Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sudheeran adamant, not to jump into conclusion

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: KPCC president V M Sudheeran has rejected the formula put forward by Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala to arrive at a consensus between the government and party over bar licence issue.

Sudheeran, meanwhile, said he would not jump into conclusion over the issue but would take time to take an appropriate decision.

On the issue of issuing licences to bars, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Excise Minister K Babu and others are on one side while Sudheeran, a chunk of Congress leaders and Muslim League leaders are on the other side. Meetings with the participation of the chief minister and home minister will be held again to solve the issue.

 Ramesh’s formula was to issue licence to upgraded bars and two-star bars, according to which 60-67 bars can be reopened. The formula didn’t find acceptance among leaders. The suggestion of the chief minister and excise minister was to issue licences to 418 bars after giving them time for upgradation. The KPCC president, who is against the above suggestion, insists on not only two-star facilities but also certificates as criteria for issuing licence.

Custodial death: Court censures CBI

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The court has again come down heavily on CBI over the custodial death of Udaykumar, with the remark that the CBI is playing hide-and-seek by not removing the ambiguity in the FIR.

CBI’s special court made this comment on the case related to the custodial death of Udaykumar at Fort Police Station.

The court has also sought CBI’s written explanation for the flaw it has made in the FIR, “as if with an intention to baffle the court”. It also asked the CBI to submit the explanation by today itself. Earlier also, the court had pulled up the CBI for the error in the FIRs.

Bar licence: Sudheeran sees silver lining in the cloud

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: KPCC president V M Sudheeran has said that he is optimistic about solving the bar licence ‘puzzle’ and he sees a ray of hope in the discussions held on Wednesday. He said he would hold discussions with UDF leaders and arrive at a decision that would protect peoples’ interest, as well.

Sudheeran was talking to media persons after his meeting with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala.  

“In the UDF meeting to be held on May 20, a consensus will be reached. Before that informal discussions will be held in the UDF,” said Sudheeran.

The KPCC president said, “the former LDF government cannot wash their hands of their mistakes vis a vis the liquor policy and hence they have no right to criticise UDF’s policy. It is also there in the responsibilities of the UDF to correct LDF’s mistakes.”      

Mr Fraud to release on May 8

KOCHI: Putting an end to controversies, Director B Unnikrishnan’s Mohanlal film Mr Fraud will release on May 8. The decision regarding this was taken in the meeting of producers and distributors held in Kochi today.  

They decided to make an agreement with theatre owners before May 3. “If that doesn’t happen before May 5, new films will not release after May 7,” they said.

The producers and distributors were of the opinion that B Unnikrsihnan was an egoist and there was no need to exhibit films of such directors. However, film artistes’ organisation FEFKA had come out against this.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Rs 10.5 lakh gold haul at Nedumbassery airport

KOCHI: A passenger who arrived at Nedumbassery airport from Dubai was arrested for possessing gold worth Rs 10.5 lakh.

The arrested is one Jabeer from Malappuram. The gold was concealed in belt’s buckle.

No chance for anomaly in Padmanabhaswamy temple: Justice Rajan

NEW DELHI: Justice Rajan, who was the chairman of the first evaluation committee appointed by the Supreme Court, has said there is no chance for anomaly in Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple.  

He said there was little possibility for gold pilferage in the temple since 2007 and if so it happened it would have been with the knowledge of Advocate commission.

“First persons who had come up with the claims that gold were smuggled out of the temple were the amicus curiae and Anand Bose. Even petitioner Sundara Rajan had not made any allegation about smuggling of temple gold. After 1885, B vault had not been opened. The amicus curiae’s finding that it had been opened since then is unbelievable,” Rajan said. 

Poor conditions of liquor shops: HC pulls up govt

KOCHI: Kerala High Court has criticised the govt for poor facilities usually found in liquor shops. In the liquor outlets of Beverages corporation there are unending queues, bringing in lots of inconvenience to the customers. By making them stand in long queues, they are being treated as cattle class, observed the court.

The court also asked the government to appoint a commission to specify the infrastructure for the liquor shops and asked both government and Beverages corporation to give explanation in this regard."If the government intends to cut down on liquor usage, it can ban liquor," the court pointed out.

Sudheeran-Babu meeting not fruitful; talks to continue

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Though there were suggestions for compromise talks on bar licence issue, today’s meeting between KPCC president V M Sudheeran and Excise Minister K Babu failed to reach the target.  

While Excise minister K Babu and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy have one stand,  Sudheeran has taken a different view. Both parties are reportedly firm on their stance and unwilling to relent.   

As suggested by the chief minister, Babu met Sudheeran on Monday, but their discussions failed to break the deadlock. Revealing this to the media, Sudheeran said he would be meeting the chief minister and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala on Wednesday.

The general opinion is that the UDF will not discuss the issue until a consensus is reached on it in the Congress.

Temple administrative panel: Choice falls on Biju Prabhakar

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: District Collector Biju Prabhakar will be appointed as government representative in Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple administrative panel.

The selection was made by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Devaswom minister V S Shivakumar. Additional District judge K P Indira will be appraised of the decision. Devaswom department secretary K R Jyothilal will pass on this information to the panel chairman, Indira, who has the authority to issue a notification regarding this.

The panel will have five members including the chairman. Temple Tantri Tharanallore Satheeshan Namboothiri, Periya Nambi Maruthambadi Narayanan Padmanabhan are the two other members already appointed by the apex court and the rest will be picked up by the chairman and the amicus curiae.  

SI suspended for misbehavior

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A sub-inspector was suspended for misbehaving towards women and minor girls at Sabarimala during Vishu season. The accused identified as Jahangir, a sub-inspector of Thiruvananthapuram SAP Camp was suspended following a departmental inquiry.

A complaint was lodged after he misbehaved towards them while climbing the holy steps. Not only that he was on duty in the place not assigned by his superior. Even though the issue triggered a controversy in Sabarimala, the officials there shifted him to the camp and tried to secrete the incident.

On investigation, the secret investigating department found the incident to be very serious and submitted a report seeking action. The head of the armed police later issued an order suspending him.

Sudheeran-Babu discussion today; No use, says minister

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Differences of opinion between KPCC president V M Sudheeran and Excise Minister K Babu over the bar licence issue have worsened even though there has been instructions for talks on the issue.

Minister Babu will be seeing Sudheeran as suggested by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. But, Babu is reportedly pessimistic about the meeting. Babu is of the opinion that there is no point in just two persons discussing the issue. “A diplomatic decision is required on the matter. And, no court has said that licence should not be renewed,” he added.

Today a UDF meeting will be held and it is unlikely to discuss the issue since at party-level a consensus has been reached.

KSRTC bus catches fire

KOTTAYAM: A KSRTC bus that was running caught fire today at around 9 in the morning. The bus KL15- 8727 was plying Kottayam-Perunthalmanna route when the incident occurred.

The bus had stopped at Baker junction to load passengers. Once the bus started moving, the passengers inside noticed fire near the starter. The bus driver was informed and he stopped the bus. The local residents soon informed the Kottayam Fire station.

