Monday, February 29, 2016

IAF's aircraft lands in Kannur

KANNUR: The first trial operations at the state’s fourth international airport Kannur on Monday were successful when an IAF aircraft landed at the airport that will open for commercial operations in September.

The Rs1,892 crore airport is billed as one which will be the fastest completed airport in the country. Monday's operations were conducted two years after commencement of the construction work.

The 10-seater IAF Dornier aircraft flew in from Bengaluru. It was piloted by Air Marshal R Nambiar, who along with his team and other officials, was received at the tarmac by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his senior cabinet colleagues.

Earlier, Chandy and his team arrived on a helicopter.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation had given clearance for Monday's inaugural trial-run and the Chandy government, which had promised to the state that they would see this airport completed as per the time-table, made it a reality.

Kannur airport is located at Mattanur in Kannur and when ready, this would be the biggest airport in Kerala, beating the ones at Kochi, Kozhikode, and Thiruvananthapuram.

To start with, the airport will have a 3,400-metre runway that will be extended to 4,000 metres in the second phase.

The Chandy government had emphasized they would ensure completion of the flagship projects of his government -- Vizhinjam Port, where the work has already been launched; Kochi Metro, where the trial-run has already been conducted; and the first phase of the Kochi Smart City project which has already been opened.

The Left opposition supporters were protesting outside the venue, saying it was just a show only as the work is not over and this function was meant with an eye to the upcoming assembly polls.

Man killed in accident

PATHANAPURAM: A man was killed while returning after seeing off his son at the airport, on Monday. His elder son Sunil Kumar sustained injuries. The dead has been identified as Ramachandran Pillai (61) of Aavaneeswaram. The incident happened at Kunnikkod Chethadi post office Junction on the Kollam–Sengottai national highway early this morning at 4.30 am.

Pillai was returning from the Thiruvananthapuram Airport after seeing off his younger son Anil Kumar at the airport. The alto car in which they were travelling overturned and fell into a pit on the roadside as a vehicle coming from the opposite direction did not dim its light.

Sunil Kumar has been admitted at a private hospital in Pathanapuram. The body of Pillai is kept at the mortuary of the Kottarakkara taluk hospital. He leaves behind his wife Sumathi Amma and daughter Ambili.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Union Budget 2016: Growth of GDP has accelerated to 7.6%, says Jaitley

NEW DELHI: The growth of GDP has accelerated to 7.6 % and inflation has declined to 5.4 %, said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting his third Union Budget Monday.

Major highlights

Rs 38,500 cr allocated for MNREGA in 2016-17, the highest ever if entire amount is spent

Record agri credit target of Rs 9 lakh crore in 2016-17 set. Govt to allocate Rs 5,500 crore for crop insurance scheme

Rs 19,000 cr allocated for Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana in 2016-17; in all, Rs 27,000 cr after state contribution 

28.5 lakh hectares will be brought under irrigation under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichai Yojana

Allocation of Rs 35,984 crore for farm sector. A dedicated long term irrigation fund will be created in NABARD with a corpus of Rs 20,000 cr

Govt will undertake 9-point reforms including steps to ensure ease of business in governance, fiscal discipline to ensure benefits for people and tax reforms to ensure compliance

We will work for passage of insolvency and bankruptcy laws. We will undertake significant reforms

Govt is launching a new initiative to provide cooking gas to BPL families with state support

Next financial year will cast an additional burden due to implementation of 7th Pay Commission and OROP

Farm, rural sector, infra, social sector to have more Government expenditure

Growth has accelerated to 7.6 % in 2015-16 notwithstanding contraction of global exports

CPI inflation was 9.4 per cent in the last 3 years of previous government. It has come down to 5.5 per cent now

Bhavana getting married soon

Petite actress Bhavan has finally spoken his heart out about her marriage. A young producer in Kannada film industry is the bride groom. “We have been in love for long and the wedding will happen this year itself,” she said but refused divulge her lover’s name or other details.

“I’m in love. The marriage was to have happened in 2014 but due to my busy schedule, it got delayed,” Bhavaana told a private TV channel.

Her expectations about an ideal husband is he should be a matured person. And, he should not be the one who goes about doing anything he fancies.

Helo Namasthe has been Bhavana’s last film.

Student from Kozhikode dies in Latvia

NEW DELHI: A student, Arun Ramachandran from Kozhikode, has died in Latvia, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said. “Our Embassy in Warsaw has informed me about the demise of Arun Ramachandran, an Indian student from Kozhikode, who was studying in Latvia,” Swaraj tweeted. “Our Embassy in Poland is following matters with the police. They will send his mortal remains to his family in Kozhikode at the earliest,” she said. The cause of Ramachandran’s death is not immediately known.

First flight to land in Kannur

KANNUR: An aircraft, Code B plane of the Indian Air Force, will make a trial landing on the runway of the Kannur international airport here under construction on Monday in the presence of the public and dignitaries, including Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and other ministers.

The LDF in the district, however, decided to boycott the programme as part of its protest alleging corruption charges against ministers. The LDF alleged that the trial landing had been scheduled as part of an election stunt as the project was incomplete.

The 14-seater aircraft would come from Bangalore. The aircraft had made a test flying over the project site on February 27. KIAL officials said the plane would land at around 9 a.m. A makeshift control tower has been set up at the project site.

The district administration and KIAL officials set up arrangements for the public to view the landing. As many as 4,000 people are expected to reach the venue. The work of 2,400 metres runway has been completed.

The BJP alleged that the Central government was not represented in the function.

Attack on gangster: One held

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: One person was arrested in connection with the  attack on gangster Pravu Vinod at Valicode near Nedumangad. The Nedumangad police said the accused Abhilash, 28, of Nettayam, was traced using the registration number of the car that was allegedly used by the assailants to block Vinod’s path before hacking him. The car was owned by the elder brother of Abhilash, but the latter was using it, police said.

Eyewitnesses to the attack had noted down the number of the car, after which Abhilash was traced to a house in Peroorkada where he was holed up late on Saturday. The other two in the gang that attacked Vinod are suspected to be natives of Nettayam, who have been identified by the police as Sugathan, and Shaji, both are now at large. Police said the two came under the scanner since Sugathan had been attacked in similar fashion in April last, with the assailants being alleged members of Vinod’s gang. Friday’s attack, police believe, could have been in retaliation to the April incident. Abhilash was produced in court and remanded in judicial custody on Sunday. Vinod is undergoing treatment in a private hospital at Pattom. His condition was stated to be out of danger.

Govt has cheated Nadar community, says Cardinal Cleemis

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The UDF Government has cheated the Nadar Community on reservation, said Major Archbishop Cardinal Baselios Mar Cleemis of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. The government bought votes after assuring reservation and now they have cheated them.  The sabha will jointly oppose this denial of justice.

The chief minister making the dream projects a reality is not seeing the tears of the poor. They should think that the people has the right to vote now also. Justice denied will be protested. He asked devotees to show voters strength to the government.

The government is under the hands of corporates. The chief minister boasts of developmental activities completed in the state.  However, they have not fulfilled the promises. We are not asking for government’s land or other benefits, we want what we deserve.  Oommen Chandy and the government should not forget that the tears of the people has value. Their protests will be expressed in the coming polls, he said. 

