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Kamala Mills fire: Escape to Nowhere

The Victims Khushboo BhansaliOn the stroke of midnight Friday, Khushboo Bhansali’s mother wished her daughter on her 28th birthday It was to be their last conversation. Bhansali, who died in the fire in 1 Above restaurant on Friday, was out to celebrate with her husband Jayesh, sister, and 17 other family friends when the mishap took place. The fire broke out minutes after Khushboo cut her birthday cake. Khushboo and her friend Kinjal Shah rushed to the washroom, hoping they would be safe there. But they suffocated due to the smoke and lack of ventilation. However, her husband Jayesh, her younger sister Cherry Mehta, her husband, and other friends managed to escape. “Jayesh did check the ladies washroom if Khushboo was there. But he did not find her as she was in the gents’ washroom. Thinking she had run downstairs, Jayesh also went down along with the other friends,” her uncle Jethmal Bothra said.Kavita Dharani & Tejal GandhiEvery year Kavita Dharani and Tejal Gandhi, both 36, would look forward to the annual get-together with their other cousin sisters – a tradition they had been following for years. This year, however, what was intended to a joyous affair turned to tragedy. Seven sisters and the daughters of two of them, nine people in all, decided to meet before the new year set in. After meeting at Ghatkopar, all the sisters went to 1 Above, they started dinner at around 11 pm. As the fire broke out in the eatery at 12:30 am, all the sisters ran for the exit, except for Kavita and Tejal who sought refuge in the ladies washroom and succumbed to suffocation. The other sisters escaped. “Unfortunately, Kavita and Tejal had to lose their lives due to a small judgment that went wrong” said Nimesh Shah, their uncle. Tejal, who resides in Ghatkopar, was the only support of her ageing parents. “I cannot describe what it means to lose our only daughter in such an unfortunate manner. We can never recover from this loss” her father Harshad Gandhi said.Yasha ThakkarGrief-stricken residents of Salval Apartments in Paldi gathered on Friday afternoon as they waited for 27-yr-old Yasha Thakkar’s mother, who was on her way back from Mumbai after her daughter perished in the fire at Kamala Mills. On her arrival, she was inconsolable, insisting her daughter was fine. “Yasha will be coming home soon. Nothing has happened to her,” she kept saying. Of the 14 who died on Thursday night was Yasha Thakkar, a chartered accountant, who was visiting Mumbai to ring in the New Year with her cousins. Her body was brought to Ahmedabad by her husband Aalap Thakkar, also a CA. Ironically, Yasha had survived a car accident almost exactly a year ago, on New Year’s Eve. “While her cousins were done with dinner, she went to the washroom on her way out and got trapped. Yasha died due to suffocation,” a neighbour told DNA. Luck on Their SidePratik ThakkarTwenty-eight-year-old Pratik Thakkar who is being treated at Tardeo’s Bhatia Hospital, escaped the tragedy with minor burns on both his hands. Thakkar, a resident of Dadar, had gone to 1 Above with friends and family. Thakkar’s group was having dinner when people started screaming. “People did not know where to run as the staircase was too narrow for so many people to escape. People were not aware of the fire escape which led to even more chaos” said Thakkar.Siddharth ShroffAs the fire started to rage, 41-year-old Siddharth Shroff tried escaping but failed due to the panic that ensued. According to him, the narrow exit was the main reason for the chaos. One of his cousins suffered burn injuries, too. “One of my NRI cousins has suffered 30 to 40 per cent burn injuries. People were seeking help and searching for the fire escape gate. Luckily, a man at Kamala Mills took me to KEM hospital in his private vehicle and I was attended to in the nick of time.”Pooja KhubchandaniA group that was celebrating a friend’s birthday had a lucky escape at Mojo’s Bristo. This group, all of whom live in the suburbs and normally do not come to this part of