A Manipur Police constable, suspended in connection with the escape of an extremist leader, has allegedly died in custody during questioning.Constable S.M. Manjur Ahmed was one of 10 police and medical personnel suspended after Thokchom Nando Singh of the outlawed Kangleipak Communist Party escaped while undergoing treatment at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal on March 25.Singh was arrested more than a decade ago for the kidnapping and murder of Lungnila Elizabeth, the eight-year-old daughter of former Minister Francis Ngajokpa in November 2003. “The constable was found dead in custody,” a police officer said, adding that they were trying to ascertain the reason for his death.
Ten people died after consuming spurious liquor in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Ajay Sahani, Superintendent of Police, said.A dozen officials of the Excise and the Police Departments have been suspended for the incident, officials said.The tragedy was reported from the Raniganj area under the Ramnagar police station of the district.Excise Minister J.P. Singh said six deaths had been confirmed so far. In the Home Department briefing held in the evening, IG Law and Order Praveen Kumar put the figure at 10 and said four others were critical.Among the victims were four members of one family. Several others had been admitted to the trauma centre in Lucknow.The district Excise officer and the superintendent along with the local Inspector, an SI and two police constables have been suspended, while the suspension of the circle officer was under process, said Mr. Kumar.The victims purchased the liquor from a local registered shop run by one Danvir Singh. A case has been lodged against him and two associates. While a salesman has been arrested, Singh is absconding.Minister J.P. Singh said it was a “lapse” on the part of the local officials that spurious liquor was sold at a licensed shop. “Somewhere it is a lapse of our officials and staff because there is a standing order that stock in every shop must be checked,” he said.Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath instructed the Principal Secretary, Excise Department, to probe the incident and take strict action against the culprits. The CM has directed a three-member committee led by the Excise commissioner to submit a report within 48 hours.The team would probe the source of the liquor, the accountability of the local Excise, police officials and any “conspiracy” angle, said Chief Secretary Anup Chandra Pandey.Rajeev Krishna, ADG Lucknow, said they were investigating at what stage the liquor was adulterated, whether at the factory or at the store. The shop did not have the licence to sell open liquor or serve it like a bar but could only sell closed bottles, he said.Mr. Adityanath announced an ex-gratia of ₹2 lakh each to the kin of the dead.
As the joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill winds up discussions on Tuesday, “serious differences” persisted between the government and civil society and fresh discord broke out over appointment and removal of the anti-corruption ombudsman.Both the sides will exchange their drafts version of the bill which will be merged into one document with differences listed for a final decision to be taken by the Union Cabinet, spokespersons for both the camps said.While HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, one of the official representatives on the committee, on Monday claimed that there was 80 to 85 per cent agreement between the two sides and that there was a “major breakthrough” and forward movement, the civil society side made light of the government claim.Sibal acknowledged that there was “strong divergence” of opinions but both the camps said the discussions were held in a “very cordial atmosphere”.The differences between the two sides remain on inclusion of Prime Minister within the ambit of the Bill as also the higher judiciary and conduct of MPs inside the House, funding model, CBI under Lokpal and Lokayuktas in state.At Monday’s meeting, an addition was made to this list when the two sides disagreed over who will constitute the panel to select Lokpal and who can approach the Supreme Court for removal.Arvind Kejriwal, a civil society member in the committee, said the government wanted the selection panel should have prime minister, Leaders of both the Houses in Parliament, Leaders of Opposition, Speaker, Cabinet Secretary, a Supreme Court judge and a High Court Chief Justice, which they say protects the existing corrupt system.advertisementKejriwal and other civil society representative Prashant Bhushan said the government maintained the Lokpal Bill would have a provision that it alone would have the provision to approach the Supreme Court for removal of the ombudsman and people would not have such a right.The government has so far agreed that the Prime Minister can be brought under the Lokpal only after he demits office and not when he is holding the office.Bhushan asked what is the logic of giving immunity to the Prime Minister when he is holding office because that will be the national security threat which he can compromise through corrupt deals.”None of us are hoping for an agreement tomorrow,” Kejriwal said adding both the sides will exchange drafts and one note containing differences will go to the Cabinet.On Sibal’s claim of 80-85 per cent agreement, Bhushan said the question is the quality of agreement. “All the basic principles are not of same importance. The differences are on the basic vision of the Lokpal which the civil society wants and which the government is prepared for,” he said.- With PTI inputsFor more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.