Tuesday, March 31, 2015

HC upholds liquor policy, only 24 five star bars again

KOCHI: In a big relief to the state government in the bar case, the division bench of the Kerala High Court Tuesday upheld the liquor policy. From now on, only 24 five star bars will function in the state again. 36 four star bars, eight heritage bars will be closed following the high court verdict.

Meantime, there is no obstacle for the beer and wine parlours to function. The division bench passed the order after approving government’s appeal against the single bench verdict.

Justices K T Shankaran, Babu Mathew P Joseph, who pointed out that the right to consume liquor is not a fundamental right, made it clear that they need not interfere in government’s liquor policy. The court asked those stating that liquor is a requirement for tourism will tomorrow argue that cocaine is necessary for tourism. The court fully approved government’s argument that the policy was brought after taking into account the welfare of the people.

Challenging rule of law for Mani, says Kodiyeri

KOTTAYAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is challenging the rule of law to protect Finance Minister K M Mani, who isfacing bribery charges in the bar scam, said CPI (M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

Addressing a meet the press programme at the Kottayam Press Club, Kodiyeri said the chief minister is protecting the tainted minister after fearing the fall of the government.

Not only the LDF but some from the UDF also want Mani to resign. There is disruption in the functioning of the government which is neck deep in corruption. Those seeking the resignation of Mani can partake in the collectorate and secretariat protests to be staged by the LDF on April 22.

A report on opposition leader V S Achuthanandan attending the party programme in Mannar violating the ban has been sought. He said that he cannot react based on the news.

Man missing at sea

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A man, who went fishing from Poonthura, is reported missing. Two persons have been rescued and reached the shore. The man identified as Sujan alias Albert (36) of Poonthura, has been reported missing. Xavier, Sunil, who were with Sujan in the boat, have been rescued and admitted in the medical college hospital.

The incident happened last night. Those rescued said he fell into the sea after struck by lightning. Xavier lost his consciousness after seeing Sujan falling into the sea. Sunil couldn’t control the boat engine after that.  When Xavier regained his consciousness, the two reached the shore and informed the incident.

I was worn-out after reading Saritha’s letter, says George

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  Chief Whip P C George Tuesday said that he has read the letter of Saritha S Nair, main accused in the solar case. I was worn-out after reading the whole letter. My only prayer is not to reveal the contents of the letter. He opened his mind at the face to face programme with the students organized by the SFI at the University College in Thiruvananthapuram.

George, who replied to the questions in his own style, indirectly poked at the government and Finance Minister K M Mani.  

When pointed out that George was compared to the holy cross, he asked Mani not to forget that there will be two crooks on either side of the cross.

When asked whether Mani has accepted bribe, his reply was--I am the vice chairman of the Kerala Congress. If he has accepted the bribe, will I be able to say that. My hands are pure and not stained, he added.

When asked if invited to the LDF, he said sarcastically that there won’t be a bigger staunch LDF activist than him.

League activist sustains hack injuries

KANNUR: A Muslim League activist was hacked by a team at Irikkur Siddique Nagar in the district. The activist identified as Unaiz (24), son of Mehamood, has been admitted at the AKG Hospital in a serious condition.

Unaiz was attacked by a six-member team while he was sitting at the bus shelter in Siddique Nagar at 10.15 pm last night. After creating a tense situation by hurling a bomb, he was hacked using a cross sword. The Irikkur police have registered a case.

Personal attack to gain media attention, says Ibrahim Kunju

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Congress (B) leader K B Ganesh Kumar leveling corruption allegations is trying to personally attack me and gain media attention through that, said Public Works Minister V K Ibrahim Kunju.In a statement released, he said that he will face the allegations politically and legally.

The public works department is one of the best sections functioned so far. Ganesh is raising fresh allegations before the Lok Ayuktha. If he has any compliant, can easily approach the court. Without producing enough evidence, he is trying to create a smoke screen. The sorrow in losing the ministerial berth is behind the allegation, he said.

Pinarayi demands probe on allegations against Minister Babu

KOZHIKODE: Politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan Tuesday demanded a probe into alleged bar bribery case after removing Excise Minister K Babu from office. Talking to media persons here, Pinarayi, who had recently stepped down as the party's state secretary, said it was necessary to conduct a detailed probe in the wake of fresh revelation by Kerala Bar Hotel Association vice-president Biju Ramesh that Babu and two other ministers accepted bribe for renewal of licences. It was also essential to find out who were the other two beneficiaries as alleged by Biju, he said, adding that it appeared that money was also taken for Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, he said.

On the allegations by K B Ganesh Kumar, MLA against PWD Minister amassing wealth disproportionate to his known source of income, he said this too needed to be investigated thoroughly. Biju had earlier alleged that Finance Minister K M Mani had accepted bribe for renewal of bar licence prompting the opposition to seek his resignation. The assembly on March 13 had witnessed unruly scenes following a determined opposition attempting to prevent Mani from presenting the budget.

Biju Ramesh has a grudge against me, says K Babu

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Excise Minister K Babu is now accusing Biju Ramesh, bar association working president, of having a personal vendetta against him. The minister said while he had no known grudge against Biju, the latter was targeting him for not granting license for his Hotel Indraprastha in Nedumangad.

Biju had yesterday alleged that Babu accepted a bribe of Rs 10 crores.  Babu refuted the bribery allegations levelled against him and said it was part of a conspiracy to topple the Congress-led UDF government.

A day after Ramesh submitted a confidential statement on the bar scam at a First Class Magistrate court here, Babu alleged that the bar owner was trying to destabilise the government with the support of certain LDF opposition leaders.

Ramesh, who levelled charges of bribery against Finance Minister and KC-M leader K M Mani, had told the media yesterday that he had made a statement before the magistrate against three Congress minister, including Babu, in connection with the bar scam.

Terming the charges "baseless", Babu also released at a press conference an audio tape purportedly containing conversation between Biju Ramesh and certain LDF leaders on the possibility of toppling the government.

Babu said the bar scam was a result of the hotelier's animosity towards the government and especially towards him as out of nine bar hotels owned by Ramesh, seven were closed following the new liquor policy.

"The huge loss of revenue following the government's new liquor policy led to Ramesh turning against the government," he said. Babu also challenged Ramesh to come out with clear-cut evidence to support his charge that he had sought bribe.

The minister also said he would file a defamation notice against Ramesh tomorrow.

Biju, who alleged that I accepted money, should make clear, where, when and from whom. Is there anybody who has seen me accepting money, asked Babu.

Bars to be closed today: Minister Babu

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  In the wake of Kerala High Court upholding the liquor policy of the government, 300 bars excluding five star hotels, will close this night itself, said Excise Minister K Babu. Talking to the media, he said excise officials will seal the remaining liquor in bars.  

The high court verdict is a reply to those who opined that there is no clarity in government’s liquor policy. The verdict boosts the self-confidence of the government. The 300 bars to be closed and those following government’s criteria will be given beer-wine licenses, he said.

Monday, March 30, 2015

I was driving, says Salman's driver Ashok Singh

MUMBAI: Ashok Singh, the family driver of Bollywood star Salman Khan, Monday told the sessions court here that it was he and not the actor who was driving at the time of the 2002 hit-and-run accident in which one person was killed and four others were injured.

