Monday, July 22, 2019

Vikram’s latest film ‘Kadaram Kondan’ gets banned in Malaysia

CHENNAI: Chiyan Vikram’s latest action-thriller Kadaram Kondan has been banned in Malaysia. Lotus Five Star AV, the movie’s distributor in Malaysia, has announced that the Malaysian Film Censor board has ordered to stall the release of the film in the country.

According to reports, the Malaysian censor board felt that the film portrays Malaysian police in bad light. The film, which was shot mostly in Malaysia, apparently shows the Malaysian police favouring criminals and corrupt politicians. At the same time, the Malaysian fans of the actor have started protesting against the film’s ban.

Kadaram Kondan, which also stars Akshara Hassan, Abi Hasan and Lena, is produced by actor Kamal Hassan. The film has been doing considerably good business in India since its release on Friday.

Heavy rain; Red alert issued in three districts while Orange alert in five districts

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Meteorological Department has issued Red alerts and Orange alerts in several districts of the state for the coming days. According to the department, the state will continue to receive heavy rains till Thursday.

While Kozhikode, Wayanad and Kannur districts have been issued Red alert, Orange alert has been announced for Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur, Malappuram and Kasargod. It has also informed that there will be strong winds blowing at the speed of over 50kmph and hence fishermen have been warned against going into the sea.

The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority warned that there are chances of landslides in the hilly areas. Earlier, the shutters of Peruvannamoozhi dam were raised following heavy rain. Two relief camps have been set up in Alappuzha due to heavy rainfall at the coastal villages of Arattupuzha and Kaattoor.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Who are the policemen who leaked information to RSS? Pinarayi should clarify, demands Chennithala

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala has responded to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s statement that certain policemen had betrayed the government during Sabarimala protests.

On Tuesday, during the meeting of police officers, who are in charge of the law and order, the chief minister said that there are certain policemen in the Kerala Police who had leaked the information from Sabarimala to the RSS.
Ramesh Chennithala on Wednesday demanded that Pinarayi Vijayan should be ready to disclose the names of those policemen who, according to the CM, had leaked the information.
“Since, the chief minister has publically declared that he had lost his trust in the police force, he should be ready to step down as the home minister. He is too weak to handle the home department.”
The chief minister had lashed out at the police during the meeting of police officers in charge of law and order.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

"He does not possess my glamour": Lal opens up about his son’s shortcomings

Lal, one of the busiest persons in the Malayalam film industry, often finds time to interact with his fans through his social media pages. Recently, he came up with an interesting reply when a fan asked him about his son’s shortcomings.

Lal jokingly said, “He does not possess my glamour nor is he of my age and most importantly he does not have a brilliant son named Jean like me.” Lal’s son Jean Paul Lal is one of the prominent young directors in Malayalam cinema and who has directed films such as Honey Bee, Hi I’m Tony and Honey Bee 2.

When another fan quizzed about his age the veteran director turned actor added that he is just a few years elder to actor Dulquer Salman.

I feel like I have just won Karunya Lottery, says actor Madhu

KOCHI: Actor Madhu, who is considered as a father-like figure in the Malayalam film industry, was recently seen inaugurating the new headquarters of Kerala Film Producers Association in Kochi along with Mammootty and Mohanlal.

The thespian actor was at his witty best while delivering the inaugural speech. While thanking the producers association for inviting him to the function, he added, “I feel like I have just won a Karunya Lottery.” Madhu reminded that without producers there will not be cinema.

Actors Mammootty and Mohanlal also addressed the gathering and recollected some of their warm experiences with the association. Kerala Film Producers Association president G Suresh Kumar, Treasurer Prem Prakash, South Indian Film Chamber Secretary Ravi Kottarakkara, producers Siyad Kokker, Antony Perumbavoor, directors Sibi Malayil and Kamal also attended the function.

"Lucifer impressed me, he excelled both in performance and looks": Samvritha lavishes praise on Mohanlal

Samvritha Sunil, who is making her comeback to Malayalam cinema through the film Satyam Paranjal Vishwasikkuvo, has lavished praise on superstar Mohanlal after watching his latest blockbuster Lucifer.

Samvritha said, “Mohanlal was excellent in Lucifer. It is one such film in which he excelled both in performance and looks.” She was speaking at a promotional event of her film.

Samvritha’s film Satyam Paranjal Vishwasikkuvo also has Biju Menon in the lead and is currently running successfully in theatres.

Minister M.M Mani’s request to pray for rain becomes viral

ERNAKULAM: Electricity minister M.M Mani’s latest speech urging people of all religious groups to pray for rain has become viral. The minister was speaking after inaugurating freshwater supply schemes in Paalakkuzha panchayat.

During his speech, the minister was quoted saying, “All of you should pray for abundant rainfall, or else conditions will worsen. People belonging to all religions may pray together so that there won’t be any deficiency in rain”. However, the minister also added that he won’t be praying as he strictly follows communist principles.

The minister’s speech was well-received by the social media and many interpreted that the minister was making fun of religious people in the name of rain. It must be noted that Minister Mani is often known for his witty remarks and sarcastic comments.

Earlier, KSEB officials had made it clear that the state won’t be facing power crisis till the end of this month despite low rainfall.

SFI to strongly oppose any attempts to destroy them politically

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The SFI Kerala leadership has come out accusing the RSS of attempting to tarnish the image of the latter by raising baseless allegations. SFI state secretary Sachin Dev and president V Vineesh were attending a press conference during which they launched criticism against the RSS.

The leadership said that those within the party who have committed mistakes will definitely pay the price. The federation will not make any compromise in it. However, they also added that the federation will strongly oppose all mischievous efforts by opposing forces to tarnish their political image.

The leadership also announced that students across different campuses will come forward to support the SFI while admitting that certain unit committees have caused students to protest against the federation.

Leftist leaders, activists reacted harshly on stabbing incident, can this spark foundational change in students' union?

Leftist leaders, activists reacted harshly on the stabbing incident. The student union is on a serious line of fire after the recent events. Let's look at some of the reactions of prominent left leaders and sympathists that are doing rounds on social media.

CPI(M) leader and Kerala Administrative Reforms Commission chairman V.S Achuthanandan launched criticism against Students’ Federation of India for promoting violence in college campuses. The remarks were made following the arrest of the SFI activists for attempting to murder a fellow student from the University College.

Achuthanandan pointed out that the federation is having serious issues in its foundation and it is the duty of the student fraternity to rectify these mistakes and move forward. He also criticized the leadership for propagating violence among the students and added that such leaders should not be followed.

CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan termed as ‘unfortunate’ on the incidents that happened in the University College. The party will not protect the accused. Strict action will be taken against the guilty and one should be cautious to avoid such incidents, he told reporters after visiting Akhil in the medical college hospital.

