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Death toll in Tamil Nadu due to cyclone Gaja rises to 33

The death toll due to cyclone Gaja, which hit Tamil Nadu's coastal districts on Friday, has increased to 33, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said on Saturday.
 
Coast Guard conducts aerial survey of Cyclone Gaja affected areas
The death toll due to cyclone Gaja, which hit Tamil Nadu's coastal districts on Friday, has increased to 33, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said on Saturday.
 
Speaking to reporters at Salem, about 350 kilometres from here, Palaniswami said that 20 men, 11 women, and 2 children died due to the cyclone that crossed the Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam districts between 12.30 a.m. and 2.30 a.m. on Friday.
 
The cyclone left a trail of destruction in Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Cuddalore, Pudukkottai and Ramanathapuram districts, damaging houses, huts and crops.
 
Palaniswami said about 70 livestock and several goats, poultry and deer have also died due to the cyclone.
 
Some 127,000 trees were uprooted by the strong cyclonic winds that touched a maximum speed of about 120 kmph, the Chief Minister added.
 
He said supplies of water, milk and food were being distributed to the people affected by the calamity.
 
About 177,500 people are staying in 351 relief camps in the cyclone-affected areas.
 
The Chief Minister said about 30,000 electricity poles were broken, and 105 power sub-stations affected. About 10,000 personnel have been sent to the cyclone-affected coastal districts to repair the installations.
 
Meanwhile, actor Rajinikanth appreciated the members of his Rajini Makkal Mandram for their work in providing relief to the cyclone-affected people.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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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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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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Parole of convict in Rajiv killing extended

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The Madras High Court on Thursday extended the parole period by three weeks for S. Nalini, one of the seven convicts in the assassination case of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
 
She had petitioned the court for one-month extension so that she could complete the marriage arrangements for her daughter.
 
Nalini had said she was not able to complete the marriage arrangements, adding that her daughter living in London is likely to visit India next month.
 
On July 25, Nalini was released on one-month parole.
 
The Madras High Court had on July 5 granted a one-month parole to Nalini on her plea for a six-month parole to make arrangements for her daughter's wedding.
 
Nalini had argued her case in person.
 
The court had stipulated that Nalini should not meet politicians and media.
 
In her plea, Nalini said every life convict was entitled to one month of ordinary leave after completing two years in prison and that she had not taken leave even once in the past 27 years she has spent in jail.
 
Besides Nalini, the six other convicted in the case are her husband V. Sriharan alias Murugan, A. G. Perarivalan, T. Suthendraraja alias Santhan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas and Ravichandran.
 
All the seven convicts have been in prison since 1991 after a female Tamil Tiger suicide bomber blew herself up while meeting Gandhi at an election rally near Chennai.
 
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My father's arrest political vendetta: Karti Chidambaram

Karti P Chidambaram
Karti P Chidambaram
The dramatic arrest of former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram by the CBI on Wednesday evening is nothing but "a political vendetta", his son and MP Karti P. Chidambaram said.
 
Speaking to reporters, Karti Chidambaram said the alleged act happened in 2008 and there is no charge sheet till now.
 
He recalled that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had summoned him several times and each time he had spent about 10 hours at the investigating office answering questions.
 
His father, too, appeared before the investigating agencies earlier, he added.
 
"But there is no charge sheet till date, which means there is no case at all," Karti Chidambaram said, adding that the arrest had been made "to satisfy someone in the government".
 
He also claimed that the arrest was to divert the nation's attention from other serious issues and denied his father was "absconding" since Tuesday night after the Delhi High Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea and the Supreme Court declined him any interim relief.
 
In a series of tweets earlier, Karti Chidambaram thanked the Congress party for its support to his father and termed the "drama and spectacle" being enacted by the probe agencies was for the "voyeuristic pleasure of some".
 
"The drama and spectacle being enacted by the agencies is to simply sensationalise and satisfy the voyeuristic pleasure of some," he tweeted as CBI and ED officials scaled the boundary wall of the Jor Bagh residence of his father to arrest him.
 
"I am thankful to the @INCIndia Shri @RahulGandhi, @priyankagandhi, for their support. And ever grateful to @KapilSibal, @DrAMSinghvi, @salman7khurshid, for being there with us throughout." 
 
"I have been raided 4 times. Appeared for over 20 summons. Each session for a minimum of 10 to 12 hours. Been a 'guest' of the CBI:) for 12 days. There is still no chargesheet for alleged events which apparently took place in 2008 and a FIR in 2017. There is no case."
 
