Sunday, January 31, 2016

I never wanted to come back as minister, says Babu

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: I never wanted to come back as a minister, said K Babu. I’m taking over the ministership as per the request of the party, he said.  Talking to reporters at his official residence Kaveri before taking over the ministership, he said that he had stated earlier that he is not keen in clinging to the post.

Babu said, “I submitted my resignation before filing a plea at the Kerala High Court. Many who loves me were happy after the resignation was offered. The court verdict has proved that I’ve not done anything wrong. The chief minister did not hand over the resignation to the governor as he may have understood things after consulting legal experts. I want to complete some work which I have started specially the Kannur Airport. I hope by February mid planes will be able to land here.

There is a conspiracy behind Saritha’s present allegations. Bar owners are behind it.She is levelling fresh allegations. The UDF has demanded a probe on it. I’ve always worked as a common man.I had stayed in a flat before shifting to the official residence.The rent for the two-bed flat was Rs 14,000 and employees including my gunman stayed in it.So, I don’t feel any difference afterlosing my ministership, he said.

Babu reached the capital city Monday early morning at 2 am from Ernakulam. He held talks with officials of various departments.

One stabbed to death in group clash

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A youth, who sustained stab injuries during a clash with goons, succumbed to his injuries on Monday. The dead has been identified as Vinod (27), son of Rafi and Sreekumari of Nettayam. Two others who sustained injuries along with Vinod has been admitted at the medical college hospital. Sagar, Anaz and Shahjahan of Kollamkavu are the three undergoing treatment.

The version of the Nedumangad police is that a clash broke out between two groups at a beer & wine parlour in the place. In the melee, one from the goonda gang sustained injuries after a glass piece pierced on him. The goons fled the place when police reached the spot.

The gang who reached a private hospital nearby with the injured person had a verbal dispute with Anaz who came to take insulin. The gang in a fit of rage stabbed those who came with Anaz. The police who reached the spot after informed by the hospital authorities admitted them at the Nedumangad district hospital but was later shifted to medical college hospital as the injury was serious. Vinod, a driver died when a surgery was decided on him Monday morning.

Sivankutty sends legal notice to K Babu seeking compensation

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: V Sivankutty MLA has sent a legal notice to Minister K Babu seeking a compensation of Rs one crore in the bar bribery case. The notice was sent following the statement of Babu that a conspiracy was hatched by the bar owners at Sivankutty’s house to trap the minister in the case. The notice has mentioned that if he fails to withdraw the statement and tender an apology, will go forward with the defamation case.

Soon after the Thrissur vigilance court ordered further probe against Babu in the bar case, he levelled the allegation at the press meet convened to announce his resignation. He alleged that the conspiracy was hatched on December 15 in 2014 at 7 pm. However, Sivankutty had denied the allegation. Many including bar hotel association working president Biju Ramesh had visited my house but that was not to hatch a conspiracy, he explained.

One killed after van rams into shop

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: One person was killed and three sustained injuries after a tempo van rammed into a shop at Kaniyapuram.

The dead has been identified as Ashiq of Kaniyapuram.

The incident happened Sunday afternoon.

Bribe offered to Ministers Chennithala, Sivakumar, says Biju Ramesh

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a major blow to the government just a few months ahead of the assembly elections, bar hotel association working president Biju Ramesh has come forward with yet another allegation.

In an interview to a private channel, he alleged that an amount of Rs 2 crore was offered to Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala. The money was given to him while Chennithala was serving as the KPCC chief. Rs 25 lakh was given to Minister V S Sivakumar before the Neyyattinkara bypolls. Meantime, there is no receipt or proofs to prove it, he said.

The money was taken to the office of the KPCC president. The money was not given for any favour done but was given so that no problems occur later, he said.

Meantime, Minister V S Sivakumar denied the allegation. Neither me nor my colleagues have accepted the money, he said.

One injured after Jana Raksha Yatra venue collapses

KOCHI: One person sustained injuries after the venue for the reception accorded to Jana Raksha Yatra led by KPCC chief V M Sudheeran, collapsed here Sunday. A local congress leader of Kumbalanga sustained minor injuries on his head. The incident happened at the reception arranged in Chullikkal.

The reception was accorded to the yatra at Tip Top Aziz Grounds. The venue collapsed as almost 100 persons entered the temporary stage which was set for 25. The venue collapsed when activists entered the stage to garland Sudheeran. The leader was shifted to a safe place. Soon another stage was arranged nearby and the reception was held.

Liquor policy is decided by respective govts, says Pinarayi

THRISSUR: Respective governments assuming power after the elections decide about the liquor policy, said CPM politburo member Pinarayi Vinayan. Talking to the media as part of his Nava Kerala Yatra, he said the policy of the party is not a ban on liquor but teetotalism.

The stand of liquor ban will not be there in LDF’s election manifesto. Instead teetotalism will be there. CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had also stated the other day that if they come to power a new liquor policy would be introduced.

In order to continue in power, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy intervened and withdrew K Babu’s resignation. The chief minister can continue only if Babu is brought in and he planned the tactics for it.

Chandy has lost his eligibility to continue in power. If he fails to resign, then strong agitations would be staged in and out of the assembly. The congress high command has also taken a favourable stand in the corruption. KPCC chief V M Sudhderan is also part of the corruption. He made a statement that the vigilance court has not made a statement against Babu. The congress is trying to save the chief minister for two months. Criticisms are showered on the judge who ordered a probe against the chief minister. They are trying to threaten the court and bring them under their control, he alleged.

Nothing wrong in Babu returning as minister: Sudheeran

KOCHI: There is nothing wrong in K Babu returning back as minister, said KPCC chief V M Sudheeran. Talking to reporters here, he said the judgement of the lower court has become irrelevant after the Kerala High Court has stayed the decision of the Thrissur Vigilance Court directing to register an FIR against Babu.

The high court had stated that the vigilance court passed the verdict after violating the guidelines of the Supreme Court and the High Court. In this situation, there is nothing wrong in Babu taking over the ministership.  

There is an unholy nexus between the CPM and the liquor lobby and that is why the former is saying that the liquor policy accepted by the public would be changed. This attitude shows the CPM’s challenge to democracy. There is a conspiracy on the allegations levelled against the government. CPM leaders had offered a house and Rs 10 crore cash to Saritha S Nair, who levelled the allegation. None of the CPM leaders have so far denied this, he said.

The CPM is intolerant in the administration of the UDF Government and that is why they are unleashing violence in venues attended by ministers. We are not saying not to protest against the government but violent protests is not a right thing.
Sudheeran said taking action against those who attacked former diplomat T P Sreenivasan is not enough. The first response of CPM politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan that the party is not willing to end attacks, shows the attitude of the CPM.

Corrupt ministers cheating public, says VS

KOZHIKODE: The corrupt ministers of the cabinet led by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and the criminals are together cheating the people of the state, said opposition leader V S Achuthanandan. The media should expose it, VS said when asked about the return of K Babu to the cabinet.

Meantime,the return of Babu as a minister is a fall of democracy, said BJP state president Kummanam Rajashekaran. Babu withdrawing his resignation is an insult to the state and should prevent him from becoming a minister, he said. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sree Lekha IPS censures Thachankary, says can’t tolerate anymore…

 THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Former Transport Commissioner R Sree Lekha IPS has made a scathing Facebook post against Transport Commissioner Tomin Thachankary. She says Thachankary pulled the strings to get the Thrissur Vigilance Court judge to pronounce a verdict against her.