Kodiyeri said, “The party will not protect any of the accused. The police will decide on further steps as part of the probe. The party will not interfere in disrupting the activities of the investigating team. As a student organization, the SFI functions independently. There are CPM and non-CPM members in the organization. Usually the decision of the party is not imposed on the SFI. The organisation has the ability to take their own decisions independently.

Political enemies have been trying for some time to get the college shifted from there. There is no need to change the college just because of a scuffle. The incidents happened not just because the college was there. Caution is needed to avoid such incidents. Strict action will be taken against the guilty, he said.

Minister G. Sudhakaran lashed out against the accused SFI leaders in the murder attempt of third-year degree student Akhil at University College. He said that criminals should never be a part of the police force and there should be an investigation on how the accused became SFI office bearers.

Sudhakaran asked how such people do work for the organization with weapons. He added that the accused went into hiding because they have no sense of guilt. Two of the accused in the stabbing case, Nasim and Sivaranjith, are named in the police rank list.

Deepa Nishanth, the activist-writer made her opinion public through her facebook page.

Earlier, many raised criticism against Deepa and others for not reacting against the incident. They also pointed out Deepa was the first to raise her voice when SFI activist Abhimanyu was murdered by CFI and SDPI members.

Deepa, through her post, stated that she did know of the incident in University College but chose not to speak about it. She also took a jibe at her critics by stating that she does not seek their advice on how to spend her time.

According to her, the intentions of those who are demanding the dismissal of SFI are to be doubted as they plan to create a favorable ground for their own organisations in the campuses. The author also added that the SFI leadership has taken an appropriate stand regarding the issue and there need not be any further discussion on the topic.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Manju Warrier fails to fulfil promise, legal services authority sends notice

ALPETTA: The district legal services authority has sent a notice to actress Manju Warrier on the complaint of cheating after promising to build houses for adivasi families. The actress has been asked to appear in person at the Wayanad Legal Services Authority office on Monday.

The adivasis complaint is that Manju Warrier Foundation had promised to build houses for 57 families of Parakkuni Colony of Panamaram panchayat. The residents of the colony complained that they have not complied with it yet. The actress promised to build houses for them in 2017.

The floods in 2018 had caused extensive damage in the area. The colony residents said that after she promised to build houses for them, the government and panchayat officials denied all help for them.

Manju Warrier Foundation had earlier informed Legal Service Authority to either renovate the houses or an amount of Rs 10 lakh would be given to the families’ altogether. The colony residents did not accept this. Following that, the authority directed the actress to appear directly.

Dileep again turns ‘robber’

After 16 years, Dileep will again don the role of a robber. He will play robber Jack in the film Jack Daniel, to be directed by SL Puram Jayasurya.

Meesa Madhavan in which Dileep did the role of robber Madhavan was one of the big hits in Malayalam. The film catapulted him to superstardom.

This is the reason why fans await Dillep’s new robber avatar with anxiety.

Jack Daniel tells the story of Jack and Daniel. Tamil actor Arjun will do the role of Daniel. Arjun is a CBI officer. It is virtually a robber and police game between the two actors. Arjun has returned to Chennai after the completion of the shoot.

Njan Prakashan actress Anju Kurien is the heroine. Innocent, Janardhanan, Asokan, Devan, G Suresh Kumar, Saiju Kurup, Chali Pala, Manav and Ponnamma Babu are the main artistes in the film.

Five fight masters will work together for shooting fighting scenes. Peter Hein, Kanal Kannan, Supreme Sundar, Mafia Sasi and Irosh are overseeing various action scenes.

Sivakumar Vijayan will crank the camera and Shaan Rehman will look after the music part. Shibu Tameens is producing Jack Daniel for Thameens Films.

Drunk actresses in glamorous costumes, boyfriend with liplock kiss; Live video turns controversial

Yashika Aannand and Aishwarya Dutta, the glamorous contestants of Big Boss 2 Tamil have always been known for their rivalry inside the show. However, after the show, they got along well. Recently, the two celebrities had done a live video on the special occasion of celebrating their friendship. The video has now gone viral.

The women appeared in glamorous costumes in the live video. The netizens aren't impressed with the same. Some of the audiences have even lashed out at the celebrities asking them whether they were drunk. They are also criticized for their dressing and for posting such a video.

Apart from the girls, a bearded gentleman has also partied with them. Notably, this gentleman kissed Yashika in front of Aishwarya.

ICC World Cup Final: Nicholls departs, New Zealand 130/3 against England

LONDON: New Zealand, after electing to bat first on winning a crucial toss, have lost 3 wickets for 130 runs in 31 overs against the hosts England in the ICC Cricket World Cup final here on Sunday. After losing the opener Martin Guptill rather early, skipper Kane Williamson (30) and Henry Nicholls (55) steadied the innings for the Kiwis. But they lost 2 big wickets in Williamson and Nicholls in quick succession. England will look to build on this sudden momentum and take the game in their favour.

Ross Taylor (8*) and Tom Latham (2*) is at the crease.

Both the sides is playing an unchanged XI. Following are the squads:

New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, James Neesham, Tom Latham (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson

England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler(wk), Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood

England, the hosts, took 27 years to reach the final of the marquee tournament. Having failed on three occasions -- in 1979, 1987 and 1992, this English side displays a new brand of cricket. Under the leadership of Eoin Morgan, England team believes in being aggressive, taking the bowlers to cleaners, scoring highest possible total and producing nasty bouncers with commendable pace.

New Zealand entered their second consecutive World Cup final after defeating the table-topper India. With the surprising win, the Kiwis forced the world to believe in the unpredictable nature of the game and anybody can beat anybody regardless who holds the tag of favourites.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

University College conflict: SFI unit dismissed, leaders to face action

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The SFI unit in the University College campus has been dismissed following the incident of a student being stabbed during a conflict. The decision was taken by the SFI state committee. SFI also removed its seven members - A N Nazeem, Shivaranjith, Muhammad Ibrahim, Adwait, Amar and Aromal - who were accused in the case.

SFI state committee opined that its Thiruvananthapuram University College committee failed to work by gaining the acceptance of students or handle the wrong doings in the campus with maturity. The committee mentioned that the SFI tried to maintain peace and order inside the college campus and that action will be taken against all those working against it.

Meanwhile, the conflict that resulted in the stabbing was planned by SFI, the police said. However, the police were not able to catch any of the accused till now. Akhil was first beaten inside the union office. The police found that the union president Nasim and Amal held Akhil, who was stabbed by Shivaranjith.

The police conducted inspection inside different parts of the campus and the residences of the accused, but couldn’t find the accused. The police said that the accused must have left the district.

