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Congress alleges ”secret” trip by Kerala CS just before retiring

According to estimates, Chennithala said the quantity of this sand is in excess of one lakh tonnes.

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Ramesh Chennithala

Thiruvananthapuram, June 2 : Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala on Tuesday expressed serious doubts on a ”secret” helicopter trip taken by Tom Jose and State Police chief Loknath Behera, hours before the former retired.

Jose retired on last Saturday from the post of chief secretary and handed over the charge to Vishwas Mehta on Monday morning.

Chennithala told the media here that the trip was a secret one to have a look into the tonnes of sand lying on the banks of river Pamba at the foothills of the famed Sabarimala temple.

According to estimates, Chennithala said the quantity of this sand is in excess of one lakh tonnes.

“Soon after this flying visit, the Pathanamthitta district authorities came out with an order giving the rights of removing this precious sand to the Kannur based state owned Kerala Clays and Ceramics Products,” said Chennithala.

“What is intriguing is neither the forest nor revenue department is aware of what happened. This place is where the Forest Act is in vogue and the Revenue department is responsible for the sand. I read in the media that State Forest Minister K. Raju had no clue on this. This particular company has no expertise or has not done anything conclusive till now. This company is chaired by a top level CPI-M party official from Kannur,” said Chennithala.

Kannur is the home town of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and State Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan, under whose department, this company is placed.

“We wish to know if a sand audit was conducted and also was the environmentalist consulted. My question is — what are they going to do with the sand and if there are other ”players” involved in it? Today everything is happening under the guise of Covid, without taking into account even the concerned departments. We are questioning why this is now being done as this sand was lying there for two years. We want to hear from the government and then I will reveal more,” added Chennithala.

–IANS

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India

Rahul takes on Modi over Chinese firms” donations to PM Fund

The Congress has also been critical of the BJP over the handling of border faceoff with China in Ladakh.

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, July 11 : Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi again trained his guns at the Prime Minister over the PM-CARES Fund saying why Narendra Modi was not sharing details when everyone knew which Chinese companies donated to it.

“Why is the PM so scared of disclosing the names of those who donated money to him for PMCares? Everyone knows Chinese companies Huawei, Xiaomi, TikTok and OnePlus gave money. Why doesn”t he share the details?” he tweeted.

His remarks came after the Public Accounts Committee, one of the most important parliamentary panels that scrutinises key reports by the auditor general and has taken up issues, like the 2G spectrum scam, in the past, failed to arrive at a consensus on Friday on examining the government”s response to the Covid-19 pandemic or the PM-CARES Fund, set up to tackle the crisis.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which enjoys a majority in the panel led by senior leader Bhupender Yadav, blocked Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s attempt to name the PM-CARES Fund for examination, saying its funding was not sanctioned by Parliament and therefore it couldn”t be taken up by the committee.

The Congress has also been critical of the BJP over the handling of border faceoff with China in Ladakh.

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Disaster

Cancel final-year exams of central varsities, Kejriwal urges PM

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Arvind Kejriwal Delhi

New Delhi, July 11 : Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cancel the final-year examinations of Delhi University and other central universities across the country.

“I request the central government and the University Grants Commission to change their guidelines in the larger interest of the students and cancel their final-semester examinations,” Kejriwal wrote in a letter to Modi.

This came after the Delhi government announced cancellation of all examinations, including final-semester examination, in the state universities due to the coronavirus crisis.

“For the sake of our youths, I urge the PM to personally intervene and cancel final- year exams of DU and other central government universities and save the future,” Kejriwal added.

The national capital has state universities such as Delhi Technological University, National Law University, Ambedkar University, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, among others. Delhi University is a central varsity.

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Cities

PUCL moves SC for SIT probe into Vikas Dubey encounter

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Vikas Dubey.

New Delhi, July 11 : A plea has been moved by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) in the Supreme Court seeking direction to set up special investigation team, having officers who have not served in Uttar Pradesh, to probe into the encounter deaths of gangster Vikas Dubey and his aides.

The petitioners have also urged the apex court to constitute a committee headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to enquire into the encounters that have been taking place in Uttar Pradesh and also the prevalent criminal-politician nexus in the state.

The petitioner cited the petition filed in May 2018, which took into account the over 1,000 encounters that had taken place, during January 2017 to March 2018, resulting in death of 49 persons and injuries to 370. “During pendency of the petition before this court, the number of encounters increased to 2,000 and deaths to 66 as mentioned in the rejoinder affidavit on October 8, 2018. The number has increased to 5,178 encounters in which 103 persons have been killed and 1,859 have been injured in 2019,” said the plea.

The petitioner said it has taken up the issue pertaining to police encounters, among several other human rights issues, as it defies the rule of law and administration of law enforcing machinery in accordance with the Constitution.

“It is further submitted that police encounter/administrative liquidation is a serious crime – murder/culpable homicide and is an offence against the entire society. If such a crime is committed with the support of the state or where the state condones such an offence, it takes a very serious dimension, questioning the entire rule of law and governance in accordance with the Constitution”, said the plea.

The petitioner contended that the UP government is flouting an earlier judgement of the Supreme Court, and indulging in massive encounters with impunity.

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