“For the past 29 years Thachankary has been haunting me but now I need liberation from that,” Sree Lekha says.

The Vigilance court recently ordered the Vigilance to file a case against Sree Lekha and others in a School bus Tax fraud case. The Fb post comes against this backdrop.

“The incident happened when Rishi Raj Singh was the Transport Commissioner but the allegation was raised when Thachankary was the Transport chief. A false complaint was registered against me at the behest of the officer. Even from the training period of 1987 IPS batch, he has been haunting me. He was also behind leaking out to the complainant the secret report submitted by the Vigilance DySP as per court directions. His main goal is to torpedo my promotion chances and legibility for other benefits. Because of the mental harassment from him my health has deteriorated and hence I can’t tolerate it anymore,” she says.

Meanwhile, Thachankary has refuted these allegations. “All these are lies. If it is true let her submit the evidence. When such a difficulty arises she should not have posted it on the Facebook but report it to the persons concerned,” he said.

I’m not in a hurry to return to ministry: Mani

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Former Finance Minister and Kerala Congress (M) chairman K M Mani has said that he is not in a hurry to return to UDF ministry.

“Moreover I am not interested in becoming a minister. But, I will take a decision after consulting with the party,” he said this in response to UDF suggestion that he could return to the ministry.

The UDF stand is that Mani could return as minister since the Vigilance is yet to get any evidence against Mani in the bar bribery case.

Diplomat attack: Action against cops, hunt on to nab accused

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Amidst widespread protest over the manhandling of former diplomat T P Sreenivasan by SFI activists, disciplinary action has been initiated against five policemen who were on duty at the venue of Global Education Meet and a manhunt has been launched to trace the accused.

The "erring" policemen would be sent for intensive refresher training as part of the departmental action. "Two sub-inspectors and three constables will be sent for intensive refresher training at Kerala Police Academy in Thrissur. An oral enquiry has also been ordered into the incident," a top police official told PTI.

There were allegations that police had remained a mute spectator while Sreenivasan, who is also the Vice Chairman and Executive Head of Kerala State Higher Education Council, was attacked by the agitators in Kovalam yesterday.

Police sources said a massive manhunt has been launched to trace the key accused who slapped the diplomat. Meanwhile, CPI(M) veteran and opposition leader V S Achuthanandan today demanded strict action against the SFI activists who attacked the former diplomat.

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Pinarayi Vijayan also said that the agitators had crossed the limit and the party cannot approve these kind of personal attacks. The party's district secretary Kadakampally Surendran had apologised yesterday itself for the misbehaviour of agitators belonging to SFI, the student wing of CPI(M).

SFI activists had attacked Sreenivasan during their protest against the "commercialisation of higher education" near the venue of Global Education meet at Leela Convention Centre in Kovalam.

Sreenivasan was the former Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Vienna, and Ambassador to Austria and Slovenia.

K Babu withdraws resignation

KOCHI: Minister K Babu has withdrawn his decision to resign as Excise Minister. He said on Saturday that it was not his personal decision but party’s decision and he was accepting it. He informed this at a press conference held on Saturday.   

“I resigned following the Thrissur Vigilance court order but it became inapplicable with the high court stay on the Vigilance court order. Not only that, my decision was influenced by the Congress party and the UDF. I shall continue as an ordinary party worker and won’t make any annoyance to the Congress or UDF,” the minister said.  

Babu said he was thankful for the UDF-Congress support and the trust they had in him. He explained: “I am obliged to be subservient to the UDF. As personal decision became irrelevant, I decided to return to the ministry. As you all know, I tendered my resignation as soon as the Vigilance court order came out. After announcing my resignation at Press Club, I went to my Thripunnithura house in my private car. I had sent back the State car after removing the name board and beacon lights. I also gave a send-off party to my department staff. My wish was to spend the rest of my official term looking after the affairs of my constituency. But I had given application for allotment of MLA hostel and a Private Assistant. Many supported me when I resigned. I was not in a hurry to return as minister. And, I don’t need the image which the CM doesn’t want”.

Manoj murder case: No anticipatory bail for P Jayarajan

THALASSERY: Thalassery Sessions Court has rejected the anticipatory bail application of CPM Kannur District Secretary P Jayarajan in connection with the murder of RSS worker Kathiroor Manoj.           

This for the third time that his bail application is being rejected. Now the stage is set for his arrest by CBI officials. In the report the CBI gave on January 21, Jayarajan was mentioned as the 25th accused.

Jayarajan has been charged for abetting crime, criminal conspiracy and under relevant sessions of UAPA related to planning murder and unlawful assembly.  Meanwhile, Jayarajan is under treatment in AKG hospital.

In the Manoj murder case, 24 accused were arrested and it included CPM Area Secretary and Branch Secretary. The CBI’s assessment is the murder was a result of political rivalry. The report submitted in the court said Jayarajan had personal and political rivalry against Manoj.

Manoj is a convict in the 1999 August 25 (Thiruvonam day) case in which a mob attacked Jayarajan’s house. In that case, the court had punished the convicts.

Manoj was the main person who had given a warm reception to about 500 persons who left the CPM and joined the RSS. According to DySP’s report, Jayarajan talked to prime accused Vikraman and gave him the responsibility to coordinate other accused persons to commit the crime. So Jayarajan was the main plotter in the case.

RSS Shareerik Shikshan Pramukh Elamthottil Manoj (46) was murdered in September 2014.

Attack on Sreenivasan unacceptable, says Kodiyeri

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CPM State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said attack on Kerala State Higher Secondary Council vice-chairman T P Sreenivasan on the side-lines of Global Education meet at Kovalam is not acceptable. He also urged the SFI to take action against SFI District vice-president J S Sharath, who slapped the former diplomat.

At a press conference here on Saturday, Kodiyeri said the government is making all moves to privatise the education sector. The protest against this was what that was seen at Kovalam.
“All arrangements had been made for the safe exit of persons who had gone to attend the education meet. But, Srinivasan walked into the agitating crowd of SFI activist, who was provoked by his presence. Though he had provoked the activists, the CPM stand is that it is a wrong thing to beat a person. This incident had reduced the vigour of the protest and it gave an undesired result,” Kodiyeri said.

Society skeptical on HC order over solar scam: Pinarayi

PALAKKAD: CPM Politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan has said society has several doubts over the high court’s order staying the Vigilance Court order against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Minister Aryadan Muhammed. “But it is not right on our part to say it at this juncture,” he said at a press conference held as part of the party’s Nava Kerala march.

“There is no complaints against Thrissur Vigilance judge but there are several complaints against HC judge Justice P Ubaid. It is not a right thing to make complaints against judges, be it in the name of whatever thing. Any verdict should be the one that upholds the dignity of the high court. The high court has realised the wish of Chandy that there be no inquiry for the next two months,” he said.

The CPM leader said Oommen Chandy’s attempt was to run Solar Company with the partnership of his son Chandy Oommen. He is ready to go any extent to keep his role in the solar deal under wraps.  “The CPM will continue the agitation to bring out the anomalies committed by the chief minister. The protest is nothing but people’s response. If the government plans to crush it down, it will not be allowed,” he said.

Truth will win: CM on HC stay

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has welcomed the high court stay on Vigilance court order to file an FIR against Chief Minister Ooommen Chandy and Minister Aryadan Muhammed in the solar case. He said the high court order showed that truth would always win.

