Friday, February 25, 2011

Kochouseph Chittilappilly donates a kidney to save a life

Kochi: Well known Kerala Industrialist and V-Guard Group Chairman, Kochouseph Chittilappilly, donated one of his kidneys to a man suffering from endlife renal failure. A team of doctors of the Lakeshore hospital here led by Dr George Abraham, Urologist and Dr Aby Abraham, Nephrologist performed the surgery here yesterday. Both the donour and the recepient, Joy Ulahannan, were recovering after the surgery, hospital sources said. Joy's wife has also promised to donate her kidney to another needy
person, hospital sources said. Chittilappilly had a couple of months ago had decided to donate one of his kidneys inspired by Father Davis chiramal who had donated a kidney.

A Kidney bank has been set up which was opened by Chittilappilly recently. Chittilappily, heading the rs 500 crore V-Guard group, was in the news recently when he donned the role of head load worker and unloaded few boxes of cargo of V Star creations, a sister concern of the group, after some trade union activists did not permit his workers unload the cargo.

Congress presents proof against Achuthanandan's son

24 Feb 2011

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala's Congress-led opposition Thursday took up Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan's challenge and presented a book which reportedly shows his son V. Arunkumar asking for a bribe to allow a power project to be set up in the state.
It was late Wednesday after a cabinet meeting that Achuthanandan dared the opposition to stop levelling allegations against his son and present proofs.

Addressing reporters here Thursday, Congress legislator V.D. Satheesan said that according to a book written by late technocrat K.P.P. Nambiar, Arunkumar had asked him for a bribe to see that then proposed Kannur Power Project got going.

Satheesan said that the copies of the book, which was released a few years back, were burned, but he still retained a copy.

'Arunkumar works as joint director with the state run Institute of Human Resources Development here and we wish to know how many times has Arunkumar made foreign trips in the past few years. Once he asked me to spare him because he is a 'poor government official'. We know where all he has been and if he has the guts, let him reveal the names of those who were with him in the foreign jaunts.

'Moreover, yesterday he said that his visits were not official. If so, where did he get that much money to go for these foreign trips,' asked Satheesan.

Satheesan also asked Achuthanandan why was his son present when Infosys signed a land deal with the Kerala government for setting up their campus.

'The pictures that came in newspapers then showed the presence of Arunkumar. Also, when officials from Smart City Dubai arrived here for the first time after the Left government assumed office, Arunkumar was present to receive them. We wish to know how come Arunkumar was present, because he has no role in this department nor the affairs of the government,' added Satheesan.

Thursday was the last day of the current session of the state assembly, whose term ends in May.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sreesanth is India's lucky charm

The anticipation is about to end as the World Cup kicks off in Dhaka, with India playing the first game against the team that finished their chances in the West Indies World Cup. There is talk of revenge but that is no way to play cricket because it will only make the batsmen in particular, lose their timing and the bowlers their rhythm as they try too hard.

Revenge is a dish best eaten cold and that is where the two leaders in the Indian team will play a part. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is called 'Captain Cool' for his sangfroid under pressure and Gary Kirsten, the coach, has never been known during his playing days to do anything violently. That will serve India well for it is important for them to begin the campaign with a win.

World Cup: The day of the underdog

They have been magnificent in the warm up games and though not much can be laid to store on those performances, it showed that most Indian players were ready for the fray. The new ball bowlers are a bit of a worry but as Dhoni explained they were under instructions not to go flat out and keep themselves in reserve and step up for the World Cup matches.

The one thing in India's favour is the inclusion of Sreesanth in the team in place of the injured Praveen Kumar. He is India's lucky charm. India won the ICC World T20 when he was in the team and then lost the next two editions and the ICC Champions Trophy when he wasn't there and thereafter whenever he has been in the Indian team the team has given a good account of itself.

All those wrist bands and energy bands and the chains and necklaces have to help and then there is the touching of the ground before he enters it and other rituals. India should not go wrong with all that and so the cup is as good as in India's hands.