town, decided, for a change, to celebrate at Mojo’s. “The group said that they that there was chaos as exit marks were not clearly visible and the staff did not seem to be trained. When we tried to open doors, we would either get into some toilet or a dead-end,” said Pooja Khubchandani, a resident of Khar.Subha G AroraWhenever there’s a fire, people tend to rush for the exit, but running towards the kitchen saved a doctor and her friend’s life. The fire, she recalled, started at around 12.15 am. “We saw a small fire at one corner and within seconds the whole restaurant was gutted,” she told DNA. Arora’s friend, who turned back and saw her lying on the floor, rushed to pick her up, and suggested they head for the kitchen, from where they made their way out.Akshay BalwaniAkshay Balwani, 23, a resident of Chembur was among those injured in the Kamala Mills restaurant fire, and has been admitted to the National Burns Centre (NBC) in Airoli in Navi Mumbai. According to doctors at the hospital, Balwani received about 12 per cent burns on his hands and the back and side of his head. Balwani was at MoJo’s Bistro along with nine other college friends for a reunion. Fortunately, Balwani’s friends escaped unhurt in the fire, but he was not as lucky enough as tarpaulin and bamboo shed fell on him. Heroes to the endDhairya Lalani, 26; Vishwa, 25lived up to his name which meant courage in Hindi. He had come down from the US to visit his family before taking up a job and was at 1 Above with his brother Vishwa, 25, with other family members.As the fire struck, both herded eight of their family members and moved them to safety, only to realise their aunt Pramila Kenia, 65, was nowhere to be seen. When they realized she had gone to washroom and was trapped there, they rushed to bring her back. Only this time, they could not come back. Thick clouds of smoke engulfed them and choked them to death. Their aunt too could not make it.Mahesh Sable & Suraj GiriWhile narrow staircase and closure of lifts proved to be hindrance in evacuating people in two different restaurants, Mahesh Sable and Suraj Giri, security staff from the same building, helped a number of people get to safety. “Around 150 people inside Mojo’s Bistro were evacuated after I guided them towards the emergency fire exit and further breaking the door as it was locked,” Sable told DNA. “It took another 30 minutes for this 150 people to leave the premises. After which I also helped around 15-20 people who were stuck in a restaurant next to Mojo’s Bistro..”Sudarshan ShindeSudarshan Shinde was one of the first policemen to reach the spot and managed to pull out three bodies even before the stretchers arrived.Hauling one body at a time on his shoulders, Shinde pulled three victims from the rubble. The woman in the picture was coughing, according to Shinde, and was eventually put in an ambulance. She even waved to her friends signalling that she was fine. However, she died on the way to hospital due to lack of oxygen, Shinde added.DeadJeet- 49 yrs Preeti – 36 yrs Tejal Unknown – 40 yrs Pramila Vishva- 23 yrs Veena- 28 yrs Kavita- 36 yrs Paroli- 30 yrs Dhairya- 26 yrs Manisha- 30 yrs Yasha- 27 Unknown Unknown InjuredShefali (Critical) Khushboo (Critical) Rohan- 22 yrs Abhishekh – 22 yrs Deep – 31 yrs Utsav- 27 yrs Ankita – 30 yrs Siddharth- 24 yrs Divya – 24 yrs Neha- 28 yrs Neh – 20 yrs Shankra Jeet- 21 yrs Yash – 22 yrs AftermathVarious theories are being floated as cause for the fire- short circuit, hookah, and even a fire act that went awry. An inquiry by the Fire department will ascertain the real cause over next few weeks. One of the officials who was suspended in the wake of fire, had reportedly sought to demolish the roof that was fire hazard, but he was disallowed. BMC woke up after the horses had bolted the stables and demolished few structures at Kamala Mills premises, Raghuvanshi Mill Compound and has promised to continue the action later today as well. When ZEE 24 Taas visited other resto bars in the premises, it was business as usual and crowd seemed little awar of what happened on Thursday night.