Khan, charged by the police with ramming his Landcruiser into a bakery in suburban Bandra in a drunken state on September 28, 2002, had told the court last week that Singh was driving the car. It was the first time he made this disclosure.

Ashok Singh (42), who today appeared as a defence witness, corroborated Khan's version completely.

Describing how the accident took place, Singh said: "A tyre burst and the car was dragged to the left....I tried to turn the steering wheel but it was hard, then I tried to apply brakes but by then the car had climbed the stairs of bakery.

"I was in a state of shock and Salman was sitting on the left side. He tried to open the door but it got jammed. He got down from my side which was on the right," said Singh, replying to questions asked by Salman's lawyer Shrikant Shivade.

Altaf, another driver who worked for Khan, had called him on phone at 1.30 am that day, asking him to pick up the actor at the J W Marriot hotel because he (Salman) was not well.

Singh said he reached the hotel in auto-rickshaw, and saw the actor sitting on the driver's side with engine running and air-conditioning on. As Altaf had left, Singh got into the driver's seat; Salman sat on his left and his friend Kamal Khan and constable Ravindra Patil, the actor's police bodyguard, sat behind, he said.

Challenging rule of law for Mani, says Kodiyeri

KOTTAYAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is challenging the rule of law to protect Finance Minister K M Mani, who isfacing bribery charges in the bar scam, said CPI (M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

Addressing a meet the press programme at the Kottayam Press Club, Kodiyeri said the chief minister is protecting the tainted minister after fearing the fall of the government.

Not only the LDF but some from the UDF also want Mani to resign. There is disruption in the functioning of the government which is neck deep in corruption. Those seeking the resignation of Mani can partake in the collectorate and secretariat protests to be staged by the LDF on April 22.

A report on opposition leader V S Achuthanandan attending the party programme in Mannar violating the ban has been sought. He said that he cannot react based on the news.

Scarcity of food, water in Yemen, says Indian returnee

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: There is a shortage of food and water in Yemen and continuous bombing and shelling is taking place in the country, an Indian expatriate has said on returning to Kerala.

Rueban Jacob Chandy, who arrived here Monday morning, said the atmosphere is not conducive to live in Yemen with food and water becoming increasingly scarce.

"I worked with a Dubai-based oil company in (Yemen capital) Sanna. I was the only Indian in the company, which gave me a ticket to fly home. The day before yesterday (Saturday) around 79 people boarded a Yemen airline flight and flew to Djibouti. We were put on a Qatar Airways flight to Doha and then I reached here," Chandy told IANS.

Two youths also reached Kochi from Yemen on Monday. They waited on an airport in Yemen for a few days before taking a flight, he said.

"All those who flew from Yemen had to buy their own tickets. The condition is difficult in the country. The Indian embassy is doing its best to help people. Sanaa is in hilly terrain...there is heavy bombing in these areas after sunset and it continues till sunrise," said Chandy.

The ban on flying through Saudi Arabian airspace is a hurdle, Diaspora Minister K C Joseph said.

"Two Air India planes have been waiting at two airports in the Middle East to reach Yemen after they get clearance. The Indian embassy is working hard and is ensuring that Indians take these flights," Joseph told IANS.

Joseph refuted reports that those who were returning have to buy their own tickets.

"Evacuation is done for free. People do not have to spend money till they reach home. People should understand that the only way we have for a safe evacuation is through diplomatic options. We are doing everything possible," Joseph added.

Apart from the two aircraft, two Indian ships have also departed for the evacuation exercise, he said.

"If we are able to airlift stranded people, we will do it. We are doing our best," added Joseph.

There are around 3,000 Indians in Yemen waiting to return, of whom half are nurses from Kerala.

Ganesh Kumar seeks probe into Ibrahim Kunju’s assets

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: K B Ganesh Kumar MLA Monday sought an inquiry on the alleged unaccounted wealth of Minister V K Ibrahim Kunju. Ganesh wondered how the minister, who was just a gardener in 1983, earned such huge assets. He later chose politics as his career. It should be probed how he amassed so much wealth. He gave a statement against the minister when he appeared before the Lok Ayuktha on the allegations of corruption against the public works department.

The rise in his assets worth crores when neither of his kin is abroad is suspicious. He got emotional in the court when said the evidence has the price of his self-confidence and life.

Corruption was ntoiced in the deal given to a construction company in connection with the construction of a road in Wayanad. The deal for Rs 2297 per metre was given for Rs 6060 and by that corruption worth Rs 10 crores took place. A probe should be conducted against Najimudeen, Rafi and Abdul Rahim, personal staff members of the minister as per the income tax act.

Shocking proofs handed over
Talking to reporters later, Ganesh said some solid evidence was handed over to the court and they were very much convinced on that. I’ll hand over those to the media also. The evidence will shock everybody. My honour and life would be in danger if the proofs are handed over but still I don’t need police protection. The state has changed into a dwelling place of corruption. My fight against corruption will continue, he said. 

Conditional bail for accused in cocaine case

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court Monday granted conditional bail to the accused in the cocaine case.

The bail was granted to actor Shine Tom Chacko, Reshma Rangaswamy, assistant director Blessy Sylvester, Tincy Mathew and Sneha Babu. Granting bail, the court laid down the conditions that they should not leave Kochi, produce passport and cooperate with the probe.

They were granted bail as soon as the charge sheet was filed against them.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

CM is scared of George: Kodiyeri

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CPM State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is scared of Government Chief Whip P C George.

“Oommen Chandy is now protecting George and some time ago, George was the protector of Chandy. If George goes out, Chandy will also have to go out,” he said.

Bar owner gives statements against Mani

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A bar owner has given statements against Finance minister K M Mani. Bar owner Saju Dominic gave the statement that he had seen another bar owner John Kallat going into Mani’s house carrying a bag containing Rs 15 lakh.

“The money was collected from one Kunjumon’s hotel in Pala and John Kallat and I reached in front of Man’s house with the cash.  There, it was handed over to Bar Association treasurer Tankachan. It was Kallat who went inside Mani’s house but I didn’t see him handing over the money to Mani,” he said in the statement.

17-yr-old youth goes missing

KOLLAM: A 17 year old youth who had gone to temple from his house has gone missing. A police complaint has been lodged in this regard. 

The youth is Sanju, the son of Santhosh Kumar from Kottiyam Mundichira. He has been absconding since March 22. Sanju’s father in his complaint lodged with Kottiyam police said that his son, who had just completed his SSLC examination, didn’t  return after going to the temple on March 22. Police have started inquiry.

Keralites stranded in Yemen seek help

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A group of stranded Keralites in strife-torn Yemen has desperately sought help from Indian authorities for their evacuation from that country.

Talking to a Malayalam news channel on Sunday from Sana’a, a person, identified as Jido, said a group of 60 persons including women and children were now staying in a flat in great fear and anxiety as frequent explosions and gun battles were occurring in and around the area.

“No one has gone out of the flat for the past five days.

We are living here in fear. Anything can happen, we want urgent steps from authorities to rescue us from here,” Jido said.

“Our food stock and water may last for two more days,” he said, adding, “power supply is on now, but we do not know when it will stop.”

“The only communication with outside world now for us was through internet. If that also fails, we will be cut off from the rest of world,” he said.

