Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pillai wants ministerial berth for Ganesh

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: K B Ganesh Kumar should be re-inducted into the cabinet if it is reshuffled; said Kerala Congress (B) chairman R Balakrishna Pillai.  He said that he will resign the chairman post of Forward Communities Welfare Commission if the berth is not offered to his son.

Pillai said his post and the ministerial berth for his son should not be mixed. The reasons for not including his son were not informed to the Kerala Congress. A decision will be taken after knowing that, he said.

There is nothing wrong in conducting a judicial probe after completing the police investigation in the solar case, said Pillai and criticized some in the office of the chief minister for playing a dirty game. The wise attitude taken by the chief minister towards people was not shown by those in his office, he blamed.

Magistrate has no right to disqualify advocate, says Pinarayi

KOCHI: A magistrate has no right to disqualify an advocate after a client hands him a case, said CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan. The leader criticized the court after they avoided the advocate from recording the statement of Saritha S Nair, the accused in the solar case.

There are other services in the bar council to remove the counsel if he is not good. But the court has not stated why Fenny Balakrishnna, the counsel of the accused, has been removed, Pinarayi said while partaking in the 24 hour strike staged in the district.

Saritha had informed the court earlier whatever she has to say. Why the court failed to record her statement then. It cannot be blamed if suspected that more time was given to stop the recording of the statement, he said.

VS lashes at govt

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan lashed at the government and asked them not to think that they can suppress the media using their power. Their move to control the media exposing corruption will not be spared. VS condemned the government’s move and said the people will sarcastically reject it.  The Left Front will go to any extent to protect the freedom of the media.

High command will take decision tomorrow, says Chandy

KOCHI: The high command will take a decision tomorrow on many things including leadership change, said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Talking to reporters in the district, he said the party will hear good news tomorrow.

The government will not back out from taking legal steps against the channel. He said that he held talks with the advocate general on it.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Court to pronounce verdict on Shalu’s bail plea on Monday

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court will pronounce verdict on the bail plea of Shalu Menon in the case for helping Biju Radhakrishnan to escape, on Monday. The court postponed pronouncing the verdict as the argument in the case was completed today. The police had found that Biju fled to Tamil Nadu in Shalu’s car from Thrissur.

Meantime, the court had postponed pronouncing the verdict of her plea in another case.

LDF ready for polls, says Pinarayi

KANNUR: CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said the LDF is ready to face the polls. He said they are accepting the challenge of the congress whether they are ready for the polls. He said this while addressing the day and night strike staged seeking the resignation of the chief minister in the district.

The government is chosen by the people and the LDF is not interested in toppling it through a conspiracy. The LDF will not end protests until the chief minister resigns in the solar case.

Police brutally assaulted me, says Biju Radhakrishnan

PATHANAMTHITTA: Biju Radhakrishnan arrested in the solar case, told his advocate that he was brutally assaulted in custody. Following the assault, he sustained injuries on his right foot. There were no injuries on his body before he was taken into custody, his advocate said.

Biju had told his advocate that he had proofs showing the illegal relationship of many in connection with the case. His advocate N T Babu said that with court’s permission Biju’s written complaint would be accepted and produced with evidence.
Biju Radhakrishnan was arrested from Tamil Nadu after Saritha was taken into custody.

Saritha had visited Adoor Prakash’s flat


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Solar case accused Saritha S. Nair had visited Minister Adoor Prakash’s flat at Ernakulam and spent three hours there, according to the documents which got leaked out on Thursday.

Saritha reached the minister’s house on 13 March 2012 at 8.17 am and left around 11’o clock. However, the minister declined.

Team to record statement of Mammootty

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The special investigating team decided to record the statement of actor Mammootty in connection with the solar case. Biju Radhakrishnan, the accused in the case, told police that an amount of Rs 10 lakhs was given to the actor to attend an award function organized by them.  But the actor denied it and said that he got only Rs 25,000 and the amount was given to an orphanage.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bodies of 4 crushed to death by boulder recovered after 36 hrs

Perumbavur: Bodies of four persons, who were crushed to death after a huge boulder slid off a granite quarry from 100 feet, were recovered on Wednesday night nearly after 36 hours of the incident.

The deceased were Santhosh, Vijayan, Mohan and Ravikanth. 

The four, including the sub-contractor and a migrant worker were drilling the rocks when the mishap occurred at around 8.00 AM yesterday. 

Police said efforts to pull out the bodies went on till late last night and continued this morning also. 

An excavator was brought in today to the site to smash the rock into smaller pieces after which the bodies were extricated. 

Two persons, who escaped with injuries, had informed police that the four were trapped underneath the huge rock. 

The bodies recovered yesterday night have been taken to Perumbavoor taluk headquarters hospital, police said. 

No question of quitting, says Chandy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Categorically ruling out his resignation in the wake of critical observations by the Kerala High Court in the solar panel case, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Wednesday said the court had not passed any sharp remarks against him as reported by the media.

'There is no question of resignation. That is not going to happen. The court has not made any remark against me,' Chandy told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

Chandy said he was making this clear after getting all the details of what had transpired in the court yesterday from the Director General of Prosecution and the Advocate General.

Referring to the opposition demand that he should step down and order judicial probe, Chandy said that was not warranted as his office had nothing to do with the scam and he had nothing to hide.

'I am not scared and I have nothing to hide. Nothing connected with the scam has happened in my office,' he said.

Chandy refuted the claim of businessman M K Kuruvila in his petition that one of his relatives and a member of the personal staff cheated him of Rs 1.03 crore.

'I have no such relative, named Andrews as mentioned in the complaint and anybody on the personal staff called Daljith.'

Chandy also justified steps taken by the government on complaints pertaining to the solar panel scam by carrying out prompt action and investigation. On the other hand, the previous LDF government did not treat it as a serious case.

Asked whether he would restrain government Chief Whip P C George from fulminating against the ministry, Chandy said 'I am not going to do anything.

Party to decide my resignation, says P C George

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  Chief Whip P C George has retracted his statement made yesterday and said it is not the chief minister who has to resign, but the home minister on the basis of the Kerala High Court observations.

The court’s sharp criticism was not against the chief minister but against the police which comes under the home department. So Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan should resign, George told reporters.

George said, “My resignation will be decided by the party and KPCC chief Ramesh Chennithala. I informed my willingness to resign after the statements made by P T Thomas, but the party chairman asked me not to do that. P T Thomas is leveling baseless allegations against me. He has a grudge towards me as I talk for the farmers. His attitude is not as that of the Congress, he is just a party activist.”

George said Chandy has not asked me to resign. A caucus wants the chief minister to go. He should realize that. I said that I would have resigned if I was in his place after seeing the mental strain of the chief minister.

In reply to a question he said that he hasn’t spoken to CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in the last ten years.

