Friday, February 28, 2014

KSRTC strike total in state

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The 24-hour strike called by various employees’ unions of the Kerala State Transport Corporation (KSRTC) raising various demands is total in the state. As all organisations participated in the strike, very thin attendance was reported in its offices.  Buses suspended services and no untoward incidents have been reported.

As private bus services were in full swing, the strike did not affect much. People in areas depending only on transport buses had a tough time. Jeep and tempo services came to the rescue of the people in many places.  

Police are deployed in Thampanoor, West Fort and in all main stations. But they didn’t have much to do as none came forward to operate services.

The strike will continue till midnight. The suspension of long route services caused difficulty to the people. Much rush was not seen in trains.

The demands raised by the employees were protection of statutory pension, payment of pension arrears, withdrawal of anti-worker proposals in the revival package etc. The talks held between the employees and minister had failed.

Human habitats will be excluded from ESA list: Oommen V Oommen

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Expert committee member Oommen V Oommen has said that 123 villages mentioned in the Kasturirangan report will be excluded from the list of Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESAs). 2500 square kilometre area which includes 123 villages will be excluded from the list.  

“On the other hand 9000 square kilometre forest area will be protected. Another 1000 square kilometre land with no human habitation will also be protected after bringing it under ESA. The assurance regarding this has been given by the State to Central Forest and Environment Ministry,” Oommen said.

He said Kerala’s requirements would be issued as government notification within two days. The new notification would not come in the way of cases that are before the Green Tribunal.

“The Central Forest-Environment ministry gave a positive response to Kerala’s demands. The Centre has been informed that what Kerala needs is not office memorandum but notification, which we hope will come out soon,” said Oommen.

TP murder: HC stays sentence awarded to Lambu, for now

KOCHI: The Kerala high court has temporarily stayed the execution of sentence awarded to Lambu Pradeep, the 31st convict in T P murder case. He has also been granted a conditional bail. The court’s order comes in the wake of the petition moved by Lambu, questioning his sentence.

Erimjapalam special court had awarded 3-yr jail term and a fine of Rs 20,000.
The court also rejected the public prosecutor’s plea to give special consideration to TP case.

The court maintained that it was not interested in adding politics to the case. The court also put aside the request of Director General of prosecution to speed up the arguments on appeal filed by the convict against his sentence.

O Rajagopal, BJP candidate from Thiruvananthapuram

KOCHI: The BJP has selected its candidates for three constituencies for the coming Lok Sabha election. O Rajagopal will contest from Thiruvananthapuram, N N Radhakrishnan from Ernakulam and BJP State General Secretary K Surendran from Kasargode.

Alphons Kannanthanam will be fielded in either Kottayan or Pathanamthitta. Maila Morcha State president Shobha Surendran is likely to contest from Attingal. However it is not confirmed.

Scriptwriter arrested for trying to ‘molest’ servant

KOCHI: Scriptwriter Hashir Muhamed was arrested on Friday for allegedly trying to molest his servant. Hashir had written the script for the film ‘Neelakasham, Pachakkadal, Chuvanna Bhoomi’.

According to the complaint, Hashir tried to grab his servant at Kochi Thaikkudam Flat. Police said he was under the influence of ghanja at the time of the incident. They have also seized ghanja from the cine artiste.

Party will decide on MLAs' resignation: K M Mani

KOCHI: Kerala Congress (M) chairman K M Mani has said that decisions on resignation of MLAs in connection with the Kasturirangan report will be taken by the party.

“ Resignation issue will come under policy decisions and the party’s opinion will be voiced by me, the chairman,” said Mani, who was responding to party general secretary Antony Raju’s hypothetical statement regarding the resignation of MLAs.
Mani said the party’s view on the Kasturirangan report was clear. The anti-farmer clauses should be rectified. The party would not allow the Centre to implement the report without suitable modifications.

Cancel Kasturirangan report: Pinarayi

NEW DELHI: CPM State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has sought the cancellation of Kasturirangan report. The Centre should come forward to conduct a new study and bring out a new report. Pinarayi was speaking to media persons after he reached Delhi to attend CPM Politburo meeting on Friday.  

“In order to solve the issue, the Centre should cancel the report… there is no other way. The Centre has rejected Kerala’s concerns over the implementation of the report. An office memorandum may be issued according to the report given by Kerala. But that will not suffice as earlier also such a memorandum was issued. If the Centre is ready for the cancellation of the report, it should happen within two days, since it cannot be done once the election dates are declared,” said Pinarayi

LDF hartal in Idukki today

TODUPUZHA: LDF has called for hartal on Saturday, demanding the cancellation of Kasturirangan report. It will be a  6am to 6pm protest. The hartal will be observed in Wayanad and four panchayats in Kottayam district.

VS not scared of action, wants to discuss TP case

NEW DELHI: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan, who met the party central leadership Saturday morning sought to discuss the T P Chandrasekharan murder case in the central committee. It is heard that he had informed CPM party general secretary Prakash Karat that he is not bothered even if action is taken against him.

VS asked the party to change its stand in the T P murder case. The party should take steps which clears the doubts of the people. The party should be ready to reject and oust party leaders convicted in the case. Karat, who had earlier stated that action would be taken against those found guilty in the case, should implement it.

Naïve person on Mannam’s seat:Vellapally

THRISSUR: SNDP general secretary Vellapally Natesan on Friday virtually made a mockery of NSS general secretary G Sukumaran Nair’s recent statements. He said the chair once sanctified by a great person called Mannatthu Padmanabhan is now being occupied by a naïve person like Sukumaran Nair, who has no clue about the sanctity of the chair.

“If that is not the case, will he say that he is his community’s Pope,” Vellappally Natesan quipped, and added that he recalled the old Malayalam song “Kanaka simhasanathil kayari irikkunnavan Shumbano atho Shunakano”.
Vellappally said KPCC president V M Sudheeran should not have gone to Perunna. “It is Sukumaran’s habit to suppress venerable persons. What is seen is the pressure tactic of NSS ahead of the Lok Sabha election. Sukumaran Nair has said that he is not ready for NSS-Ezhava unity as long as I’m the SNDP general secretary. This shows who is the real detractor,” added Vellappally.

Govt puts aside Master plan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has frozen the steps to acquire land according to the State capital’s new master plan.

People had been agitating against the plan that requires evacuation of human settlements in large areas in places like Kattayikkolam, Chanthavila, and Mangattukonam.

The cabinet had earlier decided to cancel the master plan.

Meanwhile, the LDF has called off the proposed relay satyagraha demanding cancellation of the master plan and preparation of a new master plan with the help of expert opinion.

Will spurn allegations: Sukumaran Nair

PERUNNA: NSS General Secretary Sukumaran Nair has said that NSS would brush aside all allegations regarding KPCC President V M Sudheeran’s visit to the Perunna NSS head office. The organisation would also have same attitude towards Opposition leader V S Achuthandan, who had backed Sudheeran.  

“Many Congress leaders have contacted the NSS after the incident. They all have expressed their regret over the issue. We are not averse to the Congress or any other political party. KPPC president and his coterie are those who have complicated the situation,” he said.  