IANS
 

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Bengaluru teen Sohil Shah wins MRF F1600 race, pole positions for Arjun Balu, Rithvik Thomas

Sohil Shah
Sohil Shah
Bengaluru teenager Sohil Shah made the best of the pole-position start to notch a fine win here today in the premier MRF F1600 category and head the leaderboard in Round 4 of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Car Racing Championship at the MMRT that had a delayed start owing to the rains in the morning.
 
Due to the late start, only two of the four races scheduled for the day could be completed. The remaining races would be added to the six slated for tomorrow which will have an early start 8.15 am. It was a difficult day with changing weather conditions leading to several changes in the schedule.
 
In the day’s other action, Mumbai’s Saurav Bandyopadhyay took the honours in the Ameo Class race while Coimbatore ace Arjun Balu of Race Concepts (01:51.474) and team-mate Bengaluru’s Rithvik Thomas (01:59.425) grabbed pole positions in the Indian Touring Cars and the Super Stock categories, respectively.
 
The lights-to-flag win today was Sohil’s third success in a row, having won the last two races in the previous round last month. With three more races scheduled for this category tomorrow, Sohil heads the championship with 81 points, well clear of Mumbai’s Nayan Chatterjee (63).
 
The finish to the six-lap race (reduced from eight laps), which Sohil dominated while enjoying a commanding lead, was under the safety car which came out following an incident on Lap 5. As the safety car came in on the last lap, Sohil, rolled his car over the finish line ahead of Chennai’s Sandeep Kumar and Manav Sharma (Faridabad).
 
“I enjoyed a good lead through the race until the safety car period. We all bunched up behind the safety car, and I played it safe before crossing the finish line,” said Sohil who has taken a “gap year” after completing the 12th standard.
 
Further down the grid, Nayan Chatterjee (Mumbai) who was leading the championship coming into this round, and Vishnu Prasad (Chennai) received 30-second penalties for overtaking under yellow flag, denying them any points.
 
The results (Provisional):
 
MRF F1600 (Race-1, 6 laps): 1. Sohil Shah (Bengaluru) 1 (11mins, 26.939secs); 2. Sandeep Kumar (Chennai) (11:28.164); 3. Manav Sharma (Faridabad) (11:28.569).
 
Volkswagen Ameo Class (Race-1, 6 laps): 1. Saurav Bandyopadhyay (Mumbai) (11:38.169); 2. Shubhomoy Ball (Bengaluru) (11:42.374); 3. Pratik Sonawane (Pune) (11:43.025).
 
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Tamil Nadu: DMK's Kathir Anand wins Vellore LS seat

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The DMK on Friday won the Vellore Lok Sabha seat with its candidate D. M. Kathir Anand defeating his AIADMK rival.
 
According to the Election Commission, Anand had polled about 4.85 lakh votes as against AIADMK's candidate A.C. Shanmugam who had polled about 4.77 lakh votes.
 
With this victory, the DMK has now increased its number of members in Lok Sabha to 24, while the party-led front has gathered 38 of the state's total 39 seats.
 
In a statement issued here, DMK President M. K. Stalin said the DMK is now the third largest party in the Lok Sabha.
 
Saying 'victory could be delayed but not denied', he thanked the Vellore voters.
 
Counting of votes for the Vellore seat began on Friday morning. The poll was held on August 5.
 
Throughout the counting, Shanmugam and Anand took leads alternately.
 
DMK spokesman T. K. S. Elangovan said the low victory margin may be due to the announcements made by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami "which were in violation of the model code of conduct". The CM had even made a promise to bifurcate the Vellore district, he added.
 
Elections to the Vellore parliamentary seat were due on April 18 during the polling in the state for the Lok Sabha elections but was rescinded after Rs 10 crore were seized allegedly from DMK leaders in the district.
 
The AIADMK campaign was led by Chief Minister Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, while Stalin led the campaign for Anand.
 
DMK activists on Friday celebrated the victory by bursting crackers and distributing sweets.
 
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Motor racing: MMSC delivers another first – night sessions at MMRT circuit

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The Madras Motor Sports Club made history on Wednesday as it took the first baby steps towards full-fledged night racing in the future at the MMRT by conducting a four-hour floodlit test session, the first of its kind in India,  that attracted over 100 participants, a clutch of “supercars”, including a Rolls Royce Phantom, first-timers and battle-hardened professional racing drivers in the fully-prepared racing cars, all of whom gave the initiative a thumbs-up.
 