Muslim League supports CM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Muslim League comes forward supporting Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in the solar case. E T Muhammed Basheer, executive member of the League, said there is no such situation for him to resign. There is no need for a leadership change, he said.

A cabinet reshuffle is good and it will be good if KPCC chief Ramesh Chennithala joins the government. The high command should intervene immediately on it, he said.

Two more gas tankers washed ashore in Kasargod

KASARGOD: Much to the anxiety of local people, two more gas tankers were washed ashore at separate places in this northern-most district of the state.

Police said apart from three capsule-shaped tankers found at Berika shore near Kumbala yesterday, similar liquid carrier each were washed ashore at Kasargod and Bekal this morning.

They said the coastal police had taken summary of the objects but had no idea about the contents.

Stating fishermen had spotted football-like materials and a refrigerator floating in the sea recently, they said probably these were detached from a shop.

People thronging the localities were not allowed to go near the tankers, they said adding a Coast Guard team was expected to arrive from Kochi to carry out inspection.

Mullaperiyar: People’s safety more important, says SC

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court observed that the safety of the people is more important in the Mullaperiyar dam issue. The state has the right to make law for the safety of the people, the court said. The Supreme Court has favoured the continuous argument of Kerala regarding the safety of the people on the Mullaperiyar issue and water for Tamil Nadu.

It is the duty of the respective governments to take steps to assure the safety of the people. Nobody can stop that. The report of the high panel has stated that Tamil Nadu will get water if it retains the water level of the dam to 136 feet.

Is there any logic on Tamil Nadu’s anxiety that they will not get water? If the water level rises and the dam destroyed, everything will be washed away including the verdict obtained by Tamil Nadu in 2006.

The court had made a statement in favour of Kerala when the case was considered yesterday.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

No situation for George to resign, says K M Mani

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  There is no situation for Chief Whip P C George to resign, said Kerala Congress (M) chairman and Finance Minister K M Mani.

Mani talking to reporters before partaking in the cabinet meet, said George has not informed him anything about the resignation.

Meantime, it is heard that George will hold talks with Mani after the cabinet meet.

VS asks Chandy to quit immediately in wake of court statements

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan asked Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to quit immediately in the wake of Kerala High Court’s harsh criticism. Talking to the media, VS said the court’s opinion is the same as that of the opposition.

The government should announce a judicial probe in the case. No chief minister has faced a harsh criticism like this. Chandy should resign at least to save the state. The court has also showed suspicion on whether the case would be sabotaged. The chief minister has no right to continue in this situation, he said.

VS criticized the accused in harsh language. Treatment for Joppan, fashion parade for Saritha, love letter for Biju, reality show for Shalu Menon etc are on with the help of the police.

Kuruvila questions CM’s relation with Ravi Poojary

THRISSUR: Bangalore businessman M K Kuruvila asked to make clear the relationship of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy with underworld don Ravi Poojary of Dubai.

Talking to reporters here, he said that he was threatened soon after he lodged a complaint against the chief minister. He said that he was threatened on the third day of lodging his complaint.

P.C. George indirectly demands Chandy's resignation

KOTTAYAM: Government Chief Whip P C George on Tuesday said that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy himself should think of his resignation over solar panel case.

George expressed his concern over the critical observations made by two courts against chief minister over solar case. He said if he were in Chandy’s position he would have resigned. But Chandy is unable to resign.

Chief Minister had said that people decide ethics by their own thoughts. Then he should have the responsibility to define what his ethics is, said George.

It is not right for the constituent parties in UDF to demand Chandy’s resignation, he said. Some people close to Ommen Chandy is misleading him. The functioning of the police places the state government on the defensive.

George, a nominee of Kerala Congress (Mani), the third largest partner in Congress-led UDF, said it was his personal view and party leader K.M. Mani, the state Finance Minister, would make known the party's stand on the matter.

George also said it was extraordinary that two High Court judges had made critical observations on the progress of probe in the case on the same day.

The solar scam pertains to defrauding a large number of people of crores of rupees by Saritha Nair and her accomplice Biju Radhakrishnan by offering solar energy solutions. The two have been arrested besides actress Shalu Menon.

It attained political significance after the arrest of a private assistant of Chandy and removal of two others from the CM's office for their alleged link with the accused.

George also justified K. Muraleedharan’s statement on K. Karunakaran’s resignation. What Muraleedharan said is correct. The Congress leadership should think about that, he said.

Coming down on Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, George said it was he who should have resigned first in the wake of his comments earlier this month on Minister of State of Home Mullappally Ramachandran.

The Home Minister had clarified on July 11 that he had not made critical comments on the minister and not stated in the assembly that Ramachandran had given a list of names to be included as accused in Revolutionary Marxist Party leader TP Chandrasekheran murder case.

Court directs to register Saritha’s statement

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court strictly directed the police to register the statement of Saritha S Nair, accused in the solar case, today (Wednesday) itself.

Justice S S Sathish Chandran also said Saritha should be given a chance to meet her counsel. The court asked to inform the steps taken in the wake of court direction when the case will be considered again at 1.45 pm.

The accused has the right to give a written complaint and it is the duty of the police to give a chance for that, the court said. The court directed the jail superintendent to produce Saritha immediately at the Moovattupuzha Court and register her statement.

Meantime, director general of prosecution T Asifali informed the court that they don’t need her custody again.  

Meanwhile, ADGP Hemachandran leading the investigation in the case met director general of prosecution T Asifali and held talks. Asifali also called on Justice S S Sathish Chandran considering the case.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Statements on Attappady, VS terms as ‘rubbish’

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan termed as rubbish on Minister K C Joseph’s statement in connection with the infant deaths in Attappady.

He said the government is insulting the tribals.

CPI state secretary Panniyan Raveendran asked Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Minister K C Joseph to apologize for insulting them.  The government did not provide any help to the families even after the deaths of 56 children.

Higher secondary: Circular not new, says director

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Director Keshavendra Kumar said the circular which is a compilation of various government rules and guidelines on appointment higher secondary teachers, is not new. In the explanation given to education minister, he clarified that it was issued to make the appointment of teachers transparent.

Meantime, the director said as the circular row has hit the higher secondary department, they are planning to make changes in it. Steps will be taken after the education minister examines the director’s explanation.

In the meanwhile, the aided higher secondary school managements association blamed the government for creating a row on the appointment of teachers. They decided to protest till it is withdrawn. As part of the strike, they have decided to besiege the director on July 29.

Chandy Oommen owns no land in Balaramapuram

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Balaramapuram Sub-registrar on Monday submitted a report before the police clarifying that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s son Chandy Oommen, former minister Ganesh Kumar and solar case accused Saritha S. Nair have no land in their names at Balaramapuram in Thiruvananthapuram district.