Sukumaran Nair said he had no intention to receive Sudheeran or hold discussions with him. “The news that is spreading now is against this, which is wrong. NSS office is not a place where any one can hop in and hop out. Many people are in queue to pay floral respect at Mannam Samadhi. If Sudheeran had come for that, he could have remained in the queue with them,” he added.

Aranmula project shows rich can buy anyone: VS

ARANMULA: Opposition leader V S Achuthanadan has remarked that in order to facilitate their air travel, the affluent could buy anybody. The move to construct Aranmula airport proved that.

“It is encouraging to see people coming together to oppose the attempt to construct the airport. All should come out to support the agitation,” said Achuthanandan, who had come at the Satyagraha panthal, on Thursday, to the address the protest launched by Aranmula Vimanathavala Virudha Samithi.         

The CPM leader said the sanction for the airport had been obtained by influencing the Central and State governments. It is our obligation to protect paddy fields and sources of drinking water. He said the agitation was for the people’s right to do farming, to get employment and lead a decent life.

Ever since the agitation began, it was for the first time that VS came to the panthal. Poetess and environmentalist Sugathakumari was also present.

summon CCL stars

KOCHI: Police have served notice on CCL stars, asking them to be present at the police station within a week, in connection with their alleged misbehaviour in Indigo plane a few days ago.

The police action follows filing of a case by the police after the airlines lodged a police complaint. The airhostess and pilot have also been asked to be present at the police station on March 3.

The star cricketers were on board the flight to Hyderabad where they were going to take part in Celebrity cricket League matches. When the airhostess was giving safety instructions, some of the players allegedly jeered at her and clapped hands continuously. Following this, the players were offloaded from the flight.     

Meanwhile, Strikers team members had held that they left the flight on their own as they were irked by the behaviour of the plane crew.   

Film stars’ association AMMA had also criticised the team members’ behaviour.

Illegal quarrying: Thiruvanchoor gets Sudheeran’s letter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: KPCC president V M Sudheeran has written to Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishan, who is also in charge of Environment ministry, urging him to prohibit illegal quarrying across the State including the Western Ghats and to inquire into the sanctions given for sand quarrying.

Sudheeran’s letter comes in the backdrop of allegations that many sanctions were being given arbitrarily. During the time when the Environment committee had no president, many companies got sanctions. Sudheeran’s letter points fingers at these sanctions, asking the ministry to appoint special team to investigate the legality of sanctions

Centre’s stand unsatisfactory: Joseph

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Minister P J Jospeh has expressed his dissatisfaction on Centre’s stand over Kasturirangan report. He said his party would take a final decision after waiting for two to three days. He also said that there lies hope in the demarcation of villages on the basis of their eco-sensitivity.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Governor advised to expel Dr A V George

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  The Governor has been legally advised that there are no hurdles for expelling Dr A V George, vice chancellor of the M G University, facing probe after his bio data was found tampered with. A senior advocate of the Kerala High Court advised the Governor legally after considering similar cases of 1968 and 1999.

The stand taken by the Supreme Court in connection with a case of the vice chancellor of the Kurushetra University in 1968 and that of the VC of Karnataka University in 1999 has been pointed in the advice given.

The governor who has the power to appoint the vice chancellor has the right to remove him also and the court need not interfere in it. In the wake of the advice obtained, the governor may soon take a decision. The report of additional chief secretary and higher education department against George is in the consideration of the governor.

Nair shouldn’t have insulted Sudheeran

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan came to the fore supporting KPCC chief V M Sudheeran in the issue with NSS. NSS general secretary G Sukumaran Nair shouldn’t have insulted Sudheeran, he said.  The KPCC chief visited NSS headquarters to offer tributes to Mannath Padmanabhan at the Samadhi.  

Sudheeran’s visit to the NSS headquarters had ignited a controversy because of his failure to meet the organization’s general secretary G Sukumaran Nair.

CPI leader M Sukumara Pillai is no more

PATHANAMTHITTA: Senior CPI leader and party State council member M Sukumara Pillai (79) passed away on Thursday. He died at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram due to age-related diseases.

He had been Kerafed chairman for two times and had become AITUC Union General Secretary of Electricity Board. He had also worked as All India Electricity Employees’ Federation Vice-president, PT Punnose Memorial Trust Chairman and R Raveendran Memorial Trust Chairman.

In 1990, he retired from his service and devoted full time for political activities. He became Kerafed chairman in 2006 and since then, the institution had been flourishing.
The body will be kept at R Raveendran Memorial centre for the public to pay homage to the deceased leader in the evening. The cremation will be held on Friday at his residence Lakshmi at Putthanpeetika.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Saritha gets bail in Ambalappuzha case

ALAPPUZHA: Solar Scam accused Saritha S Nair got bail in a case in Ambalappuzha court. Ambalappuzha first class magistrate had issued an arrest warrant against her as she had failed to appear when the case was taken up on Monday.

At about 12 in the noon on Tuesday, Saritha came to the Ambalappuzha court and she was given the bail by 1:30pm. The next posting is for March 5.

The case is that Saritha had taken Rs 73lakh from Komana Plakkudi Illam Narayanan Namboothiri and his eleven family members on the pretext of installing Solar panel. In the case, Biju Radhakrishnan is the first accused and Saritha is the second accused.
When Saritha walked towards the court, the police had formed a ring of security around her, ensuring her safety. 

Biju Radhakrishnan to argue case for himself

RANNI:  Solar scam main accused Biju Radhakrishnan will argue his case in Ranni court for himself after avoiding his advocate. The case relates to cheating Paster Thomas Mathew of Ranni of Rs 2 lakh.

On being presented before the court, Biju requested the judge to do away with his counsel, to which the court asked him to arrange a new advocate. But he said he was not in need of an advocate and he would argue the case on his own.

Satnam’s death : VS disagrees with Centre’s decision

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan attacked the Centre’s decision not to order CBI probe into the mysterious death of  Satnam Singh, who turned aggressive at Amrithanadamayi mutt and was later admitted to Peroorkkada mental hospital.
In a statement, Achuthanandan said he had earlier made request for an unbiased probe into Satnam’s death. “It is necessary to keep off doubts. But the State/central governments have brushed my request under the carpet,” he said.

Red sandal wood seized from plane

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A flight that left for Colombo on Tuesday was called back and red sandal wood was seized from the plane. In connection with this, three passengers have been arrested.

The flight took off from the Thiruvananthapuram International airport at 9:45 am and around 10:15 am the flight was called back according to instructions from Customs officials. As soon as the flight landed, the officials barged into the flight and seized the red sandal wood, after conducting a search.

Francis George to contest with the help of Left

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: There are reports that the Joseph group has decided to field Francis George in Idukki in the coming Lok Sabha election amidst wrangling over the seat there. For that, the group has got assurance from the Left. The development will be a blow to the Congress and K M Mani.      

