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CPI-M more worried about leakage of CAG report in Kerala

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Pinarayi Vijayan
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Thiruvananthapuram, Finally breaking its silence on the CAG report on Kerala Police, the CPI-M on Sunday appeared to be more worried about the leaking of the report and less concerned about the contents, which speak of the corrupt deals of Kerala Police.

The Congress-led opposition has gone hammer and tongs against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for his stoic silence on this issue, who had said that he will speak about this only in the Assembly, when it resumes in the first week of March.

Speaking to the media after the end of the two-day deliberation of the various committees of the CPI-M, state party secretary, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said generally the CAG report is placed before the Assembly, but this time most of the content of the report was surprisingly revealed by a member in the Assembly itself, before the report was placed.

“The CAG should find out what happened as this is an issue of privilege in the Assembly. It’s here that, naturally, a sort of suspicion arises, if it was a planned one. Also the Accountant General conducted a detailed press conference and this generally does not happen,” said Balakrishnan.

The CAG report for 2013-18 tabled in the Kerala Assembly on Wednesday pointed out to missing guns and cartridges, misuse of funds and diversion of funds. It also pointed to the alleged collusion between Keltron, a state public sector company and police in purchases made by the latter.

“The CAG report does not speak of corruption, but more about diversion of funds. Missing bullets is a feature for long and it’s got to do with improper accounting. Such things were pointed out when I was the Home Minister and it has been like that for long.

“Generally in the police department, due to the urgent need of implementing things, what happens is the decision taken first and it is later ratified. Nevertheless, the CAG report goes before the Public Accounts Committee of the Legislature and is headed by a seasoned Congress legislator V.D. Sateeshan and now let us wait for them to look into it,” said Balakrishnan.

“Maybe one reason why the Congress-led UDF is ‘upbeat’ on the CAG report is because two of their former Minister’s are now under the net of the Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau,” added Balakrishnan, who made his first public appearance before the media after few months of rest as he was undergoing treatment for treatment.

Ahead of the CAG report being placed in the Assembly, senior Congress MLA P.T. Thomas had raised numerous allegations against the police and many were surprised to find striking similarities with the CAG report.

Thomas, however, said: “A vernacular daily a month back had run a feature on corruption in government departments and when I pursued it, I got a good number of corrupt deals in the police.

“Now that I have already done this, let the police charge me and take me to task. I have no issues with that,” said Thomas.

Meanwhile, the Congress is getting ready to take on Vijayan, and the strategy for this will be decided in a day or two.

Politics

Jharkhand girl ‘starves to death’, NCW takes cognisance

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New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) The National Commission for Women on Thursday said that it has taken cognisance of an incident in which a disabled girl died due to hunger in Jharkhand.

The commission has written to Chief Secretary of Jharkhand Sukhdev Singh for an inquiry.

“It is an unfortunate incident…We wrote to Chief Secretary Sukhdev Singh for further inquiry,” the NCW tweeted.

The NCW responded to a tweet posted by Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha which is a coalition of progressive organisations, formed to facilitate efforts to defend people’s rights and save democracy in the state.

The organisation had first tweeted: “Mina Marandi’s family in Gomia’s Tikahara (in Bokaro district) has been starving for two days. They Do not have ration card. No food. Physically disabled daughter unwell. Local friends are organising immediate support. Needs medical attention. Urgent need to open PDS for one and all and make admin responsive.”

The organisation later informed through twitter that the disabled girl, Meena, died. “She was unwell for the last few days. She belonged to an extremely poor family and had no ration card. Her hunger worsened in the last few days. But the local administration and panchayat made the parents put thumbprints on a letter to testify that hunger was not the reason (for her death).


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Many COVID-19 patients show late symptoms: Chhattisgarh CM

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Bhupesh Baghel

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Chief Ministers, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has cautioned that many COVID-19 patients show symptoms very late and this is the reason why rapid testing is required to contain the virus.

Addressing a press conference, he said that the reason why Chhattisgarh has less number of cases is that it started early after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi flagged this issue. “On March 13 onwards we had lockdown of many things including school, shopping malls and Aanganwadi.”

“We had the first test on March 15 and got the positive case on March 18 and immediately imposed section 144,” said Baghel.

“The concern is that a person was quarantined for 18 days and after that he showed the symptoms a person has travelled in February he showed symptoms after 2 months and we have informed the union government,” said Baghel.

The state has kept 76,000 people in quarantine which is strictly imposed he said adding that lockdown should be only be implemented after consultation with the states.

The state has contained the virus by quarantining all the international passengers and has done 3,000 tests claimed the chief minister, but the state has seen asymptomatic Covid carriers which has been conveyed to the Union government.

Regarding lifting of interstate travel ban, the Chhattisgarh CM said that he has written a letter to the Prime Minister which may come up for discussion on April 11.

Baghel had written to the Prime Minister on April 6 that before allowing interstate travel once the lockdown period is over, the government should make a strategy to screen the passengers and put in place a mechanism to filter the coronavirus cases to make sure it does not spread from one place to another.

The chief minister in the letter wrote “If flights, rail and surface transport are opened then there is a possibility that infected persons can come to the state and the problem can persist, and the states will have to face problem in containing this virus.”


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Kerala CM writes to PM for permission to raise funds

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Pinarayi Vijayan

Thiruvananthapuram, April 9 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to allow states to raise funds as the financial condition of all states has reached a difficult position due to diversion of funds to fight Covid-19.

“I have sought his permission to source funds from the open market. I have sought to float ‘special pandemic government funds’. I Want to increase the borrowing of our state from three to five per cent. We have asked him to see that when states take funds from external sources, it should not be included in the states’ borrowings limits,” said Vijayan while speaking to media.

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