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Kerala

Mukherjee says tragic to see universities caught in vortex of violence, disquiet

Declaring that there should be no room in India for the intolerant Indian, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Thursday that the country's premier institutions of higher education must resound with creativity and free thinking.

President Pranab Mukherjee delivering the 6th K.S. Rajamony Memorial Lecture on the topic ‘India@70’ at Kochi in Kerala on March 2, 2017.
President Pranab Mukherjee delivering the 6th K.S. Rajamony Memorial Lecture on the topic ‘India@70’ at Kochi in Kerala on March 2, 2017.
Declaring that there should be no room in India for the intolerant Indian, President Pranab Mukherjee today said the country's premier institutions of higher education must resound with creativity and free thinking.
 
"Those in Universities must engage in reasoned discussion and debate rather than propagate a culture of unrest. It is tragic to see them caught in the vortex of violence and disquiet," he said while delivering the 6th K.S. Rajamony Memorial Lecture on the topic ‘India@70’ in Kochi.
 
"India was a world leader in the field of education when our Universities like Nalanda and Takshshila were at the height of their glory. Nalanda and Takshshila are not mere geographical expressions but representations of the idea for free thought which flourished in these great Universities of the past.  Our premier institutions of higher education are the vehicles on which India has to propel itself into a knowledge society.  These temples of learning must resound with creativity and free thinking," he said.
 
"There should be no room in India for the intolerant Indian.  India has been since ancient times a bastion of free thought, speech and expression.  Our society has always been characterized by the open contestation of diverse schools of thought and debate as well as discussion.   Freedom of speech and expression is one of the most important fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution. There must be space for legitimate criticism and dissent," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee began by speaking about Kerala, which has been the gateway to India for traders and religious missionaries from different parts of the globe. He said the people of Kerala were known for their progressive thinking and the State's impressive achievements in the field of literacy, education, health, gender equality, tourism and culture had brought it global acclaim.
 
Turning to the topic of the lecture, India@70, he said that for 50 years before independence in 1947 the economic growth rate of India was 0% to 1%. "In the fifties, our growth rate rose to 1 – 2%, the sixties 3 – 4% and in the 90s, with economic reforms, to 6 to 7%.  In the last decade, our growth rate has averaged around 8%, making us the fastest growing large economy of the world," he said.
 
"India’s population in 1950 was 360 million. Today, we are a 1.3 billion strong nation.  Our annual per capita income has gone up from Rs. 7,500 at the time of independence to over Rs. 77,000. GDP growth rate has risen from 2.3 percent to 7.9 percent in 2015-16.  Poverty ratio has declined from over 60 percent to less than 25 percent.  Average life expectancy has gone up from 31.4 to 68.4 years. Literacy rate has gone up from 18 to 74 percent. Food grains production has gone up from 45 million to an estimated 272 million tonnes in 2016-17," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee spoke about the progress achieved by the country in the field of food and industrial production, as well as in areas such as space, information technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. He said that, in the last 70 years, India had transformed itself from a poor, under-developed nation into the third largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity.
 
He said equally important was India's success in consolidating the unity of its nation and democracy in the midst of extraordinary challenges and tremendous diversity.  
 
"We have firmly established within our country the rule of law, an independent judiciary and vibrant media as well as civil society.  We have also created strong institutions like the Election Commission and the CAG who stand as pillars of our political system.  Every known religion in the world, over hundred different languages used in everyday life, 1600 dialects and multiple cultures are united under one flag and one Constitution. Around 553 million people voted in the 2014 General Elections, an exercise matched in scale and scope by none else in the world," he said.
 
The President said the most important legacy bequeathed to the nation by its founding fathers was its Constitution.
 
"A Constitution is a charter for the governance of a nation. The notion of what is good governance must be defined by the need of the times and enriched by the experience of the decades. Yet, the Constitution enshrines certain timeless values that should never be compromised. It is against the touchstone of these values that we must constantly measure our performance," he said.
 
"The Preamble records the resolve of the people of India to secure to all citizens justice - social, economic and political as well as liberty, equality and fraternity.  It also establishes the principle of secularism. Justice - social, economic and political - is in the life of any nation a journey more than a destination. To achieve social justice requires not mere governance but a recasting of mindsets and the transformation of social ethos.  That is the job not just of the legislature, the executive or the courts, but of each one of us.
 
"The ultimate goal of any democracy is the empowerment of the individual, irrespective of his economic, religious or social standing. This may appear to be a utopian dream for many, but the strength of a system lies in its capacity to ceaselessly work for its accomplishment.  The goal of political justice requires the continuous empowerment of marginalised sections of our society. We owe ourselves to create a system in which access to politics is not limited to a privileged few but an average Indian also feels empowered enough to contribute," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee said economic development was vital to good governance but stressed that this must be imbued with the principle of equality on which there could be no compromise.
 
"An egalitarian society can only be created when growth is inclusive. It is important to ensure that there is justice and equality of opportunity and the state does not create conditions in which the privileged few gain at the cost of the multitudes who suffer endemic poverty. A sustainable society can only be based on the principles of equity and justice," he said.
 
He said democracy required constant nurturing and at no cost should the exploitation of fault lines be allowed. In this context, he underlined the importance of protection and safety of women and children.
 
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Mr. Mukherjee said the country's leaders and political activists must listen to the people, engage with them, learn from them and respond to their needs and concerns. "Our law makers must never take the people for granted. They must focus on the fundamental task of law making and raising of issues of concern to the people as well as finding solutions to their problems," he said.
 
"Legislation is the first and foremost responsibility of a Parliamentarian. It is most unfortunate that time devoted towards legislation has been gradually declining in our Parliament," he said, citing figures for time lost due to interruptions and adjournments.
 
"No one who holds any elected office has been invited by the voters to occupy that office.  Each one has gone to the voters and pleaded for their votes and support.  The trust placed by the people in the political system and those elected should not be betrayed. Our Legislatures and Parliament must not turn into arenas for combat.  Floor tests are not meant to be muscle tests.  The opportunity to represent the people is not a right or entitlement but a moral obligation and duty.  Our elected representatives owe it to the people of our country to act as models of exemplary conduct," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee said Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies were central pillars on which the edifice of democracy   rested. 
 
"They are the supreme institutions comprising of members directly elected by our people.  It is through them that governments are held accountable by the people.  If they become dysfunctional, it results in not just paralysis of those institutions but creates an adverse impact across the system.  The debate and discussions which ought to take place in the open in the House of Parliament and Assemblies cannot be replicated elsewhere.  When they cease to function effectively, issues spill out onto the streets.  The very basis of our democracy gets undermined," he said.
 
The President said the time had come for collective efforts to re-discover the sense of national purpose and patriotism that alone can lift the nation on to the road of sustained progress and prosperity.
 
"The nation and the people must always come first.  Let us strive to arrest the moral decline in our society and ensure that our core civilisational values find firm root.  Let us exert ourselves to strengthen India’s pluralism and diversity.  Let us be uncompromising in rooting out violence, prejudice and hatred.  
 
"Let us strive for rapid progress but even as we do so, ensure that the benefits of economic progress percolate down to the poorest of the poor and those living in the furthest corners of our country.  Let us make the poorest in our land part of the story of a rising India.  Let us embrace education, skill development and innovation which will enable us catapult India into the future and build a knowledge economy, riding the technological wave of the 21st century.
 
"I see a very bright future for India. Our Constitutional values, young population and entrepreneurial abilities as well as capacity for hard work provide us the fundamentals required for rapid progress as well as the building of a caring and compassionate society. India has changed dramatically in the last 70 years.  I am confident that in the next ten years, we will see even greater progress as we steer our nation, focused on further strengthening our open, democratic and inclusive society," he added.
 
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Kerala: Court orders probe against CM Oommen Chandy, Minister Aryadan Mohammad

A Vigilance Court in Thrissur on Thursday ordered registering of an FIR and initiating a probe against Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his cabinet colleague Aryadan Mohammad on the bribery allegations raised against them by Saritha S Nair, main accused in the "solar scam".

 
Kerala solar scam: FIR ordered against CM; protestors lathicharged
 
A Vigilance Court here today ordered registering of a first information report (FIR) and initiating a probe against Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his cabinet colleague, Electricity and Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammad, on the bribery allegations raised against them by Saritha S Nair, main accused in the "solar scam".
 
Saritha and her associate Biju Radhakrishnan are accused of having cheated several businessmen and non-resident Indians (NRIs) of large sums of money promising them partnership in a company floated by them, Team Solar Renewable Energy Solutions Pvt Limited, which offered solar energy solutions to institutions and households. 
 
They had also boasted of close connections with Mr Chandy and other ministers and even produced letters on official letterheads to support their claims. The scam came into light when an NRI, Sajad, filed a police complaint accusing them of having defrauded him of Rs 40 lakh. Subsequently, 33 cases were registered against them on various complaints.
 
Saritha, while deposing before the Justice Sivarajan Commission in Kochi yesterday, had alleged that she had paid a bribe totalling Rs 1.90 crore to an aide of the Chief Minister and Rs 40 lakh to Mr Mohammad. Both have denied the charges.
 