“There is no need for special relief over the order. Solar scam accused Saritha S Nair is a disgrace to Kerala. Her allegations are part of a conspiracy. But, I shall not reveal the source of the conspiracy. I will say that when the time comes. Those who are making allegations have not been able provide a single document as proof. Allegations against me are baseless. I am ready to face any probe again. I have respect for the law,” said the chief minister.

Regarding minister K Babu’s resignation, Chandy said decision on whether to accept his resignation would be taken after UDF meeting.

The chief minister said he had not back-stabbed any one while responding to INTUC leader R Chandrasekharan’s remark that Chandy’s plight is the time’s reply to those who had betrayed former chief minister K Karunakaran.

Senior journalist T.N. GopaKumar dies at 58

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Senior journalist and Editor-in-chief of Asianet News T N GopaKumar passed away at a private hospital here early Saturday.

He was 58 and leaves behind his wife and two daughters.

Gopakumar was undergoing treatment for cancer for some time.

Family sources said the end came at around 3.50 AM.

The cremation will be held at Shanti Kavadam at Thycaud here this evening with full state honours.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, film personalities and media personnel were among those who offered their respects.

Gopakumar, fondly known as TNG, started his journalistic career with Indian Express and went on to work with Mathrubhumi, News Time, Statesman, Independent and India Today.

He also contributed to BBC Radio before joining Asianet.

He also made a mark with his weekly TV programme Kannadi, focusing on touching social issues which made him very popular.

'Kannadi' (mirror) recently celebrated 1,000 episodes and ran for 22 years.

Despite a hectic career, Gopakumar found time to pen books on various subjects, directed a film Jeevan Mashai in 2001 and a serial for Doordarshan Verukkal (Roots).

He won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award for 'Suchindrum Rakhakal' besides many other awards during his three decades of journalistic career.

Thrissur Vigilance court judge decides to resign

THRISSUR: Vigilance Court judge S S Vasan, who ordered to file an FIR against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and minister Aryadan Muhammed, has decided to take voluntary retirement. The decision comes when there is still three more months for him to retire.

Vasan has given an application in this regard to the high court registrar.

The high court judge had made a scathing criticism against Vigilance court judge Vasan. He had said the judge was oblivious of the limits of his powers. His verdict breached all those limits. “I don’t know how one could get along with such kind of judges,” remarked the judge who also asked the high court administrative session to initiate action against Vasan

Friday, January 29, 2016

HC stays Vigilance court order against Chandy, Aryadan, raps judge

KOCHI: Kerala high court has stayed the Thrissur Vigilance court order, directing the Vigilance to file FIRs against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Minister Aryadan Muhammed and start investigation on a petition filed based on solar scam accused Saritha S Nair’s allegation that both had taken bribes from her to the tune of crores of rupees. Reports say the stay will remain for two months.
More importantly, the High court judge criticised the Thrissur Vigilance court judge in severe terms for “overstepping his limits of power”.

“If he doesn’t know the limits of his power, he should learn about that. How can courts delver justice with such kind of judges. He made the Vigilance court a post office of people with vested interests. Even without making a preliminary investigation, the Vigilance court judge had passed the order for filing an FIR in a hurry” criticised the court, who asked the courts not to pass such orders based on mere revelations.

Talks with CM on endosulfan victims failed

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A meeting between Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and opposition leader in the state assembly V S Achuthanandan for discussing issues connected with the compensation to persons affected by aerial spraying of endosulfan pesticide in Kasargod failed to reach consensus Friday.

VS along with members of Anti-Endosulfan Samara Samithi, who were on an indefinite sit-in dharna before the secretariat demanding disbursement of relief to endosulfan victims, held talks at Chandy's official residence 'Cliff House' here.

The main demand of the protesters was immediate disbursal of the compensation amount to them as directed by the National Human Rights Commission.

Samara Smithi general convener Ambalathara Kunjikrishnan said the "meeting could not reach a consensus on the issue and another talk would be held on February 3".

He said a total of 80 victims, including 40 children, were taking part at the agitation.

The government had prepared a list of 5837 victims and out of this 2818 persons received a portion of the compensation, but others had not received any amount, he said.

VS had inaugurated the dharna on January 26.

After meeting the chief minister, VS said "it was the irresponsible attitude of Chandy and K P Mohanan, Minister for Agriculture that led to the failure of the talks".

NHRC had in 2010 directed the government to pay compensation to the endosulfan victims. It had directed to pay Rs five lakh each to the families of the dead, incapacitated and mentally disabled persons.

Meanwhile, government maintained that it had disbursed Rs 150.71 crore to the victims.

As per the recommendations of the NHRC, the government had also sanctioned Rs 104.40 crore and Rs 46.31 crore for disbursing monthly pension and other benefits.

Endosulfan, a pesticide, which is not easily degradable, after its spraying several years ago in Kerala, contaminated the soil and water and found its way into the food chain, affecting lower and higher forms of life, including humans.

VS warns of agitation, demands resignation of Chandy, Aryadan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Minister Aryadan Muhammed in the wake of the Vigilance court ordering registering of the FIR against them.

VS asked the chief minister to resign as soon as possible without clinging on to the power. Minister Aryadan who also had his share of the bribe should also resign. He made this demand during a press conference here on Thursday.

“If they are not ready to relinquish their posts, Kerala will witness strong agitations,” he warned. “Former ministers K Mani and K Babu had to resign after the court ordered filing of FIR against them. Now Chandy and Aryadan are facing the same situation. In the Solar case, the chief minister is the main accused and Aryadan is the co-accused. Hence both should not give lame excuses but resign as ministers. The case was that Saritha had cheated people of crores of money. Now it has turned out that the chief minister has cheated Saritha of a few crores,” he said.

VS ridiculed that like a big pickpocket pickpocketing a small pickpocket, Chandy has defrauded Saritha.

Saritha's CD allegation a forged story: Thiruvanchoor

KOTTAYAM: Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan has come out against Solar scam accused Saritha’s statements with reference to him. He said he didn’t know the context of her new allegations against him.  

Today Saritha revealed before the Solar Commission that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s son Chandy Ooommen had some relationship with a women accused in the solar case and a CD that evidenced this fact was with Thiruvanchoor. “With this CD, Thiruvanchoor even used to blackmail the chief minister,” she said.

However, Thiruvanchoor said Saritha’s new allegation was a cooked up story.

Saritha levels serious allegations against Chandy, son

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Saritha S Nair, one of the main accused in the solar scam, having first dragged Chief Minister Oommen Chandy into the case, on Friday claimed his son Chandy Oommen as the one who was closely involved in it.

Saritha made the disclosure on the third day of her deposition before the Solar Judicial commission, and said she met the chief minister many times and not just three times as mentioned by Oommen Chandy before the commission.

Power Minister Aryadan Muhammed had helped to confirm the contract for the solar company. She added that the chief minister’s son was always available on Kuruvilla's mobile phone when they discussed the solar panel business and the formation of a new company to import solar panels.

Saritha also claimed there were speculations about a relationship between her and Chandy Oommen. But she was not the woman mentioned in that story, but another one who was involved in the solar company.

Saritha said that chief minster's son had made trips with the other woman to the Middle East.

She then said all the evidence of the relationship between Chandy Oomen and the other woman is in the custody of Minister for Forests Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.

Saritha informed the commission that she would not make any revelation about the sleaze stories that were heard when the scam first surfaced involving her and top political leaders as that involved her privacy.