Later, local residents and passengers joined Fire force personnel in dousing the fire within minutes.    

Wire shortage in starter is said to be the reason for fire. As many as 40 persons were inside the buses but no one was injured.

Producer swindled crores of money: Police

ALUVA: Producer Koral Viswanath who has been arrested in money fraud involving crores of rupees, has been flooded with complaints. Kerala Kaumudi was the first paper to report the arrest of Vishwanath in Aluva and following this, many ‘victims’ have approached police stations across the state with their complaints.

Ten more people, who had handed over money to Viswananth at Aluva palace, met Aluva CI  B Harikumar over the day and filed their complaints. Some, who even called up the cops to complain against him, were asked to lodge formal complaints.

More complaints have reached Perumbavoor, Kaladi, Palakkad, Vadakkanchery and Thrissur stations. New complaints which have reached Aluva showed the involvement of Rs 2.5lakhs to Rs 75lakhs. Roy Mathew was a ‘victim’ who lost maximum amount of money.

Nod for bar hotel: KPCC seeks explanation

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: KPCC chief V M Sudheeran Tuesday asked Kasargod DCC to submit a report after conducting an investigation on the act of Kanhangad municipality granting permission to start a new bar hotel. 

The Kanhangad municipality led by UDF granted permission for the new bar hotel the previous day. It was earlier decided not to issue new bar license in local self-governing bodies ruled by Congress. The municipality granted permission for new bar when the government and the KPCC are at loggerheads on the renewal of license for existing bars.

Court accepts govt’s plea in TP murder case

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court accepted state government’s plea questioning the acquittal of 24 persons including CPM Kozhikode district secretariat member P Mohanan in the murder case of RMP leader T P Chandrasekharan. The court later issued notice to them. The plea said the trial court acquitted them without examining the documents properly.

The trial court awarded life sentence to 11 out of the 12 accused in the case.

Private bus strike from May 5

KOCHI: Private bus operators will go on indefinite strike from May 5, demanding, among other things, an increase in minimum charge.

Their demands include raising the minimum charge to Rs 10, increasing the bus fare of students and doing away with private bus permit.

Artist M V Devan passes away

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  Renowned artist M V Devan passed away on Tuesday. He was 86. The end came at his Aluva residence.

For his book Devaspandanam, a collection of critical essays and his magnum opus, he got Kerala Sahitya Akademi award in 2001 and Vayalar awrd in 1999.

M V Devan or Madathil Vasudevan Devan was a painter, sculptor, writer, art critic and orator. He was born in Panniyannur village in Thalassery. After completing high school in 1946, he left for Madras to study painting. He learned the basics of painting at the Chennai Govt School of Arts and Crafts under the guidance of people like Debi Prasad Roy Chowdhury and K. C. S. Paniker.

Around this time, he came into to contact with M Govindan, who helped him change his life’s perspective and way of thinking.

After coming back from Madras, he worked as staff artist at the Mathrubhumi daily in Kozhikode. From 1952 to 1961 he worked there. Apart from illustrations, he had done  reviews, articles and features on art and paintings. Again, he returned to Madras to join the 'Southern Languages Book Trust' as art consultant and worked there till 1962.

He continued his pursuit of art in Madras Lalit Kala Academy from 1962 to 1968, New Delhi Lalit Kala Academy (1966 to 1968), FACT (as art consultant from 1968 to 1972). He was appointed the Chairman of Kerala Lalita Kala Academy from 1974 to 1977.

During this time, he established an organization called Perunthachan, which dealt with the consultancy in the housing sector.

He was also the founder member and Chairman of Kerala Kalapeedom, where he tutored and encouraged many young painters such as T Kaladaran. He was also a founder of Mahe Kalagramam. He is associated with Navashakti, Gopuram, Sameeksha, Kerala Kavita and Jwala. All of them are literary publications.

Retd captain collapses, dies in bus

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A retired captain collapsed and died during a bus journey early Tuesday morning at East Fort. The dead has been identified as Jayachandran Nair (72) of Kamaleswaram.

He was on his way to attend a pooja at his family temple in Poozhikkunnu. The body has been shifted to the mortuary of the medical college hospital. He had suffered cardiac arrest twice before.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sudheeran may soften stand on bar licence

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  KPCC president V M Sudheeran may soften his stand on issuing licence to substandard bars. He has informed Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala that he is ready for more talks on the issue. He is known to have told both ministers over the phone that he is ready to take up the issue again in the Government-Congress high power committee meeting.  

The discussion over the bar licence had reached a deadlock as Sudheeran had taken a stand against that taken by the chief minister and others. And, both were also firm on their opinions.  

Sudheeran’s stand is that only standard bars with two-star certificate need to open while the chief minister and others are of the opinion licences can be issued to substandard bars after giving them specific time to raise their standards.   

The failure of the party leadership and the government to solve the issue had also annoyed UDF leaders. Now, they are also not willing to prolong the stalemate.

It is under these circumstances that Sudheeran would be reportedly coming forward to ease the situation. According to sources, he may agree to allotting a time frame for bars’ up gradation, but with certain preconditions.

DYFI activist’s murder: Accused arrested

KULATHUPPUZHA: The person who allegedly killed a DYFI activist following verbal duel, was arrested from a forest area on Monday. The arrested is one Vinod, 32, of Ezhamkulam Laksham veedu. He was arrested in the wee hours from his hideout, a house where he was staying alone.   

The victim was Sibin Sabu, 21, who was the son of Sabu and Omana of Puthenveedu at Koovakkadu Pallamvetti Kizhakkedathu near here.

In the incident, two persons Sujith and Unni of Ezhamkulam Lakshamhouse were injured. The attack happened near Ezhamkulam Lakham veedu colony on Anjal-Kulathuppuzha road on Saturday at around 8:30pm.

Take practical stand on bar issue, Vellpally tells Sudheeran

KOLLAM: SNDP General Secretary Vellapally Natesan has asked KPCC president V M Sudheeran to take a practical decision on Bar licence issue. A year’s time should be allotted to substandard bars to raise their standards.     

He said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy should take a pro-active role in giving licence to bars. “Sudheeran’s stand will only help to dent the image of the party. Congress leaders should intervene to correct Sudheeran,” he added.

Saritha’s Mookambika darshan: Court seeks explanation

PATHANAMTHITTA: The Pathanamthitta Chief Judicial Magistrate court has sought explanation on Solar case accused Saritha S Nair’s recent Mookambika visit. The explanation was sought from Saritha’s counsel Fenny Balakrishnan.

The court also asked whether Saritha had flouted bail conditions. In that case, it said, the bail would be cancelled.

Man held with star tortoises

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The customs Monday arrested a native of Tamil Nadu, who tried to smuggle 460 star tortoises through the international airport. Ahamd Haris of Ramanathapuram was taken into custody at 8 am this morning.

The customs examined his bag on suspicion when he was to board the flight to Colombo.

The tortoises were placed in small bags. He refused to divulge more details and said an unknown person handed them over to him. 

