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Accused in Kerala nurse recruitment scam arrested in Abu Dhabi

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Thiruvananthapuram: A Keralite was arrested in Abu Dhabi on Thursday for his alleged involvement in the Rs.200 crore nurse recruitment scam in Kerala, a CBI officer said.

nurses1_12A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officer told IANS that M. Varghese Uthup, 48, was arrested by Interpol officers with the help of UAE officials. His name was included in the Interpol’s list of wanted people in July.

“Even though the arrests have been made, there are lots of procedures to be followed before he is actually brought to Kerala. It could even take more than a week for all the formalities to be conducted and only after that will he be brought to Kochi, where the case has been registered,” said the CBI official on condition of anonymity.

Uthup’s anticipatory bail was rejected by the Kerala High Court in June, following which the CBI was working with the authorities to seek Interpol’s help.

He runs a travel agency in UAE and ever since he was on the run after failing to appear before the CBI, he was moving between UAE and Kuwait.

After his anticipatory bail was rejected by the Kerala High Court, he is reported to have approached the Supreme Court but the CBI sources here said that they have no idea of such a thing as no notice was served to them.

Uthup has been charged with cheating, criminal conspiracy with a public servant to commit criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act, and collection of excess service charge from emigrants.

Uthup’s Kochi-based recruiting firm is alleged to have been recruiting nurses to Kuwait and instead of collecting a service charge of Rs.19,500, it was collecting Rs.19.5 lakh.

Reports indicate that they have recruited close to 1,000 nurses in the past one year.

Uthup came under scanner two months ago when a raid by the Income Tax department found huge sums of unaccounted money at his recruitment agency in Kochi.

The CBI stepped in after a nurse who had paid fees to the agency but later decided not to take up the job, alleged that she did not get her money back.

She said she approached the Protector of Emigrants (PoE) L. Adolfus for help to get her money back from the recruitment agency but got a cold response.

Adolfus, an accused in the same case, who was arrested by the CBI in June, got bail last month.

(IANS)

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Kerala Government Decides to Revise The List of Women Who Prayed at Sabarimala

The list of 51 women is not part of an affidavit but only referred to by the state government counsel in his arguments. Soon the list was highlighted in the media

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Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

Stung by widespread criticism over the numerous errors in the list of women who prayed at the Sabrimala temple, the Kerala government has decided to re-prepare the list.

A counsel of state government had presented the list in the Supreme Court on Friday, which reportedly had discrepancies in the age and names of women. The list was taken from the records of the online system, through which pilgrims register for having “darshan”.

The row erupted over flaws in the actual age of some of the 51 women, whom the counsel had referred to in the list as “banned” — on account of they being of menstruating age group of 10 to 50 years — who prayed at the temple this season.

State police chief Loknath Behera on Saturday asked senior officials to revise the list, which included even the name of men, besides several of the women above 50.

State Devasom (temples) Minister Kadakampally Surendran told the media that his department has no role in the preparation of the list, while the president of the Travancore Devasom Board – custodian of the temple, A. Padmakumar said they are not responsible for this as they do not prepare statistics of the pilgrims in the temple.

Kanam Rajendran, state secretary of the Communist Party of India – the second biggest ally of the ruling Pinarayi Vijayan government, said the entire responsibility of what has happened lies with the state government.

Sabarimala
Kerala to revise list of women who prayed at Sabarimala.

But the Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan, the closest aide of Vijayan, defended him by saying that it is not just 51 women, but so many women have had “darshan” at the temple.

Kanaka Durga and Bindu Ammini, both in the “banned” age group of 10 to 50 years, prayed at the Sabarimala temple.

It was after they approached the apex court seeking security for having safe “darshan” that a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari directed the state government to arrange adequate protection for them.

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The list of 51 women is not part of an affidavit but only referred to by the state government counsel in his arguments. Soon the list was highlighted in the media.

“This goof-up reveals the abject failure of the way Vijayan is running the state,” said state BJP president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai.  (IANS)