There will be other teams of course who will dearly want to upset India's applecart for any team would be upset with the presumption in the Indian media that India has already won the cup. It's pretty much like when England plays the Football World Cup and its media is only speculating who they may play in the finals.

Every other team and its supporters are then only looking to see England's backside kicked and that is exactly the situation with India in cricket. So make no mistake, other teams will be looking to rub India's nose in the Indian dust. The big threats are Australia, the defending champions who are looking to win it for the fourth consecutive time and their skipper Ricky Ponting will have a hat-trick of wins as the leader of the team. They have come back well after the Ashes defeat and are combining well.

Odds favour Asian giants

South Africa is another team that has plenty to play for. They have always been so near yet so far and with a bit of luck could well have happy memories of this cup. Then there is Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Both teams are under the radar and that means that the pressure of expectations is not there and so they can go about their jobs without the attention that teams like India, Australia and South Africa will be getting from the fans and their media. New Zealand is another team that can spring a surprise.

However the real tournament begins with the quarter finals when it will be 'form on the day' that will decide who goes through. That is where everything has to come right for teams including winning the toss.

That is still a month away and in the meanwhile, everybody will be hoping that the tournament begins with a cracker of a game.

Opposition walkout over harrassment of law student

Thiruvananthapuram : The entire Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) members today staged a walkout in the assembly after Speaker K Radhakarishnan refused to allow discussion on an adjournment motion on the attack on a girl student at the law college here by activists of the pro-CPI(M) student organisation.

Raising the issue in the House, P C Vishnunath (Cong) said the girl was pushed out of her scooter, dragged and kicked by three student activists at the PMG junction here on January 24 last.

The police registered a case on the incident only on February 16 as the culprits belonged to the ruling party's student organisation, he said.

The girl, a third year student of the law college, had complained that ever since she stopped working in the organisation after her first year in the college, the accused had been harrassing and threatening her.

Vishnunath alleged that one of the students who harrassed her in the college was the son of a minister. The girl had also complained to the Women's Commission about the harrassment she faced in college, he said.

Admitting that there had been lapse on the part of the police who did not register a case immediately, Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said action would be taken against those responsible for the delay.

No government could bear such incidents, he said, adding that a case had been registered against three students whose names were mentioned in the girl's complaint.

Opposition Leader Oommen Chandy said it was shameful that such an incident happened right under the nose of the Home Minister. The accused in the case were treated like VIPs in the police station and the girl was asked by the police to reach a compromise with the accused, he charged.

The police took a case on the incident only after 24 days. Law should take its own course and not a `political'
course,' he said and led the Opposition members out of the House.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Special court issues arrest warrant against Balakrishna Pillai

16, 2011

Kochi: Five days after the Supreme Court sentenced former Kerala minister R Balakrishnan Pillai to one-year imprisonment in a corruption case, the special court which tried the case, here today directed police to execute an arrest warrant against him before February 19.

The court gave the direction while rejecting a petition filed by Pillai seeking time for the execution of the arrest warrant on health grounds. Reacting to the development, Pillai said he would surrender before the court on February 18.

"My plea has been rejected. I will surrender before the court on February 18. If the police wants to arrest me before that date I would co-operate with them," Pillai told media.

Pillai, leader of the Kerala Congress (B) and a former Electricity Minister in the Congress-led UDF Government, was awarded the punishment by the Apex Court along with a former Chairman of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) and a contractor.

The case related to corruption in awarding contract for construction of tunnel and surge shaft of the Edmalayar Hydro Electric Project in 1980s. The prosecution case was that they entered into a conspiracy that caused a loss of Rs 2 crore to KSEB by awarding contracts.

Sudhakaran to explain his remarks on judiciary to party leaders

February 17, 2011
Kannur: Facing flak for his 'anti- judiciary' remarks, Congress MP K Sudhakaran Thursday said he regretted the embarrassment caused by his comments to the party but would explain his position to the leadership.