The first-timers were all excited at the rare opportunity to drive on the track at pace in the night. The professionals, like former Formula 1 racer Karun Chandhok, Aditya Patel, Chetan Korada, Arfath Mohammed, Karthik Tharani, Ishaan Dodhiwala and ex-rally driver Ranjit Ballal suggested improvements in the lighting while hailing  MMSC’s efforts to provide another dimension to motor racing in India.
 
Karun Chandhok, who has raced at night at Le Mans and F1 testing in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, said: “I think what they (the MMSC) have done is very good. We should do more of these events as they will whet the appetite of the people for the sport. I did a few laps here tonight.
 
“The visibility was much better than I expected. Everyone at the club knows the areas to improve. I think, night racing is entirely doable with saloon cars, but with single-seaters, I think there is still a lot of work to do. A huge amount of investment is required to get the level of lighting up to what you need for single-seaters. Aditya (Patel) and I raced each other in saloon cars and were doing 1:55.4, 1:55.0. That is the pace what people do during the daytime. So, it shows the level of lighting is good to race at night with a little improvement.”
 
The night session was conducted in a full-fledged racing environment with temporary floodlight towers in place at select locations, besides Marshals manning the posts around the circuit and other safety precautions.
 
All the participants attended a mandatory pre-session briefing by MMSC Vice-President and former racer Vicky Chandhok on racing regulations and safety. The first-timers were taken around in a convoy behind the Safety Car to learn the racing lines before being allowed to drive at pace. Helmets for the drivers was compulsory. Volkswagen Motorsport provided race-spec Polo, Vento and Ameo cars on hire while some participants opted to drive their own vehicles.
 
MMSC president Ajit Thomas said: “It is a very exciting evening for us. Globally track days are a great way to get people interested in the sport and we realised that with the hot weather in Chennai we needed to do something different. It is the first time that we opened the track up for people to drive at night which makes sense in Chennai. The weather is great and the atmosphere is fantastic. We have some temporary lighting in place as a test, but if we are going to do this on a long-term basis, we will be getting a higher grade lighting on the track. The response has been great with a cross-section of drivers – beginners and professionals.
 
“Based on this response and interest, we are hopeful of running a few events. Initially, maybe more track days, some short events and then endurance races. As far as the costs are concerned, the MMSC has always been constantly ploughing back funds, both from the club and the Trust (the Madras Motor Race Trust) for the overall development of the sport. We have already invested heavily (about Rs 20 Crores) in upgrading the track, the paddock and various facilities and racing equipment. So, going forward, I think we can manage night racing in the future.”
 
An elated Vicky Chandhok said: “I go strictly by the reactions of the participants. The fact that they are smiling ear-to-ear is really important for me. Going by the lap times of the pro drivers, they have matched those done during the day. We will have to make the lighting a bit brighter. Overall, it is nice to see people having a great time here. We are trying to make motorsport fun and develop more fans to come here and enjoy themselves as against serious, hardcore racing.”
 
Former racer and rally champion Harish Samtani applauded MMSC’s latest initiative. “No question that this is a brilliant idea. Globally, night racing, F1 for instance, is catching up. It brings a different paradigm in motorsport. Of course, this is just the beginning. I have spoken with the drivers, both the pros and the newbies. They like the format. It is now up to MMSC to set up a proper, safe lighting environment where one can do serious racing. Definitely, it (night racing) is here to stay.”
 
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Rajiv Sethu makes it four wins in a row, double for Anish Shetty, Venkatesan

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Rajiv Sethu (Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing) showed why he is arguably India’s top racing rider at the moment by scrambling to a heart-stopping win, his fourth in a row in the Pro-Stock 165cc class, as the third round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship concluded at the MMRT here.
 
K Y Ahamed brought some cheer for TVS Racing on a day dominated by Honda as he topped the premier 301-400cc class by a comfortable margin to move within three points of his team-mate Deepak Ravikumar (101 points) on the leaderboard. Ravikumar finished third today behind yesterday’s Race-1 winner, Rahil Shetty (Sparks Racing).
 
Also hogging the limelight were Bengaluru-based Anish Shetty (Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing) and Chennai’s Venkatesan I (Moto Maniacz Racing) who both achieved a double this weekend in the Pro-Stock 201-300cc and Novice (Stock 165cc) categories, respectively, while Ryhana Bee (Sparks Racing), also from Chennai, took the honours in the Girls race.
 