However, Inquiry Commissioner and Special Judge S S Vasan, taking cognisance of a private complaint, asked the Vigilance Director to file an FIR and complete the probe as early as possible. The court rejected the contention of the government counsel seeking a quick probe into the allegations before initiating proceedings against the Chief Minister. Justice should be equal for all, for the common man as well as Chief Minister, the court observed.
 
The judge said he was not looking into the merits of the complaint against the Chief Minister which is to be considered by the investigating officer. The report is to be submitted to the court on April 14. The court also rejected the submission of the state counsel regarding jurisdiction of the court since the alleged bribery took place in Thiruvananthapuram. However, the court upheld the contention of the complainant P D Joseph, a social activist, that it had also occurred in Kochi, which fell within the purview of the court.
 
Reacting to the court order, Mr Chandy told reporters in Kozhikode that he was prepared to face any inquiry and rejected the opposition demand for his resignation. “My conscience is clear and both of us have done nothing wrong,” he said, speaking on behalf of his ministerial colleague, too.
 
In a related development the Kerala High Court stayed the Thrissur Vigilance Court order of registering an FIR against Mr K Babu, who had resigned his post as Minister following the court order. 
 
Passing the order, High Court Judge P Ubaid observed that the vigilance court had acted in unnecessary haste without waiting for the order of the division bench of the High Court. The stay will be applicable for two months. In the meantime, the court directed the Vigilance Director to conduct a quick probe and submit a report within ten days.
 
Earlier, on January 25, Mr Chandy had deposed before the judicial commission. The deposition, that went on into the night, was completed only in the early hours the next day. He reportedly told the commission that he had met Saritha only three times and came to know about the financial dealings only after her arrest. He had acknowledged receipt of a contribution of Rs 2 lakh to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund in a letter drafted by his office under his letterhead. The letterhead was later found to be misused. He also denied that he had met Saritha in his office along with Sreedharan Nair, a quarry owner and one of the complainants in the scam, as stated by Intelligence ADGP A Hemachandran.
 
The Chief Minister later told reporters that he had refused to undergo a lie-detector test as he had not lied or acted against his conscience. Neither has the state exchequer incurred any loss nor the accused obtained any monetary advantage, he added. 
 
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Kerala: Four female rowers attempt suicide in SAI hostel; one dead, three hospitalised

A 15-year-old rower died and three female athletes were hospitalised in a serious condition after they consumed poisonous fruit on Wednesday in an alleged suicide attempt at their hostel at the Sports Authority of India's Water Sports Centre at Alappuzha in Kerala.

 
Kerala suicide attempt: DG SAI says priority to save lives of girls
A 15-year-old rower died and three female athletes were hospitalised in a serious condition after they consumed poisonous fruit yesterday in an alleged suicide attempt at their hostel at the Sports Authority of India's (SAI) Water Sports Centre at Alappuzha in Kerala.
 
The decased was identified as Aparna Ramachandran, a resident of Avalookunnu in Alappuzha district, official sources said. The three others are also from Kerala, they said.
 
The four athletes allegedly consumed the fruit of cerbera odollam (Othalanga in Malayalam) sometime during the afternoon yesterday and were rushed to the Alappuzha Medical College Hospital, about 150 km from here, in the evening after they started showing symptoms of food poisoning.
 
While Aparna failed to respond to treatment and breathed her last around 4 am today, the other three girls were said to be in a serious condition.
 
The reason for the extreme step taken by the rowers could not be ascertained immediately, but parents and relatives of the girls said they were subjected to mental and physical harassment at the hostel in recent times.
 
The hostel authorities, however, denied these allegations and said there were no complaints of any harassment. Media reports quoted them as saying that the girls had recently been caught consuming beer and were questioned about it, and they must have resorted to the extreme step fearing further action.
 
The State Government as well as the Sports Authority of India have ordered inquiries into the incident.
 
Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chenithala told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that he had asked Inspector General of Police (Kochi Range) M R Ajithkumar to conduct an inquiry into th incident and the officer would reach Alappuzha later today.
 
In Delhi, SAI Director General Injeti Srinivas said SAI had taken an extremely serious view of the incident and he had submitted an initial report to Union Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. He said SAI would conduct a probe into all aspects of the incident.
 
Mr  Sonowal said in a statement later that he had asked the Director General of SAI to rush to the spot and give a factual report on the incident.
 
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“I am deeply aggrieved by the incident that has happened in Kerala. The young girl who has died was a very promising sportsperson. It is a big loss to the country in general and Sports Authority of India and sports fraternity in particular. I convey my condolences to the bereaved family. We will give all possible help to the bereaved family," he said.
 
"Three girls are still undergoing treatment. I pray for their speedy recovery. To provide them the best possible treatment is our top priority," he said.
 
"Local police is investigating the matter. I have also directed the Director General of SAI to rush to the spot and give me a factual report. I have specifically directed him to ensure that the best possible treatment is made available to the three girls who are undergoing treatment. 
 
"While law will take its own course, at this stage I would only like to say that if anyone from Sports Authority of India is found guilty in connection with this tragic incident, strictest possible action will be taken against him or her," he added.
 
Mr Srinivas told newspersons in Delhi that it was the most shocking and tragic incident in the three-decade-old history of SAI, which is tasked with nurturing sports talent in the country.
 
He said he had been informed of the incident around midnight last night and has been in touch with Kerala government and local SAI officials since then.
 
"Our immediate priority is to deal with the medical emergency, to save the lives of the three trainees" he said. He said he had been told that there was no real antidote for the poisonous fruit and that, since the entire matter came to light only after some hours after they had consumed the fruit, the poison appeared to have entered their bloodstream and complicated matters.
 
Mr Srinivas said the four girls had reportedly left a suicide note jointly signed by them. One of the three girls in hospital, who is conscious and is able to speak, has deposed before the sub-divisional magistrate, he said. "All these matters will be investigated," he added.
 
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10 dead, 50 hurt as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails near Hosur

At least ten passengers died and about 50 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed on Friday morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.

 
10 dead, 50 injured as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails
At least ten passengers died and about 50 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed this morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.
 
The mishap occurred at around 7.45 am between Anekal Road and Hosur stations on the Bangalore-Salem section of South-Western Railway, they said.
 
Prima facie, the derailment occurred after the train hit a boulder that had rolled down onto the tracks in the ghat section, the sources said.
 
The train had left Bangalore at 6.15 am for Ernakulam in Kerala. Nine coaches and the engine of the train went off the rails, and one coach in particular, D8, a second class chair car, was badly affected, they said.
 
The derailed coaches included two air-conditioned chair cars and six second class chair cars, but they did not suffer much damage.
 
A pantry car and four second class chair cars were not affected by the derailment, the sources said.
 
South-Western Railway spokesperson Chandrasekhar Gupta told NetIndian over the telephone that ten bodies had been extricated from the mangled coaches.
 
He said 18 of the injured passengers had suffered severe injuries and were undergoing treatment in the Narayan Hridalaya, Sparsh and Anekal General hospitals nearby.
 
Police and emergency personnel, including railway officials and staff, from nearby areas in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka rushed to the spot with ambulances and medical equipment. The Railways rushed medical vans and accident relief vans to the spot.
 
Efforts were being made to restore rail traffic on the section at the earliest, the sources said.
 
In Delhi, Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said he was rushing to the scene of the accident and that he had directed the Chairman of the Railway Board, the General Manager of South-Western Railway and other senior officials to reach the spot.
 
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He said all possible help would be rendered to the affected passengers and families. He also announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 200,000 for the next-of-kin of each of those killed in the accident, Rs 50,000 for the grievously injured passengers and Rs 20,000 for those with minor injuries.
  
Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, a former Minister for Railways and former Karnataka Chief Minister, was among those who reached the scene of the accident. 
 
"I am personally monitoring it and in touch with State and local administration. All Sr rail officials are directed by me to be on job," Mr Prabhu said.
 
"Condolences to all the  unfortunate members of the families who lost lives. Directed to provide best possible medical care to the injured," he said.
 
"Ordered enquiry to fix responsibility and for corrective action to prevent such unfortunate accidents. Monitoring action regularly," he added.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines to provide information and assistance to victims and their relatives: 0948090599,  08022371166, 09731666751.
 
Besides, the Railways have set up the following helpline numbers in Kerala:
 
Trivandrum: 0471-2321205, 2321237, 09746769960
Ernakulam Jn.: 0484-2100317, 0813699773
Ernakulam Town: 0484-2398200
Trichur: 04877-2424148, 2430060
Aluva: 0484-2624143
 
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Kerala Governor Sheila Dikshit resigns, may return to Delhi politics

Kerala Governor Sheila Dikshit said on Tuesday she had resigned from her position, amid reports that the Narendra Modi government at the Centre was planning to shift her to the North-East and indications that she might return to active politics in Delhi.

 
Kerala Governor Sheila Dikshit resigns
Kerala Governor Sheila Dikshit today said she had resigned from her position, amid reports that the Narendra Modi government at the Centre was planning to shift her to the North-East and indications that she might return to active politics in Delhi.
 
Ms Dikshit, 76, who was Chief Minister of Delhi for 15 years over three consecutive terms, had taken over for a five-year term as the 22nd Governor of Kerala only on March 11 this year after she and her Congress party suffered a humiliating defeat in the December 4, 2013 elections to the Delhi Legislative Assembly.
 