He said he had contacted Keralite nurses working in nearby areas and found that most of the hospitals were now defunct.

“Only one hospital is working in our area,” he said, adding, “we cannot go there also due to violence in the area’

Jido expressed concern over the “delay” in sending ship to evacuate them and said they had learnt that Pakistan had already sent a ship and rescued their nationals.

Visuals taken and sent by Jido, aired by the channel, showed graphic details of a powerful explosion and persons getting shot in a terrifying gun battle on a street.

No consensus yet on my removal: George

KOTTAYAM: The news that the congress has reached an agreement for removing me from the post of Chief Whip is incorrect, Kerala Congress vice chairman P C George has said. Talking to the media, he said he is willing to quit the post any time.

George said, “I am ready to resign from my post if the UDF demands so. Mani has no moral right to seek my resignation. The chief minister said talks on my removal is on and a decision would be taken after he returns from abroad. I don’t know whether I will be able to meet him on that day.”

"I don’t have any enmity towards K M Mani and just have a complaint on his behavior. If he is tainted, let him come clean after the holy week. I’m not a big leader, but will not do anything against my conscience," he said.

VS seeks filing of case against three ministers in bar bribery case

THIRUVANANHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has written a letter to Vigilance Director Vinson M Paul, seeking filing of an FIR under Prevention of Corruption Act and initiating an inquiry against three more ministers based on the conversations in a recently released CD.

Earlier, Vigilance case was registered against Mani based on VS’ letter.

There were reports on March 12 that Ministers Ramesh Chennithala, K Babu and V S Sivakumar had also taken bribe from Bar owners. VS said in the letter that in the conservation that “took place between bar owners and Biju Ramesh, the names of three ministers were also mentioned  among those who had taken bribe from bar owners.”

In the conversation , it is said that Chennithala took bribe at KPCC office, Sivakumar at his home and K Babu took crores as bribe.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

School theft: Robber in police net

KOLLAM: A laptop and an amplifier were stolen from the computer lab of Vallikkeezhu Government Higher Secondary School recently. However, the police were able to pick up the robber but they said the arrest was not registered as they needed time to collect evidence and recover the stolen items.  

The theft happened on March 21 and the robber had managed to break open the door lock to enter the lab. Interestingly the theft came to the notice of the school authorities only two days after the incident. 

Anyhow, the school authorities have informed the police that the stolen computer and amplifier were old and obsolete.  But the police have got the information that the robber was behind many other thefts that took place in nearby areas. On the basis of the information they have started their inquiry in Shankthikulangara.  

Mani will be in jail if he opens his mouth, says George

KOTTAYAM:  Chief Whip P C George issued a threat against Kerala Congress (M) chairman K M Mani for his strict stand against the former. He has asked Mani to shut his mouth or else the minister will be in jail.

George said, “I am not saying anything more. I’ll reveal everything after Good Friday. What he has said is a bit cruel. I’ve not done anything without his consent. The allegation of Mani that I tried to destroy the UDF is not right. I was branded anti-UDF and it was the price I had to pay for obeying Mani's words. Hereafter, I will not pay heed to his words and will obey the UDF.”

"Mani wants to taint my image. I said everything with the consent of Mani. What I said two days back was also with Mani’s permission. I’ve never tried to destroy the UDF. Even after so many problems, I’ve never sought anybody’s support. Mani should have the courtesy to believe the UDF leaders. Time will prove my stature in the party. Mani should reveal everything including the fishy things in the solar case. I have not decided on what stand should be taken in Aruvikkara. Scope is for a Nadar candidate," he said.

KPCC not to intervene in George’s issue: Sudheeran

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) will not intervene in the issue of P C George, said its chief V M Sudheeran.A finaldecision will be taken by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

The chief minister has the support of the party in all hisinterventions. A decision on the issue will be taken after considering the attitude of both Mani and George.

Temporary ban on Kalabhavan Mani

KOCHI: Film producers have imposed a temporary ban on actor Kalabhavan Mani. The ban is for not reaching the sets after accepting an advance.

The producers' meet decided to allow him to act in other films only after giving compensation to the producer. The complaint of Snehajith, producer of the film Daivom Sakshi, is that after receiving the remuneration and giving him dates, the actor failed to reach the location.

The producers' association decided to allow him to act in other films only after paying the amount which the director lost.

George won’t be allowed to continue as ‘Secular’ also: Mani

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Continuing his stubborn stand against Government Chief Whip P C George, Kerala Congress (M) chairman K M Mani said on Saturday that George is not needed as Kerala Congress Secular man in the UDF Front. He had informed this to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Minister Kunhalikutty.

Mani reiterated his stand at a meeting called to reach a consensus on George issue. Mani has also requested for immediate action against George as soon as the chief minister reaches India after his foreign tour.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Vava Suresh unites separated King cobra pair

KULATHUPPUZHA: Finally Vava Suresh reached Kulathuppuzha on Wednesday to play his part in the reunification of two King Cobras, which had to separate recently. 

Both had sauntered into a human habitat here on the recent hartal day.  They were spotted on the front yard of Shobhana Kumari’s house. Vava Suresh was called in and he could catch hold of only one among the pair. It was 18 feet long female snake. At that time, though he had searched for its pair, it could not be found.    

On Tuesday, the locals decided to called in Vava suresh to catch the male snake, which had been staying on a tree near Kalladayar for the past two days . Though the Forest officials had denied permission to catch the snake, Vava was called in by Wednesday after locals rasied alarm. Suresh with the help of locals caught the male snake. He later released the snake at the place in the forest where its female partner was released earlier.

Suresh said the 11-feet-long snake weighing 80 kg is five year old. The snake was released at Anjana Koppam in the Shanki forest area.

Govt to take over Paripally ESI Medical college

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Parippally ESI Medical College has come under the possession of State government. “Though it was decided in principle earlier to take over the college, the cabinet has decided to take over the college after completing all official procedures,” Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said on Wednesday. 

The ESI corporation had put forward certain instructions regarding the take-over of the college and the government is getting ready to follow all those instructions. All necessary decisions including that on the continuation of current facilities will be taken after proper analysis of the facts.   

Though it was earlier informed that the government would take over the ESI Medical college, procedures for the same was dragged on. The cabinet again considered the matter, when it came up for discussions again.   

Meanwhile, the Cabinet has decided to appoint S Venugopal as the Electricity Regulatory commission of BSNL. A former Finance director, he is currently KSEB Ltd Finance director.

Money collected for medical aid swindled: Patient dies without treatment

KAYAMKULAM: Forty six-year-old Rajesh from a poor family died on Wednesday after heart transplantation surgery could not be conducted on him for want of money. Shockingly enough, the money collected for the purpose was swindled by two labour union leaders who had come up with fund-raising plans on the pretext of helping Rajesh.

Rajesh, a resident of Pathiyoor Eruva Sivam house, died at a private hospital in Ernakulam. He, who was a labourer in a stone crushing unit, had been under treatment since 2012. He sold out his 5-cent land and house to treat his ailment. When the hospital demanded Rs 15 lakh for operation, many friends and locals rushed to him with financial aid. But, when that money was also not enough for the operation, two labour union leaders appeared in the scene, opened a joint account and started collecting money from the people.