The things got heating up as Antony Raju recently said that the LDF was ready for friendly contest. Joseph came out to express his opinion publicly after coming to know that K M Mani and his group are not interested in the Idukki seat. Whatever may be the reason, the Joseph group has dropped sufficient hints that they are not going to sidestep from contesting the Idukki seat. The Left has also given assurance of support to the Joseph group, it is said.    

I went to Perunna not for political parleys: Sudheeran

KOTTAYAM: KPCC president V M Sudheeran has said that he didn’t go to the Perunna NSS head office for any political parleys. He is hurt by the fact that certain things, about which he didn’t have the slightest inkling, turned into a controversy.

He was making his speech at the function organised by the Kottayam DCC to felicitate him. “At least for now, leave me alone,” he said.     

“I have always had respect for society leaders, which will continue to be so. It was not the right time for talks with NSS General Secretary Sukumaran Nair. I din’t want to pollute the pious atmosphere in the morning with politics. The Congress stand is to let the politicians and community leaders function in their respective domain,” said Sudheeran.        

On the other hand, KPCC vice-president V D Satheeshan was harsh in his response to the incident. “Congress leaders should not be the ones who should lie down, when the community leaders ask them to sit. The Congress party will have voters from all communities in society. Community organisations are not the ones who should select the Congress candidates. If such a situation arises, it would be better to dissolve the Congress party,” he said.

Money fraud case: Saritha’s mother get summons

CHENGANNUR: Hosdurg court has sent summons to the mother of solar scam accused Saritha S Nair. The case relates to allegedly cheating three natives of Kanjangadu of Rs 1,75,000.

Police have pasted the summons on the Saritha’s Chengannur house. The mother has been asked to be present in the court in March.

Bomb hurled at RSS leader’s house

KOOTHUPARAMBU:  A bomb was hurled at the house of a RSS leader near Koothuparambu. The bomb was hurled at RSS district prachar pramukh and assistant marketing manager of Janmabhumi daily K B Prajil’s house near the premises of the Mambram higher secondary school. The incident happened past midnight.

The window panes, furniture and door of the house have been damaged. Prajil, his wife and siblings were in the house at the time of the incident.  The miscreants fled by the time the inmates of the house woke up hearing a big noise. CPM activists are behind the incident, alleged the BJP and RSS.

Thalassery ASP T Narayanan, circle inspector K V Babu and sub inspector K Sudhakaran have reached the spot.

Brinda in Vadakara?

KANNUR: CPM is hell-bent on winning maximum number of seats in the imminent Lok Sabha election. And, with that intention, it is planning to field top leaders in the party for the election.

When the party campaigns for PB member M A Baby in Kollam, the hearsay is that the party is getting ready to experiment with top leader and PB member Brinda Karat in Vadakara.  

There is also a rumour that in Vadakara, the late RMP leader K K Rema is going to contest the poll. It is against this backdrop that the CPM has decided to field Brinda to toughen the election fight. The party feels that a leader like Brinda with mass appeal will be the best bet, especially when it comes to attracting the women voters.

Mother, daughter found dead

KOLLAM: A woman and her daughter were found dead after consuming poison at their house in Chathanur. The dead have been identified as Jalaja (37), wife of Omanakuttan Pillai of Cheelanthimukku near Chathanur and her daughter Ashwathy (19). 

Pinarayi raps Centre’s stand on Italian marines

THALIPPARAMBU: CPM State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has said that the Central government’s decision not to invoke SUA against the Italian marines was like surrendering nation’s pride to foreigners. “The government has no respect and value for the life of the poor. The government’s stand shows this,” Pinarayi told media persons on the sidelines of his Kerala Raksha March.

He said, “If anybody expresses doubt over Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi’s special interest in the case of Italian marines, nobody can say that it is wrong.”

Pinarayi also said he was eager to know about the KPCC president’s opinion on the issue.

Will think about taking back Joseph group: Vaikom Viswan

THIRUVANANTHAPURM: LDF convenor Vaikom Viswan  has said that Kerala Congress (Joseph group), who had left the front once, can come back. If they are ready to return, the Front will discuss the matter.     

“Joseph group left the Front without informing the Front. At the time of leaving the Front and there after they didn’t criticise the Front,” Viswan said.

Gas strike called off

KOCHI: LPG gas cylinder distributors on Monday called off their nation-wide indefinite strike which was supposed to begin from Tuesday.

The decision follows talks between Central petroleum secretary, representatives of oil companies and leaders of the distributors’ organisations, in Mumbai. At the meeting, the distributors were given the assurance that their demands would be looked into.

The distributors’ main demand was to withdraw the guidelines for the distribution of cylinders, issued on February 21

According to the assurance given, a special committee will be appointed to solve the problems faced by the distributors. The committee will comprise representatives of oil companies and leaders of the distributors’ organisations. A report will be submitted within 60 days and till then the status quo will continue.

Saritha’s financial source cannot be probed: Police

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: State police has informed that it is not possible to probe the source of lakhs of money Solar scam accused Saritha paid to settle solar cases. The authority to probe the financial source or financial income is only with the Income Tax department. On the other hand if the money sourced is through certain criminal act, it can be probed by the State police.

There were about 46 cases in 39 courts against Saritha. In 33 cases, the FIR was filed by special investigation team led by ADGP Hemachandran. Most of these cases were settled with the help of money that reached Saritha’s hands and according to her counsel, Rs 12:85 lakh was used for settling cases.

As per law, money cheating cases can be settled by paying back the money to the complainant, unless the money used is obtained through robbery or some other criminal activity. In that case the state police can investigate the source of money sourced illegally. But in the case of Saritha there is no complaint or evidence against money sourced by her. State police have already informed the home ministry about the legal side of the fact and its inability to probe the source of Saritha’s money.      

Joppan files exemption plea in solar case

PATHANAMTHITTA: Tenny Joppan Tuesday filed a plea in the Pathanamthitta Judicial Magistrate Court seeking exemption from the list of accused in the solar case. The plea sought exemption from the case of cheating money from Malleli Sreedharan Nair.  The plea will be considered on March 11. Bail was granted to Joppan in the case earlier.

P C George firm on his resignation

KOTTAYAM: Chief Whip P C George Tuesday said that he would resign if an order after changes made in the Kasturirangan report is not issued before the announcement of polls. George said that after resigning, he will lead the people’s agitation. He said that he will address the media within two days. Talks are being held with people of the same thoughts, he said.

The government was given enough time. If a decision beneficial for the people is not taken, one cannot go forward. P C George made his stand clear at a time when the Thamarasseri diocese decided to launch agitational programmes in the Kasturirangan issue. The members of the diocese had a telephonic conversation with Kerala Congress leaders.

Joseph faction not to go back to LDF

KOCHI: Kerala Congress working chairman and Minister P J Joseph Tuesday said that he has not thought of going back to the LDF. Talking to the media, he said no political talks were held with CPM leader Dr Thomas Isaac.

There is no compromise on the Idukki Lob Sabha seat. Party chairman K M Mani has stated earlier that they deserve two seats.

On P C George’s stand, Joseph said that it is his personal opinion.