One killed in lorry-car collision

THRISSUR: One person was killed and four sustained injuries when a car collided with a lorry at Kolazhy. The cleaner of the lorry died has not been identified. The accident happened Sunday afternoon. More details are awaited.

Woman gang raped, filmed by batch mates in Telangana

HYDERABAD: A 22-year-old woman, who aspires to become a police officer, was allegedly gang raped by two youths; the third accomplice had recorded the act on his mobile phone in Karimnagar district of Telangana, police said on Sunday.

G Srinivas and M Anjaiah allegedly raped the woman, who belongs to scheduled caste, while M Rakesh recorded video of the act on his cell phone, police said.

One of the three accused had joined in the same coaching class, for the competitive examination for police recruitment, as the girl had, they said.

A senior police officer said the incident took place on the outskirts of Veenavanka village on February 10 when the three accused, the complainant, and her woman friend were returning to their village after watching a movie.

"The trio took the two women to a hillock and it seems one of the women sensed danger and ran away. Two of the accused allegedly raped the victim while the third one shot a video on his cell phone," the officer said.

The victim told her parents about the incident only two days ago, after which her relatives beat up the trio on February 24 evening and they were admitted to a hospital in the neighbouring Warangal district.

Afterwards, a rape complaint was filed. The accused have also been charged under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the Information Technology Act.

"No one has been arrested so far as two of the accused are still undergoing treatment. Police are keeping a watch on all three," the officer said.

Oscars 2016: Mark Rylance, Alicia Vikander best supporting actors

LOS ANGELES: Mark Rylance and Alicia Vikander have won the Oscars for best supporting actors for their roles in Bridge of Spies and The Danish Girl.

'Amy' bags the Oscar for Best Feature Film.

'Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness' wins Oscar for Best Short Documentary Film.

'Bear Story' bags Oscar for Animated Short film, whereas 'Inside Out' wins Best Animated Feature Film award.

'Mad Max: Fury Road' takes over the Oscars. Wins two more awards for Best Film Editing and Sound Editing.

'The Revenant' wins Oscar for Best Cinematography.

'Mad Max: Fury Road' has so far won three Oscars tonight; Best Costume Design, Production Design and Makeup and Hairstyling.

Mark Rylance ((Bridge of Spies) wins Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Actress Alicia Vikander wins her first Oscar Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her role in 'The Danish Girl'.

Sam Smith performs his Oscar nominated song Writing's On The Wall.

'Spotlight' bags the first Oscar of the night for Best Writing (Original Screenplay), while 'The Big Short' takes home the second Oscar of the night for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay).

Malayali students ‘beaten up’ in Bengaluru for beef-eating

BENGALURU: Three Malayali students were allegedly beaten up in Bengaluru for eating beef on Saturday. The condition of a student who was injured is serious.

The victims are Merwin Mithun Joy, Nikhil and Muhammed Hashim, all students of a private college.

Cop suspended for hurling condoms at Gulf man’s house

KANNUR: An SI who frequently hurled condoms at the house of a Gulf employee was suspended on Saturday. Soon after that a departmental inquiry was started under the supervision of the Circle Inspector. Based on the inquiry report, IG will initiate further action.

The action is being taken against Kannur control room SI and Kadamboor native Suresh Babu (50). He had thrown condoms at the house at Kadamboor. Unable to identify the culprit, the household members had installed a spy camera somewhere in front of their house.

The camera was however able to capture the visuals of the man throwing condoms on February 22. He came in the guise of an early morning walker and threw the condom. The housewife copied the visuals to a CD and handed it over to Edakkad police along with a written complaint.

Based on the complaint, the police filed a case and informed superior officers. District Police Chief P Harishankar later suspended Suresh Babu.

ar bribery: Petition against Babu will be heard on April 15

THRISSUR: Thiruvananthapuram Vigilance court has posted for April 15 the hearing of the petition seeking filing of a case against Excise Minister K Babu in the bar bribery case.

The petition had been submitted by writer Sara Jospeh. It is alleged in the petition that though clear evidence was available, preliminary investigation against him was torpedoed.

But the Vigilance court had submitted that the inquiry was conducted as per the directions of the high court, no solid evidence could be found.

Chandy not to oppose Sudheeran’s candidature in election

KOZHOKODE: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said he would not oppose KPCC president V M Sudheeran if he is chosen by the high command to contest in the coming Assembly election. “In that case I’ll accept the decision wholeheartedly,” he said.

“It is the high command which has to take a call on Sudheeran’s candidature. The Congress doesn’t have the practice of questioning the decision taken by the high command. In the election, the Congress and the UDF will fight it out unitedly. The government hopes that there would be continuity in governance. The allegations made by the Opposition have turned out to be false,” he said.

Chandy said the Opposition had no charges to be made against the government. “Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan’s participation in the poll fray will not affect UDF’s winning chance. Kerala’s government is the one that has implemented many a development programme. The people will certainly realise that fact,” he added.    

Film fraternity bids adieu to Rajesh Pillai

KOCHI: Rajesh Pillai, the man who made unforgettable movies like Traffic, Mili, Hridaythil Sookshikkan and Vettah was on Sunday given his last farewell by the film fraternity.

He was cremated at Ravipuram in Ernakulam at 10.30 am in the presence of his relatives and friends. Many from the film industry attended the last rites of Pillai.

Many paid homage to Pillai when his body was kept at Marine Plaza Association Hall from 8 am. Kunchacko Boban, Jayasurya, Sunny Wayne, Suresh Krishna, Prem Prakash, Siddique, Manju Warrier, Remya Nambeesan, directors Siddique, Lal Jose and many others paid homage to the departed soul.

Pillai, who was undergoing treatment for liver cirrhosis, died yesterday morning at 11.45 am.

Decision on contesting polls later, says VS

KOCHI: A decision on contesting the assembly polls will be taken later, said opposition leader V S Achuthanandan. He said this when the media asked him whether he would contest the polls. When the question was repeated, he just walked on without replying.

The central leadership had entrusted the state leadership to decide on the candidatures of VS and CPM politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan. This decision was taken after holding talks with the politburo members of Kerala. The state secretariat to be convened on Tuesday will discuss this issue and the state panel meet to be followed later will also discuss the same issue. Party general secretary Sitaram Yechury will attend the secretariat meet.

In the present situation, majority of the politburo members want both to contest the polls. Though some from the state leadership opined that VS should be kept away citing his age, the central leadership have disagreed it.

Chandy escapes unhurt after car falls into drain

KOTTAYAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy escaped unhurt when his official vehicle met with an accident Sunday early morning. His gunman Ashok sustained some minor injuries.  

The accident happened at Kanakkari near Ettumanoor early this morning at 2.30 am when the chief minister was returning to Kottayam from Malappuram. The vehicle skidded and overturned to a drain and then stopped after hitting a wall nearby. The gunman, who was in the front seat suffered mild injuries on his left arm.

I escaped surprisingly, the chief minister told reporters. I was asleep when the accident happened. Soon, those in his escort vehicle took him to Nattakom Guest House. The right side of the tyre got punctured and this was the reason stated for the accident.