Rajesh’s wife Sunila says not a single penny from the account reached their hands, though lakhs where collected. Later, based on her complaint police arrested Prabhakaran, one of the leaders.
His family is now getting ready to give a complaint to the home minister, in this regard. Abhishek and Adhithya are the couple’s two children. 

GST panel: Mani selected as chief

NEW DELHI: Finance Minister K M Mani has been chosen as the chairperson of high power committee appointed by the Centre to implement Goods and Services Tax. The Central Finance ministry clarified that the selection of chairperson was the first step towards the implementation of the GST on April 1, 2016.       

The discussion on the selection of chairperson was held on March 20 in the first meeting of the committee. The meeting was chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.  

Just fourteen ministers took part in the meeting then. The Union Finance minister was asked to take a decision on the appointment of new chairperson after holding talks with others. Mani’s name was confirmed after the discussions.

Gang held for gold heist

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A gang has been taken into custody for stealing gold expertly from jewelleries after cheating the employees’.  The leader of the gang is a woman and she along with some others has been taken into custody. They were trapped following an investigation conducted in connection with the theft of 50 sovereigns from a noted jewellery shop in the heart of the capital city a week before.

A decrease in the stock was noticed when the accounts were verified. Following the theft, a complaint was lodged. Their arrest will be recorded only after a detailed interrogation. The details of the accused will be revealed only after that.

Stray dog bites five in airport

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a freak incident, five persons were bitten by a stray dog at the airport in the capital city.

While four were bit by the dog on the road in front of the old domestic terminal, the other person was bit at the airport.

The incident happened at 6.30 am Thursday morning.

Three bit by the dog has been admitted at the general hospital.

Vayalar Ravi, K K Ragesh front runners for Rajya Sabha seats

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Congress has decided to field sitting Rajya Sabha member and veteran leader Vayalar Ravi for the coming Rajya Sabha poll from Kerala.

Ravi, however, preferred to maintain silence over the development and said he will speak to the media only after the national leadership clears his candidature.

The CPI-M have finalised their youth leader K K Raghesh who had contested and lost the Kannur Lok Sabha seat in 2009.

Ravi's name was cleared after Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Congress chief V M Sudheeran and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala -- representing the various factions within the party's state unit -- sat down in a meeting to finalise the candidature.

Ravi has been having an uninterrupted run from 2003 onwards and this will be his fourth term in the upper house.

The notification for the Rajya Sabha poll has already been issued and elections are scheduled for the next month.

Apart from Vayalar Ravi, M P Achuthan and P Rajeev will retire from the Rajya Sabha. Polls to the three seats from Kerala will be held on April 1

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

More time given to spend fund for local self-governing bodies

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The cabinet Wednesday decided to extend time till March 31, 2016 for spending the fund earmarked for local self-governing bodies for this financial year. There is no concern now that it will go waste if the fund is not fully utilized by March 31, 2015.

Briefing reporters after the weekly cabinet meet, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said by carrying forward the fund like this, more time would be obtained to spend the amount.  The decision was taken based on the memorandums from the side of representative of local self-governing bodies.

The finance department has given directions that bills of three-tier panchayats will be accepted in the treasury till this month 30th. Changes have been made in the circular that permission for the Asset Development Fund of MLAs and the procedures should be completed before this month 31st.  Even after March 31, the fund can be utilized.

Charge sheet to be filed in cocaine case

KOCHI: The police are trying hard so that the accused in the sensational cocaine case are not released on bail. If the charge sheet is not filed within 60 days, a situation will arise to grant bail to the accused. The charge sheet will be filed by April 1. It is hinted that the police are trying to settle the case by filing the charge sheet with the intention they are not granted bail. The case will be closed without touching the noted director, who supplied cocaine in Kochi, and the new generation actors. The charge sheet is prepared without mentioning the links of the accused with the top levels of the district.  

Five persons including actor Shine Tom Chacko were arrested on January 31 in the case.  An accused in a drug case can be jailed for ten years. If the charge sheet is not filed within 60 days, they are eligible for bail. It is the liability of the police to see that bail is not granted to them as they are influential people. The investigating team said the charge sheet will be filed soon.

Two killed in car-lorry collision in Alappuzha

ALAPPUZHA: Two persons were killed when a car and a lorry collided in the district. The two dead has been identified as Vinod (33), son of Vijaya Kumar of Sreekaryam and Preethi (30) of Pongummoodu.

Preethi’s mother Usha (58), who sustained serious injuries, has been admitted at a private hospital in Cherthala. The accident happened at Kalavoor Block Junction on the national highway at 6.15 am Wednesday morning.

The car proceeding to Kodungalloor from the capital city collided with the lorry which was going to Kollam. The WagonR Car was completely damaged in the accident. Vinod, a KSRTC driver, died on the spot itself. Preethi and Usha were on their way to the Kodungalloor Temple.

George hits out at Mani

KOTTAYAM: Chief Whip P C George Tuesday fired another salvo at Finance Minister K M Mani, facing bribery charges in the bar scam. Only Mani is of the opinion that the Kerala Congress party is in the land, said George while talking to the media. The scandal against the minister has dragged the party into a sea of crisis and Mani should make it clear as to who is responsible for bringing the party to such a situation, George said.

George said, “Anybody can take over the post of the chief whip. Those opposing me are corruptors. There are many who want me to take VRS. Anybody who wants to leave can easily go. Those who burnt my effigy are not staunch congress activists. I will always be a Kerala Congress activist. I refused to attend the reception accorded to Mani as I didn’t want anybody to tease me.”

He also attacked Chief Minister Oommen Chandy by saying that he is an intelligent person who even controlled K Karunakaran. 

Verdict in hand chopping case on April 6

KOCHI: The Ernakulam NIA Court will pronounce the verdict in the case in connection with the palm chopping of Prof T J Joseph of Thodupuzha Newman College, alleging blasphemy in preparing question papers, on April 6th.

There are 36 accused in the case. The charge sheet was filed in the NIA court in Kochi earlier.

M K Nazar (42), K E Kasim (43), Shafeeq (25), K A Najeeb (36), P M Manaf (37), Aziz (30), T H Anwar Saddiq, Niyaz (32) and Riyaz (31) are the nine accused named in the list of NIA.

They have been charged for murder and other offences like causing disappearance of evidence, intentional omission to give information of offence, harbouring offender, unlawful assembly, rioting armed with deadly weapon, criminal conspiracy and causing hurt.

Verdict in bar case before March 31

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court Wednesday said the final verdict on government’s liquor policy will be pronounced before March 31. The court said this when the government informed them that the new liquor policy will come into effect from April 1st onwards.

The government told the court that the liquor policy was formed after a scientific study was conducted. Kapil Sibal, who appeared for the government, said a study conducted by a single commission found a rise on the liquor consumption.

The government’s intention is not a complete ban on liquor or a liberal liquor policy. The government informed the court in between the hearing that a control on liquor consumption is needed. The control would be based on the commission’s report.

Bar license will be issued only to five star hotels from April 1st onwards.

Order for vigilance probe against DGP

THRISSUR: The Thrissur Vigilance Court Wednesday ordered a vigilance probe against DGP K S Balasubramanyam.