She had lost in her own constituency of Gole Market by a huge margin to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal, who went on to serve as Chief Minister of Delhi for 49 days before he resigned. The Congress had managed to win only eight seats in the 70-member house.
 
Ms Dikshit was among the Governors appointed by the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre who had refused to heed clear signals from the new Modi government, which assumed office on May 26, that they should hand in their papers.
 
There were also reports in the media suggesting that she might be shifted to a North-Eastern state if she refused to quit.
 
Ms Dikshit met President Mukherjee and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh here yesterday. 
 
"I have only one thing to say. The news flashing on television channels is correct. I have submitted my resignation yesterday," she told newspersons.
"This is what I wanted to say, and I wanted to say it myself."
 
"I don't have anything more to say right now. After my resignation is accepted, I'll say whatever I have to say," she said.
 
To repeated queries about her views on the way the Modi government had handled Governors and about her future plans, Ms Dikshit said that she would not like to say anything further.
 
"Let my resignation be accepted, after that I promise you that I will talk to you," she added.
 
Asked if she had been under pressure from the Modi government to resign, Ms Dikshit said, "I have nothing to do with all that. I did what my heart told me to do."
 
She is now expected to plunge back into active politics in Delhi, where Assembly elections may be held in the next few months if it is not possible to form a viable government within the present Assembly in which no party has a clear majoirty.
 
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With this, eight of the Governors appointed by the previous government have resigned so far, while two were sacked.
 
Soon after the new government started nudging them, five Governors -- B L Joshi in Uttar Pradesh, M K Narayanan in West Bengal, Ashwani Kumar of Nagaland, Shekhar Dutt of Chhattisgarh and Bharat Vir Wanchoo of Goa, all of whom are former police officers -- resigned.
 
Mr Vakkom Purushothaman, a senior Congress leader from Kerala, who was shifted from Mizoram to Nagaland after then Gujarat Governor Kamala Beniwal was moved to Mizoram, resigned in protest against the manner in which he was transferred without consulting him.
 
Ms Beniwal, who had a few run-ins with then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is now the Prime Minister, was sacked on August 6. Earlier, on July 11, Mr Virendra Kataria had been removed as Lt Governor of Puducherry.
 
On Sunday, another senior Congress leader from Kerala, Mr K Sankaranarayanan, resigned after he was transferred as the Governor of Mizoram from Maharashtra.
 
The Governor of Uttarakhand, Mr Aziz Qureshi, has meanwhile filed a petition in the Supreme Court alleging that he had received calls from the Union Home Secretary suggesting that he resign. He contended that only the President could remove him.
 
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Supporting young entrepreneurs will be top priority for Kerala government: Vijayan

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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said here on Saturday  that his government would focus more strongly on promoting young and budding entrepreneurs with policies and all other necessary support.
 
Interacting with students at the IEDC Summit 2017, billed as India's largest such event for young student entrepreneurs, he encouraged them to set their sights on innovation and excellence.
 
“The students have exhibited a number of prototypes as part of the event that proves the ability of these youngsters. I am sure that you can stretch beyond these. The state government has always been a staunch supporter of the start-up ecosystem and will give you full-fledged support henceforth,” he said.
 
The Chief Minister also launched a startup venture, Traffitizer – a novel solution to help ambulances stuck in traffic. Traffitizer- Emergency Response System (T-ERS) is a centralized Internet of Things (IoT) based system, with artificial intelligence at different levels, that enables automatic switching of traffic lights to green for ambulances to pass through.
 
Kochi City Police Commissioner M P Dinesh also spoke on the occasion. “The product would help the police to manage emergency situations,” he said.
 
Ms. Aruna Sundararajan, Union Telecom Secretary, appreciated the efforts of the state government and the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) in nurturing the startup ecosystem in the state.
 
“I am overwhelmed when I see youngsters like six-year-old Saarang Sumesh who has developed a humanoid that can fire bullets. India is full of challenges and when I look at the crowd at IEDC 2017, I am sure that these youngsters will convert those challenges to opportunities,” she said.
 
Kerala IT Secretary M Sivasankar said a number of schemes in the pipeline for supporting the startup ecosystem. “Kerala is the first state to have startups in colleges and the only state which provides incubation and grounding facility for budding student entrepreneurs,” he said.
 
He lauded KSUM for working towards promoting entrepreneurship among youth on behalf of the state. He also released the KSUM status report during the event.
 
The event saw participation from around 200 Innovation Entrepreneurship Development Centres (IEDCs) – small incubators set up in engineering, technical, management and arts and science colleges – to help students pursue innovative ideas and embrace the entrepreneurial spirit.
 
Kerala Technical University Vice-Chancellor Kuncheria P Issac,  in his keynote address, highlighted the availability of opportunities to recreate the Silicon Valley in Kerala.
 
“The KTU has been introducing a number of schemes to promote entrepreneurship. We are even set to introduce a minor degree in entrepreneurship, which is probably the first of its kind in the country. There is a favourable eco-system to recreate the Silicon Valley here in Kerala,” he said.
 
KSUM CEO Saji Gopinath presented the IEDC report. He noted that KSUM is on the path of extending the IEDC programme to 500 colleges in the coming year.
 
“IEDC’s major role is to evangelize students, promote innovations and incubate the ones with potential. However, extending the service, we also seek students to support the innovators who have not attended college education,” he said. 
 
Mr. Scott O’Brien, CEO and co-founder Humense, a Sydney-based company specializing in Virtual (VR), Mixed (MR) and Augmented Reality (AR), stressed the need for start-ups to move to scale-ups for progress. "The first thing you need to possess is knowledge about the industry and later learn new things,” he said.
 
Google India Vice-President Rajan Anandan said that India is witnessing a revolutionary change in the digital platform.
 
“Gone are those days, when India lagged behind in technology. India’s start-up companies are making big revolutions across the world,” said Mr. Anandan.
 
Kerala witnessed its first ‘Bitcoin Airdrop’, joining in a worldwide initiative that sees cities, Fintech organisations and educational institutions in 11 regions mine and distribute free bitcoins to grow their local digital currency communities. KSUM also signed different agreements with investors as part of the event. 
 
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Crowdfunding campaign launched to save 1,000 years old theatre art in Kerala

Guru Margi Madhu Chakyar (R) and his son Nepathya Sreehari Chakyar help Koodiyattam student Nepathya Yadukrishnan get ready for a performance
Guru Margi Madhu Chakyar (R) and his son Nepathya Sreehari Chakyar help Koodiyattam student Nepathya Yadukrishnan get ready for a performance
A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help protect one of the world’s oldest known theatre art forms from dying out for want of patronage and interest in the modern world.
 
The Nepathya Centre for Koodiyattam in Kerala is being supported by Sahapedia, the online encyclopedia of Indian arts and culture, in its goal to raise Rs 20 lakh via the crowdfunding platform BitGiving, to train a new generation of artistes in what constitutes the only surviving form of ancient Sanskrit theatre in the world.
 
Koodiyattam, a performance art that draws on the plays of Sanskrit dramatists of antiquity, is believed to have followed an unbroken tradition for more than 1,000 years in the state of Kerala. 
 
A highly stylized art form, Koodiyattam (Kutiyattam) evolved its unique theatre grammar over centuries with its own complex conventions, gestures and expressions, which require many years of arduous training to master.
 
Once limited to temples, Koodiyattam emerged on to performance stages and international audiences in the 1950s, thanks to the efforts of celebrated gurus such as Mani Madhava Chakyar, Painkulam Rama Chakyar and Ammannur Madhava Chakyar.
 
Today there are only around 50 practitioners of this art form and institutions such as Kalamandalam, Margi and Ammannur Gurukulam in Kerala impart training in Koodiyattam.
 
Nepathya, a school based in Moozhikulam in Thrissur district, is focused exclusively on Koodiyattam and is trying to preserve the most difficult of its traditional repertoires which need more time to master and which are not as popular as others because of their scholarly content. A not-for-profit institution, it was started 15 years ago to train a new generation of actors exclusively in Kutiyattam.
 
Nepathya’s founder and guru Margi Madhu says the lack of public awareness is one of the reasons for poor financial support and dearth of young artistes keen to learn. The crowdfunding drive is also doubling up as an awareness campaign.
 
“Nepathya has been struggling to raise funds for the past 12 years,” he says. “Currently, we are at risk of losing our trained artistes. Training a new student takes almost a decade and each time an artiste leaves, we go back to square one. We only have three senior students (and two young ones) and four drummers left because of lack of funding.”
 
These senior students — Rahul Gopinath, Yadhukrishnan K R and Vishnuprasad K R — aged around 20, have been training at Nepathya since the age of seven. They have undergone the preliminary stages of training and are now ready for the rigours of the more scholarly repertoires.
 
Margi Madhu says the funds raised on BitGiving will support the training of the three in Anguliyankam, the sixth act of the play 9th Century play Ascharyachudamani (The Wondrous Crest Jewel) by Saktibhadra.
 
It is an extremely difficult sequence to learn, needing up to three years of comprehensive study of the manuscripts, choreographic texts, and acting principles; and takes a full month to perform on stage. There are only three or four artistes in Koodiyattam today who can perform it in its entirety and only one or two artists who know its drumming patterns.
 
Nepathya will use the funds to enable its student artistes and drummers to dedicate more of their time and efforts to learning.
 
