Sonu Sood launches app to help migrants find job opportunities

News Network
July 22, 2020

Mumbai, Jul 22: Actor Sonu Sood on Wednesday launched an app to offer support to workers in finding right job opportunities in various sectors across the country.

Sood, who catapulted to the national spotlight for his work in helping migrants reach their homes amid the Covid-19 pandemic, has come out with a free of cost online platform called 'Pravasi Rojgar', which will provide all the necessary information and right linkages to find jobs.

The 47-year-old actor said while arranging travel for the migrants, their conversations would often revolve around how they were looking for the right work opportunity amid the pandemic.

"Lot of thinking, planning and preparation have gone into designing this initiative over the last few months, in order to ensure that it is holistic and builds on the work already being done in the country.

"Extensive consultations have been held with top organisations that're involved at the grassroots level in skilling and placing the youth below the poverty line, NGOs, philanthropic organisations, government functionaries, strategy consultants, technology start ups and above all the returned migrants whom I have helped," Sood said in a statement.

The initiative will be supported by community outreach in the villages to find the right employment opportunities for migrant workers in different parts of the country.

According to the release, the online platform has over 500 reputed companies related to construction, apparel, healthcare, engineering, BPOs, security, automobile, e-commerce and logistics sectors, offering job opportunities.

'Pravasi Rojgar' will also be offering specific job training programmes like spoken English.

A 24x7 helpline have been set up in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Ahmedabad and Thiruvananthapuram. 

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News Network
September 20,2020

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Mumbai, Sept 20: Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, who has been accused by actor Payal Ghosh of sexual harassment, on Sunday said the claim is "baseless" and found support in his industry friends, with Hansal Mehta, Taapse Pannu, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub as well as former wife, film editor Aarti Bajaj crediting him for creating safe work space for women.

On Saturday, Ghosh took to Twitter and wrote that the "Gangs of Wasseypur" director was sexually inappropriate towards her, a claim he has dismissed.

The 30-year-old actor tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi in her tweet, requesting him to take action against Kashyap.

"@anuragkashyap72 has forced himself on me and extremely badly. @PMOIndia @narendramodi ji, kindly take action and let the country see the demon behind this creative guy. I am aware that it can harm me and my security is at risk. Please help!" Ghosh wrote.

In a video released to ABN Telugu, Ghosh claimed that the incident happened in 2014-2015.

The actor, who made her Hindi debut with Rishi Kapoor-Paresh Rawal starrer "Patel Ki Punjabi Shaadi", also claimed that Kashyap boasted about his connection with megastar Amitabh Bachchan and claimed that there were other female artistes who he got intimate with.

Dismissing the allegations, Kashyap called Ghosh's claim an attempt to "silence" him.

An outspoken critic of administration and a member of the Indian film industry who is vocal about the vilification of Bollywood by celebrities and trolls online, the director said it had taken some people "such a long time" to "shut me up".

"(But) while shutting me up, you lied so much that you dragged other women also in it. Please maintain some dignity madam. All I will say is that all your allegations are baseless," Kashyap, 48, tweeted.

"Any lover or all those female actors with whom I've worked or the team of all those girls and women that have been working with me or all those women I've met in private or in public. I neither behaved like this nor do I tolerate such a behaviour at any cost. Rest we will see what happens," he added.

While Ghosh found support in National Commission for Women, with its chairperson Rekha Sharma assuring the actor that the NCW will take cognisance of the case, several film personalities including Sayani Gupta, Tisca Chopra, Surveen Chawla and Anubhav Sinha urged that the #MeToo movement must not be abused for vendetta.

Calling Ghosh's allegation the "cheapest" stunt, Kashyap's first wife, Bajaj said the filmmaker was somebody who makes sure to create a safe work environment for his female co-workers.

"There is no integrity left and the world is full of losers and no brains baying for blood of anyone who has a voice. If everybody spend that energy which they use in hating others constructively this world will be a better place," she added.

"Worst of human kind seen in the last few months: 1. Appropriating someone's death for personal vendetta. 2. Appropriating one of the most important movements for political vendetta MeToo #StandwithAnuragKashyap," wrote Gupta.