The probe has been ordered on the complaint that he tried to subvert the case against Nisham, accused in the Chandrabose murder case. It has been alleged that he tried to rescue Nisham after complying with his financial influence. Apart from the DGP, a probe will be conducted against nine others including former Thrissur commissioner Jacob Job.

The court has directed to produce the initial report before June 25.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

CM, Sudheeran hold talks with Karthikeyan’s wife

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, KPCC chief V M Sudheeran and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala Tuesday held talks with G Karthikeyan’s wife Sulekha at a time when talks on the bypolls to the Aruvikkara constituency are progressing. The three met her at her residence in Sasthamangalam this morning. It is heard the three have requested her to contest the bypolls as it is very crucial for the party.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Sudheeran said no political discussions were held. He told them that he came here as he could not attend the funeral rites of the leader. However, he said preliminary discussions have begun on the by-election.

The three leaders held a meeting at the KPCC headquarters in the capital city in connection with the Rajya Sabha seat. The chief minister has been entrusted to decide the candidate for the seat. A final decision will be taken after discussing with the high command, he said.

Kochi Metro: Begins acquiring land of Seematti

KOCHI: The 32-cents land of Seematti at the Madhava Pharmacy Junction on the M G Road has been acquired for the Kochi Metro Project. The acquisition procedures were conducted by a team led by deputy collector Shobana and tahsildar Shibu P Paul. Seematti was first reluctant to surrender their land and following that the additional chief secretary and also the KMRL managing director Elias George directed district collector M G Rajamanikyam to acquire the land forcibly.

Sreematti did not oppose when revenue officials came to acquire the land today. The land was given voluntarily and will cooperate with the construction of the metro, said Beena Kannan, the managing director of Seematti.

Assembly violence case handed over to crime branch

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government Tuesday handed over the case in connection with the violence and destruction of property on the Speaker’s podium in the Kerala Assembly on the day the budget was presented, to the crime branch.  The order for it was released last evening. A team led by cantonment assistant commissioner Suresh Kumar was investigating the case registered by the Museum Police.  

The FIR was registered based on speaker’s complaint which did not have any MLAs name. Following the complaint, the team recorded the statements of assembly secretary, employees and the watch and ward. All these reports will be soon handed over to the crime branch.The speaker had suspended E P Jayarajn, V Sivankutty, K T Jaleel, Kunhammed Master and K Ajith in connection with the violence.

Cocaine case: Accused brought to Kochi

KOCHI: The investigation into the cocaine seizure case in Kochi achieved a major breakthrough with the special investigation team arresting two more persons in Chennai.

The two arrested in Chennai by the investigating team have been brought to Kochi early Tuesday morning. Prithviraj (25) of Chennai and Jasbir Singh (28) of Punjab were taken into custody from Anna Nagar in Chennai on Sunday. The Kerala Police obtained a transit warrant of the two produced in the Chennai Court. The details of the two were obtained from the Nigerian Okowe alias Franco, who is in custody, when questioned.

The two will be produced before the Ernakulam Principal Sessions Court. The two had allegedly helped the first two accused Reshma Rengaswamy and Blessy Silvester to engage in cocaine trade. Reshma and Blessy had been maintaining close links with them and it was with their help that they had obtained cocaine from Okowe.

Posters against Mani in Wayanad

WAYANAD: Posters seeking the resignation of Finance Minister K M Mani were stuck in Wayanad by the Youth Congress. The posters demanded the immediate resignation of Mani and uplift the dignity of democracy. The poster has asked Mani not to enter Wayanad.

The poster asked why Mani is weakening the UDF when he got a chance to come out clean. Chances for the panchayat polls contested by the weaker sections of the congress party should not be weaned, why justice denied to Karunakaran when allegations were leveled against him, is given to Mani, the poster asked

‘Ain’ chosen best Malayalam film

NEW DELHI: The Malayalam film industry has nothing to cheer when the national awards were announced here Tuesday. Malayalam films just grabbed five awards.

Ain, directed by Siddharth Siva bagged the national award for the best Malayalam film.Musthafa, who played Manu in the film, received jury’s special mention. Jayaraj’s Ottal was chosen as the best environmental film and Joshy Mangalath bagged the award for best script for the same film.

Gopi Sundar bagged the award for best background music for the film 1983. Vivek Harshan, bagged an award for editing for the film Jigar Thanda.

Joshy Joseph, a Keralite director obtained special award for the best short film in the non-feature section.

Monday, March 23, 2015

VS, women MLAs meet Governor

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan asked Chief Minister Oommen Chandy whether he is not ashamed to say that the opposition LDF used women as ‘suicide bombers’. Those of the same opinion should read the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhiji had stated that men and women are equal.

Talking to reporters after meeting the governor along with women MLAs, VS said that he has requested him to direct the government to register a case against ruling MLAs.

Didn’t Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi lead a march to the Rashtrapathi Bhavan and to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s house supporting him in the coal case? Do we call them suicide bombers? Some want Priyanka Gandhi to replace Rahul Gandhi and should we address her as a suicide bomber. The concern of the chief minister towards Saritha S Nair, accused in the solar case, was not seen in the case of the women MLAs, he said.

The opposition had requested the governor to give directions to the government and the police to register criminal case for attacking the women MLAs. The act of the speaker not handing over the compliant to the police was wrong. The governor has assured to take legal steps on it, he said.

Court permits small-scale quarries to function

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court Monday ordered small-scale quarries below five hectares to continue functioning. The court also made it clear that they don’t need environmental clearance for it. The court said national green tribunal’s order requiring environmental clearance has been made compulsory for quarries above five hectares and new quarries only.

License will be renewed as per the rules of 2015. The quarries can renew their license and continue functioning with the permission of the collector. The court had earlier temporarily suspended the functioning of the quarries.

Oppn, an insult to Kerala and assembly, says Chandy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The opposition LDF is an insult to the whole state and the Kerala Assembly, said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. The budget meet has to be suspended in between due to the non-cooperation of the opposition. The chief minister attacked the opposition for their agitations against them. A discussion on the budget was a good chance to criticize the government.  I am really pained to end the session without holding it, Chandy said at the press meet.

The government is not scared of criticisms as it will help to move forward after correcting it. However, the demands raised by the opposition were ones which cannot be accepted at all. They first were against the finance minister presenting the budget. After it was presented, they disrupted the assembly proceedings by leveling baseless allegations that women MLAs were insulted. The opposition came forward with the allegations in order to defend the unruly scenes witnessed in the assembly.

The chief minister said that he wants the opposition to see the incidents that happened in the assembly. We can together find the guilty and then action will be taken against them. The watch and ward were not appointed first as there were reports that some untoward incidents would be witnessed in the assembly. They were called after the speaker’s podium was destroyed.

None from the ruling front were seen in the area of the opposition or into the speaker’s dais.

VS seeks cancellation of budget

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan Monday sought the cancellation of the budget presented by eating laddu. He also alleged that the chief minister is protecting the ruling MLAs, who attacked the women MLAs viciously. VS said this while talking to reporters in front of the assembly.  

The opposition wants the budget presented by Mani to be annulled and sought action against those who insulted the women MLAs. However, the government was not ready to approve it. The ruling front is not allowing the opposition to opine their demands in the assembly and so we are in a situation to say things outside.  If required, we will approach the court against the UDF MLAs, he said.