Sethu, who is growing in stature with each outing and scored a double win in the previous round, held off a late-charging KY Ahamed (TVS Racing) despite a bad start and issues with his bike as the duo crossed the finish line in close formation within one-hundredth of a second between them. Sethu’s team-mate and fellow-international, Sarath Kumar, completed the podium. The victory took Sethu to the top of the leaderboard with 100 points, ahead of Jagan Kumar of TVS Racing (94) and Sarath Kumar (93).
 
The Honda ace, who again failed to capitalise on a pole-position start, yielded ground to seven-times National champion Jagan Kumar who was quick off the grid from third position and built up a commanding lead. However, in the third of the eight-lap race, Jagan retired due to engine issues and Sethu forged to the front with Ahamed hot on his heels. The pair fought tooth and nail and were almost inseparable at the finish line.
 
Shetty, in notching his third win in a row, cemented his position at the top of the championship in his category with 90 points. Shetty again led a 1-2-3 finish for his team like yesterday with Abhishek Vasudev and Aravind Balakrishnan in tow in that order.
 
Chennai’s Ryhana Bee, with the win today, her second in three rounds, took a sizeable lead in the championship with 68 points. Defending champion and team-mate Ann Jennifer crashed in the last of the five laps after Ryhana overtook her. Alisha Abdullah (Alishaa Racing) was second followed by private entrant Nivetha Jessica who is now second on the leaderboard with 42 points ahead of Ann Jennifer (40) with two more rounds to be run in the coming weeks.
 
Later, Md Mikail, the 15-year old from Chennai, won his second race of the weekend riding the FIM Moto3-spec NSF 250R in the Idemitsu Honda India Talent Cup, putting in a hot lap of 01:47.974, in the process.
 
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Double delight for Honda in National Motorcycle C'ship

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Midway into the season, IDEMITSU Honda Racing India riders blazed their way to twin victories in both PS 165 and PS201-300cc classes in Round 3 of the MRF MMSC FMSCI National Motorcycle Racing Championship.
 
After hauling in victory in both PS165 and PS201-300 classes on Saturday, IDEMITSU Honda Racing India riders repeated their performance with 5 more podiums, including 2 victories. 
 
Grabbing 10 podiums, including double wins by Rajiv in Pro-Stock 165 and Anish in Pro-Stock 201-300 in this round, IDEMITSU Honda Racing India now leads in all 3 standings (team, rider and manufacturer) in both the classes.
 
Despite his first position start in Sunday's PS 165cc race, Rajiv got pushed back to the 5th spot in the first lap itself. However, after a crash of another rider in lap 3, Rajiv climbed up in hot pursuit of the lead rider. 
 
The next 5 laps saw him maintain his cool and shave off seconds with the leader. It was finally in the last lap that Rajiv's smart manoeuvre in last turn pushed him ahead as he finished first with total lap time of 16:07:022 - a mere 0.010 seconds ahead of Ahamed.
 
Meanwhile, Sarath rounded up the podium for IDEMITSU Honda Ten10 Racing team with his 3rd podium finish. Rajiv now leads the championship with 100 points, winning all 4 races that he took part in.
 
INMRC - ProStock 201-300cc
In its debut season in the ProStock 201-300cc class, the rider trio from IDEMISTU Honda Racing India team dominated the ranks for the seond day as well. Hubli boy Anish Shetty maintained his momentum in the race to finish 1st, stopping the clock at 16:13.776 and grabbing his third win in this class. Completing the podium were Bengaluru boy Abhishek V. (2nd) and local lad Aravind B. (3rd).
 
IDEMITSU Honda India Talent Cup - NSF250R
Sunday's 8 lap race saw Mikail notching up his second win this season. The race saw multiple back and forth between Kritik Habib and Mikail before 15-year-old Mikhail from Chennai overpowered the Karnataka boy with a 3-second lead (total lap time 14:48:615). Completing the podium was Kavin at 3rd position.
 
IDEMITSU Honda India Talent Cup - CBR150R
The action-packed race led by the Gen-next riders saw Samuel Martin, Lal Nunsanga and Deepak Kumar completing the podium. Bengaluru boy Samuel Martin fought neck-to-neck with Lal Nunsanga and took the first position with a timing of 00:13:15, pushing Mizoram boy Lal Nunsanga to the 2nd position. Following them was Chennai boy Deepak Kumar securing the 3rd position.
 