No films will release if Mr Fraud not permitted to screen: FEFKA

KOCHI: If the ban on Mohanlal starrrer Mr Fraud directed by B Unnikrishnan is not lifted, severe action will be taken, said Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA). The emergency executive meeting of FEFKA decided to stop the screening of other films if Mr Fraud is not permitted to release on May 8.

It was opined at the meeting that it is not the theatres who should decide when the films should release. If the ban is not lifted, a strike will be staged jointly after stopping the shooting of films.

In the meanwhile, exhibitors’ federation president Liberty Basheer has come to the fore challenging FEFKA. He said that if they have the guts let them stop the shooting of films.

Court to record statement of Saritha on May 5

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Thiruvananthapuram Judicial First Class Magistrate Court (ll) will record the statement of solar scam accused Saritha S Nair on the complaint of sexual harassment against A P Abdullakutty MLA on May 5. The court was to record her statement today but as the magistrate is on leave, it will be taken on May 5.

Saritha had lodged a complaint against the MLA at the Cantonment police. She alleged that the MLA used to call her continuously and sexually harassed her after inviting her at the Muscat Hotel.

Producer of ‘Neram’ held for cheating

ALUVA: A man has been arrested for cheating people of crores of rupees in the name of movie production and promising them returns. The man arrested has been identified as Coral Viswanath (65), native of Palakkad and living in Tirupur, Tamil Nadu.

It was Viswanathan, who produced the super hit Malayalam film Neram. He was arrested by Aluva circle inspector B Harikumar following a complaint of Jayson, native of Perumbavur, for cheating him for an amount of Rs 10 lakhs. Five more complaints have been obtained following the arrest of him.

Reports say that he has cheated many. Viswanathan was produced in the court after recording his statement and has been remanded last night itself. His son-in-law Abilash (35) too was arrested for cheating. His daughter Anitha is also listed as accused following solid proof. She is absconding.

Similar cases have been registered against them in Perumbavur, Kalady, Palakkad, Wadakkancherry and Thrissur stations.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Solar: Term of judicial commission extended for six months

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The term of the judicial commission probing the solar fraud case involving Saritha S Nair has been extended to six more months. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has signed the order on it. Justice Sivarajan had sought an extension as the term of the panel ends on April 28.

The commission has not obtained a single complaint even after a month of its functioning. The panel has started taking steps to call the accused and political leaders who voiced the allegations. The panel will take statements of people after examining the charge sheet filed by the police in courts. The commission was appointed on October 28, 2013.

Land case: VS seeks probe on CM’s role

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan  sought a probe on the role of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in the Kadakampally land grab case.

In the FIR of the CBI, it was mentioned that a conspiracy was hatched in the office of the chief minister. It was also asserted that the relationship between the chief minister and his office helped Salim Raj to carry out the deal. In this situation, the chief minister cannot run away from the responsibility, he said.

Fissures in track

KOCHI: A fissure noticed on the railway track between Edapally and Kalamassery was solved by the timely intervention of the railway authorities.

Meantime, the curb imposed on train services following the maintenance work on path doubling and signal facilities on the Ernakulam-Kottayam route will continue.

Some passenger and memu trains have been cancelled. Train services will be suspended from 10.20 am to 2.20 pm and from 6 pm to 10 pm.

Padmanabhaswamy Temple: More anomalies noticed during tenure of Uthradom Thirunal

NEW DELHI: C V Ananda Bose, former chief of the panel appointed by the Supreme Court to supervise the unearthing and preservation of assets of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, came forward with serious allegations against the Travancore Royal family in connection with the shrine. He said more irregularities were noticed during the tenure of Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma.

Bose said the palace concealed the documents of the temple accounts of 100 years before and there were a deal between the government and palace authorities. The way of handling the temple treasure is mysterious.  Precious treasures have been smuggled abroad and then it was replaced by its replica. An expert panel was not able to make a study on the big treasure in the polluted Padmatheertham.

Three sets of keys are there for opening the vaults of the temple and Marthanda Varma was the custodian of it. The royal family has opened the vault which is claimed to have not opened at all, he said.

The revelation of Bose upholds the report of amicus curiae Gopal Subramanyam appointed by the Supreme Court. The amicus curiae had mentioned that gold has been taken out from the temple after mixing it with sand. Following the report, the court had exempted the royal family from the temple administration and appointed a five-member panel led by a district judge to oversee it.

Attack on CM: Notice for CPM MLAs

KANNUR: The police have issued a notice to CPM Payyannur MLA C Krishnan and Dharmadom MLA K K Narayanan asking to appear before them for questioning in connection with the stones pelted towards Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in Kannur.

The notice sent by DySP K Sudarshan has asked them to appear tomorrow evening at Thaliparamby station. 114 persons including the two are accused in the case. Even though hundred persons were arrested, bail was granted to them.

The chief minister was attacked in October 2013 when he came to attend a function. In the attack, he sustained minor injury and the panes of his vehicle were damaged.

Army not fit for temple administration: Amicus curiae

NEW DELHI: Amicus curiae Gopal Subramanyam has said that Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple administration will not suit army men and those entrusted with the job should have the required experience in that. Unfortunately, persons recommended by the State government do not have sufficient experience in temple administration. What is more important is the idol and the tradition followed in the temple.

He said he was satisfied with the new administrative panel appointed by the Supreme Court. K N Sathees kumar appointed as Temple executive officer is a person with good track record and sufficient expertise in temple administration.

Gopalswamy said his report was based on true evidence.Royal family members had also cooperated with him in collecting evidence."I didn't force jeweller Raju or anyone to give statement. How can I force, since I dont know Malayalam," asked the amicus curiae, who also suggested that in the present context, Royal family members keep themselves away from temple administration. 

Ready to forgo income from alcohol: Chandy

KOCHI: Chief Minister Oomen Chandy has said that the government was ready to forgo the income from the sale of alcohol in the State. But, he added that “there is no point in telling this unless people controlled their addiction to alcohol.”

“The government has been mulling the alcohol ban in phases. It is not practical to implement ban without cutting down on alcohol consumption. New bar licences will be given only to five-star hotels. The government has decided to not give bar licences to three star and four star hotels,” he said.

Two Malaylis shot dead in Kuwait

MALAPPURAM: Two Malayalis were shot dead by anonymous attackers in Kuwait. The dead have been identified as Muhammed Rasheed from Kulathoor (Malappuram) and Sharngdharan from Kozhikode. Both are Al Mullah Security staff.

They were attacked by two masked persons as they were approaching their vehicle. They had company money with them, which they were going to deposit in the bank

Salim has top-level contacts: CBI

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CBI has said in its FIR that the chief minister’s former gunman Salim Raj, who is an accused in the Kadakampally land grab case, has top-level contacts.

The court also said that Salim Raj misused his office and contacts to hamper the investigation in Kadakampally land grab case. Because of his influence, it was not even possible to file an FIR. Moreover, he constantly threatened the victims of the land grab.

The CBI has also made Salim Raj’s wife Shamshad as the 22nd accused while the 21st accused is Salim. The other accused are three officials in Kadakampally and Uliyathara Special Village officer.