Nair refuses to meet Sudheeran

PERUNNA: NSS general secretary G Sukumaran Nair refused to meet KPCC chief V M Sudheeran, who reached NSS headquarters to partake in the commemoration meet of Mannam Samadhi. Nair, who was at the Samadhi Mandapam went to the office as soon as Sudheeran reached.

Sudheeran after taking over as KPCC chief is for the first time visiting NSS headquarters. Union Minister Kodikkunnil Suresh, Kottayam DCC president Tomy Kallani and many others accompanied Sudheeran. Nair went to the office after waiting for Sudheeran, who failed to reach at the scheduled time.   

Sudheeran offered floral tributes at the Mannam Smrithi Mandapam along with NSS president P N Narendranathan Nair. He later left for the reception arranged for him at the Kottayam DCC.

Meantime, Kodikkunil Suresh termed as baseless the news that Nair refused to meet Sudheeran.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sudheeran insulted NSS, says Nair

PERUNNA: KPCC chief V M Sudheeran has insulted the NSS, alleged its general secretary G Sukumaran Nair. He left without meeting me and by doing so he has ridiculed me and Mannath Padmanabhan, he said.

Nair said, “Sudheeran tried to disrupt the function in Perunna. I was waiting in the office to meet him.  NSS did not invite anybody here.  Sudheeran had earlier waited for hours at the NSS headquarters. He didn’t have the time now to wait for ten minutes.”

HC admits plea of TP case accused

KOCHI: The state government will file an appeal in the Kerala High Court seeking to enhance the punishment awarded to the accused in the TP murder case. The director general of prosecution informed this to the court when considering the plea of the 12 accused seeking cancellation of the punishment awarded. The court has admitted the plea of the accused.

Meantime, the court will seek government’s opinion on 31st accused Lambu Pradeepan’s plea seeking cancellation of his sentence. The case will be considered again on Wednesday.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

K M Mani rejects Antony Raju’s statement

KOTTAYAM: Kerala Congress (M) chairman K M Mani Sunday rejected Antony Raju’s statement that they are ready for a friendly race if the Idukki seat is not given. The party is ready for a race from within the UDF and all other arguments are totally baseless, he said.

Minister P J Joseph said they are not interested for a friendly race in Idukki and it was Antony Raju’s personal opinion.

Chief Whip P C George said the party has not taken a decision like that. Congress leader K Muraleedharan MLA said Raju’s statement has crossed the limit.

Teacher arrested for sexually abusing LP students

THALIPARAMBU: The police Sunday arrested Govindan Namboodiri, a maths teacher of Perinthatta North ALP School for sexually abusing some students. He was arrested from Pariyaram Medical College. The DEO had suspended him yesterday.

K P Sreelatha, headmistress of the school and K U Sajitha, teacher in charge of the helpdesk, have also been suspended for not taking action against the teacher and for not informing the incident to the concerned officials even after receiving a complaint.

The complaint levelled stated that the teacher sexually abused the students during class time. When a child refused to go to school, the parent informed it to the in charge of the helpdesk K Sajitha. Other students too revealed about the incident. Sajitha without informing the child line hid the complaint. The incident came to light when a parent lodged a complaint directly to Payyanur AEO.

Law is on Saritha’s track, says Pinarayi

KASARGOD: Law is moving on the track of Saritha S Nair, main accused in the solar case, said CPM secretary Pinarayi Vijayan. As the chief minister is involved in the case, a situation like this has occurred, Pinarayi told a press meet as part of his Kerala Raksha March.

The government made all arrangements for her release after hiding the arrest warrant. The chief minister used to say very often that law will take its own course. But in Saritha’s case, law is on her track.

Something unusual has happened in the case where Salim Raj, former gunman of the chief minister, was reinstated back into service. It should be examined whether chief minister’s interest was one of the factors for his reinstatement.

No question of compromise in Italian Marines case: Antony

KOCHI: Defence Minister A K Antony Sunday said there was no question of any compromise with regard to the case relating to the two Italian marines who had allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast in February 2012.

"Government policy is that as per Indian rules the case will go ahead. There will be no compromise. We are not going back in any way in the case. We are going ahead with the case as per Indian laws," he told reporters here.

The minister was replying to a query on whether there was a softening of India's stand on the issue after the Law Ministry concurred with the External Affairs Ministry on the non-applicability of the anti-piracy law.

The Law Ministry is of the view that the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA) should not apply in the case of the two marines.

Antony said the Home Ministry and the Ministry of External Affairs are handling the matter.

On criticism against the Indian Navy over recent mishaps, including the Sindhurakshak tragedy, Antony said all such incidents have been taken seriously.

He said he considers his ministry as a family. "In a family we discuss every issue. It doesn't mean I am pulling up anybody. In the Army, Navy and Air force we consider safety of operations. Sometimes accidents happen. But for me, even one incident cannot be ignored. All incidents we take seriously."

He said that the Navy has ordered a court of enquiry, based on which corrective action was being taken.

"There is no alarming situation. But at the same time, Indian Navy is a growing organisation. Indian military is a growing military and one of the best in the world," he said.

India had entered into defence cooperation agreements with 48 countries, including in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and ASEAN and they were all keen for closer cooperation with India, he said, adding many countries want joint exercises with India.

My ashram, an open book: Amrithanadamayi

PALAKKAD: Mata Amrithanandamayi said on Saturday that her ashram is an open book and all income and expenditure are properly accounted. Mata was speaking at a function in connection with Puthoor Brahmasthana festival.

It was her first response after serious allegations were raised against the Amrithanandamayi math by an Australian woman, who was once her close aide and disciple.

“The ashram has nothing to hide. Unable to fulfil their ambitions, some may spread rumours and false information. But what I’m trying is to forgive them. I have not told anyone to serve me but what I am doing is, serving others,” said Amrithanandamayi, who also alleged that some people are trying to ignite communal rivalry through false propaganda.    

Probe Saritha’s financial sources: VS

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthnandan has written to Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, seeking an inquiry into the financial sources of solar scam accused Saritha S Nair.

The letter says that lakhs of rupees have been paid as security deposit in order to procure bail for Saritha. The source of this huge amount of money should be investigated.

“In various cases, Saritha paid Rs 12 lakh towards bail alone. Big amounts were also paid for settling various cases. How did she meet all these expenses? The people have the right to know about the sources of the money she got. In her affidavit filed in the court, Saritha had submitted that there was no cash with her. The government also had informed the court that her account balance was just Rs 70,000.” VS said in his letter. 

Don’t forget Amrithanandamayi’s service: CM

KALPATTA: Chief Minister Ooommen Chandy has said that those who know about the services done by Mata Amrithanandamayi and her math to the mankind will never make allegations against her. He was responding to CPM State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan’s statement that allegations against the math and its head should be taken up with due seriousness.

“It is not right to censure Amrithanandamayi math on the basis of certain revelations. Pinarayi may not know the big things Mata has done for society. But as a person who has first-hand information about her services, I can’t criticise her. When all were dazed by the Tsunami calamity, the first group that rushed forward with help was Amrithanandamayi and her math. One should not slam the math just because something unpleasant about it appeared in a book,” Chandy said.   

