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Tamil Nadu

10 dead in Kerala, TN, several fishermen missing as cyclone Ockhi heads for Lakshadweep

Heavy rains lashed many parts of south Kerala and south Tamil Nadu and at least 10 people have died since yesterday as cyclone Ockhi intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and hurtled past the coasts of the two states towards Lakshadweep Islands on Friday.

 
Cyclone Ockhi: 8 killed, several fishermen missing
Heavy rains lashed many parts of south Kerala and south Tamil Nadu and at least 10 people have died since yesterday as cyclone Ockhi intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and hurtled past the coasts of the two states towards Lakshadweep Islands today.
 
Four people were killed in south Kerala and five in south Tamil Nadu in rain-related incidents yesterday even as the authorities mounted a massive search and rescue operation for scores of fishermen reported missing at sea.
 
One fisherman, who was among those rescued today, died in hospital here today, taking the toll in Kerala to five, official sources said.
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a warning of a very severe cyclone for Lakshadweep Islands this evening and said the system was likely to intensify further in the next 24 hours.
 
In a Red message issued at 1730 hours today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the system, now over the Lakshadweep  area and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea, continued to move west-northwestwards with a speed of 15 kmph during the past six hours and intensified further into a "Very Severe Cyclonic Storm".
 
It lay centred at 1430 hours IST today near latitude 9.1º N and longitude 73.0º E, about 90 km north of Minicoy and 220 km south-southeast of Amini Divi. 
 
"The system is very likely to intensify further during next 24 hours. It is very likely to continue to move west-northwestwards across Lakshadweep Islands during next 24 hours and then move north/ northeastwards during the subsequent 48 hours," the bulletin said.
 
The IMD warned that, under the influence of the system, heavy to very heavy rainfall was very likely at most places over Lakshadweep area during the next 24 hours, with isolated extremely heavy falls. There could be isolated heavy to very heavy falls during the subsequent 24 hours, it said.
 
The bulletin also said that rainfall was very likely at many places over Kerala during the next 24 hours, with heavy rainfall at isolated places.
 
According to it, gale winds, with speed reaching 120-130 kmph, gusting to 145 kmph, were very likely over and around Lakshadweep Islands during the next 24 hours and gradual decrease thereafter.
 
Squally winds, with speed reaching 45-55 kmph, gusting to 65 kmph, were very likely along and off Kerala during the next 24 hours and along and off Karnataka coast during the next 24 hours, it said.
 
The bulletin said sea conditions would be phenomenal over and around Lakshadweep Islands during the next 24 hours and very high during the subsequent 24 hours.
 
Sea conditions would be high to very high along and off the Kerala coast during the next 24 hours and along and off the Karnataka coast during subsequent 24 hours.
 
The cyclone could cause damage to power and communication lines due to breaking of tree branches and uprooting of large avenue trees; major damage to thatched houses, huts and kutcha houses; some damage to pucca roads; flooding of escape routes; and damage to banana and papaya trees and standing crops.
 
Storm surge of about one metre above astronomical tides was very likely to inundate low lying areas of Lakshadweep Islands, the bulletin said.
 
Fishermen along and off Lakshadweep Islands were advised not to venture into the sea during the next 48 hours. Similarly, fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea along and off the Kerala and Karnataka coasts during the next 48 hours.
 
Ships and aircraft of the Indian Navy, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) were involved in the rescue efforts at sea while teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were deployed in the affected areas in the two states and units of the Indian Army were on standby to come to the aid of the civil adminstration, if necessary.
 
Official sources here said more than 220 people had been rescued from the sea by the Navy, ICG and IAF. Many of them were admitted to hospitals here for treatment, they said. 
 
Some of the fishermen were rescued by a Japanese cargo ship in the area. As many as 37 people were rescued by Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs) of the Indian Navy which flew between Thiruvananthapuram and the sea.
 
The ICG said it had deployed nine ships and two Dornier aircraft in the area and rescued as many as 52 fishermen so far.
 
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The International Safety Net (ISN) had been activated to advise Merchant Traffic to render assistance to stranded fishermen, it said.
 
Among others, Indian Naval Ships Sagardhwani, Jamuna and Nireekshak were in the affected areas in the Arabian Sea. INS Sharda and Shardul are also sailing out soon to augment the search effort. Both ships were in final stages of embarking HADR items for assistance at Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands, Indian Navy sources said.
 
In Poonthura, a coastal village near here, angry groups of fishermen and their families staged protests, alleging that the government had not acted in time and not done enough as far as the rescue efforts were concerned. 
 
Former Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, both senior leaders of the Congress, visited the area today to listen to the woes of the villagers.
 
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told newspersons that the state government had received an alert about the cyclone only on Thursday afternoon. He said the rescue efforts were also hampered by the bad weather conditions.
 
Mr. Vijayan said all possible efforts were being made to locate and rescue the missing fishermen. He said the state government had urged the Ministry of Defence to deploy more aircraft for the search and rescue operations.
 
In Lakshadweep, the authorities had issued orders for the evacuation of people from low-lying areas in Kalpeni, Minicoy, Kavratti, Agatti, Androth, Kadamath and Amini islands.
 
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OPS gets boost as more AIADMK bigwigs back him in power tussle with Sasikala

Tamil Nadu caretaker Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam received a major boost in his open power tussle with ruling AIADMK General Secretary V. K. Sasikala when one of her key supporters and State Minister K. Pandiarajan and party spokesman and former Minister C. Ponnaiyan crossed over into his camp on Saturday.

 
TN Education Minister Pandiarajan backs OPS
Tamil Nadu caretaker Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam received a major boost in his open power tussle with ruling AIADMK General Secretary V. K. Sasikala when one of her key supporters and State Minister K. Pandiarajan and party spokesman and former Minister C. Ponnaiyan crossed over into his camp today.
 
As Ms. Sasikala moved quickly to keep her flock together amidst reports of growing desertions, three Lok Sabha members, V. Sathyabama of Tiruppur, Ashok Kumar of Krishnagiri and P R Sundaram of Namakkal also threw in their lot with Mr. Panneerselvam today.
 
Ms. Sasikala, on the other hand, voicing concern over the delay by Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao in responding to her claim to form the next Government in the state, wrote to him again today, seeking an opportunity to parade before him the MLAs supporting her.
 
Mr. Pandiarajan, the state Minister for School Education and Sports and Youth Welfare, arrived at Mr. Panneerselvam's residence, bringing cheer to the large crowd camping there and which has seen its support base growing slowly in the past few days.
 
The decision of Mr. Pandiarajan, one of the founders of well-known recruitment and consultancy firm Ma Foi, to switch loyalties is significant, given the fact that he was one of Ms. Sasikala's most ardent supporters during the past several days of political crisis in the state.
 
An indication of his impending shift was available from a "tweet" he posted on micro-blogging site Twitter this morning.
 
"Will surely listen to the collective voice of my voters & decide in a way to uphold the dignity of Amma's memory & unity of AIADMK!" he said.
 
Mr. Ponnaiyan said Mr. Panneerselvam was capable of leading the party with discipline and of running a corruption-free government.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam's Twitter handle said that state Rural Industries Minister P. Benjamin would shortly visit him to extend his support to him.
 
In her letter to the Governor, Ms. Sasikala noted that she had written to him on February 5 and February 7, seeking an appointment with him.
 
The Governor met her and nine Tamil Nadu Ministers in the evening of February 9 when she formally informed him of her election as the leader of the AIADMK legislature party last Sunday.
 
O. Panneerselvam
O. Panneerselvam
"... I submitted my elaborate presentation to invite me to form the Government as I have absolute majority. Original letter and true copy of the resolution were also handed over to Your Excellency," she said.
 
"Thus, as it has been seven long days since the Chief Minister Thiru. O. P. Panneerselvam submitted and Your Excellency accepted his resignation, taking the urgency of the situation at hand, I would like to seek an appointment with Your Excellency by today along with all MLAs who extended their support to me regarding further course of action to form the Government," she said.
 
"I believe Your Excellency will act immediately to save the sovereignty of the Constitution, democracy and the interest of the state," she added.
 
Ms. Sasikala addressed her supporters outside Veda Nilayam, the Poes Garden residence of the late Ms. Jayalalithaa, and said, "Amma has given me 1.5 crore party brothers and sisters.When they are with me,the sinister intentions of many will not  harm me."
 
"Amma is confident that I will look after AIADMK with all care," she said.
 
She said the relentless work done by Ms. Jayalalithaa had made AIADMK the third largest party. "Amma is with us now. Our Amma is now showing us the betrayers of our party," she said.
 
