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Pinarayi Vijayan strikes back as Kerala Vigilance picks up Swapna’s close aide



Hours after Swapna Suresh, prime accused in the gold smuggling case, slammed Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his family for their role in the entire episode on Wednesday, her close aide and now colleague P.S. Sarith was picked up by the Vigilance wing of the police from their flat at Palakkad. Sarith is also an accused in the gold smuggling case.

Hearing about it, Swapna said she has no clue who took Sarith away and this is nothing but retaliation for her revelations.

The media and the local police also descended at the flat where Swapna and Sarith live with her children. Even the local police initially had no clue of who took away Sarith in a Swift Car.

It was revealed later that it was the Vigilance department sleuths who picked Sarith. Hearing about this, Swapna lost her cool and screamed politics is a dirty game.

“The Vigilance has only one case and it pertains to collection of commission in the construction of Life Mission flats. But in the case the 5th accused is M. Sivasankar (former principal secretary of Vijayan and top IAS official, who was also in jail for several weeks and is now out on bail in the gold smuggling case). I am the 6th accused and Sarith is only the 7th accused. They have not served any notice and instead they picked him and it was Sivasankar who should have been picked up first. We are not scared of any investigation as we all were in jail for months,” said an angry Swapna Suresh.

Meanwhile, in a related development on Wednesday morning Vijayan had a closed door meeting with police chief and his deputy.

Soon after that former State Minister and Left supported legislator K.T. Jaleel arrived at the police station next door to the State Secretariat, here and registered a complaint against the baseless allegations levelled against Vijayan, his family and himself.

“I have filed a complaint against these baseless allegations levelled by an accused in the gold smuggling case. This is nothing but a conspiracy hatched against the state government and both the Congress and the BJP have joined in this campaign,” said Jaleel.

“All these allegations which she has raked up again have all been probed by three national agencies and today she has aired the same, but with a lot of spice. We are all supremely confident as all these national agencies probed everything and found nothing. The role of P.C. George and his relation with Swapna is conspiracy,” added Jaleel.

Meanwhile across the state, angry supporters of the Congress led UDF took to the streets demanding resignation of Vijayan and at several places they burnt the effigy of the Chief Minister.

But Vijayan moving around with massive security cover while taking part in a meeting here said, in 2018 the state faced the worst floods in a century.

“Later, the state witnessed a never seen before barrage of allegations (gold smuggling case in July 2020) and it went on and on, with various agencies probing it. Finally the people of Kerala gave us a second successive term in office. The people dismissed all the allegations stating that this is their government. The people are with us,” said Vijayan, who is yet to interact with the media on this issue.

State BJP president K. Surendran asked Vijayan to quit and face the probe as an ordinary citizen.

“Swapna Suresh has told the court everything and hence Vijayan should quit and face a probe and come clean,” said Surendran.

Leader of the opposition V.D. Satheesan, leading the protesters at Kollam, said the probe by various agencies came to a standstill after several Kerala BJP leaders teamed up with the CPI-M to stop this probe then.

“But now things have again come out in the open and it’s strange that when Oommen Chandy had to face lot of issues, that law seems not applicable to Vijayan. This cannot happen. We are looking into all options on how this new revelation needs to be taken up at all fronts,” said Satheesan.

Earlier in the day, Swapna said she has no political or any personal agenda.

“I don’t know about politics and I do not care who is ruling the state, then or now. I have given a statement under 164 of CrPC in the past but none came out. Allow me to live, it’s difficult for me to live. Those ladies, who are wives and daughters including Kamala Vijayan (wife of Vijayan), Veena (daughter), are leading a luxurious life while I am suffering,” said Swapna.

On Tuesday, Swapna first accused Vijayan, his wife and daughter that they had a role in shady things like transferring currency notes to the UAE and also on a few occasions transferred vessels which were used to make biriyani from the residence of the UAE Consul general here to Vijayan’s residence and it contained metal objects.

National News

People steal beer bottles after truck overturns in Andhra




People stole beer bottles after a truck carrying alcohol cases overturned in Andhra Pradesh’s Anakapalli district.

The incident occurred on the national highway between Anakapalli and Bayyavaram on Monday evening.

As the entire load of 200 cases of beer bottles fell on the ground, locals in the area scurried to steal them instead of helping the truck driver and cleaner, who escaped the accident with minor injuries.

A footage of the incident has gone viral on social media.