Meanwhile, KPCC president V M Sudheeran has not expressed his opinion on Pinarayi’s statements. He, however, said that he didn’t have detailed information about the allegations and would speak up after properly studying the issue. 

Flight row: AMMA seeks explanation from team members

KOCHI: Actor Innocent, the president of Kerala Film Star’s association AMMA, has said the association will seek Kerala Strikers team members’ explanation over their run-in with Indigo flight crew.
He said if the stars’ behaviour had inconvenienced other passengers in the flight, it was unfortunate. On the other hand, if the mistake was on the crew’s part, legal action would be taken against them.

Meanwhile, the police have decided to record the statements of the pilot and airhostess who were on duty then. This is based on a complaint lodged by the film stars. Police have clarified that the decision regarding filing of case will be taken only after examining the statements.  

The incident happened on Friday when the team members were inside an Indigo flight at Kochi airport. They were going to Hyderabad to play Celebrity League Semi-final match. When the flight was about to move, a few of them allegedely poked fun at the airhostess, which ended up in the pilot asking them to deplane.

Three arrested with Rs One-crore hashish

THRISSUR: Police today arrested three persons for the possession of hashish valued at Rs One crore. The arrest happened in Thirssur. The arrested are Anand. 20, Vinoj, 36, and Nikhil, 22. 850 gram hashish was seized from them.   

The City police arrested them on Friday with the help of shadow police. Vinoj is an accused in cases relating to robbing a merchant of 14 kg gold and Parappanangadi money fraud.

Lapse in granting bail to Saritha, says Muraleedharan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: K Muraleedharan MLA found fault in granting bail to Saritha S Nair, main accused in the solar case.

How she got bail when cases and warrants exist against her, asked Murali.

More cannot be said as a judicial probe is on in the case, he said.

Friendly race if Idukki seat denied

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A friendly race should be conducted if Idukki seat is denied to the Kerala Congress,, said Antony Raju. The race will be held fielding Francis George. Briefing reporters, he said friendly race is not a new thing in the UDF as it has happened before.

Majority of the activists are of the same opinion. A friendly race has happened in Kaduthuruthy in 1996. Nobody has opposed K M Mani’s demand of two seats in the party meetings convened so far.

The Congress benefited from the merger of Kerala Congress. I hope the Congress will show the magnanimity to give back the Idukki seat, he added.

Saritha to move court for withdrawal of arrest warrant

ALAPPUZHA: Saritha S Nair, main accused in the solar case, will approach the Kanhangad Court seeking the withdrawal of the arrest warrant issued against her. The production warrant was issued on January 31, 2013 by the Hosdurg Judicial Magistrate Court for deceiving the owners of Power For You Alternate Energy Marketing Service.

Meantime, Saritha’s advocate Feny Balakrishnan said the warrant issued was not a problem for her release. She had obtained bail in the case. The warrant was issued just to produce her and it can be solved if a plea of apology is filed. The media misinterpreted that an arrest warrant still exists.

In the meanwhile, Saritha, who earlier said that she will meet the media today, has cancelled it. The decision was taken as she was directed to meet the media after consulting senior legal experts.

Bail for Saritha: No lapses on part of police: Chennithala

KOCHI:  No lapses occurred on the part of police in the bail granted to Saritha S Nair when the arrest warrant exists, said Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala. She was released as part of court proceedings and the government has nothing to do on it, he said.

Chennithala said the government has no special interest in the case. Law will take its own course. The case is moving forward as per the court proceedings.  The letter of opposition leader V S Achuthanandan seeking a probe on the financial sources of Saritha has been handed over to the DGP for further procedures

Friday, February 21, 2014

Panthal collapses at CM’s function

KASARGODE: During the inaugural function of Vellarikkundu Taluk, when the helicopter hovered to sprinkle flowers, the canopy above the dais collapsed, injuring several people in the mayhem thereafter. The incident happened at 4:45 pm on Friday.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash were there at the venue. The reason for the incident has been attributed to the strong wind caused by the low-flying helicopter. The canopy was made using tin sheets propped up on iron   pipes.

Soon the policemen rushed in with help; the function began half hour late. There were no casualties.

All sitting MPs need not be given seat: Sudheeran

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: KPCC president V M Sudheeran has said that it is not compulsory that all sitting MPs should be given seats in the coming Lok Sabha election.

“The authority to decide the candidates is vested on the high command. However I will express my own opinion during the discussions. Anyway, each victory in LS polls will bring its own benefit to the UDF government in the State,” he said.   

Stripping in front women’s college: Youth held

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A man who walked the road in front of Vazhuthacaud Women’s College, baring his body, was, on Friday, nabbed by the local people and handed over to the police.

The incident happened in the morning around 9:30. It is reported that this exhibitionist usually hanged around the road in front of the women’s hostel near the college.

In spite of a spate of complaints, no body showed the guts to nab him until Friday, when he shifted his place towards the Women’s college.

Seeing him going nude, local people who were there at that time tried to grab him but he soon got into an auto and zoomed past them. The people chased him, waylaid him at the Bakery junction and later turned him in to the Museum police.

Saritha reaches Advocate Fenny’s house

ALAPPUZHA: Solar scam accused Saritha S Nair, who came out of the jail on bail on Friday evening, has gone to her advocate Fenny’s house at Mavelikkara. She will reportedly spend the next six days here.

Fenny has said that she will be staying in his house to discuss different aspects of the case. He also added that there was nothing worrisome about Saritha’s security matters.

Mani and Kerala Congress could join LDF: VS

PALAKKAD: Minister Mani and his party Kerala Congress should protest against negligence shown to them by the Congress, Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has said. He went further to invite the minister and the party to join the LDF.

Achuthanadan also opined that there was no need for Mani to continue in the UDF in the face of insult. He was fielding questions regarding Kerala Congress joining the LDF.

“Kerala Congress should prove that it is a party with dignity and for that it should react against the negligence. On the other hand, if they wish to continuediscussions with UDF and remain ensconced within the party, I have nothing to say,” he said.    

TP murder case: Convicts move high court

KOCHI: Twelve persons including seven convicts involved in the TP Chandrasekharan murder case on Friday filed an appeal in Kerala High Court. In the appeal they have said that Kozhikode special court had convicted them without examining evidence and documents properly. In the case, RMP leaders and RSS workers were also made witnesses.  

The investigating team in its remand report submitted during different occasions had mentioned that there were not witnesses in the case. It was then that RMP leaders were presented as witnesses, they alleged in the appeal.

Saritha S Nair released from jail

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Saritha S Nair, the second accused in the sensational solar case, was released from jail. She was released from the Attakulangara Women’s Jail at 4 pm Friday evening.

The Ernakulam Police arrested her from her house in the capital city on June 4 in 2013. Soon after her arrest, 32 cases were registered in her name. She was released after paying an amount of Rs 12, 85,000 as bail amount.  

She told reporters waiting outside that she is very happy on the release. Its nine months since I met my mother and children.  I don’t have anything to divulge now. Please leave me to relax. I’ll talk to you (media) later and asked them to prepare the questions.