Meanwhile, the college principal announced that the accused students has been dismissed from the college.

Fed up of singing, dancing.... thought of quitting films, says Amala Paul

Even when Aadai’s trailer has become a highly debated topic in the cinema world, its lead actress Amala Paul says that she was planning to quit the film world.

“I didn’t see any character with a difference coming to me and so I seriously thought of stopping this business and go searching for some other new job,” she said in an interview given to a Tamil media.

Amala said that she had already become fed up of dancing, singing and doing romantic scenes with heroes. “It was when I was thinking seriously about quitting the film field came the synopsis of Adai, searching for me. I was dazed by it. Can a story be said in this way also? I began thinking... Immediately, I expressed my desire to meet its director Ratnakumar. That is how I landed the main role in Aadai

After that, several new odd characters came to me. Cadaver also was one such story that had thrilled me.

With that story, its director met many heroes but many were reluctant to say yes to the heroine-centric project. Initially, I also avoided that project as I was busy then. But the director insisted that I should be the heroine and I Okayed that project.

I think this is perhaps the first full-length film on the forensic subject. I’m also fortunate to be one of its producers,” explained Amala, who already has about five films in his kitty.

Police FIR says aim of SFI attackers was to kill Akhil; 'CPM intervened to hush up case'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The police have said in its FIR that SFI goons attacked Kerala University third year graduate student Akhol on Friday with the intention to kill him.

This was to settle scores with him for not obeying the instructions of the SFI unit committee. It was Sivaranjith who had stabbed on Akhil’s chest.
Police have prepared the FIR with the help of clear witness accounts. The statement of Akhil, who is under treatment in hospital, will be recorded on Saturday.

Meanwhile, it is said that attempts are being made by the SFI and CPM to get the attackers arrested and save their face. Akhil is still in the ICU after the operation, though there is a slight improvement in his condition.

In between, there are rumours that certain CPM leaders have been trying to contact Akhil’s father and CPM member Chandran in order to settle the case.

Chandran had said that he was not ready for any compromise and would strongly go ahead with the case. The family of Akhil had complained to the CPM when he was attacked earlier but no action was taken. Now, the family is in embarrassment as he has been attacked again.

Even when Chandran clarifies that he is a staunch CPM loyalist, the family is worried about the health condition of Akhil, who is also a powerlifting champion.

However, CPM district secretary Aanavoor Nagappan has refuted the allegation of Akhil’s father and said that he had not talked to the family regarding the case.


SFI district secretary Riyaz Wahab added that strong action would be taken against the culprits “The SFI would stand by students and move forward.”

Drunk police SP urinated inside jeep, created trouble for fellow officers; later faced disciplinary action

KOZHIKODE: A police SP created fuss and trouble for his fellow officers under the influence of liquor. Crime Branch SP who took charge of Kozhikode-Wayanad districts on June 10, went straight to a liquor outlet after arriving at the railway station. Fellow officers had arranged welcome programs for the SP. He then rented a room at a hotel and got drunk. As disciplinary action, the officer was sent to Thiruvananthapuram.

On noticing the behaviour of the SP, other officers thought he might be sick. But after finding a liquor bottle in the jeep, things became clear. The SP changed his stay to police club. He then said about the death a top cop’s brother. While inside the official vehicle, the influence of liquor got to his brain.

The SP puked inside the vehicle. He then urinated inside the vehicle on his return journey. The police driver had to clean all of this. On returning to the police club, he continued drinking for two days without reporting for duty. Commissioner received a complaint from the room supervisor on the incident. Officials from the commissioner officer found the SP in a drunken state, which was reported to higher authority. As the incident became public, the state special branch conducted a probe. After finding that the SP is accountable for all the fuss, he was sent to Crime Branch headquarters on June 23 as disciplinary action.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Girl jumping from Aroor bridge goes missing

AROOR: A girl jumping from Aroor-Kumbalam bridge on the Kochi-Alappuzha national highway has gone missing. The girl identified as Jisna Johnson, native of Eramalloor, jumped into the lake Friday morning at 7.30 am. A search by the fire force and police are progressing after informed by local residents of the area. She is a student of Cochin Technical College in Kaloor.

'How can I tell Rahul Gandhi not to enter my house?'

ARANMULA: For CPM loyalist and Aranmula Ezhikkadu colony Block 78 resident Raghunathan , the visit of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to his flood-ravaged house has apparently backfired. When the water receded, the mud below the basement of his house caved in, causing the building to tilt a bit. Cracks also appeared on the walls.
Though he gave application for financial aid to the CPM-ruled Panchayat and district collector three times, some time ago, he didn’t get any help. The only mistake he did for this ‘punishment’, according to him, was that Rahul Gandhi visited his house on August 28, during his visits to flood-affected regions in Kerala. After that, CPM workers started spreading the rumours that he had joined the Congress party.
Ironically, it was Ragunathan who took out his boat and rescued hundreds of people during the floods which had inundated most part of Ezhikkadu colony.
Actually, he had not invited Rahul but Rahul ran into his house and hugged him after hearing about his adventurous rescue acts from Congress workers.
Sitting inside his dilapidated house with his wife Renuka and children Sasikala and Rahul, Raghunathan asks: How can I tell Rahul Gandhi not to enter my house when he comes here?
Meanwhile, Panchayat president Aisha Purushothaman said, “flood relief money is being distributed in Aranmula but Raghunathan’s application has not come to our notice”.

Cash, gold recovered from Telangana revenue officer’s home

HYDERABAD: Telangana’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) arrested a woman official after Rs 93 lakh cash was recovered from her house.

V Lavanya, a Mandal Revenue Officer (MRO) of Keshampet in Ranga Reddy district, was taken into custody and produced before a magistrate.

The woman officer was found in possession of disproportionate assets worth Rs 1.07 crore.

Wads of cash, in the denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 and 40 tola gold were recovered during ACB raid on her house in Hayatnagar on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

This is said to be the first incident in the state in which such huge cash was seized from a government employee.

Her husband Venkatesh Nayak works in municipal administration department.

The ACB raid followed the arrest of Village Revenue Officer (VRO) Anantaya for taking bribe from a farmer, who had approached him for some work relating to official record of his nine acre land.

The VRO had demanded Rs 8 lakh bribe to do the work. The farmer, who had given Rs 30,000 as advance, complained to the ACB, which caught Anantaya red-handed by sending Rs 4 lakh to MRO office through the complainant.

During interrogation, Anantaya told ACB officials that Rs 3 lakh of the bribe was to go to Lavanya.

The agency raided the MRO’s house and recovered cash and gold.

ACB officials said they were investigating the record of Lavanya and her assets.