Saritha asked the commission that since she has some urgent work, she may be allowed to leave and she would appear again on Monday.

The government's counsel objected to this, stating that she was in a hurry to go only to brief the media and put the government in trouble by airing these allegations.

But the commission allowed Saritha to return on Monday and Tuesday for her further deposition.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

SFI activists manhandle T P Sreenivasan at Kovalam

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The march staged by the SFI in front of the Leela Palace Hotel in Kovalam turned violent on Friday. T P Sreenivasan former Indian Ambassador and currently executive vice-chairman, Kerala State Higher Education Council, and Director General, Kerala International Centre, was manhandled by some activists when he came to attend the Global Education Meet at the hotel.  The protest was against the meet to be convened. When the activists manhandled the diplomat, the police stood as mute spectators, the diplomat told reporters.  

The activists deliberately assaulted me, alleged Srinivasan.

Meantime, national president V P Sanu said action would be taken against the activists if they are found guilty. Sanu and CPM district secretary Kadakampally Surendran have expressed regret on the incident. Several foreign dignitaries are taking part in the meet to discuss many things including sanctioning of foreign universities.

Babu may continue as minister as CM is unlikely to accept resignation

THIRUVANANTHPURAM: Sources say that former minister K Babu’s resignation may not be accepted by the chief minister in the wake of Kerala High Court, today, staying the filing of FIR against Babu for two months.

Resignation may become a closed chapter very soon. The current political scenario also favours rejection of the resignation letter. In that case, Babu will continue as Excise-Fisheries department minister.

The court has stayed the order against Babu for two months in response to the petition filed by him. There is also a line of thinking that it would be wise not to accept the resignation, so that UDF can reap political mileage out of the high court order.

Babu had submitted resignation on January 23 following a Vigilance court order.

Meanwhile, the chief minister’s delay in handing over Babu’s resignation letter to the governor also has drawn flak. But the high court remarks and stay was a great relief to Babu as well as the government.

One thing notable was that Babu didn’t reiterate his resignation stand after the high court order. Importantly, the high court observation that Vigilance court order was suo-motu not in line with judicial discipline also gains importance in this context.

Shall not ditch cinema even if I am offered minister’s post: Siddique

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Actor Siddique has said he would not leave cinema at any cost and plunge into politics. “Even if somebody calls me offering minister’s post, l’ll not quit the field,” he said.

“In cinema field, an actor may lose demand at any time. In that case, I shall try to change myself and try to remain in the field. The actor was interacting with media persons at Press Club as part of the promotion of the film ‘Sukhamayrikkatte’.

Regarding solar scam, he said, “those who cry for the chief minister’s resignation just because solar scam accused Saritha S Nair said something shows their immaturity”.

“Acting is not an easy job. Any job has its own difficulties. I like to see all characters positively. Mohanlal and Mammootty are two great actors who have taken Malayalam cinema to international standards. I hope to be part of the cinema that moves ahead safely with those two actors.   

Siddique said Malayalam cinema field also has had to face ups and downs as in any other field. “We had doyens like Uroob, Vaikom Muhammed Basheer, Thakazhi and O V Vijayan but today how many such greats do we have in the literature field? In politics also, we had K Karunakaran, E K Nayanar, A K Antony. Now we have no such persons. I would like to compare this situation with scarcity of good stories in Malayalam cinema,” he said

To another question the actor said, he didn’t have the ability to teach his son acting. “A good actor need not be a good teacher in acting,” he added.

Payyoli Manoj murder case: HC orders further probe

KOCHI: Kerala High court has ordered the CBI to conduct further probe in the case related to the murder of BJP worker Payyoli Manoj. Justice B Kamal Pasha gave the order in response to the petition filed by Manoj’s friend and Payyoli native Sajid.

The Single bench expressed surprise over Manoj’s wife opposing a CBI inquiry into the case, saying in it’s order, “the reason for her stand is only known to her”.

In the court order, it has also asked the government to do all necessary help for the CBI inquiry into the case and in case of any flaw in this, the CBI could approach the court.

Payyoli was murdered in 2012 alleged by CPM activists.

CM should resign immediately, says Kodiyeri

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CPM State Secretary Kodyeri Balakrishnan has said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy should not wait even for a second to resign, if he has the moral rightness.

“Cases should be charged against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Minister Aryadan Muhammed as per Prevention of Corruption Act,” Kodiyeri said at a press conference here on Thursday.

“The government’s counsel had pleaded in a Vigilance court not to consider the Public Interest Litigation seeking the court to file a case against the chief minister based on the allegation that he had taken bribe. But, the court rejected the plea. The court observed that at extraordinary situation there will be extraordinary orders. In the light of the court order, the Vigilance should urgently take necessary steps,” Kodiyeri said.

HC stays FIR against K Babu

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court Thursday stayed the Thrissur vigilance court’s order directing to register an FIR against former minister K Babu, who resigned after a lower court ordered a case against him for allegedly accepting Rs 50 lakh bribe to permit bars to continue to function.

On Babu's petition, the high court bench of Justice T Ubaid not only suspended the Thrissur vigilance court order for two months but also pointed out that the lower court appeared to be in a hurry, as the case was also being heard in the high court.

The high court, however, directed the vigilance probe team to go ahead with its quick verification.

Babu's resignation came on January 23, soon after the vigilance court ordered a case to be registered against him after the vigilance department asked for a month's time to submit a verification report. Bar owner Biju Ramesh had earlier filed a complaint that he gave Babu Rs 50 lakh as a bribe to permit bars to continue to function.

Reacting to the high court order on Thursday, Babu broke down and thanked god.

"God is great. Today has been a day of major developments, not just for me. Anyway, my decision to resign has not changed, now I will have to discuss with my senior leaders," said Babu, wiping tears from his eyes.

Babu's resignation is, however, yet to be handed over by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to Governor P Sathasivam.

"The case against Babu has been stayed," a beaming Chandy told reporters at Malappuram, when asked why he was delaying forwarding Babu's resignation letter to the governor.

Babu had earlier claimed this was the result of a conspiracy hatched by the opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist and Biju Ramesh, who owns nine bars in the state capital.

The bar scam surfaced in October 2014 when Biju Ramesh alleged that the state's then finance minister K M Mani was given Rs 1 crore as bribe by Kerala's bar owners to facilitate reopening of the 418 closed bars in the state.

The relief for Babu comes at a time when the same vigilance court on Thursday asked for a first information report to be registered against Chandy and Power Minister Aryadan Mohammed following a disclosure by Saritha Nair, one of the main accused in the solar panel scam, that she paid Rs.1.9 crore in two instalments to Chandy and Rs.40 lakh to Mohammed.

Kovoor Kunjumon resigns MLA post, to join LDF

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kovoor Kunjumon of the RSP has resigned his MLA post at a time when the UDF government is sunk in the solar allegations. He handed over his resignation to Speaker N Shakthan, who was attending a function in Kattakada. He also has resigned his central committee membership of the party and the state panel membership. Talking to reporters here, he said that he will join the LDF and work with him from now on.

Esteemed people cannot work with the system of the UDF which is bathed in corruption. The UDF is not moving in the right direction. Other leaders of the RSP are supporting the policies of the UDF and this cannot be accepted. Belonging to a labourer’s family, I cannot approve the negligence shown to the cashew sector, he said.

