Friday December 15, 2017
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CBI questioning Dayanidhi Maran over phone-lines misuse

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Picture Credits: theindianawaaz.com

New Delhi: The CBI on Wednesday grilled former communications minister Dayanidhi Maran for over seven hours in a case against him for installing over 700 phone lines, including 300 high data capacity BSNL lines, at his Chennai residence, asking him more than 200 questions, agency officials said. He will be questioned again on Thursday.

Maran, who was communications minister in the first UPA government (2004-07), reached the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headquarters at about 10 a.m. and was questioned by the Special Task Force (STF) between 11 a.m. and 6.30 p.m., an official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told IANS.

However, an official privy to the investigation, when asked how much money from the state exchequer was lost because of the scam, pegged the figure at Rs.1.80 crore – much lower than the earlier Rs.440 crore.

Picture Credits: theindianawaaz.com
Picture Credits: theindianawaaz.com

Another CBI official told IANS that the total number of phones at his Boat Club residence in Chennai were actually 770, including of private operators, not over 300 as mentioned in the FIR.

The CBI had registered an FIR in the case on July 23, 2013. Till date, however, only three people have been arrested in the matter, while the DMK leader’s name is not mentioned in the FIR as an accused.

The STF team in its seven-and-a-half-hour interrogation of Maran asked him if the high data capacity BSNL telecom lines were used to benefit the Sun TV group, owned by his elder brother, Kalanithi Maran.

“We have asked Maran to explain the misuse of 770 lines, including the 323 high-data capacity BSNL telecom lines being used at his Boat House residence in Chennai, and the mobile phone lines being used by him in Chennai and Delhi,” said a CBI official, who did not want to be named.

The former minister had been called for questioning on Monday, but but did not turn up. On Tuesday, he approached the Madras High Court for anticipatory bail which was granted.

n3 madras hc
Madras High Court

Maran was also asked whether these high capacity lines, in which a stealth cable was used, were used illicitly by Sun TV channel to transfer huge amounts of data without paying for the service.

The agency’s investigation also centres on the fact that the system was devised in such a way that except for the “authorised BSNL staff”, no one in the state-owned telecom company was aware of it.

The interrogators also asked Maran if he had used his network when he was a minister to install the high-speed ISDN phone lines, and why he facilitated these illegal lines despite knowing that it would cause a huge loss to the BSNL.

Maran, who faced several rounds of questioning, was was also asked to explain the answers given by his aides – former additional private secretary V. Gowthaman, Sun TV’s chief technical officer S. Kannan and electrician L.S. Ravi who were earlier arrested by the agency in the case. The Madras High Court has granted bail to them.

CBI officials, part of the STF, also said Maran was asked if he had pressured BSNL officials to install these lines.

An STF member told IANS that Maran will be questioned again on Thursday, and has to reach the CBI office at 10.30 a.m.

Maran was questioned in January this year and October 2014, while Kalanithi was also questioned by the STF in September 2014.

The CBI had started its investigation in 2011 – nearly four years after the matter surfaced. In 2007, the agency had recommended action to the then telecom secretary but nothing happened.

(IANS)

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US Restricts Visas for Cambodians ‘Undermining Democracy’

As a response to anti-democratic actions, Trump administration restrict VISA for Cambodians

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Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen attends a ceremony at the Angkor Wat temple to pray for peace and stability in Cambodia, Dec. 3, 2017.

The Trump administration announced Wednesday it will restrict visas for Cambodians “undermining democracy” in the Southeast Asian nation following the dissolution of the main opposition party and a crackdown on independent media.

The State Department said it was a direct response to “anti-democratic actions” by the Cambodian government but did not disclose which individuals would be affected. It said visa records are confidential under U.S. law.

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert called on the Cambodian government to reinstate the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, which was dissolved by Supreme Court order last month, and free its leader Kem Sokha, imprisoned since September. She also urged Cambodia to allow civil society and media to operate freely.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has held power for more than three decades, has sought to neutralize political opponents and silence critics ahead of national elections next year. Kem Sokha has been charged with trying to topple the government with U.S. support, which Washington has said is a baseless accusation.

Supporters of Kem Sokha, leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, stand outside the Appeal Court during a bail hearing for the jailed opposition leader in Phnom Penh, Cambodia Sept. 26, 2017.

Nauert said Cambodia’s actions run counter to the Paris Peace Agreements of 1991. The United States and 18 other governments signed the accords, which ushered in democracy after the genocidal rule of the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s, then occupation by Vietnam and civil war.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will restrict entry into the United States of “those individuals involved in undermining democracy in Cambodia,” Nauert said in a statement, adding that in certain circumstances, family members of those individuals will also be subject to visa restrictions. The department cited a provision of U.S. immigration law under which individuals can be denied entry if the secretary determines it would have “adverse foreign policy consequences.”

