First Severe Smog Episode Hits Delhi, Could Be Longest In 4 Years

Green think-tank Centre for Science and Environment said the average daily contribution of smoke from farm fires from the middle of October to November 8 has been the lowest in last four years.

The first severe smog episode has hit Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) and is expected to last for another two days, green think-tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said on Wednesday.

Even though the seasonal smog in Delhi is intense, the average daily contribution of smoke from farm fires from the middle of October to November 8 has been the lowest in last four years, it said.

“Predictably, the season’s first episode has been triggered by the combined effect of unfavourable weather conditions (cool and calm winds and inversion), stubble burning and firecrackers,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, research and advocacy, CSE.

Compared to the first smog episode of previous four years, the current smog has matched the duration of the first smog of 2018 and 2020 season — both lasted six days. If conditions don’t improve, it might overtake the 2019 smog that lasted eight days, the CSE said.

The average intensity of the smog this year so far is 329 microgram per cubic metre per day, which is lower than that of the 2020 smog (by 7 per cent) and 2019 smog (by 3 per cent). It is more intense than the 2018 smog (about 9 per cent).

Lingering on of this year’s smog for longer duration despite relatively windier local conditions might be due to the lack of pollution control measures in the city, the green think tank said.

“While very high concentrations of PM2.5 have hogged attention, the levels of gases – ozone, CO or NO2 — have remained elevated during this smog episode. Also, the ratio of SO2 to NO2 increased on Diwali night indicating increased pollution load from firecrackers. The PM2.5 concentration on Diwali night (8 pm to 8 am) has been the most intense since 2017,” said Avikal Somvanshi, programme manager, Urban Lab, CSE.

This analysis is based on the real time data available from the current working air quality monitoring stations in Delhi-NCR and the larger Indo-Gangetic Plain.

On an average, contribution of smoke to Delhi’s daily PM2.5 during middle of October to November 8 has been the lowest in the last four years. So far, it has recorded on an average 12 per cent per day in contrast to 17 per cent per day in 2020, 14 per cent per day in 2019, and 16 per cent per day in 2018 (as reported by SAFAR),” the CSE said.

“If converted to absolute concentrations, the per day contribution of smoke stood at 26 microgram per cubic metre this year so far compared to 35 microgram per cubic metre in 2020, 40 microgram per cubic metre in 2019, and 31 microgram per cubic metre in 2018,” it said.

However, the peak contribution of smoke to Delhi’s PM level was recorded on 7th November when it hit 48 per cent.

This the second highest daily contribution percentage recorded since such estimation was started by SAFAR in 2018.

The highest single day contribution percentage has been 58 per cent recorded on November 5, 2018.

Reference: NDTV

Game-Changing Made-In-India Anti-Covid Pills Could Be Cleared For Use In Days

The medicine is meant for adults who are at risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 or hospitalization.

Emergency Use Authorisation for the Merck drug Molnupiravir — an oral antiviral medicine for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 — is likely “within days”, Dr Ram Vishwakarma, Chairman of the Covid Strategy Group, CSIR, told NDTV on Wednesday. The medicine is meant for adults who are at risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 or hospitalization. Another pill from Pfizer, Paxlovid, may take some more time, he added.  

The two drugs, he said, will make a difference and “as we move from pandemic to endemic, these are the ones which are going to be more important than vaccination”.

Calling the drugs the “final nail in the coffin of the virus by science”, he said, “I think Molnupiravir will be already available to us. Five companies are sitting with the drug manufacturer… I think any day we will have approval of Molnupiravir”.

Data for Molnupiravir has been “sitting with the regulator” here before the UK regulator’s approval, he said. “So already SECs are looking at it. And I think they will they will get faster approval now. And therefore, it would it be safe to say that within the next one month, there would be a decision on approval for the Merck drug”.

Pfizer has said according to clinical trial, its Paxlovid cuts the risk of hospitalisation or death by 89 per cent in vulnerable adults.