Sanju, a co-prisoner of Biju Radhakrishnan, told media persons earlier that Biju had told him that Saritha, Chandy Oommen and Ganesh Kumar had jointly invested in real estate at Balaramapuram.

Following Sanju’s revelation, Chandy Oommen rejected the allegation and Oommen Chandy ordered a probe. As per the instruction of Chief Minister, the police sought report from Balaramapuram Sub-registrar.

K.M. Mani meets Sonia Gandhi

NEW DELHI: Kerala Congress (M) leader and Finance Minister K.M. Mani met Congress President Sonia Gandhi here on Monday and expressed his dissatisfaction with the present condition of the state government.

Mani is learnt to have discussed with Sonia the present crisis being faced by the UDF government in Kerala, including the latest solar panel case.

Mani said in a press conference after the discussion that he had informed Sonia that the present condition of the UDF government is not favourable for a thumping win in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. He also told that the reputation and the functioning of the state government should be made better.

If the UDF government has to win majority in the elections, it has to take the constituent parties into confidence and go ahead by accepting them. Mani also said he would demand more seats for his party in the Lok Sabha elections. He added that his party would not continue in the Front by tolerating insults.

Four trapped as quarry caves in

PERUMBAVOOR: Four persons are feared to have trapped after a portion of the quarry caved in at Perumbavoor. Two have been rescued. The quarry caved in is owned by Rajan of Vengola Society Padi. The incident happened Tuesday morning at 9 am. When the quarry caved in, the tipper and the JCB fell down.

Six employees of the quarry got trapped when it caved in. Seriously injured has been admitted at the Kolencherry Medical College Hospital. Efforts are taken to rescue the other four. Heavy rains are disrupting rescue operations. No details have been obtained on those trapped in the accident.

Areekode murder: Accused Sheriff arrested

MALAPPURAM: The Areekode police arrested K K Sheriff (30) for killing his wife and two children after the bike ridden by him plunged into a water logged paddy field. Sherif told police that he killed his wife Sabira (21) and children Fathima Fida (5) and Fathima Nida, aged one and a half years old.

He committed the murder after this wife opposed his second marriage and also asked him to return back her ornaments. The accident happened Monday morning at Alukkal at 2.30 am. Sabira’s family members were suspicious on the incident. The police team and local residents who visited the spot also raised suspicion.

Sherif was taken into custody and on questioning him the accident proved to be a murder. Sherif sustained only minor injuries in the accident. Sherif told police that the tyre of the vehicle was punctured and fell into the field after losing control. But on examining found that the tyre was not punctured.

Quotation was given against me, says P C George

THRISSUR: A quotation was given against me by some Congressmen, said Chief Whip P C George. He revealed it at the time when an allegation is being leveled that Saritha in her secret statement has mentioned his name.

George said, “The Congress had approached a photographer of the capital city for a photo of a woman hugging him. The photographer informed me about it. George said he is sure that he will not get justice from the home department.”

Court harshly criticizes government in solar case

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court harshly criticized the government in the solar panel fraud case. Various benches of the Kerala High Court criticized the government while considering the plea of M K Kuruvila seeking to leave his complaint to the crime branch in the solar case and the bail plea of Shalu Menon arrested in the solar case.

Justice V K Mohan while considering the plea of M K Kuruvila asked whether the role of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has been examined. In the complaint lodged, Kuruvila has stated that Saritha S Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan took money from him mentioning chief minister’s name.

Justice A S Sathish while considering Shalu Menon’s bail plea asked whether the government is hiding anything in the solar case. The steps taken by the police in the investigation of the case are embarrassing. The court said they will seek an explanation from the investigating official ADGP A Hemachandran.

The court said not taking the statement of Saritha, an accused in the case, is suspicious, and asked what steps were taken to recover the money amassed by Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha S Nair. The court said it has to be suspected that government is trying to sabotage the case.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Star tortoise seized, three arrested


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Forest Department on Sunday seized an Indian star tortoise from the baggage of a passenger, who had arrived from Coimbatore on Amritha Express, at Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station. Three persons hailing from Pollachi in Tamil Nadu were arrested in connection with the seizure. Acting on a tip-off received by the Forest Intelligence Cell, a team led by Range Officer C K Sudhish tracked Saravan, 24, Modilal, 27, and Malraj, 29, and seized the star tortoise weighing over one kg. The tortoise was brought to the capital for sale by the three-member team. On questioning, the accused told the forest officials that they got the tortoise while bathing in a river at Aliyar. But, the forest authorities have not taken their statement at face value. The tortoise, initially kept at the Forest headquarters, was handed over to the Partuthipally range. A case had been registered against the three persons under the Wildlife Act.

Medical entrance exam held


KOCHI: The entrance examination for MBBS management seats of private self-financing colleges was held on Sunday. Of the 1,324 students who registered, 778 appeared for the examination held at Sacred Heart College under the supervision of the Admission Supervisory Committee for professional colleges headed by former judge J. M. James. The results are expected to be declared in four days.

Opined on Attappady not after looking files, says Chandy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that he opined after understanding the problems of the tribals in Attappady. He reiterated that the problems in Attappady cannot be solved in a day.

He said this while reacting to the interview given for an English magazine that infant deaths occur as the people here don’t eat properly.

Chandy said, “I don’t take decisions by looking into files, I make statements after understanding the situation by doing field work. I just expressed the emotions of the people in Attappady. Free rations are given to the tribals in Attappady but they are not eating that. They later asked for ragi and even that was also provided.”

LDF not interested in toppling govt, says Pinarayi

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The LDF is not interested in toppling the UDF Government, said CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan. He sought the resignation of the chief minister and demanded a judicial probe in the case.

Inaugurating the 24 hour strike in front of the secretariat seeking the resignation of the chief minister in the solar case, Pinarayi said Chandy along with Saritha S Nair is co-accused in the case. There is ample evidence against him and still there is no investigation.

Sreedharan Nair gave Saritha money not as per Joppan’s direction but on the assurance given by the chief minister. The chief minister is defaming those lodging complaint against Saritha, alleged Pinarayi.

No bail for Tenny Joppan

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court Monday rejected the bail plea of Tenny Joppan, former personal assistant of the chief minister, in the solar scam case.

The court passed the order after accepting the argument that granting bail would affect the case.

The government had informed the court that Joppan had financially obtained gains in the case.

Saritha S Nair, the second accused in the case, had told the investigating team that an amount of Rs 2 lakhs was given to him.

Woman, daughters killed


MALAPPURAM: A woman and her two daughters died after the scooter in which they were travelling fell into a marshy pit. The dead have been identified as Shabira, wife of Muhammed Sherif of Areekkode and daughters Fatima Fida and Faifa.  Sherif injured in the accident has been admitted at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital. The incident happened early Monday morning at 2.30 am. The incident happened when Sherif was proceeding to his house. Police said Sherif’s vehicle fell into the marshy pit after losing control.

