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11 Indians held in Kuwait for holding 'noisy' puja

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MANGALURU: Holding a Sathyanarayana puja in a hall in Kuwait, around a fortnight ago, has landed eleven Indians in police custody there. The Indians – most of whom are from the coastal region – are members of the Navachethana Welfare Association, Kuwait. Members of the association, reports say , have been organizing the event for the past decade.This time, it is learnt, they did not apply for permission.

Indian ambassador to Kuwait Sunil Jain told STOI over telephone on Saturday: “Eleven men who were conducting a puja were taken in for questioning by police after the neighbours complained. All… are still under detention.”

Diplomatic sources said that loud noise during the puja had attracted the attention of neighbours, who in turn called police.

Udupi-Chikkamagaluru MP Shobha Karandlaje, who is in touch with ambassador Jain in Kuwait, told STOI that according to his information, Kuwaiti authorities are not forthcoming with details of the incident.

“Kuwaiti authorities are not cooperating with the Indian embassy’s request for information on their detention,” she said, adding they were reportedly arrested for organizing a religious event without permission.

Quoting her interaction with Jain, Karandlaje said as per Kuwaiti law, a person arrested for any offence has to be produced before a court within 10 days. “They have been detained for 13 or 14 days now.” They have not been produced in court yet.”Jain also has no word from local deportation authorities on the fate of those detained, and on whether they will be deported to India, as is the norm there.”

The only question Kuwaiti authorities asked organizers of the event, led by association president Ashok Kumar, was if they had organized a puja, Shobha said.

Those detained with Ashok Kumar are Yadav Poojary, Anil Kumar, Kumar Vamanjoor, Sathish Beluvai, Umesh Shetty , Arun Shetty , Prashanth Shetty and Purushottam Kukyan. “Their families are worried about their fate,” Karandlaje said.

Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel said in addition to raising the issue with minister for external affairs Sushma Swaraj, he and Karandlaje have kept Union minister for chemicals and fertilizers Ananth Kumar in the loop. A nanth Kumar is monitoring the situation with Sushma,” Kateel told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting on railway issues on Saturday. “The arrest of Indians from this part of the state is a matter of concern.”

Kateel recalled that Swaraj had recently managed to get seven Indians arrested in the Gulf released, and hoped the puja organizers, too, would be freed at the earliest.

Source: TOI-BGLR


Coal scam: No proof against Manmohan, CBI says

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NEW DELHI: CBI on Monday opposed ex-Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda‘s plea seeking summoning of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as additional accused in the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal scam case, saying there is no evidence to show Singh’s complicity in allocation of the said coal block to firms of Jindal group. CBI added that they have carried out a “comprehensive” probe in the case but have found nothing that shows Singh has done anything “illegal”. “No accusing fingers can be raised at Singh. There was no illegality on his part,” CBI said. The agency further alleged that Koda’s plea is nothing but a tool to “delay” the case proceedings and “deviate” the court. The court, after hearing detailed arguments, reserved its order on Koda’s plea for October 16.

READ ALSO: Manmohan Singh was aware of everything, Madhu Koda says

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Jindal group firms – Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL). Koda, Congress leader Naveen Jindal, former coal secretary HC Gupta, ex-Minister of State for coal Dasari Narayana Rao, JSPL and GSIPL and nine others were chargesheeted as accused by CBI. Last month, Koda moved this plea seeking Singh and two others – Anand Swaroop, then Secretary (Energy), and Jai Shankar Tiwari, then Secretary (Mines and Geology), to be made additional accused in the case.

CBI said that though the plea is maintainable but it is “devoid of any merits.” Special public prosecutor RS Cheema said, “It is all conjectures and surmises (in Koda’s plea) and there is no evidence. There is an attempt made to make the net wider. The records not even prima facie show anything to summon the then Prime Minister as accused in the case.” The CBI trashed Koda’s contention that Singh, who was also the coal Minister then, was the final authority and therefore, he should be made an accused too. CBI said that this view can’t be ascribed as Singh did not tinker with any documents regarding the allocation.

READ ALSO: Madhu Koda seeks summoning of Manmohan Singh as accused in Coalgate case

CBI also termed “fallacious” Koda’s claim that Singh did not apply his mind and therefore, indulged in “illegality” by letting the said “illegal” allocation happen. Cheema told Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar that records of the case do not reflect that Singh had any complicity with any accused in any manner and there was no evidence to show that he had acted in a “mechanical manner” in the entire process.

CBI, in indirect terms, also stated that it was not trying to save Singh and said that that the special court had in the past summoned Singh as an accused in another coal scam case, the proceedings of which was later stayed by the Supreme Court. That case pertained to allocation of the Talabira coal block in Odisha to Hindalco. The prosecutor added that in this case, a “comprehensive” and “complete” probe has been conducted by CBI and the court also did not find any fault in it and therefore, the court summoned the 15 accused, who were chargesheeted by CBI.

CBI said that in this case, government machinery in Jharkhand had colluded with other accused to ensure that coal block is allotted to Jindal Group firms and “it would be wrong to say that Singh knew everything about what had happened in the state”. Cheema also referred to the statements of various prosecution witnesses, including the then senior Prime Minister Office (PMO) officials – TKA Nair, Vini Mahajan and Ashish Gupta – to declare that Singh had no role in this scam.

Cheema said that as per these statements and other case records, Singh had relied on the recommendation of the screening committee, which was a high-powered multi membered inter-ministerial body while considering the alocation. CBI also opposed Koda’s plea for Swaroop and Tiwari to be made accused in the case, saying they are important prosecution witnesses in the case and “rather it was Koda who had tinkered with recommendations for allocation.” “The entire exercise was conceived, engineered by the person who tinkered with the recommendations and he (Koda) is before this court,” Cheema said.

Regarding Koda’s claim that Singh had insisted that the file of the said coal block be routed through Rao, Cheema said that the allegation was “factually incorrect”. “…Even if he had said so, there was no illegality in it as the MoS (Coal) was the concerned person,” he said.
Source: TOI-BGLR


One donor can gift sight to at least 4

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BENGALURU: When 22-year-old Akash (name changed) died in an accident this July, his parents decided to donate his eyes. The noble gesture came as a godsend for four recipients.While the innermost layers of the youth’s cornea were grafted into a man and a woman in their 40s, two boys regained their vision with another layer.

Each person who donates hisher eyes can be a saviour for at least four, say doctors and activists working to promote eye donation.

Cornea surgeon Dr Yathish Shivanna, who has performed over 1,000 lamellar (involving selective layers) transplants in eight years, said, “On some days I have no surgeries because of zero eye donations. Around 300 people die in and around Bengaluru every day but the number of donations is miniscule.”

“We do not use the entire cornea on a single recipient unless the eye is completely damaged. It’s a norm to split the cornea into different layers to give sight to more than two persons. Extreme precision is required to conduct the procedure,” explained Shivanna.

With the National Eye Donation Fortnight being observed from August 25 to September 8, Narayana Nethralaya and its two eye banks have begun special drives. Around 200 persons have pledged their eyes so far. K Bhujang Shetty , chairman and managing director, Narayana Nethralya said, “People should get rid of the fear which stops them from donating eyes.”

Zooming in on Cornea

Corneal blindness is like the glass cover of a watch. If it is cracked, you cannot see the time. It’s the glass that needs to be replaced, not the entire watch. Lamellar corneal transplant involves transplanting different layers of the cornea. Most often, it’s the thick layer that is transplanted.

Source: TOI-BGLR

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