"People who think they can separate our party which has 1.5 crore people will only face defeat. Amma won over the hurdles, we are facing the same situation,we will also win over it. I believe in justice and democracy," she added.
Later, Ms. Sasikala drove in a motorcade to the resort where about 120 AIADMK MLAs have been staying for the past few days and met them for discussions on their future course of action.
 
"After meeting the party MLAs, I feel happy," she said. "All the party MLAs are fine and happy."
 
She said the "created time lag", in inviting her to form the government, appeared to be intended to create a split in the party.
 
Ms. Sasikala said she and her supporters were "waiting patiently" till now for a response to their claim, adding that "necessary measures will be taken".
 
Mr. K. A. Sengottayan, who has been appointed as the new chairman of the AIADMK Presidium, told journalists at the resort that all the MLAs there would remain with Ms. Sasikala till the end. "Our only aim is to make her the Chief Minister," he said.
 
However, there has been no indication whatsoever from Raj Bhavan in the past few days on when and how the political stalemate would be ended.
 
Even as the two rival groups continued to swipe and snipe at each other, Raj Bhavan clarified yesterday that the Governor had not sent any report to the President or the Ministry of Home Affairs on the political situation in the state.
 
The clarification came after media reports which said that Mr. Rao, who is the Governor of Maharashtra and is holding additional charge as the Governor of Tamil Nadu, had sent a report to the Centre after his meetings with Mr. Panneerselvam and Ms. Sasikala.
 
"Thiru Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Tamil Nadu has not sent any report either to the Ministry of Home Affairs or to the President of India, as reported in some of the media," a statement from Raj Bhavan said.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, had submitted his resignation last Sunday after Ms. Sasikala, 60, a long-time aide of late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, was chosen by AIADMK MLAs as the new leader of their legislative party and, therefore, his successor. The Governor accepted his resignation on Monday and asked him to continue in office till alternative arrangments were made. 
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had been sworn in as the Chief Minister in the early hours of December 6, 2016 shortly after the death of Ms. Jayalalithaa, who was both the head of the government and the party supremo.
 
The usually reticent and self-effacing Mr. Panneerselvam made a surprise visit to the memorial of Ms. Jayalalithaa late in the night last Tuesday and then told waiting newspersons that he had been forced to resign and that he was willing to continue as Chief Minister if the people and the party so wished.
 
Ms. Sasikala was widely expected to be sworn in on Tuesday, but the Governor has not yet taken a final view on the situation confronting the state. Mr. Rao, who reached here from Mumbai on Thursday afternoon, met ten-member delegations led by the rivals, Mr. Panneerselvam and Ms. Sasikala, later that day.
 
While Mr. Panneerselvam told the Governor that he was forced to quit as Chief Minister and that he should be allowed to continue and take a floor test in the Assembly, Ms. Sasikala submitted to Mr. Rao a list of about 130 of the AIADMK's 135 MLAs and staked claim to forming the next Government.
 
The Governor is understood to be consulting legal and Constitutional experts and weighing his options.
 
Yesterday, Mr. Rao met State Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan and Director General of Police T. K. Rajendran as well as Chennai Police Commissioner S. George amidst complaints by the Panneerselvam camp that the Sasikala group was holding about 120 MLAs at a nearby resort, many of them against their will.
 
V. K. Sasikala
V. K. Sasikala
DMK working president and leader of the Opposition M. K. Stalin met Mr Rao yesterday and submitted a representation in which he said the state administration could not be allowed to drift any further. He urged the Governor to take steps to ensure that a democratically and Constitutionally valid government was in place at the earliest through a free and fair floor test.
 
Meanwhile, Ms. Sasikala yesterday expelled AIADMK presidium chairman E. Madhusudanan from the primary membership of the party, a day after he threw in his lot with Mr. Panneerselvam. Mr. K. A. Sengottayan has been appointed as the new chairman of the presidium.
 
Mr. Madhusudanan, on his part, wrote to the Election Commission stating that Ms. Sasikala's election as General Secretary of the party was in violation of its rules and urging it to reject her claims in this regard.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had said on Thursday that he would issue orders to convert Veda Nilayam, the Poes Garden residence of late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, into a memorial for her. The announcement assumes significance in view of the fact that Ms. Sasikala is functioning from that house.
 
To take this a step further, his camp has launched a signature campaign outside his residence on the proposal.
 
Two days after Ms. Sasikala removed him from the post of AIADMK treasurer, Mr. Panneerselvam on Thursday also wrote to banks asking them to not allow any one to access the party funds without his written permission. He said his removal from the post of treasurer was illegal.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam has been always regarded as a trusted lieutenant of Ms. Jayalalithaa and had stood in for her as Chief Minister twice when she faced crises.
 
Among those who have openly come out to support Mr. Panneerselvam is AIADMK Rajya Sabha member V. Maitreyan and former Tamil Nadu Assembly speaker P. H. Pandian.
 
There has been opposition to Ms. Sasikala's elevation from a section of the public, in social media and from the Opposition in the state. They point to the fact that she has never contested any election and has no administrative experience. They also point to the fact that an appeal against her acquittal in a two-decade-old corruption case is pending before the Supreme Court and its verdict could be delivered as early as next week.
 
Ms. Sasikala and two others were co-accused with Ms. Jayalalithaa in the case, in which they were all acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in May 2015. The two others are her nephew Sudhakaran, who is Ms. Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and her close relative Ilavarasi.
 
The Karnataka High Court had allowed Ms. Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of a special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore. The special court had sentenced Ms. Sasikala, Sudharakan and Ilavarasi  also to four years in prison and fined them Rs 10 crore each.
 
Ms. Jayalalithaa was admitted to the Apollo Hospital here on September 22 and died on December 5 after a sudden cardiac arrest. Doctors who treated her had told a press conference here on Monday that the AIADMK leader had been treated for septicemia and a host of other medical problems.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam was Finance Minister in Ms. Jayalalithaa's Cabinet and was also handling all the portfolios held by her after she was hospitalised on September 22.
 
He had stood in as Chief Minister for Ms. Jayalalithaa twice in the past. On September 29, 2014, he took over the position when Ms. Jayalalithaa resigned after being sentenced to four years in prison by a special court in Bangalore in a corruption case. Ms. Jayalalithaa returned to office on May 23, 2015, twelve days after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in the 19-year-old corruption case.
 
He had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. Ms Jayalalithaa was cleared of all charges in 2002 and returned as Chief Minister.
 
Ms. Sasikala's control over the party was in evidence in the manner in which she carried out Ms. Jayalalithaa's last rites and then took hold of the reins of the AIADMK a few days later. Since then, there has been a clamour from a group within the AIADMK that, after being chosen as the new General Secretary, she should also take charge of the Government. Ms. Jayalalithaa held both the posts and they argued that it was better if the same person held both positions.
 
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Panneerselvam's resignation accepted, Sasikala likely to be sworn in on Tuesday

Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao on Monday accepted the resignation of Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and his Council of Ministers and his successor, Ms. V. K. Sasikala, a long-time aide of late AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa, is expected to be sworn in on Tuesday.

V. K. Sasikala
V. K. Sasikala
Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao today accepted the resignation of Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and his Council of Ministers and his successor, Ms. V. K. Sasikala, a long-time aide of late AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa, is expected to be sworn in tomorrow.
 
The Governor requested Mr. Panneerselvam and his Council of Ministers to continue to function until alternate arrangements are made, a press release from the Raj Bhavan said.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, had resigned from office yesterday after the ruling All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) legislature party met here and chose Ms. Sasikala as its new leader.
 
Ms. Sasikala, 60, is expected to be sworn in as the new Chief Minister of the State tomorrow morning at a function at the Madras University auditorium. 
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had been sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state in the early hours of December 6, succeeding Ms. Jayalalithaa who passed away at a private hospital here late night on December 5.
 
"Chinnamma elected as the AIADMK Legislature Party Leader," the AIADMK had said on micro-blogging site Twitter yesterday. Ms. Sasikala is referred to as "Chinamma" by party workers, just as Ms. Jayalalithaa was called "Amma".
 
It said Mr. Panneerselvam himself, known to be a long-time Jayalalithaa loyalist, had proposed Ms. Sasikala's name as the new leader of the AIADMK legislature party leader.
 
"Chinnamma all set to become the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu," the party said.
 
Ms. Sasikala had then made a brief appearance in the balcony of Ms. Jalayalalithaa's residence in Poes Garden here, dressed in a green saree and blouse, the AIADMK's colour, and greeted the crowds gathered outside with a "namaste" and then the "V" sign.
 