Register case against Chandy and Aryadan: Pinarayi

PALAKKAD: A case as per the Prevention of Corruption Act should be taken against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Minister Aryadan Muhammed in the wake of the revelation of Saritha Nair, said CPM politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan.

Mallelil Sreedharan Nair had given a statement before the magistrate as per Act 164 levelling the same allegations against the chief minister. A case should have been registered then, Pinarayi told reporters as part of the Nava Kerala March.

A case should be registered against KPCC general secretary Thampanoor Ravi for intervening to subvert the smooth investigation of the judicial commission. The chief minister had stated that the government has not suffered a loss of a single penny. The chief minister is lying, he said.

When the solar allegation was voiced on June 16 in 2013, the chief minister said that he had never seen Saritha. He later said that he had met her in the secretariat. When he sat before the solar commission for 14 hours, he told them that he had met her thrice. He is repeating lies, he said.

Solar: Capital city turns battlefield in DYFI march

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The capital city turned into a battlefield on Thursday when the DYFI clashed with the police demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in the solar case.

The police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the protestors. The DYFI activists reached the secretariat at 12 noon. The police stopped the march by lifting atop the barricades. In between that, stones were pelted towards the police.

Though V Sivankutty MLA and CPM Thiruvananthapuram district secretary Kadakampally Surendran tried to calm the activists, it was in vain. 

Court orders FIR against Chandy, Aryadan

THRISSUR: In a major embarrassment to the UDF government in the state, vigilance court Thursday ordered registration of an FIR against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Power Minister Arayadan Mohammed in the solar scam even as the CPI-M led LDF demanded their immediate resignation.

Putting up a brave face, Chandy denied the charges levelled against him and said "he cannot be removed from the post by raising false allegations and disgracing him."

The chief minister asserted that he would resign and withdraw from public life if the allegations were proved right, hours after Inquiry Commissioner and Special Judge (Vigilance), Thrissur, directed the vigilance to register an FIR against Chandy and Arayadan in the case.

Rattling the government, prime accused, Saritha S Nair had yesterday targeted Chandy and Arayadan while deposing before the Justice Sivarajan Commission in Kochi, probing the case, and had alleged that she had paid bribes to the tune of Rs 1.90 crore to a close aide of the chief minister and Rs 40 lakh to the power minister. The two ministers have denied the allegations.

The court passed the order on a private complaint by one P D Joseph, seeking a vigilance probe on the claims by Saritha that she had paid bribes for getting favourable decisions to 'Team Solar Company.'

Babu had resigned hours after vigilance had filed an FIR against him in the bar bribery case on January 23, while Mani was forced to quit after the High Court made some stinging observations.

Opposition along with liquor barons are hatching conspiracy, says Chandy

KOZHIKODE: The opposition along with some liquor barons are hatching a conspiracy to stop the UDF assuming power again, alleged Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. Talking to reporters here, he said the government has solid evidence for it.

The opposition moving against the government after joining hands with Biju Radhakrishnan, accused in the solar case, will be insulted by the people. They are trying to voice more allegations than this. The people of the state will not believe the allegations leveled by Saritha S Nair. One who gave a bounced cheque of Rs 2 lakh to the chief minister’s relief fund is now voicing allegations that millions were given as bribe. Did they make any profit by it, asked the chief minister? The government has not incurred any loss in the solar case. The solar company too has not made any gains from the government.   

How can Saritha level the allegations of bribe soon after ten days of her statement that I am like her father, asked the chief minister.

Governor should facilitate CM’s resignation: VS

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has appealed to the Governor to intervene to facilitate the ouster of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in the wake of Solar scam accused Saritha S Nair’s recent revelations. “Saritha, who had been supporting the government all these days, has spoken against it. Now, it would be shameful for the government to continue in power,” he said, requesting the governor not to address the Assembly during its February 5 session.

“In his 14-hr deposition before the Solar Commission the chief minister made record by telling lies. Saritha formed two companies to run the solar business. The investigation team has not made those companies accused in the case. Not only that, the team has not even investigated about the companies. The special investigation team formed was the one to protect Chandy.”

Thampanoor Ravi who had called up Saritha to help the chief minister should be arrested. V M Sudheeran’s  yatra which is actually “Oommen Chandy Raksha yatra” should be stopped soon. After that he should show the guts to give a resignation saying he is resigning from the bunch of thieves. Otherwise he will also be seen as a person helping the thieves,” VS said in his sarcastic style.

Saritha’s allegation an election special: V M Sudheeran

KOTTAYAM: KPCC president V M Sudheeran said on Wednesday that solar scam accused Saritha S Nair’s latest revelation was not credible. “This can be seen only as Saritha’s election special,” Sudheeran said while talking to the media on the side-lines of his Janaraksha yatra.  

“When elections approach, several new allegations will emerge. Many more new allegations will come out. Since months back, efforts have been going on to tarnish the UDF’s emerge. But all these moves are not going to affect the Congress or UDF.  No one should think that they can destroy the Congress through allegations. The Front will overcome all these hurdles,” said KPCC president. 

It was Saritha who had called me: Thampanoor Ravi

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: KPCC general secretary Thampanoor Ravi has said it was Solar scam accused Saritha S Nair who had called him and he had not called her.  

“There is no need for me to call up Saritha, who had likened the chief minister to her father, to influence her,” he was responding to Saritha’s allegation that he had called her to persuade her to give statements in favour of the chief minister.    

“As a public worker, I usually attend all telephone calls. Saritha had called me yesterday also. I came to know that LDF leaders were trying to influence Saritha. I was just asking her about that,” Ravi added. 

Saritha challenges CM to prove conspiracy

KOCHI: Solar case accused Saritha S Nair rejected Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s argument that the CPM and liquor barons are behind the allegation that an amount of Rs 1.90 crore was paid to the chief minister. She challenged the chief minister to prove the conspiracy if there is any. Talking to reporters before deposing before the solar commission, she said liquor barons and CPM are not a problem for her.

She said, “I have more to say in the solar case. Many including women members of my family had asked me to reveal the truth earlier. But I was mum then, but there is no meaning in keeping silent now. I am revealing things which I firmly believe is right. I don’t need the support of the chief minister.”

The special team appointed by the chief minister, who said that my cheque of 2 lakh bounced, gave a report that a fraud of Rs 10 crore had taken place in the solar case. The chief minister and Biju Radhakrishnan should cite the reason for the bouncing of the cheque.

Politicians deny the allegations when they find their image is stained and that is what is happening now, she said.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Remarks against Babu is of serious nature: Sudheeran

KOCHI: KPCC president V M Sudheeran has said Thrissur Vigilance Court’s remarks against Excise Minister K Babu were of serious nature. Further steps would be taken after discussing the issue with persons concerned.

“An appropriate decision will be taken after going through all angles of the issue. The court’s remark will not be taken lightly,” he added. 

Ministers should submit resignations to CM and not to KPPC chief: K Babu

KOCHI: Ministers are entitled to submit their resignations to the chief minister and not to the KPCC chief, said former minister K Babu. Talking to reporters here, he said that he tried to contact the KPCC chief before submitting his resignation. However, failed to get him on the line. If resigning KPCC posts, then should contact him, Babu said.

Babu said the vigilance court has not made any statement against him. They may have directed to register an FIR. I resigned following the statement of the court. I’d mentioned earlier that I would not cling to the post if there was any serious statement against him.Bar owner Biju Ramesh, who levelled allegations against me, has many illegal buildings in the capital city.
I resigned on political morality. If politburo member Pinayari Vijayan has that modesty then he should stay away from the Nava Kerala March, he said.