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Rahul, Yadhukrishnan and Vishnugopal are about to graduate from engineering colleges and under pressure to take up full-time jobs to earn a living. Margi Madhu says their families are supportive, but Koodiyattam will not sustain them unless it finds both aficionados and patronage.
 
“The real depth of the art lies in its ability to elevate the minds of the viewers. To do that the artistes themselves have to experience the pleasure of the art, and explore the depths of the performances,” he adds.  “They cannot do so if they are burdened by the prospect of looking for paying jobs, which is why we need funds to support them.”
 
UNESCO has declared Koodiyattam as a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’.
 
“It would be a tragedy and a shame if an art form that has survived for a thousand years dies on our watch,” says Dr. Sudha Gopalakrishnan, the Executive Director of Sahapedia, “We are wholly behind Nepathya’s efforts to save and popularize this ancient art. Koodiyattam is intimately connected to the cultural history of Kerala and the great traditions of Sanskrit literature, we have to preserve it whichever way we can. Supporting Nepathya is one step in that direction for all of us.”
 
The architect of the crowdfunding campaign, Neha Paliwal, Sahapedia’s Director, Projects says the campaign, which was launched on at the end of July and will run for two months, has so far raised Rs 1.02 lakh from ten patrons. “Such campaigns offer platforms for public participation in culture conservation efforts. It will also, hopefully, enable more people to see the beauty and value of art forms such as Koodiyattam that have historically been accessible to smaller communities.”
 
She said Sahapedia will use both its online portal as well as social media and other digital platforms to introduce Koodiyattam to a wider audience.          
 
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Shashi Tharoor allots Rs. 36 lakh from MPLADS for ventilators at Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram

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Dr. Shashi Tharoor, the Congress Lok Sabha member from Thiruvananthapuram, has alloted Rs. 36 lakhs for the immediate purchase of ventilators for use at the Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, out of his MP Local Area Development Schme (MPLADS) funds.
 
The MP has allotted Rs. 18 lakh for the purchase of a ventilator at the college in view of the difficulties reported by it in providing prompt medical attention to patients due to the lack of sufficient number of ventilators.
 
This is in addition to the Rs. 18 lakh that had already been sanctioned for the purchase of one ventilator in May, 2017.
 
"It has also been decided to allot maximum fund for the purchase of medical equipments for the Government hospitals in Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency on a priority basis," a press release from Dr. Tharoor's office said.
 
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Kerala CM apologises to family of accident victim who died without receiving medical aid

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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today tendered an apology on behalf of the State and its people to the family of Murugan, a native of Tamil Nadu, who met with a road accident and died without receiving proper medical treatment after being denied trauma care by some hosptals in the State on Monday night.
 
"We join them in their grief. The Government will take necessary measures to ensure that such happenings are not repeated," he said.
 
"The shameful incident is a serious blot on Kerala. Such incidents should not be repeated," he said in the legislative assembly today, adding that, if required, new legislation could be considered for the purpose.
 
Murugan, 46, a native of Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, had suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident near Chathannoor in Kollam district late in the night of August 6. He battled for his life for nearly seven hours in an ambulance as it drove from hospital to hospital in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts before finally breathing his last in the vehicle.
 
The police have registered a case of medical negligence against some of the hospitals involved, media reports said.
 
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Adoption of Codex standards for pepper, cumin, thyme major victory for India: Spices Board

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The Spices Board has said that the decision of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), the international food standards-setting body jointly set up by the FAO and the WHO, to adopt three Codex standards for pepper, cumin and thyme, at its just concluded meeting in Geneva, is a recognition of India’s stellar role to benchmark and harmonise global spices trade.
 
The decision could also herald the entry of more spices and herbs in the list for universal trading of safe and quality spices in various countries, Spices Board Chairman A. Jayathilak said.
 
Dr. Jayathilak, who convened a meeting of the officials and delegates involved with the work and functioning of the Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) at Bolgatty Palace here yesterday, said the historic decision of the CAC signalled the fact that spices had been included for the first time as commodities having universal standards.
 
“This feat was achieved after India’s relentless efforts to set up the CCSCH, which conducted its three sessions at Kochi (2014), Goa (2015) and Chennai (2017) to create a common standardization process for global spices trade,” he noted.   
 
Lauding the efforts of the officials and delegates for this major recognition of India’s initiatives to forge a universal agreement on identifying quality spices in various countries, Dr. Jayathilak said the Codex standards for black, white and green pepper, cumin and thyme were adopted by consensus with an overwhelming support from the member-countries of the CAC.
 
Dr. Jayathilak countered the arguments of those delegations that were not in favour of the final adoption of these standards by presenting India’s stand before the CAC.
 
In the meeting at Kochi, he briefly traced the history of the CCSCH committee, which was the first new committee to be approved by Codex in the past 25 years, and outlined the strategic moves that convinced the member-countries to vote for approval of the new committee. 
 
“This triumph of CCSCH is the harbinger of a lot of hard work ahead. The number of spices and culinary herbs is very large – although only 109 spices are notified in the ISO list, their actual number, as used in various countries, would be much higher,” he said.
 
It was in 2013 that the need for Codex standards for spices and herbs became a matter of concern, owing to the increased level of issues in spice trade. At that time, there was no Codex committee exclusively for spices and culinary herbs. Thus, the first step in development of Codex standards was the establishment of a dedicated Codex committee for spices and herbs.
 
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With the approval of the Central government, Spices Board India submitted to CAC a proposal for such an exclusive committee for spices and culinary herbs. After completing the background work, it sent delegates to a series of Codex committee meetings all over the world, making a forceful plea for the need for a committee on spices and herbs.
 
The 36th session of CAC, which met in Rome from July 1-5, 2013, deliberated on this proposal from India, and later approved it with unanimous support of the member-countries. It heralded the creation of CCSCH, with India as the host country and Spices Board as the Secretariat. This was the first new Codex commodity committee to be approved in the past 25 years.
 
Historically, the developed countries, being the major importers of spices, have always insisted on unreasonably strict standards, which have had adverse effects on spice trade. This is an issue that the Codex, jointly formed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), seeks to address.
 
Spices Board India, the flagship organization of the Central Government for export and promotion of spices from the country, has always been concerned about this aspect, and hence has taken keen interest in harmonizing the disparate standards for spices which exist all over the world, a press release from the Board added.
 
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CCI holds Container Trailer Owners Coordination Committee in Kerala guilty of anti-competitive conduct

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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has found the Container Trailer Owners Coordination Committee (CTOCC) and its four participating associations -- Cochin Container Carrier Owners Welfare Association (CCCOWA), Vallarpadam Trailer Owners Association (VTOA), Kerala Container Carrier Owners Association (KCCOA) and Island Container Carrier Owners Association (ICCOA) -- to be in contravention of the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002.
 
In a reference filed by the Cochin Port Trust, it was brought to the notice of the Commission that these associations, under the garb of ‘Turn System’, have indulged in unilateral fixation of prices, an official press release said.
 
It was alleged that, during the Turn System, the users and container trailers were obliged to book services only through this centrally controlled system and that CTOCC was restraining outside transporters from lifting the containers which was impeding the ability of the users to hire trailers of their choice.
 
Following a detailed investigation by its Director General (DG), the Commission has found that CTOCC, along with the participating associations (CCCOWA, KCCOWA, ICCOA and VTOA), has resorted to price fixing under the garb of the Turn System, the release said.
 
"In terms of Section 3(3)(a) read with Section 3(1) of the Act, the presumption arose against the said arrangement leading to AAEC, which was not satisfactorily rebutted by these associations, despite being given ample opportunity. Thus, the Commission held them to be in contravention of the provisions of Section 3(3)(a) read with Section 3(1) of the Act. However, on the allegation pertaining to limiting and restricting the provision of services under Section 3(3)(b) read with Section 3(1) of the Act, the Commission found the evidence to be insufficient to hold CTOCC or any of its participating association responsible.
 
"Through this Order, the Commission has unequivocally clarified that though forming an association for furthering the legitimate trade activities does not fall foul of the Act, transgressing the legitimate boundaries and indulging in anti-competitive activities does. When the trade associations are used as a platform to promote anti-competitive ends, it becomes necessary for the Commission to intervene, for penalising the anti-competitive conduct. 
 
"Further, the Commission also mentioned in its order that though ‘Turn System’ may have efficiency justification in a particular trade, no such efficiency or redeeming virtue were shown by CTOCC or any of its sub-association in the present case.
 
"The Commission has thus held CTOCC, CCCOWA, KCCOWA, ICCOA and VTOAto be in contravention of the provisions of Section 3(3)(a) read with 3(1) of the Act. Further, the Commission has also found 10 of office bearers of CTOCC, CCCOWA, KCCOWA, ICCOA and VTOA, responsible under Section 48 of the Act, on account of the positions of responsibility held by them in these associations during the period of contravention.
 
"Accordingly, CTOCC, CCCOWA, KCCOWA, ICCOA and VTOA and their office bearers have been directed to desist from indulging in the anti-competitive conduct found to be in contravention of the provisions of the Act. But considering certain mitigating factors, the Commission decided not to impose any monetary penalty on any of the parties," the release added.
 
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CCEA okays doubling of railway line with electrification between Thiruvananthapuram, Kanniyakumari

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today approved the construction of double line with electrification between Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala and Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu.
 
