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Neighbour held for raping and killing 7-year-old girl in Narela

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A week after a seven-year-old girl was found dead in an abandoned sewage plant in outer Delhi’s Narela Industrial Area, police on Sunday arrested her 28-year-old neighbour for raping and then strangulating her to death.

The man shocked the investigators when he confessed that he sexually assaulted the minor girl and murdered her because he had a grudge against the child’s father, said an officer who asked not to be named.

Police have learnt that the man, who is a part-time driver and also works at a pickle-making factory, served a jail term after his arrest for the rape of a minor girl in 2011 in outer Delhi. He was in jail for 13 months until the rape survivor’s family withdrew the case and charges were dropped, the officer added.

Police said they arrested the man this week after two witnesses reported seeing him with the child on the night she went missing.

According to the police, on June 14, the girl, a student of Class 2 who was third among five siblings, went out to play in a park near her house around 6.30pm.

Police said, when the girl did not return home by 8pm, her mother informed her husband, who works as a spice vendor in north-east Delhi.

“The girl’s father and a few locals from the area searched for the girl overnight but failed to locate her. The next day, they approached police with the help of a few neighbours and a missing complaint was filed. A police team comprising at least 20 personnel was formed to comb the neighbourhood. Public announcements were made and children homes, hospitals and morgues were checked to find the girl. On June 16, when a police team was searching a park in Narela Industrial Area, the girl’s body was found in the bushes of an abandoned sewage treatment plant in one corner of the park,” said a second officer privy to the investigation who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

Deputy commissioner of police (outer north) Gaurav Sharma said that a case of murder was registered. Since we suspected that the girl was raped, the body was sent for a post-mortem examination and Section 376 (rape) along with sections under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Posco) Act were added to the case.

During the preliminary probe, the girl’s mother told the police that, about two months ago, the neighbour had tried to take her daughter to an abandoned stretch close by, offering her some money and sweets. The woman said that had spotted the man and the child together and she was rescued. No police case was registered at that time.

Sharma said that when the police first interrogated the man, he said he was unaware of the incident and that he was at working at the factory till late night on June 14. “When we checked with his colleagues, we learnt that he had left the factory at 5.30pm that day. We confronted him with the fact and with technical surveillance data, after which he confessed to have taken the girl to the secluded park and raped her,” the DCP said.

The man told the police that since he was known to the girl, he could not take the risk of leaving her alive. A police team that visited the spot found a tetra pack of a mango drink, which the man had bought to lure the girl, Sharma said.

The second officer said the alleged rapist-murderer said that the minor’s father had a relationship with his sister. “He stated this as also one of the reason for raping and killing the girl to take revenge of her father’s act,” he added.

Family members and locals burnt effigies of the alleged rapist-murderer on Monday evening.

According to data provided by the Delhi Police, 88 cases were registered under Posco Act in 2017, out of which 70 were solved and 75 people were arrested. In 2018, incidents under Posco Act nearly doubled as 165 cases were registered till November 30. Police claimed to have solved 140 of these cases with the arrest of 144 persons.

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More services at your doorstep in Delhi by month-end

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The Delhi government is going to offer 30 new services under its ambitious ‘doorstep delivery of services’ scheme by the end of this month, according to revenue minister Kailash Gahlot. Delayed by six months, the launch of the scheme’s second phase will allow Delhiites to make changes in their driving license or get a bus pass, among other services, without stepping out of their home.

Once opened to public, the total number of government services provided through the doorstep delivery of services initiative will increase to 70, from the existing 40. The 30 new services that will be added involve 10 departments, including labour, SC/ST welfare, tourism, drugs control, higher education, transport and food, and supplies departments.

“Under the second phase of the scheme, we are going to launch 30 new services by the end of this month. This will also help ration card holders as they will be able to add names of beneficiaries and make other changes in their cards. People will also be able to pay their motor vehicle tax or add a new category of vehicle in their driving license,” said Gahlot.