Meanwhile, in the FIR related to Kalamassery land grab case, CBI has avoided Salim’s name, saying that it needs some more time to study about his involvement in the case. Five persons including Thrikkakara Village officer are the accused.

CBI should say how Kaviyoor rape victim died: Court

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  A CBI court here has said that it is for the CBI to clarify whether Kaviyoor rape victim Anakha’s death was a suicide or murder. While considering the case, the court said that some external interference might have happened in her death.

“Two suicide notes were found near the body of Anakha, which gives room for many doubts. One of the letters might have been a forged one,” said the court and asked the CBI what they had to say about it.

“If Anakha had consumed poison did the CBI inquire about the kind of poison consumed? If Anakha had been raped by her father, did the CBI conduct DNA test?” the court asked the CBI and instructed the agency to give explanation on all such doubts when the case would be considered next time.

Case has been postponed for the next hearing.

Tanker lorry overturns in Malappuram

MALAPPURAM: An LPG tanker lorry overturned again in Malappuram. The lorry was travelling from Mangalapuram to Kochi, when it suddenly lost control at Vattappara near Valancheri and overturned to the left.

Since the lorry didn’t catch fire, further tragedy was avoided.  Following the accident, the vehicular traffic came to a halt on Kozhikode-Thrissur route.
After the incident local residents within 500 metre radius of the accident spot were evacuated. The electric power supply was disconnected and the people were asked not to use mobile phones.

Indian Oil Corporation officials from Kochi and Chelari have reached the accident location. Fire force units from Thirur, Perinthalmanna, and Malappuram have reached the location and brought the situation under control.

The lorry driver who got injured in the accident has been admitted to a private hospital in Nadakkavu.

Woman judge takes charge of Padmanabhaswamy temple

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: K P Indira, the principal additional sessions judge in Thiruvananthapuram, on Saturday took charge as the head of the administration of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple as directed by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court's interim order on the administration of the temple came Thursday on the recommendations of amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam, who had sought overhauling of the functioning of the temple.

The order said that if the district judge is not a Hindu, the administration should be handed over to the next senior-most judge.

As soon as the court order came, district judge Sunil P Thomas Friday evening asked Indira to take over the charge of the temple administration.

Indira offered prayers at the temple Friday evening and took charge Saturday.

The apex court bench of Justice RM Lodha and Justice AK Patnaik has also asked former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai to undertake the audit of the temple accounts and properties for the past quarter of a century.

The court also appointed senior Indian Administrative Service officer and former administrator of the Guruvayur temple KN Satish as the executive officer of the temple.

Satish is, however, expected to take charge only next month as he is currently on election duty in Andhra Pradesh.

The five-member committee will comprise Indira, the temple's tantri and chief nambi and two more members, of which one will be appointed in consultation with the state government and one would be selected by Indira.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Will implement court order: CM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: If there is a high court order against renewal of licences of substandard bars, the government will implement that, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said. He also added that he had no information about the high court order

Will give statements against Abdullahkutty on April 28: Saritha

KOCHI:  Solar scam accused Saritha S Nair has said that she had not backtracked from her complaint against Abdullahkutty MLA that he raped her.

She said she would give statements against the MLA on April 28 as per Section 164.

She said there is threat to her life. “Till date I have received 26 death threat messages. After the election, 17 times I got threat calls from Internet phone. The callers also threatened to kill me on the court premises,” Saritha told media.

Saritha said she was not willing to comment on Shanimol Usman’s demand for probing her link with Union minister of State K C Venugopal.
“I had the feeling that Shanimol was an eminent leader, but now I don’t understand why she is trying to malign me and the minister,” she said.

SC order marks a crucial turn in Padmanabhaswamy temple history

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The interim order of the Supreme Court in the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple case that virtually de-controlled the shrine from the erstwhile Travancore royal family marks clean break from the past.

The apex court, while agreeing with the report of the amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam, had yesterday ordered the creation of a five-member administrative set-up under the district judge which will not have any direct representation of the royal family.

The decision also signalled a critical turn in the long-drawn litigation for transparency in administration and proper audit of the huge treasures of the temple, started years back as a private petition in a local court.

Lord Padmanabha is the family deity of Travancore royal house and since 18th century the princes of the lineage had ruled most of south Kerala and adjoining parts of Tamil Nadu as "Padmanabhadasa" (servants of Padmanabha). After the integration of the princely state in 1947, the royal rule came to an end and most major temples of Travancore were brought under a Devaswom Board.

But as a special case, control over the Padmanabhaswamy temple was left in the hands of the royal family. Interestingly, the elected governments that came to power in the state since then, including those led by the Left, have bothered a little about the temple or the priceless treasures hidden in its vaults. Though old-timers used to say about the 'maha nidhi' (fabulous treasure) in the underground chambers, the public at large had for long taken such claims as exaggerated.

Things started changing when two devotees approached a sub-court here in 2007 seeking to restrain the temple authorities from opening the chambers and photographing the treasures for making an album. Considering the plea, the court appointed a two-member lawyers' commission vesting them with the authority to open a particular chamber to take out jewels and utensils required for festivals and other important occasions. The court also suggested creation of an administrative body on the lines of the Guruvayur temple, which was challenged in the High Court by the temple authorities.

It was at this juncture that T P Sundararajan, a former IPS officer, stepped in with the argument that the temple is no longer a private property and there should be accountability and transparency in its management. Sundararajan's stand was endorsed by the High Court and suggested that temple administration be brought under a trust or a separate body formed for it. This was challenged by the royal family in the Supreme Court where it is pending for final order. The temple, however, drew international media glare with the apex court ordering the inventory of the riches stashed away in its chambers in 2011. What the inventory team, which comprised among others two retired judges of the High Court, found in the vaults was mind-boggling.
For days that followed, media, though kept out from the exercise, came out with stories of huge piles of gold coins, jewelry, stone-studded articles and gold and silver vessels being found in the chambers. In a sad turn to the course of events, Sundararajan died a few months later but the struggle he initiated for protection of the temple wealth continued.

The temple case took a critical turn with the Amicus Curiae submitting a voluminous report running into over 500 pages in which be brought out serious irregularities and malpractices in the management of the temple and its immense wealth. The report even suggested that there had been attempts to take out certain quantity of the temple gold allegedly with the connivance of the management. While accepting the apex court order which brought to an end the control of the temple by the royal family, the Congress-led UDF Government has made it clear that certain ritualistic rights of the royal house would continue. Reacting to the judgement, chief minister Oommen Chandy also criticized the tendency of certain quarters to denigrate the royal family. According to Chandy, the very fact that these huge treasures have been preserved itself is proof to their faith and commitment. The government would immediately take measures to further improve the security of the temple.

The sprawling temple, an architectural splendour in granite, was renovated in its present form in the 18th century by Anizham Tirunal Marthanda Varma. A revered figure in local history, Marthanda Varma quelled the rebellion of Nair chieftains who wanted to usurp power by installing a puppet in the throne. After reinforcing his position as the legitimate heir of the royal house that follow matrilineal succession, Marthanda Varma expanded his principality through diplomatic and military means to cover much of south Kerala, stretching from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, to Paravur near Kochi.