When asked whether any of the Congress leaders had helped her, she said only her relatives had helped her.

13440 KSRTC employees may lose job

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government’s sanctioning of new KSRTC package has left the employees in a state of anxiety. The decision is to cut down 30 pc of staff strength.  

The KSRTC has 35,000 permanent staff and 9801 temporary staff. 30 percent of the above means 13,440, who will lose the job.

The move is to lay off some temporary staff and to give VRS to employees who are nearing their pension age. There are also plans to cut down the number of Mechanical employees.

The allegation is that KSRTC did not discuss the matter with the employees before preparing the report.

Congress should contest in Vadkara

KOZHIKODE: Union Minister Mullappally Ramachandran has said that the Congress has to contest from Vadakara constituency, if UDF has to win there.

He said any UDF partner had the right to stake claim to the seat, but party decision would be acceptable to him.

Janata Dal had earlier asked for Vadakara seat. Muslim league coming to support this demand had raised eyebrows in the Congress circle

Hayarunisa murder case: Convict gets life term

KOLLAM: In the case relating to the murder of a woman, stuffing the body inside a sack and dumping it in forest, the convict has been sentenced to life. A fine of Rs 1,15,000 has also been imposed on the convict.  

The deceased was house woman Hayarunisa from  lambazhanoor, Kadaykkal and the convict is Prasad from Thrissur. The Kollam Addisitonal Sessions Court read the order on Thursday on the case that dated back to 2010 (June 9).

Hayarunisa got acquainted with Prasad, while she was working in a private firm. She was separated from her husband and staying away from him.

Amritanantha Mayi devotees lodge police complaint

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  Amrithananthamayi devotees have lodged a police complaint against those who allegedly indulged in making defamatory comments against Mata Amrithananthamayi and her Karunagappally math through social networking sites.

The Karunagapally police have registered a case in this regard after the complaint was lodged with Kollam City Police commissioner.  

Aranmula Airport, a wrong

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Senior Congress leader and newly appointed KPCC chief V M Sudheeran Friday said the Aranmula Airport is a wrong developmental project of the state.

Talking to a private channel, he said the former LDF Government had gone wrong on the Aranmula airport project. They made a mistake in giving sanction in principle for the airport project without conducting a feasibility study. The UDF Government, who came later, too followed the same mistake.

Sudheeran said the government shouldn’t go forward with the project and if it happens, sanction will have to be given for many projects approved in principle. There are two opinions in the KPCC on the Aranmula issue. Steps will be taken to solve the issue. The absence of the chief minister in many programmes including the function where I took charge as the KPCC chief, gave a wrong note.

Don’t recruit persons named in Vigilance cases, Sudheeran tells govt

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: KPCC president V M Sudheeran has written to the government, asking it to withhold the appointment of officials named in Vigilance cases. Any such appointment made in government departments should be cancelled.
It is presumed that Sudheran’s instruction comes in the wake of the government making Riji Nair, the former Managing Director of Consumer Fed, the director of Co-operative Academy of Professional Education (Cape) director. 

Sudheeran has also asked the government to deny alcohol license to local self government institutions under Congress.

Kerala Strikers players offloaded from flight for misbehavior

KOCHI: Kerala Strikers players proceeding to Hyderabad to partake in the semi-final of the Celebrity Cricket League match to be held on Saturday were offloaded from the flight for misbehavior.  The complaint lodged by the air hostess and pilot of the Indigo Airlines said the team members misbehaved with them.

Just before the flight takes off, passengers are requested to follow the security measures. Some of the team members clapped immediately after the airhostess announced to follow the tips given. Enraged over the incident, the airhostess and the captain asked the players to offload from the flight. Soon after they were offloaded, the pilot lodged a complaint. The authorities are of the opinion that the flight will proceed if the team members apologize.

Meantime, Aji Pattath, in charge of the team, said such a thing has not happened. The players termed the allegations as baseless and said a complaint will be given to the Airport Authority of India and the Indigo flight. 

Aryadan under suspicion in Nilambur murder case: Pinarayi

NILAMBUR: Minister Aryadan Muhammed is under suspicion in connection with the murder of a woman at the congress office in Nilambur, said CPI (M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan. An Aryadan touch is seen in the incident, he said.

The minister should have stood with the relatives of Radha, who was murdered. He should have done that even though he may have many difficulties personally. The culprits can be caught only if the probe is handed over to another team from the existing team, he said.

Pinarayi said the probe is moving in the wrong direction. The police team wants to hide many things in the case. The residents of the area know that the two nabbed are not the only accused in the case. The CPM will support the bid to nab the real culprits.

Demolish DTPC hotel near Periyar river: SC

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has issued an ultimatum to Kerala government to demolish the hotel built by District Tourist Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) on Aluva Manalppuram, immediately. Not even single extra day would be allotted to demolish the building.   

The court further said the government’s inaction would amount to contempt of court and if necessary it could seek the help of Central forces to execute the order.

An organisation called the Association of Environmental Protection had filed a petition stating that the hotel was constructed without conducting Environment Impact studies.      

The three-storey hotel in the shape of rainbow, built on the banks of Periyar river in Aluva by DTPC, was inaugurated in 2009. Later it was rented out to some hoteliers. The foundation for the building was laid at the place where the banks had caved in, after the area was filled with red-colour sand.

Police can’t take case against Amrithanandamayi math: Chennithala

KOCHI: Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala has said that case cannot be taken against Amrithanandamayi math based on mere allegations in a book. “Whatever be the content of the book, the government is least bothered,” he told media persons in reply to a question.

He said the police were bound to take case against those who allegedly defamed Amrithanandamayi math since they received a written complaint from some devotees.

Karunanagappally police had on Thursday registered the case. Karunanagappally SP will be probing the case after getting orders from Kollam Rural SP.  

Australian national Gail Tredwell, once a close aide of Amrithanandamayi, in her book titled Holy Hell, had made several allegations against Amrithanandamayi math and its inmates.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Facebook to buy mobile messaging app WhatsApp for $19 billion

NEW YORK: Facebook Inc will buy fast-growing mobile-messaging startup WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and stock, as the world's largest social network looks for ways to boost its popularity, especially among a younger crowd.

The acquisition of the hot messaging service with more than 450 million users around the world stunned many Silicon Valley observers with its lofty price tag.

But it underscores Facebook's determination to win the market for messaging, an indispensable utility in a mobile era.

Combining text messaging and social networking, messaging apps provide a quick way for smartphone users to trade everything from brief texts to flirtatious pictures to YouTube clips - bypassing the need to pay wireless carriers for messaging services.

And it helps Facebook tap teens who will eschew the mainstream social networks and prefer WhatsApp and rivals such as Line and WeChat, which have exploded in size as mobile messaging takes off.

"People are calling them 'Facebook Nevers,'" said Jeremy Liew, a partner at Lightspeed and an early investor in Snapchat.

WhatsApp is adding about a million users per day, Facebook co-founder and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg said on his page on Wednesday.

"WhatsApp will complement our existing chat and messaging services to provide new tools for our community," he wrote on his Facebook page. "Since WhatsApp and (Facebook) Messenger serve such different and important users, we will continue investing in both."