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Hardik Patel video part of political conspiracy, say kin

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Barely 24 hours after a sex video allegedly showing the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader Hardik Patel went viral, his relatives and the residents of Zalawadi Society at the outskirt of the Viramgam city were visibly annoyed. They were coming out in large numbers to extend their support and express confidence in Hardik’s leadership.Hardik has a bungalow in the same society. His relatives, who also stay there, targeted the ruling BJP for masterminding the plan but said it won’t deter Hardik from pursuing his agitation to press for quota for Patidar community in Gujarat.Incidentally, his relatives and society members were unanimous on one thing that if BJP had to really take on Hardik, it should fight it on the political front and not stoop to the personal level. Hardik’s bungalow wore a deserted look as he and his parents are in Ahmedabad.Hardik, who is currently in talks with Congress for a pre-poll alliance, in a bid to jointly take on BJP in the upcoming assembly election, has claimed that it was an expected ploy to defame him though it heated up the political climate in Gujarat. The video shows a Hardik Patel-lookalike, with an unidentified woman, fully clothed and with her back to the camera, and then the room becomes dark.Ambalal Patel, Hardik’s grandfather, who stays just opposite his bungalow, told DNA, “It is really painful to see how our grandson is being targeted, especially by BJP. It is none of BJP’s business to peep into Hardik’s personal life. Time and again Hardik has announced that he does not fear about any penal action as he is fighting for a cause and he will continue to pursue his goal.’’ He admitted that quota for Patidar community is definitely one of the major poll planks and BJP seems to be worried about its prospects.Latitaben Patel, who had just finished watching TV news, was proud of her grandson for single-handedly taking on the mighty BJP. ‘’Such tactics won’t in any way hamper Hardik’s movement but it will instead become stronger,’’ she notes. Raunak, a fifth standard student from the same society, said, “Hardik bhai is our role model and I wish him a success.’’ However, a trip to the Viramgam market fetched mixed reactions about Hardik’s role in puncturing BJP’s prospects in the ensuing poll. Defeating BJP, Congress won the Viramgam seat in 2012 election. It is a part of the Surendranagar Lok Sabha constituency.Now, both are in a bitter fight claiming their victory. The offices of BJP and Congress were closed for lunch, while the campaigning has yet to gather mileage. Rajeshbhai Thakkar, a trader engaged in cattle food, downplays Hardik’s agitation and claims that it will have a little impact on BJP’s winning prospects. ‘’Hardik is cashing in on support from some disgruntled members of the Patel community and also banking on support from Congress and other opposition parties who have no standing in Gujarat.

AAP releases audio of Cong trying to bribe party workers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hours after some AAP leaders joined the Congress, the former held a press conference to release an audio of a bribe being offered by the newly minted Congress members.Speaking at a press conference held in the city, Harshil Nayak, media co-ordinator for AAP, played two audio recordings of phone calls made by Rituraj Mehta and Labhubhai Bardiwala’s son Nirav.In the recording, Mehta and Nirav are heard appealing for supporters from AAP party workers and promising ‘good returns’ for them.It should be noted that Mehta, a builder, had contested the Lok Sabha elections of 2014 from Gandhinagar on an AAP ticket.Nayak said till now it was the BJP, which was buying off leaders to boost its strength and now, the Congress too was indulging in it. “From what we have, the central leadership of the Congress has specifically told the party in Gujarat to attempt to break the AAP. Congress has failed as an effective opposition in the state and is trying to buy numbers by bribing our workers,” said Nayak.He said GPCC president Bharatsinh Solanki, while welcoming the new AAP joinees, said they had come on their own. “But it is clear from the audio clips that some of the leaders including Mehta and Bardiwala were desperate to show that they had support,” said Nayak.In the audio clip, Mehta is heard asking Shailesh Thakkar, who led the Sanand farmer’s agitation and is an AAP worker, to arrange some supporters from the area and in return he promised food and transportation expenses.In case of Bardiwala, his son Nirav is heard talking to one Galsukhbhai, an AAP worker, asking him and others to join the party. “The new Congress leaders also tried to lure AAP workers with the promise of seats in the civic polls in the state,” said Nayak.The party also said it will approach the Election Commission in the matter. “Action needs to be taken against the Congress for trying to bribe our workers,” said Nayak.