The total length of the line will be 86.56 km.  The estimated cost of the project will be Rs. 1431.90 crore and completion cost of Rs. 1552.94 crore with 5% escalation per annum, an official press release said.
 
The project is likely to be completed in four years by 2020-21.  The project will generate direct employment during construction for 20.77 lakh mandays, it said.
 
The project would not only speed up the operation of goods and coaching trains, but also provide additional capacity for meeting the increase in traffic in future, the release said.
 
The release said the section is heavily passenger oriented and also serves the goods traffic from nearby ports. Operations from Vizhinjam port are likely to start by 2019 and 30% of its gateway traffic is likely to be handled by the Railways.  
 
The Present line capacity of Thiruvananthapuram-Nagercoil section of this route has already saturated which is causing heavy detention to trains moving towards Kanniyakumari and Chennai.   
 
"Line capacity of this route needs to be enhanced to meet the demands for additional trains and smooth movement of trains through the route.  Hence, doubling of Thiruvananthapuram-Kanniyakumari line needs to be taken up," the release added.
 
The CCEA also approved the doubling and electrification of the line Vanchi-Maniyachchi-Nagercoil line via Tirunelveli and the Madurai-Vanchi and Maniyachchi-Tuticorin lines.
 
The total length of the Vanchi-Maniyachchi-Nagercoil line will be 102 km. The estimated cost of the project will be Rs. 1003.94 crore and completion cost of Rs. 1114.62 crore with 5% escalation per annum. 
 
The total length of the Madurai-Vanchi and Maniyachchi-Tuticorin lines will be 160 km. The estimated cost of the proejct will be Rs. 1182.31 crore and completion cost of Rs. 1272.51 crore with 5% escalation per annum.
 
The projects are likely to be completed in four years by 2020-21, the release added.
 
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GAIL commences construction work in Kerala stretch of KKMBPL Project

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The public sector GAIL (India) Limited today said it had started construction work on the Kerala stretch of the Rs. 3,263 crore Kochi – Koottanad – Mangaluru-Bengaluru Pipeline project after some initial hurdles.
 
The pipeline will form part of the National Gas Grid and it will go a long way in fulfilling the vision of the Government of India towards building a gas-based economy, a press release from the company said.
 
The release said the construction activities are under full swing and will gain new momentum with the award of contracts for pipeline laying works of the remainning section of 111 km falling in Malappuram, Kannur and Kasargod districts at a cost of approximately Rs 160 crore. 
 
As a part of Phase-II of the project, the pipeline section from Kochi-Koottanad (in Kerala) to Mangaluru (in Karnataka) (438 km) is being executed. 
 
"With today’s award of contracts, the entire stretch of 438 km Kochi – Koottanad – Mangaluru Pipeline will be in construction phase," the release said.
 
Mr. B C Tripathi, Chairman and Managing Director, GAIL said,  “Looking into the substantial progress in the laying works already awarded with the help of State Government in providing statutory clearances and permissions and Right of way, GAIL is commencing laying activities in the  remaining 111 kms stretch of the pipeline. The  project activities in 100%  of the pipe length will gather full momentum after the monsoon. With the continued support of the State Government and the people at large, GAIL is confident of completing the entire Kochi – Koottanad – Mangaluru Pipeline by December 2018.”
 
The release said the project would give a major economic boost to Kerala by way of facilitating environment-friendly industrial development. In Phase-I of the project, around 41 km pipeline had already been commissioned during 2013 to transport natural gas from Kochi LNG Terminal.
 
Currently around 2.6 MMSCMD of gas is being supplied to various consumers in and around Kochi city, the release added.
 
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Goel advises AFI to honour Kerala High Court directive on P U Chitra

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Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel today advised the Atheltics Federation of India (AFI) to honour the Kerala High Court directive to ensure the participation of athlete P. U. Chitra in the 1,500 metres race in the IAAF World Championships to be held in London from August 4.
 
A statement from the Ministry of Sports said here that Mr. Goel talked to AFI President Adille Sumariwalla on the issue and advised him not to contest the directive given by the Kerala High Court as Chitra is otherwise a wild card entry for the World Championship.
 
The Kerala High Court had yesterday directed the AFI to include the Kerala runner in the team for the World Championships.
 
Chitra had won the 1,500 m gold at the Asian Championships in Bhubaneswar, Odisha earlier this month, clocking a personal best of 4:17:92. She had clocked 4:28 in the inter-state meet. The entry standard for the London event is 4:07.
 
The AFI had said earlier that the runner was not included in the 24-member team because she had not met the qualifying mark set by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). In her writ petition before the High Court, Chitra argued that her Asian championship win made her an automatic choice for the London meet.
 
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Kerala: Well-known Gandhian and freedom fighter K. E. Mammen passes away

K. E. Mammen
K. E. Mammen
Well-known Gandhian, freedom fighter and social worker K. E. Mammen passed away at a private hospital in Neyyattinkara near here today.
 
He was 96. 
 
He had been under treatment at the hospital for issues related to old age for the past three months.
 
Mammen, who had taken part in the Quit India movement and in the agitation against Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer, the then Dewan of the erstwhile Travancore state, was also actively involved in the anti-liquor campaign in the state in recent years.
 
Born on July 31, 1921 into the renowned Kandathil family to K. C. Eapen and Kunjandamma, Mammen got involved in the freedom struggle from an early age. He practised Gandhian principles and led an austere life. He remained unmarried.
 
A man who owned no house, car or other worldly possessions, Mammen was staying with his brother's son for the past many years.
 
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Kerala NCP president Uzhavoor Vijayan passes away

Uzhavoor Vijayan
Uzhavoor Vijayan
Mr. Uzhavoor Vijayan, the president of the Kerala unit of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), passed away at a private hospital here today after a brief illness.
 
He was 60. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
 
According to sources, Mr. Vijayan had been admitted to the hospital on July 11 for treatment of liver-related ailments. His condition took a turn for the worse early today and he breathed his last around 7 am, they said.
 
His body will be taken to Kottayam, where it will be kept at the Police Ground for people to pay homage. The funeral is scheduled for tomorrow at Uzhavoor.
 
Mr. Vijayan who entered politics through the Kerala Students' Union (KSU), the students' wing of the Congress, was admired for his oratory and caustic humour.
 
He had served as the chairman of the Kerala State Handicapped Persons' Welfare Corporation and Secretary of the State Pollution Control Board.
 
He had lost to Congress (M) chairman K. M. Mani from the Pala constituency in the 2001 assembly polls -- the only election he contested. Later, he left the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and joined the Congress (S).
 
Mr. Vijayan had also appeared in a couple of movies and television serials.
 
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Malayalam actor Dileep moves Kerala HC for bail in actress abduction case

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
Top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested last Monday on charges of conspiracy in the sensational February 17 abduction and sexual harassment of a popular young actress, today filed a bail application before the Kerala High Court, which said it would take it up for hearing on Thursday.
 
On Saturday, Dileep, 48, had been denied bail by a local court and sent back to judicial custody till July 25.
 
The actor had been initially sent to two weeks in judicial custody but last Wednesday the Judicial First Class Magistrate in Angamaly had remanded him to two days in police custody. On Friday, the police custody was extended till 5 pm on Saturday, by when the court said it would also rule on his bail application.
 
The special prosecutor objected to the bail application, saying that if he is given bail the actor could influence and intimidate witnesses and destroy evidence. 
 
The court turned down his bail plea, saying, among other things, that the crime he had been accused of was very serious. After being sent to judicial custody till July 25, he was taken back to the Aluva sub-jail here.
 
Dileep's counsel K. Ramkumar pleaded for an urgent hearing on the bail application, but the High Court rejected the plea and set Thursday for hearing the matter. Mr. Ramkumar said his client had been framed in the case. The prosecution said it would oppose the bail application and wanted time to make its response.
 
The abduction and harassment of the actress, which sent shock waves throughout Kerala and the entire film industry in India, took place when she was travelling alone in a car with the driver late in the evening of February 17 from Thrissur to Kochi.
 
The car was waylaid by a group of about three persons in a van near Athani in Angamaly near here. The men then forced their way into her car and drove around for about two hours, during which they allegedly harassed her and also took photographs and a video of her, sources said. They finally stopped at Padamugal, near Kakkanad, in Kochi and fled in another car.
 
The actress, who has also acted in Tamil and Telugu movies, then managed to reach the residence of a well-known film director in Kakkanad, for whose film she had been shooting. The director informed the police, who reached his residence soon after and recorded the actress' statement.
 
The actress is understood to have told the police that one of the men was her former driver, Sunil Kumar, also known as Pulsar Suni because of a Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle he owned.
 
Suni was arrested by the police in dramatic circumstances from the premises of the additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) here on February 23. He and his alleged accomplice Vijeesh were arrrested when they managed to evade the policemen posted around the complex and sneak into the court to surrender before a magistrate.
 
While he was in their custody last week, the police had taken Dileep, 48, to various places in Kochi and Thrissur in an effort to trace the crime trail.
 
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There were allegations soon after the incident that Dileep was part of the conspiracy to attack the actress in view of a personal enmity between the two. The actor, however, has maintained all along that he was not linked in any way to the attack. He had also maintained that he did not know Suni, but later photographs surfaced in which the main accused was seen at the location of a Dileep movie.
 
