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Tuesday,21-September-2021

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Pinarayi Vijayan, CPI-M have to respond to Custom chief’s statements: Congress

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Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan on Saturday asked Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his party CPI-M to respond to the statements made by Customs Commissioner Sumit Kumar in the infamous gold smuggling case.

Kumar, who led the investigation in the gold smuggling case, has been transferred from Kochi. In a talk with the media at Kochi on Saturday he said there was interference in the case from the state.

When asked if the office of the Chief Minister tried to influence him, he shot back, “I don’t report to the Chief Minister instead I report to the Union Finance Minister who has been providing all the support to us in all respects. We have conducted the probe in the best manner and none can influence us in any way. It’s only that I am transferred, but the other officers are here,” said Kumar.

Kumar went on to add that even when the Customs officials including he came under attack, the Kerala Police failed to act in the proper manner.

“Not a single charge sheet in these attack cases has been filed. The present judicial probe against the Customs is foolish and is unheard of in the country. How would it look if I appoint a Commission against the government,” asked Sharma.

The gold smuggling case surfaced on July 5 last year, with the arrest of P.R. Sarith, a former UAE Consulate staffer. This was followed by the arrest of another former staffer, Swapna Suresh, who afterwards worked in the Kerala IT Department’s Space Park.

Things became bad for Vijayan when the Enforcement Directorate arrested M. Sivasankar, who was the principal secretary to Vijayan, besides being a senior IAS officer. He is now out on bail after a few months in jail.

Reacting to Kumar’s statement, Satheesan said the statement has to be probed.

“It’s Vijayan and the CPI-M which should provide the answers to the revelation of Kumar, if there was any interference in the probe. Before the elections all the national agencies were involved in the probe, but all of a sudden everything has turned silent and this took place because of the political tie up between the CPI-M and the BJP. The same thing has happened in the Kodakara election fund case probe where the BJP is involved and this new found tie up between the two is the reason for all such cases involving the CPI-M and the BJP, which have come to a premature close,” said Satheesan.

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KTR files defamation suit against Revanth Reddy for linking him in drugs case

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 Telangana’s cabinet minister K.T. Rama Rao has instituted a civil suit for defamation and for grant of perpetual injunction against state Congress chief A. Revanth Reddy for making baseless allegations linking him with the drugs scandal.

The suit is a result of various baseless, scurrilous, and manifestly false statements and allegations made against Rama Rao by Revanth Reddy seeking to falsely link the minister with the ongoing investigation being conducted by Enforcement Directorate against allegations of drug and psychotropic substances abuse by certain named accused, said a statement released from the minister’s office.

The civil suit contends that the said investigations are being done against the said accused and as a part of investigation various persons are being examined with none of whom Rama Rao has any association or link for the alleged acts.

“Mr K.T. Rama Rao has thus sought a declaration that such false statements made by Anumula Revanth Reddy are slanderous, libellous and constitute defamation and seeks an appropriate injunction against making such defamatory statements and to take down all such false statements/accusations. Liberty has also been reserved in the suit for instituting further Criminal Proceedings and for payment of compensatory damages for such serious and malicious acts of defamation,” it added.

KTR, as Rama Rao is popularly known, is minister for industries, commerce, and information technology and municipal administration and urban development.

Son of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, he is also working president of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

Revanth Reddy, who is also a member of Parliament, had also challenged KTR to undergo tests for drugs. KTR said he was ready to undergo the tests provided Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also comes forward to give his samples.

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Owaisi denied permission to meet ex-MP Atiq Ahmad in Gujarat jail

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 AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday was denied permission to meet former MP Atiq Ahmad in Sabarmati Central Prison, Ahmedabad.

The Hyderabad MP along with some party leaders reached Ahmedabad on Monday morning but Gujarat prison authorities denied him permission to meet Ahmad, who recently joined All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).

AIMIM sources said in Hyderabad that Owaisi was scheduled to reach Sabarmati Central Prison to meet Atiq Ahmad at 11 a.m.

The permission for meeting was denied in the last minute by SP Central Prison citing Covid-19 pandemic, they said.

Owaisi was accompanied by Aurangabad MP Imtiyaz Jaleel, Gujarat state unit chief Sabir Kabliwala and former mayor of Greater Hyderabad and AIMIM incharge for Uttar Pradesh Majid Hussain.

Atiq Ahmad’s wife Shaista Parveen joined AIMIM early this month in Lucknow in the presence of Owaisi. The former Samajwadi Party leader also joined AIMIM in absentia.

Owaisi inducted Atiq Ahmad and his wife claiming that the SP and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) used Muslims as slaves in their parties.

Defending his decision to induct Ahmad, who has several criminal cases lodged against him, Owaisi also asserted that even several BJP leaders are facing several cases.

A five-time legislator and one-time MP Atiq Ahmad has more than 90 criminal cases, including those of murders, abductions, illegal mining, extortion, intimidation and fraud, against him.

He was shifted to Gujarat from Uttar Pradesh on the Supreme Court’s directions in 2019.

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Unemployment has peaked in Goa, says Kejriwal ahead of visit

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Ahead of his two-day visit to Goa, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday took to Twitter to highlight the issue of unemployment in the coastal state.

“With unemployment at its peak, Goa’s youth are not getting jobs. Government jobs are available only to people with money and connections. Coming to Goa to discuss this issue with the People of Goa,” Kejriwal tweeted.

Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party has upped its ante ahead of the 2022 state assembly polls, is expected to make a major poll promise related to the issue of unemployment here on Tuesday.

On his visit to Uttarakhand — another poll bound state — Kejriwal on Sunday had promised a Rs 5,000 unemployment dole and 80 per cent reservation of jobs to local residents.

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has on several occasions said that the issue of unemployment is a serious problem in the state and has announced 15,000 vacancies to be filled up ahead of the elections, which are scheduled to be held in early 2022.

The Opposition has however dismissed the announcement of vacancies as a poll jumla.

The AAP has already promised free electricity up to 300 units in the state as its first poll promise in Goa. The party is expected to make a total of five poll-related promises to the people of the state in the run-up to the 2022 polls.

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