CBI’s FIR leaves out Salim Raj’s name

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In its First Investigation Report on Kalamassery/Kadakampally land scam, which was filed on Friday, the CBI has not included the name of the chief minister’s former gunman, Salim Raj, among the accused.

Thrikkakara Village officer and assistant Village officers are the first and second accused respectively. The Thiruvananthapuram unit of the CBI is investigating the case.

In the Revenue department’s enquiry, it was found that an attempt has been made to grab 44.5 acre land under the survey number 18. In the Thandaper register 10156 page was found to have torn off and a new one was created with the number 3587. Double title deeds were given to 1.5 acre land.

According to the case, Salim Raj’s brother-in-law Abdul Majeed and brothers tried to grab the Rs 25-crore worth land of N A Shereef from Thrikkakkara Pathadipalam. It is alleged that the fraud was committed with the connivance of Salin Raj’s wife, a staff of Revenue Commissioner office.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Drunk passenger triggers hijack alert in Bali

JAKARTA: A drunk passenger on a Virgin Australia plane was arrested at Bali airport after triggering a hijack alert when he attempted to enter the cockpit, airline and Indonesian officials said Friday.

"This is no hijacking, this is a miscommunication," said Heru Sudjatmiko, a Virgin Australia official on the Indonesian resort island. "What happened was there was a drunk person... too much alcohol consumption caused him to act aggressively."

National police spokesman Suhardi Alius said the passenger had been arrested over the incident.

Initially, the Air Force said the Boeing 737 from Brisbane was believed to have been hijacked.

"The pilot indicated that the plane has been hijacked," senior transport ministry official Harry Bhakti said on MetroTV earlier.

"There's an information that a passenger tried to get into a cockpit, we are investigating," he had said.

Bar license: Court rejects govt’s call to postpone case

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court rejected state government’s call to postpone considering the bar license case. They wanted to postpone the case following the inconvenience of the advocate general.  Rejecting their call, the court said the case would be considered at 2 pm.

A bench led by Justice Chidambaresh is considering the bar license case and 54 cases related to it are under the court’s consideration. The case was shifted to the bench led by Chidambaresh after Justice C T Ravikumar recused from the case.

CM opposed to ‘insulting’ Royal family

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that he disagrees with any approach that is tantamount to insulting the Travancore Royal family. However, the government will have to abide by the Supreme Court order.

“Sree Padmanabha Swami temple is the symbol of Royal family’s credibility and its belief. It is not the right thing to ‘crucify’ them merely based on some rumours, “ the chief minister said.

Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said, the order was an interim one and the government will submit a detailed affidavit before the court after taking into account devotees’ sentiments and traditional rituals being carried out by the Royal family.

Former District collector and former Devaswom Commissioner K N Satheesh said he being made the Executive officer was purely God’s decision.

Meanwhile, Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has said that the Supreme Court order was a backlash against the Royal family.

Missing sacred ornaments recovered in Guruvayur

THRISSUR: A part of the sacred ornaments which was missing from the Guruvayur Temple 29 years back was Friday recovered from the holy well of the temple. Nagapadathali (traditional jewellery) with 29 blue glass stones and weighing 60 grams were recovered from the well when it was drained to clean.

The theft of the ornament had created a political controversy in 1985. Three sacred ornaments of 210 grams were reported missing then. An ashtamangala devaprasnam was held under the leadership of astrologer Kaimukku Parameswaran Namboodiri following the theft. He had revealed then that a person having ties with the temple had stolen the ornament. The then melsanthi and his daughter were subjected to a lie detector test in connection with the incident.

Temple executive officer files affidavit against amicus curiae’s report

NEW DELHI:  Padmanabha Swamy Executive officer filed an affidavit in the Surpeme Court, pointing out that amicus curiae did not follow temple tradition while studying the case.

The Supreme Court had on Wednesday said that any move to oppose amicus curiae will be dealt with, seriously. It was in this context that a decision was taken to submit an affidavit against amicus curiae Gopal Subramanyam.  

“The amicus curiae had entered the Thevarappura (puja room) with Lakshmi Bai and did puja for about two hours and read Veda texts loudly. This should not have happened as then, it was the sleeping time (yoga nidra) for the deity. Though the amicus curiae was informed about the same, he continued with the puja,” alleged  Temple Executive Officer Bhuvanachandran Nair in his affidavit.

Meanwhile, Travancore Royal family member Moolam Thirunnal Ramavarma has clarified in his affidavit that the temple riches are public property and considering it as private property was a fault.

Palakkad coach factory: Decision within a month

NEW DELHI: Railway board chairman Arunedra Kumar has said that a decision on Palakkad coach factory will be taken within a month’s time. Discussion regarding   the construction of the coach factory is going on with a Chinese company. “Since the tender has been given only to a single company, a decision on re-tender will also have to be taken,” he added.

SC appoints 5-member panel for Padmanabha Swami temple

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has appointed a five-member interim committee to take charge of the administration of Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple. Thiruvananthapuram District Judge will chair the administrative committee. If the District Judge is a non-Hindu, next top judicial officer in the district will be have to chair the committee.

No Royal family members are included in the committee, while temple’s nambi and tantri (top temple priests) are in the committee. The District judge will choose the other two members.       

“The key of the temple vaults should be handed over to the District judge. Travancore Royal family member Moolam Thirunal Ramavarma can continue as Temple Trust member,” instructed Divison bench comprising Justices A K Patnaik and R M Lodha.

K N Satheesh IAS will be the new Executive officer of the temple. A team headed by former CAG Vinod Rai will examine the income and expense of the temple. CAG can recommend the names of other team members.

Every Saturday, the money in hundies should be counted and accounted. The accounts of the last 25 years should be audited by Vinod Rai. The court also gave specific instructions that the wealth or properties of the temple should not sold off or handed over to another person.

The Supreme Court dismissed all the three names recommended by the government for the administrative panel. The names suggested were Additional Chief Secretary P Hariharan, ADGP A Hemachandran, and Devaswom Secretary K R Jyothilal. But these names were opposed by the amicus curiae.

Amicus curiae Gopala Subramanyam was squarely opposed to making Jyothilal a member, saying that he was responsible for the present despicable state of Padmatheertham and Mithranandapuram pond.

A Hemachandran’s name was opposed by Travancore Royal family member themselves. And, thus the court decided to avoid all the three names.

Maoists threaten home guard in Wayanad

WAYANAD: Maoists barged into a house and threatened the home guard and set ablaze a bike parked there. The Maoists reached the house of Pramod of Mananthavady traffic station at 11 pm last night. Even though top police officials and thunderbolt searched the areas, they could not be traced. Extensive search operations are continuing in Wayanad, Kannur and Kozhikode districts. Following the incident, the home department has sought a report from Wayanad SP.

When the strangers knocked at the door, Pramod and his family did not open it as the presence of Maoists was confirmed. However, when Pramod opened one of the windows, one from the team caught hold of his hand. Pramod identified the person as Rupesh, head of the team. There were also three women in the team.

The team stuck some posters asking Pramod to leave his job and engage in agriculture farming and asked him to stop the hunt of them. A major tragedy was averted after he poured water on the bike.

