Daily Archive: July 7, 2018
A 45-year-old resident of The Belaire in DLF 5 was arrested on Friday evening for allegedly raping an 18-year-old friend of his daughter when she visited their home in the high-end apartment on Thursday for a sleepover, police said.
The suspect, a businessman, lives in a rented apartment at The Belaire and has been staying in Gurugram for the last eight years, police said.
The incident took place between 4 and 5 am on Friday, when the victim was at the house of the businessman. His daughter, who studies abroad, had come to India for a holiday and invited her school friend to her place, the police said.
He was arrested within three hours of the police receiving a complaint of rape against him. He has confessed to the crime and will be produced before a court on Saturday, KK Rao, commissioner of police, said.
According to Poonam Hooda, station house officer at the women’s police station, the victim, along with her mother came to the police station around 12 noon Friday, and lodged a rape complaint against the businessman. ‘She has complained that her friend’s father raped her on Thursday in his bedroom,’ she said. A case was registered under sections 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 328 (causing hurt by means of poison) of the Indian Penal Code at the women’s police station in Gurugram’s Sector 51 on Friday after the victim complained to the police.
The stand-off between Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and the lieutenant governor (L-G) continued for the second day after a Supreme Court order on Wednesday defining the roles of the two, with the former alleging that the central government was asking the L-G not to follow the court’s orders.
The comments came after a meeting between chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and L-G Anil Baijal on Friday during which the latter refused to give control of the services department to the elected government, saying the issue of who has powers to decide postings and transfers of officials is still pending before the apex court.
Kejriwal said the refusal to obey SC’s order would lead to ‘anarchy’ in the country and blamed the central government for advising the L-G not to follow the court order. The CM later sought time from union home minister Rajnath Singh, saying he would urge him to follow the SC orders, which he said gave the elected government control over all administrative matters except police, public order and land.
A home ministry official said on condition of anonymity that there is ‘no way the government will not adhere to the apex court’s directions’ but added that the court ‘was silent on the issue of transfers.’ ‘The rest of the issues, whatever they may be, will be resolved cordially,’ this person added.
The ruling of the apex court’s Constitution bench did not specifically rule on the contentious ‘services’ issue. This will be decided by a two-judge bench of the court that is looking at the various issues being disputed by the central government and the government of Delhi. On Thursday, union minister Arun Jaitley said in a blog that it would be ‘wholly erroneous’ to presume that the court’s ruling had given the AAP government administrative powers over union territory cadre officers.
Kejriwal and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia met Baijal on Friday to discuss the implementation of the apex court’s order, which stated that the L-G must act on the aid and advice of the council of ministers, except on the three issues over which he had primacy. The meeting, the first one after Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues staged a nine-day sit-in at the L-G’s office last month, was cordial but Baijal accepted only one of the duo’s two demands.
The L-G said he wouldn’t give ‘us the services department, which deals with transfers, postings, promotions, disciplinary actions and regularising contractual workers, but agreed that all files now need not be sent to him for approval, Kejriwal told reporters after his 25-minute meeting with the L-G.
Subsequently, Baijal wrote to Kejrwal on Friday evening saying that while his concurrence was not required on decisions made by the council of ministers, he should be ‘kept informed’.
Kejriwal alleged that the ministry of home affairs had advised the L-G to ignore the part of the SC order which restricts L-G’s powers to three subjects – land, police and law and order. ‘It is very dangerous that central government is advising the L-G not to follow the SC orders.’
‘The MHA (ministry of home affairs) has not advised the LG to ignore any part of the SC order. This is a misleading statement,’ the home ministry said in a statement on Friday night, adding that it would be against the law to take a final view on the matter related to services until the issue is addressed by a regular bench.
The home ministry official cited above confirmed that Kejriwal had sought time from the Union home minister, but added that owing to the fact that Rajnath Singh was currently out of the city, a response is yet to be given to the Delhi chief minister.