"My intention was not to attack the judiciary, but to express concern over the unhealthy trend among certain sections of judicial officers. I regret the embarrassment it caused to my party. I will explain my stand to AICC President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and KPCC President Ramesh Chennithala," he told reporters here.

The judiciary and judicial officers should be seen separately, he said, adding what he had sought to raise were political and social issues. Whatever statements are made by Congress leaders in their speeches need not always be taken as the party's official position, he said.

In a speech at a public meeting on February 12 at Kottarakkara in Kollam district, Sudhakaran had said he was witness to a judge being bribed, apparently for getting a favourable decision in a case seeking restoration of bar licences cancelled by the Kerala High Court.

"While referring to unhealthy trends in the judiciary, I had only mentioned an incident which came to my mind at the time," he said. He said he would explain what he had said at the appropriate forum if called upon to do that. Sudhakaran, who represents Kannur in Lok Sabha, made the claim without naming the judge at a function organised to extend moral support to Kerala Congress-B leader R Balakrishna Pillai, who was recently sentenced to one year imprisonment by the Supreme Court in a corruption case.

Virtually disapproving of Sudhakaran's remarks, Opposition leader and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had said that there should not be attempts from any quarter to question the judiciary's credibility. Former Chief Justice of India Justice V N Khare had also termed the allegations are ridiculous, but said it should be probed and if not proved, then Sudhakaran should face legal proceedings.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Muraleedharan back in Congress

15 Feb 2011

Thiruvananthapuram: Former KPCC chief and state minister and son of party leader K. Karunakaran, K. Muraleedharan was Tuesday was given readmission to the Congress.

AICC general secretary in charge of Kerala Mohsina Kidwai announced that party president Sonia Gandhi has revoked the suspension of Muraleedharan.

She also said that Muraleedharan will get all consideration as a former president of the state unit of the party.

Meanwhile, Muraleedharan expressed happiness for the AICC's decision to take him back to the Congress but expressed sorrow that his father K Karunanakaran was no more to share the moment of joy.

"I am extremely happy that I am Congressman again. But I am sad that my father is no more to share the joy", Muraleedharan told reporters here shortly after AICC general secretary Moshina Kidwai announced in New Delhi the decision to take him back to the Congress Asked if his return to the party would mean that he was going to be a candidate in the state assembly polls due in May, he said

"All that I have asked was the basic membership of the Congress and it is for the leadership to decide rest of things." A formal request for taking back Muraleedharan to the party was made to the AICC president Sonia Gandhi by KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala and the Congress Legislature Party leader Oommen Chandy in Delhi Tuesday.

A former KPCC president, Muraleedharan split the Congress in the state and floated his party DIC-K in May 2005, following a grim phase of faction feud in the state unit when the UDF Government headed by A K Antony was in power. He was then slapped with a six-year suspension by the AICC for breaking the party.

Though Karunakaran returned to the Congress after two years of formation of the new outfit, Muraleedharan later dissolved DIC-K after it proved an electoral flop and went on to head the NCP in the state. After his unsuccessful bid in the 2009 the Lok Sabha polls as an NCP candidate from the Wayanad seat, Muraleedharan resigned from the Sharad Pawar-led party and openly aired his wish to be back in the Congress. Karunakaran, who died in December, was also keen that his son was taken back to the Congress.

Though initially, a section in the state leadership was opposed to taking back Muraleedharan before the suspension period was over, they also eased their stand in recent times, especially after Karunakaran's health condition worsened. His return to the party also received support from the party heavy-weights like A K Antony who advocated a "foreget- and-forgive" approach towards Muraleedharan.

The thinking in Congress circles in the state is that Muraleedharan's return would further strengthen the party-led UDF combine when it is making a vigerous bid to capture power in Kerala from the LDF in the assembly polls due in May. Muraleedharan,who still enjoys some support base and personal following, had worked for the UDF in the civic polls in last October, in which the coalition put up a sterling performance across the state.