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Rajiv Sethu records third win in a row, season’s maiden success for Rahil Shetty

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International rider Rajiv Sethu (Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing) notched his third win in a row in the Pro-Stock 165cc class while Hyderabad’s Rahil Shetty (Sparks Racing) kept his nerves and wits to pull off a brilliant victory in the premier Pro-Stock 301-400cc category on the second day of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship Round 3 at the MMRT here today.
 
Also scoring impressive wins on the day in the National Championship were Bengaluru-based Anish Shetty who led a podium sweep for Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing in the Pro-Stock 201-300cc category and Venkatesan who topped the Novice (Stock 165cc) race.
 
Sethu, who missed the first round due to international commitments, is in a catch-up mode in the championship stakes, and his hat-trick of wins took him to third on the leaderboard with 75 points behind TVS Racing’s Jagan Kumar (94) and team-mate Sarath Kumar (78) going into tomorrow’s second race.
 
The trio was involved in a thrilling battle that went down to the wire with Sethu, having overcome a poor start from pole position, managed to get past seven-times National champion Jagan on the last lap for a well-deserved win while Sarath followed the TVS Racing ace home. Less than a second separated the three podium finishers.
 
Equally superb win was that of 21-year old Rahil Shetty who battled not just his rivals but also his own error-filled riding before squeezing past TVS Racing pair of Deepak Ravikumar and KY Ahamed in the last lap. “I made too many mistakes today, but somehow managed to pull through,” said a relieved Shetty who started on P3. Despite the second-place finish, Ravikumar continues to lead the championship in this category with 86 points, followed by Ahamed (73) while Shetty (35) is placed seventh.
 
Racing on the same grid as the 301-400cc bikes, Bengaluru-based Anish Shetty logged his second consecutive win with team-mates Abhishek Vasudev and Aravind Balakrishnan following him home. Today’s win took Anish’s tally to 65, well ahead of Mathan Kumar of Erula Racing (47) and Vasudev (45).
 
Earlier, in yet another close race, Venkatesan also registered his first win of the season in the Novice class after battling Mohan Babu (Rockers Racing) and Abhimanyu Gautam (Sparks Racing) over six laps. Lakshmipathy Balaji (Alpha Racing) missed out on the podium by a whisker as the four crossed the finish line covered by less than a second. Abhimanyu, though, continues to head the leaderboard with 80 points, trailed by Venkatesan (73) and Mohan Babu (57) going into the second race tomorrow.
 
Results:
 
National Championship:
 
Pro-Stock 301-400cc (Race-1): 1. Rahil Pillari Shetty (Sparks Racing) (11mins, 41.443secs); 2. Deepak Ravikumar (TVS Racing) (11:41.990); 3. KY Ahamed (TVS Racing) (11:42.201).
 
Pro-Stock 201-300cc (Race-1): 1. Anish Shetty (Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing) (12:11.667); 2. Abhishek Vasudev (Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing) (12:20.100); 3. Aravind Balakrishnan (Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing) (12:20.245).
 
Pro-Stock 165cc (Race-1): 1. Rajiv Sethu (Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing) (12:01.973); 2. Jagan Kumar (TVS Racing) (12:02.073); 3. Sarath Kumar (Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing) (12:02.833).
 
Novice (Stock 165cc) Race-1 (6 laps): 1. Venkatesan I (Motomaniacz Racing) (13:06.397); 2. Mohan Babu P (Rockers Racing) (13:06.447); 3. Abhimanyu Gautam (Sparks Racing) (13:06.628).
 
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Pole position for Sivanesan Sethu, Anish Shetty; Ryhana Bee top qualifier among girls

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Sivanesan Sethu pulled off a stunning flying lap to lead a 1-2 for TVS Racing in the Pro-Stock 301-400cc category qualifying session as the third round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship got off to a storming start at the MMRT here today.
 
Sivanesan, clocked a sizzling 01min, 54.325secs followed by team-mate and fellow-Chennai rider K Y Ahamed (01:54.871), with Hyderabad’s Rahil Shetty of Sparks Racing (01:55.001) completing the front row for tomorrow’s race.
 
Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing, led by Bengaluru riders Anish Shetty (01:57.384), and Abhishek Vasudev (01:59.890), and Chennai’s Aravind Balakrishnan (02:00.969), qualified for the top three spots in that order in the Pro-Stock 201-300cc class.
 
Championship leader Ryhana Bee of Sparks Racing (02:11.216), team-mate Ann Jennifer (02:12.189) and Speed Demonz Racing’s Lani Zena Fernandez (02:14.007) were the top three qualifiers in the Girls category.
 