The chief minister alleged that keeping the services department with the L-G was a ‘conspiracy’ by the Centre to ‘paralyse’ the AAP government. ‘It is the first time in the history of India that the Central government has openly refused to obey an SC order,’ Kejriwal said his government is consulting lawyers on whether the LG’s refusal to abide by the SC order will amount to contempt of court.
Sunita Parmar, a Hindu woman in Pakistan’s Sindh province, has created history by becoming the first from the minority community to contest the provincial assembly elections to be held on July 25.
Ms Parmar, 31, who is from the Meghwar community will contest as an independent candidate for the Sindh Assembly constituency PS-56 from Tharparkar district which has the highest number of Hindus in Pakistan.
Confident of challenging the status quo, Ms Parmar said she was compelled to contest the upcoming polls as previous governments failed to deliver on their promises of making life better for the people of her constituency, according to a media report.
“Previous governments did nothing for the people of this area. Even in 21st century, we lack basic health facilities and proper educational institutes for women,” Ms Parmer said.
“Gone are the days when women were supposed to be weaker and inferior. I am confident of winning the election…This is 21st century and we are even ready to fight the lion,” Ms Parmer was quoted as saying by the APP news agency.
Ms Parmer vowed to improve standards of education for women and health facilities in her constituency.
“I believe in girl’s education. This is the only way to make women stronger and prosper,” she said.
According to the 2017 census, the total population of Tharparkar district is 1.6 million, out of which around half are Hindus.
In March, another Hindu woman, Krishna Kumari Kolhi, became the first-ever Hindu Dalit woman Senator in the Muslim-majority country after she was nominated by the Pakistan Peoples Party for the elections to the reserve women’s seat in the Senate.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, one of India’s most successful captains, turned 37 on Saturday.
The Indian team’s senior-most player, Dhoni, also reached the coveted milestone of playing 500 international matches during the second T20 International against England, on Friday. In doing so, Dhoni became the third Indian after Sachin Tendulkar (664) and Rahul Dravid (509) to breach the 500 match barrier in International cricket.
Dhoni made his One day International (ODI) and Test debut in 2004 against Bangladesh and in 2005 against Sri Lanka, respectively. With a total of 9967 runs in ODIs, Dhoni is regarded among the best batsmen to represent India. He has played 90 Tests, 318 ODIs, 91 T20Is, and 295 matches in total, so far.
When 11 members of a family were found dead at their home in north Delhi’s Burari on Sunday, there was no immediate explanation for their mysterious deaths. But with the recovery of 11 notebooks from their house, the police said they were able to find answers to most questions that intrigued them and the public over the week.
Hindustan Times tries to piece together the case based on police’s claims and findings.
Who are the Bhatias?
Natives of Chittorgarh in Rajasthan, the Bhatia family moved to Delhi over two decades ago. Living in the Burari home were 77-year-old Narayan Devi, her sons Bhavnesh Bhatia (50) and Lalit Bhatia (45), their wives Savita (48) and Tina (42) respectively, a daughter Pratibha (57) and five grandchildren, Priyanka (33), Neetu (25), Monu (23), and Dhruv and Shivam (both 15).
Lalit owned a plywood business and Bhavnesh a grocery shop, both operating out of the ground floor of their house. The only other working member of the family, Priyanka, was employed with a Noida firm and got betrothed on June 17.
What happened ?
When Bhavnesh’s grocery shop didn’t open at the usual time, neighbours entered the house to find all 11 members dead. Ten of them were hanging in the hallway.
Narayan was found dead in an adjacent room. Most had their limbs and mouths tied and were blindfolded.
Why was a murder case registered
Narayan Devi was on the floor, and not hanging like the rest. There were ligature marks on her neck.
The door of the house was open. The feet of three hanging people appeared to be touching the floor.