LDF decides to intensify strike against Mani

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The LDF meet which convened here Monday decided to intensify more agitational programmes against Finance Minister K M Mani involved in the bar case.

As part of it, the LDF decided to block and boycott him. Jathas will be organized in districts on April, 6, 7 and 9. The meet decided to protest in front of the secretariat and district collectorates on April 22 seeking his resignation. The CPM will contest in the vacant Rajya Sabha seat which is sure to win. The second seat will be given to the CPI.

Edavela Babu, Maniyanpilla Raju resign from KSFDC

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: AMMA general secretary Edavela Babu, actor Maniyanpilla Raju and Kalady Omana Monday resigned from the director board of the Kerala State Film Development Corporation (KSFDC) in protest against the appointment of Congress spokesperson Rajmohan Unnithan as the chairman of the organization. However, the government will not withdraw their decision and most probably Unnithan will take charge on Wednesday.

Edavela Babu said they will not cooperate with the government any longer and will boycott government’s programmes. He said they will request the government to withdraw the advertisements acted freely for them.

Meantime, Salim Kumar’s attempt is to divert attention, said Maniyanpilla Raju. He will also have to resign from the director board. He slammed the decision of the government.

Engg student dies in accident

NEYYATTINKARA: An engineering student was killed after his bike rammed on to a wall losing control. He has been identified as Amal Peter (22), son of Peter of Ernakulam and Raji. He was a final year computer science student of Sree Narayana College of Karakkonam.

The incident happened last night at 11.30 pm at the Pirayummoodu Junction in Neyyattinkara. He was staying in a rented house nearby along with some of his friends. The Neyyattinkara police said the incident happened when he went out to recharge his phone. He leaves behind his brother Alex. The body is kept at the Neyyattinkara General Hospital.

Kerala Assembly adjourns sine die amid protest

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the CPI (M)-led LDF Opposition continuing its strike against Finance Minister K M Mani, facing bribery charges in bar scam, the Kerala Assembly Monday adjourned sine die on a stormy note after passing the finance and appropriation bills without a discussion.

When the House assembled after a week-long recess, opposition members marched to the House in a procession demanding withdrawal of the suspension of five of its members, who were facing action after they ransacked the Speaker's podium on March 13, the budget presentation day.

Though LDF demanded action against UDF MLAs who allegedly attacked their woman MLAs during the melee on budget day, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy rejected the charges.

Speaker N Sakthan sought cooperation of the opposition for smooth functioning of the House but the LDF continued their protest which prompted him to suspend all other scheduled business, including question hour.

The Speaker then took up the introduction and further stages of Kerala Appropriation (Vote on Account) Bill and Kerala Finance Bill 2015, which the House passed.

As soon as the House began, opposition leader V S Achuthanandan said the action against LDF MLAs was "unilateral" and also sought action against UDF members who allegedly misbehaved with their woman legislators.

Categorically rejecting the LDF charge, Chandy said examination of the video footage of March 13 incidents clearly showed that UDF MLAs had not misbehaved with any woman opposition MLA.

Justifying the action against five LDF MLAs, Chandy said the government had only acted very leniently as the whole world had seen what actually had happened.

As LDF members continued their protest by moving into the well of the House with placards demanding Mani's resignation, the FM hurriedly moved both the Bills and the House passed it.

Later, the CM informed the Speaker that as there were no more government business, the House may be adjourned sine die.

The Speaker had earlier called a meeting of floor leaders of ruling and opposition fronts to work out a solution to end the stalemate in the House after it witnessed unprecedented violence on March 13, which led to suspension of five MLAs- V Sivankutty, K T Jaleel,E P Jayarajan,K Kunjahmmed and K Ajith.

But the meeting failed to arrive at a consensus on the matter.

Though the suspended MLAs came to the Assembly Complex, they did not enter the Hall but staged a sit-in at the main entrance.

After the session ended, LDF members, led by Achuthanandan, marched out of the House and staged a dharna in the Assembly complex.

The budget session, which began on March 9, was originally scheduled upto April 6.

Later talking to reporters at the Assembly media room, Chandy termed the early adjournment of the House "unfortunate" and blamed the LDF for their "stubborn" stand.

He said the opposition took up the alleged harassment issue of women MLAs to defend their own members who behaved "improperly" inside the House on the budget day.

Chandy also said that by raking up a "non-existent" issue of harassment of women MLAs, the opposition had actually made things complicated.

"It seems the opposition did not want the House to function smoothly," the chief minister added.

The opposition had been staging protests since the beginning of the Assembly session, demanding Mani's resignation and insisting that he not present the budget.

The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau had recently registered a case against Mani in connection with the charge that he had accepted bribe from bar owners to renew liquor licenses.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Central committee rejects VS’ complaint, walking out from state meet ‘wrong’, says Karat

NEW DELHI: The central committee Sunday rejected opposition leader V S Achuthanandan’s complaint seeking cancellation of the resolution passed against him by the CPI (M) state faction.

Meantime, the issues of the state have been referred to politburo commission, said party general secretary Prakash Karat. The act of VS walking out from the state meet in Alappuzha was wrong and it cannot be accepted; Karat told reporters after the central committee meet. VS will continue in his present post till the commission submits the report.

VS’ letter dated March 6 was examined by the politburo and was sent to central committee’s consideration.Some of the things raised by VS were discussed by the politburo and discussed in other state levels also. The central committee was of the opinion that there is no meaning in discussing it again.  VS’ letter sought the cancellation of the resolution passed by the CPM state meet and ouster of two party leaders in connection with the TP murder case.

However, the central committee dismissed it after putting it in vote.

Sexual harassment case against Horticorp chairman

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The police Sunday registered a case against Horticorp chairman Lal Varghese Kalpakavadi for sexual harassment and cheating. The case was registered following a woman’s complaint that Kalpakavadi tried to sexually harass her and cheated her of Rs 5 lakhs in the name of a job offer.  

The woman, a district office bearer of Karshaka Congres, lodged a complaint at the Vanchiyoor Police. A case has been registered against district president K S Anil.

The woman in her complaint says that many Karshaka Congress activists were offered jobs when Kalpakavadi, Karshaka Congress state president, was elevated as Horticorp chairman. The woman said that she handed over an amount of Rs
5 lakhs to Anil at his flat in Vanchiyoor. When I went to his flat later with my bio-data, the two-Anil and Kalpakavadi tried to sexually harass her.

Even after two years of handing over the money, the job was not given. They have cheated many people in the same way. The woman said that she never used to go for Karshaka Congress meeting after the incident.

Meantime, Kalpakavadi said such an incident has never taken place.

Mani, Chandy, come down heavily on George

KOTTAYAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Finance Minister K M Mani came down heavily on the statement of Chief Whip P C George that the Kerala Congress (M) is in the mid-sea. Reacting to it, Mani said the party is not in the mid sea and is very firm in the land. It was George’s personal opinion and he does not owe a reply for it. The statements of George are not the policies of the party. As per his style, he just blabbers. The party meeting attended by George did not seek my resignation, he said.

Meantime, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy also rejected George’s stand seeking the resignation of Mani. The UDF meet attended by George did not seek Mani’s resignation. I don’t know in which situation he made the statement now. The probe in the bar case is moving in the right manner. The statements obtained so far is not against Mani, he said.