Kathikudam NGIL plant: Police lathicharge protestors

THRISSUR: The police on Sunday resorted to lathicharge people who took out protest march against the water contamination and pollution caused by Nitta Gelatin India Ltd (NGIL), a Japanese company, in Thrissur district. About 30 people were arrested.

A hartal has been declared on Monday in Thrissur district against the lathicharge. The Calicut University informed that all examinations which were intended to be held in Thrissur district have been postponed.

I’m ready to correct mistakes, says Murali

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: K Muraleedharan MLA said that he is ready to correct his mistakes if any party rules have been violated. Murali said that he is more cautious than before from making any statements. He said this while reacting to M M Hassan’s statement that the former is not obeying the directive of the high command against making open statements.

Murali said, “I’ve not behaved rudely to any congress leader. As an MLA, I just shared the anxiety of the people in the solar case. The investigation of the case is moving in the right direction. I fully support the political stand taken by the chief minister in the case. A section of the police department loyal to the LDF is trying to divert the investigation in the case. I just tried to bring it to the notice of the government.”

Deaths in Attappady: People don’t eat properly, says Chandy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In an interview to the Outlook Magazine, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the reason for infant deaths in Attappady is that the people here don’t eat properly. This statement has raged a controversy in the state.

When asked that babies are still dying even after a special package was permitted for Attappady, Chandy said that he had visited the place along with higher officials of the centre and state governments in June. A retired IAS officer S Subbayya was entrusted to monitor the situation there.  It is an issue which cannot be solved in a day and another thing is that the tribals here don’t eat properly. Besides rice and green gram, ragi is also given along with free ration, he said.

Proposal to hike water tariff

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The water authority is planning to submit a proposal to double the water tariff in the state. Financial crisis is the reason cited for the proposal.

The proposal has directed to charge Rs 8 per kiloliter of water from Rs 4 paid by domestic consumers. The proposal will be approved at the next board meeting and then submitted to the government. The tariff was earlier hiked in 2008. Those consuming five kilolitres of water will have to pay excess Rs 40 and for a kiloliter will have to pay additional Rs 10.

Meantime, Irrigation Minister P J Joseph said there is no move to hike the tariff.

Solar is a small scam, says Chandy

KOCHI: The solar case is a small one when compared to other scams, said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. Talking at the programme organized by the Youth Congress in the district, he said the government has not incurred any loss in the case.

The opposition first said it was a Rs 5 crore scam, then it rose to Rs 10 crore.

The guilty in the case will be punished and the others will be protected. I don’t agree with the trial conducted by the media and cannot proceed as per their wish.

The investigation in the case is moving in the right direction, he said.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

No talks with Congress: NSS

CHANGANASSERY: The Nair Service Society (NSS) General Secreatary G. Sukumaran Nair on Saturday said that no further talks will be held with both the state and central units of Congress party for taking a deceptive stance towards NSS. Sukumaran Nair was talking in a press conference here.  

He poured scorn on Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s statement that Congress has good relation with the NSS. He said Chandy behaves like an enemy.  

He went on to say that the decisions taken by education minister and his department were like elephant’s deed in a sugar cane farm. The government’s approach towards aided sector is destructive one.

Fire in Kozhikode Madhura Bazar


KOZHIKODE: A fire broke out at a godown in Madhura Bazar near Cheruvanniyur in Kozhikode on Saturday. No casualty is reported. The reason for the break of fire is not yet found out.

Daylight robbery in Kerala capital

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a daylight robbery here, four youths came on two bikes and robbed Rs 35 lakh from a person who came out of a bank after withdrawing money, police said.

The youths, all of them wearing helmets, pushed the man to the ground and snatched the bag containing the money before speeding away.

The police have arrested all the four persons. They are identified as Rakesh (38), Aneesh (25), Malik Singh (37) and Chandran (35).  They are natives of West Bengal and Jharkhand. They are being questioned.

Yesurajan, president of the Fish Workers Co-operative Society at Vizhinjam, had withdrawn the money from the branch of Canara Bank at Ayurveda college junction. The amount was meant for distribution to fish workers at an interest-free loan mela scheduled to be conducted at Vizhinjam on Sunday.

Yesurajan told the police that the bikes bore Uttar Pradesh registration numbers.

Court records Saritha S. Nair’s statement

KOCHI: The Ernakulam Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court (Economic Offences) Saturday recorded in camera the statement of Saritha S Nair, the prime accused in the Solar Panel scam case.

This was following a request from Saritha who was produced in the court Saturday morning.

Saritha then informed the court that she wanted to get her statement recorded in camera following which the case was posted again to 1.30 pm Saturday.

The ACJM N Raju recorded her statement in a closed court room in the presence of her lawyer.

The court has given strict instructions saying that the contents of the statement should not be revealed.

Her lawyer Fenny Balakrishnan had earlier said that the accused had fears for her life as several higher ups were allegedly involved in the scam. He had said she would reveal the names of other accused in the scam.

Another accused in the scam Biju Radhakrishnan was also produced in the court. He filed a statement stating that there were threats to his life and needed protection.

The court asked Police commissioner and Jail superintendent to give him necessary protection.

The scam pertains to alleged fraudulent deals running into crores of rupees indulged in by a firm run by Biju and Saritha by duping clients for solar panel installation schemes.

Saritha and Biju Radhakrishnan were remanded to 14 days judicial custody and taken to Pathnamthitta jail.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

IIST ranklist published


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The category wise rank list for admission to the B.Tech programme offered by the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) for the academic year 2013-14 has been published on the institute’s website. Counseling for admission will be held at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) centres in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi and Kolkata on July 20 and 21. More information is available on the websitewww.admission2013.iist.ac.in.

Lorry crashes into ladies hostel


KOLLAM: A container lorry proceeding from Bharanikavu towards Kottarakara crashed into a ladies hostel at 2 am on Sunday. The building suffered damages. The lorry was returning to Ernakulam from Kunnathur. The hostel for women from the Scheduled Communities is located at Attukadavu junction. There were 22 inmates and staff members in the hostel at the time of the accident. The driver was under the influence of alcohol.

I have never met Saritha, says Adoor Prakash


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash said that he had never met Saritha S Nair, accused in the solar scam. Replying to questions from the media, the minister said that Sreedharan Nair, the complainant, was an acquaintance of his. However,  Nair had never discussed the case with him. Prakash said it was the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) government that had aided in the filling up of 250 acres for the Aranmula airport.

Cabinet reshuffle in Kerala very soon: Chandy

NEW DELHI: Amid political crisis in Kerala over solar panel scam, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Friday said there will be a Cabinet reshuffle very soon in the state as he tried to reach out to Hindu caste organisations which are up in arms against his government.