Merck has already contracted five companies “and the way Merck has given this license to several companies, Pfizer will also do because Pfizer will have to utilise the Indian capacity to manufacture the drugs that are required for the global use”.

The cost, he said, will be far lower than the 700 dollars that’s being considered in the US for the Merck vaccine “because in America it is costly for various other reasons and not for the manufacturing cost”.

“I think here when the government of India comes into play, they will buy in bulk from these companies and of course, they will have a dual pricing system and a staggered pricing system,” he said.  

He said it might initially cost “2000 to 3000 or 4000 rupees per cycle of treatment, then it will come down to 500 to 600 or 1,000 rupees”.

Resourcses: NDTV

Khan Chacha owner Navneet Kalra gives golden tips on adding value to guest dining journey

It is often assumed that the most difficult part of restaurant business is to attract customers to your establishment. However, the reality is quite different. While getting people to give you a chance to sere them might be tricky, retaining those customers is no easy feat either. Both these objectives can be achieved through adding value to guest dining journey. Ever wondered how?

According to prominent Delhi-based restaurateur and Khan Chacha owner Navneet Kalra, when customers find more value to their dining experience, they not only attract to such businesses but also keep coming back. “There are numerous ways with which you can make the dining journey more rewarding for your guests, but contrary to the common assumptions, it all starts before the diners even knock your door,” he says.

Elucidating his statement, Navneet Kalra points out that while the most prominent means remain loyalty programs, only a few realize the power that a strong client response management (CRM) system wields. “You can start with knowing your audience and targeting them with personalized messages. This lays the foundations of customer loyalty. When your guests feel a personal connection with your business, they are bound to come back,” the Khan Chacha owner says.

In his expert opinion, informing the guests of the added perks of their visit before their scheduled arrival enhances the excitement and makes them feel special, thus forging a stronger customer relationship. Navneet Kalra also suggests rewarding diners when they make reservations directly from your website is a great way to build anticipation and loyalty before the guests even arrive at your restaurant.

“We are living in a fast-paced, digital era. Gone are the days when the diners visited a place just because their acquaintance recommended it. Today, people like to judge the location, the food, the ambience – everything – before they make a booking. Investing in a robust online presence can come handy in such cases. You can run online ads to make them aware of your business, while showing them what your place looks and feels like,” Khan Chacha owner Navneet Kalra suggests.

He adds, “You can also work towards making direct bookings a lucrative option. Most customers enjoy a short and hassle-free booking process. You can sweeten the pot by offering them exclusive perks like discounted meals or complimentary drinks. This can help establish customer loyalty at an early stage of guests’ dining journey. The key here is to adapt to whatever new resources are available at your disposal, and make optimal use of them to make your business grow.”

ENG vs SL: Jos Buttler, England’s MVP, fires again

Before Jos Buttler, England had 3 other centurions in T20Is. But this innings was special, from a special player who on Monday, became the first England cricketer to score hundreds in all 3 formats.

In the end, England’s winning mentality came to the fore. With the game on an even keel and a specialist bowler, Tymal Mills, back in the dressing-room after suffering an injury, Eoin Morgan had to turn to Liam Livingstone to bowl the 17th over.

Sri Lanka needed 41 runs off 24 balls, and Wanindu Hasaranga and Dasun Shanaka were in the middle of an exciting partnership. But Morgan’s field placements were superb and substitute Sam Billings pulled off a stunner in the deep via a Jason Roy assist to dismiss the dangerous-looking Hasaranga. Sri Lanka fizzled quickly to lose by 26 runs. England made it four on the spin, this time after being stretched and losing the toss. They are the team to beat at this T20 World Cup.

Before Jos Buttler, England had three other centurions in T20Is – Alex Hales, Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone. But this innings was special, from a special player who on Monday in Sharjah became the first England cricketer to score hundreds in all three formats. Buttler was resplendent in his judiciousness followed by cultured destruction of the Sri Lankan bowlers.