At least "spare an important movement like #MeToo", appealed Ayyub.

In a carefully worded, lengthy thread, Mehta questioned whether the allegation against Kashyap was just another "witch hunt", adding he was "troubled and full of questions".

"This happening at a time when Anurag often against advice has been outspoken and provided a contrarian view on things happening around us. is he making some people uncomfortable? there are so many questions and they are not necessarily about the allegations levelled against AK.

"Is this a witch-hunt yet again? are they trying to shut up an artist with a dissenting opinion? where are we headed? and then after hearing the accusation - can this even be anurag? it is definitely not the anurag I know," the director wrote.

Mehta said lies will do a "huge disservice" to women who are regularly subjected to sexual harassment and abuse, adding #MeToo movement must "not become a target of abuse for somebody's selfish gains".

"The #metoo movement is way too important. Let every victim out there always be heard and justice be done," he said.

Pannu, who collaborated with Kashyap on the 2018 romantic-drama "Manmarziyaan", took to Instagram and wrote that the filmmaker was "the biggest feminist" she knew.

"See you on the sets soon of yet another piece of art that shows how powerful and significant women are in the world you create," she wrote.

Sinha said the existence of the #MeToo movement is to amplify voices of harassed women and should not be misused.

"It is the joint responsibility of women and men both to carefully protect the sanctity of #Metooindia. It is a very very very important movement that should not be misused for any other reason but the dignity of women," he tweeted.

Chawla, who worked with the filmmaker on his two-part Netflix series "Sacred Games", said the allegation against the director reeked of "opportunism".

Chopra, who featured alongside Kashyap and Chawla in the short film "Chhuri", said the director was one of the biggest supporters of talent, be it men or women.

"To know my friend @anuragkashyap72 is to know generosity, honesty and decency at its core .. even a cursory look at his work reveals his worldview on women .. don't know a bigger supporter of talent, men or women," she tweeted.

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Agencies
September 29,2020

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Mumbai, Sept 29: The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has opposed the bail pleas filed by actress Rhea Chakraborty and her brother Showik Chakraborty in the Bombay High Court following their arrest in a drugs case related to actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death.

The siblings were "active members of a drug syndicate that was connected with high society personalities and drug suppliers", the NCB said in an affidavit filed before the HC on Monday.

The NCB further said both Rhea Chakraborty and her brother had "abetted and financed" drug transactions.

Therefore, the agency had booked them under the stringent section 27A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, it said in the affidavit.

Section 27A provides punishment for up to 10 years for financing drug trafficking and harbouring offenders, and also carries a bar on grant of bail.

On previous hearings, the actress and her brother opposed the application of the above section in their case.

Their counsel Satish Maneshinde last week argued that the section did not apply in the present case as Rhea Chakraborty occasionally paid for drugs that were consumed only by her boyfriend, late actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

He had further argued that the drugs seized by the NCB so far in the case amounted to just 59 grams, which wasn't a commercial quantity, therefore, section 27A should not be applied in their case.

On September 24, a bench of Justice Sarang Kotwal suggested that the NCB file its reply to the bail pleas of Rhea Chakraborty and her brother, who were arrested earlier this month and are currently in judicial custody.

The court had also said that the NCB must elaborate on the provisions of section 27A and its applicability in the present case.

NCB's zonal director Sameer Wankhede on Monday submitted two separate affidavits in the HC wherein it said, "Electronic evidence such as WhatsApp chats, records were retrieved from mobile, laptop and hard-disk and it indicated payment made for drugs."

"Thus, there is ample evidence to show present applicant Rhea has not only regularly dealt with but also financed illicit trafficking of drugs," the NCB said.

The NCB further said in the affidavit that Rhea Chakraborty was aware of the fact that Rajput was into consumption of drugs, and yet she had "harboured and concealed" it.

"This would tantamount to harbouring. Rhea also allowed her residence for drug storage and consumption by Rajput," the affidavit said.

"It is clear from the statements and electronic evidence gathered by the NCB that the applicant is an active member of the drug syndicate connected with high society personalities and drug suppliers. There is sufficient evidence that she is involved in drug trafficking," it said.

