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Twist in SUV case as ‘mystery woman’ baffles investigators

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In the latest twist to the “SUV Case” in which an SUV Scorpio was found parked outside Antilia, the home of Mukesh Ambani in Mumbai, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is now tracking a “mystery woman” who was accompanying the prime accused Sachin Vaze in a five-star hotel in south Mumbai.

Vaze, currently in NIA custody till Thursday, was seen entering the hotel where he spent at least five days in mid-February using some fake identity papers and the woman close behind him was noticed, baffling the investigators, official sources said.

Though her antecedents are not clear, she is reportedly from Gujarat and may have been involved in some other case being probed by the Mumbai Crime Branch’s elite Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU).

The NIA is also ascertaining five black coloured bags which Vaze was seen carrying while entering the hotel during his stay from February 16, hours after Thane businessman Mansukh Hiren lodged a complaint of his missing SUV Scorpio.

The current whereabouts of the bags are not known, but the NIA is quizzing the hotel staffers and others to trace them and their contents.

As part of the ongoing probe into the SUV and Hiren cases, the NIA is scanning all persons who had met or spoken with Vaze from mid-February till his arrest, and the mystery woman may be questioned shortly.

Meanwhile, the NIA, which has slapped the stringent terror-related charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) on Vaze, will produce him before the court later in the day as his remand ends.

After a Thane Magistrate ordered the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) to hand over the entire case papers to the NIA, the federal agency will investigate even the Hiren death case mystery along with the SUV case.

It was in the early afternoon of February 25 that the abandoned SUV was detected near Antilia and later the police recovered 20 gelatin sticks and a threat note from it.

Exactly 10 days later, the body of Hiren was extricated from the marshes in the Thane Creek near Mumbra town, both incidents triggering a nationwide sensation and the consequent political upheaval.

source: The Statesman

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Tika Utsav beginning of second major war against Corona: PM Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called the ‘Tika Utsav’, vaccination festival, the beginning of the second big war against Corona and has emphasized a special focus on social hygiene along with personal hygiene. The Utsav started today on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and will continue till the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar on April 14th.

In a message on the occasion, the Prime Minister stressed four points with regard to the drive. First, Each One- Vaccinate,meaning those who can’t go themselves for vaccination, such as illiterate and old people, should be assisted.

Second, Each One- Treat One. This involves helping people in getting Corona treatment, who do not have resources or knowledge to get it.

Third, Each One- Save One, meaning I should wear a mask and save myself and others. This should be stressed.

Finally, society and people should lead in creating ‘micro containment zones’. Family members and community members should create ‘micro containment zone’, in case of even a single positive case. ‘Micro containment zones’ are a key component of the fight against Corona in a densely populated country like India, said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister emphasized the need for testing and awareness. He asked that every eligible person should get vaccinated. This should be the primary effort of both the society and the administration, he said.

The Prime Minister insisted that we have to move towards zero vaccine wastage. Optimum utilization of vaccination capacity is a way of increasing our capacity, said the Prime Minister

The Prime Minister said our success will be determined by awareness about ‘micro containment zones’, by not moving out of our homes unnecessarily, vaccination of all eligible persons and how we follow Covid appropriate behaviour like wearing masks and other protocols.

The Prime Minister asked to make targets at the personal, social and administration level for these four days of ‘Tika Utsav’ and diligently make effort to achieve them. He expressed the hope that with people’s participation, awareness and responsible behaviour we will succeed in containing Corona once again.

He ended by reminding – Dawai bhi, kadai bhi.

source: The Statesman

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US announces Freedom of Navigation Operation in Indian waters

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The US has announced that it conducted the Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in Indian waters in the Lakshadweep Islands, leaving the Indian security establishment in a surprise leading to an assessment to ascertain if an operational exercise was actually carried out or was it just an innocent passage.

The US Navy announced that it carried a Freedom of Navigation Operation inside India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) without prior consent.

Reacting to it, a senior government official stated that if it was an innocent passage it’s not an issue.

“We don’t object to normal transiting but if there has been an operational exercise without informing then it needs to be taken up,” the official said.

The US Navy statement said: “On April 7, 2021, the USS John Paul Jones asserted navigational rights and freedoms approximately 130 nautical miles west of the Lakshadweep Islands, inside India’s EEZ, without requesting India’s prior consent, consistent with international law.

“India requires prior consent for military exercises or manoeuvers in its exclusive economic zone or continental shelf, a claim inconsistent with international law.”

The statement further said the FONOP upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognised in international law by challenging India’s excessive maritime claims.

US forces operate in the Indo-Pacific region on a daily basis.

All operations are designed in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the US will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, the statement said.

“We conduct routine and regular FONOP), as we have done in the past and will continue to in the future. FONOPs are not about one country, nor are they about making political statements.”

Indian government officials said it’s unusual for such a statement to be released.

Any activity within 200 km nautical miles, which falls under EEZ or Indian waters needs prior permission as per Indian laws.

Chinese vessels on the pretext of carrying out research activities in Indian waters have been tracked and sent back in the past.

source: The Statesman

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Delhi: Over 7400 new Covid cases reported, infection rate crosses 8%

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The unabated rise of Covid-19 continues to rattle the national capital as it reported 7,437 fresh cases on Thursday whereas 24 more people lost their life the viral pandemic, the health bulletin by the Delhi government showed.

The latest figures have pushed the infection tally to 6,98,005 while the death toll has risen to 11,157, the health bulletin stated.

Meanwhile, the infection rate in the national capital has surged to 8.1 per cent after the city conducted 91,770 tests in the last 24 hours. Of them, 52,696 were done through RTPCR while 39,074 samples accounted for the Rapid Antigen Test.

Close to half of the beds reserved for Covid care in hospitals have been occupied. Only 4601 of 8813 beds in the hospitals are vacant. Meanwhile, 11,367 patients of Covid-19 are under home isolation.

The containment zones in Delhi have risen to 4,226.

source: The Statesman

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