Delhi’s hit-and-drag horror: What we know so far

News Network
January 3, 2023

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In the early hours of Sunday, January 1, while most were ringing in the new year in Delhi, a woman's body was found abandoned on the side of the road with no clothes. The 20-year-old, teh sole breadwinner of her family, was returning home on a scooter when her vehicle was hit by a car. The occupants of the car in, what seems to be an attempt to flee, drove away with the woman's body stuck in the wheels dragged with the car for nearly 12 km from Sultanpuri to Kanjhawala.

The gruesome nature of the incident led to a political slugfest in the nation's capital with fingers being pointed at the Delhi police, and protests by the kin of the victim and AAP over shoddy work by teh law enforcement in the case. Parallels were even drawn to the 2012 Nirbhaya case that remained fresh in public memory a decade since the horrific gang-rape took place. 

Here is all that has happened so far in the Delhi hit-and-run case. 

Drunk driving, body trapped under borrowed car - What the FIR says

As per the FIR filed by the police, the men who were involved in the accident confessed to being drunk. Further, NDTV reported that according to the FIR, the woman's body was tangled in the undercarriage of the car after she fell from her two-wheeler and the men had already driven nearly 12 km before they were aware of the same.  

The five people in the car were Amit and Deepak Khanna, Manoj Mittal, a local BJP leader who has a ration shop, Krishan, an employee at the Spanish Cultural Centre in Connaught Place and Mithun, a hairdresser. 

The FIR notes that the police tried to track down the owner of the vehicle, at which time, they found out that it was owned by an individual named Lokesh, who had lent to someone called Ashutosh, who in turn had given it to his friends - the Khannas, who were present in the vehicle at the time of the accident. 

A Delhi court sent all five of the accused to three-day police custody while officers investigate the matter. 

All five have been named under IPC sections 279 (rash driving) and 304-A (causing death by negligence) over the accident. 

Removed body and fled 

Those in the car described how the accident went down.

"They said they were going on a narrow lane and a girl, approaching on her scooter, met with an accident. Since no one raised an alarm, they kept driving. It was later they realised that something was stuck in the car wheel and saw a woman’s body after driving for a few kilometres. They removed the body from the car and fled from the scene," an official familiar with th investigation told The Times of India.

Pillion rider was friend, fled scene of accident 

Police investigation also showed that there were two girls on the scooty on the night of the accident. The pillion rider reportedly sustained minor injuries and allegedly fled the scene because she was afraid. Police have tracked her down, and her statement is being taken.

Where were the police? An eyewitness speaks out 

Deepak Dahiya, the owner of a dairy shop in Ladpur village, northwest Delhi, recounted his version of events on the night of the accident. 

"I heard a car’s noise, and initially it sounded like it’s tyre had burst, but it was still being driven. It was going at the speed of barely 20km per hour, so I could clearly see what was happened. That’s when I saw the body of a girl beneath the car -- between the two left side tyres," he said, speaking to Hindustan Times.

He placed a call to the police control room but was asked to call back in some time. 

"I told them that there were about four-five people in the car, and that I wasn’t sure how dangerous they could be. I thought I will follow them, but not stop them," he added. 

The individual began his pursuit in an electric vehicle. 

"As I started going after them, I realised they were driving very slow, and the body was still attached to the car. It’s difficult to believe that they didn’t know there was something beneath their car. Meanwhile, I was giving almost minute-by-minute updates to the police. I would have called them 18-20 times in the next 45 minutes, of which one call lasted more than 10 minutes," he continued. 

During the pursuit, at one point, Dahiya realized that the body was no longer attached to the car. As the grey Baleno headed towards Begumpur, Dahiya continued following it and saw two PCR vans on the way, but they didn't take any action suggesting Dahiya's calls had not been communicated to them. In Begumpur, Dahiya told officials in a third PCR van what he had seen but they let the vehicle go after initially flagging it, and speaking with the drivers. 

"Within minutes of returning to the shop, I saw police and some people on the road rushing to the same stretch I had seen those men driving the Baleno with the body earlier. I followed the police, which led me to the spot where another police team had found the body on the road. I then returned home," he said, adding, "There is little that the police did despite calling them several times. I was following the car right from the start. If police were active the culprits would have been caught from the spot. I have a recording of my conversation with police control room officials." 

Police provide their justifications 

Special commissioner of police Dependra Pathak confirmed that Dahiya made the calls which helped them track down the vehicle. He added that the incident with the third PCR van would be probed. 

The police probe has shown that the vehicle was able to avoid two permanent police pickets because they were on the other side of the carriageway and since the car was travelling at a steady speed of 40-50 kmph, they didn't raise any suspicion. Deepak, who was at the wheel, was familiar with the routes as well as police presence, and therefore managed to drive around for 90 minutes. 

The police are going to submit their findings in the report by December 3 evening. 

Girl's family suspects rape and murder

While the police have investigated the accident, the girl's mother alleged that she was raped and killed. 

"My daughter was wearing an inner, a T-shirt, a jacket and pants. How come not a single cloth was found on her body? I heard that her bones were visible and legs were gone. The culprits dumped her body and left," Times of India reported her mother alleging. 

Her uncle added, "The condition of the body shows she was sexually assaulted. We want proper investigation in the matter and justice for our daughter." 
 

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News Network
January 28,2023

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Index provider MSCI said on Saturday, January 28, it is seeking feedback on Adani Group and associated securities and is aware of a report issued by short-seller Hindenburg Research.

The US short-seller said on Wednesday it held short positions in the Indian conglomerate, accusing it of improper use of offshore tax havens and flagging concerns about high debt, leading to a massive sell-off of India-listed shares of the conglomerate's companies.