It also said that Rhea Chakraborty and her brother used to facilitate drug deliveries and payment through credit cards, cash and other payment gateways.

If the siblings are released on bail, they could hamper the probe that is currently in a "crucial stage", the NCB said.

The high court will hear the bail pleas of the actress and her brother along with the bail pleas of co-accused Samuel Miranda, Abdul Parihar and Dipesh Sawant on Tuesday.

Rajput (34) was found hanging in his home in suburban Bandra on June 14.

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News Network
September 23,2020

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Mumbai, Sept 23: Actress Rhea Chakraborty, arrested in a drugs case related to actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death, has said in her bail plea filed in the Bombay High Court that she is innocent and NCB is "deliberately" trying to invoke stringent charges against her and her family.

She also said that she has been subjected to a "witch-hunt".

In her bail application filed in the HC on Tuesday, Chakraborty said she is just 28 years of age, and besides the probe by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), she has been subjected to three more investigations by police and central agencies, and a "simultaneous media trial".

These probes refer to the ones conducted into Rajput's death by the Mumbai Police, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Chakraborty said all of this has taken a "severe toll on her mental health and well being".

Any further custody will worsen her mental health, she said in her plea filed through her counsel Satish Maneshinde.

Her bail plea was scheduled to be heard by a single bench presided over by Justice Sarang Kotwal on Wednesday.

However, since the High Court suspended the day's hearings owing to heavy rains in the city, the plea is likely to be heard on Thursday.

Chakraborty further said in her plea that Rajput had been in the habit of consuming drugs, particularly, "ganja" since even before she got into a relationship with him.

While she would sometimes procure drugs for him in "small quantities", and would also "occasionally pay for them herself," she was in no way a part of any drug syndicate.

She also said Rajput was the only one who was consuming the said drugs.

"The applicant (Chakraborty) is innocent and has not committed any crime whatsoever," the plea said.

She also said in her plea that she has been subjected to a "witch-hunt," and after the CBI and the ED failed to gather any evidence against her, the NCB was "brought in to somehow implicate her and her family".

Chakraborty has been booked by the NCB on several charges, including financing illicit trafficking of drugs under Section 27-A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act.

Section-27 A brings along a bar on the grant of bail to an accused.

The actor said she has been wrongly booked under the NDPS Act Section 27-A.

Besides, since no drugs were seized from her possession and since the NCB has managed to seize only 59 grams of drugs from all accused persons, the bar on grant of bail cannot be applied to her, she said in the plea.

The actress said a bar on grant of bail can come into play only if the drugs seized are in commercial quantities.

Last week, a similar argument was made by lawyers of Samuel Miranda and Dipesh Sawant, co-accused in the case, before a bench of Justice Kotwal.

Justice Kotwal had then pointed out that a plain reading of the NDPS Act showed Section 27-A could be imposed irrespective of the quantum of drugs recovered by the NCB.

He had, however, directed Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, who represent the NCB in the high court, to clarify the same on September 29, the next date of hearing on the bail pleas of Miranda and others.

Chakraborty said some others accused in the case had faced identical allegations, but they had not been booked under the stringent Section 27-A.

She also said that at best, she can be accused of having procured drugs in small amounts for her boyfriend.

However, she was trying her best to wean Rajput off his habit of consuming drugs, the actress said.

Besides, if Rajput was alive today, he would have been charged merely for consumption of drugs and would have invited a maximum sentence of just one year, while she has been charged under sections imposing a maximum sentence of up to 20 years, Chakraborty said in the plea.

On a similar argument last week on the other pleas, Justice Kotwal pointed out that the NDPS Act adopts an "empathetic approach" towards the drug addict with view towards his rehabilitation.

However, it aims at ending all illicit trafficking of drugs and therefore, carries stringent punishment for those involved in procurement, financing and production of drugs.

Earlier this month,a special NDPS court in the city rejected the bail pleas of the actress and her brother Showik Chakraborty, saying if let out on bail, they might tamper with the evidence.

The actress is currently lodged in the Byculla women's prison in the city.

Rajput (34) was found hanging in his home in suburban Bandra on June 14.

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