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Kerala Gold Scam: Trouble Mounts Over CM Vijayan As ED Summons Raveendran

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Kerala Gold Scam: Trouble Mounts Over CM Vijayan As ED Summons Raveendran

In the latest development in the Kerala Gold Scam Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is seemingly in a rough time, as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned his additional private secretary, C M Raveendran, in connection with its ongoing probe.

ED directed Raveendran to appear at its Kochi office on Friday, with regards to some statements made by former Principal Secretary of CM Vijayan, M Sivasankar. This is the second person in the CMs Office to come under the scanner of investigation agencies probing the controversial case.

Meanwhile, CM Vijayan, extended support to Raveendran, saying that he was not worried about the summons and that the party trusts him. Affirming that Raveendran is known to him and the party, CM said, summoning by a probe agency does not make him a culprit.

Raveendran’s name appeared at many places in the written statements given by suspended IAS officer M Sivasankar in reply in ED’s questions. The probe agency has received more than one statement as evidence indicating that Sivasankar would not take any decision without the knowledge of Raveendran.

On Tuesday, Customs department had arrested Sivasankar, in the high-profile Kerala gold scam. On November 12, the Ernakulam Principal Sessions Court sent M Sivasankar to 14 days judicial custody over money laundering charges.

The suspended IAS officer was previously arrested by the ED on October 28 for being connected with alleged money-laundering involved in the gold smuggling, and has since been in judicial custody. ED believes that several people are involved in the money-laundering trial. At the same time, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has recently raided the residencies of 5 accused in Mallapuram and Kozhikode districts of Kerala.

Background of Kerala Gold Scam case:

Fifteen people have been arrested, including prime suspects Swapna Suresh, Sarith PS and Sandeep Nair, in relation with the seizure of 30 kilograms smuggled gold, estimated at Rs 13.5 crore, illicitly imported from the UAE consulate via diplomatic baggage in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5.

The diplomatic cargo at airports does not undergo routine checkups by Custom officials. However, a hint about smuggled gold concealed in the cargo led the Custom officials to a successful bust.

Sarith PS, former employee at the Consulate General came to claim the cargo, consequently raised suspicions. This incident followed the arrests of Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair. When the investigation proceeded, Sivasankar’s name came under scrutiny, who was the head of the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITIL), and Kerala CM’s principal secretary.

When the suspicions started growing more assertive, he was suspended from his post. The Customs claimed that they had direct incriminating evidence against Sivasankar over his involvement in the Kerala gold scam case, and thereby, got permission from the court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for his arrest.

Oppositions and backslashes:

The Congress-led opposition was quick to attack the State government. The United Democratic Front (UDF) led by Congress moved a no-confidence motion against CM Vijayan government. Congress pressed that NIA should question Mr Vijayan concerning the Kerala Gold Scam, and also demanded the CM should resign from his post on the grounds of accepting moral responsibility for the misconducts of his former principal secretary.

CPI(M) slams Centre for targeting state government:

On the other hand, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has accused the Central probe agencies of targeting the Left Democratic Front (LDF) alliance in State government. The CPI(M) State Secretariat issued a statement slamming the Central agencies, BJP and Congress parties, “It is clear from the response appeared in some media that the ED is part of the criminal conspiracy to overthrow the LDF government. ED is repeating the words of Congress and BJP in connection with the voice message that came out of the accused in the gold smuggling case.”

They have questioned the credibility of the ED, and also claimed that several legal experts had criticised the Central BJP government for seemingly controlling the agency. The party believes that however, the citizens of Kerala would sympathise with the government and recognise the alleged conspirators.

Kerala CM, on November 3, said “central agencies are exceeding their jurisdiction to malign and destabilise an elected state government.”

The future of the Kerala government is yet to be determined based on the on-going parallel investigations by customs, ED, tax department and other central government agencies. However, no substantial evidence is found against CM Vijayan.

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Nine-Year-Old Girl Raped And Murdered In Nangal; Family Asks For Capital Punishment

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Nangal Rape Case II News Aur Chai

The nine-year-old girl was cremated on Aug.1, 2021, without seeking her parents’ permission. The parent’s suspects’ it was rape as her mother was kept away while the priest performed the cremation. The Chief of Bhim Army, Chandrasekhar Azad, has reached their parents and offered legal and financial help.

The villagers have been protesting against the incident and blocked the Containment Roads’ towards the Janakpuri. They are demanding the accused to be hanged to death. The Senior police officer, Joint Commissioner Jaspal Singh, and DCP Ingit Pratap Singh visited the protesting site. They assured the villagers’ justice for the girl and her family. 

While speaking with villagers, Singh said, “All the four accused Radhey Shyam (55), the priest, Kuldeep Kumar (63), Laxmi Narain (48) and Mohammad Salim (49) are in prison. Also, A medical team of 3 members have been set up to carry out of the Autopsy of remaining’s of the girl. And an ACP ranked Officer will investigate the case”. He also requested villagers to give written grievances to Police officers.

The victim’s mother doubts that her daughter had been raped, and thus she was cremated without their permission. The rape charges were not added in the case in the Initial stage. But the rape charges were added after the SC/ST committee visited and spoke with the parents, the Officer leading the case. The Victim identity is kept hidden as per the guidelines of the supreme court and to give privacy to family and avoid media trials. 