Doctors from the general hospital came to the guest house and examined him in the morning. A police team led by district police chief Sathish Binoy reached the Guest House and collected details of the incident.

Pookutty wins Golden Reel Award for 'India's Daughter'

NEW DELHI: Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty has won a Golden Reel Award for the documentary film “India's Daughter”.

Pookutty was nominated in two categories at Motion Picture Sound Editors' 63rd annual Golden Reel Awards for the films "Unfreedom" and "India's Daughter", both of which are banned in India.

Pookutty won the award for Best Sound & Music Editing: Television Documentary Short Form.

"And we won the 63rd Golden Reel Award for 'India's Daughter'! First in Asia a Golden reel coming home to India!" Pookutty wrote on his Twitter page on Sunday.

Directed by Leslee Udwin, "India's Daughter" is about the gang-rape of a 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist, who was brutally assaulted on December 16, 2012 in a moving bus here. It kicked up a storm after one of the convicts Mukesh Singh was interviewed in Delhi's Tihar Jail.

Pookutty dedicated the award to "Nirbhaya's soul".

"Is it true that I really got it... It's for the true spirit of the youth of India. This goes to Nirbhaya's soul..!" he wrote in another Twitter post.

The award ceremony was held at Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Dr Soosa Pakiam asks political parties to make clear stand on liquor policy

KOCHI: Archbishop Dr Soosa Pakiam of Latin diocese Sunday asked political parties to make clear their stand on the liquor policy. Those opposing liquor ban should be defeated, he said while talking at an anti-liquor committee’s meet of KCBC.

Political parties should announce their stand on liquor ban. Nobody will be permitted to move back from the present liquor policy. There is nothing wrong in opposing those backing liquor consumption. Abstaining from liquor is not a way for liquor ban, he said.

CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran had earlier stated that KCBC’s stand on abstinence from alcoholic beverages is hoax.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Delhi court seeks report on Saritha’s allegation

NEW DELHI: Delhi court has sought report from Delhi police over solar scam accused Saritha S Nair’s allegation that she had handed over bribe to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in New Delhi. Delhi Tis Hazari court sought the report based on the petition filed by RSS worker Shine Sasidharan.

The plea was for inquiring into the allegation that as per the chief minister’s direction she had handed over the money to his aide Thomas Kuruvila at Chandni Chauk in New Delhi. The court also gave time till March 31 for submitting the report.
Saritha had deposed before the Solar Commission that she had handed over Rs 1.10 crore to Kuruvila at the parking area of the Chandni Chowk mall.

 The petitioner has pleaded for filing case against Oommen Chandy, Thomas Kuruvila and Saritha S Nair under Prevention of Corruption Act. “The conspiracy was hatched at Kerala house and the case should be handed over to a Central agency as it linked more than one state. The plea was made to the court as no action was taken on the complaint submitted to the police,” the petitioner said in his petition.

Director Rajesh Pillai passes away

KOCHI: Noted director Rajesh Pillai passed away on Saturday at a private hospital in Kochi . The director has been undergoing treatment for liver cirrhosis for quite some time now.

His new film Vetta, starring Manju Warrier and Kunchacko Boban, reached the theatres Friday. The director had had to undergo treatment in hospital several times in the course of the film’s shoot.

Rajesh Pillai debuted in film direction in 2005 with the film Hridayathil Sookshikkan. Following that, he directed Traffic in 2011 and it became super hit. Mili, starring Nivin Pauly and Amala Paul, was the film he directed before Vetta. In between the above films, he also completed the Hindi remake of Traffic. Megha Rajesh is his wife.

Justice rolls his eyes at Thampanoor Ravi

KOCHI: Solar Commission has harshly criticised Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s confidant and KPCC general secretary Thampanoor Ravi for not appearing before the Commission in the second consecutive day.

Even Ravi was bold enough to move a month’s leave application through his advocate and this irked the Commission chairman Justice Shivarajan, who used harsh terms to criticise Ravi. The Commission said the leave application was not credible and ordered Ravi to appear before it during the day or the next day.  

Earlier Ravi had informed the Commission via his advocate that he would not be able to attend the trial as his wife was not well. He also asked for a month’s leave from appearing before the Commission. But justice Shivarajan said the leave could not be granted and if he tried to bunk off, the Commission would explore other means to bring him before it.

Rajesh Pillai hospitalised in serious condition

KOCHI: Director Rajesh Pillai was admitted to a private hospital in Kochi on Friday as his health was in a serious condition. He is put on a ventilator.

For a long time he has been under treatment for liver cirrhosis. Ironically, his new film Vetta, starring Manju Warrier and Kunchacko Boban, reached the theatres today. The director had had to undergo treatment in hospital several times in the course of the film’s shoot.

Rajesh Pillai debuted in film direction in 2005 with the film Hridayathil Sookshikkan. Following that, he directed Traffic in 2011 and it became super hit. Mili, starring Nivin Pauly and Amala Paul, was the film he directed before Vetta. In between the above films, he also completed the Hindi remake of Traffic. Megha Rajesh is his wife.

Woman killed in accident

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A 75-year-old-woman was killed after hit by a KSRTC bus when she was crossing the road. The dead has been identified as Rukkiya Beevi of Nedumangad.

The accident happened near the Nandavanam Library Friday morning. Though she was rushed to medical college hospital, her life could not be saved.

The incident happened when she was on her way to the mosque. The traffic police has taken the bus into custody. 

Tempo fatally knocks down student

MAVELIKKARA: A student died after being hit by a speeding tempo van in Mavelikkara. The incident happened when the student identified as Rahul Raj, an ITI student, was waiting for the bus. The tempo ran over him.

He was a native of Chettikulangara in Mavelikkara. The incident happened on the Kayamkulam-Thiruvananthapuram national highway.

Online payment of taxes soon in village offices: Adoor Prakash

KOLLAM: Minister Adoor Prakash has said online facilities will be installed in all village offices in the State to make available online payment of land taxes.

As the first phase of the programme, 100 villages in Kottayam will get this facility, the inauguration of which will take place on Saturday.

The minister said this while inaugurating the new building of Kollam Taluk office. The ‘pokkuvaravu’ of registered property has also been made online as there were complaints about the delay in getting it done.                                                                                                                                                                                                  
The system of distributing 24 kinds of certificate online has become a role model for the entire nation. For rest of the days, special attention will be given to the development of basic facilities in flats used for rehabilitation of persons affected by tsunami, the minister has said.

The minister added that the attempt was to bring in timely changes to the department to make services easily available to the public.

Job after producing fake caste certificate, SC panel seeks action

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe Commission sought action against those acquiring jobs by producing fake certificates. The commission passed the order on the public interest plea submitted alleging that almost 110 persons have obtained jobs through it.

Scheduled Caste and Tribes Commission chairman Justice P N Vijaya Kumar requested the DGP to appoint a special team to probe the incident and submit a report within six months. The commission also sought a departmental inquiry.

SSLC exam from March 9 to 28

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: About 476373 students will take SSLC exam this time. In the exam to be held from March 9 to 28, there will be 4,74,267 students from regular schools and 2106 students from private category. The above information was given by Education Minister Abdu Rabb at a press conference here on Thursday.