The scheme was launched by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on September 10 last year. The government had announced that the second phase would be launched on February 1. But, Gahlot said, the launch was deferred because of the Model Code of Conduct that came into effect during the Lok Sabha polls.

Officials in the administrative reforms (AR) department running the scheme, however, said the launch was deferred as the back-end team had to be strengthened. “The software used to crash almost every time due to the demand. Over the past six months, we have worked on developing a completely new software. Besides, earlier there was no linkage between the mobile sahayaks and the call centres and both verticals were operating in silos. We have now linked the two branches,” a senior official said.

Each service costs ₹50 and documents are collected from the applicant’s home through government agents or ‘mobile sahayaks’. The final document will be delivered either by hand or post.

Another official said that in the first three months, the AR department and the private concessionaire handling the back-end team faced difficulties in increasing the number of mobile sahayaks and retaining them. “In October and November, over 50 mobile sahayaks left the job as they were dissatisfied with the pay. Recruiting new employees was a problem, as only those who had a two-wheeler could apply, because the job required for them to travel a lot. These issues have now been sorted,” the official said.

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With 60 minutes to go, ISRO calls off Chandrayaan 2 launch due to snag

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With the countdown clock freezing minutes before 2 am, the launch of Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to moon, was called off 56 minutes before the scheduled time early Monday morning.

The GSLV Mark III carrying the orbiter, lander, and rover was to take off at 02:51 am from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, the country’s only launch site.

The launch was aborted as an “abundant precaution” after a technical snag was noticed in the launch vehicle systems after filling liquid hydrogen in the cryogenic upper stage of the rocket.

“A technical snag was observed in launch vehicle system at 1 hour before the launch. As a measure of abundant precaution, #Chandrayaan2 launch has been called off for today. Revised launch date will be announced later,” a statement from the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) said.

There were four suitable window periods for the launch of Chandrayaan 2 in the month of July – July 15 and 16 and then again during new moon on July 29 and 30. The launch window on July 15, which is just days before the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong first walking on moon, was missed.

The launch is unlikely to happen during the next three windows in July.

“The stages will now have to be drained to see what went wrong,” said an official, on condition of anonymity.

The next window for launch will be in September.

The indigenous mission was first scheduled for March 2018 and delayed four times for making changes in the design of the lander and the orbit in which it would reach the surface of the moon. The July 2019 launch date was decided after a design change to the lander, a change in the orbit, and the new GSLV Mark III launch vehicle to carry the now heavier satellite.

India’s second mission to moon had been approved by the cabinet in 2008 just after Chandrayaan 1. Initially, Russia’s Roscosmos was supposed to develop the lander and the mission had to be postponed when Russia was unable to develop the lander on time and later withdrew after the failure of its mission to Phobos, the moon of Mars, prompting India to develop the entire mission on its own.

Chandrayaan 2 mission will make India the fourth country after the US, USSR, and China to land on moon. It will also be the first mission in the world to land near the lunar South Pole to look for water and cold traps with history of the solar system.

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Suspecting her ‘character’, man crushes 19-yr-old girlfriend’s face: Cops

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A 19-year-old aspiring model was allegedly killed by her boyfriend on suspicion of her “character” in Maharashtra’s Nagpur district, police said Sunday, adding that the accused has been arrested.

The victim is identified as Khushi Parihar, a resident of Nagpur, and the accused as Ashraf Sheikh.

A Nagpur police official said they received information on Saturday morning about the body of a woman with her face crushed lying along Pandhurna-Nagpur highway.

Police identified the victim through social media, he said, adding that Parihar used to participate in local fashion shows and was aspiring to become a model.

Sheikh was later arrested, he said.

According to the official, Sheikh has “confessed” that he killed Parihar because he suspected her character and “closeness” with some youths.

Prima facie, Sheikh travelled with Parihar in his car on July 12 and later allegedly killed her by crushing her head at Savli Fata near Pandhurna-Nagpur highway, the official said.

A case of murder has been registered by Nagpur (Rural) police and further investigation is underway.

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