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Thomas Isaac responsible for the financial mess in Kerala: Congress



Thiruvalla ( Kerala) April 2 (IANS) V.D. Satheesan, the leader of opposition in the Kerala Assembly, on Tuesday accused Thomas Isaac, the two-time former state Finance Minister and CPI-M candidate from the Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha constituency, of driving the state into penury.

“Isaac is solely responsible for the financial shambles that Kerala is presently in, and now he is promising to give Pathanamthitta a new look, which is the biggest joke,” Satheesan said.

Isaac — the economics professor-turned-politician — was the Finance Minister from 2006-11 (under V.S. Achuthanandan), and then again from 2016-21, during the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government’s first term.

Isaac was not fielded in the 2021 Assembly elections, and since then he has returned to academics. However, last year he was asked to concentrate in Pathanamthitta from where he has now been asked to contest.

“On Monday, the Supreme Court dealt a stinging blow to the Kerala government after the latter filed a petition claiming the Centre is not giving the state financial freedom. All along, both Vijayan and his party were saying that the Centre owes Rs 56,700 crore to the state, but there is no mention of this figure in the petition. The state has already borrowed Rs 15,000 crore upfront for the new fiscal. Things are in a bad shape,” Satheesan said.

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“The opposition has been pointing out that the state is heading towards its worst financial crisis for a while now, but we were only ridiculed by Isaac. But what we said came out in the open in the apex court on Monday, which has now sent the petition to be heard by a Constitution Bench,” he added.

Isaac is pitted against sitting Congress MP Anto Antony who’s aiming for his fourth successive victory. Also in the fray is the BJP candidate Anil Antony, the son of former Defence Minister and veteran Congress leader A.K. Antony.



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BJP chief Nadda to address party's UP executive meet today




Lucknow, July 14 (IANS) BJP President J.P. Nadda will preside over the State Executive meeting of the party in Lucknow on Sunday, a party spokesman said.

This is the first executive meeting time after the BJP’s poor show in the 2024 Lok Sabha election in Uttar Pradesh.

According to the BJP spokesman, closed-door sessions will be held in which party lawmakers will place their views before the National President and the state leadership of the party.

Around 3,000-3,600 delegates from across the state will attend the meeting at the Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University auditorium.

Along with the party’s sitting MLAs and MPs, all Lok Sabha candidates who lost the poll have been invited.

Besides, MLCs, Zila Panchayat chairpersons, Nagar Palika adhyakshas (municipal heads), district presidents, and all office bearers of the party will attend the meeting.

“Usually, 300 to 400 delegates attend the State Executive meeting of the BJP. But this time around 3,000- 3,600 delegates will attend the meeting,” said Hero Bajpai, State BJP Spokesperson.

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After winning only 33 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state, the BJP had constituted 40 teams with two members each to visit 78 Lok Sabha constituencies to figure out reasons for the party’s poor show and submitted their reports to the State BJP President Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary. They received feedback from party workers.

These issues could come up before BJP President Nadda at the State Executive meeting on Sunday.

Earlier, BJP National General Secretary (Organisation) B.L. Santhosh was in the state capital on a two-day visit on July 6-7.

B.L. Santhosh met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Deputy Chief Ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Brajesh Pathak and regional heads of the party to discuss several issues along with the party’s performance in the state in the Lok Sabha poll and the by-election to 10 Assembly seats to be held later this year.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Badlapur BJP Legislator Ramesh Mishra stoked controversy by stating that the BJP would lose the 2027 Uttar Pradesh elections if Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is not removed from office.

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This statement comes amid growing discontent, with some leaders, including ministers, claiming their pre-election warnings about anti-incumbency and other issues were ignored.

However, hours later Mishra retracted his video statement saying it was read out of context.

Union Minister and Apna Dal leader Anupriya Patel had also raised concerns about irregularities in government appointments, particularly affecting OBC, SC, and ST candidates as damaging the party’s prospects.



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GST official's wife commits suicide in Lucknow residence




Lucknow, July 14 (IANS) Neelam Bharti, the wife of GST Assistant Commissioner Santosh Kumar Bharti, committed suicide by hanging herself at her house in Lucknow on Saturday, the police said.

The post-mortem report confirmed death by hanging.

The deceased’s family has filed a complaint accusing her brother-in-law of murder.

The police are investigating the allegations.

GST Assistant Commissioner Santosh Kumar Bharti lives with his family in Sushant Golf City.

He went to the gym and his two daughters, Khushi and Shreya, had gone to school.

When Santosh returned home, he saw that the doors were open.

When he went inside, he saw that his wife Neelam was hanging from the noose following which he took down the body from the noose.

Santosh first informed an officer living in the neighbourhood while his gunman informed the police.

He also called Neelam’s family members living in Patna and informed them about the incident.

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A few hours later, Neelam’s brother Naveen, a resident of Uttar Pradesh’s Basti district, arrived.

Meanwhile, the police and forensic team went to the spot and investigated.

Neelam’s brother Naveen is a bank manager in SBI. He is currently posted in Basti.

He said that the body was sent for post-mortem even before he could reach.

He alleged that Neelam was murdered.

A written complaint has also been filed accusing Santosh.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (ADCP) South, Shashank Singh, said that no suicide note has been found in the case. Neither have the family members been able to give any information that could reveal why Neelam committed suicide.