Justice KGB objects to disclosures of tax returns

15 Feb 2011

Kochi: Income Tax authorities here have declined to reveal the details of the tax returns filed by NHRC Chairperson Justice K G Balakrishnan and 7 family members on an application filed under the Right to Information act, after the former CJI objected to the disclosures.

The application was filed by Dr T Balachandran following allegations of wealth disproprotionate to known sources of income against the family members of Justice Balakrishnan.

The appliacant had sought information and documents certified copies of the IT returns submitted by Justice Balakrishnan for the financial years 2005-06 to 2009-10, details of investigation and enquiry conducted by the department against him and his son, K B Pradeep, two daughters -- Sony and Rani, sons-in law M J Benny and P V Sreenijan and brother K G Bhaskaran and certified copies of the reports and related documents with file notes relating to the investigation and enquiry conducted by the IT department if any.

The IT department had isued a letter to Justice Balakrishnan to furnish his objections in connection with the disclosure of the docuemnts. In response to the letter, Justice Balakrishnan filed a letter dated Feb 5, objecting to the disclose the above information stating that disclosure of the information sought for by Dr balachandran is one which is exempted from disclosure as per sect 8(i) of the RTI act, 2005.

'Information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarrnated invasion of the piracy of the individual are completely exempted from disclosure unless the Central Public Information officer or the state Public Information Officer of the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justified the disclosure of such information', justice balakrishnan stated.

Rejecting the application, K Sudhakaran Pillai, Central Public Information Officer and Income tax officer, ward 3(1), Kochi said there is nothing mentioned in the applcation as to how the disclosure of the information would serve the larger interest.

The applicant's counsel, advocate D B Binu, said they would be filing an appeal against the order within 30 days.

K. Sudhakaran MP booked for making bribery remark against judge

February 15, 2011

Thiruvananthapuram.Congress MP K Sudhakaran was Tuesday charged by Kerala police with concealing design to commit crime in connection with his startling claim that he was witness to a Supreme Court judge allegedly being bribed 15 years ago.

The Museum police registered the case against Sudhakaran under sections 120 and 200 of IPC--concealing design to commit offences and using false declaration as true respectively-- on a complaint by a lawyers' forum in Thiruvananthapuram which alleged his speech at a public meeting few days back amounted to insulting the judiciary.

Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily disapproved of Sudhakaran's remarks saying such allegations could make people lose confidence in the judiciary. Sudhakaran's sensational speech at Kottarakkara in Kollam district last Saturday has sparked a huge controversy in political and legal circles.

The Congress has distanced itself from Sudhakaran's adverse remarks, holding that the party was against any attempt that would dent judiciary's credibility. Sudhakaran, a former state minister who now represents Kannur in the Lok Sabha, had made the charge without naming the judge at the meeting organised by supporters of R Balakrishna Pillai, who was recently sentenced to one year imprisonment by the Supreme Court in a corruption case.

Moily said "You cannot pass remarks(against judiciary) that will bring the institution to disrepute". "The judiciary very important. We have taken all 62 years... many pains and agonies people have suffered, to build this institution", he said.

"You will have to be very careful, whoever it is, be it a minister, MP or anybody. While making comments on people who occupy the highest office, let them not forget what that they are doing is making people to lose confidence in those institutions" Moily asserted. "Individuals are not important,institutions are important", he said.

"It is necessary for us to nurture and also rebuild the credibility of the institutions", he said. "Making off the cuff remarks on some personality, I do not approve of it", he said responding to queries on Sudhakaran's remarks. The CPI(M) and other parties have asked Sudhakaran to come out with details of his bribery claim and also criticised his silence all these years

Friday, February 11, 2011

Karnataka HC rejects Madani''s bail petition

Bangalore, Feb 11 (PTI) The Karnataka High Court today rejected the bail petition of PDP leader Abdul Nasser Madani,an accused in the 2008 Bangalore serial blasts case, holdingthat granting bail to him would put the security of the stateand the nation in jeopardy.