Mumbai: 16-year-old girl allegedly molested and beaten up by man on protesting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 16-year-old girl was left with a fractured nose after a man allegedly repeatedly hit her for asking him and his friends not to indulge in loud arguments at Kurla-Nehrunagar here, police said on Saturday.A video purportedly showing the man, identified as Imran Shahid Shaikh, attacking the girl, has gone viral in the social and mainstream media.The incident, which took place on Tuesday, was captured in a CCTV camera.The accused was arrested on the day of the incident, but was later granted bail by a local court, police said.According to a police official, the incident took place on October 17 near SRA Building in Shramjeevi Nagar, Chembur at 7 pm, when the victim was going to her class with a friend at Adarsh Nagar in Thakkar Bappa Colony in Chembur.”When she was near her building, a group of younths, who were seated inside a parked autorikshaw, were arguing loudly. The victim asked them not to make noise and then walked some distance with her friend,” the official said.However, enraged at being reprimanded by her, Shaikh, whom she knew, came out of the rickshaw and thrashed her repeatedly.”Shaikh hit her on the nose with a metal object, after which she collapsed on the ground, with her nose bleeding profusely,” he said.After the incident, Shaikh also threatened her and fled from the spot, the official said.”The people, who witnessed the incident, did not stop Imran from beating her,” the official said.The victim was taken to a hospital, where she was found to have suffered a nose fracture, he said.Based on the complaint by the victim Nehrunagar Police registered an offence against Shaikh under sections 324, 326 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC.He was arrested on the same day. He was produced in a court, which granted bail to him, investigating officer Deepak Pawra said. Further investigation is underway.

17-yr-old develops machine to aid sewage cleaners

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Looking at the difficulties faced by sewage cleaning workers on a daily basis, a city-based class 12 student has come up with an innovative idea to come to the rescue of these conservancy workers. 17-year-old Kevin Thakkar, a resident of Bandra, has developed a portable machine to help workers, who go underground for desilting purposes, breathe fresh air.Talking about the features of the machine, Thakkar said, “The machine is built in such a way that it releases fresh air amid the harmful gases. The machine also has two gas sensors which will help other workers, monitoring the situation outside, to know if the proportion of harmful gases is high. This way the workers can immediately be pulled out and won’t have to risk their lives. Since it is light in weight, it can easily be shifted from one place to another and is also equipped with lights.”Thakkar, a student of The Cathedral and John Connon School, Fort, added, “These workers venture into these drains with just a rope. While they are inside the sewage manholes, they have to suffer from harmful gases, breathlessness, less amount of light to name a few. Most of these workers also suffer from tuberculosis due to the kind of work they do. To resolve the problems they face, I spent time with them and understood the challenges they face.I thought of coming up with a solution after realising their plight.”The teenager managed to put this machine together with the help from H-West ward of BMC. The machine has already undergone trials and Thakkar is working on upgrading it further.Two years ago, Thakkar had developed a robot which could help in desilting. However, after a trial with the BMC, he realised that a robot was not the ideal solution. According to Thakkar, minimum 12 such machines are required by the BMC to operate in four major zones.HI-TECHKevin Thakkar, a resident of Bandra, has developed a portable machine to help workers, who go underground for desilting purposes, breathe fresh air.
He managed to put this machine together with the help from H-West ward of BMC. At least12 such machines are required to operate in four major zones.