Batting first on a sluggish Sharjah pitch wasn’t easy. Sri Lanka, Hasaranga (3/21) to be precise, bowled beautifully upfront to create pressure. But England eventually got to 163/4, Buttler scoring 101 of those runs in 67 balls.

Beyond India and Pakistan, and to some extent Afghanistan, cricket doesn’t woo fans in this part of the world. Sharjah was noisy but half-empty. Those who cared to turn up were privileged to witness Buttler’s batting.

Very few batsman in white-ball cricket has his range. Mahela Jayawardene saw it at a pretty developing stage of Buttler’s career and promoted him to open the innings for Mumbai Indians. The player is now a lot more cerebral, with the ability to outthink the bowlers for fun. For such a smart cricketer with such exhilarating shot-making range, why has he failed to crack the Test code, consistency-wise, remains a mystery. But at the moment, it’s about a World Cup and Buttler has been at the forefront of his team’s forward march. No team has won the 50-over and the T20 World titles in the same cycle yet. England would be disappointed not to achieve the special feat.

Scoop is one of Buttler’s signature shots and he plays it so well because of his ability to pre-empt. Sample this: Dushmantha Chameera bowled a full-toss on off, the England opener shimmied his left leg towards leg-side, completely opened his stance and scooped it over the wicketkeeper’s head for a four. On air, Michael Atherton drew a goalkeeping analogy, the way a goalkeeper studies a penalty-taker from the line.

Against Australia in the last game, he was quick to hit top gear, first through a six off Ashton Agar followed by the complete dismantling of Mitchell Starc. The Sharjah pitch demanded more circumspection, more so because England lost three early wickets. Buttler had to anchor the innings. For an explosive batting line-up like England, 61/3 after 12 overs was pretty slow going. Morgan’s decision to not promote Moeen Ali ahead of him at No. 5 looked to be hurting his side. But his team was playing to a plan. They had a target on mind and acceleration started from the 13th over onwards. By then, Hasaranga’s first spell was done and mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana had finished his quota.

From 13 to 16 overs, England scored 49 runs without losing a wicket. That’s where the game changed. As for Morgan, a place in the semifinals already secured, the skipper took the opportunity to spend time in the middle and return to form. It was a crawl initially and serious discomfort against spin – just nine runs off 19 balls from the bowlers of that variety. But gradually Morgan got better, scoring 40 off 36 balls. More importantly, during the fallow phase he didn’t throw his wicket away, resorting to poor shot selection. The fourth wicket partnership stitched 112 runs.

Coming back to Buttler, he copped flak during the home Test series against India this summer. Skipped a Test, when his wife was expecting their second child. Opted out of the second phase of the IPL and came to the T20 World Cup after recharging his batteries. So far, he has scored 214 runs from four games at a strike-rate of 153.95.

England have been ticking the other boxes as well. Their spinners, Moeen and Adil Rashid, returned with figures of 2/15 and 2/19 respectively, braving the evening dew. A handful of England fans, who came to the ground, returned home carrying real optimism.

REET Result 2021 declared, check here

REET Results 2021: Candidates can visit the official website of REET BSER — and check their scores. 

EET results 2021: Board of Secondary Education, Rajasthan (BSER), Ajmer on Tuesday declared the much-awaited results for Rajasthan Eligibility Exam for Teachers (REET) 2021. Candidates can visit the official website of REET BSER — and check their scores.Also Read – RBSE 10th and 12th Board Exam 2021: Rajasthan Board Extends Application Deadline, Apply at

BSER has declared the REET results for Level I and II. Also Read – RBSE 8th Result 2018: Rajasthan Board Declares Result, Check at; No Student Detained

Direct link to check REET Level 1 Result  Also Read – REET Result 2018: Level 1, 2 Cut-Off Marks Released, Check at

Direct Link to check REET Level II Result

A Step-by-step guide to check REET results 2021:

  • Visit the official website at
  • Click the “REET result 2021” link available on the homepage
  • Enter the login details and submit
  • Check REET results 2021 and take its print out too
  • REET 2021 is being held to recruit 31000 Grade 3 teachers in Rajasthan

Over 16 lakh students had appeared for the REET 2021 exam. The exam was conducted on September 26, 2021. Nearly 31,000 vacancies were issued by the Rajasthan government for teachers. The exam was conducted after almost three years in the state. It was held at 4,153 examination centres set up at 200 places in the state. In the Jaipur district alone, more than 2.5 lakh candidates had registered to take the examination at 592 centres.