Recoveries from the Bhatia house
Police recovered 11 notebooks in which religious rituals were written in Hindi. Recoveries showed that a ‘hawan’ was performed hours before the deaths and the family ordered food from outside. Eight mobile phones belonging to the family were found taped and hidden in a drawer. Their pet dog was left tied on the terrace.
Autopsies and godmen
Eight of them had died due to hanging. The others had died of ‘partial hanging’. No force was used against any of them. Police suspect Narayan tied her neck to a door knob before falling off a bed. Initially, police suspected ‘external influence’ and probed the possibility of occultists or godmen misguiding the family. There is no of that evidence so far.
Police said the handwritings suggested the notes were written by at least three different persons, including Lalit and Priyanka. The first of the entries was made on July 8, 2007, and the last on June 30, 2018.
The latest notes explained the ritual, the rules to be followed and what to expect. The older set spoke about the family’s problems and how Lalit had become their ‘saviour’. The ritual was a ‘thanksgiving ceremony’ for Narayan’s husband, Bhopal Singh, who died in 2007.
When it all began
The family battled financial issues and infighting until 2007 when Bhopal Singh died. Lalit took over as the family’s patriarch and convinced others that he was his father’s reincarnation and even began mimicking the late man. Police say Lalit was the brain behind the ritual.
Police say though the ritual, the Bhatia family wanted to ‘meet’ their patriarch, the dead Bhopal Singh. They wanted to ‘thank’ him for the good fortunes of the family. Priyanka, a ‘Mangalik (born under a so-called ‘faulty’ astrological combination) got engaged to marry and the family’s businesses were flourishing.
They expected death?
Police cited the notes to claim the family expected to see the patriarch the moment they hanged as he would save them. The notes spoke of the ‘sky shaking and the earth trembling’ and someone bringing down the hanging people. The members were supposed to untie each other after that.
Police said relatives, friends and neighbours found nothing suspicious in the family’s behaviour. The handwritten notessuggested the ritual was to be guarded from all outsiders. When guests were at home for Priyanka’s engagement, the family had waited for nine days for everyone to leave before resuming their rituals.
Interaction with neighbours and friends suggested the family looked forward to a tomorrow. A day earlier, Priyanka had invited a friend for her wedding in December and gave her clothes for laundry. Children watched football and planned a cricket match for the next day. The adults spoke to relatives over phone and planned meetings.
What CCTVs showed
Footage released by police showed Savita and Neetu bringing stools and Dhruv and Shivam carrying cables to the house around 10pm on June 30. Police said these items were used in the ritual. Bhavnesh was seen taking his dog out for a walk around 11pm.
A food delivery boy delivered 20 chappatis. No suspicious entry or exit was detected.
The number 11
The dead included seven females and four males. A day after their deaths, seven bent and four straight pipes were found protruding out of the house. The iron gate too had 11 rods.
The contractor renovating the house said the pipes were Lalit’s idea to ensure ventilation. Labourers fixed the pipe and no thought was given to the number. The welder, too, said the 11 rods were not Lalit’s idea. The police are yet to find a satisfactory explanation for the open door. The most plausible reason is the family expected their ‘saviour’ to enter through it.
The viscera samples have been sent for tests to rule out the possibility of family being poisoned or sedated. They are also probing the possibility of someone abetting the deaths. If both turn out negative, police could go for quashing of the murder case.
The CCTV footage, initial autopsy reports, lots of handwritten notes and statements of neighbours corroborating some contents of the notes are some of the ‘key’ evidence.
Psychologists see the deaths as a result of ‘shared psychotic disorder’ in which members of a group blindly trust one among them and follow instructions without a question. They feel Lalit suffered from a ‘delusional disorder’.
Relatives still believe the family was murdered. They refuse to believe all 11 could hang themselves. However, so far, they have been unable to come up with a motive for murder.
According to the notes, the family planned to replicate the ritual to help Tina’s sister who lives elsewhere and is facing personal problems. The sister was unaware of the plan.
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