The beleaguered chief minister, who discussed the political crisis with party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, also alleged that the CPI (M)-led LDF tried to attract the UDF allies in its fold and topple his government engulfed in the crisis after the exposure of the scam.

'The Congress High Command will take a decision on Cabinet reshuffle very soon,' he said while inviting PCC chief Ramesh Chennithala in the Cabinet.

'I am the happiest man for that,' he told reporters when asked about Chennithala's entry into Cabinet. He, however, refused to say whether he was ready to give the PCC chief the Home portfolio--a contentious issue within the state Congress.

Asked about the Hindu caste organisations' reservations against his government dominated by members from minority Christian and Muslim communities, Chandy said he and his party enjoy good relations with Nair Service Society, a caste outfit of upper caste Nairs, and he was ready to discuss the issues with them and 'remove all the suspicious situations'.

'Congress party is a party of all sections. Congress party has no reservation to anybody, any section. Congress party and myself have a good relations with Nair Service Society. If there is any reservation, definitely we will discuss and remove all the suspicious situations,' Chandy said.

Accusing the Left parties of making attempt to sabotage his government surviving on wafer thin majority, the chief minister said, 'They tried to get somebody from UDF but everybody rejected.'

Chandy asserted that his government will continue its full term but refused to say whether he will be at the helm of the party.

'No doubt. UDF government will complete its full term. I am there whenever the party leadership allow me,' he said.

CPM leader hacked, hartal at Odanavattom

OYOOR: A six-member team hacked a CPM area committee secretary at Odanavattam. A hartal is being observed in the area in protest against the incident. Salim Lal alias Sunny (49) who suffered serious head injuries has been admitted at the medical college hospital in the capital city. He was hacked by the team, who came in four bikes at the cashew factory Junction at Odanavattom. Only after taking a statement from him, any clue about the suspects will be obtained. A police team led by Kottarakkara rural SP is camping in the area. A tense situation is prevailing in the area.

CM, Ministers will have to go to jail, says VS

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition Leader V.S. Achuthanandan said on Friday that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his ministers will have to go to jail over the Solar Panel Case.

Achuthanandan alleged that Chief Minister and his family got involved in the scam. He demanded that Chief Minister should agree to undergo polygraph test. 

Gadgil report: Green Tribunal rejects Kerala's plea

NEW DELHI: Kerala's contention to dismiss the Goa Foundation plea to implement the recommendations of the Madhav Gadgil Committee report on the preservation of ecosystem of the Western Ghats was dismissed by the National Green Tribunal here on Friday. Tribunal chairperson Justice Swathandar Kumar decided to hear the argument put forward by the Goa Foundation.

Krishnan Venugopal and standing counsel Joji Zackariah, who appeared for Kerala, argued that the petition filed by the Goa Foundation is not valid with the Tribunal. Kerala argued that the report of Madhav Gadgil is only advisory in nature and hence the Tribunal does not have the authority to give directions to the state based on this. In order to give directions, it has to be passed as laws.

But the National Green Tribunal dismissed all these arguments.

CM will not continue for long time, says Pinarayi Vijayan

NEW DELHI: CPI (M) State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said on Friday that Oommen Chandy will not continue for long as Chief Minister of Kerala. He said Chandy is afraid of having done wrong. He has become an accused with the revelation made by Sreedharan Nair, Pinarayi said.

Parents, three others arrested in rape of minor girl

KANNUR: In yet another shocking incident of child rape in Kerala, police here have arrested five persons, including the parents of a teenager, who was raped by her father and others since she was 11-years-old.

Police said the girl, who is now 17-years-old, hailed from Alakode, a village in Kannur district. She had been taken to various places in Kannur and Kasaragod districts by her parents and pushed into prostitution for money.

Two cases under section 376 (rape) and three cases under Protection of Child from Sexual Offences have been registered against the accused. While the girl's mother was arrested Thursday, the other accused were arrested three days ago. All the accused have been remanded.

Alakode Circle Inspector M A Mathew told PTI that the travails of the girl came to light after she ran away from a house in Kasaragod where she was raped. She had been taken there as domestic help.

The girl was picked up by police who found her walking dazed on a deserted road. When questioned, she narrated the incident, Mathew said.

The girl, who is in a traumatised state, has been taken to a women's home in Kannur.

Police said the girl was first raped by a neighbour with her mother's connivance when she was only 11 years. This was followed by her father allegedly raping her several times, she told police.

As per statistics from the state Crime Bureau, this year till March there have been 159 incidents of rape against children, 10 cases of murder, 33 cases of kidnapping and abduction. Other cases against children are 270. Till March this year, about 480 cases of crime against children have been recorded in the state.

During 2012, 1324 cases have been recorded of which 455 are rape cases.

Three die in Kottayam after struck by train


KOTTAYAM: Two women and a child died on Friday after being struck by train at Appanchira near Kaduthuruthi in Kottayam district. They have not been identified. Eye witnesses say the victims jumped in front of the train.

Sister Abhaya was drowned, says former police surgeon

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sister Abhaya was drowned, said former police surgeon. Former forensic head P Radhakrishnan told the CJM court in the capital city that the investigating team should find out whether the death of Abhaya was a suicide or a murder.

Water will not enter the bowels if one is unconscious. Nobody has examined the water found in her stomach and that of the well is the same. Her internal organs were sent for examination to know whether she was sexually assaulted, he said.  

Sister Abhaya, a Knanaya Roman Catholic nun was found dead in a well in St Pius X convent in Kottayam in March 1992.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Left Right Left' out from Malabar

Kozhikode: The unofficial ban on Malayalam film `Left Right Left' which is alleged to be insulting CPM leaders albeit symbolically, was complete in Malabar as the film is out of the zone except in one theatre at Edappal in Malappuram. It says the story of murder politics and about rebels in CPM. There are allegations that the film puts Pinarayi Vijayan and VS Achuthanandan in a wrong light. 

There are allegations that the character Kaitheril Sahadevan resembles Pinarayi Vijayan and another character S.R of opposition leader VS Achuthanandan. The film, which can be called a social political thriller, carries the current CPM politics. Director Arun Kumar Aravind and lead actor Murali Gopi said nothing was done intentionally. He said there is a hidden agenda on banning the the film from Malabar alone and it is not such a political thriller as alleged. 

The silent move against the film first began in Thalassery, as the theater owners were reluctant to exhibit the film. In Kannur the film stopped screening on the second day. In Kozhikode the film was shown in a theatre of KFDC and Kairali. In the name of renovation works in Sree, the film was later removed from Kairali too. 

Earlier,exhibitors federation had given instruction to theaters owners that they should be ready to face risks in showing the film on the basis of reports that the film might incite provocation . 