As many as 484 students have registered to write exams in the old scheme. 2,33,034 will be girls and 2,41,233 will be boys who are getting ready for the exam. Among the regular students, 4,72921 are from Kerala, 583 are from Gulf countries, 813 are from Lakshadweep. 2903 centres have been arranged for the exam. Among the candidates, 3,20,854 are from Malayalam medium, 1,48,115 from English medium, 3135 from Kannada medium and 2163 from Tamil medium.

Saritha to move court after Solar commission trial

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Solar scam accused Saritha S Nair has said she will move court once the cross examination before the Solar Commission gets over. “I shall be seeking the court to order investigation into the solar scam based on the evidence I have submitted before the Commission,” she said.  

Saritha had made serious allegations against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Minister Aryadan Muhammed, in front of the Commission. She had handed over audio tapes and other documents including the ones in sealed cover to the Commission.  

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Newmans college girl injured after car hits her

THODUPUZHA: A girl student of Newmans College got injured after a car hit her. It was Gopika Vijayan who had met with the accident. The car had also hit another student in the college. Following the accident there was a tussle between students.

Reconstruction of Kalmandapam to be completed in time-bound manner

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The meeting held by Conservation committee at Ramanamatom on Thursday has recommended that the reconstruction of kalmandapam (stone platform) at the Padmatheertham pond be completed soon in a time-bound manner. The meeting also evaluated that there was no flaw in the demolition of the kalmandapam.

“The construction should be completed within 30 days under the direction of construction committee which should have representation from Archaeological department. The archaeological department should also oversee the construction. Any change in the construction plans should have the nod of Conservation Committee,” the meeting recommended.

The district collector is the chief of Construction committee.

The Executive officer handed over the detailed project report on reconstruction of the kalmandapam and cleaning of the pond to Conservation Committee.   

The meeting evaluated that the campaign that Kalmandapam was demolished in the night was not based on facts. The demolition started at around 4 in the evening and the CCTV footages showing this was exhibited during the meeting.   

The stone pillars were removed using expert workers from Myladi. Not only that, all stones removed from the mandapam are safely stored on the premises.

The picture of some stones of the kalmandapam which were about to fall apart was also exhibited during the meeting.
Meanwhile, Adithya Varma, a representative of royal palace, remarked that it was essential to properly maintain the Kalmandapam and the failure on the persons concerned to inform the Palace and the public was a mistake.

Suburban train service in Thiruvananthapuram

NEW DELHI: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said a suburban train service project would be executed in the capital city. The project would be similar to the Bengaluru model. Will hold talks with Kerala on it. The minister announced the project while presenting the budget.

Kerala had informed to bear half the expense for the formation of a special purpose vehicle for the project. As a new railway line is not practical in Kerala for the suburban service like Chennai and Mumbai cites, memu trains will run after arranging automatic signaling facility in the existing double line.

The Chenganoor railway station would be renovated as Sabarimala is a pilgrimage station. More facilities would be arranged for Sabarimala devotees. The travelling time from Thiruvananthapuram to Delhi would be reduced by eight hours, he said.

Petrol pumps to remain closed tomorrow

KOCHI: All petrol pumps of the state will remain closed tomorrow in protest against the death of a pump owner in Chenganoor. The decision was taken by the state panel of the Petroleum Traders Association. The pumps will remain closed from 6 am to 6 pm. Muraleedharan Nair (55) of Chenganoor and owner of Renu Auto Fuels died early Thursday morning. He was attacked by the goons on February 18th night and was undergoing treatment from then.

The strike is being staged as the government failed to take steps even after apprising the government about the attacks noticed in pumps, said association secretary Basheer M M. 

HC step not a setback for govt: Oommen Chandy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said the high court’s decision to consider the additional plea in the Lavalin case after two months is not a setback for the government. “When a case is considered, the judges concerned will make several kinds of remarks. All those are not the final word,” the chief minister said after today’s cabinet meeting.  

Chandy said the government was sticking to its old stand. “The UDF doesn’t have the custom of calling ‘Sindabadh’ to a favourable verdict and despising an unfavourable one. We are not here to answer each and every remark of the court,” he said.

When asked about Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala’s differences with others in the government over filing of additional petition, Chandy said he was not aware about it.  

Regarding reports on imminent split in the Kerala Congress, the chief minister said those reports were baseless. To a question, he said Kerala Congress would continue in the UDF. He also added that “in the two Rajya Sabha seats that will lie vacant, Congress and JD(U) will contest each seat and an understanding has been reached in this regard”.                                                                                                                                    

Lavalin: Govt’s plea put off for two months; Don’t use court for political benefits: HC

KOCHI: The additional petition filed by the government in the high court against the acquittal of CPM Politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan in the Lavalin case was put aside for consideration after two months.  

The bench headed by Justice P Ubaid clarified that the existing situation didn’t warrant the consideration of the petition on urgent basis. This has come as a major setback for the State government which had moved the high court for immediate consideration of the petition.

The court asked, “what was the situation that necessitated immediate consideration of the petition?”. “When there is a huge backlog of cases pertaining to the years from 2000, the government has come out with this plea for considering the Lavalin case,” the court observed and warned in strong terms, not to use the court for political gains.

The CBI and Crime Nandakumar had moved the high court against the acquittal of Pinarayi Vijayan in the Lavalin case.
Later, the government submitted an additional petition to consider the review petition with urgency.

The CBI and the government argued that there was criminal conspiracy behind the Lavalain scam and Pinarayi and other officials were acquitted in spite of clear evidence against them.  

According to the case, the government had incurred a heavy loss while awarding Rs 374.50 crore contract to Canadian company Lavalin for the renovation of hydroelectric projects at Pallivasal, Chenkulam and Panniyar.

In the case investigated by the CBI, the accused were acquitted on November 5, 2013.

Winson M Paul is next chief information commissioner

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state selection committee recommended to appoint former DGP Winson M Paul as the state’s next chief information commissioner. The decision was taken with the dissent note of opposition leader from the selection committee comprising Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Minister P K Kunhalikutty. The panel also announced the names of five information commissioners. VS expressed his dissent pointing the selection is being conducted by the panel without evaluating the applications properly.

Angathil Jayakumar, P R Devadas, Joy C Chirayil, Abdul Salam and Eby Kuriakose are the commissioners. A total of 269 applications came for consideration. When the selection committee was convened the other day, VS demanded to shortlist the names. Following that, the public administration secretary was entrusted for it and on the basis of that, the committee met here again today.

Paul will replace Siby Mathews retiring on April 23. There are no media persons in the list.

Lake encroachment: Court orders probe against actor Jayasurya

KOCHI: The Vattupuzha Vigilance Court Thursday ordered to conduct a probe against film actor Jayasurya on the allegation that he encroached land near Chelavannur Lake. The actor is the fifth accused in the case. The court has directed Moovattupuzha DySP to probe the case.