Five held for sexually harassing woman in homestay

KOCHI: Five persons have been arrested for sexually harassing a woman after tying her at a homestay in Fort Kochi. The arrested has been identified as Christy (18), Althaf (20), Ijaz (20), Saju (20) and Appu (20). The five were arrested for harassing the woman and robbing her after blackmailing her.

The incident happened two months ago. The victim, a native of Thanneermukkom, who reached Good Shepherd Home Stay in Fort Kochi, along with a youth of Cherthala, was harassed while staying here.

Christy, an employee of the homestay, invited four of his friends, harassed her after forcefully ousting the youth from the room. They threatened her of dire consequences if she revealed the incident to anybody. They demanded more money from them and if refused they threatened to post the nude pictures of her in the social media.  The youth later lodged a complaint to the city police commissioner.

Actress Kalpana dies

HYDERABAD: Actress Kalpana passed away in Hyderabad Monday morning. She was found lying unconscious at a hotel room in Hyderabad. She was there to attend an award night.

Though she was immediately taken to the Apollo Hospital, her life could not be saved. She was 52.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Installing cameras at offices won’t ensure transparency: Jacob Thomas

KOCHI: Making a veiled attack on the chief minister, DGP Jacob Thomas, said that installing surveillance cameras at offices will not bring transparency in administration and going by the present situation, the cameras will have to be installed all over Kerala.  

He was speaking at the workshop ‘Azhimathiyum Madhyama Jagrathayum’ (Corruption and Media Alertness) organised by Ernakulam Press Club.

“In the State, honest and competent government officers are just 10 percent of the total number of officers. Officers do not have legal obligation to obey people’s representatives. The attitude that the representatives are big in democracy should change. Government officials are not puppets in their hands and they also have their rights as citizens. Officials can’t be suspended for a long time on the basis of mere allegation. According to service rules, an official can’t be suspended for more than three months. Action can only be taken only on the basis of proper evidence,” he said in reply to the question that investigations against top IPS, IAS is heading nowhere.

He said that a politically and monetarily powerful but tainted person can divert investigation against him. 

Jacob Thomas said certain media groups had been trying to eulogise corrupt politicians. “Corrupt people can be seen in all sections. Officials should respond against corruption. Media should come out to support officials fighting corruption,” he added. 

Unruly scenes witnessed at inaugural function of Beverages HQ

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Some unruly scenes were witnessed at the inaugural function of the headquarters building of the Beverages Corporation. The CPM, who took to the streets their protest seeking the resignation of Excise Minister K Babu in the bar bribery case, blocked the way of Excise Minister K Babu. The minister sitting in his car for some time, somehow came through another way and inaugurated the building.  

Ministers K Babu and V S Sivakumar arrived at the function in their official cars Monday morning at 10.30 am. CPM activists led by V Sivankutty MLA showed black flags at the minister and said they will not allow the minister involved in the case to inaugurate the building. They also squatted in front of the ministers’ official car and shouted slogans. Though top police officials reached the spot and tried to calm them, it did not find any result. In the melee, stones were pelted and police resorted to lathicharge.  

The minister did not pay heed to the activists demand asking him to go back. He left only after inaugurating it. I had travelled all over the state after the allegation and why this protest all of a sudden, asked Babu. The police later used force and removed the protestors from the site.

Saritha to appear before commission on Jan 26, says advocate

KOCHI: Saritha S Nair, accused in the solar case will appear before the judicial commission probing the case, on January 26, said her advocate. He said that as she had to appear in other courts in many cases, she was not able to appear before them. All advocates of parties in the case appeared before the commission today.

Meantime,Jikkumon, former personal assistant of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who appeared before the commission told them Saritha reached the secretariat as managing director of Team Solar. She used to contact the office of the chief minister to know his official programmes and through that she developed a cordial relation with the chief minister. Jikkumon said that he came to know that she was a fraudster only through the media.

At the same time, the commission will record the statement of Teny Joppan, another personal assistant of the chief minister, on January 26.

Sabarimala: SC directs action against threats on lawyer

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday directed the Delhi Government to take action against those who threatened the advocate for filing a plea seeking permission for women to enter Sabarimala. The court also directed Delhi police commissioner to ensure the safety of Muhammed Noushad Khan, president of Young Lawyers Association, who filed the plea. The court instructed police commissioner to submit a detailed report after executing the things asked.

Meantime, the court clarified that they cannot intervene in the campaigns against the advocate via social media. Isn’t it violation of fundamental rights not permitting women in Sabarimala, the court asked? The court rejected devaswom board’s demand seeking extension in considering the case. The court said they will consider it when the case is considered on February 8.

No CBI probe against Minister Babu, govt tells HC

KOCHI:  The state government Monday filed an affidavit in the Kerala High Court pointing that a CBI probe is not needed against Excise Minister K Babu in the bar case. The government informed their stand on the pleas filed seeking a CBI probe. A probe was sought against the allegation of Biju Ramesh, bar association working president that the minister had demanded an amount of Rs 10 crore for not increasing the bar license fee to Rs 30 lakh from 22 lakh. It was also alleged that Rs 50 lakh was handed over to the minister at the secretariat.

The affidavit said vigilance’ Ernakulam unit had probed the allegation against the minister and no evidences were found against him. The statements of 23 witnesses were also recorded in the case. None of them had given statements against the minister. That is why the government decided to close the case last year and not to register a FIR against him. The court had earlier asked whey an FIR was not registered against the minister.

Pleas have been filed against the minister in Ernakulam and Thrissur Vigilance Court and Lok Ayuktha in Thiruvananthapuram. An investigation is being held on all these.  The case in Lok Ayuktha is being postponed. The government has clarified that evidences have not been found in the cases in other two courts. The government has made clear that those who have complaints against the minister can become a party in lower courts.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Campus selfies to get banned soon

KOZHIKODE: As students are going nuts about selfies, the ban on selfies are soon to come in schools. The students are more interested about taking selfies in school uniforms at public places, especially on roads. As this is the situation, the district education department has decided to ban mobile phones on school campuses based on the recommendations of District Traffic department and health experts.

The tendency to take selfies excessively is being viewed as a kind of psychic defect. This is called selfitis. The traffic department will conduct awareness programmes in schools to reduce accidents and other issues that students usually meet with while taking selfies.
Recently, a group of students who tried to take selfies on a zebra cross were dispersed by the traffic police with sufficient warning. Besides this, the police said they had also received reports from health experts regarding students’ selfie-linked problems.

Hearing in Lavalin case in February

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala High Court Friday accepted the sub plea filed by the government in the Lavalin case. Meantime, the CBI came forward rejecting the government stand in the sub petition. The CBI counsel argued in the court that the case was investigated by them and that there should be no rush in considering it.  The government had sought a quick settlement on CBI’s revision plea against the court order acquitting many including Pinarayi Vijayan.  Though the CBI stand was a setback for the government, accepting the sub plea was a relief for them. The plea was considered by Justice P Ubaid.

Meantime, Pinarayi’s advocate M K Damodaran argued that the government has no legal right to file a plea in the case. He also argued that the government has not suffered a loss in the Lavalin deal.

