions were based on a rigorous, science-based review designed to protect the public from the harms caused by tobacco use,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.
 
The order signals that the FDA is stepping up its regulatory muscle under the Tobacco Control Act of 2009 to pursue action against cigarette companies. In August, the agency warned the makers of Winston, Natural American Spirit and Nat Sherman cigarettes that advertising their smokes as “natural” and/or “additive-free” violates the tobacco-control law. The FDA said the companies did not have its approval to market their cigarettes with claims that the agency said implied they are safer than other brands.
 
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids applauded the FDA’s efforts to order a major cigarette brand — Camel Crush Bold — off the market. Matthew Myers, the group’s president, said:
 
Before the 2009 law, tobacco companies were free to change their products in secret, and no government agency had the authority to do anything about it. The FDA now has the authority to stop these harmful tobacco industry actions, and the agency’s action today is a much-needed step forward.
 
The other three products ordered pulled from the shelves were Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter Menthol and Vantage Tech 13.
 
Find more of TINA.org’s coverage on tobacco here. 
 
 

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Take a Valium, Lose Your Kid, Go to Jail
In Alabama, anti-drug fervour and abortion politics have turned a meth-lab law into the country's harshest weapon against pregnant women
 
Casey Shehi’s son James was born in August 2014, remarkably robust even though he was four weeks premature. But the maternity nurse at Gadsden Regional Medical Center seemed almost embarrassed, and as she took the baby from his exhausted mother’s arms, Shehi felt a prick of dread.
 
“She said they were going to have to take him back to the nursery to produce some urine, because I had a positive drug screen for benzodiazepines,” Shehi, 37, recalled one evening a few months ago at a café near her mother’s home. She hadn’t been sleeping well; her brown hair hung lank past her shoulders, and her eyes were rimmed with worry. “I said: ‘That can’t be true. Can you please check it again? Run the screen again.’ ”
 
The nurse asked: Did she have a prescription for any form of benzo — Xanax or Klonopin or Ativan? No, Shehi insisted, there must be a mistake.
Then she remembered: the Valium.
 
One night a few weeks earlier, Shehi and her ex-husband got into a huge argument on the phone. She was in the late stages of what had been a difficult pregnancy; she was achy and bloated, and her ankles felt like they might explode. After the fight, she called her mother, Ann Sharpe, a retired teacher and guidance counselor who lived nearby. “She was really upset — ‘I’m miserable, I’m sick, I can’t sleep,’ ” Sharpe recalled. “I said, ‘Do you have something you can take?’ ” As Shehi later told investigators, she had swallowed half of one of her boyfriend’s Valiums to calm herself down. 
 
Not long after, Shehi and her boyfriend and their various kids packed up the camper and drove 325 miles from Gadsden, in northeast Alabama, to the beach in Panama City, Florida, for one last vacation before the baby came. The weather was sweltering, the trailer — a grimy relic with an air conditioner that only worked when it wanted to — suffocating. Shehi was too keyed up to sleep, her 4-year-old son curled up beside her on the narrow bed. Finally, she reached for the other half of the tranquilizer.
 
As Shehi recounted the story, the maternity nurse told her, “Okay, okay.” 
 
By that night, everything really did seem all right. Excited nurses woke Shehi and handed her the baby, swaddled in a light blanket. “They told me: ‘He’s good, he’s clean. You can have him now, no worries.’ ” Exposure to too much benzodiazepine during pregnancy can sometimes cause newborns to be fussy or floppy-limbed. But occasional, small doses of diazepam (the generic name for Valium) are considered safe. According to the lab report, James had nothing in his system. Shehi said the pediatrician reassured her, “Everything’s cool.” 
 
The next day, Shehi and the baby went home, and someone from the Department of Human Resources, the state child welfare agency, paid a visit. In recent years, Alabama authorities have been aggressive about removing newborns from the custody of mothers who abuse drugs, typically placing a baby with a relative or foster family under a safety plan that can continue for months or years. The social worker listened to Shehi and Sharpe’s story and concluded that theirs wasn’t one of those situations. “She said: ‘I understand the pain you are in, and I understand what’s going on. I won’t take the baby away,’ ” Sharpe recalled. 
 
But one morning a few weeks later, when Shehi was back at her job in a nursing home and the baby was with a sitter, investigators from the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office showed up at the front desk with a warrant. She had been charged with “knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally” causing her baby to be exposed to controlled substances in the womb — a felony punishable in her case by up to 10 years in prison. The investigators led her to an unmarked car, handcuffed her and took her to jail. 
 
Shehi had run afoul of Alabama’s “chemical endangerment of a child” statute, the country’s toughest criminal law on prenatal drug use. Passed in 2006 as methamphetamine ravaged Alabama communities, the law targeted parents who turned their kitchens and garages into home-based drug labs, putting their children at peril.
 
Within months, prosecutors and courts began applying the law to women who exposed their embryo or fetus to… Continue Reading… 
 

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