Similar incidents of people stealing liquor bottles after road accidents involving alcohol-carrying trucks have been reported in the state in the past.

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Khagaria-Bhagalpur bridge collapse will affect water biodiversity in region




Collapse of Khagaria-Bhagalpur bridge over the Ganga river will have a long-lasting effect on the water biodiversity of the region, as per environmental experts.

Ashok Ghosh, the professor of Mahavir Cancer Institute and former chairman of Bihar state pollution control board told: “Such a big chunk of concrete structure falling into the Ganga will have a big environmental effect for a long time. It will deeply hurt the water biodiversity of the river in this region. The water-borne animals will be adversely affected by it.”

“Unlike silt, the concrete structures used in the making bridges are non biodegradable materials. Hence, there is no question of the concrete structures dissolving in water. The iron rods may turn into rust after coming in contact with water but it is a slow process which takes years. Also, the ongoing projects of cleaning the river will also suffer a big jolt due to the bridge collapse,” Ghosh said.

The concrete structures of such a massive amount change the flow of the river as well. It makes the river more shallow in the region which leads to flooding. Khagaria in particular is affected by floods in the monsoon sessions. The fresh structural disaster would create more trouble for people living in the region,” Ghosh said.

Bihar is located in the low lying area of Himalayan range. As a result, a large number of rivers like Kosi, Kamla Balan, Gandak, Parman, originate from Himalaya and its water cross various North Bihar districts to finally fall in Ganga river.

The biggest challenge of the state government is the silt carried by these rivers and its accumulation in the low-lying areas of North Bihar and in the Ganga river. It makes the rivers more shallow by disturbing the natural drains. It turned worse after the drainage system of various districts were developed in an unplanned manner. The water comes from the Himalayan range but does not return or exit to other sides due the ill drainage system.

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National News

President Murmu Is 1st Indian To Be Conferred With Suriname’s Highest Civilian Award




President Droupadi Murmu has been conferred with Suriname’s highest civilian award by President Chandrikapersad Santokhi to honour the deep-rooted bilateral ties. Murmu arrived in Suriname on Sunday on a three-day state visit – her first since assuming office in July last year.

“An honour reflective of the deep-rooted India-Suriname ties! President Droupadi Murmu @rashtrapatibhvn conferred with the ‘Grand Order of the Chain of the Yellow Star’, the highest civilian award of Suriname by President @CSantokhi,” the Ministry of External Affairs tweeted.

Presidemt Murmu’s statement

President Murmu said she was greatly honoured to receive Suriname’s highest distinction.

“This recognition holds tremendous significance, not only for me but also for the 1.4 billion people of India whom I represent,” she tweeted after receiving the award on Monday.

She dedicated the honour to the successive generations of the Indian-Surinamese community, who have played a stellar role in enriching the fraternal ties between our two countries.

PM Modi congratulates President Murmu

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the President on receiving the award.

“Congratulations to Rashtrapati Ji on being conferred the highest civilian award of Suriname – Grand Order of the Chain of the Yellow Star. This special gesture from the Government and the people of Suriname symbolises the enduring friendship between our countries,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted.

Despite her many official engagements, President Murmu spent some time with a group of children who came to greet her in Paramaribo. She offered them India-made chocolates.

President also visited ‘Marinetrap’ where she witnessed the simulation and welcoming of the arrival of the First Indians in Suriname. She also inaugurated the simulated village at Independence Square.

Murmu’s visit to Surinam coincides with 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in Suriname

On Monday, President Murmu met her Surinamese counterpart Chandrikapersad Santokhi and later led delegation-level talks between the two sides. Speaking on the occasion, the President said that she was happy to be in Suriname on her first State Visit as President of India when it is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in Suriname.

She said that deep historical and cultural ties provide the foundation for the India-Suriname multifaceted and modern partnership.

Bilateral trade between India and Suriname

The President noted that bilateral trade between the two countries is well below potential. She said that there is a need to work together to expand bilateral trade for mutual benefit. She expressed confidence that the agreements signed during the visit would help boost the trade and economic ties. She said that there is scope for further collaboration in sectors like pharmaceuticals, Ayurveda, agriculture and defence, the Rashtrapati Bhavan said in a press release.

The President said that India is committed to enhancing technical cooperation and contributing to the capacity-building and skill development of Suriname’s human resources as per the country’s requirements. The two countries also signed three MoUs to enhance bilateral cooperation.

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