The allegations in the complaint are being investigated.

The deceased’s brother said: “I married my sister to Santosh in 2010. For about seven years, my sister was being harassed by her husband and in-laws. They used to beat her. She was mentally harassed. She used to tell me repeatedly that the whole family is against me. I tried to talk to my brother-in-law about this many times, but he did not listen to us.”

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Groom dies of snake bite hours before wedding in UP's Bulandshahr




Bulandshahr (Uttar Pradesh), July 14 (IANS) A 26-year-old groom died after being bitten by a snake in Akarbas village in Bulandshahr’s Dibai area.

According to village locals, Pravesh Kumar, the groom, was on his way to marry a bride from a neighbouring village, when he stepped near a bush to relieve himself.

“When he did not return for a long time, a family member went to check and found him lying unconscious. He was rushed to a local occultist but he did not survive. He was declared dead later,” said Poonam, the groom’s sister.

A senior doctor at a community health centre (CHC) in Dibai said that in case of a snake bite, people should not panic but take the patient to a hospital.

“Anti-venom vaccine and other medicines are available at government hospitals. People should remain cautious during the rainy season, especially in villages,” said Hemant Giri, Medical Superintendent, Dibai CHC.

Seven people have died of snake bites in the past two months in Bulandshahr district.

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Earlier last week, an elderly woman and her grandson died of snake bites in the Chhatari area of Bulandshahr while sleeping in their house.



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NITI Aayog denies special status to any state, says Jitan Ram Manjhi




Patna, July 14 (IANS) While JD-U leaders continue to demand special status for Bihar, Union MSME Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi asserted that the NITI Aayog has clearly ruled out the provision for any state, but noted the state’s financial needs will be met.

“The NITI Aayog has clearly denied special status to any state in the country. People from different political parties can do anything, but special status will not be given to any state, he said while interacting with media persons in Hajipur.

He added that the Central government has assured financial assistance to Bihar. “Whatever amount of money is needed for development, the central government and PM Narendra Modi will provide it,” Manjhi said.

Since the formation of the NDA government at the Centre, JD-U leaders have been advocating for special status for Bihar and Water Resource Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary and Building Construction Minister Ashok Choudhary have been vocal in their demands.

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Meanwhile, opposition leaders like RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav and Congress leader Meira Kumar have mocked the JD-U for seeking special status from the BJP despite being part of the NDA government.



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Haryana STF nabs notorious criminal




Gurugram, July 13 (IANS) Special Task Force (STF) of the Haryana Police has arrested Rakesh alias Kala Khairmpuria, a notorious criminal wanted for involvement in serious crimes across Haryana and Rajasthan, officials said on Saturday.

STF Chief Simardeep Singh said the accused operated under the alias Kala Khairmpuria and had been evading law enforcement agencies since he jumped parole in 2020.

“Throughout this period, he continued to orchestrate criminal activities initially from within India and after fleeing abroad from countries such as UAE, Armenia and Thailand,” Singh said.

Rakesh entered the crime world in 2014 and was involved in several serious offences like dacoity, robbery, murder, and illegal possession of firearms.

“Rakesh was first convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for a murder in 2015 in Bhadra, District Hanumangarh in Rajasthan. He was sentenced in 2018 and after serving the sentence till 2020, he was released on parole and he never returned,” Singh said.

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During this period, he evaded arrest and further expanded his criminal operations in Haryana and Rajasthan.

He committed another murder in Darauli in Fatehabad district of Haryana in 2021. Kala could not be arrested and was declared a proclaimed offender (PO) in 2023. The Haryana Police also announced Rs 1 lakh on his arrest.

“Utilising a fraudulently acquired passport, Rakesh fled the country in early 2023 and operated his criminal gang from abroad, forging alliances with local gangs and orchestrating violent acts. His affiliations extended to notorious criminal groups such as the Himanshu Bhau Gang and Neeraj Faridpuria Gang, contributing to a crime syndicate responsible for several high-profile crimes including targeted killings and extortion, the STF Chief added.

Notable incidents include the murder of a Sarpanch in Sonipat in December 2023, the firing incident on a famous sweet shop in Gohana in January this year, a murder at Murthal eatery and the shootout at a Burger King outlet in Rajouri Garden, Delhi last month.

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To nab him, the STF carried out a thorough investigation to locate him. During the course of the investigation, STF teams were able to establish and unearth a fake identity on which Kala had got his passport.

Once his identity was established, the teams tracked his travel details and mounted surveillance on the target. After strenuous efforts, he was zeroed in a foreign country.

The STF immediately coordinated with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and also got the relevant Interpol references and notices issued against Kala.

The MHA promptly took cognizance of the matter and coordinated with the various agencies both in India and abroad.

Meanwhile, the STF teams also got his passport, which he had obtained through fraudulent means, revoked. The required legal documents about establishing his identity and criminal record were shared with concerned law enforcement agencies through MHA.

This collaborative effort led to the deportation of Rakesh alias Kala and he was then apprehended by the STF teams.

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The STF Chief said that the arrest of Rakesh sends a resolute message regarding Haryana Police’s unwavering commitment to control crime and maintain law and order in the state.



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