The demand to hear the two-year-old revision plea hastily is part of a narrow political goal. M K Damodaran alleged that the action of the government is at a time when the polls are round the corner and the Nava Kerala March led by Pinarayi is all set to start today. However, DGP T Asif Ali argued that the government had incurred a loss in the deal. The government in the affidavit submitted earlier had informed the court that a loss was not incurred. The court will consider the revision plea on February 3rd.

Sunanda Pushkar case: Delhi Police receive AIIMS report on viscera samples

NEW DELHI: Delhi Police on Friday received the AIIMS medical board's 'advice' on the FBI lab report on viscera samples of Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, to identify the cause of her death.

"Have been told that medical board's advice in late Sunanda's case has been received," Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi said in a tweet on Friday.

Bassi added that special commissioner of police (law and order) Deepak Mishra was reviewing the progress.

Sunanda was found dead inside her suite at a five-star hotel here in January 2014, a day after she was involved in a spat with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar on Twitter over the latter's alleged affair with Tharoor, the Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram.
Her viscera samples were sent to the FBI lab in Washington DC in February last year to determine the kind of poison that killed her after an AIIMS medical board identified poisoning as the reason behind her death but did not mention any specific substance.
The FBI report had virtually rules out the theory of 'polonium poisoning' having caused her death. However, after Delhi police failed to draw any conclusion on basis of the findings, the report was handed over to a medical board for examination before further proceedings in the high-profile case.

The investigators have so far conducted polygraph test on six persons, all prime witnesses in the case, including Tharoors' domestic help Narayan Singh, driver Bajrangi and Sanjay Dewan, a close friend of the couple. Tharoor has been questioned in the case.

Saritha was shifted from Pathanamthitta jail as per Senkumar’s report

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Saritha S Nair, accused in the solar case, was shifted from Pathanamthitta Jail to Attakkulangara Women’s Jail as per the report of the then intelligence ADGP T P Senkumar, said former jail DGP Alexander Jacob. He revealed it before the solar commission on Friday.  

Senkumar’s report said Saritha was not safe in Pathanamthitta Jail. She had brought many unnecessary papers with her in the jail, Jacob told the commission. This also resulted in the change of the prison. The jail authorities had seized 21-page-letter from her. According to Prison Act 751, the letter was handed over to her counsel Feny Balakrishnan. It was handed over on the grounds that the note was written by a jail inmate to her advocate. The advocate not producing it in the court was shocking, said Jacob.

Thousands get darshan of Makaravilakku

SABARIMALA: Thousands of devotees got darshan of makaravilakku at Ponnambalamedu here at around 6:40 in the evening on Friday. The Thiruvabharanam (sacred ornaments for deity) procession that started from Panthalam reached the Sannidhanam by evening.

Following this, the deity was decked up in Thiruvabharanam and the sanctum sanctorum’s door was opened for ‘deeparadhana’. Within seconds, Makaravilakku also became visible. It became prominent three times when the devotees invoked Lord Ayyappa with chanting Ayyappa hymns. After that devotees, moved towards the temple for Ayyappa ‘darshan’.  

Earlier, the Thiruvabharanam procession led by Devaswom Board manager was received by Devaswom Minister V S Sivakumar, Kodikunnil Suresh M P , Devaswom president Prayar Gopalakrishnan, members Ajay Tharayil, P K Kumaran, Devaswom Commissioner Ramaraja Prema Prasad, Special Commissioner K Babu, and ADGP K Padmakumar. They then viewed Makaravilakku. Film actor Jayaram was also among the devotees who thronged the place to get a glimpse of Makravilakku.

The darshan of Makaravilakku marked the final phase of Sabarimala pilgrimage.

Kerala March begins

KASARGOD: CPM leader Pinarayi Vijayan-led Nava Kerala March has started from Kasargod Uppala in the run-up to the Assembly election. Politburo member Prakash Karat flagged off the march.  

Prakash Karat during his inaugural speech said the Nava Kerala March will send out a new message and hence it has a lot of relevance. He alleged that UDF rule had destroyed the traditional business and public sector.      
Opposition leader and special guest V S Achuthanandan, State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and others leaders took part in the function.

The march will end at Shangumugham on February 14.

Kerala march will provide background for LDF’s return to power: VS

KASARGOD: Change in administration should begin in Kerala and spread across India, Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has said. “The Nava Kerala march led by CPM leader Pinarayi Vijayan will provide a background for Left party’s return to power. CPM will line up cadres in a peaceful way to oppose BJP’s political violence,” he said at the inaugural function of the march.  

VS, who touched upon several issues including national issues, but he chose to remain silent on ‘relapsed Lavalin head-ache’
CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat, who inaugurated the function, said Chief Minister Ooommen Chandy was corrupt from head to toe. CPM State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said UDF was incapable of confronting BJP’s communal agenda. Those governing Kerala would out do big thieves in Kerala history like Ittikkara Pakki and Kayamkulam Kochunni.  Chandy’s last among techniques to conceal graft issues of his government will not work out in Kerala,” he added. 

Lawyer gets death threat over plea for women to enter temple, serious says SC

NEW DELHI:  A lawyer fighting for the right of women to enter Sabarimala temple received a death threat. The threat is a serious thing, observed the Supreme Court. The court said an amicus curiae will be appointed if the advocate withdraws. The court also said people including Harish Salve will be made amicus curiae. A bench led by Justice Deepak Mishra considered the plea today.

President Naushad Ahmed Khan for Young Lawyers Association moved the Supreme Court. The association moved the court stating that denying entry to women is violation of fundamental rights. He said that he received death threats via phone, e-mail and social media.

Lawyer gets death threat over plea for women to enter temple, serious says SC

NEW DELHI:  A lawyer fighting for the right of women to enter Sabarimala temple received a death threat. The threat is a serious thing, observed the Supreme Court. The court said an amicus curiae will be appointed if the advocate withdraws. The court also said people including Harish Salve will be made amicus curiae. A bench led by Justice Deepak Mishra considered the plea today.

President Naushad Ahmed Khan for Young Lawyers Association moved the Supreme Court. The association moved the court stating that denying entry to women is violation of fundamental rights. He said that he received death threats via phone, e-mail and social media.

Lawyer gets death threat over plea for women to enter temple, serious says SC

NEW DELHI:  A lawyer fighting for the right of women to enter Sabarimala temple received a death threat. The threat is a serious thing, observed the Supreme Court. The court said an amicus curiae will be appointed if the advocate withdraws. The court also said people including Harish Salve will be made amicus curiae. A bench led by Justice Deepak Mishra considered the plea today.

President Naushad Ahmed Khan for Young Lawyers Association moved the Supreme Court. The association moved the court stating that denying entry to women is violation of fundamental rights. He said that he received death threats via phone, e-mail and social media.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Teachers’ recruitment: Labba Committee Report moots recruitment board

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Labba Committee Report that recommends formation of new recruitment board for the recruitment of teachers is ready.

The report was submitted by the committee under P O J Labba which was set up to study about the reason for “worsening quality of school education”.

“Qualifying exams should be made mandatory for all teachers. Teachers Recruitment board formed for teachers’ recruitment should also conduct head masters’ recruitment,” recommended the report.

The report will be soon handed over to the Planning board.

SC rejects Nisham’s plea in Chandrabose murder case

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Thursday rejected the plea of Muhammed Nisham, accused of murdering security employee Chandrabose with his luxury Hummer, seeking a stay in the case.  Rejecting the plea, the court said new evidences cannot be considered as the trial is in the last phase.

If the verdict in the case is against him, then he can question it in the higher court, the court said.