P T Thomas seeks CBI probe in Nedumkandam custodial death case

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: P T Thomas MLA has sought a CBI probe in the Nedumkandam custodial death case. This is in view of the circumstances that emerged after a judicial inquiry was called for in the assembly. Thomas came to the fore seeking a probe by an independent agency at a time when the UDF stated that a judicial inquiry is not sufficient in the police brutality case.

The opposition had sought a judicial probe in the assembly in the beginning. The role of government departments including jail and judiciary came to light after this. This proves that a probe of more seriousness is needed in it, opined Thomas.

The lapse in the post mortem which should have been the most important proof is quite serious. The intervention of former SP in Idukki is mysterious. When considering all these things, a CBI probe is inevitable. Either the party or the UDF should raise this, he said.

Govt’s ‘discount’ for Thomas Chandy, Lake Palace ordered to pay fine of Rs 34 only

ALAPPUZHA: Thomas Chandy has got a ‘discount’ from the government on the fine imposed for the illegal construction of his resort Lake Palace. The government rejected the decision of Alappuzha municipality slapping a fine of more than a crore for the resort.

The direction from the government was to slap only Rs 34 lakh instead of the fine imposed by the municipality. Additional chief secretary has released an order on it again.

It was previously decided to impose a fine on the illegal construction of Thomas Chandy's Lake Palace Resort. According to that, the municipality had first imposed a fine of Rs 2.76 crore but later was reduced to 1.17 crore.

Thomas Chandy had approached the state government against it. Following that, the government had released an order reducing the fine to 34 lakh. However, the municipality was not ready to approve it. The additional chief secretary issued an order again demanding to execute the decision of the government. The government has the authority to look into the proceedings of the land and the municipality secretary is responsible for implementing the decision of the government.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

I was aware of that scene, says Ahaana on lip lock with Tovino

Ahaana Krishna is on cloud nine. Daughter of Krishna Kumar, Ahaana Krishna’s latest flick with youth icon Tovina Thomas is running in packed houses in almost all the theatres. Her character Niharika has received much attention. She has now come forward with a response on her lip lock with Tovino. That scene comes naturally in the film and there is nothing unnatural in it, she said in an interview to an online site.Ahaana said the lip lock scene with Tovino comes naturally in the script. I was convinced without the director explaining about it. If the script is convincing then there will be no other problems. I was so engrossed in it while doing the character Niha. There was nothing unnatural in that scene when seen in theatres also. Family audience was there when I saw the film thrice. It was a well-made scene.

The first round of talks on the film started in 2017. The shooting of the film started after a wait of two years. I had read the script almost 150 times and had by heart every line of the script. She said she is happy with the success of the film..

Al Qaeda asks Kashmiri mujahideen to deal blows to Indian Army

NEW DELHI: Al Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri has released a 14-minute video titled “Don’t forget Kashmir” in which he asks ‘mujahideen’ in Kashmir to hit the Indian Army with “unrelenting blows”. In the video released by Al Qaeda’s media arm As Sahab, Zawahiri asks the mujahideen to “single-mindedly focus on inflicting unrelenting blows on the Indian Army and government, so as to bleed the Indian economy and make India suffer sustained losses in manpower and equipment”.

In the video, an image of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind’s (AGH) slain leader Zakir Musa, who was killed on May 23, is displayed as Zawahiri speaks. AGH is an affiliate of Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda had eulogized Musa after he was killed.

Some key parts of Zawahiri’s message echo a speech given by Musa’s successor Abdul Hameed Lelhari days ago.

Lelhari, a resident of Pulwama and a member of Islamist group Jamaat-Ahl-e-Hadith, had called for the establishment of a new shura council, independent from Pakistani intelligence, to decide on military operations in Kashmir.

He also accused a Pakistani “agency” of trying to rein in the jihad against the Indians by preventing big attacks.

He stressed that the jihad in Kashmir should aim to establish sharia or Islamic law, according to the FDD’s Long War Journal website, which reports on the war on terror.

Similarly, in his talk, Zawahiri says that the mujahideen must “liberate the Kashmiri jihad from the clutches of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies” such that the jihad is “for the sake of Allah” as opposed to a struggle “for the sake of international criminals”.

“After achieving this liberation,” Zawahiri says, “the mujahideen must plan their jihad by taking free and independent decisions that are guided by the principles of sharia.”

This is akin to Lelhari’s call for an independent shura council.

Zawahiri also accused Pakistan of betraying the jihadis in Afghanistan and Kashmir.

He accused the Pakistanis of selling out the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as well as the mujahideen and emigrants who served it.

The Al Qaeda leader implicitly concedes that the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment is willing to work with the jihadists but he casts this support in a negative light, the Long War Journal says.

“All the Pakistani Army and government are interested in is exploiting the mujahideen for specific political objectives, only to dump or persecute them later,” Zawahiri claims.

The “beneficiaries” of this policy are nothing more than a “bunch of traitors who fill their pockets with bribes and illegitimate wealth”.

For these reasons, Zawahiri argues, it is “impossible for these (Pakistani) agencies to support the Islamic cause, defend Muslims, or liberate their lands”.

Pakistan’s “conflict with India is essentially a secular rivalry over borders managed by the American intelligence”, he says.

A central theme in Zawahiri’s message is that the fight in Kashmir shouldn’t be thought of as separate conflict but as part of the ummah’s (worldwide community of Muslims) jihad against a vast array of forces.

The Al Qaeda chief calls on unnamed scholars to emphasize this point.

Zawahiri says the “mujahideen in Kashmir must communicate with the mujahideen in different parts of the world and ensure that their voice reaches them, so that the Kashmir issue is raised at the popular level within the ummah”.

Cabinet approves amendments in Kerala Administrative Service rules

THIRUVANNATHAPURAM: The Cabinet has decided to issue notification incorporating the amendments in Kerala Administrative Service rules that was submitted by the Law department after thorough scrutiny.

The amendment approved includes application of reservation principles in all three streams of recruitment. Earlier, reservation principle was applicable only to stream one.

Based on the amendments, the reservation facility will be provided in direct recruitment, appointment to non-gazetted posts by effecting transfers of existing personnel and the third for filling gazetted posts through redeployment.

Earlier, in the initial KAS rules order, the reservation was restricted to the 'direct stream' and there was no reservation in second and third streams where recruitment was made by transfer.

People’s representatives and several organisations had given memorandum to the government to make reservation applicable to second and third streams. It was then that decision was made to make amendments in accordance with Advocate General’s legal advice.

The Cabinet also accepted the terms of reference put forth by Retired Justice K Narayana Kurup Commission, which is probing the custodial death of Idukki Kolahala mettil Rajkumar. It was pointed out that any flaw from the part of any government official or others should be found out. Recommendations for avoiding such incidents in the future should also be submitted.