The Kochi Corporation secretary had earlier informed the court that he had encroached the lake. The report says that he had encroached more than three cents. The complaint is that he illegally constructed a boat jetty and a compound wall at the place near the Chelavannur Lake. The accused in the case are V R Raju, a native of Kalamassery and former secretary of Kochi Corporation, former assistant executive engineer N M George, present assistant executive engineer A Nizar, Kanayannur Taluk head surveyor Rajeev Joseph and the actor.

The complaint was lodged by social activist Girish Babu. The complaint is that the actor constructed the house there after flouting coastal zone regulation norms and municipal building rules. Corporation building inspector who inspected the place had given a report confirming the complaint. The corporation had in 2014 ordered to demolish the illegal construction. The complainant approached the vigilance court as no action followed.

Lavalin case: Plea against appearance of DGP T Asif Ali

KOCHI: A Francis, seventh accused in the Lavalin case, filed a plea in the Kerala High Court against DGP T Asif Ali appearing for the government.  Francis filed the plea at a time when the court is to consider the revision pleas of those including the CBI against CBI court’s order acquitting many including Pinarayi Vijayan in the case.

The court earlier ordered a CBI probe in the Lavalin case on the complaint of T Asif Ali. The governor later permitted to prosecute those including Pinarayi on the complaint of Asif Ali. After hiding these facts, DGP misused his post and filed a sub plea in the court to consider the revision plea earlier, Francis’ plea said.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

No problems with Joseph, says K M Mani

NEW DELHI: Kerala Congress (Mani) chairman K M Mani Wednesday denied the news over the problems with the Joseph Group. Mani said there are no differences of opinion amongst us. Some are creating the news to bring confusion in the party, he told reporters here.

Mani said Joseph has never told me that they are being neglected in the party. There is no situation for such a complaint. Joseph has not given a letter to the chief minister requesting to consider them as special party. There are no two sections like the Mani Group or the Joseph Group in the Kerala Congress. The party is moving forward unitedly. The UDF has the responsibility to hold discussions on seat allocation. So far, no such discussions were held. Both of us will hold discussions and after that will hold talks with the UDF, Mani explained.

When pointed that MLAs including that of Joseph Group were not present in the strike staged against the fall in the price of rubber, he said they were not present as advised by him. When the assembly session is on, the MLAs should be present there. I came here as the party chairman, he said.

Sudheeran condemns attack on T N Prathapan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: KPCC chief V M Sudheeran strongly protested the attack on T N Prathapan MLA at Puthenchira. He said that he strongly protest the attack of CPM leaders towards Prathapan.

The attack on a people’s representative was staged in the presence of responsible leaders.

This is the last biggest incident indicating the CPM’s style of political violence. They will have to pay a heavy price if not willing to withdraw from it, he said. 

Joseph, Chandy dismiss report over letter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Minister P J Joseph and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy have dismissed reports that the former had given a letter to the latter, for allowing the Joseph group in Kerala Congress to continue as a special party in the UDF.

But, Joseph said there are some issues within the party and attempts are going on to resolve that. “It is natural for any party or group to ask for more seats,” he said.   

The chief minister also confirmed that Joseph had not given any letter to him. “I came to know about it only when Mani called me from Delhi to ask about the report. If something appears as breaking news in channels, it need not be true. At least from now onwards, channels should stop baffling people,” Chandy quipped.

Jayarajan admitted to Sree Chithra Medical Centre

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CPM Kannur district Secretary P Jayarajan, who has been in remand in connection with Kathiroor murder case, was today admitted to Sree Chithra Medical Centre at Thiruvananthapuram.  

The ambulance carrying Jayarajan reached the hospital at around 8:30 pm. While he was being shifted to Thiruvananhapuram from Kozhikode, he developed chest pain and he was admitted to Ernakulam General Hospital around 12.20 pm. There he was kept in critical care unit of Cardiology department.

After an hour’s observation there, he was sent to Thiruvananthapuram with medications prescribed from the Kozhikode hospital. The ambulance left for Thiruvananthapuram at 1:55 pm

However, the ambulance had met with an accident yesterday night at Thrissur. The bus had hit a culvert near Amala Medical College following which, he was admitted to Amala Medical College.

Meanwhile, CPM has come out alleging conspiracy behind the accident but the driver told media persons that the bus veered off and hit the culvert after both tyres got punctured.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Four arrested for abducting of minor

KOCHI: Police arrested a four-member gang for allegedly abducting a minor girl at Aluva, in the district. The Class IX girl, aged 15, who went missing since Friday night, was traced from Aluva along with the four accused, Edathala police told UNI. The arrested have been identified as Kailas (20), Akhil (24), Deepu (20) and Azharuddin (22), police said, adding, they were produced before the court and released on bail. Police also said Kailas had been in a relationship with the girl since two years and her parents warned here on several occasions. "The girl and the accused persons were found in suspicious circumstances at Aluva town at a restaurant on Saturday night. When questioned, the girl said that she eloped with Kailas, who had promised to marry her. The accused were booked for kidnapping as the girl is a minor," the sources added. The police, however, ruled out chances of molestation or physical abuse of the girl by the accused persons.

President to inaugurate India's first gender park in Kozhikode

KOZHIKODE: President Pranab Mukherjee will inaugurate the country's first  "Gender Park" during a visit to Kerala at the end of this week.

President Mukherjee will inaugurate the 24-acre park in Kozhikode on February 27. The main aim of the park will be to promote research and other initiatives to facilitate complete gender equality.

The Department of Social Justice of the government in cooperation with academia and civil society has been instrumental in creating this common platform to address various gender issues.

A gender institute in the park would focus on learning, research and capacity development, as part of supporting the efforts of the state and central governments in ensuring an inclusive, discrimination free society.

The institute would cover issues pertaining to all three genders as per the 2015 gender and transgender policies of the state government.

The authorities have the plan to link knowledge creation to policy-making through a multi-disciplinary research and learning process and, eventually, turn the park into the first Gender University in the country.

The complex has been christened as the "Thantedam Gender Park" and it has come up at Vellimadukunnu in Kerala's Kozhikkode District. The foundation stone of the park was laid on March 8, 2013.

Journalist assaulted

KOCHI: The Eloor police have launched a probe into the alleged assault of a journalist working with a vernacular daily by two men at Kalamassery. S Sreejith, reporter of Janmabhumi daily was attacked by motorcycle borne men on Monday evening. The incident took place at around 7 pm on Monday when Sreejith was travelling on Kalamassery-Manjummel road on a motorcycle along with another person. As per the complaint, two men who came on a two-wheeler blocked his way, punched him on the face after verifying his whereabouts and left the scene.

The incident is regarded as the latest in a series of attacks by goons against residents of Vidakkuzha near Kalamassery. Recently, a resident from the locality was attacked by the crew of a septic tank cleaning truck when he questioned them for disposing the waste in open space. A couple was also assaulted by unidentified men after they spoke to a news channel on unauthorised use of heavy duty vehicles by a company at Vidakkuzha on narrow roads.