The White House has already terminated U.S. support of Cambodia’s national election committee, saying last month that the July 2018 vote “will not be legitimate, free or fair.”

“We will continue to monitor the situation and take additional steps as necessary, while maintaining our close and enduring ties with the people of Cambodia,” Nauert said.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers remarks during a press availability at NATO in Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 6, 2017.

​Monovithya Kem, an opposition spokeswoman currently in the U.S., welcomed the visa restrictions and called for targeted financial sanctions on senior officials in Hun Sen’s government. Kem, who is the daughter of Kem Sokha, urged the U.S., Japan, Australia and the European Union to coordinate responses to the “crisis” in Cambodia and help win her father’s freedom.

Like many prominent opposition figures, Kem has fled Cambodia as she fears arrest.

Hun Sen has been in office since 1985 and has held a tight grip on power since ousting a co-prime minister in a bloody 1997 coup.

In recent months, the government has intensified restrictions on civil society groups and independent media outlets. In September, it shut down the English-language Cambodia Daily. Authorities have shuttered radio stations that aired programming from U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, whose reports they allege are biased.

The government also expelled the U.S. National Democratic Institute, which helped train political parties and election monitors, accusing it of colluding with its opponents.

Hun Sen has moved Cambodia closer to China in recent years and become increasingly critical of Washington. However, he’s been complimentary of President Donald Trump.

Speaking at Asian leaders’ summit attended by Trump last month, Hun Sen praised the U.S. leader for non-interference in affairs of other nations, but complained the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia was not adhering to the policy. (VOA)

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Ryan International School Murder Mystery Solved! 16-year-old Student who wanted exams Postponed Accused of Murder

The Haryana Police had earlier claimed that Pradhuman was killed by Ryan International School bus conductor Ashok Kumar inside the toilet as the boy resisted a bid to sodomise him.

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Ryan international school
Murder mystery of the class 2 student at Ryan international school, Gurugram has finally been solved (representative image) IANS

Gurugram, November 8, 2017 : A 16-year-old student of Ryan International School in Gurugram who wanted exams and a scheduled meeting between teachers and parents delayed is the prime accused in the murder of Class 2 student Pradhuman Thakur, the CBI said on Wednesday.

CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said the Class 11 student was detained on Tuesday night after “inspection of the crime spot, scrutiny of CCTV footage, call records, statements and questioning of several people” revealed that he had carried a knife inside the school campus on the day of the crime and used it to kill his junior school mate.

“The weapon used in the commission of crime is a knife which was recovered initially by police in Gurugram (Haryana). It is now with us,” Dayal told reporters here.

He said the detained student was weak in studies and “wanted to have examination and parent-teacher meeting postponed”. Pradhuman, 7, was his random target.

The parents of the detained student were kept informed throughout the investigation, said the spokesperson for the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The CBI took over the case on September 22 from Haryana Police, nearly two weeks after the Class 2 boy was found with his throat slit in a bathroom of Ryan International School.

The accused will now be produced before the Juvenile Justice Board, where the court is expected to decide whether he is to be treated as a major or a minor as per the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

The Haryana Police had earlier claimed that Pradhuman was killed by Ryan International School bus conductor Ashok Kumar inside the toilet as the boy resisted a bid to sodomise him.

While Ashok Kumar was arrested, Pradhuman’s parents and two other staffers have claimed that he was being made a scapegoat. (ians)

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Confirmed: Kamal Haasan will Launch Mobile app on his 63rd Birthday, November 7

Actor Kamal Haasan confirms the launch of a mobile software app on November 7. Look what more he has to say.

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Actor Kamal Haasan
Actor Kamal Haasan. wikimedia commons

CHENNAI: Confirming his political plunge, actor Kamal Haasan on Sunday said the first step will be the launch of a mobile software app on November 7 – his 63rd birthday – that will enable him to be in touch with the fans and as well as enable book-keeping.

At a function to mark the 39th anniversary of his fan/welfare club, he said his political plunge by starting a political party is confirmed.

Kamal Haasan said the political party launch will happen in a calm manner and the launch of the mobile app is the first step on November 7.

He said his fans would contribute funds for the political party and the mobile app will facilitate keeping proper accounts of funds collected.

According to him, there is no shame in stretching out one’s hands for the welfare of the people and if only the rich pay their taxes properly, the country would be on the right path.

Kamal said November 7 is a day not to cut a cake and celebrate but a day to cut canals, obliquely referring to the flooding of several localities in the city due to recent rains.

The actor added natural disasters do not differentiate between rich and poor and all should be ready to take preventive measures then acting after the loss of dear ones.

According to him, suppression has become part of politics and it is not important how many people are threatening you, but what is important is what you are going to do.

Kamal Haasan said he is ready to take a beating but he is not a “mridangam” (a percussion instrument) to get hit again and again.(IANS)