Liberty Basheer, president of the federation,said there is no ban on the film as such but they only tried to warn theatre owners. 

Swarna Thomas out of danger, recovering

Malayalam actress Swarna Thomas who suffered severe injuries after falling from her fourth floor apartment here recently is out of danger and has been shifted to the general ward, her father told IANS Saturday.

She might have to undergo surgery for a damaged back soon, Thomas, her father added.

'Her backbone was damaged due to the fall and she is likely to undergo a surgery. She is conscious now and has been shifted to the general ward from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU),' Swarna's father said. 

Swarna was down with fever a few days back, when the incident occurred. She was walking in the balcony, felt dizzy, slipped and fell down, her father said.

'Since she didn't suffer injuries to the head, she is out of danger. However, she needs at least six to eight months' rest to recover,' he added.

A dancer by profession, Swarna gained popularity through TV show 'Super Dance'.

As an actress, she is popular for Malayalam films such as 'Flat No 4B' and 'Queue'. She was set to make her Tamil debut with upcoming film 'Vetri Selvan'. 

At the time of the accident, she had been engaged in the shooting of Malayalam romantic-comedy 'Buddy'.

Mammootty, the nature-friendly farmer

Kottayam: People of Cheepunkal Kumarakam were in for surprise when actor Mammootty, simply clad in a khaki shirt and white dhoti, came to the paddy fields and inaugurated sowing of paddy saplings. Someone tried to touch him to make sure it was all real. People gathered to have a look at the superstar whom they had seen only in silver screen.

Mammooty came in the form of a nature-friendly farmer to sow paddy saplings on his 17-acre paddy field through `natural farming'. Childhood friend Appu, whom Mammootty call Appukkili, KM Hilal natural farming proponent and manager George accompanied him. 

He made his way to the field bare foot and started the machine used to sow saplings. Mammooty gave space for Appu and Hilal. ' I'm trying to propagate natural farming though the truthfulness in it', said the actor. He said he will use natural fertilizers and began the effort without a profit motive.

'It is not mandatory to have fertilizers to sustain farming. The cow dung and cow urine are best for that and such technique will be used here,' he added.

Hilal completed the rest: The ancient paddy seeds less affected by pests `Chankazhama' was used here which tastes too good. Jeevamritham, a mixture of cow dung and cow urine, is applied here, he added. Mammootty said if anyone knew about old seeds, he would lend his support to protect it. One can call 8089087001. 

' The land should not be made poisonous using chemical fertilizes. At present we are eating such poisoned rice. There are no healthy seeds which can counter or defy pests. Our ancestors had 3000 such seeds and at present only 60 exist,' Mammootty said. 

Mamooty who reached Maniyaparama jetty by 9 am reached Cheepunkal via boat. When he returned sharing his knowledge and gaining new knowledge it was almost noon.

CM’s economic advisor resigns

THIRUVANANTHAPUTRAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s economic advisor Shafi Methar resigned on Thursday after his brother Rafi Methar lodged a complaint before chief minister alleging that Shafi interferes in family matters while serving as economic advisor.

Mohanlal's Kannada film

Mohanal has completed his portions in his Kannada movie titled 'Mythri. The movie which will have the most natural actor of the south sharing the screens with Kannda superstar Puneeth Rajkumar, is directed by Giriraj and produced by N S RajKumar.

Mohanlal who appear as a scientist in this film has completed his parts in the gap in schedule of his Tamil film 'Jilla'. Malayalam star Bhavana will also appear in an important cameo role in this movie. The movie will also have Archana, and AtulKulkarani in other important roles. Mythri is a social drama, which deals with the fate of relationships in the time of liberalization.

Applications invited for B.Ed course

Applications have been invited for admission to the B.Ed. course in 12 University Colleges of Teacher Education under the School of Pedagogical Sciences of Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam. The colleges function in Kanjirappally, Kudamaloor, Kumily, Muvattupuzha, Vaikom, Thodupuzha, Erattupetta, Paippad, Thottakkad, Tripunithura and so on. Last date: July 31. Download application form and prospectus from www.mgu.ac.in.
Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, has invited applications for admission to its research programmes leading to a Ph.D.
Selection is through an aptitude test and an interview. Last date: July 31; http://projects.mgu.ac.in/ phd/ph%20D Notification2013.pdf.

The National Board of Examination has invited applications for a computer-based centralised entrance test for the DNB course to be held from August 19 to 26. Those with an MBBS degree and registered with the Medical Council of India and have completed the internship or likely to complete it on or before July 31 are eligible to apply online through www.natboard.edu.in/cet. Apply online till August 4.
Anna University, Chennai, has invited applications for Tamil Nadu Common Admissions (TANCA 2013) for admission to ME, M.Tech., M.Arch. and M.Plan programmes offered in the university departments and colleges and government, aided and self-financing engineering colleges through single-window counselling. Last date for online registration is July 20. www.annauniv.edu/ tanca2013.
The Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, has invited applications for admission to a year’s residential international programme in Management for executives commencing in April 2014. Last date: September 30. Application form and brochure are available on www.iiml.ac.in
Register online for the Management Aptitude Test (MAT) to be held during Sep tember. Last date: August 17. http://apps.aima.in/ matsept13.
Applications have been invited for 2,600 academic scholarships and 50 sports scholarships of IndianOil. Apply now. Students who are studying in the ITIs and engineering, MBBS and MBA courses are eligible to apply for the academic scholarships. www.iocl.com or www.iocl.com/aboutus /scholarships.aspx.
Applications have been invited from students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and those physically challenged who are in the third year of their full-time engineering degree course in Electrical, Mechanical, Instrumentation, Computer Science, Electronics and Telecommunication engineering having passed the first year examination in the first attempt in 2012 and completed the second year in 2013 for NTPC scholarships. Last date: July 31; www.ntpc.co.in/Notices
The National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation has invited applications from students with disabilities pursuing degree and postgraduate-level professional and technical courses for 2,000 scholarships. Last date: August 31; www.nhfdc.nic.in.
The University Grants Commission, New Delhi, has invited applications for 300 Raman Post-doctoral Fellowships for Indian Scholars in the U.S. for 2013. The last date for receipt of online applications has been extended to July 31. www.ugc.ac.in/pdfindows.
The Indian Law Institute, New Delhi, has invited applications for admission to online certificate courses in Intellectual Property Rights and Information Technology in the Internet Age and Cyber Laws starting on August 12. Last date: August 8. www.ili.ac.in.
Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, has invited applications for admission to the M.Sc. Nursing and General Nursing and Midwifery courses.

ADGP finds fault with IG

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Intelligence ADGP on Thursday made a report against Crime Records Bureau IG T.J. Jose over the leakage of phone call list of Saritha S. Nair, an accused in solar panel case.

The report confirms that the explanation given by IG was false and that his argument that CD containing phone call details was destroyed is unbelievable.