But the court directed jail authorities to take steps to ensure that the health condition of Madani, who is disabled with an amputated leg and suffering from different ailments,does not deteriorate and he is given necessary medical help.

After hearing arguments by the defence and prosecution, Justice V Jagannathan concluded that granting bail to Madani would be "putting the security of the state and the nation in jeopardy" and rejected the bail petition.

He said the material available and statements of witnesses indicated that Madani was in constant touch with theother accused before and after the blasts and also harboured some of them by giving them shelter in his orphanage in Kerala.

On the contention of senior defence counsel B V Acharya that there was "no direct evidence" of Madani''s involvement in the criminal conspiracy, the judge said, "There is seldom ever that direct evidence is there in such cases.

Conspiracy by very nature is hatched in complete secrecy other wise the whole purpose will be frustrated."

Inference can be drawn from whatever evidence has been collected and it (evidence) is "sufficient proof of the conspiracy", the court observed.

"It cannot be disputed that the blasts took place in Bangalore and were followed by similar blasts in the country including Jaipur and Ahmedabad... Actions speak louder than thoughts. It is not possible for anyone to penetrate into the mind of others to see what thoughts are going on," Justice Jagannathan stated.

On the defence contention that there is "no primafacie case" against Madani, the court said the material collected by the investigative agency on the statement srecorded by police coupled with details of phone records before and after the blasts, pointed out a prima facie case.

On the question of personal liberty, the court cited a Supreme court judgement which held that "liberty of an individual is very important. At the same time interest of the state also cannot be lost sight of".

Observing that in cases involving the security of thestate and the nation bail is generally refused, the court held that this was one such case where "interest of the nation can never be given up".

Madani, arrested in Kerala on August 17 last year, islodged in Central Jail here. He was one of the main accused inthe 1998 Coimbatore serial blasts that killed 58 people but was acquitted.

P.M Dedicates Vallarpadam Container Terminal

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh dedicates to the nation the International Container Transhipment Terminal at Cochin
The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that Kerala with its huge diaspora of skilled enterprising workers, doctors and other professionals could become the gateway for investments from countries like the UAE.

He was speaking after inaugurating India’s first international container transshipment terminal on Vallarpadam Island close to Kochi on Friday morning. This flagship project symbolizes the suitability of public-private partnership projects in building infrastructure in India. The Vallarpadam terminal will meet the need for a global hub port and a transshipment facility, the absence of which had put our trade at a disadvantage, he said.

Mr Singh said that about 60 per cent of India’s export-import containers are transshipped through ports like Singapore and Colombo. The transshipment cost incurred is U.S. $ 300 per container. Indian business will save this money and also considerable time though the new facility at Vallarpadam.

Inland waterways

He also called for the use of inland waterways to transport cargo, since this is an environment-friendly and energy-efficient mode of transport. The others who were present include Chief Minister V S Achutanandan; Defence Minister A K Antony; Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi; Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways C P Joshi; Union Shipping Minister G K Vasan; Union Minister of State for Home Mullapaly Ramachandran, Union Minister of State for Agriculture K V Thomas; Union Minister of State for Power K C Venugopal; Governor R S Gawai and the Chairman of Cochin Port Trust N Ramachandran.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A young engineer was held while making bombs

04 Feb 2011

Kozhikode: A young engineer, Loyd, 24, from Thevara, Ernakulam, was held while making bombs to loot a jewellery shop. In the course of making the bombs at a private lodge near Sreekandeswara temple in Mavoor, the explosive materials exploded and he was injured. Local people informed the police on hearing the noise of the explosion.

Police reached the spot and found explosives used for bomb making, a cylinder carrying butane gas, masks and gloves. Loyd, who completed engineering from Scotland, told his family members that he was going to England and then came to Kozhikode from Ernakulam.

He collected the explosives needed for making bombs from Madurai and Bangalore. Police said he got this inspiration from TV. He said his intention was to earn Rs 40 lakh which he had spent for his studies.