Money laundering case: Ex-Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh arrested by ED after over 12 hours of questioning

Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate late Monday night after over 12 hours of questioning at its office at Ballard Estate.

He had appeared before the agency to record his statement around noon three days after the Bombay HC rejected his plea to cancel the agency’s summons in the laundering case filed against him.

He had been evading questioning by the ED for months and had exhausted his legal remedies. In the last few months, ED had raided several places to trace Deshmukh, but in vain.

ED officials were also surprised with Deshmukh’s move as he appeared before them around noon along with his advocate. The investigating officer started questioning Deshmukh just after his arrival, and the agency’s additional director flew in from Delhi in the evening to supervise the process.

Earlier, the ED had arrested Deshmukh’s private secretary Sanjeev Palande and personal assistant Kundan Shinde for allegedly helping Deshmukh and his son Hrishikesh with money laundering. The ED said Deshmukh, through Shinde, had collected Rs 4.7 crore from (now-dismissed) assistant police inspector Sachin Waze in cash. Waze was then heading the CIU branch of Mumbai police and had collected the money from orchestra bar owners of Mumbai illegally for Deshmukh.

After Deshmukh appeared before the ED, his team released a pre-recorded video message. In it, Deshmukh said ex-Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh made false allegations against him and had now fled the country. In the video, Deshmukh said, “I received ED summons, and the media wrongly reported that I wasn’t cooperating with the probe. Each time after ED summons, I replied to them stating my petition was pending before the HC and SC, after its outcome I would present myself before the ED. Me, my family and our staff cooperated with ED during the probe.”

Deshmukh also released an unsigned statement that ED should act in a fair manner. “I’m today appearing before the ED, let the truth prevail, Satyamev Jayate,” he said. He said on account of a “witch-hunt campaign” launched at the instance of vested interests, false allegations have been levelled by persons who have “no credibility, honour or pride.”

He said a false narrative has been created that he is evading or avoiding appearing before ED.

Tech integration for sustainable future– Vedanta and Adani Group in Goa are benefiting from this model

The recent advancements in technology are no secret and using them for environmental sustainability is not an exaggeration anymore, especially when it comes to big players like Vedanta and Adani. Coal projects in Goa are certainly benefiting from tech integration in daily operations.

Economic developmental is very important to improve the standard of living, but that shouldn’t lead to any compromise with the sustainable approach that is taking precedence over every other thing.  Sustainable future is as important as anything, especially in a state like Goa. Blessed with a rich biodiversity, the state is also home to many coal projects, which play a significant role to create employment opportunities, meet the electricity demand and build a mammoth supply chain for other businesses along the way.  

However, the current scenario makes sustainable approach a necessity in the region, instead of being an option. This is where tech integration is proving to be a game-changer with big players in the region taking a cue from the coal operators around the world, especially Vedanta and Adani. Coal projects in Goa are also shaping a new model to restrict environmentally detrimental procedures by using technology to their advantage.

For instance, Adani Group is making use of water spray to reduce the dust that emits from coal carrying vehicles on daily basis. The company is utilizing multiple advanced technologies to give precedence to sustainable operations, which include nozzle spray, sprinkler systems and air pollution monitoring systems. On the other hand, Vedanta has also been re-greening one of its mines. The company has been undertaking horticulture plantations, backed by modern techniques at the Sanquelim mine.

