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Solar scam: Accused asked to produce video evidence in 5 days

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Kochi: A judicial commission on Thursday granted five days time to prime accused Biju Radhakrishnan to hand over video evidence to them in connection with the high-profile solar scam.

On Thursday, the commission headed by Justice (retd) Sivarajan asked the counsel of Radhakrishnan to ensure that the evidence is produced before the commission within five days.

The latest development came after Radhakrishnan deposed before the commission on Wednesday that he has video evidence that has Saritha Nair, the second accused in the solar scam, in a compromising position with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, two cabinet ministers, A P Anil Kumar and Shibu Baby John, and two others.

ALSO READ: Kerala solar scam gets ‘compromising’ twist

This issue saw heated discussions in the state assembly on Thursday with the Left opposition demanding Chandy’s resignation.

Chandy said that even if there was one percent truth in this allegation, he will not only quit but also call time on his 55-year-long public life.

There are numerous cases of cheating registered against Saritha Nair and Radhakrishnan.

Both are accused of cheating many investors by promising to supply them solar panels worth millions of rupees.

The Rs 7-crore solar panel scam surfaced in 2013 and rocked the Oommen Chandy government as three of his staff members were found to have links with Nair. The three were sacked by Chandy.

While Nair is out on bail in similar cases, Radhakrishnan is yet to get bail as he is an accused in a murder case as well.

(IANS)

(Image: Screengrab/YouTube)

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Covid-19: Liquor Prices Hiked Up to 35% in Kerala

Covid-19 impact leads to liquor prices hiked up in Kerala

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"The tax rate on beer and wine would go up by 10 per cent, while all forms of liquor will be taxed by an additional 35 per cent," said Kerala CM Vijayan. Wikimedia Commons

The Kerala cabinet meeting held here on Wednesday decided to hike the tax rates on liquor, beer and wine ranging from 10 to 35 per cent.

The office of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that this has been done to tide over the difficulties faced on account of the lockdown and an ordinance to this effect will be issued soon.

“The tax rate on beer and wine would go up by 10 per cent, while all forms of liquor will be taxed by an additional 35 per cent,” said Vijayan.

The liquor vends and bars are all closed and in all likelihood, might open very soon.

A photo made with a fisheye lens shows bottles of alcohol in a liquor store in Salt Lake City. The National Institutes of Health said Friday that it was canceling a study of moderate drinking's health benefits because the results could not be trusted. Beer and liquor companies were helping to underwrite it.
The liquor shops and bars are all closed but are likely to open very soon. VOA

The state exchequer has been reeling under lack of revenue and last month all what the state government could collect from various sources was a mere Rs 250 crore.

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For fund-starved Kerala, revenue from liquor and beer is one of the biggest cash cows and in the last fiscal, garnered it a total of Rs 14,504.67 crore and hence the devolution of IT into Bevco, would be a big relief for the state’s finances.

The profile of liquor users in the state, in a study conducted earlier, reveal that around 32.9 lakh people – 29.8 lakh men and 3.1 lakh women – out of the state’s 3.34 crore population consume liquor.

Around five lakh people consume liquor on a daily basis. Of this, 83,851 people, including 1,043 women, are addicted to alcohol. (IANS)

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14-Day Home Quarantine Compulsory for Keralites Returning From Other States: Kerala CM

14-day home quarantine must for all returnees

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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan says Fourteen-day home quarantine is a must for all Keralites returning from other states. Wikimedia Commoms

Fourteen-day home quarantine for all Keralites returning from other states would be compulsory, said Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, here on Saturday.

“Kerala’s home quarantine protocol has been very effective. Hence top health expert B. Iqbal suggested that in the present context it would be best that those who arrive from within the country and having no symptoms be home quarantined,

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“Kerala’s home quarantine protocol has been very effective.” said Vijayan. Wikimedia Commoms

According to the state-owned Norka-Roots web portal, around 200,000 people have registered to return and a majority are from neighbouring states and Maharashtra.

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Those with symptoms would be tested and, if needed, be isolated in hospitals, he said and added, the PCR test would also be conducted.

The Chief Minister said all those waiting to enter the state from the six border check-posts would be issued passes. “But none will be allowed in without a pass,” said Vijayan. (IANS)

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Lockdown: 100 Circus Artists Stuck in Kerala

COVID-19 leaves circus troupe abandoned in Kerala

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Water, soap and sanitizer installed by DYFI in a rural village road, as part of Break the chain campaign of Kerala government during 2020 coronavirus pandemic in Kerala lockdown. Photographed near Kanjirappally. Wikimedia Commons

100 Jumbo circus artistes besides their entire pack of animals are hoping against hope after being stuck since the lockdown began in March, near here.

They had their last show at Kottakal near here on March 11 and when they were packing their bags to leave to Bengaluru, came the lockdown and since then they are holed up in their tents and are at the mercy of the generous who come to their help time and again.

“Things are getting tough as we have camels, dogs, birds which have a different eating pattern. Moreover the artistes are also finding it tough . We are stuck,” said Dineshan, a manager of the circus team to IANS.

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Volunteers packaging essential grocery items for Supplyco, for free distribution during the lockdown period of 2020 coronavirus pandemic in Kerala. Photographed from Chirakkadavu Gramapanchayat town hall. Wikimedia Commons

“The local authorities did come to our help and provided us with food supplies. They have now helped us to move our things to a more safe place, as the place where our things were kept was a low lying land and with the rains, it could get flooded. We have started shifting to the new place,” added Dineshan.

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The entire team consisted of 140 and 40 of them left soon after the performance was stopped on March 11.

The present team consists of One Ethiopian and 6 South African nationals including a lady. The remaining are form various states of the country and includes 29 women. (IANS)