She later drove to the AIADMK headquarters where she said that it was Mr. Panneerselvam who had urged her first to take charge as General Secretary of the party and it was he who insisted, first, that she become the Chief Minister of the state. Ms. Sasikala has never held any position in Government before nor has she ever contested any elections.
 
She assured the people that her government would always work for the welfare of the people. "Tamil Nadu Government will follow the principles of Amma," she said.
  
Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, was Finance Minister in Ms. Jayalalithaa's Cabinet and was also handling all the portfolios held by her after she was admitted to the Apollo Hospital here on September 22.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had stood in as Chief Minister for Ms. Jayalalithaa twice in the past. On September 29, 2014, he took over the position when Ms. Jayalalithaa resigned after being sentenced to four years in prison by a special court in Bangalore in a corruption case. Ms. Jayalalithaa returned to office on May 23, 2015, twelve days after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in the 19-year-old corruption case.
 
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He had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. Ms Jayalalithaa was cleared of all charges in 2002 and returned as Chief Minister.
 
Ms. Sasikala's control over the party was in evidence in the manner in which she carried out Ms. Jayalalithaa's last rites and then took hold of the reins of the AIADMK a few days later. Since then, there has been a clamour from a group within the AIADMK that, after being chosen as the new General Secretary, she should also take charge of the Government. Ms. Jayalalithaa held both the posts and they argued that it was better if the same person held both positions.
 
Ms. Sasikala, along with her nephew Sudhakaran, who is Ms. Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and her close relative Ilavarasi , were  co-accused with Ms. Jayalalithaa in an 18-year-old corruption case, in which they were all acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in May 2015. An appeal against the acquittal is pending before the Supreme Court and its verdict in the matter is awaited.
 
The Karnataka High Court had allowed Ms. Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of a special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore. The special court had sentenced Ms. Sasikala, Sudharakan and Ilavarasi  also to four years in prison and fined them Rs 10 crore each.
 
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Sasikala Natarajan set to be new CM of Tamil Nadu

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) General Secretary Sasikala Natarajan, a long-time friend and companion of late party supremo J. Jayalithaa, is all set to become the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu after the party's MLAs met in Chennai and chose her as the leader of its legislature party.

 
Sasikala Natarajan appointed legislative party leader of AIADMK
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) General Secretary Sasikala Natarajan, a long-time friend and companion of late party supremo J. Jayalithaa, is all set to become the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu after the party's MLAs met here today and chose her as the leader of its legislative party.
 
She will succeed Mr. O. Panneerselvam, senior leader of the ruling AIADMK, who was sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state in the early hours of December 6, succeeding Ms. Jayalalithaa who passed away at a private hospital here late night on December 5.
 
"Chinnamma elected as the AIADMK Legislature Party Leader," the AIADMK said on micro-blogging site Twitter. 
 
Ms. Sasikala, 60, is referred to as "Chinamma" by party workers, just as Ms. Jayalalithaa was called as "Amma". It said Mr. Panneerselvam had proposed Ms. Sasikala's name as the new leader of the AIADMK legislature party leader.
 
"Chinnamma all set to become the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu," the party said.
 
Ms. Sasikala made a brief appearance in the balcony of Ms. Jalayalalithaa's residence in Poes Garden here, dressed in a green saree and blouse, the AIADMK's colour, and greeted the crowds gathered outside with a "namaste" and then the "V" sign.
 
Ms. Sasikala later drove to the AIADMK headquarters where she said that it was Mr. Panneerselvam who had urged her first to take charge as General Secretary of the party and it was he who insisted, first, that she become the Chief Minister of the state. Ms. Sasikala has never held any position in Government before nor has ever contested any elections.
 
She assured the people that her government would always work for the welfare of the people. "Tamil Nadu Government will follow the principles of Amma," she said.
 
She is expected to meet Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao in the next day or two and stake claim to form the next government in the state.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, was Finance Minister in Ms. Jayalalithaa's Cabinet and was also handling all the portfolios held by her after she was admitted to the Apollo Hospital here on September 22.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had stood in as Chief Minister for Ms. Jayalalithaa twice in the past. On September 29, 2014, he took over the position when Ms. Jayalalithaa resigned after being sentenced to four years in prison by a special court in Bangalore in a corruption case. Ms. Jayalalithaa returned to office on May 23, 2015, twelve days after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in the 19-year-old corruption case.
 
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He had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. Ms Jayalalithaa was cleared of all charges in 2002 and returned as Chief Minister.
 
Ms. Sasikala's control over the party was in evidence in the manner in which she carried out Ms. Jayalalithaa's last rites and then took hold of the reins of the AIADMK a few days later. Since then, there has been a clamour from a group within the AIADMK that, after being chosen as the new General Secretary, she should also take charge of the Government. Ms. Jayalalithaa held both the posts and they argued that it was better if the same person held both positions.
 
Ms. Sasikala, along with her nephew Sudhakaran, who is Ms. Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and her close relative Ilavarasi , were  co-accused with Ms. Jayalalithaa in an 18-year-old corruption case, in which they were all acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in May 2015. An appeal against the acquittal is pending before the Supreme Court and its verdict in the matter is awaited.
 
The Karnataka High Court had allowed Ms. Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of a special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore. The special court had sentenced Ms. Sasikala, Sudharakan and Ilavarasi  also to four years in prison and fined them Rs 10 crore each.
 
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Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa suffers cardiac arrest in hospital

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, who has been undergoing treatment at the Apollo Hospital in Chennai for the last three months for a lung infection, suffered a cardiac arrest on Sunday evening, the hospital said.

 
Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa suffers cardiac arrest
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, who has been undergoing treatment at the Apollo Hospital here for the last three months for a lung infection, suffered a cardiac arrest this evening, the hospital said.
 
"The Hon'ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nau who is undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospitals, Greams Road, Chennai, suffered a cardiac arrest this evening," the hospital said in a statement late tonight.
 
"She is being treated and monitored by a team of experts, including Cardiologists, Pulmonologists and the Critical Care Specialists," the statement added.
 
The hospital said Ms. Jayalalithaa was on extracorporeal membrane heart assist device and was being treated by a team of expert doctors and critical care specialists.
 
The hospital said Dr Richard Beale from London had also been consulted and he had concurred with the line of treatment by its cardiologists and pulmonologists.
 
"Our prayers are with her and we hope she will recover soon. We request all of you to pray for her good health and well being. The Hon'ble CM is the beloved leader of the masses. Please join us in praying for her speedy recovery," the hospital said in a series of posts on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Tamil Nadu Governor Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao, to inquire about Ms. Jayalalithaa's heath.
 
Mr. Rao, who is the Governor of Maharashtra, is holding additional charge of Tamil Nadu, since August 31 following the end of the tenure of Mr. K. Rosaiah. He told Mr. Rajnath Singh that he would leave for Chennai tonight.
 
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Hundreds of workers of Ms. Jayalalithaa's party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), her supporters and leaders of the party began converging outside the hospital after hearing of the news of her cardiac arrest. Police stepped up security arrangements outside the hospital as a precautionary measure.
 
Earlier in the day, the AIADMK had said that Ms. Jayalalithaa would soon decide when she would leave hospital and return home after doctors had declared that she had fully recovered.
 
The hospital has said several times in the past few weeks that the Chief Minister, called "Amma" by her supporters, was well enough to return home whenever she wanted. Her party said she was involved in taking government decisions and also speaking on occasion to those who were allowed to meet her.
 
Ms. Jayalalithaa was admitted to the hospital on September 27 for treatment of dehydration and fever. Later, there were reports that she was also being treated for a chronic lung infection and that he had been put on respiratory support. Specialist doctors from London and Delhi had been flown in to monitor her condition.
 
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Jayalalithaa returns as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in Chennai on Saturday, 12 days after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in an 19-year-old corruption case and paved the way for her return to the top job in the state for the fifth time after a gap of eight months.

 
Jayalalithaa sworn in as Tamil Nadu CM
 
 
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo J Jayalalithaa was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu here today, 12 days after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in an 19-year-old corruption case and paved the way for her return to the top job in the state for the fifth time after a gap of eight months.
 
Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah administered the oaths of offie and secrecy to Ms Jayalalithaa at a ceremony at the Madras University Centenary Auditorium.
 
Along with Ms Jayalalithaa, 67, as many as 28 other Ministers were also sworn in, including Mr O. Panneerselvam, who had functioned as Chief Minister since September 29 after she had been forced to resign following her conviction by a special court in Bangalore in the case.
 
Mr Panneerselvam will be Finance Minister, a portfolio he had held in her previous Cabinet.
 