Lighting up the day’s proceedings was a bunch of teenagers, led by 15-year-old Mohammed Mikail from Chennai, who scorched the track in the Idemitsu Honda India Talent Cup riding the FIM Moto3-spec NSF 250R bikes. All the eight riders comfortably went under two minutes in the qualifying session, with Mikail grabbing pole position (01:48.949), ahead of two other Chennai riders, 14-year old Kavin Samaar Quintal (01:50.345) and 16-year old Varoon Sadasivam (01:51.198). Charan Thangavel, also from Chennai, who finished eighth and last, timed 01:56.828.
 
Meanwhile, Rajiv Sethu  (Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing), who scored a double in the previous round, but is trailing team-mate Sarath Kumar by 13 points and championship leader Jagan Kumar (TVS Racing) by 26, set the early pace in the Pro-Stock 165cc class by topping the only free practice session, with a flying lap of 01:59.956.
 
Jagan, a seven times national champion, had a disappointing run with a 02:03.413 to come in ninth as against his team-mate K Y Ahamed who was second quickest in 02:00.848, ahead of Yashas RL (Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing, 02:01.414). However, the riders are expected to clock better timings in the qualifying session tomorrow.
 
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Ex-Maldives Vice-President on boat questioned by Indian officials

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Former Vice-President of Maldives Ahmed Adeeb who was on board a cargo tugboat off Tuticorin coast in Tamil Nadu is being questioned by Coast Guard and immigration officials, said a police official on Thursday.
 
"The cargo tugboat Virgo 9 had gone to Maldives from Tuticorin port earlier. On its return trip Adeeb seems to have boarded the ship. The officials of Coast Guard and immigration department are questioning him. The ship is yet to come to the port," the police official told IANS over phone.
 
On getting information of an additional member onboard from the shipping agent in India, Indian officials boarded the cargo vessel and are questioning Adeeb.
 
The officials are trying to gather how Adeeb got into the vessel and other details.
 
The cargo vessel Virgo 9 is registered in Singapore with a gross tonnage of 181 tonnes.
 
Adeeb was the Vice-President of Maldives in 2015. Later that year, he was removed from the position by a no-confidence vote.
 
IANS

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Chennai doctors extract 526 teeth from 7-year-old's mouth

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Doctors have extracted an astounding 526 teeth from the mouth of a seven-year-old boy in a rare surgery performed at the city's Saveetha Dental College and Hospital, doctors said.
 
Suffering from a rare case of "compound composite ondontome", the boy was brought to the hospital with a swelling in his lower right jaw.
 
"The parents first noticed the swelling when the boy was three years old. But they didn't bother much as the swelling wasn't much then and the boy did not cooperate with investigative procedures either. 
 
"Later as swelling increased, the parents brought the boy to our hospital," said P. Senthilnathan, Professor, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the hospital on Wednesday.
 
He said an X-ray and CT-scan of the boy's lower right jaw showed a lot of rudimentary teeth following which the doctors decided on the surgery.
 
"We opened up the jaw after administering general anaesthesia and saw a bag/sack inside it. The sack, weighing about 200 grams, was carefully removed and was later found to contain 526 teeth -- small, medium and big sized," Senthilnathan said.
 
Though some were very tiny particles, the doctors said, they had the properties of teeth. It took five long hours for the doctors to remove all the minute teeth from the sack. "It was reminiscent of pearls in an oyster," the doctors said.
 
"The boy was normal three days after the surgery," said Pratibha Ramani, Professor and Head of the Department, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.
 
According to the doctors, this is the first ever case documented in the world in which in an individual has been found to have so many minute teeth. 
 
IANS
 

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Chennai Lions thrash Puneri Paltan for their first win in UTT

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Putting behind their opening match debacle, Chennai Lions thrashed Puneri Paltan 10-5 to record their first win in Ultimate Table Tennis season three at the Thyagaraj Stadium here last evening.
 
Two foreigners, Germany’s Petrissa Solja and birthday boy Tiago Apolonia of Portugal, spearheaded Chennai Lions' comprehensive win.  Solja blanked Commonwealth Championship gold medal winner Ayhika Mukherjee 3-0 in the opening women’s singles, while Apolonia staved off a fighting Harmeet Desai of Puneri Paltan 2-1, to hand Chennai the firm advantage (5-1) just two matches into the tie. 
 