Conspiracy against Kerala Congress (M), inquiry report won’t be released: Mani

KOTTAYAM: Kerala Congress (M) chairman and Finance Minister K M Mani has said that there has been conspiracy against the party and the party inquiry commission report in this regard will not be made public, in any case. He was talking to media persons after an emergency steering committee meeting of the party. 

“The party appointed the in-house commission to trace the source of the conspiracy. The investigation is going on…it is not for publication and there is no need for it as it is an internal problem of the party,” Mani said. 

Mani affirmed that there was no bribery involved in bar issue. “It was in the general sense that I had said that I won’t resign even if my name appears in the FIR. Even in the court they may ask whether I have committed any wrong… that means charges made are not confirmed,” said Mani, who added that further course of action, in case his name appears in  FIR, is yet to be decided. 

“Don’t care about what PC Geroge says. It is I, the chairman who has to voice my party’s stand. Kerla Congress has full trust in me and in the same way UDF is also giving me support. UDF’s stand will be announced by the chief minister  and KPCC president. Nobody should think that they can downgrade me,” he said.

Meanwhile, party vice-chairman PC George said the discussion in the meeting centred on famers’ issue. 

Mani should have resigned earlier, says P C George

KOTTAYAM: Chief Whip P C George while talking to the media said Kerala Congress (M) chairman K M Mani should have resigned earlier. If he had done so, he could have faced the investigation and returned successfully, he said.

George asked Mani to clarify those who have pushed the party into the mid-sea. The bar bribery scam led the party to this situation. If the party moves forward like this, it is sure to suffer a setback in the three tier panchayat polls, George said.

A chance was not obtained to discuss the issue in party venues. The scam tainted the image of the party and factionalism still exists in the party.  

The report in connection with the investigation conducted by the party in the bar scam should not be exposed he said.

Party to discuss bar scam, says Mani

KOTTAYAM: Kerala Congress (M) chairman and Finance Minister K M Mani retracted his earlier stand that the party will not discuss the bar bribery scam. Mani said the issue will be discussed in party meetings. The bar controversy issue will be discussed when other things are taken up, he said.

Mani said no resolution supporting me was passed at the party steering committee meet held yesterday. However, the party leaders are with me. The absence of party vice chairman P C George at the reception accorded to me in Palai is not a big thing. Whether he attended or not is not a question, he said.

Case can be taken based on Bijimol’s complaint

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has got the legal advice that case can be charged against Minister Shibu Baby John based on CPI MLA Bijimol’s complaint that she was humiliated by the minister on the budget presentation day. 

The advice came from the government pleader. Bijimol had earlier lodged a complaint with the DGP in this regard. The pleader also said that case could also be filed against M A Vahid MLA and Kozhikode DCC president K C Abu for their “outrageous comments”. 

The pleader said the police would have to file a case and there was no other way before it. It also advised the government to take further action in consultation with the Speaker. If the official makes any flaw in taking action, he could get a jail term of at least six months.

Bijimol has requested the police in her complaint to file case under provisions such as humiliating womanhood and outraging the modesty of woman.  

New media portraying me as sex symbol: Bijimol

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CPI leader E S Bijimol has alleged that the new media had portrayed her as sex symbol. “Not only inside the Assembly but outside also that is the situation,” she said.

Biji added that she doesn’t approve of the view that “only man should have the identity and not the woman.”  

Youth Congress wants Mani to resign

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: When anti-Mani discontent is brewing in the Congress, Youth Congress on Saturday came out with demand for Finance Minister K M Mani’s resignation.   

Youth Congress Vice-president C R Mahesh said that in order to sustain the political morality of the Congress, the resignation of Mani is essential. “We have come forward with this demand since Mani, who has lost clarity in thinking, doesn’t feel like resigning,”said Mahesh, adding, “is budget something that can be presented in a haste.”

Yusufali Kechery is no more

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Veteran poet and lyricist Yusufali Kechery has expired. The end came at a private hospital in Kochi at 5:40 pm on Saturday. He was 80.

He had been admitted to Amrita hospital in Kochi early January following severe pneumonia. 

Yusufali Kechery was also famous as a producer and director from Kerala. He was also a frontrunner among the modern era Malayalam poets and has been decorated with numerous awards such as Odakkuzhal Award, Kerala Sahitya Academy Award and Vallathol Award, to name a few.

His native place is Kechery in Thrissur. Having completed his Bachelor's degree in Arts and Law, he started his career as a lawyer and freelance writer.

A prolific lyricist, he also produced and directed films. Sindooracheppu (1971), which was directed by actor Madhu is the first film he produced and for that he had written the screenplay and lyrics for all the songs in it. He made his directorial debut in 1973 with Maram (Tree), a film written by M.T. Vasudevan Nair. He also directed the films Vanadevatha (1977) and Neelathamara (1979). He wrote the lyrics for the hit songs in the film Dhwani. He was also honoured with the National Award for a Sanskrit song written for the Malayalam film Mazha

I’ll not resign from KSFDC, says Salim Kumar

KOCHI: I will not resign from the organization in protest against the appointment of KPCC spokesperson Rajmohan Unnithan as the chairman of the Kerala State Film Development Corporation, said actor Salim Kumar. What is wrong in the appointment of Unnithan. He is not only a politician but an actor also, the actor said.

The stand of the film fraternity against Unnithan is suspicious. They have some other secret tactics. Making Sabu Cherian the chairman is not of much use, he said. Meantime, Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) general secretary Edavela Babu said the decision of Salim Kumar is his own.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Film artistes resent Unnithan’s appointment as KSFDC Chairman

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Those working in the cinema field have expressed their resentment over the appointment of Rajmohan Unnithan as the chairman of Kerala Film development Corporation.  According to reports actors like Manian Pilla Raju, Siddique and director Shaji Kailas are getting ready to quit their current posts in the corporation. They said they are not ready to accept Unnithan as the chairman.                                                               

Maniyan Pillai Raju said they are opposing Rajmohan as he has intentions to mix politics and cinema. “More people will come forward to resign in the coming days. KPCC spokesperson Rajmohan was appointed chairman after Sabu Cheriyan stepped down from that post. It was Sabu who had helped the corporation wriggle out of its financial crisis. Though other members had requested the government to extend Sabu’s tenure, the government didn’t accept it.” 

Know the change that has come to cinema: Kavya

The darling of Malayalam cinema, Kavya Madhavan, has kept off the screen for more than a year. Now, she is making a comeback through films such as She Taxi and Akashavani. Moreover, Kavya has become more selective. She thinks story writers are working without realising the fact that the “cinema business” has changed.

“I started to become selective as the scripts I used to get lacked the knack to arouse curiosity in people.  The script writers of today seem to be living in 80s and 90s. These days I rarely come across characters which make me pining for doing that. Former days it was not like that,” says Kavya.     

Kavya says people like to watch films that lowers their mental stress and they don’t like to see that lag. For the time being, she has no plans to act in non-Malayalam films, though she has already done three Tamil films.

Nothing wrong in meeting Community leaders: Shakthan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Speaker N Shankthan has said that there is nothing wrong in (people’s representatives) meeting community leaders. “ Everybody meets community leaders and I have also done the same.”