Police arrest youth who went naked to rob, abuse women

KOTTARAKKARA: A youth, who used to appear naked in houses and molested women, was arrested by police on Wednesday. Ippalloor Mukalil house resident Reju (23) was arrested by the Special squad of Rural SP.
Earlier, he has got arrested in POCSO cases and chain snatching cases. There have been instances wherein he went around naked during night hours, hid in the bathrooms of houses where only women and their daughters lived and molested or robbed them.
When women raised their voices, he used to cover the face and flee the spot. When the residents got fed up with him, they installed CCTV cameras around their houses.
The police were able to identify him from the CCTV visuals and carry out his arrest. The police said that Reju had earlier got arrested for abusing a minor girl. He had escaped from police custody then.


He had also been arrested in a case in which he attacked a retired police officer’s daughter and snatched her chain.

India crash out of World Cup Cricket after top order collapses


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India crash out of World Cup Cricket after top order collapses
With input from Agencies | Published on Wed 10 Jul 2019 07:28 PM IST

cricket

MANCHESTER: India's famed top-order imploded on a day when it mattered most as a gritty New Zealand survived a swift counter attack from Ravindra Jadeja to win an exciting World Cup semi-final by 18 runs, here Wednesday.
Indian top-order had one failure due and much to their horror, the semi-final proved to be their dooms day.
Jadeja (77 off 59 balls) used every ounce of his 'bits and pieces' skill but the 'men in blue' could only get as far as 221 in 49.3 overs in pursuit of 240.

New Zealand made it to their second successive final, with credit going to their pacers' -- Matt Henry (3/37) and Trent Boult's (2/42) -- deadly opening spell and Lockie Ferguson's steely nerve in the penultimate over.
The script was eerily similar to the 2015 World Cup semi-final and just like that evening in Sydney, skipper Virat Kohli was once again out cheaply and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (50) was stuck in the middle overs.
Mitchell Santner (2/34) bottled Dhoni up and there was too much left for Jadeja to do even as he smacked four sixes and four boundaries to raise hopes of a turnaround.
Call it irony, Dhoni, in what could be his last international innings, was run-out by a direct throw from Martin Guptill. This was after Dhoni and Jadeja raised visions of an improbable win after adding 116 runs for the seventh wicket, coming together at 92 for six.
Jadeja came in under overcast conditions when all looked lost and then wielded the willow like a sword, proving a point to critics like Sanjay Manjrekar in the most befitting manner.
Call it a déjà vu but at a time when Jadeja was scripting a near impossible recovery, Kapil Dev was at the Neville Ground in Tunbridge Wells, where it all changed for Indian cricket one morning.
After his angry 140 character rant on social media, it was time for a 24-carat performance. Jadeja let his game do the talking as Kohli couldn't have asked for a better all-round effort.
He also took one wicket in 10 overs with his left-arm orthodox spin. But the recovery post 24 for four was wee bit too much.

The chase wasn't a big one but Henry's first spell did upset the applecart once and for all.
Man of the Moment, Rohit Sharma (1) got a delivery from Henry that squared him up as it straightened after pitching. The nick was taken by Tom Latham.

Kohli (1) looked edgy against Boult, who angled a couple across the Indian captain before bringing his stock delivery that swung in.
KL Rahul (1) has never been comfortable against quality seam and swing bowling. It was no different today as Henry bowled one on the good length that deviated late and the opener failed to take his bat away with Latham taking a diving catch.
At 5 for 3, India have had their worst start of the tournament and it just got even worse when Jimmy Neesham's outstanding effort at backward point ended Dinesh Karthik's (6 off 25 balls) misery.
Rishabh Pant (32) and Hardik Pandya (32) then steadied the ship with a 47 run stand with the left-hander hitting some crisp drives through the off-side cordon.

Just when they seemed to have got settled, Pant's impetuosity cost India dearly as his slog sweep was taken by Colin de Grandhomme off Santner.
When Pandya was also gone, trying to slog Santner, the end looked near but Jadeja, who joined Dhoni had other ideas.
Earlier, New Zealand's struggles continued on a fresh day as they finished on 239 for 8.
Resuming at 211 for 5, the Black Caps could add only 28 runs to their overnight tally with a single boundary being hit off the remaining 23 balls.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Truth behind the video circulating on Mohanlal

A video of Mohanlal has gone viral in the social media. A video of the actor shouting during the general body meeting of AMMA has gone viral. But to whom did Mohanlal actually say this? Many thought he yelled to his co-stars during the meeting. This is the real reason behind the video circulating.

Mohanlal was talking about the cake that was brought for the celebration after the event. His dialogue was not to lean on that cake. The video was widely circulated on social media as his argument with colleagues. The incident happened during the meeting convened in Ernakulam. He said the dialogue while talking to his friends and co-stars.

Meantime, the actor is now busy with the shooting of Ittimani: Made in China, which is an Onam release. The film is produced by Antony Perumbavoor under the banner of Aashirwad Cinemas. The film is jointly directed by debutants Jibi and Joju.

Severe power crisis looms large; stringent regulations likely within 10 days

DUKKI: Minister M M Mani has said tough regulations will have to be imposed in the State within the next ten days. “The crisis is looming large and as per the present condition, power regulations will have to be imposed from half an hour to one hour,” he told media persons on Tuesday.

Mani said that attempts are being made to buy electricity from outside the State. “Nevertheless, since the current crisis is severe, we shall have to place restrictions on the distribution of power. There will be severe restrictions if the State doesn’t get sufficient rains soon”.

This time there has been a shortage of 46 percent of rains. The Met department had informed earlier that in five districts including Idukki the amount of rain had dipped by 50 percent.

During this period the State is supposed to have got 799 mm rain but this time it got only 435 mm rain. The shortage is 46 percent. In all 14 districts, there has been an overall shortage of rains.

Cong to seek disqualification of MLAs who have resigned, says Siddaramaiah

BENGALURU: Congress Legislature Party leader in Karnataka Siddaramaiah said Tuesday the party would seek the disqualification of rebel MLAs who have resigned.

The former chief minister also requested the 10 party MLAs who had resigned to come back or face the consequences.

He was talking to reporters after a CLP meet here convened to manage the crisis following the resignation of a total of 13 coalition MLAs, including three from the ally JD (S).

The resignations were not voluntary and genuine, Siddaramaiah claimed.

All the MLAs who attended the CLP meet have reiterated their loyalty to the party, he said.

Besides the MLAs, a couple of other legislators had also not attended the meeting but the latter had obtained permission, he said.

The BJP has been destabilising elected governments in Karnataka and other states in an anti-democratic manner, he charged.