Dileep and the actress had acted in several movies together and they had formed a popular screen pair before they fell apart. 
 
Born as Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan Pillai on October 27, 1968, Dileep had over the past few years acquired an enviable position in the Malayalam film industry.
 
Dileep, who started out in movies as an assistant director in 1991 after stints as a mimicry artiste and in comedy shows on television, has a huge fan following, especially because of his comedy roles in several Malayalam movies. In all, he has appeared in more than 130 films so far. He is also a film producer and entrepreneur and used to wield considerable influence in the Malayalam film industry.
 
Meanwhile, media reports said today that the police investigation team had found a memory card which reportedly contained pictures of the actress taken by her tormentors. The memory card was got from Raju Joseph, the junior of lawyer Pratheesh Chacko, who the police are trying to trace for questioning. The card did not have the images or videos, and the police are now trying to ascertain if they had been erased, the reports added.
 
The police also recorded the statements of two MLAs -- Mukesh, a well-known actor, and Anwar Sadath, who is said to be close to Dileep -- in Thiruvananthapuram today. Pulsar Suni had been employed as Mukesh's driver for some time in the past. 
 
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Kerala: Four men missing after their boat capsizes in Banasura Sagar Dam reservoir

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Four men were reported missing when their country boat capsized in the reservoir of the Banasura Sagar Dam near Kalpetta in Wayanad district of Kerala late last night, official sources said.
 
There were seven men in all in the boat, but three of them managed to swim to safety, Wayanad District Collector S. Suhas told NetIndian over the telephone.
 
Local people and district authorities launched rescue efforts but were yet to trace the missing persons as of this evening, he added..
 
The four missing were identified as Sachin (20), Binu (42), Melvin (34), all of Kozhikode, about 70 km away, and Wilson, a local, the sources said. The three men who swam to safety were also from Kozhikode, they said.
 
Banasura Sagar dam is the largest earth dam in India and the second largest of its kind in Asia. It is located at the foot of the Banasura hill, 21 km from Kalpetta in Wayanad district in the Western Ghats, and is a major tourist attraction.
 
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Malayalam actor Dileep denied bail, sent to judicial custody till July 25 in actress abduction case

Top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested on Monday on charges of conspiracy in the sensational February 17 abduction and sexual harassment of a popular young actress, was today denied bail by a local court and sent back to judicial custody till July 25.

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
Top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested on Monday on charges of conspiracy in the sensational February 17 abduction and sexual harassment of a popular young actress, was today denied bail by a local court and sent back to judicial custody till July 25.
 
Dileep, 48, had been initially sent to two weeks in judicial custody but on Wednesday the Judicial First Class Magistrate in Angamaly had remanded him to two days in police custody. 
 
Yesterday, the police custody was extended till 5 pm today, by when the court said it would also rule on his bail application.
 
The special prosecutor objected to the bail application, saying that if he is given bail the actor could influence and intimidate witnesses and destroy evidence.
 
 After his bail plea was turned down and he was sent to judicial custody till July 25, he was taken back to the Aluva sub-jail here.
 
The actor's lawyers said they would now move the High Court here on Monday for bail.
 
The abduction and harassment of the actress, which sent shock waves throughout Kerala and the entire film industry in India, took place when she was travelling alone in a car with the driver late in the evening of February 17 from Thrissur to Kochi.
 
The car was waylaid by a group of about three persons in a van near Athani in Angamaly near here. The men then forced their way into her car and drove around for about two hours, during which they allegedly harassed her and also took photographs and a video of her, sources said. They finally stopped at Padamugal, near Kakkanad, in Kochi and fled in another car.
 
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The actress, who has also acted in Tamil and Telugu movies, then managed to reach the residence of a well-known film director in Kakkanad, for whose film she had been shooting. The director informed the police, who reached his residence soon after and recorded the actress' statement.
 
The actress is understood to have told the police that one of the men was her former driver, Sunil Kumar, also known as Pulsar Suni because of a Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle he owned.
 
Suni was arrested by the police in dramatic circumstances from the premises of the additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) here on February 23. He and his alleged accomplice Vijeesh were arrrested when they managed to evade the policemen posted around the complex and sneak into the court to surrender before a magistrate.
 
While seeking extension of the police remand for Dileep, the police told the court today that the mobile telephone, which was used to take pictures of the actress by her tormentors, was probably now with the actor.
 
They said in the report that they suspect the telephone was handed over to the actor by Pratheesh Chacko, a lawyer who represented Suni initially. The report also said that Suni later tried to blackmail Dileep because he had not got the amount promised to him.
 
While he was in their custody, the police had taken Dileep, 48, to various places in Kochi and Thrissur in an effort to trace the crime trail.
 
There were allegations soon after the incident that Dileep was part of the conspiracy to attack the actress in view of a personal enmity between the two. The actor, however, has maintained all along that he was not linked in any way to the attack. He had also maintained that he did not know Suni, but later photographs surfaced in which the main accused was seen at the location of a Dileep movie.
 
Dileep and the actress had acted in several movies together and they had formed a popular screen pair before they fell apart. 
 
Born as Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan Pillai on October 27, 1968, Dileep had over the past few years acquired an enviable position in the Malayalam film industry.
 
Dileep, who started out in movies as an assistant director in 1991 after stints as a mimicry artiste and in comedy shows on television, has a huge fan following, especially because of his comedy roles in several Malayalam movies. In all, he has appeared in more than 130 films so far. He is also a film producer and entrepreneur and used to wield considerable influence in the Malayalam film industry.
 
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Actor Dileep's police custody extended by a day in actress abduction case

A local court in Kochi on Friday extended the police custody of top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested on Monday on charge of conspiracy in the sensational February 17 abduction and harassment of a popular young actress, till 5 pm on Saturday.

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
A local court today extended the police custody of top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested on Monday on charge of conspiracy in the sensational February 17 abduction and harassment of a popular young actress, till 5 pm tomorrow.
 
Dileep, who had been sent to two days in police custody on Wednesday, was produced before the Judicial First Class Magistrate in Angamaly this morning, where the police sought his custody for one more day to complete the gathering of evidence.
 
The police also opposed a bail application moved on behalf of Dileep, arguing that if he is released on bail he could influence and intimidate witnesses in the case.
 
The court will pronounce its ruling on Dileep's bail plea in the afternoon tomorrow and asked the police to bring him to court at that time.
 
The sensational abduction and harassment of the actress, which sent shock waves throughout Kerala and the entire film industry in India, took place when she was travelling alone in a car with the driver late in the evening of February 17 from Thrissur to Kochi.
 
The car was waylaid by a group of about three persons in a van near Athani in Angamaly near here. The men then forced their way into her car and drove around for about two hours, during which they allegedly harassed her and also took photographs and a video of her, sources said. They finally stopped at at Padamugal, near Kakkanad, in Kochi and fled in another car.
 
The actress, who has also acted in Tamil and Telugu movies, then managed to reach the residence of a well-known film director in Kakkanad, for whose film she had been shooting. The director informed the police, who reached his residence soon after and recorded the actress' statement.
 
The actress is understood to have told the police that one of the men was her former driver, Sunil Kumar, also known as Pulsar Suni because of a Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle he owned.
 
Suni was arrested by the police in dramatic circumstances from the premises of the additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) here on February 23. He and his alleged accomplice Vijeesh were arrrested when they managed to evade the policemen posted around the complex and sneak into the court to surrender before a magistrate.
 
While seeking extension of the police remand for Dileep, the police told the court today that the mobile telephone, which was used to take pictures of the actress by her tormentors, was probably now with the actor.
 
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They said in the report that they suspect the telephone was handed over to the actor by Pratheesh Chacko, a lawyer who represented Suni initially. The report also said that Suni later tried to blackmail Dileep because he had not got the amount promised to him.
 
Over the past two days, the police had taken Dileep, 48, to various places in Kochi and Thrissur in an effort to trace the crime trail.
 
There were allegations soon after the incident that Dileep was part of the conspiracy to attack the actress in view of a personal enmity between the two. The actor, however, has maintained all along that he was not linked in any way to the attack. He had also maintained that he did not know Suni, but later photographs surfaced in which the main accused was seen at the location of a Dileep movie.
 
Born as Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan Pillai on October 27, 1968, Dileep had over the past few years acquired an enviable position in the Malayalam film industry.
 
Dileep, who started out in movies as an assistant director in 1991 after stints as a mimicry artiste and in comedy shows on television, has a huge fan following, especially because of his comedy roles in several Malayalam movies. In all, he has appeared in more than 130 films so far. He is also a film producer and entrepreneur.
 
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Police continue to grill actor Dileep in actress abduction case, survivor breaks silence

Kerala Police on Thursday continued to grill top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested on Monday on charge of conspiracy in the sensational February 17 abduction and harassment of a popular young actress, even as the survivor broke her silence in the matter.

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
Kerala Police today continued to grill top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested on Monday on charge of conspiracy in the sensational February 17 abduction and harassment of a popular young actress even as the survivor broke her silence in the matter.
 
The 30-year-old actress, who has also acted in Tamil and Telugu films, said in a statement that she was as shocked as everyone else by the turn of events in the case and wanted the truth to come out expeditiously.
 
Noting that Dileep, with him she formed a popular pair in many movies before they fell apart, had claimed that he had been framed in the case, she said the need of the hour was that the truth should come out.
 