The Governor had accepted the resignation of Mr. Panneerselvam and his Council of Ministers with effect from the forenoon of yesterday and requested him and his Council of Ministers to function until alternative arrangements were made.
 
Later yesterday, Ms Jayalalithaa, who was elected as the leader of the AIADMK Legislature Party, had called on Mr Rosaiah and staked her claim to form the new government.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa will have to get elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly within six months in keeping with Constitutional requirements.
 
Mr Panneerselvam had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. Like this tim, she was then, too, cleared of all charges in 2002 and had returned as Chief Minister.
 
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On May 11, the Karnataka High Court allowed Ms Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of the special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
 
Mr Justice C R Kumaraswamy said the appeals by Ms Jayalalithaa and the three co-accused had been allowed and that they were acquitted of all charges.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had also been barred by the special court from contesting elections and that verdict had meant that she had been disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and ceased to be the Chief Minister of the state. The acquittal by the High Court meant that Ms Jayalalithaa could return as Chief Minister.
 
The three co-accused who were acquitted along with her are her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew and Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son Sudhakaran and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi, who were also convicted in the case and sentenced to four years in prison and fined Rs 10 crore each by the special court.
 
Sasikala was among the more than 3000 people present at the ceremony. Others present included film stars Rajnikanth, Sarath Kumar and Prabhu and industrialists N Srinivasan and A C Muthaiah.
 
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Jayalalithaa acquitted in corruption case, paving way for her return as TN CM

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was on Monday acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in Bangalore in an 18-year-old corruption case, clearing the way for her return to the top job in her state.

File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was today acquitted by the Karnataka High Court here in an 18-year-old corruption case, clearing the way for her return to the top job in her state.
 
The High Court allowed Ms Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of a special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
 
Reading out the operative part of the judgement at 11 am in the court, Mr Justice C R Kumaraswamy said the appeals by Ms Jayalalithaa and the three co-accused had been allowed and that they were acquitted of all charges.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa, 67, had also been barred by the special court from contesting elections and that verdict had meant that she had been disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and ceased to be the Chief Minister of the state.
 
Today's acquittal means that Ms Jayalithaa, supremo of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), can return as Chief Minister.
 
After she had stepped down, senior AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on September 29 last year.
 
Mr Panneerselvam, 63, had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. She was later cleared of all charges in 2002 and had returned as Chief Minister.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa, a film star-turned-politician, and the three co-accused persons were accused by the prosecution of amassing assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income from 1991-96 during her first term in office.
 
The special court had sentenced the co-accused -- her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew Sudharakan, who is Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi -- also to four years in prison and fined them Rs 10 crore each.
 
 
Jayalalithaa acquitted by Karnataka HC in corruption case
Celebrations broke out among Ms Jayalalithaa's supporters all across Tamil Nadu as well as outside the high court here, where they had gathered in large numbers.
 
Hundreds of people who had congregated outside her Poes Garden residence in Chennai since early morning burst firecrackers, danced and distributed sweets as soon as news of the verdict by Mr Justice C R Kumaraswamy ame in.
 
Mr Panneerselvam and many of his Cabinet colleagues also turned up to congratulate her.
 
On October 17 last year, Ms Jayalalithaa had been granted bail by the Supreme Court in the case after the Karnataka High Court had turned down her application.
 
Along with her, the apex court also granted bail to Ms Natarajan, Mr Sudhakaran and Mr Ilavarasi.
 
The case was filed in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) during the tenure of Ms Jayalalithaa's rival and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi as Chief Minister.
 
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to a special court in Bangalore in 2003 on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts about a fair trial in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister.
 
The prosecution had alleged that Jayalalithaa had just Rs 3 crore when she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 and had taken a token salary of just Re 1, but her wealth and that of her three co-accused had grown to Rs 66.6 crore during her five years in office, vastly disproportionate to her known sources of income.
 
The alleged wealth included 2000 acres of land, 30 kg of gold and thousands of sarees. She was also accused of spending more than Rs 5 crore on her foster son's wedding in 1996, though she had claimed that the expenditure was borne by the bride's family.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had all along maintained that the case was an act of political vendetta by the DMK. Among other things, she had agued that her previous assets were undervalued, her property was overvalued and her income from various sources were not taken into account.
 
In 2011, Jayalalithaa had appeared in the Bangalore court for four days to answer more than 1390 questions posed by the judge.
 
In the Lok Sabha elections last year, the AIADMK had made a near clean sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats from the state.
 
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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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SC grants bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa

The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who was convicted by a special court in Bangalore on September 27 in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison and asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.

File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
The Supreme Court today granted bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who were convicted by a special court in Bangalore on September 27 in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison and asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
 
Along with Ms Jayalalithaa, 66, the apex court also granted bail to her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew and Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son Sudhakaran and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi, who were also convicted in the case and sentenced to four years in prison and fined Rs 10 crore each.
 
The Karnataka High Court had, on October 7, rejected Ms Jayalalithaa's bail application. While doing so, Judge A V Chandrashekhara recalled that the Supreme Court had made it clear in the past that corruption cases should be put on the fast track. He pointed out that the apex court had taken a tough stand in such cases and had described corruption as a "violation of human rights".
 
Ms Jayalalithaa and the three co-accused persons were accused by the prosecution of amassing assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income from 1991-96 during her first term in office.
 
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo had moved the Supreme Court for bail on October 9.
 

 
Jayalalithaa granted interim bail by SC in DA case
The apex court today suspended her sentence and granted her bail after imposing some conditions, including that she would have to submit her paprs for the appeal against her conviction within two months, that is by December 18, and that she would not seek any adjournment of the hearings. 
 
As soon as news of the court's decision to grant her bail came, hundreds of supporters of Ms Jayalalithaa in Chennai and elsewhere broke out into rapturous celebrations.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa, who has been held in prison in Bangalore since September 27, is expected to be released on bail later today or tomorrow. She will remain confined to home in Chennai while she is on bail.
 
The court fixed December 18 as the date to satisfy itself if she had complied with its order.
 
Her counsel Fali Nariman assured the court on her behalf that there would be no act of lawlessness by her party's workers in Tamil Nadu. She had sought bail on the grounds that she was suffering from various ailments and that she was a senior citizen and a woman.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa stood disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly after her conviction and sentence and had to resign as Chief Minister. She is also barred from contesting elections for six years after she completes her four-year sentence.
 
The case was filed in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) during the tenure of Jayalalithaa's rival and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi as Chief Minister.
 
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to a special court in Bangalore in 2003 on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts about a fair trial in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister.
 
The prosecution had alleged that Ms Jayalalithaa had just Rs 3 crore when she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 and had taken a token salary of just Re 1, but her wealth and that of her three co-accused had grown to Rs 66.6 crore during her five years in office, vastly disproportionate to her known sources of income.
 
The alleged wealth included 2000 acres of land, 30 kg of gold and thousands of sarees. She was also accused of spending more than Rs 5 crore on her foster son's wedding in 1996, though she had claimed that the expenditure was borne by the bride's family.
 
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The court held that the prosecution had been able to prove that she possessed disproportionate assets of about Rs 53 crore. 
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had all along maintained that the case was an act of political vendetta by the DMK. Among other things, she had agued that her previous assets were undervalued, her property was overvalued and her income from various sources were not taken into account.
 
In the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year, the AIADMK had made a near clean sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats from the state and emerging as the third largest party in the House.
 
Elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly are due in 2016 and unless her conviction is overturned by a higher court, Ms Jayalalithaa cannot contest them.
 
After Ms Jayalalithaa stepped down, senior AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on September 29.
 
Mr Panneerselvam, 63, had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa was later cleared of all charges in 2002 and had returned as Chief Minister.
 
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DRI busts diesel smuggling racket, arrests four persons, seizes 14 containers

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The Directorate Revenue of Intelligence (DRI) has busted a major racket involving the smuggling of diesel into the country in the guise of mineral spirit and arrested four persons, including the alleged mastermind and a hawala operator, and seized 14 containers of diesel valued at more than Rs. 1 crore.
 
An official press release said that, on the basis of inputs provided by the Andhra Pradesh (AP) State intelligence Department, the DRI, Hyderabad developed intelligence indicating that diesel is being smuggled into India in guise of mineral spirit by certain operators based in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh and Chennai in Tamil Nadu.
 
The diesel was being brought from Dubai in huge quantities on regular basis through containers at Chennai Port for further illegal sale in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, it said.
 
Simultaneous search operations were carried out by the officers of the DRI, Hyderabad and Chennai with the active support of Andhra Pradesh State intelligence at various places across Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu  from April 17 onwards, it said.
 