"Ever since the coalition government took over in the state, the BJP is trying to destabilise it," the former chief minister alleged.

"This is their sixth attempt," he added.

Siddaramaiah said the Congress would petition the Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar, seeking disqualification of MLAs who have tendered their resignation.

"We are going to stage a dharna near the Gandhi statue for an hour where all the MLAs will participate after which we will submit the petition to the Speaker," he said.

CPM will be responsible for my death, says M M Lawrence’ daughter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: I was terminated from service after my son participated in the Sabarimala protests organised by the BJP, said Asha Lawrence, daughter of senior CPM leader M M Lawrence. The letter sent to the chief minister mentioned that she was terminated from the contract job of SIDCO. She said that she was punished for her son taking part in the protests. She said the party will be responsible if she and her son end their lives finding no way to live. She said that after losing her job, she had met the industries minister but the response was scornful.

There will be no women empowerment if women wall is raised all over the state. A secured life and basic facilities are needed for a person like me. My job was a support for me and now the government had toppled it, she mentioned in the letter. If the party has decided not to allow a single woman and her son to live alone, the chief minister should correct it.

Is undisputed hegemony of CPM in party villages going to end? UDF making attempts to gain foothold in Anthoor

KANNUR: The UDF is making attempts to gain a foothold in the Anthoor municipality that has been touted to be a CPM party village without opponents during local body election.

Earlier, there were complaints that other parties were not given the freedom to work in Anthoor. But, the recent death of NRI businessman Sajan had off a firestorm of criticism against the Anthoor municipality ruled by the CPM.

The UDF leadership is now trying to exploit the situation to the hilt. Recent marches held by youth organisations in the Opposition are seen as steps towards this.

Though party activity in Anthoor is a very distant dream of the Congress, the party is now getting ready to conduct padayatra (procession of party workers) in Anthoor area.

The padayatra will be held for two days from July 12 under the leadership of DCC president Satheeshan Pacheni.. The Muslim League is also pepping up its activities. The main aim of the Congress and the League is to whip up the sentiments against Municipality president P K Shyamala to favour their poll prospects during coming local body elections.

The main slogan of padayatra will be file murder case against Shyamala. Congress leaders Oommen Chandy, Mullapally Ramachandran and K Sudakaran would take part in the padayatra.

Is undisputed hegemony of CPM in party villages going to end? UDF making attempts to gain foothold in Anthoor

KANNUR: The UDF is making attempts to gain a foothold in the Anthoor municipality that has been touted to be a CPM party village without opponents during local body election.

Earlier, there were complaints that other parties were not given the freedom to work in Anthoor. But, the recent death of NRI businessman Sajan had off a firestorm of criticism against the Anthoor municipality ruled by the CPM.

The UDF leadership is now trying to exploit the situation to the hilt. Recent marches held by youth organisations in the Opposition are seen as steps towards this.

Though party activity in Anthoor is a very distant dream of the Congress, the party is now getting ready to conduct padayatra (procession of party workers) in Anthoor area.

The padayatra will be held for two days from July 12 under the leadership of DCC president Satheeshan Pacheni.. The Muslim League is also pepping up its activities. The main aim of the Congress and the League is to whip up the sentiments against Municipality president P K Shyamala to favour their poll prospects during coming local body elections.

The main slogan of padayatra will be file murder case against Shyamala. Congress leaders Oommen Chandy, Mullapally Ramachandran and K Sudakaran would take part in the padayatra.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Actor Siddique weeps in front of media

Actor Siddique wept in front of the audience soon after the first show of Dileep’s film Shubharatri. The actor had portrayed a good role in the film. His role was highly acclaimed. The film’s experience with the audience brought the actor to tears. The actor saw the film along with his co-stars at the PVR Cinemas in Kochi. He got emotional while talking to the media soon after the film.

The actor said that he was very happy with the result of what you have done. What I wanted to tell the audience, they accepted it in the same sense, he said.

Shubaratri is directed by Vyasan Edavanakkadan. Script and direction are also by Vyasan. Anu Sithara is the heroine of the film. Other casts include Nedumudi Venu, Saikumar, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Indrans, Nadirsha, Hareesh Peradi, Manikandan, Saiju Kurup, Sudhi Koppa, Santhosh Keezhatoor, Prashanth, Cherthala Jayan, Shanthi Krishna, Asha Sharath, Sheelu Abraham, KPAC Lalitha, Thesni Khan etc.

'Lucifer's' famous scene was shot without a stunt choreographer!

The makers of the blockbuster movie ‘Lucifer’ broke every record there was in Malayalam Cinema. One of the famous scenes of the movie is Mohanlal stamping his foot on a police officer. The makers of the movie has now released the shooting footage of the scene where ‘Mayilvahanam’- the police character played by John Vijay arrests Stephen-the hero. This scene was shot by the director Prithviraj without the assistance of a stunt choreographer.

This is the 19th making video of Lucifer. In the video, Prithviraj can be seen explaining the action to Mohanlal.

Lucifer was a big canvas movie with an ensemble cast. The movie was produced by Antony Perumbavoor in the banner of Aashirvad Cinemas.

Wishes pour in as Anu Sithara shares wedding pic on her special day

Anu Sithara is one of the favourite actresses of Malayalam Cinema viewers. She is like family for her fans. Today is the fourth wedding anniversary of the actress. She has posted her wedding pic on Instagram.

Her wedding was a simple one. In the photo, Anu Sithara can be signing on the register with her husband by the side. Many celebrities like Kunchacko Boban and Kaniha posted their wishes through comments under the pic. Anu Sithara married Vishnu Prasad on July 8, 2015. Vishnu is a photographer.

All 21 Karnataka Congress Ministers resign to make way for new cabinet

BENGALURU: In an attempt to save the Karnataka government, all 21 Ministers from the Congress have voluntarily resigned from the Cabinet. This is to enable the reconstitution of a fresh Cabinet by accommodating disgruntled MLAs.

Announcing this after a marathon meeting with Congress Ministers and senior party leaders, AICC general secretary K C Venugopal said that it was in the larger interest of the party.

“They have resigned voluntarily and have entrusted the party to take necessary decision to reshuffle the government in the present scenario. I sincerely thank the ministers for their sacrifice for defeating the anti-democratic attitude of the BJP.”

Appealing to the rebel MLAs to come back, he said: “We believe in the MLAs and we are ready to discuss everything. Those who resigned should come back and strengthen their own party. We are confident that they will come back and that this government will continue.”

Coming down on the BJP for indulging in horse-trading, Venugopal said: “They have done in Telangana, West Bengal. They want to destabilise the government and get Rajya Sabha majority as well. We strongly believe in the strength of the party in Karnataka and we are confident this government will continue.”