The impact of coal dust on the environment is quite significant and it makes sense to take the precautionary measures beforehand to mitigate the impact, instead of hiding from the truth. All these sustainable approaches by leading businesses are certainly making a lasting impact. However, the usage of technology has not been limited to implementing new techniques in the operations of coal projects, but it has been leveraged to mark a defining change in the fortunes of the state with Mormugao Trust working to start a ferry circuit that will run from the South of Goa across three or four routes.    

The move is aimed at enhancing the experience of foreign tourists, a testament to the prowess of technology to increase the number of opportunities for the locals too. Ports have always played a pivotal role in tourism and travel, but the integration of technology can usher in a significant change. The Mormugao port is already a hub for the transportation of coal for JSW, Vedanta and Adani. Goa coal projects of JSW and Vedanta have been operating in the region from a long time, with both the companies owning two berths each at the terminal’s coal handling facility.

At this juncture, the state is certainly taking decent strides towards balancing the economic progress and the impact on the environment through sustainable and eco-friendly approaches. The advancement in technology is coming to the rescue as well, with big players using it judiciously for a bright future.

National Film Awards 2021: Kangana Ranaut receives her 4th award; Manoj Bajpayee, Dhanush are Best Actors

The 67th National Film Awards ceremony took place on Monday. Kangana Ranaut and Manoj Bajpayee, among other winners, recieved their awards. 

The 67th National Film Awards ceremony took place on Monday, October 25. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu presented the awards to those who won this year. The awardees include Kangana Ranaut and Manoj Bajpayee.

Kangana was awarded the Best Actress Award for her performances in Manikarnika: Queen of Jhansi and Panga. The actor, dressed in a traditional saree, walked up to the stage and received her award. This is her fourth National Award. She previously won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Fashion and Best Actress Awards for Queen and Tanu Weds Manu Returns. 

Plan Stress-Free Vacation Abroad with IndusInd Bank Forex Card

Are you planning an overseas trip to an exotic destination? Well, then you must get busy with:

  • Figuring out the destinations open for travel
  • Sorting out your RT-PCR report and vaccination certificates
  • Booking hotels
  • And most importantly – deciding how to carry cash

Carrying a lot of cash with you when going for an International trip is not a wise decision. Instead, go paperless with IndusInd Bank’s Multi-currency Forex card. Click here to apply for one online, load balance, and use it like you would swipe your credit or debit card.

The IndusInd Multi-currency Forex Card is widely accepted around the globe. You can swipe it at merchant outlets, international VISA ATMs or use it for online transactions.

Features and benefits of the Indus Multi currency Forex Card

Imagine carrying a slim card that fits your pocket and works seamlessly at PoS instead of a lot of cash or traveller’s cheques. Such an arrangement ought to relieve you of the stress of planning and keeping your money safe on international vacations. But, that’s not all! An IndusInd Multi-currency Forex Card comes with many more benefits. Here they are:

You can load up to 14 currencies on one card

This feature is especially useful when you are travelling to two or more countries on a single trip. For example, countless tourists go to Australia but not before stopping over in Singapore. They often step out for shopping and checking out the local sights. The currency for both Australia and Singapore are different, and the IndusInd Bank’s forex card can help you pay in both.

Here are the 14 currencies you can load on just one Indus Multi currency Forex Card:

  • United States Dollar (USD)
  • Australian Dollar (AUD)
  • Great Britain Pound (GBP)
  • Swiss Franc (CHF)
  • Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)
  • Thai Baht (THB)
  • Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)
  • Euro (EUR)
  • Japanese Yen (JPY)
  • Canadian Dollar (CAD)
  • New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
  • Saudi Riyal (SAR)
  • Singapore Dollar (SGD)
  • South African Rand (ZAR)

Safeguard your money from currency fluctuations

Since you pre-load your card, you remain safe from a spike in exchange rates. When you book and load up your IndusInd Multi currency Forex Card, you fix your exchange rate based on that particular day. Every time you reload your card, the exchange rate for that particular time and day applies.