"MSCI is closely monitoring publicly available information regarding the situation and the factors that may impact the eligibility of those relevant securities for the MSCI Global Investable Market Indexes," it said in a statement. 

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News Network
January 16,2023

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One of five Indians who died in the plane crash in Nepal's Pokhara Sunday was a 35-year-old liquor store owner from Uttar Pradesh's Ghazipur district, who had gone to pray at the famous Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu.
 
Sonu Jaiswal - whom police believe shot a Facebook Live video moments before the crash - was going to offer thanks for the birth of his son.

"Sonu, along with his three friends, had gone to Nepal on January 10. His main purpose was to pay obeisance... as his wish to have a son - now six months old - has been fulfilled. But fate had something else in store for him," Vijay Jaiswal, a relative and head of his village, told news agency PTI.

Sonu Jaiswal already had two daughters and he had taken a vow to visit the Pashupatinath Temple if he had a son, Vijay Jaiswal said.

The three friends were Abhishek Kushwaha, 25; Vishal Sharma, 22; and Anil Kumar Rajbhar, 27. Villagers said Rajbhar operated a public service centre, Kushwaha worked with computers and Sharma at a motorbike showroom.

All four were to return Tuesday after paragliding in Pokhara.

The fifth Indian was 26-year-old Sanjay Jaiswal from Bihar's Sitamarhi. He had gone to visit his sister’s house in Nepal’s Pokhara as she had recently given birth to a daughter. It was his first trip to Nepal. 

The Facebook Live video believed to have been shot by Sonu Jaiswal is a 97-second clip in which a man can be seen filming the plane's attempt to land.

Nepal prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has set up a panel to investigate the accident - reported as the country's worst aviation disaster in 30 years.

A report is expected in 45 days.

There were 72 people on board the twin-engine ATR operated by Yeti Airlines when it crashed while landing at Pokhara's newly-opened airport, officials said.

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News Network
January 20,2023

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New Delhi, Jan 20: The government on Friday made it mandatory for social media influencers to disclose their "material" interest in endorsing products and services and violations can attract strict legal action, including ban on endorsements. The regulations are part of continuing efforts to curb misleading advertisements as well protect the interests of consumers amid the expanding social influencer market which is projected to be worth around Rs 2,800 crore by 2025.

The new guidelines named 'Endorsement Know Hows -- for celebrities, influencers and virtual media influencers (Avatar or computer generated character) on social media platforms' has been issued by the Department of Consumers Affairs.

In case of violation, the penalty prescribed for misleading advertisement under the Consumer Protection Act 2019 will be applicable.

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) can impose penalty of up to Rs 10 lakh on manufacturers, advertisers and endorsers. For subsequent offences, penalty of up to Rs 50 lakh can be imposed. The authority can prohibit endorser of a misleading ad from making any endorsement for up to 1 year and for subsequent contravention, prohibition can extend up to 3 years.

Launching these guidelines at a press conference, Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said the guidelines have been issued under the ambit of the consumer law that provides framework for the protection of consumers against unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements.

He hoped that the guidelines would act as a deterrent for social media influencers.

"It's a very important subject. The size of social influencer market in India in 2022 was of the order of Rs 1,275 crore and by 2025, it is likely to rise to Rs 2,800 crore with a compound annual growth rate of about 19-20 per cent. The social media influencer of substance, those having good number of followers, are in excess of 1 lakh in the country," Singh said.

Stating that the social media influencing is here to stay and will only grow exponentially, he said social influencers need to behave responsibly.

"The today's guidelines are aimed at social media influencers which have material connection with the brand they want to promote on various social media platforms. This is an obligation for them to behave responsibly as far as the disclosure is concerned to the consumers.

"One of the biggest paradigm of the consumer law is the consumers right to know and this falls in that purview. Consumers should know if something is thrown at him from digital media, the person or the entity which is sponsoring it have they taken money or any form of connection they have with the brand," Singh said.

The secretary said if non-compliance takes place, there are provisions under the law for people to approach the authority to seek legal action against people who are defaulting.

"These guidelines broadly define that framework as to how social media influencers should indulge in disclosure of their relationship with the brand," the secretary said.

CCPA Chief Commissioner Nidhi Khare noted that misleading Advertisements in any form, format or medium is prohibited by law.

The new guidelines have specified who all need to disclose, when to disclose and how to disclose.

Individuals/groups who have access to an audience and the power to affect their audiences' purchasing decisions or opinions about a product, service, brand or experience, because of the influencer's/celebrity's authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their audience will have to disclose the material connection, as per the new norm.

The disclosure should happen "when there is a material connection between an advertiser and celebrity/influencer that may affect the weight or credibility of the representation made by the celebrity/influencer", Khare said.

She said the disclosure should be in such a manner that it is "hard to miss" and should be in simple language.

The disclosures should be placed in the endorsement message in such a manner that they are clear, prominent and extremely hard to miss. Disclosures should not be mixed with a group of hashtags or links.

In endorsement in a picture, disclosures should be superimposed over the image enough for viewers to notice. In video, disclosures should be placed in the video and not just in the description and they should be made in both audio and video format.

In the case of live stream, disclosures should be displayed continuously and prominently during the entire stream.

On limited space platforms like Twitter, terms such as 'XYZAmbassador' (where XYZ is a brand) are also acceptable, she said.

The secretary said that these guidelines are being issued under the overall ambit of Consumer Protection Act and one of the main underlining principle of the law is prevention of unfair trade practice.

"There are many ways in which unfair trading practices take place, one of the important unfair trading practice is the menace of misleading advertisements, by trying to sell something which is not exactly as it is being portrayed in the ad.

"While it has been ably handled in the conventional media -- which is TV, print and radio, the social and digital media platforms are turning out to be different ball game," Singh said. 

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