He said that for the last five years, the BJP’s “anti-democratic attitude” was evident and “after this election victory it had become more”.

“Some Congress and JD(S) MLAs have grievances and are demanding Cabinet expansion. For the larger interest of the party we held a detailed discussion with the leaders and met Ministers. The Ministers themselves voluntarily resigned from the ministership,” he said and claimed that this was the “BJP’s sixth failure to destabilise the government.”

Coordination committee chairperson Siddaramaiah said those who were not happy that they were not given berth would be accommodated now. “It is total reshuffle. New Ministers will come and some existing Ministers might be retained. Except for Independent MLA R. Shankar, all the 21 Ministers have resigned. A few who were unable to attend the meeting today will also send their resignations to the party,” he said.

“The BJP does not believe in parliamentary democracy. They are always against democracy, not only in Karnataka but in West Bengal, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. We will fight legally and politically. We are requesting the MLAs to come for a dialogue,” Siddaramaiah said.

“We are confident that those who are disciplined and loyal will come back to us. We will take all legal remedies and measures against the BJP.”

In the 2018 Karnataka elections, the people had not given a mandate for the BJP to come to power. Under the circumstances people gave a mandate for the Congress and the JD(S) put together. “105 is not 113, they cannot form the government,” he added.

Power tariff hiked in state, not applicable for BPL category

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Power tariff for domestic consumers in the state will go up by 6.8%. Those in the BPL list has been exempted from the hike. With the increase in the tariff, the state government will get an extra income of Rs 902 crore. The lowest category of domestic consumers, using less than 40 units of energy has been exempted from the hike.

There will be an increase of Rs 18 for those using upto 50 units monthly and Rs 42 upto 100 units. The hike comes into effect from today.

The hike is for three years till 2022. Power tariff was last hiked in 2017.

'Ernakulam priest abused boys’ home inmates persistently, brutally beat them if they didn’t yield to his sexual urge’

PALLURUTHY: The police are working hard to hasten further procedures in the case in which a priest, who was the director of a boys’ home here, had allegedly subjected the inmates to sexual abuse.

The police are likely to record the statements of the boys by today (Monday). Meanwhile, a new director has replaced the accused priest. Fr George also known as Fr Jerry Thareparambil (40) was arrested on Sunday after six residents of the boys’ home escaped on Saturday evening and gave the statement against him.
He was produced in the court on that day itself and was remanded in judicial custody. According to the police, the priest has been sexually abusing the boys since last December.

As his abuse became intolerable for them, eight boys escaped from the home. The accused priest was arrested Sunday night itself. Fr George had taken over as the director in 2017. According to the statements given by boys, he has been abusing them since last Christmas night. Those who didn’t give in to his demands for sexual acts were cruelly beaten up by him.
The boys had escaped from the boy’s home and had reached the school at Kannamaly and informed the priest there. At this time, Fr George arrived here on his bike, in search of the boys.
The parents also reached here by this time. The priest talked with the parent and suggested that the issue be resolved without dragging it to the police station and instead, he asked the boys and parents to go to the boys’ home, where they could resolve the matter through talks.
In between, the priest at the school informed the police. The police became aware of the seriousness of the issue only after they questioned the boys in private.
Fr George was politely invited to Palluruthy police station under the pretext of compromise talks and was arrested under POCSO Act. The statements of the boys were also recorded.

Child Line workers reached the school Sunday morning and shifted them to Kakkanadu children’s home. They were also subjected to a medical examination.
According to the children, Fr George’s most often abused boys sexually after calling them to his room.

The arrest was made by a police team led by CI Joy Mathew and SI Deepu.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Woman had her gold chain robbed while enjoying TV serial

PARIPPALLY: A woman had her 5.5 sovereign gold chain robbed while enjoying TV serial. The woman is a native of Mevanakonam. The incident took place on Saturday night. The woman, who was totally absorbed into the serial, forgot to lock her front door.

The woman did hear somebody entering the house. But she didn’t give it much notice as she thought that was her husband. Meanwhile, the robber came close and snatched the chain off her neck. The woman screamed and informed the neighbors but couldn’t catch the thief. A complaint has been lodged with the Parippally Police.

Anju Bobby George has not joined BJP, says Muraleedharan

BENGALURU: Union Minister for State for External Affairs V Murlaeedharan on Sunday dismissed media reports which claimed that former track-and-field star Anju Bobby George had joined the BJP during a meeting in Bengaluru.

Speaking to the media, Muraleedharan said there was nothing political about the meeting which took place on Saturday.

"I had a long association with Anju and her husband Robert Bobby George. Yesterday, I had a party programme in Bengaluru. She called me and asked if we could meet to which I agreed. When she came to the programme in which I was taking part, the event was about to begin. So I invited her to the dais, as she is an internationally acclaimed athlete," said Muraleedharan, the only leader from Kerala in Prime Minister Narendra Modi''s cabinet.

"As the meeting was going on, we talked and not a word of politics was spoken. She was talking about her institute," he added.

Former long jumper George (42) hails from Kottayam in Kerala and is presently employed with the Customs in Bengaluru.

In 2003, she made history by becoming the first Indian athlete to win a medal at the World Championships when she won the bronze in Paris with a leap of 6.70m.

She achieved her personal best of 6.83m, which is still a national record, at the 2004 Athens Olympics which fetched her the fifth position.

An Arjuna awardee, George has represented the country at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championships from 2002 onwards. During the previous UDF government in Kerala in 2015, George was appointed the chairperson of the Kerala State Sports Council. However, a month after the present LDF government assumed office in May 2016, she quit from her post.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Petrol, diesel to be costlier; tax on super-rich, gold imports

NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Friday hiked tax on petrol and diesel, raised import duty on gold, levied additional surcharge on super rich and brought a tax on high value cash withdrawals as she sought to spur growth with reduction in corporate tax and sops to housing sector, startups and electric vehicles.

Presenting the maiden budget of Modi 2.0 government in Lok Sabha, Sitharaman, the first full-time woman Finance Minister, proposed measures to ease liquidity crisis facing shadow banking sector (NBFCs) and providing Rs 70,000 crore capital to public sector banks while seeking to raise additional resources through privatisation of some PSUs.

In relief to tax payers, she provided for an additional deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on interest paid on loans borrowed up to March 31, 2020 on purchase of a house up to Rs 45 lakh.

Corporate tax on companies with turnover of up to Rs 400 crore has been slashed to 25 per cent from current 30 per cent. Presently, the lower tax rate is applicable on companies having a turnover of up to Rs 250 crore.

Sitharaman said the reduced tax rate would cover 99.3 per cent of corporates in the country.

To boost use of electric vehicles, an additional income tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on interest paid on loans taken to purchase EVs has been proposed.