Sharath Kamal and Petrissa then eased past Desai and Sabine Winter 2-1 in the mixed doubles, to seal the win in the Lions' favour.
 
Petrissa helped the Lions’ begin on a strong note, with a 3-0 win over Ayhika in an intensely fought women’s singles opening encounter. Although ranked 108 places below world number 26 Solja, Ayhika showed great composure and fighting spirit as she made her opponent sweat in the first game. 
 
Fresh from her CWG TT gold medal triumph in Odisha, Ayhika appeared confident and fired-up. She raced to a 5-2 lead before Rio Olympic silver medallist Petrissa relied on her experience to pull level at 5-5. From there on, Petrissa showcased some deft touches and superb net play to take a handy 10-8 lead. Ayhika fought back hard and saved two game points before Petrissa finally pocketed the opening game on the golden point (11-10).
 
The second game began in the same vein, with Petrissa being tested by her younger opponent, who was cheered wildly by the home crowd. Ayhika led 2-0 but thereafter lost her way. Petrissa opened up a huge lead at 10-5 and sealed the game at 11-6. The final game (11-8) too went Petrissa’s way, as she survived some anxious moments to stave off a dangerous-looking Ayhika to hand Chennai the early advantage.
 
Chennai consolidated their lead when Apolonia came from a game down to defeat Desai 2-1 in the opening men’s singles match. 
 
Stretched by Desai in the opening game which he lost 8-11, thrice Olympian Apolonia showed exemplary agility and game reading to make a brilliant comeback. 
 
In the second game, Apolonia and Desai breathed down each other’s necks and were well poised at 5-5 and then at 9-9. Once again experience came to the fore, with Apolonia winning the game on golden point (11-10) to take it to the decider. Apolonia was in his element in the final game, often playing away from the table and taking advantage of his height to quell Desai’s challenge (11-7).
 
The mixed doubles, too, went Chennai’s way. Sharath-Petrissa had an easy run in the opening game, winning it 11-7 and kept up the good work throughout. They pocketed the following games 11-7 and 11-6 to hand Chennai the win as they now led 8-1 overall.
 
Later, in the second men’s singles, Puneri Paltan’s Chuang Chih-Yuan beat Sharath Kamal 2-1 (11-5, 11-10, 3-11) in what was another gripping contest. Despite losing the first two games, Sharath showcased some delightful shots in the third to reel one point off Chuang.
 
The day’s last match saw Puneri’s Sabine Winter defeat Madhurika Patkar 2-1 of Chennai in the second women’s singles match.
 
Chennai Lions bt Puneri Paltan: 10-5
 
Women’s Singles: Petrissa Solja bt Ayhika Mukherjee - 3-0 (11-10, 11-6, 11-8);  Men’s Singles: Tiago Apolonia bt Harmeet Desai 2-1 (8-11, 11-10, 11-7);  Mixed Doubles: Sharath Kamal-Petrissa Solja bt Harmeet Desai-Sabine Winter 3-0 (11-7, 11-7, 11-6); Men’s Singles: Sharath Kamal lost to Chuang Chih-Yuan 1-2 (5-11, 10-11, 11-3); Women's Singles : Madhurika Patkar lost to Sabine Winter 1-2 (8-11, 11-5, 11-10).
 
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Seven Indian fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan Navy

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Seven Indian fishermen were arrested by Sri Lankan navy on Sunday for allegedly poaching in the island nation's waters, officials said.
 
Fishermen from Rameswaram and nearby places were near the Katchatheevu island - handed over to Sri Lanka by India several years back - when a Sri Lankan navy patrol arrested seven Indian fishermen and seized their boats.
 
Located in the narrow sea dividing the two countries, Katchatheevu has rich marine life in the waters surrounding it.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict Nalini released on parole

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One of the convicts in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination case, S. Nalini, was released from Tamil Nadu's Vellore jail on one-month parole on Thursday.
 
The Madras High Court on July 5 had granted a one-month parole to Nalini on her plea for a six-month parole to make arrangements for her daughter's wedding.
 
Nalini argued her case in person.
 
The court had stipulated that Nalini should not meet politicians and media.
 
In her plea, Nalini said every life convict was entitled to one month of ordinary leave after completing two years in prison and she had not taken the leave even once during the past 27 years she had spent in jail.
 
Besides Nalini, the six other convicted in the case are her husband V. Sriharan alias Murugan, A. G. Perarivalan, T. Suthendraraja alias Santhan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas and Ravichandran.
 