The release said the searches conducted at two Container Freight Stations (CFS) in Chennai revealed that 14 containers imported at Chennai Port in the names of SAF Petroleum and Aditya Marine landed at Sanco CFS, Chennai and Gateway CFS, Chennai, where the goods were declared as mineral spirit. 
 
These containers were found to be actually carrying 263.78 MT (3 lakh litres approximately) of diesel. On being questioned, this was admitted by the operators and also confirmed during chemical examination. 
 
Simultaneous searches were conducted across Kakinada and Chennai covering 12 places belonging to operators, importers clearing agents, transportation broker, supervisor, hawala operators and so on, the release said.
 
Diesel is a restricted commodity for import as per the Foreign Trade Policy and allowed to be imported only by the public sector Indian Oil Corproation (IOC) and other oil marketing companies which meet the requirement of Ministry of Petroleum Resolution No. P-23015/1/2001-Mkt and not allowed to be imported by others. 
 
To circumvent this restriction, the operators of diesel smuggling based at Kakinada hatched a plan and started smuggling the fuel in the guise of mineral spirt.
 
They not only imported the restricted item but also declared a much lower value, around 40% of the actual value, thereby evading customs duty on the consignments, it said.
 
The operators had offices in Kakinada, storage yard at Maraimalai Nagar, Chennai and an office front at Guindy, Chennai to facilitate the smuggling and distribution. A relative of one of the operators from Kakinada was looking after the logistics, moving the diesel into the grey markets in Chennai, Kakinada, Ongole and parts of Telangana. 
 
Dummy companies were opened in Dubai to purchase diesel and import it Chennai by creating false documents and invoices. The price difference was being adjusted by payments through hawala channels. 
 
"It is found that in the past these operators have smuggled around 5366 MT (63 lakh litres approx) of diesel valued at around Rs. 17.7 crores, which comes to around 285 containers," it said.
 
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After pat on cheek sparks outrage, TN Governor apologizes

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Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Wednesday apologized to a woman journalist whose cheeks he patted after a press conference, triggering widespread criticism.
 
In a letter to the journalist, Lakshmi Subramanian, which was circulated to the media, Purohit said: "I wish to express my regret and my apologies to assuage your sentiments that have been hurt."
 
Purohit said: "You had asked a question when we had got up and were proceeding to leave after the close of the press conference (on Tuesday)."
 
"I considered that question to be a good one. Therefore, as an act of appreciation for the question that you had posed, I gave a pat on your cheek considering you to be like my granddaughter," he said.
 
Purohit said he himself has been a journalist for about 40 years.
 
"I do understand from your mail that you are feeling hurt about the incident. I wish to express my regret and my apologiess to assuage your sentiments that have been hurt."
 
Reacting to Purohit's letter, Subramanian tweeted: "Your Excellency, I have with me your letter expressing regret at what happened at the press conference in Chennai... I accept your apology even though I am not convinced about your contention that you did it to appreciate a question I asked."
 
Earlier, Tamil Nadu journalists had demanded an unconditioned apology from Purohit for patting the cheek of Subramanian.
 
Subramanian tweeted a picture in which the Governor is seen patting her cheek at the Raj Bhavan and expressed her shock over his conduct.
 
The Governor met the media to deny as untrue allegations of a so-called sex scandal at a leading university in the state.
 
Journalists promptly drafted a letter informing the Governor that his conduct amounted to a non-bailable criminal offence.
 
"As the Constitutional head of our state of Tamil Nadu, you have crossed the lines of not just basic courtesy but also those of law," read the letter to the Governor.
 
They pointed out that whatever his intention, he had violated the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 1998.
 
DMK Rajya Sabha MP K. Kanimozhi tweeted: "Even if the intention is above suspicion, violating a woman journalist's personal space does not reflect the dignity or the respect which should be shown to any human being."
 
The journalists had sought an unconditional apology from the Governor and an assurance that he will desist from behaving in this manner in future.
 
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TN journalists denounce Governor for 'patting' lady reporter

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Tamil Nadu journalists have demanded an unconditioned apology from Governor Banwarilal Purohit for patting the cheek of a senior lady journalist at the end of a press conference.
 
The journalist, Lakshmi Subramaniam, has tweeted a picture in which the Governor is seen patting her cheek at the Raj Bhavan on Tuesday and expressed her shock over his conduct.
 
The Governor met the media to deny as untrue allegations of a so-called sex scandal at a leading university in the state. 
 
As the press conference ended, the Governor patted the cheek of Subramaniam, triggering outrage. She denounced Purohit's conduct.
 
Journalists promptly drafted a letter informing the Governor that his conduct amounted to a non-bailable criminal offence. 
 
"As the Constitutional head of our state of Tamil Nadu, you have crossed the lines of not just basic courtesy but also those of law," read the letter to the Governor.
 
They pointed out that whatever his intention, he had violated the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 1998.
 
DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi tweeted: "Even if the intention is above suspicion, violating a woman journalist's personal space does not reflect the dignity or the respect which should be shown to any human being."
 
The journalists had sought an unconditional apology from the Governor and an assurance that he will desist from behaving in this manner in future.
 
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CBCID to probe case against college teacher luring students to sex trade

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With political parties demanding a CBI probe into the alleged attempt at sexual trafficking of college students by a professor, the Tamil Nadu Police chief ordered the transfer of the case to the Crime Branch-Crime Investigation Department (CBCID).
 
Considering the importance of the case, the Tamil Nadu Director General of Police (DGP) ordered to transfer the case from Arupukkottai Police Station in Virudhunagar district to the CBCID, a government statement said.
 
On a complaint lodged by R. Ramasamy, Secretary, Devanga Arts College in Arupukkottai, a case has been registered against Assistant Professor Nirmala Devi over attempt to lure some students into sex trade, according to the statement.
 
On the other hand, the Madurai Kamaraj University said it had decided to scrap its proposal to set up a five-member committee to probe the alleged sexual trafficking complaint.
 
In a statement, Vice Chancellor P.P. Chellathurai said: "The university is keen that all details with regard to the incident be inquired into without any bias. Hence the proposal to form an internal committee in the university has been withdrawn."
 
"The high powered inquiry by R. Santhanam, IAS (retd), ordered by the Chancellor will commence forthwith for which the university will be rendering all necessary assistance," he said.
 
Based on the report from the university, Governor Banwarilal Purohit, in his capacity as the Chancellor, had ordered for inquiry by a high powered committee, the statement said.
 
Leaders of political parties, however, came down heavily on the committees set up by the Governor and the Vice Chancellor and demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
 
PMK leader S. Ramadoss said committees appointed by Purohit and Chellathurai to probe an alleged sexual trafficking complaint were not legally valid.
 
Supporting the arrest of the female professor who allegedly tried to lure her students to extend sexual favours to top officials of the university in Tamil Nadu, he said only a CBI probe was only justified.
 
It was on Monday that Governor Purohit and Chellathurai had ordered a high-level inquiry into the matter by the retired IAS officer, Santhanam.
 
But Chellathurai told reporters in New Delhi on Monday that a five-member committee had been constituted to investigate the case.
 
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"Governor Purohit is only a Chancellor of the university. He does not have the power to govern or probe malpractices in the colleges," Ramadoss said, adding only the college management had the power to take action against a professor found to be misguiding the students to take a wrong path.
 
"A shadow of suspicion is on all the top officials of the university and hence Chellathurai can face an inquiry committee but can't set up one," the PMK leader said.
 
Ramadoss said the accused professor's mobile phone call records should be checked to determine others involved.
 
Nirmala Devi, who taught at the Devanga Arts College in Aruppukottai, was at the centre of a storm after audio clips of her talks with some students suggested that they yield themselves to keep the "higher-ups" in the Madurai Kamaraj University happy, so that the college keeps getting facilities. The clips went viral in the social media.
 
Police in Virudhunagar district has questioned her so far.
 
DMK leader M.K. Stalin told reporters that only a Vice Chancellor of a university could set up an inquiry committee and not the Governor in the capacity of the Chancellor.
 
"It is not known why the Governor as the Chancellor acted in this manner. There seems to be some confusion. Only a high court-monitored CBI probe will bring out the truth," he said.
 
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Controversial woman professor of TN university arrested

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A woman professor who allegedly tried to lure her students to extend sexual favours to top officials of a leading university in Tamil Nadu was on Monday arrested after the issue triggered a furore in the state.
 
Nirmala Devi, who was suspended after the episode came to light recently, was arrested by a police team which broke open into her house. She was taken into custody after a five-hour operation. Police summoned her relatives and a woman revenue official before the arrest.
 