Also the government has asked the GST Council to reduce tax rate on EVs from 12 per cent to 5 per cent. Customs duty on certain parts of EVs has been reduced.

Addressing the angel tax issue faced by startups, she said startups and investors who file requisite declarations will not be subjected to any kind of scrutiny in respect of valuation of share premium.

A mechanism of e-verification will be put in place and with this, the funds raised by startups will not require any tax scrutiny.

She raised special additional excise duty and road cess on petrol and diesel by Re 1 per litre each, saying lower crude oil prices provide her with an opportunity to review taxes on the sector.

Also, customs duty on gold and precious metals was raised from 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent to mobilise resources.

Basic customs duty was raised on an array of products including tiles, cashew kernels, vinyl flooring, auto parts, some synthetic rubber, digital and video recorder and CCTV camera.

Excise duty of Rs 5 per 1000 has been imposed on cigarettes of length exceeding 65 mm, while 0.5 per cent duty has been levied on chewing tobacco, zarda and tobacco extracts and essence.

"I propose to levy TDS of 2 per cent on cash withdrawal exceeding Rs 1 crore in a year from a bank account," she said.

She also announced a surcharge on individuals having taxable income of Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore and for those above Rs 5 crore which will hike their effective tax rate by 3 per cent and 7 per cent respectively.

Sitharaman also proposed to made Aadhaar and PAN interchangeable for the purpose of filing Income Tax returns.

To boost FDI inflow into the country, the government will examine further liberalisation of sectoral investment caps in aviation, media, animation and insurance.

The Budget also proposed 100 per cent FDI in insurance intermediaries and easing of local sourcing norms for single brand retail.

She said measures are being worked out to ease filing returns and tax compliance. Taxpayers with an annual turnover of less than Rs 5 crore will have to file only quarterly returns, she said.

To boost cash-less economy, she said business establishments with annual turnover of Rs 50 crore will have to use BHIM, UPI, Aadhaar Pay, NEFT, RTGS modes of payments with no charges or merchant discount rates will be imposed on customers or merchants.

RBI and banks will absorb these costs, she said.

The Securities Transaction Tax or STT is proposed to be restricted to the difference between settlement and strike price of options, she said.

She proposed an additional income tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on interest paid on loans taken to buy electric vehicles.

This will lead to a benefit of Rs 2.5 lakh crore over the tax period of the loan for the payer.

She said the government will spend Rs 100 lakh crores for infrastructure in next five years.

The disinvestment target for FY20 was raised to Rs 1.05 lakh crore from Rs 90,000 crore set in the interim budget and government will continue with disinvestment of PSUs in the non-financial space as well.

Regulation of housing finance companies has been moved to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from the NHB.

The government proposed to allocate Rs 70,000 crore for PSU Bank recapitalisation.

Petrol, diesel to be costlier; tax on super-rich, gold imports NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Friday hiked tax on petrol and diesel, raised import duty on gold, levied additional surcharge on super rich and brought a tax on high value cash withdrawals as she sought to spur growth with reduction in corporate tax and sops to housing sector, startups and electric vehicles.

Presenting the maiden budget of Modi 2.0 government in Lok Sabha, Sitharaman, the first full-time woman Finance Minister, proposed measures to ease liquidity crisis facing shadow banking sector (NBFCs) and providing Rs 70,000 crore capital to public sector banks while seeking to raise additional resources through privatisation of some PSUs.

In relief to tax payers, she provided for an additional deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on interest paid on loans borrowed up to March 31, 2020 on purchase of a house up to Rs 45 lakh.

Corporate tax on companies with turnover of up to Rs 400 crore has been slashed to 25 per cent from current 30 per cent. Presently, the lower tax rate is applicable on companies having a turnover of up to Rs 250 crore.

Sitharaman said the reduced tax rate would cover 99.3 per cent of corporates in the country.

To boost use of electric vehicles, an additional income tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on interest paid on loans taken to purchase EVs has been proposed.

Also the government has asked the GST Council to reduce tax rate on EVs from 12 per cent to 5 per cent. Customs duty on certain parts of EVs has been reduced.

Addressing the angel tax issue faced by startups, she said startups and investors who file requisite declarations will not be subjected to any kind of scrutiny in respect of valuation of share premium.

A mechanism of e-verification will be put in place and with this, the funds raised by startups will not require any tax scrutiny.

She raised special additional excise duty and road cess on petrol and diesel by Re 1 per litre each, saying lower crude oil prices provide her with an opportunity to review taxes on the sector.

Also, customs duty on gold and precious metals was raised from 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent to mobilise resources.

Basic customs duty was raised on an array of products including tiles, cashew kernels, vinyl flooring, auto parts, some synthetic rubber, digital and video recorder and CCTV camera.

Excise duty of Rs 5 per 1000 has been imposed on cigarettes of length exceeding 65 mm, while 0.5 per cent duty has been levied on chewing tobacco, zarda and tobacco extracts and essence.

"I propose to levy TDS of 2 per cent on cash withdrawal exceeding Rs 1 crore in a year from a bank account," she said.

She also announced a surcharge on individuals having taxable income of Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore and for those above Rs 5 crore which will hike their effective tax rate by 3 per cent and 7 per cent respectively.

Sitharaman also proposed to made Aadhaar and PAN interchangeable for the purpose of filing Income Tax returns.

To boost FDI inflow into the country, the government will examine further liberalisation of sectoral investment caps in aviation, media, animation and insurance.

The Budget also proposed 100 per cent FDI in insurance intermediaries and easing of local sourcing norms for single brand retail.

She said measures are being worked out to ease filing returns and tax compliance. Taxpayers with an annual turnover of less than Rs 5 crore will have to file only quarterly returns, she said.

To boost cash-less economy, she said business establishments with annual turnover of Rs 50 crore will have to use BHIM, UPI, Aadhaar Pay, NEFT, RTGS modes of payments with no charges or merchant discount rates will be imposed on customers or merchants.

RBI and banks will absorb these costs, she said.

The Securities Transaction Tax or STT is proposed to be restricted to the difference between settlement and strike price of options, she said.

She proposed an additional income tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on interest paid on loans taken to buy electric vehicles.

This will lead to a benefit of Rs 2.5 lakh crore over the tax period of the loan for the payer.

She said the government will spend Rs 100 lakh crores for infrastructure in next five years.

The disinvestment target for FY20 was raised to Rs 1.05 lakh crore from Rs 90,000 crore set in the interim budget and government will continue with disinvestment of PSUs in the non-financial space as well.

Regulation of housing finance companies has been moved to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from the NHB.

The government proposed to allocate Rs 70,000 crore for PSU Bank recapitalisation.