The report further says that the only person who is responsible for the leak is T.J. Jose. It was Jose who collected all the details of phone calls made by Saritha S. Nair.

An unforgettable moment for me, says Manju Warrier

Facing the camera a second time and that too after a gap of 14 years is an unforgettable moment for me, said versatile actress Manju Warrier.

The actress, who is in Mumbai to act in an advertisement with the bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan for Kalayan Jewellers, told reporters, “I don’t have words to express my happiness.”

She said, “I was in the industry only for three years and the love I get from the Keralites is surprising me. I don’t have anything to replace for that love. When I tied the Chilanka after a gap of 14 years, I was very anxious whether I’ll be able to dance, but the support I got from the Keralites helped me a lot.”

I’m very happy to have got a chance to work the Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan, she added.

The shooting will be held for two days at the Dada Sahib Falke Film City at Goregaon in Mumbai. V A Sreekumar is the director of the advertisement.

The 'Vishwasam Athalle Ellam' advertisement of Kalyan Jewellers is being shot in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada and Manju will be teaming up with actors Nagarjuna, Prabhu and Shivaraj Kumar.

  The shooting of the advertisement in south Indian languages will also be shot along with this. Prabhu, Nagarjuna, Puneet Kumar will be the heroes of Manju. The expense of the two-minute advertisement is Rs 1.5 crores and will be shot in a set of Rs 40 lakhs.

Manju Warrier, superhit in Facebook

Everything surrounding Manju Warrier is greeted with great cheers in Kerala.So is her face book page which went viral from Tuesday. The page already has around 2.5 lakh visitors and more than 33000 likes all in a day. She has also posted a two minute welcome video for the page, which was shared in various social networking platforms.

The Kerala crowd is already frenzy over the Manju's comeback to acting. She has recently shoot for an advertisement with actor Amitabh Bachchan at Mumbai for 'Kalyan Jewellers', which got maximum coverage in Kerala media. Manju Warrier was facing the camera after 14 years of hiatus. The shoot held at the Dadasaheb Phalke film city in Mumbai is simultaneously made   in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada.  Manju will appear in each of the versions with actors like Nagarjuna Akkineni, Prabhu and Shivaraj Kumar in various films. Anyhow, it seems the comeback to films is imminent for the greatest of the actresses of our times, who created all her fanfare with just three years of acting career.

2 AI pilots suspended for allowing actress inside cockpit

NEW DELHI: Two Air India pilots have been suspended after they allowed Malayalam film actress Nithya Menen to sit inside the cockpit mid-air on a Bangalore-Hyderabad flight in flagrant violation of safety norms.

"Both pilots have been suspended and taken off the roster. An inquiry is going on," airline officials said, adding that the matter came to light after a passenger lodged a complaint with the airline. The pilots have been identified as Jagan M Reddy and S Kiran.

Aviation regulator DGCA has taken a serious view of the incident which took place last month, official sources said Thursday.

While both the pilots were suspended by the national carrier pending an internal inquiry, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is conducting a thorough probe into the "flagrant violation of passenger safety norms," they said.

In his complaint, the passenger said the actress was allowed into the cockpit when the plane was mid-air. She had occupied the observer's seat during the flight, which is reserved for examiners and observers authorised by DGCA.

With quite a few such incidents coming to fore in the past months, the DGCA is considering amending its rules to impose harsher penalties on the cockpit crew, the sources said, adding that cockpit entry by a passenger is completely prohibited since the 9/11 terror strike.

In May, the pilot of an Air India flight from Delhi to Bangalore got locked out of the cockpit as the door got jammed, resulting in the co-pilot making an emergency landing in Bhopal.

In April, two stewardesses were inside the cockpit for nearly 45 minutes as one of the two pilots had taken a long break.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Will not topple govt, says Panniyan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  There is no agenda to topple the UDF government through an immoral way, said CPI state secretary Panniyan Raveendran.

Meantime, the chief minister has no right to continue in the post, he said. Panniyan changed his stand after holding talks with CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan Tuesday.

The UDF government has a majority and will not topple them in an uncivilized manner. The LDF has not thought of toppling the government but will react at the right time, he said.  

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is the first accused in the solar scam case. He is not deserved for the post. Agitations against the chief minister would be strengthened in the coming days, he said.

Panniyan said, “We want the chief minister to resign. Let the UDF decide and choose somebody to replace him. The LDF will not opine on that. There is no feeling of untouchability towards Mani.”  

Panniyan refused to opine when asked about the change of stand of the CPM and CPI. The stand of the CPI and the CPM are the same as we are united.

Woman’s body found in septic tank


PUTHUCAUD: The body of a missing woman was found in a septic tank. The body retrieved was that of Kochuthresiya (60), wife of late Lona. A complaint was lodged to the nearest railway station after she was found missing from July 8.

The body was dumped in the septic tank of a house nearby. The police confirmed it as murder.

As Kochuthresia was seen talking to one Latha, the police are trying to trace her.  On examining the call lists of Kochuthresia, the call of Latha was noticed.  Latha may have committed the crime to steal her ornaments.

Govt says Joppan aware of solar fraud

KOCHI: The state government requested the Kerala High Court not to grant bail to the chief minister’s former personal assistant Tenny Joppan, arrested in the solar fraud case. If bail is granted to him, he may try to sabotage the case, Advocate General Dandapani informed the court.

Joppan was aware of the criminal background of Saritha S Nair, the second accused in the solar case. All the dealings took place with the knowledge of him and he has a crucial role in the conspiracy hatched for the cheating. The AG also told the court that Joppan joined the con couple after knowing that there were cases against the two.

DGP seeks explanation on grenade attack near VS

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: DGP K S Balasubramanyam sought an explanation on the grenade attack near the place where opposition leader V S Achuthanandan stood during the protests staged by them in the solar case.

He sought anexplanation to ADGP A Hemachandran and directed to detail in which situation the stuff was used.

The incident happened on July 9. The grenade was used at the protests staged by the LDF seeking the resignation of the chief minister in the solar case.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Stay in Thettayil case extended for 10 more days

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday extended for 10 more days the stay imposed on the further proceedings against former minister Jose Thettayil and Janata Dal (S) MLA in a sexual harassment case. His plea will be considered again on Friday.

In the meanwhile, the woman, a native of Angamali, who lodged complaint against Thettayil has submitted an affidavit in the high court. She informed the court that there is no political aim in the complaint and it is he who is bringing politics into the issue. I haven’t sought political support.

Saritha’s call list leaked out by top officials

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: One of the accused in the solar panel case, Saritha S. Nair’s phone call list was leaked out by some top officials including an officer in the IG rank, two Police Superintendents, a CI in Thiruvananthapuram district, and some SIs at Kannur and Ernakulam districts.