The court had earlier rejected his demand seeking a three-month extension of the trial. Following that, he later filed a fresh plea demanding a stay. He demanded a stay pointing that the disc produced by the prosecution against him should be subjected for a scientific examination. However, the court said they cannot consider again any new evidences again.

The final trial of the case is being held in Thrissur. Chandrabose sustained serious injuries after hit by the drummer on January 29 in 2015. He later succumbed to the injuries. 

Rajya Sabha seat is for JD (U) itself: Thankachan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: One of the vacancies in the Rajya Sabha has been assured to the JD (U) earlier itself, said UDF convenor P P Thankachan. There is no situation for the JD (U) to leave the front. Their complaints will be solved after discussions, he said at the press meet convened in Indira Bhavan.

The JD (U) had demanded action based on the report of the panel who probed the failure of M P Veerendra Kumar at the Palakkad Lok Sabha constituency and also the Kozhikode UDF convenor’s post. None of the allies will leave the front, he said. Veerendra Kumar had attended the meet convened in Kozhikode as part of the Janapaksha Yatra led by KPCC chief V M Sudheeran.

The JD (U) had informed their inconvenience to attend the meet preparing the UDF’s election manifesto. The news that they skipped the meet is false. I hope there will be no change in the former stand of opposition leader V S Achuthanandan in the Lavalin case.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

CPM warns its cadres against overconfidence

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CPM has asked its cadres not to be overconfident about its civic poll victory, though it had won 65 per cent seats in the election. “The victory is not by a big margin; when the left got 41.8 percent votes, UDF got 40.23 percent votes,” pointed out CPM State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan while explaining the decisions of the party State committee meeting.   

“In the civic polls, BJP got 14.21 percent vote. In the 2011 Assembly election, UDF got only 0.9 per cent more votes than what the LDF got. At that time the UDF got 72 seats when the LDF got 68 seats. Though, now we are in a better position, cadres should be cautious and alert during the election work,” Kodiyeri advised.    

“The opinions that evolved in the International Study Congress will be codified by AKG study research centre and a development document will be published. On the basis of that, party workers will visit houses. Constituency-based development seminars would be held in February. Anyone interested can take part and air their opinion. This time LDF will prepare the manifesto based on people’s opinions. People can say that through the party website,” he said.  

The CPM leader said women’s parliament held in Ernakulam saw the participation of 4500 women. It was a manifestation of women folk’s stand. The party would organise women’s parliament district/constituency wise. The party’s vision is also to transform Kerala into a women-friendly state.

CM to decide Mani’s return, says Sudheeran

MANJERI: In the wake of the vigilance submitting a report giving a clean chit to former minister K  M Mani in the bar case, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will take a decision on his return to the cabinet, said KPCC chief V M Sudheeran.  Talking to reporters in the district as part of his Janaraksha Yatra, he said with the report submitted, the arguments of the bar owners have turned to be false.

The CBI has not requested the court to hear the argument on the revision plea at the earliest in the SNC Lavalin case. As they adopted a cold stand, the government requested to consider the case quickly.  BJP’s statement in the Lavalin case is noted. Whey the BJP, who earlier sought a CBI probe in the K T Jayakrishnan Master murder case is keeping silent now, asked Sudheeran.

Lavalin: I’m surprised at CM’s response, says Pinarayi

KASARGOD: CPM politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan said the response of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy that he knew about the government’s move to approach the court again in the Lavalin case through the media, surprised me. Taking up the case now is politically motivated, he told reporters here.

The response of the chief minister is strange. This is an arrow aimed at somebody. Chandy has the ability to turn against his own party men. I had earlier also not responded in the case and I have the same stand now, he added.

Convince SC of facts over Sabarimala ban on women: Hindu organisations

THIURVNANATHAPURAM: Hindu Aikya Vedi and Kshethra Samrakshana Samithy have demanded that the government and the Devaswom board convince the Supreme Court of the reason for imposing ban on entry of women (10 to 50 years) to the Sabarimala.

“It is a matter of beliefs and tradition. This has been a tradition for centuries and it has been misinterpreted as a ban on gender equality. The left government which had been atheists had spread this wrong impression ,”Hindu Aikya Vedi State General Secretary E S Biju stated.

“Only women between 10-50 years have been prohibited entry. The ban is part of the beliefs. It would be difficult for women to observe 41 days’ strict penance prior to the pilgrimage. And thus the ban is not any kind of discrimination against the fair sex,” he added.

Meanwhile, Kshethra Samrakshana Samithy office bearers Swami Ayyappadas, C K Kunju, K S Narayanan and T U Mohan said the government’s irresponsible stand had led to the court making such a kind of statement.

Clean chit for Mani, no proof to prosecute him, says vigilance

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: There is not enough evidence to arraign former finance minister K M Mani in the bar scam case, said the report submitted by vigilance S P Sukesan at the vigilance court in the capital city. The further probe conducted was not able to find necessary proofs to indict Mani.

The report has also stated that as there is no enough evidences, further steps against Mani should be cancelled.  Statements justifying that he had accepted a bribe of Rs one crore has not been obtained in the investigation. There is no proof for Mani accepting bribe nor asking for it.  Not only that, there is inconsistency in the statements and phone dialogues. Some corrections have been made in the disc produced by bar hotel association working president Biju Ramesh and so it need not be examined, said the vigilance. 

Chandy asks Centre to take steps to rescue jailed Keralites

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Wednesday urged the Centre to take immediate steps rescue the four Keralites jailed in Togo in West Africa.

Those lodged in jail were identified as Shaji K A, Tharun Babu, Nithin Babu and Godwin O A.

They were sentenced to four years imprisonment months back on charges of not having the required job visa or work permit.

Chandy made the request in a letter to External Affairs Minister Sushama Swaraj.

The CM said the Non-Resident Kerala Affairs Department had sent a lawyer to Togo to provide legal help to the four persons.

Govt files plea against Pinarayi in Lavalin case

KOCHI: The government Wednesday filed a plea in the Kerala High Court seeking to immediately consider the revision plea filed against the deed of the CBI court acquitting CPM politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan in the SNC Lavalin case. Prosecution Director General T Asif Ali filed the plea for the government. A bench led by Justice B Kemal Pasha considering revision pleas will consider this plea in the coming days.

The CBI court in the capital city had acquitted seven accused including Pinarayi Vijayan on November 4 in 2013 in the case based on charges that the modernisation of a few hydroelectric projects undertaken by the state electricity board with the help of the Canada based company had caused a loss of Rs 374 crore to the state. Pinarayi was the electricity minister when the deal with SNC Lavalin was concluded. The court had mentioned that the CBI had failed in proving the corruption charges and conspiracy charged against the accused. Siddharth Menon, R Sivadasan, K Mohana Chandran, K G Rajashekaran Nair, Kasturiranga Iyer and A Francis are the six others acquitted.

The CBI and crime editor Nanda Kumar, a witness in the case, filed a revision plea questioning the order of the CBI court. The single bench, who accepted these pleas, had on February 11, 2014 directed to send a notice to Pinarayi and others.  The government approached the court requesting to consider immediately the revision pleas as no further steps were not taken on the pleas.  The government’s plea has mentioned that the CBI court acquitted the accused without considering the evidences in a right manner and that the action of the lower court does not exist legally. The deal was given to SNC Lavalin Company after skipping rules. The 90-page affidavit has also stated that the deal was given without inviting a tender.