All the seven convicts have been in prison since 1991 after a female Tamil Tiger suicide bomber blew herself up while meeting Gandhi at an election rally near Chennai.
 
IANS
 

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Ex-Tirunelveli Mayor, husband & maidservant killed

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Former Mayor of Tirunelveli Uma Maheswari, her husband Muruga Sankaran, and their maidservant were hacked to death on Tuesday, said the police.
 
A DMK member, Maheswari was elected the first female Mayor of Tirunelveli in 1996. 
 
According to the police, some unidentified persons came to Maheswari's house in the evening and committed the crime.
 
IANS
 

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Double for Sohil Shah in MRF F1600,Maiden ITC win for Ishaan Dodhiwala

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Bengaluru schoolboy Sohil Shah completed a fine double in the premier MRF F1600 category as the third round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Car Racing Championship drew to a close at the MMRT here today.
 
Elsewhere, VW Motorsport’s Ishaan Dodhiwala from Hyderabad notched his maiden win in the Indian Touring Cars (ITC) class after his team-mate Karthik Tharani was disqualified for a couple of infringements and subsequently banned for one race, while Bengaluru’s Rithvik Thomas (Race Concepts) chalked up his third win of the season in the Super Stock category.
 
Other winners of the day were Viswas Vijayaraj (DTS Racing) in the Formula LGB 1300 race and Mumbai’s Saurav Bandyopadhyay who took the honours in the Volkswagen Ameo Class.
 
The saloon car race was fiery with Tharani being disqualified for his violations. The stewards subsequently slapped a one-race ban which will take effect for the next round of the championship scheduled for August 16-18. Consequent to the disqualification, team-mate Dodhiwala was declared winner followed by Nikanth Ram (ARKA Motorsports) and Arjun Balu (Race Concepts).
 
The stewards, following the post-ITC race hearing with Tharani, ruled: “The competitor was called to give the explanation as to why he ignored the ‘drive through’ penalty board for five laps and ignored the ‘black flag’ for the remaining three laps of the race.
 
“In view of the fact that the competitor is a highly experienced driver and he is also a driver-trainer, the Stewards were of the opinion that exemplary sanctions should be imposed on this driver and a sentence of not being permitted a start in the next race of this championship (One race only).”
 
Ireland’s Lucca Allen completed a double by winning both the Formula 4 SEA races to make up for disappointing outings in yesterday’s double-header.
 
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MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Car Racing Championship from Friday

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With a clutch of innovative initiatives on the horizon, the third round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Car Racing Championship gets underway at the MMRT here on Friday,  featuring 14 races.
 
The programme includes races in the two single-seater categories, the MRF F1600 and the Formula LGB 1300, besides the popular saloon cars – the premium Indian Touring Cars and Super Stock classes – and the Volkswagen Ameo Class which has been accorded National Championship status. Running concurrently will be four Formula 4 SEA races.
 
While even as the National Championship season is in full swing, promoters Madras Motor Sports Club are planning to initiate a slew of long-term plans that include night racing, the first of its kind in India.
 
Taking an overview of this weekend’s races, Chairman of the Championship Vicky Chandhok said: “We are offering a racing menu with variety this weekend. Beginning with the junior level Formula LGB 1300 leading up to the MRF F1600 which is the first step towards Formula racing, besides of course the saloon cars. We will see a galaxy of foreign and Indian racers this unique weekend when MMSC hosts both international and National racing championship at our very own circuit. So, plenty of action for sure.
 
“Going forward, we at the MMSC, in keeping with our efforts to move with the changing times, plan to introduce night events with racing under lights. With a view to evaluate the possibilities of night racing, we have planned a test session on Wednesday, August 7, from 18:00 hrs. to 23:00 hrs  
 
Primarily, this first session will be only for saloons with headlights mandatory. Depending on the testing, we will expand it to the 1300cc single-seater cars as well. 
 
Further, for the next round (August 16-18), we plan to run the races in anti-clockwise direction. The response, thus far, has been tremendous.”
 
The MRF F1600, a proven platform for young aspirants looking to break into international arena, will be running to full grid with four races scheduled, while the Formula LGB 1300, an excellent option for those graduating to single-seater racing, has again attracted 20-plus entries.
 
The two categories in the saloon cars, ITC and Super Stock, will be run on combined grid, and as in the previous round in Coimbatore last month, competition is expected to fierce with the factory-supported turbo-powered Volkswagen Vento cars likely to extend their domination.
 
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