Sandalwood drugs case: SC notice on Ragini Dwivedi’s bail plea

News Network
December 4, 2020

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New Delhi, Dec 4: The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice on a plea moved by Kannada film actress Ragini Dwivedi seeking bail in the Sandalwood drugs case. The actress has highlighted that she has been in jail for 90 days without any authentic proof or recovery from her.

A bench headed by Justice R.F. Nariman and comprising Justices Navin Sinha and K.M. Joseph sought response from the Karnataka government on Ragini's plea.

The plea filed through advocate-on-record Sahil Bhalaik said the prosecution has concocted a false case against her to attract public attention. The plea argued that it is remarkable that Ragini has been made an accused and remains in jail even after 90 days, despite that fact that there has been no recovery of any drugs from her.

The plea added that only on the basis of a false statement extracted by the police she has been implicated and became a victim of a media trial.

Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, representing Ragini, submitted before the bench that no recovery was made from her and the entire case is based on a statement made by a co-accused before the police.

The Supreme Court has listed the matter for further hearing in the first week of January.

Dwivedi filed a special leave petition in the top court challenging the November 3 order of the Karnataka High Court, which declined to grant her relief along with another accused Sanjjanaa Galrani in the case.

The two actors were arrested by the Bengaluru Central Crime Branch Police in swift actions in September at the height drug related accusations among members of film fraternity.

Ragini was arrested on September 4 and Sanjana on September 8 under various provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for allegedly consuming and supplying banned drugs at parties and events organised in the city over the last couple of years.

All the accused are lodged in the central jail on the outskirts of the city's southern suburb.

On September 28, the trial court had dismissed their bail applications on the grounds they could influence the other accused and hamper investigation into the drugs scam.

The special NDPS court had also refused to grant bail to both the actors on the same day (September 28).

The city police began a crackdown on the use of banned drugs in the Sandalwood industry in August last week after noted Kannada film producer Inderjit Lankesh alleged that about a dozen actors were involved in drugs consumption and there was a nexus between them and drug mafias.

Besides Ragini and Sanjana, 20 drugs peddlers, party organizers and their associates were arrested and jailed pending the investigation.

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News Network
January 11,2021

The Supreme Court on Monday said that it was "extremely disappointed with the way negotiations were going on between the government and farmers over new farm laws."

“We don't want to make any stray observations on your negotiations but we are extremely disappointed with the process,” said the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

The apex court, which was hearing a clutch of pleas challenging the new farm laws as well as the ones raising issues related to the ongoing agitation at Delhi borders, said it is not talking about the repeal of these farm laws at the moment.

The CJI said, "If the Centre does not want to stay the implementation of farm laws, we will put a stay on it. "You can carry on the protest. But the question is whether the protest should be held at the same site," he added. 

Stating that there is not a single petition before the apex court that says that these farm laws are beneficial to farmers, it asked the Centre, "What is going on? States are rebelling against your laws".

"Some people have committed suicide, old people and women are a part of the agitation. What is happening?" the CJI asked.

The court reiterated the need for a committee on farm laws, saying that it will stop the implementation of these laws if the panel advises to do so. The Supreme Court suggested names of former CJIs including R M Lodha to head panel for exploring the possibility of a solution over farm laws protests. 

Stating that its intention was to see a negotiated solution, the SC said, "We are sorry to say that the Centre has not been able to solve the problem and nor has it been able to address the issues arising out of the farmers' agitation." 

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Agencies
January 2,2021

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New Delhi, Jan 1: Passengers travelling from the United Kingdom to India from January 8 to 31 will now be subjected to mandatory self-paid RT-PCR test at the airport, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.

Flight services between the two countries were suspended on December 22 in the wake of a more infectious coronavirus strain found in UK's population. Th services will resume on January 6. This strain has so far been detected in over 29 travellers in India.

According to the standard operating procedure issued by the health ministry, those travelling between January 8 and 31, would be mandatorily subjected to self-paid RT-PCR tests on arrival at the Indian airports concerned.

"Adequate arrangements for passengers waiting for their RT-PCR test as well as test results duly following effective isolation may also be made at the airports in conjunction with the airport authorities," the guidelines added.

Passengers will have to submit self-declaration form on the online portal, www.newdelhiairport.in, at least 72 hours before the travel and also carry negative RT-PCR test with them. Airlines are tasked with ensuring availability of negative test before allowing the passenger on board.

Passengers who test positive at the airport will be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in an isolation unit coordinated by the State Health Authorities. They would earmark specific facilities for such isolation and treatment and take necessary action to send the positive samples for genome sequencing.

After genome sequencing, if the report is consistent with the current virus genome circulating in the country, the ongoing treatment protocol including home isolation or treatment will be followed.

"If the genomic sequencing indicates the presence of new variant of SARS-CoV-2 then the patient will continue to remain in a separate isolation unit. The patient shall be tested on 14th day, after having tested positive in the initial test. The patient will be kept in the isolation facility till his sample is tested negative," the SOP stated.

Those who are found negative on testing with RT-PCR at the airport would be advised quarantine at home for 14 days and regularly followed up by the concerned State and District Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme.

The central government on Friday said that four more cases of the mutant Covid UK strain have been detected in the country, taking the total tally of such cases to 29 so far. They are kept in physical isolation in health facilities.

Notably, the new UK variant has already been reported by Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.

From November 25 to December 23 midnight, about 33,000 passengers disembarked at various Indian airports from the UK. All these passengers are being tracked and subjected by states and UTs to RT-PCR tests.

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News Network
January 14,2021

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Mangaluru, Jan 14: The first batch of the much awaited Covid-19 vaccines reached the District Health Department Office here on Thursday.

As Mangaluru is the regional vaccine storage centre, the vaccines will be transported from here to Udupi and Chikmagalur districts.

The Department of Health vehicle transporting the vaccines had earlier reached Mysuru from Bengaluru and arrived from Mysuru to Mangaluru this morning.

Already, over 40,000 Covid warriors have registered their names for receiving Covid vaccine in the district.

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