A long recovery road for victims

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A number of victims began their month-long recovery on Saturday after the unfortunate stampede incident on Friday claimed 23 lives. On Saturday, after two patients took discharge against medical advice, there were 32 patients still being treated who were said to be stable.Piyush Thakkar, 22, a resident of Ghatkopar East managed to survive the stampede on Friday as he used his presence of mind and made his way through the crowd to reach the bridge railing. Thakkar, who works at a garment manufacturing unit in Elphinstone, was on the way to his office on Friday morning.”I was standing on the footsteps of the foot-over-bridge as commuters ahead of me were not moving. But, slowly the pressure of passengers from behind started increasing,” said Thakkar. He added that this continued for almost 10 minutes and then people started screaming.”I saw some commuters faint. Even I was not able to breathe, but managed to reach the railing and got a chance to bend my head over the railing,” added Thakkar. He recounted that the little air he inhaled saved his life. Thakkar is currently at KEM Hospital and he is recuperating from his chest injuries.Naresh Kamble, 35-year-old who was a worker with a distributor was one of the many who recounted the horror tale. With a fracture in his left leg, even though he is moved out of the hospital, doctors told him he will take at least a month to recover.While Kadam’s was a case of fracture, in case of a number of others the problem appeared to be grave. “There is no movement in one of the legs. Earlier, they said that they will move him out after two days but since there is no sensation, he will have to stay here for a while. I have been told that some nerves were pressed badly,” said Suvarna Ahire, mother of 26-year-old Rupesh.After being buried under a number of people, Ritesh Rathod, too, had a similar fate. “He is in a lot of pain and is not able to sleep properly. Though there is no fracture, there is no motion in his legs,” said Virendra Malekar, a friend of Rathod.Jeetendra Patel, 25, was in a shock to even speak to people. A native of Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh, he had come to Mumbai about two months ago and had started working at a garment shop as a salesman. Patel received severe injuries in his lower part of his body and cannot walk.

Builder buys 1 kg gold for Rs 31.35 lakh at Lalbaugcha Raja auction

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chetan Joshi, a builder by profession, bought the most expensive article offered by a devotee to Lalbaugcha Raja this year. He bid the one kg gold biscuit for Rs 31.35 lakh. After its purchase, the total auction amount at Lalbaugcha Raja this year stood at Rs 97,96,500.”In 2016, the auction amount stood at Rs 1.5 crore, collected from over 225 articles of which the total weight of gold was 5 kg, and that of silver was 80 kg,” said Mahesh Jadhav, treasurer of the mandal.This year, there were 125 articles offered, which mandal officials said probably fell due to the rains. Only 82 were auctioned. Of these, the total gold weighed 5.5 kg, while silver weighed 75 kg. Besides the one kilogram gold brick, there were two gold idols of Lord Ganpati and Goddess Lakshmi collectively weighing over 1.1kg. The Ganpati weighing .587 kg was bid at Rs 15.60 lakh, while the Lakshmi idol weighing .517 kg was bid for Rs 15.60 lakh. There were also two gold chains around .250 kg. Offerings this year also saw notes banned from circulation post demonitisation. They stood at Rs 1.30 lakh. Articles not auctioned due to lack of time, mandal organisers say will be auctioned on Monday amongst themselves, said Jadhav.Sudhir Salvi, secretary of Lalbaugcha Raja Ganeshutsav Mandal said, “We will ask our chartered accountant what to do with these (banned) notes. The decision will be taken tomorrow.”Those present said the crowd that comes for auction was less compared to previous years. This is despite the fact that the auction was for one day, as compared to more than one day earlier. Members of the Samiti said it was due to demonitisation.However, that was in no way an indicator of the enthusiasm of devotees participating in the auction. “I have been coming every year for the last six years. I feel that whatever I am taking from here is prasad of the Lord,” said Jyoti Bhaktha, who purchased a 12 gram gold chain for Rs 50,000.While she purchased just one article, some others purchased multiple ones. Rahul Upadhyay was one who did. After purchasibg a gold chain, he purchased a silver-plated sword. “I have been coming here for the past 10 years.It is god’s blessings that I take home with me,” said Upadhyay.Those like Dimple Thakkar, who had come to buy a house, missed out on it. “Someone bid for the house higher than I did. Since I had come for first time, I took 10g modaks as prasad from him,’ said Dimple Thakkar. “I now want them to put up more gold modak’s for auction as my mother and brother also want them,” she added.Auction 2017Members of the samiti said that due to demonitisation, the crowd was less compared to the previous year, which saw 225 articles auctionedArticles not auctioned due to lack of time, mandal organisers say will be auctioned on Monday among themselves, said Jadhav