“As per current details found by CCTV footage, the girl was seen entering the cremation location around 5 PM and the accused went looking for mother around 6 PM. The properties from the locations are taken for forensic tests and autopsy reports are in process,”. Said the officer-in-charge.

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Flood Wreaked Havoc On Madhya Pradesh.

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Madhya Pradesh Flood II News Aur Chai

Many districts in Madhya Pradesh were hit by heavy flooding on August 3, 2021, due to an unparalleled 800mm rainfall in the past 24 hours. One thousand seven hundred and seventy-one villages are affected due to heavy floods. 

Heavy flooding in Sheopur, Madhya Pradesh, has affected more than a lack of people who have been stuck in the local river. There was a complete power cut, and the mobile network had been cut off since August 2, 2021. The everyday life of people living in the Niwadi and Tikamgarh districts has stopped due to heavy rainfall. The severe rain has been in Guna, Shivpuri, Sheopur, Morena, Datia, Gwalior and Chambal regions. The rivers like Chambal, Kwari, Sindh, Kuno, and Seep have overflowed above the danger mark. The bridge collapsed on river Sindh, near Ratanpur village as the water released from Harsi and Manikheda dams. Double-storey buildings of some areas submerged. 

According to locals, the mobile phones of all the authorities, newspaper offices and local TV channels had ceased. There was a power cut in the city. Rail services in the areas like Shivpuri and Gwalior are affected too. A 50-year-old Nurse, identified as Sumanlata Joshi, was electrocuted in Shivpuri town as an electric current ran into her flooded house in the Kamlaganj area. 

As per officials, three advanced light helicopters and a Russian-made Mi-17 chopper have been sent for rescue operations from the Indian Air Force station. Seven teams of the SDRF are posted in the Shivpuri district for rescue operations. The SDRF has deployed five and two of its units in the communities like Sheopur and Datia. One thousand six hundred people were saved by NDRF and SDRF teams, yet 200 villages are still stuck in the flooded areas.

The chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, said the speed of rain has reduced and there will be no terrible rains. They are trying to provide relief and evacuate the people in the affected areas as soon as possible.

The chief minister chaired an emergency meeting in Bhopal on the flood situation of the Gwalior-Chambal region. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, assuring that the Centre will be providing all the help to Madhya Pradesh. The Chief Minister also said that he is very grateful to the Prime Minister for all the cooperation.

The Chief Minister said he held a meeting where he discussed the flood situation in Madhya Pradesh with the prime minister. The Chief Minister, too, discussed help from the Indian Army in the flood-hit areas. Also, they are informing Prime Minister Modi about the rescue operation in those areas. Mr Chouhan said they had shifted four troops of the Army in most flood-affected areas to evacuate more flood-affected people. The SDRF team is handling the situation very well. Ministers are monitoring the status of the problem. 

Union Minister Amit Shah Tweeted discussed the situation of Madhya Pradesh with CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The central government will provide all the help to the state. In this challenging situation, their government is standing with the people of the state.

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Dhanbad Judge Death, Spurs Concern About Threats Faced By Members Of Judiciary

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Uttam Anand Dhanbad Judge II News Aur Chai

On July 28, 2021, Dhanbad Additional Sessions Judge Uttam Anand died preceding an alleged hit and run accident. The incident took place near his house when Mr Anand was out for his morning walk, and an auto-rickshaw hit him from behind, following which it drove away. Mr Anand was hospitalized by a passer-by, where he succumbed to his injuries. 

The accident is suspecting to be a case of hit and run until the CCTV footage of the accident was recovered, leading to a murder investigation. The video footage shows that the three-wheeler swerved in the Judge’s direction and drove away after knocking him down. A Special Investigations Team [SIT] is formed by the Jharkhand Chief Minister, Hemant Soren, to investigate the death of the Additional Session District judge. 

On July 31, 2021, Jharkhand’s Chief Minister Hemant Soren even took to Twitter to announce his decision to order a CBI probe into the matter. 

An officer-in-charge of Jharkhand’s Pathardih Police Station, Umesh Manjhi, is also suspended for not registering the concerned FIR on time. Sanjeev Kumar, Dhanbad SSP, has confirmed the same. The alleged murder of the Judge is a massive concern over the threats faced by the members of the Judiciary, especially by the trial judges across the country. 

The Supreme Court has taken up a Suo moto cognizance of Mr Anand’s demise, titled ‘In Re: Safeguarding courts and protecting [death of Additional Session Judge, Dhanbad]. Also, the bench led by the Chief Justice of India has expressed its concern over the stressful working conditions and threats amidst which the trial judges have to function.

“The Dhanbad case has wider ramifications. We are getting reports that judicial officers are under attack across the country. We want to examine this issue and may seek reports from the state.” Said the Chief Justice of India. 

The Jharkhand Government and the Director-General of Police are asked to submit the required documents and affidavits by the Supreme Court within the week. Also, the Supreme Court has declared the Suo moto would not interfere or hamper with the probe issued by the Jharkhand High Court into the Judge’s death. 

According to a source in Special Investigations Team [SIT], the three-wheeler drivers were under the influence of a sedative, Nitrosun 10 — a drug prescribed for patients suffering from anxiety disorders and illicit alcohol. 

As per police sources, four men were arrested, including the vehicle driver, the shopkeeper who sold them the drug, and the vehicle owner.

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