Palkulangara temple pond to be renovated

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Health and Devaswom Minister V S Sivakumar has said that the pond of the Palkulangara Sree Bhagavathy Temple will soon be renovated. The project will be undertaken by utilizing Rs 32 lakh, of which Rs 18 lakh will be obtained from the government’s scheme to preserve temples and ponds. In addition, the temple ‘gopuram’ will be renovated at a cost of Rs 12 lakh. The minister made the announcements while opening the temple pond for the devotees. He directed the Devaswom Board chief engineer to install sufficient lighting. He added that the ‘nadapanthal’ (roofed footpath) on the temple premises had been renovated at a cost of Rs.3 lakh, according to an official release.

VS asks Chandy to step down

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has sought Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s resignation in the wake of the Thrissur Vigilance Court’s observation that he was in the know of the palmolein import deal. In a statement, VS said the vigilance court’s observation was a major blow for Chandy and a repetition of what the former Thiruvananthapuram Vigilance Court’s finding on the subject. The trial in the case can continue without any hitch only if Chandy steps down. Otherwise, all attempts will be made to subvert the case through misuse of power, he said. VS said he would go in appeal against the Vigilance Court’s decision to exonerate former Chief Secretary Padmakumar and former Additional Chief Secretary Zacharia Mathew.

Shifting Jayarajan unexpectedly to capital city suspicious, says Pinarayi

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government’s action to shift CPM Kannur district secretary P Jayarajan unexpectedly to Thiruvananthapuram without considering his health condition is suspicious, said CPM politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan. He posted in the Facebook that the ambulance carrying the leader meeting with an accident causes severe anxiety.

Pinarayi said Jayarajan is not in a serious condition. The decision to shift him to the capital city was taken as he needed better treatment but it should not be taken in haste. However, why was he shifted midnight without enough security and also without permitting him to sleep? Jayarajan is under treatment from 1999 onwards. The CBI’s rush to get him in custody and shifting him midnight is found to be suspicious.

VSDP protests at visitors’ gallery in assembly

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The watch and ward detained VSDP activists for shouting slogans in the assembly against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on reservation issue.

our activists including VSDP state secretary Joy Punnakkadan and his 11-year-old-son shouted slogans at the gallery. They protested when the zero hour began soon after the question hour.

They alleged that the chief minister cheated them without fulfilling the assurance given to the community on reservation. They were immediately detained by the watch and wards.

Case against M M Mani for threat speech

CHERUTHONY: The Idukki police has registered a case against CPM state secretariat member M M Mani for his controversial speech again.

A case has been registered against him for threatening the police, hurling abuses and disrupting duty etc. He made the controversial speech on Saturday at the Cheruthoni Town.

His speech criticized the woman principal of Painav Polytechnic and also threatened the Idukki sub inspector.

P Jayarajan admitted at Amala Medical College after accident

THRISSUR: The ambulance carrying CPM Kannur district secretary P Jayarajan, remanded in the Kathiroor Manoj murder case, met with an accident while he was being shifted to Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) in Thiruvananthapuram late Tuesday night. The ambulance hit a culvert at the over bridge near the Amala Medical College. Jayarajan has been admitted at the Amala Medical College after the accident. The two tyres on the left side of the ambulance deflated.

The ambulance arranged by the police left Kozhikode Medical College at 11 pm last night. Their plan was to teach the capital city early Wednesday morning. They left in the night in order to avoid problems on the way.

None of Jayarajan’s relatives were in the ambulance. He was brought like that as he was an accused remanded.

Meanwhile,CPMactivists reached the hospital after knowing the incident. The doctors of the Amala Hospital said they can continue journey as his health condition is stable. Though the police tried to continue journey, the activists stopped it. The party activists said they can continue journey only after Jayarajan’s wife, other relatives and M V Jayarajan reach the hospital. M V Jayarajan will reach the hospital soon.

Two killed in bus-lorry collision

THRISSUR: Two persons were killed and seven sustained injuries when a KSRTC low floor bus and a lorry collided at Kecheri Wednesday morning at 5 am. The dead has been identified as P S Kumar, the bus driver and a native of Vellayani in the capital city and Dominic, the lorry driver and a native of Haryana.

The bodies of the two are kept in a hospital in the district. The accident happened when the bus proceeding to Kozhikode from Thrissur collided with the lorry coming in the opposite direction. Only ten passengers were in the bus.

Hartal in Iringalakkuda, Kodungallur tomorrow

THRISSUR: LDF has called for hartal in Iringalakkuda constituency tomorrow ( Wednesday) in protest against alleged police assault on LDF activists. It will be a 6 am to-6 pm hartal.

 The police had allegedly wielded lathis and fired water canons against LDF activists who had waved black flags at the chief minister on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the UDF will observe hartal in Kodungallur constituency after Left activists allegedly stoned Congress MLA T.N. Prathapan's car at Mala in Thrissur. The MLA however managed to escape unhurt.

Important personalities offer Pongala

Popular social figures from different walks of life and their family members took part in the Attukal Pongala festival that concluded today. There are some film stars who come all the way here every year to make their offerings to Attukal devi. Most of those were present this time, too.

Congress leader A K Antony’s wife Elizabeth, like during the last year, had come to offer Pongala this time also. She was spotted at Eswara Vilasam Road. She said she dedicated the pongala to Women’s empowerment. Governor P Sathasivam’s wife Saraswathy Sathasivam, Ministers K P Mohanan’s wife Hemaja, K Babu’s wife Geetha and V S Sivakumar’s wife Sindhu offered Pongala.

.A group of about 50 women from Kannur sat in front of minister Mohanan’s house for the ritual. Saraswathy Sathasivam sat in front of Attukal Devi temple and Mahila Congress State president Bindhu Krishna sat near Chattampi Swami memorial on the temple premises. 

Tamil actor and director K Bhagyaraj’s son Shanthanu and wife Keerthy were seen sitting near S P Grand Days hotel to offer Pongala. Actor Suresh Gopi’s son Madhav Suresh offered Pongala, but he said it was for all tenth standard students’ success in examinations. Actresses Chippi, Radha, Jalaja, Vithubala, Sona Nair and singer Rajaleskhmi were also present. 

Palmolein: Chandy has seen file, says vigilance court

THRISSUR: The Thrissur Vigilance Court verbally stated that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy cannot detach himself in the palmolein case. Vigilance judge S S Vasan said the file in connection with the palmolein import was seen by the then finance minister Chandy. The court made the statement while permitting the removal plea of former chief secretary K Padma Kumar and additional chief secretary Zacharia Mathew, accused in the case.

Chandy had signed the file as the then finance minister and so he cannot say that he has not seen the file. In such a situation, he cannot put the blame on the officials. The additional chief secretary had noted that the finance minister has to see the file. The decisions of the cabinet and the government are executed by the officials, the court pointed.

Chandy was included as the 23rd witness in the case. With the acquittal of the two accused, there are now five accused in the case.

P Jayarajan will be shifted to Sree Chitra hospital

KOZHIKODE: CPM Kannur district secretary P Jayarajan, who was recently arrested in connection with Kathiroor Manoj murder case, will be shifted to Sri Chitra hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. But a decision has not been take on the means of transport to be used for shifting the leader.

Jayrajan will be shifted on Tuesday when the city will be witnessing Pongala festival in which lakhs of devotees are expected to partake. He is currently admitted to Kozhikode Medical College.