"If he is innocent, it should come out quickly and if he is not, even then the truth should come out fast. All are equal before law,” she said.
 
The actress said she was issuing the written statement because she was not in the right frame of mind to appear before television cameras and make an oral statement.
 
She said she used to share a cordial relationship with Dileep but, for some reason, it got strained.
 
She denied media reports which suggested that they had real estate dealings. "The truth is that there have been no such deals with him at all," she asserted.
 
She also clarified that she does not have a Facebook page or a Twitter handle and posts appearing in her name on these and other social media websites were fake.
 
“My sincere wish is no innocent person should be punished and anyone who has committed a crime should not be allowed to escape,” she added.
 
She also said that she had not named anyone in her statements to the police. "If the arrested are indeed guilty, they need to be punished. However, if they are innocent, I wish them to see them come out free," she said.
 
Meanwhile, Dileep, 48, who was sent to two days in police custody by a local court yesterday, was taken to various spots in Thrissur and elsewhere for the second day today by the police in an effort to trace the crime trail.
 
Among other places, he was taken to two hotels in Thrissur, where he allegedly hatched the conspiracy with main accused Sunil Kumar alias Pulsar Suni, and to the Tennis Club in the town, the shooting location of one of his latest films, where a photograph taken by a fan showed the main accused at a distance in the background, indicating that the two were present at the same place.
 
Wherever he was taken, large crowds of people gathered to catch a glimpse of the actor and many of them booed him. At some places, Dileep, dressed in a white shirt and a pair of blue jeans, waved out to the crowd. He, however, did not respond to media queries.
 
Yesterday, the police had taken Dileep to various places here and in Thodupuzha near here for gathering evidence.
 
Meanwhile, former Indian  cricketer S. Sreesanth came out in support of the actor today, saying it was wrong to hold anyone guilty till the crime was proven in a court, recalling that he and his family had gone through a similar experience when he was charged with match-fixing in IPL cricket matches some years ago.
 
Dileep's bail application will come up for further hearing in court tomorrow. His lawyer had moved the application yesterday, but the prosecution is yet to submit its response.
 
In a related development, the Kalamassery police here today recorded the statement of a young actor, Aju Varghese, in a case related to his revealing the name of the actress in a post on social media. Aju had later apologised for the "mistake".
 
Meanwhile, Dileep's brother Anoop today alleged that the actor was the victim of a huge conspiracy to trap him in the case.
 
"My brother has been trapped in the case. The conspiracy is against him. Like in the movies, a wonderful script has been written and perfectly executed," he told journalists. 
 
Anoop said his brother would come out unblemished from the case and make a comeback in films.
 
Last week, the police had questioned Dileep and his friend and film director Nadirshah for 13 hours in connection with the incident after their names cropped up during the probe into the abduction and assault.
 
Subsequently, police had searched the premises of a business owned by  his wife and well-known actress Kavya Madhavan.
 
On Monday, the police again questioned Dileep for several hours before formally placing him under arrest that evening.
 
Some days ago, a letter allegedly written from jail by Pulsar Suni seeking money from Dileep had come to light. Some telephone calls made by Suni  from jail were also traced to people close to the actor. According to the sources, Suni had also been in touch with Nadirshah over the telephone from prison. 
 
Later, Dileep had complained to the police that he was being blackmailed by Suni, a matter that the police are investigating separately.
 
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There were allegations that Dileep was part of the conspiracy to attack the actress in view of a personal enmity between the two. The actor, however, has maintained all along that he was not linked in any way to the attack. He had also maintained that he did not know Suni, but later photographs surfaced in which the main accused was seen at the location of a Dileep movie.
 
The sensational abduction and harassment of the actress, which sent shock waves throughout Kerala and the entire film industry in India, took place when she was travelling alone in a car with the driver late in the evening of February 17.
 
The car was waylaid by a group of about three persons in a van near Athani in Angamaly near here. The men then forced their way into her car and drove around for about two hours, during which they allegedly harassed her and also took photographs and a video of her, sources said. They finally stopped at at Padamugal, near Kakkanad, in Kochi and fled in another car.
 
The actress then managed to reach the residence of a well-known film director in Kakkanad, for whose film she had been shooting. The director informed the police, who reached his residence soon after and recorded the actress' statement.
 
The actress is understood to have told the police that one of the men was her former driver, Sunil, also known as Pulsar Suni because of a Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle he owned.
 
Suni was arrested by the police in dramatic circumstances from the premises of the additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) here on February 23. He and his alleged accomplice Vijeesh were arrrested when they managed to evade the policemen posted around the complex and sneak into the court to surrender before a magistrate.
 
Born as Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan Pillai on October 27, 1968, Dileep had over the past few years acquired an enviable position in the Malayalam film industry.
 
Dileep, who started out in movies as an assistant director in 1991 after stints as a mimicry artiste and in comedy shows on television, has a huge fan following, especially because of his comedy roles in several Malayalam movies. In all, he has appeared in more than 130 films so far. He is also a film producer and entrepreneur.
 
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Malayalam actor Dileep sent to two days in police custody in actress abduction case

Top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested in Kochi on Monday on conspiracy charges in the case related to the abduction and harassment of a popular actress while she was on her way from Thrissur to Kochi on February 17, was remanded to two days in judicial custody by a local court on Wednesday.

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
Top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested here on Monday evening on conspiracy charges in the case related to the abduction and harassment of a popular actress while she was on her way from Thrissur to Kochi on February 17, was remanded to two days in judicial custody by a local court today.
 
Dileep, 48, who was sent to 14 days in judicial custody yesterday, was produced in the chamber of the Judicial Magistrate at Angamaly where the prosecution sought his police custody for three days, arguing that he was needed to complete the investigations in the case that had sent shock waves throughout Kerala and, in fact, the entire film industry in India.
 
After hearing both sides, the court granted the police custody of the actor for two days.
 
The court also heard a bail application moved on behalf of the actor, with his advocate arguing that the police had no evidence against him and had arrested him merely on suspicion.
 
The court said it would rule on the application on July 14, when the police custody of the actor would end, after hearing the prosecution's response to the defence arguments.
 
Later, Dileep was taken to the Police Club at Aluva for questioning. Sources said the police might also take the actor to various places related to the case for gathering more evidence. 
 
Yesterday, the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) had expelled Dileep from its primary membership, a day after he was arrested in the case.
 
Police had made elaborate security arrangements at the court as well as at the Aluva sub-jail, where Dileep spent the night, in view of the large crowds that had gathered outside for a glimpse of the actor. Like yesterday, many in the crowd booed him today.
 
Last week, the police had questioned Dileep and his friend and film director Nadirshah for 13 hours in connection with the incident after their names cropped up during the probe into the abduction and assault.
 
Subsequently, police had searched the premises of a business owned by  his wife and well-known actress Kavya Madhavan.
 
On Monday, the police again questioned Dileep for several hours before formally placing him under arrest that evening.
 
Some days ago, a letter allegedly written from jail by Pulsar Suni, the main accused in the case, seeking money from Dileep had come to light. Some telephone calls made by Suni  from jail were also traced to people close to the actor. According to the sources, Suni had also been in touch with Nadirshah over the telephone from prison. 
 
Later, Dileep had complained to the police that he was being blackmailed by Suni, a matter that the police are investigating separately.
 
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There were allegations that Dileep was part of the conspiracy to attack the actress in view of a personal enmity between the two. The actor, however, has maintained all along that he was not linked in any way to the attack. He had also maintained that he did not know Suni, but later photographs surfaced in which the main accused was seen at the location of a Dileep movie.
 
The sensational abduction and harassment of the 30-year-old actress, who has also acted in Tamil and Telugu movies, took place when she was travelling alone in a car with the driver late in the evening of February 17.
 
The car was waylaid by a group of about three persons in a van near Athani in Angamaly near here. The three men then forced their way into her car and drove around for about two hours, during which they allegedly harassed her and also took photographs and a video of her, sources said. They finally stopped at at Padamugal, near Kakkanad, in Kochi and fled in another car.
 
The actress then managed to reach the residence of a well-known film director in Kakkanad, for whose film she had been shooting. The director informed the police, who reached his residence soon after and recorded the actress' statement.
 
The actress is understood to have told the police that one of the men was her former driver, Sunil, also known as Pulsar Suni because of a Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle he owned.
 
Suni was arrested by the police in dramatic circumstances from the premises of the additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) here on February 23. He and his alleged accomplice Vijeesh were arrrested when they managed to evade the policemen posted around the complex and sneak into the court to surrender before a magistrate.
 
Born as Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan Pillai on October 27, 1968, Dileep had over the past few years acquired an enviable position in the Malayalam film industry.
 
Dileep, who started out in movies as an assistant director in 1991 after stints as a mimicry artiste and in comedy shows on television, has a huge fan following, especially because of his comedy roles in several Malayalam movies. In all, he has appeared in more than 130 films so far. He is also a film producer and entrepreneur.
 
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Malayalam actor Dileep sent to 14 days in judicial custody in actress abduction case

Top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested in Kochi on Monday evening on conspiracy charges in the case related to the abduction and harassment of a popular actress while she was on her way from Thrissur to Kochi on February 17, was remanded to 14 days in judicial custody early Tuesday morning.