Smartphone-based messaging apps are now sweeping across North America, Asia and Europe.

"Communication is the one thing that you have to use daily, and it has a strong network effect," said Jonathan Teo, an early investor in Snapchat, another red-hot messaging company that flirted year ago with a multibillion dollar acquisition offer from Facebook.

"Facebook is more about content and has not yet fully figured out communication."

Even so, he balked at the price tag.

As part of the deal, WhatsApp co-founder and chief executive officer Jan Koum will join Facebook's board, and the social network will grant an additional $3 billion worth of restricted stock units to WhatsApp's founders, including Koum.

That is on top of the $16 billion in cash and stock that Facebook will pay.

"Goodness gracious, it's a good deal for WhatsApp," Teo said.

Shares in Facebook slid 5 percent to $64.70 after hours, from a close of $68.06 on the Nasdaq.

Facebook said on Wednesday it will pay $4 billion in cash and about $12 billion in stock in its single largest acquisition, dwarfing the $1 billion it paid for photo-sharing app Instagram.

The price paid for Instagram, which with just 30 million users was already considered overvalued by many observers at the time.

Facebook promised to keep the WhatsApp brand and service, and pledged a $1 billion cash break-up fee if the deal falls through.

Facebook was advised by Allen & Co, while WhatsApp has enlisted Morgan Stanley for the deal.

V S to be centre of attraction even during Rema’s Kerala Yatra

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As slain RMP leader T P Chandrasekharan’s wife K K Rema gears up for Kerala Yatra, all eyes are turning towards Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan.

Since the CPM has restricted V S from making public statements, whether he will make any comment on Rema’s yatra is yet to be seen. But, if he doesn’t utter a word opposing the yatra, that too will become the subject of discussions.  

V S has always shunned CPM’s stand on TP murder and expressed his concern for   Rema. When Rema was lying in front of Secretariat, fasting for CBI inquiry into TP murder, V S had dropped a ‘letter bomb’. As that is the case, V S stand, whatever it may be, will be widely discussed.

Rema’s Kerala yatra will begin on March 16 from Kasargod and it will end on March 26 in Thiruvananthapuram. Kerala will be in the poll mode by then when discussion on selection of candidates will be heating up. If VS comes out to support Rema, it will trigger another political controversy and it will be the CPM which will be badly affected. On the other hand, if VS chooses to keep mum, it will also become a topic of discussion. So, when Rema begins the journey, the CPM men would be the most anxious lot and they will see to it that VS doesn’t open mouth.

Man dies after falling from bed

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A youth succumbed to his injuries he sustained after falling from the bed. The dead has been identified as Ignatius (38) of Kadinamkkulam. He died last night at 10.30 pm at the medical college hospital. He sustained serious injuries in the fall on February 10.

Missing Keralite student found dead in Chicago

CHICAGO: A missing Keralite student Pravin Varghese was found dead in a wooded area Tuesday, nearly a week after he was last seen, according to a media report.

Police found the body of Southern Illinois University student from suburban Morton Grove in Illinois at about 9:45 am Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune reported citing authorities in Carbondale.

Varghese had last been seen around 11 pm Feb 12 leaving a party about three miles from where his body was discovered.

The 19-year-old second year student and criminal justice major had walked into the wooded area on the eastern edge of town after getting into a "dispute" with someone at the party, the newspaper said citing authorities.

That man was attempting to drive Varghese home when the dispute started, police said. Carbondale police, according to the Tribune, said little about the nature of the dispute, other than they believed Varghese exited the vehicle on his own accord.

His sister, Priya Varghese, 20, had said phone records showed her brother called a friend in Chicago at 12:30 am Thursday, about 90 minutes after he reportedly left the party.

The friend told her it sounded like her brother might have been running or arguing with someone, she said.

Varghese's Twitter account showed a tweet at 11:17 pm that night reading: "Bloody knuckles ... guess I was in a fight #backdown."

Police said Varghese's body showed no obvious signs of trauma, and no evidence thus far points to foul play in his death.

Rather, Carbondale Police Chief Jody O'Guinn said cold weather might have played a role. Varghese was wearing jeans and a shirt when he entered the woods, the chief said, and the area's "difficult terrain and low temperatures are believed to have contributed to Pravin's difficulty finding his way out of the wooded area."

An autopsy and toxicology report have been ordered, police said. The autopsy could take place Wednesday.

Varghese's family and friends had travelled to Carbondale to assist in the search. They had offered a reward of $15,000 for information on his whereabouts.

University Chancellor Rita Cheng issued a statement offering condolences to Varghese's family and urging grieving students to visit the campus counseling center if needed.

One killed as building collapses

KOZHIKODE: One person was buried alive and two others were injured as wall of an old building collapsed at Sand Bank near Vatakara in the district on Wednesday. Police said the dead was identified as Koroth Navas of Vatakara. The accident occurred while demolishing an old building, they added.

O K Vasu, Karshaka Sangham Kannur vice-president

KANNUR: O K Vasu, who has left Namo Vichar Manch and joined the CPM, is coming to the forefront of the party. As part of this, he has been made the vice-president of Karshaka Sangham in Kannur district.  

The CPM district committee meeting also decided to make M Asokan, who joined CPM along with Vasu, a Karshaka Sangham Executive member.

Ministers will follow code of conduct, if any: Chandy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that if any code of conduct is prescribed for ministers, they will follow it.

After the cabinet meeting, he told the media that he would move forward with KPCC president VM Sudheeran unitedly.

The cabinet has given the nod for a scheme to pay Rs 20,000 to 5lakh as compensation to the victims of accidents and crimes.

In order to source fund for rubber storage, a consortium of Rs 50 crore will be formed in association with cooperative banks.

Handling charges given to agencies storing rubber have been increased to Rs 6/kg from Rs 4/kg.

Government employees who joined the service from April 1, 2013 and those who are liable for joint pension have been placed under general provident fund.

AAP inviting VS, a media organisation’s handiwork: Pinarayi

MALAPPURAM: CPM State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has opined that VS was invited to join the AAP at the behest of one media organisation.

At a press conference held in connection with Kerala Raskha March on Wednesday, he said the media group was making Kejriwal speak out what they wanted him to speak.

Pinarayi alleged that all transfers in the police cadre were done by flouting rules. The attempt is to make police force a playground for group activities of the Congress.

Thiruvananthapuram commissioner was transferred as he had taken a tough stand against blade mafias. “There was sufficient time to order transfer after the Lok Sabha elections, but the fear of losing power after the election forced them rush through the transfer orders,” he added. 

KGS group tries to hoodwink Pollution board

PATHANAMTHITTA: KGS Group, which has taken up Aranmula airprot project, has tried to hoodwink State Pollution control board by showing the Capital Investment to be 100 crore where as the original amount is Rs 2000 crore.
The company has been asked to submit an affidavit regarding the investment when it is assessed that the investment needed is 10 times more

When the project was accepted in principle in 2009, KGS group had declared that the investment needed was Rs 2000 crore. But on Januray 7, 2011, the capital investment was shown as Rs 100 crore . The fee paid by the group was Rs 3.30 lakh. If the project cost is Rs 2000 crore, Rs 60.6 lakh should be paid as fees.