Third list out, prominent colleges still off limits

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Most prominent city colleges will remain off limits for even some of the high scorers, as cut offs remained high in the third merit list. The third and the final merit list for admissions to degree colleges was announced at 5 pm on Saturday.St Xaviers College, Dhobi Talao, did not declare the third list for some of the prominent courses like BA, BSc, BMM and BMS after all its seats were full after the second list. Similarly at Vile Parle’s Mithibai College of Arts, Science and Commerce, there was no third list for BA even as the second list closed at 94.4 per cent.At HR college of Commerce, cut-offs for B.Com and majority self-financed courses remained above 90 per cent even at the third list. “A lot of students have shown interest in Bcom, BMS and BAF which has kept the cut offs high,” said Parag Thakkar, in-charge principal, HR College.

CTF marks Social Media Day for sixth consecutive year

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A grand event to mark Social Media Day on Friday (June 30) was held at AMA with a guest lecture series on ‘Social Media and Women Safety’. The event, which was also streamed live on Facebook, was organised by the Computer Technology Foundation (CTF) for the sixth consecutive year.”Social media is not only connecting the world, but is also connecting one person to another. Open Wi-Fi is the new cyber cafe, where data theft is also at an all-time high; even public charging points should be stayed away from,” said Hemang Raval, chairman, CTF. He also mentioned tips on how to be careful on the web to increase awareness among women on safety issues.”In the past, if we wanted to know someone, a conversation was necessary. But now, all you have to do is read a few of their Facebook posts and you will come to know just about everything,” said Urval Shah, team member, CTF.One of the guest speakers at the event, cyber law expert and founder of Cyberra Legal Services Manan Thakkar stressed on gaining awareness of cyber laws. He also gave a presentation focusing on all sections of the laws, while sharing information on password security, email sharing and downloading content from unknown sources. “There has been a special cyber court in India for 17 years now. Ahmedabad’s cyber cell is located at the department of science and technology in Gandhinagar,” he informed.Speaking about the event, Dr Ami Upadhyay, IC registrar at the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University (BAOU), said, “Everything that was presented here is relevant in today’s world. We need to unlearn whatever we have learned about social media and before using it, we need to ask ourselves why we need to use it and also be aware of all its policies.”

Protesters shave their heads to protest railway line closure

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Activists of the Katras Vikash Manch today shaved their heads at Katrasgarh railway station to protest the closure of Dhanbad-Chandrapura railway line of East Central Railway (ECR). Katras Vikash Manch president Nitish Thakkar leading the agitation shaved his head at Katrasgarh station followed by other activists. After shaving their heads the activists sat on dharna. Thakkar warned that women of Katras too would shave their heads if the Railway Board fails to withdraw the decision of closing the Dhanbad-Chandrapura railway track. The Railway Board closed the Dhanbad-Chandrapura railway line from June 15 and cancelled 19 passengers trains and 20 pairs of goods trains due to raging mines fire towards track.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Campaigning comes to an end, GCCI polls today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The voting for the top posts of state apex trade body, Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) will take place on Saturday. Voting will be held for the post senior vice-president and vice-president category, with two candidates contesting in each category. The post of senior vice-president is critical as the elected member will be automatically promoted to the post of president after a year. Here the competition is between industry veterans KT Patel and Jaimin Vasa. Patel is betting high on his association with the apex body of all industrial estates of Gujarat Industries Development Corporation, Federation of Industries Association (FIA). He is also a member of Vatva Industrial Association which has around 390 votes. His rival Jaimin Vasa is a prominent face in chemical and dyestuff sector. He has also been the chairman of MSME Committee and Foreign Trade Committee. In VP category, the contest is between Jayendra Tanna and Bhargav Thakkar. Tanna claims he played a critical role in abolition of octroi from state. He has been active in raising concerns about GST regime. Thakkar on the other hand is a silent player. With Tanna and Patel forming ‘Active Panel’, observers believe they have formed coalition of traders and industrialists.GCCI has 3,580 personal votes, 204 mahajan together have 465 votes, 39 corporates have 92 votes. Ahmedabad has 2,311 votes, while Saurashtra has 60 and north Gujarat has 55 votes. Results will be announced on Sunday.Winners sans pollsPresident: Shailesh PatwariCorporate: Jigish Doshi, Trilok Parikh, Shaishav ShahLife/ Patron (local): Babubhai Patel, Nilesh DesaiLife/Patron (outstation): Praful TalsaniaRegional Chambers: Nilesh ShuklaBusiness Association (local): Pratap Chandan, Vinay PanjwaniBusiness Association (outstation): Gunvant ThakkarGeneral local: Meena Kaviya, Anil Sanghvi, Devendra Prajapati, Sachin Patel, Kirti Patel, Mihir Patel, Chiranjiv Patel, Ashish GuruGeneral Outstation: Kanubhai C. Patel, Dilip Padhya, Jayantibhai Patel, Rajesh BhattBWW Chairperson: Shibani Desai