Jayarajan was shifted to Kozhikode Medical College on February 15. The other day he had criticised the CBI report, saying that it was the one prepared under duress. The report had said Jayarajan didn’t have any serious health issue, but the CPM leaders who visited him said he had several diseases.

He had been detected with kidney stone and the physiotherapy is continuing on him.

Online sex racket: Dileep Khan's bail plea rejected

KOCHI: The high court has rejected the bail plea of Ernakulam Pinarmunda native K M Dileep Khan, an accused in the online sex racket headed by Rahul Pasupalan and his wife.

Countering the bail application on Monday, the prosecution argued that Dileep had trafficked many victims to foreign countries and "many among them are still being sexually exploited in those countries".

Following this argument, Justice Sunil Thomas denied the bail plea. 

High Command will decide everything: CM

NEW DELHI: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said today that matters like who would lead the UDF in the coming Assembly election would be decided by the Congress High Command.

“The Congress has its own system for choosing its candidates and whatever is its decision, nobody will question it. That has been the party custom,” he said at a press conference here on Monday.

He said the Congress and the UDF were going to face the election with confidence. The Congress also had the feeling that it would win the election. “All used to say that a Front that hinges on the thin majority of two MLAs will be short-lived. But the government is going to complete five years now. The Opposition has been trying to dent the government’s image by creating controversies. The government moved on upholding the slogan ‘Development and precaution’. The government could do many useful things for the people,” he said.

Will not permit to question Jayarajan in custody, says Pinarayi

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CPM politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan Tuesday visited CPM Kannur district secretary P Jayarajan, remanded in the Kathiroor Manoj murder case, undergoing treatment at the Kozhikode Medical College. The CBI is functioning for political interests. The CBI should drop their move to question him by taking into account his health condition. The party will not permit to question him in custody, he said.

It was the decision of the RSS and not the CBI to make him an accused in the case. Making him an accused in the case shows the bankruptcy of the CBI. If necessary, they can question him in front of the doctors in the hospital, he said.

Woman commits suicide along with kid

IDUKKI: In a shocking incident, a 27-year-old-baby committed suicide by jumping into a pond along with her baby. The woman has been identified as Saneesha of Thopramkudi and her two-year-old son as Devadath. The two were found dead at her neighbour’s pond Tuesday morning.

Her husband Anish (34) had died in an accident at Perumbavoor last month. After her husband’s death, she was mentally depressed and had tried to commit suicide many times. She took the extreme step on the 41st day of her husband’s death. She was found missing since last night.  Though a massive search was conducted, she was not traced. The bodies of the two were found in the pond this morning. She had tied her son to her own body in a shawl.

Winning chance, people’s acceptance credentials for cong candidates: Chennithala

KOCHI: Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala has said the credentials for a leader to be considered for candidacy in the Congress is his or her winning chance and acceptance among the people. The Congress doesn’t have the practice of approaching the election with the candidates declared by the chief minister.

“The Congress high command has given instruction to the leaders to lead the Congress collectively. When it is said that youths should be given more representation, it doesn’t mean that those who have won four times should keep off the contest,”Chennithala said, adding that no talks were held with BJDS over alliance.

Where is evidence against Jayarajan? Court raps CBI

THALASSERY: Thalassery Session court has criticised the CBI in Kathiroor Manoj murder case, saying that all submissions it had made against CPM Kannur District Secretary P Jayarajan till date were just allegations. “Where is the evidence against Jayararajan?” the court asked the CBI.

The court said it would consider on February 29 the CBI’s plea for Jayarajan’s custody.    

Lakhs offer pongala to Attukal Devi

THIRUVANATHAPURAM: Lakh of women offered pongala to Attukal Devi known as Women’s Sabarimala, turning the capital city into a yagashala.

Countless women, filled with fervent devotion, congregated in the city to offer pongala to Attukal Devi. Rows and rows of earthen pots dotted the temple premises, streets, bylanes, railway station, bus station and shop fronts on the day of Pongala.

The ritual for the pongala started at 10 am when the chief priest of Attukal Devi temple lit the main hearth (pandara aduppu) from the fire brought from the sreekovil. The fire was then passed on from hearth to hearth.

The devotees then prepared the pongala offering of boiled rice and jaggery, chanting devi mantras and waiting for the mixture to spill over the pot. At 1.30 pm, holy water was sprinkled on all the pongala pots. Around 250 priests were deployed across the city to sprinkle the holy water.

All the main roads were congested with devotees

Man beaten to death after mistaken as thief

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A 34-year-old youth was allegedly beaten to death after mistaken for a thief. The youth, a native of Tamil Nadu, was handed over to the police by the local residents after thrashing him. The youth has been identified as Yesudas of Ambasamudram. The incident happened early Tuesday morning at Poonthura.

Yesudas and his family were living in a rented house near Manikyavilakam. Yesudas, who was under treatment for alcohol, went out early morning to attend nature’s call. When he was spotted near the premises of Yogeshan’s house, they mistook him as a thief and created a commotion. He was beaten severely by the local residents and then handed him over to the police. By the time he was taken to the General Hospital, he was confirmed dead. The body has been shifted to medical college hospital for post mortem. Yogeshanan, Sanu and Anoop have been taken into custody in connection with the incident.

Two acquitted in Palmolein case

THRISSUR: The Thrissur Vigilance Court Tuesday convicted former chief secretary K Padma Kumar and additional chief secretary Zacharia Mathew, accused in the Palmolein case. The court passed the order while considering the removal pleas of the two. Meantime, chief secretary Jiji Thomson and former food minister T H Mustafa will continue as accused as the court did not consider their removal pleas.

Apart from the two, other accused are P J Thomas, the then civil supplies secretary and Sadasivan and Sivaramakrishnan, officials of the Palmolein Company.

The two were acquitted at a time the trial in the case is set to begin. The vigilance had made Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, a witness.
The Supreme Court had earlier rejected Mustafa’s plea seeking a stay on high court’s verdict that the case cannot be withdrawn. The court directive was that the case cannot be withdrawn as it has political importance.

Monday, February 22, 2016

‘Star shine’ in Pongala this time too!

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  Despite the absence of the late actress Kalpana, who was a frequenter to Ponagala venue, a number of  film-TV personalities will turn up to offer Pongala to the presiding deity of Attukal Temple this time also.

Yesteryear actresses such as Vidhubala, Chippi, serial actresses Karthika and Sudha Nair will offer Pongala on the premises of Gouri Vandanam hotel.

Actress Annie will offer Pongala from her cousin’s house near Attukal temple. Annie’s private sorrow is that this time, late Music director Rajamani’s wife Beena will not be present.

Script writer S N Swami’s wife Uma who was another frequenter also won’t take part due to ill-health. Annie expects film actresses Archana and Manka Mahesh, who were present last time, to come this time, as well.    

MP K C Venugopal’s wife Dr Asha and film producer P V Gangadharan’s wife Sherin Gangadharan will make the Pongala offering near Gouri Vandanam this time.

Youth stabbed to death

KOTTAYAM: A middle-aged man stabbed his friend to death for questioning catching fish mixing poison in the small canal. Another friend too sustained injuries when he intervened. The incident happened last night at Mundakkayam. The dead has been identified as Mahesh of Kombukuthi. The accused aged 45 has been identified as Saji of Kombukuthi. Mahesh died on the spot itself.

