Saturday April 20, 2019
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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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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)