Kasauli murder slain himachal officer shail bala refused bribe; updates business standard news gas 66

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The police on Thursday arrested Vijay Singh, accused of killing Assistant Town Planner Shail Bala Sharma as she was leading a demolition drive in Himachal Pradesh’s Kasauli, from Mathura. Reportedly, subsequent to his arrest, Singh told the police that he killed Sharma because she refused to settle for a bribe.

Singh had on Tuesday allegedly fired on and killed Sharma, who, leading a Supreme Court-mandated demolition drive against illegal constructions, had reached Narayani Guest House, owned by Singh’s family. Himachal Pradesh authorities received much flak and were even pulled up by the apex court over the incident. Singh fled after the incident and was on the run until his arrest in Mathura. Police told news agencies that Singh kept changing locations to avoid being caught.

Further, heads also started rolling with the state government late in the evening transferring the district’s top police official. Earlier, while taking sou motu cognizance of the incident, the Supreme Court had asked what the police team, which had accompanied the government officials during the sealing drive, was doing when the hotel owner allegedly shot at Shail Bala.

1) Shail Bala Sharma refused to take bribe , says murder accused: After his arrest, Vijay Singh reportedly told the police that Shail Bala had refused to either back down or accept a bribe as she led the demolition drive, reported NDTV. Citing unnamed sources, the report said that Singh had pleaded with the woman officer and asked her to spare his guest house. However, Singh said, she "refused to settle" and "was behaving like an ideal officer".

2) Shail Bala Sharma to get Gaurav Purskar: The state government has decided to confer Himachal Gaurav Purskar on Shail Bala Sharma. A government spokesman said a decision in this regard was taken at a high-level meeting held to review the law and order situation. He said the government also decided to give an ex-gratia of Rs 500,000 (Rs 5 lakh) to her family who would be entitled to the salary for her remaining service period.

3) Vijay Singh shaved moustache, hid in forest after alleged murder: In a bid to change his appearance, Vijay Singh shaved his moustache and trimmed his hair, said the police. Solan SP Mohit Chawla told news agencies that Singh kept changing locations to avoid being caught. He even stayed near the Mathura refinery and the Banke Bihari temple, Chawla added.

4) Top police official shunted: After a rap from the apex court over its negligence in handling the demolitions, the Himachal Pradesh government transferred Solan Superintendent of Police Mohit Chawla and his deputy Ramesh Sharma to police headquarters. Additional Superintendent Shiv Kumar was given the additional charge of the Superintendent of Police, while Ajay Rana is the new Deputy Superintendent of Police.

5) Vijay Singh nabbed from Mathura: Accused of killing Assistant Town Planner Shail Bala Sharma in Kasauli, Vijay Singh was nabbed on Thursday in Mathura, police said. Police had on Wednesday released Singh’s photograph and offered a reward of Rs 100,000 (Rs 1 lakh) for clues. "The accused was arrested from Mathura in a joint operation by Himachal and Delhi Police. He would be brought to Himachal after obtaining transit remand. The police would interrogate him and recover the weapon used for shooting the officer," DGP Sita Ram Mardi said in Shimla.

6) Demolitions continue despite murder of woman officer: Admitting negligence in the matter, Deputy Commissioner Vinod Kumar said: "It was our responsibility to carry out the demolitions. It was a lapse on part of the district administration. We had asked the demolition teams to exercise restraint." But the demolitions would continue, he added.

7) Himachal CM blames Congress for illegal constructions: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Thursday said that illegal constructions in Kasauli and other hilly areas were carried out during the erstwhile Congress-led state government’s tenure. Speaking to news agencies, Thakur said, "One thing needs to be cleared, that the illegal construction didn’t happen within two-three months. All the illegal construction went unabated during erstwhile (Congress) government’s regime. I don’t want to comment more on this because right now we are focused on taking action as per the directions of the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal."

8) Congress says law and order in Himachal worsening under BJP: Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukkhu said that the law and order situation in the state had worsened under BJP rule. Commenting on the Supreme Court’s observation that the "state government is promoting illegal activities", Sukkhu said, "In other words, the Supreme Court has said that law and order situation is worse in the state."

9) SC blames Kasauli killing on non-implementation of law: The Supreme Court said on Thursday that Shail Bala Sharma‘s murder took place because of the non-implementation of the state law prohibiting unauthorised constructions. Directing Himachal Pradesh to file a status report on its investigation into the killing of Sharma, the Bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta said that the unfortunate incident took place not because of its orders to demolish unauthorised structures but non-implementation of the law prohibiting illegal construction.

It noted that some hotels and resorts were supposed to construct only two-storeyed buildings but built six-storeyed buildings. The order came on pleas filed by the owners challenging a National Green Tribunal May 30, 2017, order which had directed the demolition of unauthorised portions of the hotels affecting the environment, ecology, and natural resources.