Priest molests child in Thrissur

THRISSUR: A priest of St Paul’s Church at Thaikattusseri, Olloor in the district, molested a ten-year-child when she came to attend the first holy mass. The police have registered a case against Raju Kokken, the main priest of the church, following a complaint lodged by the child’s parents.

The statements of the child have been collected. He molested the child when she was changing the dress he bought for her to wear for the first holy mass. When the act continued, the child informed her parents and they in turn lodged a complaint with the police. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Nilamboor housewife gets hacked

NILAMBOOR: A housewife at Akampadam in Nilamboor was hacked on Thursday. The injured is Shalini,  a resident of Aanappan house. She had been admitted to Manjeri Taluk office.

The accused is neighbour Chekku, who attacked Shalini’s husband following a dispute over their plots’ boundary. The Shalini fell in between them to save her husband from getting hacked and in the melee got injured. The police have arrested Chekku.

Temple Executive officer to file affidavit against amicus curiae’s report

NEW DELHI:  Padmanabha Swamy Executive officer will file an affidavit in the Surpeme Court, pointing out that amicus curiae did not follow temple tradition while studying the case.

The Supreme Court had on Wednesday said that any move to oppose amicus curiae will be dealt with, seriously. It was in this context that a decision was taken to submit an affidavit against amicus curiae Gopal Subramanyam.  

“The amicus curiae had entered the Thevarappura (puja room) with Lakshmi Bai and did puja for about two hours and read Veda texts loudly. This should not have happened as then, it was the sleeping time (yoga nidra) for the deity. Though the amicus curiae was informed about the same, he continued with the puja,” alleged  Temple Executive Officer Bhuvanachandran Nair in his affidavit.

Meanwhile, Travancore Royal family member Moolam Thirunnal Ramavarma has clarified in his affidavit that that the temple riches are public property and considering it as private property was a fault.

Will not take immediate decision on Lokpal, Centre tells SC

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that it will not take any immediate decision on the appointment of chairperson and members of the Lokpal, virtually indicating that the decision in this regard might be left to the new government after the general elections.

Appearing before a bench headed by Justice R M Lodha, Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran said the government is not planning to take any decision on the appointment of Lokpal after which the apex court posted the case for hearing on May 5.

The bench said there was no need for any interim order on a PIL challenging the selection procedure for the Lokpal after the government assured the court that no decision will be taken till May 5.

The bench was hearing a plea filed by NGO Common Cause seeking a stay on the entire selection process of appointment of chairperson and members of the Lokpal, saying the government was going ahead with it despite the apex court being seized of the issue.

“It is submitted that the latest move by the government to proceed with the appointment of the chairperson and members of the Lokpal, even while this court is seized of the issue of the validity of the rules framed under the Lokpal Act, is not only highly improper but also illegal and arbitrary,” the application has said.

The NGO has filed the fresh plea following apex court’s oral observation during an earlier hearing in which the bench had said if it comes across any such development (by the government so far as the selection of the Lokpal and its members was concerned), it would be at liberty to approach this court for interim directions.

The NGO’s plea, filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, has sought to declare “illegal” the rules under which selections are being done.

The NGO has filed the fresh plea in the matter pending before the apex court in which it had questioned the entire selection process for appointment of chairperson and members of the Lokpal.

Re-polling begins in three booths

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Re-polling has started in three booths of the state. Re-polling is held in booth No 118 at Kalamassery in Ernakulam, booth No 19 at  Wadakancherry in Alathoor and in a booth at Malora in Thiruvambady, Wayanad.

Repolling is held in Ernakulam following complaints that votes of AAP candidate could not be registered. Re-polling is taking place in Wadakancheery due to the faults noticed in the button near the symbol of the UDF candidate. Re-polling is held in Thiruvambady due to the technical snag of the voting machine.

I was trapped, says Ramakrishnan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: KPCC general secretary P Ramakrishnan Wednesday gave a reply to the show cause notice for his statement against K Sudhakaran, the UDF candidate in Kannur. The reply was sent as a fax message.

Ramakrishnan said that he had not made the statement that K Sudhakaran will be defeated in Kannur. He said that he was trapped. I said Sudhakaran will win but not with a thumping majority. Some approached me for an interview for an online magazine, they then recorded the private dialogues in a hidden camera and handed it over to a channel. Youth Congress is behind the incident, he alleged.

Ramakrishnan said his statements were not clear in the clippings aired by the channel. Politicians share many private things to the media but it is not right to record and telecast it, he said.

Ramakrishnan said that he will face the matter legally. I was in charge of Kasargod parliament constituency, but I campaigned actively for K Sudhakaran in Azheekode assembly constituency in Kannur, he said in the reply.

Padmanabhaswamy Temple: Kerala to oppose interim administration panel

NEW DELHI: Kerala will oppose in the Supreme Court amicus curiae Gopal Subrahmaniam’s directive to entrust an interim administration panel to execute the functioning of the Padmanabhaswamy temple.

The state will inform the court that an administration panel similar to the one in 1951 is needed. The government will deny the allegation that they are acting by joining hands with the royal family.

Meantime, the erstwhile royal family will apprise the court that the report was prepared unilaterally. The family will also oppose the demand that a former CAG should audit the accounts of 25 years.

Sabarinath in crime branch custody

NEDUMANGAD: Sabarinath, the main accused in the Total 4 U fraud case, will be in the custody of the crime branch for four days. The court sent him in the custody for cheating a native of Vattiyoorkkavu for an amount of Rs 2 lakhs.

He was sent after the crime branch informed that they want him in custody to collect more details in the case.  

34 cases have been registered against him. His arrest has been recorded in all cases except one.

Theatre owners not ready to release Mohanlal film Mr Fraud

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  Theatre owners in the State have backed off from exhibiting Mr Fraud, the Mohanlal film directed by B Unnikrishnan.

With this, the film which was to be released on May 8, has landed in trouble.
The restriction was placed after Unnikrishnan had some issues with Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation.

It is said that the problems between them cropped up, after prominent directors and stars failed to turn up during the inauguration of the Federation office.

The Federation also came up with the allegation that it was at the behest of Unnikrishnan, who is also the secretary of FEFKA (federation of directors and technical experts in the film industry) that no body including stars attended the inaugural ceremony.   

The federation had told Unnikrishnan that his film will be allowed to be screened only after problems between them are solved. But Unnikrishnan didn’t listen to the federation’s demand and decided the shooting and releasing date of the film.

Now, according to reports, the Exhibitors Federation itself is getting ready to take the initiative to solve the issue.

Bar council sends notice to lawyer Thavamani

KOCHI: The Kerala Bar Council Wednesday issued a show cause notice to K Thavamani, high court lawyer, alleged to have influenced the judge considering the case in connection with the renewal of bar license.

The notice has asked him to explain the situation in meeting the judge. The council will take a decision on whether action has to be taken after getting the lawyer’s explanation.

Justice C T Ravikumar had recused from hearing the pleas filed by bar owners seeking a directive to renew the bar license after Thavamani allegedly tried to influence him.

