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Chandy declares bar scam as a political conspiracy

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Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy on Saturday dubbed the bar scam rocking the state as a “political conspiracy” and warned that those behind it “will have to pay a heavy price”. ooo

“The baseless allegations in the bar scam is nothing but political conspiracy. In all, 309 people were summoned as witness in the case. Nothing was brushed under the carpet. Those behind this case will have to pay a heavy price,” Chandy told the media during campaigning for the Aruvikara legislative assembly segment, where by-election will be held later this month.

Chandy’s statement came a day after it surfaced that legal opinion on vigilance department’s detailed probe – first against Mani and then against Babu – maintained that the case will not pass muster in a court of law. The legal opinion was also for the closure of the case “for want of evidence”.

This opinion has since been passed on by the probe team to vigilance department chief, Vinson M. Paul.

Home Minister, Ramesh Chennithala, who is in-charge of vigilance department, told reporters on Saturday he had “no clue on the contents of the vigilance report”, adding that it was one department where neither he nor the state government could ever interfere since it was supervised by a vigilance court.

“Anyone unhappy with the vigilance probe can approach a court of law. We have done nothing (illegal) in this case,” said Chennithala.

Leader of the Opposition in Kerala assembly, V.S. Achuthanandan, on Saturday cautioned ViOommen_Chandy

gilance Director Paul to see to it that he “does not spoil his clean image by dancing to the tune of those in power”.

“If the (vigilance) director plays into the hands of those in power, I will take up this case legally,” Achuthanandan said.

Meanwhile, bar owner Biju Ramesh – who created a political uproar in Kerala in October 2014 with his bribery charge – maintained that he would take the case to a logical conclusion by approaching the CBI and the courts.

Ramesh had last year claimed that hotel bar owners paid Rs. 1 crore as bribe to State Finance Minister, K.M. Mani to reopen closed bars.

Again in March 2015, he said Rs. 10 crore were given as bribes on the alleged directions of Excise Minister, K. Babu. (IANS)

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Fruit Bats Identified As Source Of Nipah Virus Outbreak In Kerala

At least 13 people died and more than 2,000 were kept under observation when the virus struck in May

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Fruit Bats Identified As Source Of Nipah Virus Outbreak In Kerala
Fruit Bats Identified As Source Of Nipah Virus Outbreak In Kerala. (IANS)

Fruit bats were the source of Nipah virus which created havoc in Kerala’s Kozhikode in May according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), an official said on Tuesday.

Kerala Health Secretary Rajiv Sadanandan said that tests of the first batch of 21 bats were were negative, but the second set of tests done on 55 fruit bats from Kozhikode confirmed that the nocturnal mammals were behind the spread.

Sadanandan told IANS that Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda on Tuesday confirmed the latest test results.

Also Read: Stem Cell Thearpy To Treat Heart-Failure

At least 13 people died and more than 2,000 were kept under observation when the virus struck in May. Most of them were from Kozhikode district and some from Malappuram.

Even when the final green signal came from Kerala health authorities that the fear of the spread has been contained, the source of the virus outbreak was yet to be ascertained.

The ICMR is the country’s premier body engaged in formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research. (IANS)

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