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Kerala Gold Smuggling Scam: CM Denies Protecting Sivasankar

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Kerala Gold Smuggling Scam: CM Denies Protecting Sivasankar

M Sivasankar, suspended IAS officer and former principal secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has confessed to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that prime accused in the sensational Kerala gold smuggling scam, Swapna Suresh, was a family friend and Vijayan had authorised him to be the contact person between the state administration and UAE consulate.

He further confessed to the central probe agency that Suresh got cash from an Egyptian and he got her in touch with his chartered accountant.

According to Times Now report, Sivasankar, when asked to explain the acquaintance with Suresh and Sandeep Nair, said that he know Suresh as a secretary to consulate general since 2017.

Subsequently, Swapna became a family friend and also knew her parents and husband. He further added that he had met Nair 3-4 times in the presence of Swapna Suresh.

Recently, Kerala High Court gave an anticipatory bail to CMO chief secretary M Sivasankar over his involvement in gold smuggling scam.

Customs administrators at the Thiruvananthapuram Airport in Kerala detained about 30 kilograms of gold, worth Rs 13.5 crore on July 5, 2020, from an air cargo delivered to the United Arab Emirates Consulate. The shipment load was classified as diplomatic baggage. This has created a new political controversy where a simple 13.5 crore gold is linked to the CMO office and other renowned personalities of Kerala.

A simple smuggling case and its political peculiarity have brought the attention of four major government institutions, that is, National intelligence agency, Enforcement Directorate, Customs Department, Central bureau investigation.

Recent findings:

Terror link:

A recent connection of the accused in gold smuggling to D company of Dawood Ibrahim’s has brought the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) into the picture where the agency is investing into any possible foreign terror link. We could see a rise in gold smuggling cases all over India and NIA feels there is a more massive international conspiracy of smuggled gold funding into terror activities.

Kerala High Court instructs ED & Customs not to arrest Sivasankar till October 23:

Kerala High Court granted anticipatory bail to the connected CMO chief secretory and linkage to the main suspect of the case IAS M Sivasankar and asked ED and customs not to arrest him. Senior advocate P Vijayabhanu, appearing for Sivasankar, made a point that the former Principal Secretary has been willing to cooperate with the investigation in the case and is patient enough with all the probe by several agencies. Advocate asked the court to protect Sivasankar from arrest by affirming “He is not going to flee.”

On Monday, Customs said to Kerala Hight Court that Sivasankar is playing politics, when his advocate made a statement that former Principal Secretary was a pawn in the political game happening in the state. When the anticipatory bail plea came up for hearing, Vijayabhanu said that Sivasankar was being persecuted like a criminal by all the central investigating agencies for some other purpose.

Sivasankar hospitalised amidst the probe:

On October 16, Customs bureaucrats reached Sivasankar residence issuing the notice of him to appear before agency with some relevant documents of the case. Sivasankar complained about chest pain and was taken to the hospital in customs vehicle. On Monday, Sivasankar was discharged from the hospital following the Hight Courts restrained arrest order.

CBI and Life Mission probe:

Another hit comes to the Kerala Government and CM Vijayan when CBI on alleged violations of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) provision started inquiring into the foreign funding of the Kerala Government prime project of Life Mission. The project primarily deals with the construction of houses for the landless and houseless population using funds from sponsorships and the role of the State Government was to provide the land only.

Recent findings show that UAE based charity organisation Red Crescent was funding the project, and UAE Consulate was an intermediary in the hole process. The central gold scam’s accused are also connected to UAE Consulate.

Kerala CM’s stance on matter:

Opposition is demanding the resignation of the Kerala Chief Minister over the scam as the main accused in statements are indicating that CM knew about the development of the fraud.

However, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) reported that there is no evidence that the Kerala chief minister is involved in the gold scam.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, Vijayan reemphasised his Government was not involved in Kerala gold smuggling scam. He said that his Government never tried to protect his former principle Principal Secretary Sivasankar after his link with gold smuggling scam was established. Vijayan had announced Sivasankar’s suspension on July 16 based on the recommendations by a state government-appointed two-member committee probing his role in this scam.

Moreover, Vijayan stated that Sivasankar has no connection with the CMO and probe agencies are free to take appropriate action based on their investigation.

On asking about the NIA probe into terror activities, the chief minister said “NIA has come here to investigate the case to find out if any such links exist. Let them continue their probe.”

The investigation by ED and Customs will unravel the political truth behind the scam.

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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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