Train gets delayed; Entrance exam candidates get panic

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Hundreds of candidates, who reached here by train to write Entrance exam on Wednesday, had a harrowing time as the train they were travelling got delayed.

It was the passenger train which reached Thiruvananthapuram from Kollam that got held up on the way.
The passenger train was halted for about 30 minutes in order allow Maveli and Kochuveli trains to pass by it. The passenger train which was supposed to reach Thiruvananthapurm at 8:30 am reached there at around 9 am.

Once they reached the station, the students were in a great hurry to reach the examination hall as they had to be present there by 9:30 am. Non-availability of sufficient auto-rickshaws and taxis doubled their hassles.

Differences of opinion continue, decision on bar license deferred

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As differences of opinion continued, a decision could not be taken at the KPCC-government coordination committee meet convened here Wednesday to discuss the renewal of bar license.  Differences of opinion cropped up between Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and KPCC chief V M Sudheeran on the issue.

The situation worsened over the renewal of 418 substandard bars. When the meet convened Wednesday morning, Sudheeran opined that license of standard bars need renewed. At least bars of two-star status should be given license, he said.  

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy opined that bar license can be renewed with some alterations. The chief minister asked to give them a year’s time to raise the standard of bars. The bars can function during that period, directed the chief minister. Excise Minister K Babu accepted the directive.

A decision could not be taken at the coordination meet convened a second time.

Amicus curiae report is of serious nature, interim order tomorrow: SC

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that the amicus curiae report on Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple was quite disturbing. “What is said in the report is very serious, which warrants urgent interference of the court,” observed the division bench comprising Justices R M Lodha and A K Patnaik.

While considering the case, the court took a stand as if to justify the findings of the amicus curiae report. The court pointed out that urgent decisions were required in five things. An interim order would be issued by the court on Thursday in this regard.      

The amicus curiae had suggested that the keys of the temple vaults should kept in the safe custody of District judge or some judicial officer suggested by the apex court. The court hailed it as an appropriate suggestion. Money in hundies should be counted once in three days and properly accounted. Gold and Silver should be segregated.    

The amicus curiae in its report had further sought the reclamation of temple lands, which have either changed hands or are left unidentified. Cleaning of Padmatheertham and preparing prasadams outside the temples also found mention in the report.     

Meanwhile, taking an opposite stand against the amicus curiae report, Travancore Royal family submitted through its counsel K K Venugopal that the report was born out of a writer’s imagination. It was far from reality. Amicus curiae had barged into the temple vaults like commandos.   

But, the Supreme Court made it clear that nobody should raise voice against the amicus curiae. The division bench also said that the amicus curiae had agreed to do the job only after the Supreme Court made the request for the same.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Saritha, Fenny get threat calls

ADOOR: Police have registered a case based on the complaints filed by Solar scam accused Saritha S Nair and her advocate Fenny Balakrishnan, stating that they have been receiving threat calls.

According to the complaint, Fenny got calls from two numbers and the calls were made from the Internet. Fenny, however, recorded the calls two weeks ago and submitted it along with the complaint to the Pathanamthitta police chief.
SI Sunil Kumar has said since it was internet calls, they could be easily traced through High-tech cell of the police department.

Anu Shanthi bashed up in Women’s jail

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The second accused in the Attingal double murder case, Anushanthi, who is lodged in Attakkulangara jail, was reportedly beaten up by other women prisoners on Tuesday. The women inmates jointly attacked Anushanthi, who is also the mother of the slain girl child. She was given primary treatment in the jail.

When Nino Mathew, the main accused, was taken to the Technopark for taking evidence on Monday, he was also thrashed by an enraged mob comprising mostly employees of the park. Police on Tuesday registered case against 50 people they could identify, on this account.

However, today when he was taken to the murder scene for the same purpose, nothing untoward happened, though a huge crowd had gathered there.

Malayali arrested in Dubai murder case

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A Malayali involved in the murder of his colleague in Dubai has been arrested. The arrested is Shyam Krishnan Nair (a native of Thiruvananthapuram), who killed Muhammed Haq from Madhya Pradesh by hitting his head with an iron rod.  

Both were working in an air condition company. For some reason, they picked up a quarrel one day. When they were about to start a fight, other colleagues interfered to calm them down. But it didn’t end there. Shyam Krishnan followed Haq to his room and assaulted him. Though the victim was taken to hospital, his life could not be saved.

Probe Venugopal-Saritha connection: Shanimol

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Former AICC secretary Shanimol Usman has demanded that the connection between Union Minister of State K C Venugopal and Solar case prime accused Saritha S Nair be probed. At the KPCC executive meeting here, she said party commission should be instituted to conduct the probe.

Earlier, Alappuzha DCC president A A Shukkoor had alleged that Shanimol was not ready to campaign for Venugopal. But she said that she had taken part in the campaign but Venugopal and Shukkoor had not included her for the campaign.

She also alleged that Shukkoor was like Venugopal’s servant.

Though sounding optimistic about UDF win in the election, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said he was not sure about the minority votes that would have gone to the UDF.

Idukki hartal postponed to April 24

THODUPUZHA: The hartal called by the LDF has been postponed to April 24 in view of the medical entrance examination for the next academic year, that will be held tomorrow, CPM Idukki District Secretary M M Mani has informed.  

The dawn-to-dusk hartal will be observed on Thursday in protest against the errors seen in the new map of ecologically sensitive areas in connection with the Kasturirangan report.

Four burglars held

KASARGOD: Police busted an interstate gang of burglars with the arrest of its four members in Kasargod on Tuesday.

Police said the burglars were identified as Shiju (41) of Kuttiyadi in Kozhikode, Haneefa (41), Zunaid (19) and Ismail (41), all hailing from Kasargod.

More than 50 cases were registered against them in Kannur, Kasargod, Kozhikode district and Mangalore in neighboring Karnataka, they added.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Congress eventually lost its upper hand in campaign: Chandy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the KPCC Executive meeting that the Congress had lost its upper hand in the later part of the campaign.
The Congress had a clear say when it came to the decision on candidates.
But in the second phase of the campaign, it lost all its superiority.

“The party was on the defensive in the wake of Solar case and other controversy during the campaign. But I still feel that the UDF will win the election with a big margin,” he said.

KPCC president V M Sudheeran said that the UDF would win 15 seats in the election.
The campaign was done very effectively. Community organisations had backed the UDF and in five seats there would be tough competition.

Youth dies after falling from building

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A 25-year-old migrant worker died after falling from the sixth floor of a building of Infosys while engaged in painting work. He has been identified as Shershad, native of Uttar Pradesh.

He fell after losing balance when involved in the work. He sustained serious head injuries in the fall.

Though he was rushed to the hospital, his life could not be saved.

Royal family to oppose amicus curiae report in SC

NEW DELHI: The erstwhile Travancore Royal family has gone back from their decision to partially approve the report of the amicus curiae in connection with the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. They will request the Supreme Court to dismiss the report. The decision was taken after holding talks with K K Venugopal, senior advocate of the Supreme Court.