Madhu (43) who sustained injuries has been admitted at the MMT Hospital. His condition is stated to be stable. Saji fled the place soon after the incident. After the inquest by a team led by Kanjirappally circle inspector V P Mohanlal, the body has been shifted to the mortuary of Kottayam Medical College for post mortem. Saji and Mahesh came to catch fish. Mahesh opposed when Saji mixed poison in the water. Soon Saji took the knife and stabbed him. Madhu was stabbed when the intervened in the scuffle. 

Saritha absent again; Solar commission gives two days’ time

KOCHI: Solar scam accused Saritha S Nair didn’t appear before the Solar Commission today also. She had given a letter yesterday stating that she would not be present for witness’ examination on Monday. At the same time, she expressed her readiness to attend the sitting on any day after February 23. But Justice Sivarajan Commission ordered her to be present on February 24 itself. “In case she fails to appear on that day, legal procedures will be initiated against Saritha,” the Commission warned.

In the application, Saritha had mentioned that she would not be appearing for the trial as her doctor had advised her a week’s sound rest.  

Saritha who appeared before the Commission on February 18 skipped the cross examination citing throat pain. Granting her excuse, the Commission also harshly criticised Saritha’s allegedly deliberate attempt to prolong the trial.

Meanwhile, former Thrissur Range IG T J Jose will be examined by the Commission today. Former Jail DGP Alexamnder Jacob had deposed before the Commission that Jose had destroyed Saritha’s phone calls. The Commission’s decision to examine Jose came after this.

Doctors seek expert opinion on P Jayarajan

HALASSERY: The medical report submitted by the doctors of Kozhikode Medical College has recommended to seek the opinion of expert doctors on the health condition of CPM Kannur district secretary P Jayarajan, remanded in the Kathiroor Manoj murder case.

Jayarajan suffering chest pain at times should be seen seriously. The report has also stated that if necessary he should be given treatment at a super specialty hospital. At present, his health condition is okay.  

The CBI had withdrawn from seeking his custody for interrogation as his health condition was not satisfactory. They later filed a plea at the Thalassery court seeking his custody.

The CBI had earlier argued in the court that he has no health problems. However, the CBI failed to produce the medical court demanded by the court. The court will consider the case again on February 25.

Director Vinayan takes exception to Mohanlal’s blog

KOCHI: Director Vinayan has come out to criticise actor Mohanlal for his blog post censuring JNU agitation. Vinayan said Mohanlal’s statement would only be instrumental in the political exploitation of the situation.  

“If we have to live in an undying India, not just brave soldiers’ mental strength is enough, the administrators should also have the maturity to hold Indians together, irrespective of their caste or religion. The people should also be able to conceive that,” Vinayan wrote on his post.

Vinayan has demanded that discriminative activities that have the potential to push the country into another partition be not allowed. “If some people try to destroy our nation in the name of communalism, it will be a big wrong done to the souls of jawans who had sacrificed their life for protecting the nation.  India is a country of pluralism. All people here, be they Hindus, Muslims or Christians, have the right to express their opinion freely. That is what makes India different from other nations. That is also its power,” Vinayan opined.

Mohanlal had commented that parents should send their children to universities of culture.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Govt misleading people in Smart City, says VS

KOCHI: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is trying to mislead the people in the name of Smart City, said opposition leader V S Achuthanandan.The area of the Smart City is very less as claimed by the project, he said.

The government had stated that the first IT building would be of 650,000 square feet. However, the current building is less than that.

When asked about Joseph Group coming to LDF, he said that he will respond then.

Major fire at Western India Plywoods

KANNUR: A major fire broke out at the Western India Plywood Factory at Valapattanam in the district at 2.30 am early Monday morning. No casualty has been reported.

Fire force team from Kannur, Thalipparambu and Payyannur reached the spot and extinguished the fire completely. Loss of millions has been estimated.

Hundreds of plywood sheets manufactured in the factory and machines worth lakh have been gutted in the fire. Preliminary reports say short circuit is the reason for the fire.

Again Dileep-Kavya 'marriage'!

It seems the social media nuts are never tired of gossiping about the marriage stories of Kavya Madhavan and Dileep. Now comes 2016 special – ‘Today is February 17. Both got married at Guruvayur temple. Today’s is the rarest of rare auspicious occasions, the reason why they got married today itself,” – this has been the latest contribution from online gossipers. 

However, we checked with sources close to Dileep and Kavya just to find that both were busy with their own activities during the day, in different corners of the earth. 

Dileep is in Dubai for the shoot of his new film King Lear while Kavya is busy with her business in Ernakulam.
Dileep and Kavya have not bothered to respond to the gossips. “Earlier also, similar reports have appeared about us. If we start answering each one of that, we’ll have time only for that,” both had once said. 

In a recent interview, Kavya said she was mentally prepared for a marriage but it won’t be an arranged marriage. “I shall not be able to marry one who sees me as a mere star without understanding the real me. I wish I could marry a person who is my friend first, lover next and husband last,” she had said.  

Will contest from Kuttanad, says Thomas Chandy

ALAPPUZHA: NCP leader Thomas Chandy MLA Sunday announced his ministerial berth and the portfolio even before the dates for the assembly polls were announced. He said that he has decided to contest the polls at the behest of the people of Kuttanad constituency and is sure to win. The CPM is not interested in the Kuttanad seat and so it is for the NCP.

If the LDF assumes power, as a leader of the party’s parliamentary party will ask for the irrigation department, he said. Whoever becomes minister from the party, the department will be handled by me, he said while talking to a private channel.

Murali not to contest if Vattiyoorkkavu not given

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: I will not contest the assembly polls if Vattiyoorkkavu is not given, said sitting MLA K Muraleedharan. If the party demands, I am ready to give the seat.  However, I will not contest from any other constituency, he said.

I am powerful in the CPI influential constituency. The congress will face another defeat if someone else contests here. One should be careful on the minus points and it is not the time for any group play. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, KPCC chief V M Sudheeran and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala will lead the polls, he added.

Johnny Nelloor demands four seats

KOCHI: The Kerala Congress (Jacob) Group will demand four seats in the assembly polls, said party chairman Johnny Nellloor. There is no compromise on Angamaly, Moovattupuzha and Piravom seats, he said. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has been informed about the seats, he said.

Group squabbles have escalated in Angamaly and so it is better to give the seat here to the allied party. It is not right to take over unilaterally the seats of the allied parties. He said that he along with Anoop Jacob would contest the polls. T M Jacob’s wife Daisy Jacob is not keen in contesting the polls, he said.

Vellappally lauds Chandy

ALAPPUZHA: SNDP Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan has come to the fore lauding Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.  He is an efficient chief minister the state has ever seen. Chandy was able to take everyone under one umbrella, he said.  

He said, “I am no one to opine on the policy of the BDJS in the assembly polls. I am just the general secretary of the SNDP. BDJS is not my party, it happened as part of the Samathwa Munnetta Yatra. There is no pact with the BJP. Holding discussions should not be seen as a deal, he added.