The woman professor, who taught at a college in nearby Aruppukottai, was at the centre of a storm after audio clips of her talk with some students suggesting that they yield themselves to keep the 'higher-ups' in the Madurai Kamaraj University happy so that the college gets facilities went viral on the social media.
 
While Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister Anbazhagan promised stringent action in the matter, Governor Banwarilal Purohit, the Chancellor of the University, ordered a high-level inquiry into the matter by a retired IAS officer, R. Santhanam. 
 
Nobody involved in the crime would be spared, a Raj Bhavan release quoting the Governor as saying.
 
Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor of the University P.P. Chellathurai told reporters in New Delhi that a five-member committee, including three women, had been constituted to go into the issue. 
 
He said the University came to know about the whole episode not from the college. "Nobody who is involved in the matter will be spared and all of them will be brought before law."
 
The issue caused a political storm with leaders of various parties calling for stringent action against the woman professor and others involved in it.
 
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DMK leader M.K. Stalin demanded a High Court-monitored CBI probe. "There seems to be some nexus with the higher ups," he told reporters.
 
PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss also demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the episode.
 
The former Union Health Minister Ramadoss said a shocking audio clip of a professor in Virudhunagar district trying to lure her students as a "sexual feed" for some higher officials in the university had come out.
 
Ramadoss said that in the audio clip the professor was allegedly heard saying that those who can provide facilities for the university have to be kept happy and they are expecting favours from the college students.
 
In the audio clip, the professor does not explicitly say the students have to extend sexual favours but leaves enough hints as to what she was trying to convey.
 
"The shocked poor students were heard saying in a broken voice that they are not interested in the proposal. Undeterred the professor tells the students that if they agree to the proposal then the students can achieve anything relating to their course," Ramadoss said.
 
Earlier, the college authorities had suspended the professor for 15 days which he insisted was not sufficient.
 
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Massive protests held against Modi's visit to Chennai

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Massive protests greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he paid a whirlwind visit to Chennai with a helicopter as the chosen mode of his transport within the city amid a state-wide agitation demanding a Cauvery Management Board (CMB).
 
Black flags and balloons and activists in black shirts and trousers with "Go Back Modi" placards marked the day while protests were also held throughout Tamil Nadu against the Prime Minister's brief visit to the state against the Centre's failure to set up the CMB despite a Supreme Court order. 
 
Black flags were hoisted on homes and business establishments across the state. A political activist said it appeared to be the biggest anti-Modi protest in any state since he became the Prime Minister in May 2014.
 
In a bid to avoid protesters, Modi, who arrived here by a special aircraft in the morning, flew by helicopter to reach Tiruvidanthai in neighbouring Kanchipuram district where he opened the 10th DefExpo organised by the Defence Ministry. From there he took another chopper to come to IIT Madras, in the heart of the city.
 
From there, he took a one-kilometre ride by car to the neighbouring Adyar Cancer Institute for an event. 
 
The Prime Minister walked a few steps from the helicopter to the car that ferried him to the Cancer Institute. As he did so, he encountered some 30 students from IIT Madras who stood silently but held posters demanding a Cauvery Management Board -- an issue which has whipped up emotions in Tamil Nadu.
 
Modi then left by helicopter to the airport before returning to Delhi. 
 
#Go back Modi trended on top as netizens took to the cyberspace to register their protest against the Central government's failure to set up the CMB as directed by the Supreme Court to ensure proper sharing of Cauvery waters between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and other states. 
 
DMK leader M.K. Stalin, on a padayatra of the Cauvery delta areas, wore black shirt and trousers as he protested along with state Congress President Thirunavukkarasar and CPI-M state unit chief Mutharasan.
 
"The Prime Minister may be flying in the air today but he has to come down when the elections come," Stalin said.
 
A black flag was hoisted at DMK chief M. Karunanidhi's residence. The ailing leader wore a black shirt. Black flags were also unfurled at the residences of DK leader Veeramani and MDMK chief Vaiko.
 
DMK MP Tiruchi Siva and leaders of DMK allies wore black dress and marched on the road near the Chennai airport.
 
In the morning outside the Chennai airport, activists of the Federation for protection of Tamil Art and Culture, led by noted film director Bharatiraja and other film personalities like Amir, Gautaman and Vetrimaran protested against Modi's visit. They were arrested.
 
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Vaiko held a black flag protest in Saidapet, Naam Thamizhar Katch convenor Seeman, a film director, was in Pallavaram. Vaiko called Modi a "coward" for choosing to fly. Political leaders Velmurugan and P. Nedumaran were arrested from Alandur metro station in Chennai for holding black flag protests. 
 
Tamil Nadu has been in turmoil since the six-week period for setting up the Board expired, with opposition parties and a host of fringe Tamil groups attacking the Centre, saying the BJP was interested only in winning the Assembly elections in Karnataka. 
 
Even the hugely-popular IPL cricket matches have been shifted out of Chennai to Pune in view of the disturbances on Tuesday.
 
In his speeches at the two functions, Modi avoided any reference to the hot button issue.
 
Modi, who inaugurated the 10th DefExpo organised by the Defence Ministry and later spoke at the Adyar Cancer Insitute in Chennai, did not refer to the demand for setting up of the CMB. 
 
However, at the defence trade fair, he sought to woo Tamils by wishing them a happy new year on Saturday. He also referred to a couplet of Tamil savant Thiruvalluvar in which he had said that knowledge grows with reading just like water springs forth as sandy fount is dug deeper. 
 
Amidst the protests, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami urged Modi to immediately set up the Cauvery Management Board.
 
In a memorandum to Modi, Palaniswami recalled the February 16 Supreme Court verdict that said that a scheme be formulated by the Central government within six weeks to "implement the notified final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal as modified by its judgment".
 
On April 9, the apex court clearly stated that the final order of the CWDT had "merged with the judgment of the Supreme Court", he said.
 
IANS
 
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SpiceJet to add Hubli as its fifth UDAN destination

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Low-cost carrier SpiceJet has said that it would commence operations with effect from May 14 from Hubli in Karnataka, its fifth destination under UDAN, the government's regional connectivity scheme.
 
SpiceJet was awarded Hubli under the second round of UDAN, a press release from the airline said.
 
With the addition of Hubli-Chennai and Hubli-Hyderabad routes, SpiceJet will operate six daily UDAN flights.
 
The airline had launched services on the Mumbai-Porbandar, Mumbai-Kandla, Jaipur-Jaisalmer and Hyderabad-Puducherry routes under the UDAN scheme last year.
 
SpiceJet will be the first airline to connect Hubli-Chennai and Hubli-Hyderabad with direct flights. The airline will also connect Hubli with key metro cities of Bengaluru and Mumbai, both of which are non-RCS sectors, the release said.
 
Hubli, the second largest city in Karnataka, houses the largest number of government offices in the state. Earmarked for the smart city project, it is also a major trading centre for commodities like cotton and iron.
 
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Modi to inaugurate DefExpo 2018 in Chennai on Thursday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 10th edition of Defence Expo at Tiruvidanthal in Kancheepuram district, near Chennai, tomorrow.
 
The tagline of DefExpo 2018 is “‘India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub” to showcase the country’s capability in the export of defence systems and components. 
 
More than 670 exhibitors including over 150 international exhibitors will take part in the DefExpo. MSME sector will have a fair representation this time of around 15%.
 
Indian participation includes majors like Tata, L&T, Kalyani, Bharat Forge, Mahindra, MKU, DRDO, HAL, BEL, BDL, BEML, MDL, GRSE, GSL, HSL, MIDHANI, Ordnance Factories, and many others. 
 
Major international companies including Lockheed Martin, Boeing (USA), Saab (Sweden), Airbus, Rafael (France), Rosonboron Exports, United Shipbuilding (Russia), BAE Systems (UK), Sibat (Israel), Wartsila (Finland), Rhode and Schwarz (Germany) are among many others participating at DefExpo 2018.
 
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L&T-built Offshore Patrol Vessel commissioned for Indian Coast Guard

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The Offshore Patrol Vessel ICGS Vikram, indigenously designed and built by infrastructure and construction major Larsen and Toubro (L&T), was commissioned into the Indian Coast Guard in the presence  of Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre at L&T’s Defence shipyard at Kattupalli near here today.
 
The vessel is the ‘First of Class’ of seven new generation Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) contracted by Ministry of Defence (MoD) to L&T in March 2015, under government’s initiative of ‘Make in India’.
 
Indian Coast Guard Director General Rajendra Singh, Inspector General Rajan Bargotra, Commander Coast Guard Region (East), Mr. S.N. Subrahmanyan, CEO & MD, L&T, Mr. J.D. Patil, Whole-time Director (Defence) and Member of L&T Board, Vice Admiral (Retd) B. Kannan, MD & CEO L&T Shipbuilding, and other dignitaries were present on the  occasion.
 