The royal family had the other day decided not to oppose amicus curiae’s directive to conduct an auditing in the temple. In the affidavit to be filed tomorrow, the family will mention that the report was set unilaterally. They will also indicate that no details were collected from them.

In the meanwhile, Rajesh Nair, official of an international marketing agency, has filed a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court requesting to use the assets of the temple for public causes.

The plea states the assets should be used for educational and health purposes. Only half kilo gold should be used for the rituals of the temple. The assets should be converted into money and should be kept under the safe custody of banks and devaswom boards of the state should be brought under one roof. The plea filed with the permission of the Supreme Court Chief Justice will be considered tomorrow.

Judge withdraws from pronouncing verdict in bar license case

KOCHI: Kerala High Court judge C T Ravikumar withdrew from the case considered in connection with the bar license, when the verdict was scheduled to be pronounced Tuesday.  

The reason cited for the withdrawal was that advocate K Thavamani, who appeared for the bar owners in the high court, tried to influence him.  In the judgement, Ravikumar said the advocate came home and tried to discuss matters with him.

Judge Ravikumar informed his decision when the case came up for consideration. It is not right to pronounce the verdict in the case where an attempt was made to influence me, he said. He directed to leave the case to another bench.

The plaintiffs can shift the case to the vacation court if wanted. If a new bench is considering the case then the trial will have to start from the beginning.

Royal family not to oppose auditing in Padmanabhaswamy Temple

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  The Travancore royal family may not oppose amicus curiae Gopal Subramanyam’s report in connection with the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The family will also not oppose former CAG Vinod Rai’s inspection on the temple revenue and accounts of expenses. They will inform the Supreme Court when the case is considered next time.

Meantime, the royal family will request to retain their rights in the temple rituals. They will inform the court that from times, they were conducting the rituals as it is  a part of faith. The amicus curiae had directed to remove their special rights in the temple administration. The family will question amicus curiae’s statement that they were handling the temple assets like their own private property.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Government must facilitate compensation for clinical trial victims: SC

NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over the plight of seriously-affected patients of the clinical trials of new chemical entities, the Supreme Court Monday asked the government to "compel" the sponsor companies of such trials to pay compensation to such patients.

"Why don't you (government) compel the sponsor (of clinical trials) to pay compensation to people who are seriously affected. They may have suffered more than death (during clinical trials)," said a bench of Justice R.M.Lodha and Justice Kurian Joseph.

"You as a government should act as a facilitator. If you don't have to pay (the compensation) then see to it that the sponsor (of clinical trial) must pay it. We don't know the suffering that seriously-affected patient (of clinical trial) is facing," the court observed underling the importance of timely compensation to such people.

Going a step further, Justice Lodha said: "Why can't you (government) as a facilitator make the payment and later recover it from the sponsor (of the clinical trials). You constitute a committee which pays and then it is recovered."

Referring to the government's affidavit, Justice Lodha said those who suffered during the course of clinical trials in 2005 or 2006 can't be made to wait for years to get compensation.

"They just can't remain waiting for seven to eight years. This is an admitted position that emerges from your affidavit," he told Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra.

The clinical trials of new chemical entities is a stage before such an entity upon verification could be declared as a drug to treat an ailment.

"Unnecessary debate must end at your level. You must find ways and means to ensure affected people get the compensation," said Justice Lodha apparently unimpressed by response of the government on the steps taken by it.

The court said that before any approval for conducting clinical trials was given, the government should see that it satisfies three parameters of "risk versus benefit to the patients, innovation vis-a-vis existing therapeutic option and unmet medical need in the country".

The court's response came while taking note of a submission by senior counsel Sanjay Parikh appearing for the petitioner - Indore-based NGO Swasthya Adikhar Manch, that the office of the drug controller was issuing approval of the drugs in bulk just in one day. Seeking a comprehensive response from the government, the court adjourned the matter for eight weeks.

Temple gold: IPS officer's role suspected

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An IPS officer's role is suspected in the alleged gold smuggling incidents in Sree Padmanabha Swami temple. The demand for a CBI inquiry into the  incident, though not officially made, came up after the role of the officer who is in service in the State came to be knowm.

Meanwhile, State intelligence has received the information regarding the IPS officer under cloud of suspicion. . Reports also say that a jewellery shop here with a branch in Tamil Nadu also was involved in the gold smuggling incidents. 

 It is also alleged that there are ways and tunnels in the temple leading to palaces outside and nearby Shiva Sena office, as well.

Muslim League seeks curb on substandard bars

KOZHIKODE: The Muslim League sought a curb on substandard bars in the state. Minister P K Kunhalikutty said the matter would be voiced in the UDF. The League opposes the liquor policy.

Immediate steps should be taken to stop the easy availability of liquor. In reply to a question, he said that it is foolish to opine on the votes which are still in the boxes. 

It would be better if leaders observe mouna vritham, he said.

Youth stabs lover to death

KUMILY: A youth stabbed his lover to death out of suspicion. The local residents caught him and handed him over to the police when he tried to flee after the incident.

The youth identified as Manikandan stabbed Annalakshmi, native of Tamil Nadu, to death in front of the Kumily bus stand Monday morning. Though she was taken to the hospital, her life could not be saved.

A team led by Kumily sub inspector Anshad is questioning him.

Car damaged in bomb blast

KOOTHUPARAMBU: A car was damaged when a steel bomb lying on the road exploded.

The incident happened last night at Pala Bazaar in Pathayakkunnu near Panur. The bomb exploded when the Maruti car K L 58 L 1629 reached Pathayakkunnu. The tyres and glasses of the car were damaged in the blast. No casualty has been reported.

The car belongs to Muhammed Arshad of Peravoor. Police are investigating whether somebody threw the bomb.

Engg entrance exam begins

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala engineering entrance examinations for admission to professional courses in the state have started.  The engineering entrance examinations will be held today and tomorrow (April 22) from 10 am to 12.30 pm. The medical entrance examinations will be held from 10 am to 12.30  pm on April 23 and from 2.30 pm and 5 pm that day itself.

The exams will be conducted in 327 centres in the state, two in New Delhi, one each in Mumbai, Ranchi and in Dubai. The answer keys to these examinations would be posted on the official website of the Commissioner for Entrance Examinations at 6 pm on April 23.

Sabarinath, accused in Total 4 U fraud case surrenders

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sabarinath, the main accused in the Total 4 U cheating case, who was underground for two years, surrendered before the Thiruvananthapuram Judicial Magistrate Court (II) at 2 pm Monday. He was sent to the sub jail after remanding him till May 5.

He has given a plea requesting to send him to Poojappura Central Jail, as there is a threat to his life. The court will consider his plea on May 5.

Sabarinath said that he surrendered to obtain some peace of mind. He said that he was on a pilgrimage to the Himalayas and had not left the country. The police are trying to trap him in a fake case. He also sought a separate cell in the central jail.

He had gone underground after getting bail on March 18 in 2011. The crime branch issued a look out notice after the police failed in finding him.

Sabarinath had cheated people and amassed an income of Rs 100 crores between  April 2007 and August 2008. He was arrested from Nagercoil in August 2008.