Indian-origin African ‘billionaire’ lied about assets in divorce hearing, loses battle

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Indian-origin businessman, dubbed Africa’s youngest billionaire, has lost a divorce battle in the High Court here and will have to fork out a considerable amount to his ex-wife as settlement.Ashish Thakkar was accused of lying about his family assets by a UK High Court judge in a ruling made public on Wednesday. The 35-year-old and his father and sister had given evidence in court that the UK-born and Dubai-based businessman had no control over Mara Group Holdings and Inspire Group Holdings Ltd, the family’s two main businesses.”I regret to say that I consider the whole thing to be palpable nonsense. It follows that I find I have been repeatedly lied to by all three respondent Thakkar witnesses, which has extremely serious consequences for the rest of their evidence,” Justice Moor said in his ruling.A further hearing will now determine how much money Thakkar must pay his former wife Meera Manek, according to The Daily Telegraph. The case came to light earlier this month when it emerged that the estranged couple were also fighting over a 160,000-pound ticket on the futuristic Virgin Galactic.Thakkar was among the first to sign up for Richard Branson’s dream project of launching the first commercial flight into space.The full amount of the tickets is paid upfront but the tickets on Virgin Galactic are fully refundable up until the date of the flight. The court will also determine whether he would have to sell off his ticket to space as part of the upcoming assets hearing.Manek, a 33-year-old food writer and blogger, had claimed that her estranged husband is the beneficiary of a complex series of companies held offshore while he had alleged his assets were worth just 445,532 pounds. The couple had married in 2008 but separated in 2013.Financial news wire Bloomberg estimates Thakkar’s fortune at 360 million pounds and The Sunday Times Rich List had estimated Thakkar’s wealth at 500 million pounds in 2015.Thakkar, who made his fortune in IT, banking and property, had argued that the beneficiaries of his companies are his mother and sister, a claim dismissed by the High Court judge as a lie. He was born in the city of Leicester in the UK and his family were among the thousands of East African Indians who came to the UK after being deported by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 1970s. He now lives in Dubai and attends various conferences and events around the world as a high flying entrepreneur.