Meanwile the pollution board has clarified that the permission letter will be given after the KGS remit the total fees.

Injuries on Radha confirms rape: Dr Sherly Vasu

KOZHIKODE: Kozhikode Medical College Forensic department head Dr Sherly Vasu has said that injuries found on the late Radha’s body was due to rape.

She was interacting with the media after inaugurating the health awareness programme of Kozhikode Bar association on Wednesday.

She said 11 expert doctors had conducted post-mortem on the body of Radha , who was a sweeper in a Congress bloc office. “The final autopsy report was prepared after 4-hr discussion and time was not ripe to give the full details. The 11 doctors are ready to give statements in the court,” she added.

Meanwhile, the investigation team is of the opinion that it is not a case of rape. And, the doctor’s new revelation has added more mystery to the case.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

All party men liable to accept Sonia’s words: K Muraleedharan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: K Muraleedharan MLA has said that Congress chief Sonia's was the party’s last word and everyone in the party was liable to obey her. He was responding to Sudhakaran MP’s statement that it was difficult to erase groupism from the State Congress.

"The Congress workers have the moral responsibility to obey Sonia’s words. Only those persons who obey her will have a place in the party. I have also been punished for disobeying her once," Muraleedharan said, adding that "Congress Chief Whip PC George need not interfere in the internal affairs of the party".      

Muraleedharan said a final decision on Aranmula project should only be taken after discussing the issue in the KPPC meeting. The affidavit submitted by the government at the Green Tribunal should be discussed in the meeting. The government and KPCC should interact with the Arnmula action council members to get first-hand knowledge of their problems.

Vithura sex scandal: HC upholds Jagathy’s acquittal

KOTTAYAM:  In the Vithura sex scandal case, the Kerala high court has upheld a lower court order that acquitted actor Jagathy Sreekumar of all charges.    

Justice P Bhavadasan in his order said the government was not able to produce proper evidence to prove that Jagathy was guilty. “In that circumstances, the court doesn’t feel that it is necessary to interfere with trial court’s verdict,” said the order.  

The bench which deals with cases of assault against women and children was hearing a petition filed by the government against Jagathy’s acquittal.

Houseboat rents hiked

ALAPPUZHA: In a meeting chaired by Collector Padmakumar and attended by houseboat owners and union leaders, a decision was taken on Tuesday to hike the rents of houseboats.

Houseboats with single room will be charged Rs 7000 against the previous rent of Rs 6000. The trips in the boat starts from 12 in the noon and will end at 9 in the next morning.    

For two room houseboats , the rent has been hiked from Rs 8000 to Rs 10500, and for 3-room boats it has been hiked from Rs 12,000 to 14000. If the number of rooms is more than three, the customer will have pay Rs 5000 for each room.

For just morning trips, Rs 6000 is the new rent irrespective of number of rooms. For food, it will cat Rs 400 per head.

Minister Mani, team meet CM on Kasturirangan report

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Congress (M) MLAs called on Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and submitted a memorandum requesting to solve the anxiety in the Kasturirangan report. The decision to meet the chief minister was taken at the party executive meet convened the previous day.

The MLAs met the chief minister at the Cliff House Wednesday morning at 8 am. All MLAs except C F Thomas were in the team, led by party chairman and Minister K M Mani, Minister P J Joseph and Govt Chief Whip P C George.

The team asked the chief minister to solve the anxiety on the report. They also requested to distribute the title deeds to deserved farmers of hill ranges after avoiding all the complications.

Mani demanded two seats in the Lok Sabha polls. He said they deserve two seats and asked the chief minister to consider it. One in the team said a positive approach was seen from the side of the chief minister. He agreed to convince the centre about it. Minister K C Joseph has been entrusted to hold talks with union ministers in Delhi. The chief minister agreed to go to Delhi if needed to solve the issue. Meantime, the chief minister did not respond on the two seats we demanded, Mani said.

Thiruvanchoor bats for KSRTC pensioners

ALUVA: Transport Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan has said that he will take his salalry only after distribution of KSRTC pension areas. He had dramatically made this declaration after marching into the pandal of the pensioners who had been on indefinite strike there.

The minister’s unexpected visit happened on Tuesday when he came to inaugurate the renovated Aluva KSRTC bus stand. Initially the agitators shouted slogans against the minister. But once he interacted with the strikers and assured them of action, some of  the strikers started calling sindabad for him.

Celebrations in Telangana region after Bill passed in LS

HYDERABAD: Celebrations broke out in Telangana region as the news of Lok Sabha passing the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill trickled in.

A festive atmosphere prevailed in Hyderabad and Telangana towns like Warangal with the separate statehood supporters bursting crackers, distributing sweets and taking out victory rallies.

They danced to the tunes of popular songs hailing Telangana.

A large number of students gathered in Osmania University here, the nerve-centre of separate statehood agitation, and danced in joy.

Congress activists at some places in Telangana rejoiced distributing sweets and held pictures showing their party president Sonia Gandhi in the image of 'Telangana Talli' (Telangana mother).

"Greetings to Telangana people. This is the result of a long struggle. The Bill will be passed in Rajya Sabha tomorrow. We thank Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, CPI General Secretary Sudhakar Reddy and each one of those who supported separate Telangana Bill. We are actually at loss of words to express our joy," Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) chairman M Kodandaram said.

Age limit for PSC recruitment to be made 40

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  The age limit for recruitment of candidates in general category to various posts through PSC will be raised to 40.

The government has also decided to recommend the PSC to raise the age limit for recruitment of backward classes to 43 and SC/ST categories to 45.

The decision will be taken in the next cabinet meeting. If the PSC accepts the recommendations, it will benefit lakhs of people.

Lok Sabha polls to be held in April-May

NEW DELHI: Lok Sabha polls of 2014 are likely to be conducted in six phases in April and May. The dates will be announced in the first week of March. Assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim will be held along with the Lok Sabha polls.

Elections are likely to be completed by May 15 so that political parties will get enough time to hold discussions for forming the government.

Poll expenses are estimated to Rs 3500 crores. This amount is more than the expense of the last Lok Sabha polls.

Monday, February 17, 2014

If I’m not there, it’s news: Chandy

KOCHI: Chief Minister Oomen Chandy on Saturday publicly expressed his uneasiness over the way the media “minted” stories whenever he was absent from a function.

Taking part in the inaugural election campaign meeting of the Congress party in Kochi he said: “Whenever I don’t attend a function, the media will make umpteen stories out of that. On the other hand, if I attend a function, it will talk little about that”.

The chief minister said he could not come to V M Sudheeran’s function on time as he had other official functions. He had not come to receive Sonia Gandhi also for the same reason. Sonia was apprised of the matter well in advance and she had also given him the permission.     

Chandy said Congress will face the coming Lok Sabha election unitedly. In Kerala, the party will get 20 seats. He also assured Sudheeran of all support to lead the party to roaring victory.