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Shot at by bikers, woman crashes car into footpath in Dwarka

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A 30-year-old woman was critically injured on Wednesday morning after being shot at near Radisson Blu hotel in west Delhi’s Dwarka.

Police said that the woman, identified as Kiran Bala, was targeted by two motorcycle-borne men when she was driving back home after dropping her son at school.

The gunshots made Bala lose control of her vehicle, causing it to break through a road divider before crashing into a footpath several metres away. The car’s tyre burst and the vehicle’s airbags were deployed by the time it came to a halt.

Police said one bullet passed through Bala’s neck while another grazed her hand, leaving her battling for life at Venkateshwar Hospital in Dwarka.

Anto Alphonse, deputy commissioner of police (Dwarka), said that by Thursday evening, Bala’s husband Varun Yadav, was among four persons detained by the police for questioning. “The couple shared a strained relationship. Her husband is the primary suspect in the case,” said the DCP.

The officer said that Yadav has been arrested twice in the past, including once last year for shooting at someone during a drunken brawl. “He has worked with a bank in the past but is currently unemployed,” said the officer.

Yadav had married Bala in 2008. They have a four-year-old son who studies at a private school located near the crime spot. Bala is a homemaker who sometimes dabbles in real estate dealings. According to the police, the couple has been embroiled in a matrimonial dispute that is currently playing out in a court.

A senior police officer said that Bala lived in a Dwarka flat owned by her in-laws. Her husband lived elsewhere in the same neighbourhood. “Earlier this year, her husband had filed a case of trespassing against her after accusing her of trying to occupy another flat owned by him,” said the officer.

On Thursday morning, Bala had dropped her son off at his school and was driving back her Nissan Go car when she was attacked.

According to an eye-witness, Mahender, the two men wearing helmets and riding a red Pulsar motorcycle closed in on Bala’s car while it was about to negotiate a roundabout near Radisson Blu hotel in Dwarka Sector 12 around 7.45am.

“The pillion rider whipped out a pistol and fired multiple times at the woman through the car’s window on the driver’s side. The men then sped away. Their motorcycle didn’t have a number plate,” said Mahender.

Police suspect that the shooting caused the woman to lose control over her car and jam her foot down on the accelerator in panic. “The car swerved off the roundabout, broke through a road verge and then crashed into a footpath about 60-70 metres frem the spot where she was shot at,” said Mahender.

An auto-rickshaw driver, who was resting nearby, immediately rushed to her help. “The bullet had knocked her unconscious but her car’s airbags saved her from more harm. I brought her out, loaded her on an e-rickshaw and rushed her to a hospital,” said the driver, who didn’t want to identify himself.

Bala’s siblings told the police that they suspected her husband of having plotted the attack, prompting the police to pick him up for questioning. “We are probing if the matrimonial dispute or conflicts between them over property had anything to do with the attack,” said the DCP.

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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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