Court directs police to book molestation case against Kunhalikutty

04 Feb 2011

Thiruvananthapuram: The Thiruvananthapuram judicial magistrate court directed the police to book a case against IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty. The court issued the order while considering the public interest litigation filed by Pradeep Lal from Vallakkadavu. Earlier Rejina, victim in the ice cream parlour case, gave a statement to the police that Kunhalikutty molested her at a hotel in Pazhavangadi, Thiruvanathapuram.

The Court also said in its order that as the case comes under the purview of Thiruvananthapuram Fort Police station, the fort police should conduct the probe. The order was issued by the first class judicial magistrate P Basheer. This would be the first molestation case in which Kunhalikutty is named an accused. The court has also asked to include two others in the accused list.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Rauf made me a prey to hunt Kunhalikutty: Peter

03 Feb 2011

Kochi: Former prosecutions additional director general K C Peter said that K A Rauf made him a victim to hunt Kunhalikutty. Peter said he knows Rauf. Peter said he saw Rauf many times near office of advocate general and HC. 'Rauf came to my house to file petition to cancel the money fraud case against him in HC. He introduced the person with him as travel agent. Rauf spoke only about the police case', Peter said.

Peter reiterated that neither Rauf spoke about Kunhalikutty, justice Narayana Kurup or Justice Thanakappan at that time.
'I was shocked seeing myself in India vision on January 30. I completely disagree with the news came about me in channel. All ere are fabricated', he said. He said he had send criminal and civil notices against India Vision Editor in charge Basheer and Rauf. 'When I saw them in channel that I recognized that the person with Rauf was Basher'.
'Rauf and Basher cheated me by fabricating statement which I have not said', he said. He said he do not know why he was made a victim to attack Kunhalikutty.

Chandy blames CM for delay in Smart city project

03 Feb 2011

Thiruvananthapuram:Former chief minister and senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy today came down heavily
on the LDF Government for delaying the implementation of the Kochi SmartCity IT project for over four-and-half years on
flimsy grounds.

While he welcomed the agreement signed between the Dubai authorities and the government yesterday removing hurdles in
the way of the project, Chandy said there was no justification for having wasted nearly five years for this. 'I squarely blame the LDF Government and Chief Minister Achuthanandan for inordinately delaying such an ambitious project,' Chandy told a news conference here.

He said the SmartCity, which envisages creation of SEZ for IT and ITES ventures, was a brain child of the UDF Government
headed by him shortly before its term expired in early 2006.

Achuthanandan had then came out with all sorts of allegations against the project including the argument that its partner TECOM was not a company backed by the Dubai Government but a real estate firm.

Now Achuthanandan had signed the agreement with the same company, swallowing whatever allegations he had raised

'The UDF welcome the agreement as the project is a mile stone in Kerala's march towards economic and technological progress. It would provide jobs to thousands of youth.But the Government owes an explanation as how and why it has been delayed without any justification' ,he said.

The differences between the state and the promoter over the ownership of land for the project were settled yesterday
at talks between Achuthanandan and Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre Ahemd Homaid

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

BJP would have effective presence in Kerala polls: Sushma Swaraj

Feb 01 2011

Kochi : Leader of Oppositon in the Lok Sabha and Senior BJP Leader Sushma Swaraj yesterday said her party would register a very effective presence in the ensuing elections in Kerala.

Addressing media after a core committee meeting of the BJP here, she said ''the party will register an effective presence in Kerala.

I am not using the word open an account, but it would have effective presence.'' Asked about the number of seats her party was expecting to win in the elections, she said ''I am not an astrologer to predict the number of seats.

''I am talking about the terminology of politics and the party would have effective presence this time,'' and added that no politician could predict the actual number of seats they could win in the elections.

Alleging both the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government and the Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) were the two sides of the same coin, she said the people in the State were fed up with both the Fronts and the siutation was quite favourable for the BJP to register a strong presence in the State.

The anti-incumbency factor against the LDF and the resentment against the Congress ultimately would favour the BJP in the State, she added.