After its keel was laid in March 2016, ICGS Vikram has been commissioned in a record period of 25 months, including build time, harbor trials and sea trials, a press release from L&T said.
 
“It is a momentous occasion for L&T to become the first private Indian shipyard to deliver an in-house designed Offshore Patrol Vessel to MoD. L&T Shipyards have achieved unmatched stellar delivery performance in prestigious MoD contracts for 54 Interceptor Boats for Coast Guard, Floating Dock project for Navy and now the OPV for Coast Guard,"  Mr. Subrahmanyan, CEO & MD, Larsen & Toubro, said.
 
"This bears testimony to our capabilities and commitment towards Make in India. Over the past decade, we have invested heavily in building state-of-the-art facilities and talent pool for defence manufacturing and are fully geared up with sufficient capacity and financial strength to grow multifold in this sector in coming years.
 
“Given the opportunity and a level playing field, L&T can provide the much-needed impetus to the augmentation of Indian Naval and Coast Guard fleets through in-house design and timely delivery of vessels,” he added.
 
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ICGS Vikram class OPVs are long-range surface ships, equipped to handle helicopter operations and capable of operating in Indian maritime zones including island territories. The role of the OPV is to conduct coastal and offshore patrolling, policing maritime zones, control & surveillance, anti-smuggling & anti-piracy operations with limited wartime roles.
 
Mr. Patil said: “L&T defence shipbuilding capabilities have come of age with over two decades of rich experience in design, engineering and construction of complex defence platforms and three decades of track record in platform specific equipment and systems. On-time commissioning of first of the class OPV ICGS Vikram underlines excellent design and execution capabilities of L&T. In the past one year, 11 new build platforms were launched / delivered by L&T, all ahead or on schedule. Today, L&T is uniquely placed to address complete value chain of Defence Shipbuilding from design to manufacturing of critical ship equipment, modular construction and through life support.”
 
The vessel, which is approximately 97m long, 15m wide, has 3.6m draught, 2,140 T displacement and a range of 5,000 NM. It can attain a sustained speed of up to 26 knots.
 
The OPVs are built with Integrated Platform Management System to enable special control capabilities generally integrated in larger warships like frigates and destroyers. The vessels are fitted with front propulsion pods for providing an ability of high manoeuvrability. The entire design and construction process has been certified by American Bureau of Shipping as well as Indian Registrar of Shipping and overseen by the Indian Coast Guard’s resident team at Kattupalli. Further the harbour and sea trials have been undertaken by the crew of ICGS Vikram, the release said.
 
Vice Admiral (Retd.)  Kannan said: “Achieving ahead of time delivery for a first of cass defence ship called for adoption of modular construction, meticulous planning and deployment of efficiency enabling digital technologies. The experienced workforce of L&T along with its vibrant project management skills achieved a high concurrency between design and production, which enabled realization of an unmatched build period of 25 months from keel laying to delivery; which is expected to be further reduced in the subsequent follow on OPVs.”
 
Commissioning of ICGS Vikram has come in quick succession to handing over of another major vessel Floating Dock (FDN-2) in March 2018 to the Indian Navy for deployment at Port Blair. Out of 54 Interceptor Boats ordered by Indian Coast Guard, L&T has already delivered 38 boats up to two years ahead of schedule and has completed the construction of remaining 16 boats. All these vessels were indigenously designed, developed and manufactured, the release said.
 
Construction of follow-on OPVs is progressing ahead of schedule at Kattupalli shipyard. OPV-2 has been launched and is being readied for harbour and sea trials. L&T is also undertaking various refits and repairs of Naval and Coast Guard vessels, the release added.
 
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Chennai gripped by protests ahead of IPL clash

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Protests flared in Chennai on Tuesday as people demanding a Cauvery Management Board took to the streets against an IPL match to be played between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at night.
 
Even as the rival teams made it to the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium - popularly known as Chepauk Stadium - through the back gate, the complex turned into a fortress with the deployment of hundreds of police personnel, many in riot gear. 
 
All roads leading to the stadium also came under a blanket of security to prevent anti-IPL activists from spoiling the show. Groups of protesters kept moving towards the cricket stadium from various lanes shouting slogans.
 
A helicopter circled the sky over the stadium.
 
Police took into custody members of various Tamil groups. Many raised slogans against the Modi government for not constituting the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and the Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee (CWRC) as mandated by the Supreme Court.
 
Protests on the arterial Anna Salai threw traffic out of gear. 
 
With the match set to start at 8 p.m., some demonstrators released black balloons into the sky in a sign of protest. Also taken into custody were some protesters who tried to lay siege to the cricket stadium.
 
Tamil movie celebrities like director Bharathirajaa also hit the streets demanding justice for Tamil Nadu vis-a-vis Karnataka, the two states which are locked in a dragging row over the river water.
 
Police have said all spectators will be frisked thoroughly before being let into the stadium.
 
On Monday, authorities announced unprecedented security arrangements for the Indian Premier League (IPL) match.
 
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The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has banned spectators from bringing mobile phones, remote control car-key or any electronic devices, bags, briefcases, pagers, radios, digital diaries, laptops, computers, tape-recorders and even binoculars.
 
The banned list also includes musical instrument, video cameras, digital cameras, crackers, inflammable materials, firearms and ammunition, edibles, thermos flasks, water jugs, bottles, cigarettes, beedis, match boxes, lighters, razors, scissors, mirrors and glass, knifes and batteries.
 
The use of mobile phones, transistors, computers, cameras or any other audio visual recording equipment for recording and for communication the match details, statistics and images has also been prohibited.
 
Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar said it was for the organisers to decide whether to cancel the match or not and it was for the people to decide whether to boycott the match or not.
 
On Tuesday, however, the IPL organisers decided to allow spectators to carry mobile phones into the stadium - when it became clear that a ban on mobile phone would keep people away from the complex.
 
IANS
 
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Security for Chennai IPL match in top gear

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The city police has laid down multi-layered security to prevent any untoward incident during the Indian Premier League (IPL) match between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) here on Tuesday evening.
 
According to officials, around 4,000 police personnel have been deployed for security.
 
Several fringe elements have threatened to agitate against the IPL match in protest against the central government not constituting the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee (CWRC) as mandated by the Supreme Court.
 
Protests are being planned near the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk. The situation around the stadium now is calm.
 
A group in the Tamil movie industry, led by Director Bharathirajaa, R.K. Selvamani and V. Sekar, floated an association called Tamil Panpaattu Peravai on Monday here.
 
They told reporters that holding an IPL match when the state was fighting for Cauvery river water was an attempt to divide the youth.
 
Bharathirajaa said they will hold a protest against the match. Some political parties too have called for axing the match.
 
Earlier, DMK leader M.K. Stalin said the organisers of the IPL matches should understand the people's problems. But he said the DMK was not against holding the IPL matches.
 
Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) chief Thol Thirumavalavan had also sought a ban on IPL matches in Tamil Nadu.
 
Spectators have also been told not to dishonour the Indian flag. No food or drink from outside will be permitted.
 
The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has banned spectators from bringing mobile phones, remote control car keys or any electronic devices, bags, briefcases, pagers, radios, digital diaries, laptops, computers, tape-recorders and even binoculars.
 
The banned list also includes musical instruments, video cameras, digital cameras, crackers, inflammable materials, firearms and ammunition, edibles, thermos flasks, water jugs, bottles, cigarettes, beedis, match boxes, lighters, razors, scissors, mirrors and glass, knives and batteries.
 
The use of mobile phones, transistors, computers, cameras or any other audio visual recording equipment for recording and for communication the match details, statistics and images has also been prohibited.
 
IANS
 
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Centre obliged to implement Cauvery award: SC

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The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Central government for not framing a scheme to implement its verdict on the sharing of Cauvery river water as it declined its plea for deferring the issue by three months.
 
Asking the government to draft the scheme by May 3, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said: "You must show your bonafide that you will frame a scheme to respect the top court order for the distribution of water."
 
"You must file it... they are bound to do it and obliged to it," Chief Justice Misra told Attorney General (AG) K.K. Venugopal.
 
As Venugopal said there was some difficulty and they were examining whether the scheme should be headed by an administrative or a technical member, the court said it was not concerned with all that.
 
After senior counsel for Karnataka said that both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have accepted the top court verdict, the bench said "then tell the people of both the states to maintain calm and peace and co-operate".
 