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
Top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested here yesterday evening on conspiracy charges in the case related to the abduction and harassment of a popular actress while she was on her way from Thrissur to Kochi on February 17, was remanded to 14 days in judicial custody early this morning.
 
Dileep, 48, who was questioned at the Police Club in Aluva for several hours after his formal arrest, was produced before a magistrate early this morning.
 
"I am not scared of anyone because I have not committed any crime," the popular actor told journalists as he was being taken to the magistrate's residence.
 
Police had made elaborate security arrangements outside the magistrate's residence as a large number of people had gathered there. The crowd booed the actor as he came out of the magistrate's residence and taken to the sub-jail at Aluva.
 
The police has sought police custody of Dileep, while the actor has filed a bail application. Both pleas are expected to be heard by the court tomorrow, official sources said.
 
Last week, the police had questioned Dileep and his friend and film director Nadirshah for 13 hours in connection with the incident after their names cropped up during the probe into the abduction and assault.
 
Subsequently, police had searched the premises of a business owned by  his wife and well-known actress Kavya Madhavan.
 
Sources said the police questioned Dileep for several hours during the day yesterday before being formally placed under arrest in the evening. He was taken to the Police Club at Aluva in a car around 7 pm yesterday where the questioning continued.
 
Late yesterday evening, Kerala Director General of Police Loknath Behera confirmed to journalists in Thiruvananthapuram that Dileep had been placed under arrest. He also made it clear that no other arrests had been made in the case yesterday though there were reports that Nadirshah and some others were being questioned.
 
He said Dileep had been arrested on the basis of evidence gathered by the police in its investigations so far and also to take the investigation forward. "It is a part of the process of investigation and a part of the process of collecting more evidence," he said.
 
Some days ago, a letter allegedly written from jail by Pulsar Suni, the main accused in the case, seeking money from Dileep had come to light. Some telephone calls made by Suni  from jail were also traced to people close to the actor. According to the sources, Suni had also been in touch with Nadirshah over the telephone from prison. 
 
Later, Dileep had complained to the police that he was being blackmailed by Suni, a matter that the police are investigating separately.
 
There were allegations that Dileep was part of the conspiracy to attack the actress in view of a personal enmity between the two. The actor, however, has maintained all along that he was not linked in any way to the attack. He had also maintained that he did not know Suni, but later photographs surfaced in which the main accused was seen at the location of a Dileep movie.
 
The Association of Malayalam Movies Artists (AMMA) had come out in support of the beleaguered actor -- a stance that has attracted a lot of criticism for the organisation.
 
The abduction and harassment of the 30-year-old actress, who has also acted in Tamil and Telugu movies, had sent shockwaves through Kerala and the entire film industry in India.
 
Pulsar Suni
Pulsar Suni
The actress, who was travelling alone with the driver of the car late in the evening of that day, was waylaid by a group of about three persons and harassed for about two hours before they fled. The car was intercepted by a van carrying the three men near Athani in Angamaly near here.
 
The three men then forced their way into her car and drove around for about two hours, during which they allegedly harassed her and also took photographs and a video of her, sources said. They finally stopped at at Padamugal, near Kakkanad, in Kochi and fled in another car.
 
The actress then managed to reach the residence of a well-known film director in Kakkanad, for whose film she had been shooting. The director informed the police, who reached his residence soon after and recorded the actress' statement.
 
The actress is understood to have told the police that one of the men was her former driver, Sunil, also known as Pulsar Suni because of a Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle he owned.
 
Suni was arrested by the police in dramatic circumstances from the premises of the additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) here on February 23. He and his alleged accomplice Vijeesh were arrrested when they managed to evade the policemen posted around the complex and sneak into the court to surrender before a magistrate.
 
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Born as Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan Pillai on October 27, 1968, Dileep had over the past few years acquired an enviable position in the Malayalam film industry.
 
Dileep, who started out in movies as an assistant director in 1991 after stints as a mimicry artiste and in comedy shows on television, has a huge fan following, especially because of his comedy roles in several Malayalam movies. In all, he has appeared in more than 130 films so far. He is also a film producer and entrepreneur.
 
Demonstrations against Dileep were held at several places after news of his arrest spread. Apart from the large numbers of people who gathered outside the Aluva Police Club, where he  was questioned, and some groups raised slogans against him. They also wanted action against AMMA President and well-known actor Innocent, who is a Member of Parliament, and actor Mukesh, who is now an MLA.
 
Protesters also staged demonstrations outside a restaurant owned by the actor in Kochi. A branch of the restaurant in Kozhikode was closed down as a preventive measure and Yuva Morcha members burnt the actor in effigy in that town.
 
Youth Congress activists also marched towards cinemas owned by Dileep, but were dispersed by the police.
 
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Top Malayalam film actor Dileep arrested in actress abduction case

In a sensational development, top Malayalam film actor Dileep was arrested in Kochi on Monday on conspiracy charges in the case related to the abduction and harassment of a popular actress while she was on her way from Thrissur to Kochi on February 17.

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
In a sensational development, top Malayalam film actor Dileep was arrested here today on conspiracy charges in the case related to the abduction and harassment of a popular actress while she was on her way from Thrissur to Kochi on February 17.
 
Last week, the police had questioned Dileep and his friend and film director Nadirshah for 13 hours in connection with the incident after their names cropped up during the probe into the incident. 
 
Subsequently, police had searched the premises of a business owned by  his wife and well-known actress Kavya Madhavan.
 
Sources said the police questioned Dileep, 48, for several hours from this morning before being formally placed under arrest in the evening. He was brought to the Police Club at Aluva in a car around 7 pm today where the questioning is expected to continue.
 
Late this evening, Kerala Director General of Police Loknath Behera confirmed to journalists that Dileep had been placed under arrest. He also made it clear that no other arrests had been made in the case today.
 
He said Dileep had been arrested on the basis of evidence gathered by the police in its investigations so far and also to take the investigation forward. "It is a part of the process of collecting more evidence," he said, adding that the actor was being questioned.
 
Some days ago, a letter written by Pulsar Suni, the main accused in the case, seeking money from Dileep had come to light. Some telephone calls made by Suni  from jail were also traced to people close to the actor. According to the sources, Suni had also been in touch with Nadirshah over the telephone from prison. 
 
Later, Dileep had complained to the police that he was being blackmailed by Suni.
 
There were allegations that Dileep was part of the conspiracy to attack the actress in view of a personal enmity between the two. The actor, however, has maintained all along that he was not linked in any way to the attack. He had also maintained that he did not know Suni, but later photographs surfaced in which the main accused was seen at the location of a Dileep movie.
 
The Association of Malayalam Movies Artists (AMMA) had come out in support of the beleaguered actor.
 
There were also reports that Nadirshah was also being questioned by the police again today, but details were not available.
 
The sources said Dileep would be produced before a magistrate either later tonight or during the day tomorrow.
 
The abduction and harassment of the 30-year-old actress, who has also acted in Tamil and Telugu movies, had sent shockwaves through Kerala and the entire film industry in India.
 
Pulsar Suni
Pulsar Suni
The actress, who was travelling alone with the driver of the car late in the evening of that day, was waylaid by a group of about three persons and harassed for some time before they fled. The car was intercepted by a van carrying the three men near Athani in Angamaly near here.
 
The three men then forced their way into her car and drove around for some time, during which they harassed her and also took photographs and a video of her, sources said. They finally stopped at at Padamugal, near Kakkanad, and fled in another car, sources said.
 
According to them, the actress then managed to reach the residence of a well-known film director in Kakkanad, for whose film she had been shooting. The director informed the police, who reached his residence soon and recorded the actress' statement.
 
The actress is understood to have told the police that one of the men was her former driver, known as Pulsar Suni because of a Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle he owned.
 
Suni was arrested by the police in dramatic circumstances from the premises of the additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) here on February 23. He and his alleged accomplice Vijeesh were arrrested when they managed to evade the policemen posted around the complex and sneak into the court to surrender before a magistrate.
 
Born as Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan Pillai on October 27, 1968, Dileep had over the past few years acquired an enviable position in the Malayalam film industry.
 
Dileep, who started out in movies as an assistant director in 1991 after stints as a mimicry artiste and in comedy shows on television, has a huge fan following, especially because of his comedy roles in several Malayalam movies. In all, he has appeared in more than 130 films so far. He is also a film producer and entrepreneur.
 
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Centre to provide funds for enhancing coastal security in Kerala

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Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir said here yesterday that the Centre would provide funds for enhancing the coastal security of Kerala.
 
Talking to mediapersons after reviewing the overall law and order situation with state officials here, Mr Ahir said funds would be made available from the Police Modernisation Fund for buying more vehicles and patrol boats.
 
He lauded the Kerala government for ensuring a good policing system. He pointed out that the Community Police system was much helpful against radicalisation drive among the youth. In reply to a question, he said a report has been sought from the state government on the political violence and murders in the state.
 
The Minister pointed out that Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have Maoist presence. On youths joining the Islamic State (IS), he said except for a report about 22 people joining the terrorist organisation, no more cases have been reported till now.
 
Additional Chief Secretary in charge of Home Paul Antony, State Police Chief Loknath Behra and other officials attended the review meeting. Later, Mr Ahir called on Kerala Governor P Sathasivam at Raj Bhavan.
 
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