Make a diverse set of payments at no extra charge

Book international hotels or flights hassle-free using the IndusInd Multi-currency Forex card. You can also swipe this card at grocery stores when abroad or fill fuel at petrol pumps if your international travel involves a road trip. The point is you can use this card as a local credit or debit card abroad at no extra currency conversion charge.

Withdraw cash in case of an emergency

Suppose a PoS machine inside a store breaks down or, for any reason, you cannot make a card payment, withdraw cash using the IndusInd Multi-currency Forex Card. This card provides you access to all VISA enabled ATMs worldwide.

Encash extra funds when you return

So, you couldn’t spend all the money you had pre-loaded in your IndusInd Multi-currency Forex card? Fret not! You can get it all back upon your return to India. Just visit an IndusInd Bank branch near you and encash funds remaining in the forex card.

Parting thoughts

IndusInd Bank’s multi-currency foreign exchange card awards you the freedom to pay as you go without worrying about running out of funds. If your balance drops too low for comfort, you can recharge it online on IndusForex.

So, bid goodbye to cash-carrying woes and buy a forex card online with IndusInd Bank.

Ad featuring Aamir Khan hurts Hindu sentiments, claims BJP leader

Reacting to an ad on noise pollution caused by crackers on Diwali, BJP MP Anantkumar Hegde sought the company to take cognisance of the problems caused “in the name of Namaz”.

In yet another backlash on religious grounds, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Anantkumar Hegde has raised objection against an advertisement by tyres major Ceat Ltd featuring actor Aamir Khan. Hedge, who applauded the ad for raising awareness against bursting crackers on the streets, sought the company to also address the “problem blocking roads in the name of Namaz and noise emitted from mosques during Azan.”

In a letter to the company’s MD and CEO Anant Vardhan Goenka, the BJP MP requested him to take cognisance of the recent advertisement claiming that it created an “unrest among the Hindus”, and expressed hope that in future the organisation will respect the “Hindu sentiment”. 

“Your company’s recent advertisement in which Aamir Khan advising people not to fire crackers on the streets is giving a very good message. Your concern to public issues needs applause. In this regard, I request you to address one more problem faced by people on roads, i.e., blocking roads in the name of Namaz on Fridays and other important festive days by Muslims,” Hegde wrote in the letter dated October 14.

The MP from Uttara Kannada went on to claim that during the Namaz, when the roads are blocked, vehicles like ambulances and firefighter vehicles are struck in traffic causing “grave losses”, and added that the “loud noise… emitted from mikes arranged on the top of mosques in our country” during Azan is “beyond the permissible limits”.

“On Fridays, it is prolonged for some more time. It is causing great inconvenience to people suffering from different ailments and taking rest, people working in different establishments and teachers teaching in classrooms,” he said. 

“I am sure you can feel the discrimination done to the Hindus since centuries,” Hedge wrote, adding that some “anti-Hindu actors” always try to hurt the Hindu sentiments.

The objection also comes in the backdrop of the latest backlash received by a Fabindia ad campaign that used the Urdu phrase “Jashn-e-Riwaaz” to describe the festival of Diwali. Fabindia subsequently withdrew its advertisement and clarified that the phrase was meant to celebrate Indian traditions and not exclusively the festival of Diwali.

Fabindia further stated that its Diwali collection is now called “Jhilmil si Diwali” which is yet to be launched.

Despite new farm bill controversy, Private entities like TAFE and Adani are helping farmers enhance production

Amid the ongoing controversy regarding the new farm bill, TAFE, one of the country’s leading tractor manufacturers has come forward to help farmers to continue agricultural activities. Even in the past, much before the adani group farm bill, Adani Group helped farmers boost their production by training them with new techniques.