The information about these officials was investigated by ADGP (Intelligence) T P Senkumar. The investigation report will be submitted before the government by this week. Those who leaked the call list to media persons have also been traced out.

Accused in Muthoot Paul M George murder case arrested again

KOTTAYAM: Accused in the Muthoot Paul M George was arrested again. Kunnel Jayan, the main accused in the case was arrested last night by Thrikkodithanam sub inspector.

Jayan in an inebriated stage tried to assault the police. He will be produced before the court today.

'Why was Firoz not arrested?' HC asks police

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Monday asked the police why they did not arrest PRD Director A. Firoz, an accused in a cheating case in which fraudsters Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha S. Nair are the accomplices, while he got admitted to a hospital.

Justice S.S. Sateeshchandran also enquired how Firoz was promoted to a high position even after a case was registered against him.

It was Firoz who introduced Biju and Saritha as senior strategic advisor to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and chartered accountant respectively to Salim M. Kabir, managing director of a building firm. Firoz promised him to arrange a loan. Salim lost about Rs. 40 lakhs.

The court questioned the police while considering the anticipatory bail plea submitted by Firoz in this cheating case. The court also directed the police to produce the case diary.

The court, after denying the bail plea, asked whether the petitioner was willing to surrender. To this, the petitioner’s advocate replied that once the plea is denied he would surrender.

No crisis in UDF warranting leadership change: Mani

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Amid speculation that Kerala Congress(M), third largest partner in ruling UDF, would leave it and join opposition LDF and he could be a possible chief ministerial candidate, party leader K M Mani has said there is no crisis in the front warranting a leadership change.

"KC-M is a partner of UDF, which is moving forward with clear policies. We have not asked for leadership change in UDF and there is no crisis in government warranting a leadership change. I do not wish to be Chief Minister in a devious way," Finance Minister Mani said.

He was responding to CPI-M politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai's statement that the party would re-examine their earlier stand of taking a decision not to topple the UDF government in the wake of the solar scam rocking the state for the last one month and would take a decision if such political circumstances arise and Mani's name is proposed for CM's post.

Chandy has been under attack from CPI(M)-led LDF over the scam, which pertains to cheating of several persons of huge sums by accused Saritha Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan offering them solar energy business deals. They had allegedly flaunted their "influence" with some persons in the CM's office.

The Congress central leadership has, however, ruled out replacement of Oommen Chandy as Chief Minister.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cellular operators welcome High Court's verdict on mobile towers

KOCHI: The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) on Sunday welcomed the Kerala High Court's recent verdict on mobile towers, saying the judgment would help remove “unwarranted fears” on harmful effects of emissions.

“We welcome the decision of the honourable High Court. We are fully committed to the sensitivities and concerns of our customers and believe that this landmark order will debunk several myths propagated by certain groups,” Rajan S Mathews, COAI director general, said in a statement.

A Kerala High Court bench observed July 11 that there was no proof whether the telecommunication towers affect the health of the people or not.

"I am sure the verdict of the Kerala High Court will go a long way in the removal of fears about the safety of EMF emission from telecom towers all across India,” Mathews said.

He claimed that India’s mobile industry complies and conforms to norms mandated by the Department of Telecom (DoT) which lowered by 90 per cent, the norms mandated by international regulatory bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection.

"The International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines are regarded as the most credible and are followed by 95 per cent of the countries across the world,” he said.

Antony, Chandy discuss Solar


KOCHI: Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Sunday discussed the crisis in state Congress over the Solar Panel Case. The covert talk which lasted for nearly 45 minutes was held at Ernakulam Government Guest House at 5.15 pm on Sunday. Both leaders were reluctant to talk to media persons.

Black flag waved against CM; Police resorts to lathicharge


KOCHI: A group of DYFI activists waved black flags against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in Kaloor here on Sunday evening at 7. When they tried to block Defence Minister A.K. Antony’s vehicle which was following CM’s car, the police resorted to lathicharge. Some of the activists received injuries.

Kochi Metro: Special agenda for Tom Jose

KOCHI: Tom Jose has a special agenda in Kochi Metro, said Minister Aryadan Muhammed in charge of railways.

That is why a letter was written to the CAG against E Sreedharan. Tom Jose has not grown to opine about a person like Sreedharan.

He asked Tom Jose to correct his mistakes, he added.

Mani should be made CM if disputes in Congress, says P C George

THRISSUR: If there are disputes in the Congress on the chief minister’s post, then Kerala Congress (M) chairman K M Mani should be given that post, said Chief Whip P C George. Deputy opposition leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan too had said this. The Kerala Congress should think about it. The congress should not think that the Kerala Congress will wag and go after them always.

If the existing problems in the solar issue are not solved, the Kerala Congress would be forced to take any decision for the people. The allegation against the chief minister and the solar issue are internal problems of the congress. He asked the high command to intervene in the issue.

The intelligence was not able to report the meeting of Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha S Nair with the ministers and MLAs. The home minister of the previous government and the present should be blamed for it, he said.

Chennithala asks Murali to hold his tongue

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: KPCC chief Ramesh Chennithala asked K Muraleedharan MLA to hold his tongue after he attacked the police for their lapses in the solar case. He asked Murali to avoid unwarranted statements and asked him to maintain restraint via phone.

No reshuffle and no change in leadership, says Antony

KOCHI: Defence Minister A K Antony, speaking to reporters here Sunday, ruled out a change in the leadership of the party or the government in the wake of the recent solar scam.

"Let me make it very clear that there is not going to be any change in leadership here. It's quite natural that controversies break out in governance. The need of the hour is to learn from what has happened and be very vigilant," Antony said, adding that he was no judge, and would not issue a verdict on the conduct of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his government.

When reporters prodded him, Antony only said: "I am not a judge to hand out a verdict."

Chandy has been facing an onslaught from the opposition as well as from sections of the media, as print and TV channels have been relentlessly airing views and news on what has come to be termed the "solar scam".

"The CPI-M should be patient, as a probe is currently on. In all fairness, they should wait till it is over. What they are doing now is not correct," Antony told reporters.

The government has ordered a probe into the dealings of Saritha S Nair and her live-in partner Biju Radhakrishnan, who are currently under arrest for having defrauded several investors on the promise of providing solar panels at subsidised rates. The telephone call records of Saritha Nair showed that she had been in regular and frequent touch with members of the chief minister's personal staff.

While one member of the chief minister's staff has been arrested in this connection, two others have been sacked. The opposition has held that Chandy and his family are involved in the scam.

Chandy faces flak not only from the opposition and the media, but also from detractors within his own party, some of whom have maintained a low profile, reluctant to come to the chief minister's defence.

"This is the time when the party should not only defend but also launch a counter attack. Sadly, though, neither is happening," said a top Congress leader.