HYDERABAD THURSDAY FEBRUARY 18, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 16 LATE CITY EDITION PETROL PRICE CROSSES `100/LTR IN RAJASTHAN 60% OF THE RETAIL COST IS GOVT TAXES At `100.13, a litre of petrol was at its costliest in Sriganganagar town of the western state. In Madhya Pradesh, the rate is `99.90 MODI BLAMES PREDECESSORS FOR SPIKE The all-time high price comes weeks after the state slashed 2% VAT on fuel. Still, at 36% after the rate cut, Rajasthan’s levy is the highest in India. Diesel in Sriganganagar is at `92.13. Central and state taxes make up for as much as 60% of the retail price of petrol and over 54% of diesel. The Centre levies `32.90 a litre as excise duty on petrol ■ Petrol rates have risen by `19.95 a litre since mid-March ’20, after Centre hiked levy to benefit from the fall in international prices ■ PM Modi said if previous regimes had focused on reducing India’s energy dependence, global fluctuations wouldn’t have hurt the middle-class. India imported 85% of fuel in the last financial year `91.45 PETROL PRICE IN CHENNAI. IN MUMBAI, IT’S `96, DELHI `89.54, KOLKATA `90.78 CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI FIR says toolkit Akbar’s defamation suit against Ramani chucked part of plot to damage India K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi No names of accused in it; Nikita Jacob gets three-week advance bail from HC G AYAT H R I M A N I A N D S U D H I R S U R YA W A N S H I @New Delhi/Mumbai AN accidentally-leaked toolkit Google doc was not just meant to amplify the ongoing farmers protest, it also contained a detailed plan to wage an economic, social, cultural and regional war against India, if one were to go by the first information report (FIR) the Delhi Police filed on February 4. The FIR does not name any of the accused, including activists Disha Ravi, Shantanu Muluk and Nikita Jacob, but Disha’s arrest and the subsequent actions are on its basis. Disha’s advocate got access to the FIR on Wednesday . Four sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) — 123A, 153, 153A and 120B — pertaining to sedition, criminal conspiracy and creating disharmony or enmity between different groups religious, regional and social groups, have been invoked in the FIR. The toolkit inadvertantly shared by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg on February 3 is at the centre of the raging controversy . “A perusal of the said document (toolkit) reveals that it was promoting campaign material by Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF), a Canada-based organization that openly and deliberately shared posts on social media to create disharmony and enmity, hatred and ill-will among different religious, cultural and regional groups,” the FIR states. It claims the January 26 violence was part of a pre-planned conspiracy of the PJF. In the toolkit, “There a call for economic warfare against India and certain Indian companies. Their assets in India and outside are to be made targets for physical as well as coordinated actions.... The documents specifically mentions targeting certain regions of India to instigate enmity and divide. Further, detailed plans have been made by conspirators to instigate certain communities against one another,” the FIR alleged. Meanwhile, Mumbai-based advocate Nikita Jacob was given three-week transit anticipa- ‘Pre-planned plot’ “It is evident from the contents of the said toolkit that the violence that took place at the streets of Delhi on 26th January 2021 near ITO, at the Red Fort, near Nangloi, etc., as a result of the farmers’ protest was a pre-planned conspiracy meant to undermine India’s sovereignty and integrity, security of the state and public order,” the FIR said tory bail by the Bombay High Court on Wednesday . While passing the bail order, Justice P D Naik cited the Aurangabad bench order that gave advance bail to another accused Shantanu Muluk the previous day adding: “It would , not be appropriate to make any observations on the merits of the case.” The Delhi Police claim that Disha Ravi and Nikita Jacob were editors of the toolkit created by Shantanu Muluk. Joblessness dips in TS, experts say take it with a pinch of salt A I H I K S U R @ Hyderabad UNEMPLOYMENT in Telangana has reduced from December, 2020 and the situation in the State is much better than the national rate, IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao said on Wednesday However, experts say these figures look largely into . the informal sector and that a more precise overview can be recorded if the data of the urban educated unemployed is also factored in. The data, which was sourced from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economoy’s ‘Unemployment Rate Monthly Time Series’, shows a nearly two-fold improvement in Telangana’s unemployment rate. “The rate of unemployment in Telangana is much lower than the national average. The State recorded 7 per cent in December, 2020, which further decreased to 4.5 per cent in January 2021,” Rama Rao said. A look into the State’s unemployment , rate over the past few months shows that it has been a see-saw, CONTINUED ON P3 with the numbers fluctuating every month. STRESSING that women cannot be punished for raising their voice against sexual abuse, a Delhi court on Wednesday acquitted journalist Priya Ramani in a defamation suit filed by former Union minister M J Akbar contesting her allegations of sexual harassment by him in the past. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey said, “The right of Priya Ramani MJ Akbar reputation cannot be protected at the cost of the right of life and dignity of woman as guaranteed in Indian Constitution under Article 21 and right of N A V E E N K U M A R TA L L A M @ Peddapalli IN an act of wanton cruelty , a lawyer couple — Gattu Vaman Rao (52) and Nagamani (46) — was hacked to death at Kalvacherla under the Ramagiri police station limits on the Peddapalli-Manthani road in the district on Wednesday afternoon. According to police, the lawyers were returning to their residence in Bowenpally Secunderabad, in a car , from the Manthani court after arguing a case. That’s when two persons — one of them being Manthani TRS president Kunta Sreenu — swooped down on them and hacked them with sickles used to cut coconuts. The assailants, who were in another car, first chased the couple for some distance, overtook them at Kalvacherla, stopped their car in the middle of the road and cornered Vaman Rao. As soon as Vaman Rao’s driver stopped the vehicle, the assailants rushed to the car, smashed open the window panes and brutally attacked the lawyer with knives. When his wife Nagamani tried to stop them, they killed her too. Later, they dragged Vaman Rao out and hacked him indiscriminately in the middle of the busy Peddapalli-Manthani road. All this occurred in broad daylight around 2.30 pm. As the assailants attacked their victims, the drivers of two RTC buses halted, as though they were waiting for them to get done with the horrendous act. A few passersby merely watched the horror unfold but could not muster the courage to rescue Vaman Rao. After one bus moved, enough room was created for the assailants to flee. They got into their car and drove away, running over the grievously injured lawyer, who lay in a pool of blood. CONTINUED ON P4 Motive behind the gore Vaman Rao belonged to the same village as Manthani TRS president Kunta Sreenu — Gunjapadugu — where there was a dispute over the construction of a building near Ramalayam. The lawyer couple visited the village and later Manthani court where they took the petitioner’s signature on some forms for a case related to the temple He and his wife Nagamani used to file PILs against the govt and police. They even took up the case of Seelam Rangaiah, who died in Manthani police custody recently A few months ago, they moved the TS HC seeking direction to the govt to give them protection as they were facing threats THE Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved a key change in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 to authorise district magistrates to validate adoptions. The decision is meant to address the rather slow in-country adoptions in India, as hundreds of prospective parents are forced to wait for years to adopt orphaned or abandoned children. As of now, prospective adoptive parents are re- quired to go to civil or family courts to get the final go-ahead after all formalities are over. However, with pendency high in civil and family courts, it is not easy to get a date for hearing, said officials in the Central Adoption Resource Agency under the Union women and child development ministry . Government figures show that 2,160 adoptions took place in India in 2020-21 but officials pointed out that about 1,000 adoption cases are pending in courts at any given time. “Though the JJ law mandates that courts have to dispose of adoption cases within two months from the date of filing of application, it rarely happens,” said an official. “The latest amendment PARAMETERS FOR APPOINTING CWC MEMBERS Defining eligibility parameters for appointment of child welfare committee members, and categorising previously undefined offences as “serious offence” are some of the other aspects of the proposal understand sexual abuse and harassment and its implications on the victim,” the court said, adding most women do not speak about it because of social stigma. “This judgment is a validation of the stand taken by us and all women during the #Metoo campaign,” Ramani’s lawyer Rebecca John later said. Ramani had in 2018 made allegations of sexual harassment against Akbar in wake of the #MeToo movement. Cong sweeps Punjab civic polls; big blow to BJP, AAP H A R P R E E T B A J W A @ Chandigarh The ghastly daylight murder of the couple has sent shock waves across Telangana High Court advocates Gattu Vaman Rao, 52, and Nagamani, 46, were brutally murdered in broad daylight at Kalvacherla in Peddapalli on Wednesday Murders ‘birthday gifts’ for KCR, alleges Bandi EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad STRONGLY condemning the murder of advocate couple Gattu Vaman Rao and wife Nagamani in broad daylight at Kalvacherla of Peddapalli district, the Opposition accused the TRS government of sponsoring the killings. They said that law and order in the State had taken a serious knock. BJP State president Bandi Sanjay Kumar called for a statewide protest on Thursday by advocates and demanded the enactment of a law to protect advocates. Sanjay alleged that the murders were “birthday gifts” for Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao by TRS activists bent on silencing those who were calling the govern- ment to account. “The Chief Minister should clarify if he will accept the gift or not,” he said. The BJP leader demanded that the State government order an inquiry by a sitting High Court judge to deliver justice to the victims’ families. “Gattu Vaman Rao and his wife Nagamani had filed many cases against