Shakthan was responding to the grumblings over his meeting with NSS General Secretary G Sukumaran Nair and SNDP Yogam general secretary Vellapally Natesan.

“I shall not make any public response on Assembly issue anymore. As a Speaker, I have functioned in an unbiased manner. MLAs will interact and sort out issues in the Assembly,” he added.

Shibu Baby John sends legal notice to K C Abu

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Minister Shibu Baby John has sent a legal notice to Kozhikode DCC president K C Abu, alleging that he had tried to defame him by making comments with sexual undetones over March 13 happenings in the Assembly house.   
The notice says legal action will be initiated against Abu if he doesn’t withdraw his statement and tender a public apology within three days. Shibu, who has given a letter to the chief minister, demanding action against Abu, is also going to approach KPCC president in this regard.   

Yesterday, at a press conference in Kozhikode, Abu said both Shibu and Bijimol had thoroughly enjoyed the events that was going on in the Assembly. When this turned into an ugly controversy, Shibu came out against Abu.  

Meanwhile, CPI’s decision is to go ahead with stringent action against Abu and M A Vaheed MLA for their comments against Bijimol. Bijimol submitted a complaint to DGP, yesterday itself. The party in coordination with the Left Front will take a stern stand and this will be evident when the Assembly session resumes on Monday. The party is not in a mood to slacken its stand against Abu and Vaheed, thought they had tendered apologies. 

In the letter given to the chief minister, Shibu has requested the chief minister to take action against Abu. “Abu’s comment had hurt me and I have not discussed the happenings in the Assembly with him,” he says in the letter.

Shibu had called me up to complain: Chandy

THRISSUR: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that Minister Shibu Baby John had called him up to complaint about Kozhikode DCC President’s comments against over the March 13 happenings in the Assembly house. “He could not meet me in person to give the complaint as he was traveling, Chandy told media persons on Saturday,” he said.   

Chandy said: “Abu’s statements went against the Congress goodwill. KPCC president V M Sudheeran and I had opined the same earlier. Abu’s statement had brought embarrassment to all,” he added. 

Sudheeran asks Abu to apologize or face action

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: KPCC chief V M Sudheeran asked Kozhikode DCC president K C Abu to apologize for his derogatory statements against women MLAs. If he is not ready for that, then disciplinary action would be taken against him, Sudheeran said while talking to the media.

The congress totally opposes Abu’s statement. The act of Abu is against the culture and values of the party, he said.

Party spokespersons partaking in channel discussions should opine only party’s stand. Personal stance should not be opined. Two spokespersons should not give different opinions in a same channel.

When pointed out K M Mani’s statement that he will not resign even if a charge sheet is filed, Sudheeran said there is no importance for it now. That issue can erupt again at any time and it can be considered then, he said in reply to a question.

Minister Shibu terms Abu’s statement as unfortunate

KOLLAM: Minister Shibu Baby John termed as ‘unfortunate’ at the statement of Kozhikode DCC president K C Abu against women MLAs of the LDF in connection with the unruly scenes witnessed in the assembly. Talking to the media, he said a wicked person will have only wicked thoughts and similarly a criminal has criminal thoughts.

The minister said that he behaved decently with Bijimol in the assembly. I stopped her from going to the well of the house in the wake of the adjournment of the assembly. Picturing that badly is unfortunate, he said.

In the meantime, CPM Kozhikode district secretary P Mohanan sought the arrest of Abu for insulting womanhood.

Jameela should have bitten Basheer, says K C Abu

KOZHIKODE: Kozhikode DCC president K C Abu came forward criticizing the women MLAs of the opposition LDF, who were insulted in the assembly. Jameela Prakasham should have bitten P K Basheer, who is younger than Sivadasan Nair, asked Abu. He made the sarcastic remark while talking to the media at the press meet held in Kozhikode.  

His next attack was towards CPI member Bijimol by saying that she enjoyed when Minister Shibu Baby John blocked her in the commotion. Bijimol may not lodge a complaint against it as she was neither scared nor perturbed. Women MLAs lodged a complaint as they were politically motivated, he said.

Cocaine case: Informer, a native of Thrissur

THRISSUR: The informer related to the cocaine case in Kochi is hinted to be a native of Thrissur. This man, the man organizer of the smoke parties in Kochi, is the ‘secreted villain’ of this case and is tactfully hiding under the clutches of the police. He is walking free and is in the good books of the police. Though a native of Thrissur, he is staying in Kochi.

The informer having a good rapport with Nisham, plays an informer as well as a rescuer. The man, who is aware of the moves of the Nigerian, passes information to the police regularly.  Only one out of the four Nigerians landing up in Kochi with drugs is in the custody of the police.

Many persons including filthy rich women in Kochi takes part in the smoke parties to show their extravagant life.  Various VIPs still visit him in his flat. He never keeps drugs either in his hands or in his flat. He uses his luxurious cars to smuggle the stuff.

Vava Suresh to stop capturing snakes

KALLARA: Suresh known as Vava Suresh, a snake expert, who became famous after capturing snakes, is all set to bid adieu from it.  He told Kerala Kaumudi Flash that he took this decision due to the false accusations against him. I have some programmes already committed and after attending all that, by April I will say goodbye to it.

Suresh said, “I caught a cobra from the Balaramapuram Housing Board area on the hartal day. I had to leave that place soon as I got an emergency call from the forest department. Some regional reporters, who came there, wanted me to display the snake but as I had to leave immediately, I couldn’t do that.  The next day some regional editions of some dailies had reported that not displaying the snake raises suspicion etc. This pained me a lot and so decided to bid adie

Women MLAs to meet Governor

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Women MLAs of the opposition LDF, who were allegedly assaulted by MLAs of the ruling UDF during the ruckus in the assembly, will meet the governor and lodge a complaint. Jameela Prakasham, Geetha Gopi, K K Lathika, Aisha Potti and E S Bijimol are the five to meet the governor.

The women MLAs will brief the governor the things happened in the assembly and will also bring to his notice the insult towards them. A complaint will also be lodged against Speaker N Sakthan’s stand not taking action even after leveling a complaint.

Meantime, the five MLAs will take a decision by Monday registering a sexual assault complaint to the police. The complaint lodged to the speaker had sought action against the ruling MLAs. However, so far action has not been taken.

Schools will close on March 30

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Schools in the State will close on March 30 for summer vacation. The evaluation of SSLC answer papers will begin on March 31. The evaluation camp will function in 54 centres. But the number of rooms in each camp will be increased and more teachers will be deputed for evaluating the answer papers. The SSLC exam results will be out on April 16.  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Visa fraud: Middle-aged woman arrested

ADOOR: Moli Rajan, 50,  from Nellikkaman at Rani was arrested by police on Wednesday for allegedly cheating many persons out of money worth lakhs of rupees in the name of arranging visas for them. She had fled to some foreign country after committing the fraud . The police arrested her tactfully after her return to India. The police had asked her to come to Ranni from where she was arrested.     

Coming to know about the arrest, many of her victims have reached Adoor police station. She used to lure her customers at Pentecost meetings with her well-crafted cancer-revival stories. Then she would offer jobs in Super market, IT  companies and Nursing institutes to her clients  and take money from them. She would also offer visas for placements abroad.

The case against her for visa fraud was registered four years ago but she could not be arrested as she was abroad.