Citing the upcoming election to the Karnataka Assembly and seeking clarifications, the Central government had sought three months' time to frame the scheme.
 
Appearing for Tamil Nadu, senior counsel Shekhar Naphade said: "Your order was so clear that even a person having even elementary knowledge of English could understand it. But for reasons better known to the Union of India, they can't understand it."
 
Tamil Nadu moved the top court seeking contempt proceedings against the Central government for its "wilful disobedience" in carrying out its direction to set up a Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) as directed by the top court.
 
The Supreme Court by its February 16 verdict had slightly modified the 2007 Cauvery award and directed the Central government to frame a scheme for its implementation by March 29.
 
Tamil Nadu had moved the top court on March 31. At the same time, the Central government too had moved the top court by filing the clarification petition.
 
The top court had reduced Tamil Nadu's share of Cauvery water from 177.25 thousand million cubic feet (TMC), which was less than 192 TMC allocated by a tribunal in 2007. Karnataka's share of water was increased by 14.75 TMC.
 
IANS
 
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IPL: Chennai beat Mumbai by one wicket in thriller

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A heroic effort from Kedar Jadhav at the end helped Chennai Super Kings edged past three-time champions Mumbai Indians by one wicket in the opening match of the 11th Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket tournament here on Saturday.
 
Needing seven runs in three balls, Jadhav (24 not out) who got retired hurt, scooped a six over short fine leg and then slammed a boundary at covers off Mustafizur Rahman to clinch a thriller for his team.
 
Mumbai's middle-order batsman Dwayne Bravo (68 off 30), also played a brilliant innings towards the end but could not took his team to the finishing line as he was dismissed in the second last over by Jasprit Bumrah.
 
Chasing a decent score of 166, Chennai openers started the proceedings on a positive note.
 
Shane Watson (16) played his shots while Ambati Rayudu (22) rotated the strike. But after adding 27 runs in four overs, medium pacer Hardik Pandya dismissed Watson.
 
Incoming batsmen Suresh Raina (4) also struggled in the middle but Rayudu kept on scoring runs at the other end. Soon Raina was also sent packing in the sixth over by Pandya. 
 
In the very next over, Rayudu was sent back to the pavilion by spinner Mayank Markande.
 
Now with scoreboard reading 42/3, middle-order got exposed and batsmen like Kedar Jadhav (14 retired hurt), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (5) and Ravindra Jadeja (12) failed to rise to the occasion and were dismissed cheaply.
 
Towards the end, Bravo smashed the Mumbai bowlers all around the park and also narrowed the gap of runs but lack of support from the other end cost hugely but in the end Jadhav made it easy as he took his team to the finish line.
 
For Mumbai, Markander scalped three wickets while Pandya took two.
 
Earlier, Mumbai Indians posted 165/4 in 20 overs. Suryakumar Yadav (43 off 29 deliveries), Krunal Pandya (41 not out off 22), Ishan Kishan (40 off 29) and Hardik Pandya (22 not out off 20) were the main contributors for the hosts.
 
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After CSK captain Dhoni won the toss and elected to field first, these four Mumbai batsmen helped the hosts recover from a poor start which resulted from the dismissals of openers Ervin Lewis (0) and Rohit Sharma (15) inside 20 runs.
 
While seamer Deepak Chahar got an LBW verdict against Lewis, Sharma was dismissed after a top-edge off veteran medium pacer Shane Watson was caught by Ambati Rayudu at backward point.
 
Ishan and Suryakumar shared 78 runs for the third wicket to pull the hosts out of trouble. But the stand was ended by Australian Watson, who got rid of the latter by having him caught by Harbhajan Singh at deep square leg in the 13th over.
 
Ishan then fell to South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir, leaving his side at 113/4 in 14.4 overs.
 
Thereafter, the Pandya brothers began their partnership. Though the national team star Hardik struggled to get big hits, his elder sibling Krunal dealt some lusty blows.
 
Left-hander Krunal hit two fours and five sixes as his blitz lifted Mumbai to a challenging total at the Wankhede Stadium.
 
Brief scores: Mumbai: 165/4 (Suryakumar Yadav 43, Krunal Pandya 41 not out, Ishan Kishan 40, and Hardik Pandya 22 not out; Shane Watson (2/29), Deepak Chahar (1/13) vs Chennai 169/9 (Dwayne Bravo 68, Kedar Jadhav 24; Mayank Markande 3/23)
 
IANS
 
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Shutdown strike affects normal life in TN

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Normal life was affected in Tamil Nadu on Thursday due to a DMK-led shutdown strike over the Centre's failure to set up a Cauvery Management Board (CMB).
 
In Chennai, skeletal government buses were plying on the roads while autorickshaws stayed off. But radio taxis were available.
 
Suburban and long distance train services were also being operated as usual, a Southern Railway official told IANS.
 
There were brief protests on the rail tracks in Salem and Tirunelvelli.
 
Members of the DMK including leader M.K. Stalin along with its allies gathered on the arterial Anna Salai here and protested against the setting up the CMB.
 
In Tirunelvelli, DMK cadres protested in front of a passenger train and but the police managed to disperse them.
 
In the hosiery town Tiruppur, units were shutdown in support of the strike.
 
However petrol bunks stayed open and milk supply was not affected.
 
As per reports reaching here, shops in Erode, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Sivaganga, Ramanathapuram downed their shutters.
 
In neighbouring Puducherry, transport services were affected while three buses belonging to Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation were damaged.
 
The Supreme Court on February 16 reduced Tamil Nadu's share of Cauvery water from 177.25 thousand million cubic feet (TMC), which was less than the 192 TMC allocated by a tribunal in 2007. Karnataka's share of water was increased by 14.75 TMC.
 
The Centre failed to set up the CMB within six weeks of the apex court's February 16 order. The deadline ended on March 29.
 
IANS
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Hunger strike, train blockage, shops closed in TN over Cauvery issue

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Tamil Nadu on Tuesday saw hunger strikes, blocking of trains, and traders downing their shutters in protest against the Central government's failure to set up the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) despite a Supreme Court order.
 
The ruling AIADMK held a day-long hunger strike across the state with Chief Minister K.Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O.Panneerselvam sitting on fast here while in districts, the protest was led by other ministers and party leaders.
 
The protest, that began at 8 a.m., concluded 5 p.m.
 
Speaking at the venue, Palaniswami blamed rival DMK for the state not getting Cauvery waters. He said the DMK government in the state did not renew the water sharing agreement with Karnataka in 1974 which in turn resulted in the current situation.
 
Meanwhile DMK leader M.K. Stalin termed AIADMK's hunger strike as a drama.
 
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Stalin said instead of condemning the BJP-led Central government for not constituting the CMB, the AIADMK has practiced low-level politics by blaming his party and the Congress for the Cauvery issue. He said the AIADMK fast is a drama just to show that they too protested for Cauvery water.
 
The DMK and its allies, who have also called for a shut down strike on Thursday, continued their protests by blocking suburban trains. Some of the protesters were taken into custody, the police said.
 
Abiding to a call by the traders association, several shops across the state were closed.
 
The top court in its February 16 verdict had reduced the Tamil Nadu's share of Cauvery water from 177.25 thousand million cubic feet (TMC), which was less than 192 TMC allocated by a tribunal in 2007.
 
On the other hand, Karnataka's share of water was increased by 14.75 TMC.
 
The Centre has failed to set up the CMB within six weeks of the apex court's February 16 order. The deadline ended on March 29.
 
Tamil Nadu political leaders say the Bharatiya Janata Party was acting in favour of Karnataka, which is opposed to the CMB and where Assembly elections are due.
 
IANS
 
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AIADMK begins hunger strike over Cauvery issue

 
TN CM, Deputy CM begin hunger strike on Cauvery issue
 
 
Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK began their statewide hunger strike on Tuesday in protest against the Central government's failure to set up a Cauvery Management Board (CMB) despite a Supreme Court order.
 
Chief Minister K.Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O.Panneerselvam participated in the strike here, while in districts, the protest was led by other ministers and party leaders.
 
The protest that began at 8 a.m., will conclude at 5 p.m.
 
The top court by its February 16 verdict had reduced the Tamil Nadu's share of Cauvery water from 177.25 thousand million cubic feet (TMC), which was less than 192 TMC allocated by a tribunal in 2007. 
 
On the other hand, Karnataka's share of water was increased by 14.75 TMC.
 
The Centre has failed to set up the CMB within six weeks of the apex court's February 16 order. The deadline ended on March 29.
 
Tamil Nadu political leaders say the BJP is acting in favour of Karnataka, which is opposed to the CMB and where Assembly elections are due.
 
IANS
 
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