the State government. Vaman Rao had evidence against top leaders. This isn’t a murder in isolation. This is a murder committed by the State government itself.” TPCC president N Uttam Kumar Reddy alleged that the ruling TRS had unleashed “murder politics” in the State. Querying whether law and order existed in the State, he called for a CBI inquiry into the twin murders. AS expected, the ruling Congress swept the civic polls in Punjab held in the backdrop of a prolonged farmers’ protests being supported by it. The Shiromani Akali Dal came a distant second and the BJP last, with the main opposition AAP faring well below its expectations. The civic polls were held barely a year ahead of the Assembly polls. The Congress swept seven municipal corporations in the state as it bagged Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Abohar, Pathankot, Batala, Moga and Bathinda. It was after decades that the party wrested the Bathinda civic body from the Akali Dal. The results of Mohali Municipal Corporation will be declared on Thursday Bathinda Lok Sabha . constituency is represented by former Union minister Harsimrat Badal of SAD, which broke off from the NDA last year over the new farm laws. Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh said the victory was due to its “progressive policies”. EXPRESS READ Tsitsipas stuns Nadal in five-set thriller CONTINUED ON P4 HC advocates to boycott duty today (Top) Onlookers gather at the crime spot where Vaman Rao lay in a pool of blood. The car in which the couple were travelling in. They were heading back to their Bowenpally residence DMs to approve adoption, ease bottleneck @ New Delhi is happening to them or what is happening to them is wrong. Despite how well respected some persons are in the society , they in their personal lives, could show extreme cruelty to females.” The court took note of the systematic abuse at the workplace due to lack of grievance redressal mechanisms at the time Priya Ramani and witness Ghazala Wahab were allegedly sexually harassed. “Time has come for society to HORROR ON ROAD: LAWYER COUPLE HACKED TO DEATH CABINET STAMP S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA equality before law and equal protection of law as guaranteed u n d e r A r t i cl e 1 4 o f t h e Constitution.” The court accepted Ramani’s contention that Akbar wasn’t a man of stellar reputation. In its 91-page verdict, the court said, “It cannot be ignored that most of the time, the offence of sexual harassment and sexual abuse (was) committed in the close doors or privately . Sometimes the victims herself does not understand what will clear these major hindrances in the way of children r e a c h i n g t h e i r a d o p t ive families.” As per the norms, orphaned and abandoned children are required to be declared legally free for adoption within two months in the case of a child up to the age of two years and within four months in case of a child above the age of two years, after following due procedure. Further, surrendered children are required to be declared legally free for adoption after two months, called reconsideration period, from the date of surrender of the child. Hyderabad: Strongly condemning the brutal murders of advocate couple Gattu Vaman Rao and his wife Nagamani, the Telangana High Court Bar Association called upon its members to abstain from court work on Thursday. This is to protest the inhuman murders and send a strong message to the miscreants. Also, the Bar Council of Telangana demanded that police probe into the incident and arrest the culprits immediately. Several Bar associations across the State have also condemned the incident and decided to protest against it CONTINUED ON P4 in one voice. Stefanos Tsitsipas came back from two sets down to beat Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinal of the Australian Open. The five setter scoreline read 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 7-5 I AFP I P11 Illegal buildings leave Puppalaguda society gasping for open space EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad THERE is not an inch of open space left for public use in the Secretariat Staff Cooperative Society which is spread over an expanse of around 70 guntas in Puppalaguda, a soughtafter suburb of Hyderabad near the IT corridor. Open spaces covering an area equivalent to 10 per cent of the Society have been encroached upon, a joint committee, formed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to look into the matter, has reported. The committee, in its report, said 66 buildings were illegally constructed in the open spaces, which should have otherwise been used to develop parks. What’s more shocking is that the open spaces were dem a rc at e d a ro u n d storm water drains. It is to be seen if these buildings encroach upon the nalas too. The committee, comprising officials from the Revenue and I r r i g at i o n d e p a r t m e n t s, HMDA, Pollution Control Board and State Environment Impact Assessment Authority , reported that the Irrigation Department was requested “to demarcate the nala portion to ascertain if there are any enc ro a ch m e n t s o n t h e nalas.” The NGT is hearing a petition filed by the Human Rights and Consumer Protection Cell. Blaming the Puppalaguda panchayat for the encroachments, the panel said it gave permissions to construct the buildings as it was under the impression that the Society’s layout was cancelled by the government.
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