Guj BJP fumes at Akhilesh’s ‘insult’, says donkeys are loyal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Akhilesh Yadav’s ‘donkey’ remark targeting the Prime Minister triggered a sharp reaction from the Gujarat BJP, which accused the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister of “insulting” the people of the western state. The BJP leaders in the home state of Narendra Modi also took a swipe at Akhilesh over his tussle for power with his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, saying that unlike him, donkeys are loyal and he should learn from the animal. “Akhilesh Yadav, by appealing to Amitabh Bachchan that he should not ‘campaign for the donkeys’ of the state, has insulted Gujarat,” state BJP chief Jitu Vaghani said. Akhilesh yesterday targeted Modi and BJP president Amit Shah as he “appealed” to Bachchan not to “campaign for the donkeys of Gujarat”. Bachchan is the brand ambassador of Gujarat Tourism. “The UP Chief Minister is facing defeat in his state but that does not give him a licence to insult people of Gujarat,” Vaghani said. BJP leaders also taunted Akhilesh saying he does not know the difference between wild asses, which are found in Gujarat, and donkeys. “Bachchan (who belongs to Uttar Pradesh and whose wife is a Samajwadi Party MP) is a superstar and is well-known all over the world. By becoming brand ambassador of Gujarat Tourism, he has helped in growth of tourism. This only shows Akhilesh’s jealousy on the progress Gujarat has made,” he added. Vaghani also asked the Congress, which has tied up with the Samajwadi Party in UP, if that party endorses Akhilesh’s remark. BJP spokesperson Harshad Patel said, “Donkeys are loyal to their owners. Akhilesh should learn from donkeys to stay loyal to his father. He has nothing to say about development work done by his government so he is trying to rake up non-existent issues.” BJP youth leader Amit Thakkar, also director of Gujarat Tourism Corporation, said that Akhilesh does not know the difference between donkeys and wild asses. “Wild asses, called ‘Ghudkhar’ in local parlance, are a different species from donkeys, and are uniquely found in Gujarat only. Gujarat has a dedicated sanctuary for them. However, I don’t expect a UP leader to understand the difference,” Thakkar said. The Congress, meanwhile, took a dig at the state government, saying the BJP has given a chance to those outside to make fun of Gujarat by promoting wild-asses, instead of focusing on the state’s heritage and rare animal species. “The BJP has given a chance to those outside the state to criticise Gujarat by advertising about wild-asses. They should have advertised about other rare species of animals and birds found in the state and our cultural heritage,” Congress leader and party’s national spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Key accused among two held in Naliya gang rape case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat Government’s Special Investigation Team has arrested two more persons, including the prime accused who is a BJP worker, in connection with the alleged gang rape of a 24-year-old woman in Naliya town of Kutch district, taking the number of accused in police custody so far to five. The SIT had yesterday arrested Vinod Thakkar (67), his son Chetan Thakkar (35) and one Ashwin Thakkar (44) in connection with the one-year-old case. They were produced in a court in Naliya, which remanded them in police custody for 14 days. “Those arrested today are identified as Shantilal Solanki (48), who is the prime accused, and Bharat Darji (37), both residents of Naliya,” stated an official release by Kutch Local Crime Branch (LCB) police inspector and SIT head J M Aal. In her FIR, the woman, currently living in Mumbai with her husband, had alleged she was raped by at least nine men on different occasions when she used to work as a clerk at Solanki’s gas agency in Naliya. She alleged Solanki, Darji and Vipul Thakkar offered her a spiked cold drink and raped her when she had gone to Solanki’s house to take a salary advance. As per her FIR filed at Naliya police station on January 25, the trio filmed the act and raped her on several occasions later by threatening to circulate the video clip. On one occasion, she was raped by Vipul Thakkar and Solanki in the latter’s car. She was also sexually assaulted by other accused. Since Solanki is associated with the BJP, he, along with three members of the party, namely Govind Parumalani, Ajit Ramvani and Vasant Bhanushali were suspended two days back after their names found mention in the complaint. Ramvani and Bhanushali are the sitting councillors of Gandhidham municipality and yet to be arrested by police.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

CBI takes over probe in extortion case against Rajan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CBI has taken over investigation in the case pertaining to alleged extortion demand of Rs 26 crore by gang members of Chhota Rajan from a Mumbai-based builder in 2015. Mumbai Police, which was probing the case, had filed a charge sheet last year against Suresh Shinde, Ashok Nikam, Sumit Mhatre, Nikhil Awaghade showing three main accused Chhota Rajan, Anolakhi Isam and Parmanand Thakkar as “absconding accused”. It is alleged that a call was made to the builder asking him to pay Rs 26 crore to Thakkar else he and his wife will be killed by the gang, according to the FIR filed. Rajan was arrested in 2015 after being deported to India from Bali, Indonesia. Maharashtra government had handed to CBI all the case probed by the state police against Rajan.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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