During the ongoing debate regarding new farm bill amidst the pandemic, TAFE, a tractor manufacturer company has helped over 60,000 small and marginal farmers through a free tractor rental scheme to help them continue their farming operations in Tamil Nadu. The farmers highly appreciated this initiative, which is part of its JFarm services platform. The company claimed that within 60 days, over 1.55 lakh hours of free tractor and farm tool rental services were offered to cultivate more than 1,03,000 acres. The agricultural community also appreciated the move of free tractor rental program.

In India, a number of companies have helped farmers towards boosting their production and use technology for more profits. Even before the implementation of new farm laws, Adani Group helped farmers to take up organic farming. It turned out to be highly profitable for them as organic farming allows access to a reliable and untapped market to farmers.

Adani farm law Project Annapurna was announced to bolster around 5000 farmers and initiated to transform agricultural practices in villages. Under the project in the first phase, 100 farmers were selected to convert 100 acres of land for organic farming. Additionally, harvested rainwater, deep bore well, were also constructed to fulfil the water requirements. Training on techniques for organic farming using vermicompost is also a key activity of the projects.

In India, organic food production can largely boost farmers’ income as customers prefer to consume organic produce. Despite arguments regarding new farm bill and its effects on farmers, a number of farmers producer organisations bodies came out in support of the farm laws.

26 arrested for raping minor in Mumbai

In a shocking crime, a minor girl was sexually assaulted over a period of nine months. The Manpada police in Dombivli, a town neighbouring Mumbai, have booked 29 accused and arrested 26, including two minors, under the Indian Penal Code as well as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).

The arrested have been remanded to police custody till September 29. The minor offenders have been sent to a juvenile remand home. Police teams are searching for three others.

The 15-year-old victim approached the police on Wednesday night.

Her statement said her boyfriend recorded a video of them in an intimate act in January 2021, which he later used to blackmail her. Her boyfriend used the video to and force her into physical relations with some of his friends. “The victim reached the police station on Wednesday night. According to her statement, the accused sexually assaulted her repeatedly at various locations from January to September this year,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (east region) Datta Karale.

A Special Investigation Team, headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police (Administration) Sonali Dhole, has been formed to probe the case further.

According to the victim’s statement, sexual assault was committed repeatedly in various locations, including Dombivli, Murbad and Badlapur in the Thane district, and Rabale in Navi Mumbai.

According to police sources, the video used to coerce the victim is not yet in the police’s possession. “We checked the mobile phone of the girl and also of the 20-year-old boy with whom she was in a relationship previously. In both the phones, no such video as claimed was found. We will be sending the mobile phones for forensic analysis,” Senior Police Inspector Dadahari Choure, Manpada Police Station, said.

The police are also looking into the delay in reporting the crime, an official said. “All the accused are between the ages of 16 to 23 years and most of them are students. After the case was registered, our focus has been on arresting the accused,” Mr. Karale said.

Sources in the police said that, a few days ago, the victim and her maternal aunt went to a birthday party. The aunt noticed that the girl was not interested in the event, and was busy with calls and messages. Someone at the gathering hinted to the aunt that the girl was facing some issues. The aunt took her home, kept a watch on her for a week, and then took the girl into her confidence.

“In the conversation that followed, the girl narrated the ordeal that had started from January. The aunt got in touch with a social worker in the area, who then suggested that a trap be laid to nab the accused red-handed,” a police official said. The girl made a call to the accused and arranged a meeting. Some of the accused picked her up in an auto rickshaw while the social worker and victim’s aunt and uncle followed them in another auto rickshaw. The auto rickshaw in which the relatives and social worker were travelling had a punctured tyre, as a result of which they lost track of the vehicle in which the victim was travelling. They called the police. The girl, meanwhile, sent her aunt her location by GPS. The police, with the help of the aunt’s mobile phone, reached the location and began looking for the room in which the girl was. By then, the girl had been gang-raped by six men, who ran when they learnt of the police presence. The police nabbed two of them; the rest were caught on Thursday.

“After learning about the crime from the girl, had the family approached the police, at least the incident of Wednesday could have been avoided,” the officer added.

Source: TheHindu

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