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Kerala floods: PM Modi to visit state, Death toll reaches 174

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Kochi, Aug 17 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi  will visit flood-hit Kerala on Friday as the state battles with extremely worst ever crisis of floods in the Indian history. The  deadly monsoon in India has triggered floods in Kerala of such a magnitude that the country has never witnessed in a century.

Modi will  discuss the prevailing situation with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan with the death toll in the devastating floods increased to  174 in Kerala while 80 dams reach danger levels and more than one lakh people living in relief camps across the state, the Centre on Thursday deployed all three wings of the armed forces in a massive rescue operation.

Four Capital Ships of Indian Coast Guard have reached Kochi and joined the Disaster and Relief Team. 24 teams are already working in flood affected villages. Indian Coast Guard so far has rescued 1764 people and guided 4688 people to safer locations.

“Had a telephone conversation with Kerala Chief Minister just now. We discussed the flood situation across the state and reviewed rescue operations.

“Later this evening, I will be heading to Kerala to take stock of the unfortunate situation due to flooding,” he tweeted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will undertake an aerial survey of the flood-ravaged areas on Saturday. The Indian Meteorological Department (MeT) on Thursday indicated a slight reduction in rain intensity over Kerala in the next 48 hours.

Many rescue team members reported that they were unable to rescue people even after they had reached near houses due to huge compound walls and heavy inflow of water.Red alert has been issued in all 13 districts except Kasaragod today. Red alert has been issued for tomorrow also in Ernakulam and Idukki districts. 94 people have lost their lives in the floods.

The Railway Recruitment Board postponed exams scheduled for today in the state taking note of the flood situation.

Five units of NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) have reached Thiruvananthapuram this morning and deployed for rescue operations. 35 teams are expected to reach there on Friday.

Around 50 people from Pathanamthitta were airlifted on Thursday and brought to the state capital.

Meanwhile, fishing boats from Kollam reached the flooded areas as the rescue operation with the aid of defence personnel continued.

“We have requested more fishing boats and fishermen who have experience in operating the boats. They have all started arriving in the Pathanamthitta and Chengannur areas,” the Chief Minister said.

Reports said hundreds of people are perched on the roofs of their houses in Pathanamthitta, where attempts to airlift some marooned families have failed.

Traffic on the national highway between Ernakulam and Thrissur is being regulated since last night.

Rahul R. Nair, Ernakulam Rural Superintendent of Police, said hundreds of people need help. “Shortage of boats is the biggest problem,” said Nair.

“We have been stuck on the road for hours now and we are going to Chennai for the marriage of our cousin sister. The prospective bride is in the vehicle. We do not know how we will reach there,” said an anxious relative of the bride.

Train operations between Ernakulam and Angamaly have also been stopped, but operations resumed through the Alappuzha sector to the state capital, while the Kottayam sector remains closed. Likewise, the train services resumed operations through the Nagercoil sector.

The current crisis took a turn for the worse when, in a first, the sluices of 33 dams across Kerala were opened on Tuesday following incessant rains in the higher reaches of the ghats.

The famed tourist destination of Munnar continued to be in a bad shape, an official said. The Sabarimala temple also remained cut off by the river Pamba.

The hilly district of Wayanad, connected to Kannur and Kozhikode through a hill highway, has also been badly hit with the overflowing Banasura Sagar dam waters creating havoc. Several landslides were reported in the area.

In Wayanad alone, more than 20,000 people have been put up in relief camps, authorities said.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Chief Miniter Pinarayi Vijayan and asked the defence forces to speed up rescue and relief operations.

“Have asked Defence Ministry to further step up the rescue and relief operations across the state. Praying for the safety and well-being of the people of Kerala,” the Prime Minister said, according to a statement.

Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha chaired a meeting on the Prime Minister’s instructions and asked the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the NDRF to mobilise additional manpower, boats and helicopters to scale up the relief measures in Kerala.

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Kerala Rape Case: Sister of complainant nun files plea alleging life threats

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New Delhi, Sep 24: Sister of Kerala nun rape case’s victim on Monday filed a petition to the state Director general of police, Kottayam SP, and Kalady circle inspector, stating that she and her family are receiving life threats.

In her plea, She said due to hatred, brothers of rape accused Franco Mulakkal filed fake complaints against me.

“Thomas Chittuparamban, a relative of Franco threatened to cause danger to my son & brother. One of his relative named Unni took a photo of me protesting and later threatened me, she alleged.

Earlier in a day, the magisterial court sentenced two weeks judicial custody to former Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who was arrested on charges of raping a nun.

Mulakkal, who headed the Roman Catholic Diocese in Jalandhar, has refuted the charges of sexual misconduct.

A 44-year-old Kerala based Nun has alleged that she was raped several times between 2014 to 2016.

Later, she filed an FIR against the bishop on June 27 this year.

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Rs 5,000 crore bank fraud: Nitin Sandesara fled to Nigeria with family?

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New Delhi, Sep 24: After reports emerged Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara is in Nigeria, the Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday said it has input on fugitive’s whereabouts from UAE or Nigeria.

Sandesara is a director of a Gujarat-based pharmaceutical firm Sterling Biotech, which is being probed in a Rs 5,000 crore bank fraud case.

Earlier in a day, several sections of media reported that Sandesara may have fled to Nigeria. While, last month it was that he has been arrested from Dubai.

In June this year,  after taking cognisance of CBI FIR, the Enforcement Directorate had attached properties worth Rs 4,700 crore in a Rs 5,000-crore bank fraud case involving Gujarat-based pharma company.

The Central Bureau of Investigation has booked Sterling Biotech, its directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Vilas Joshi, Chartered Accountant Hemant Hathi, Anup Prakash Garg and some unidentified persons over the alleged bank fraud.

According to CBI FIR, Sterling Biotech had taken loans of over Rs 5,000 crore from a consortium of banks led by Andhra Bank which had turned into non-performing assets. Total pending dues of the group companies were Rs 5,383 crore as on December 31, 2016.

In connection with alleged  Gujarat’s Sandesara Group Scam, the ED arrested a Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan in November 2017 and  former director of Andhra Bank, Anup Prakash Garg so far.

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Delhi HC bans slaughter in Ghazipur Murga Mandi

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New Delhi, Sep 24 In an interim direction, the Delhi High Court on Monday banned the slaughter of poultry at the Ghazipur Murga Mandi here till further orders.

A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V. Kameswar Rao, however, allowed sale of live chicken at the market and listed the matter for further hearing on October 29.

The court asked the authorities to file an affidavit indicating a plan to set up a designated slaughter house in the area.

The order came on a report filed by the Delhi Pollution Control Board which has raised violation of animal welfare laws at the Mandi and sought its closure.

The court turned down the plea.

“We are concerned with the larger issue of pollution in the area,” the judges said.

The court was hearing a plea filed by animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi, who alleged that there was indiscriminate violation of animal rights and blatant abuse of animal welfare laws at the Mandi.

Maulekhi said the poultry were openly slaughtered in the Ghazipur market without obtaining any licence.

The petitioner requested the court to direct the Commissioner of the Food Safety Department to stop illegal slaughter of poultry in the national capital and that all such slaughter should be done in compliance with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Licence and Registration Regulation.

The counsel also sought a committee for weekly inspections at the Mandi to ensure that there was no violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

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