Thiruvananthapuram: The CPM-led LDF Opposition on Tuesday boycotted proceedings in the Assembly demanding resignation of FINANCE Minister K.M. Mani over the bar bribe issue and alleged that the government was trying to sabotage the case against him.

Replying to an adjournment motion on the bar bribe scam sought to be moved by the opposition, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala rejected the allegations and said investigation in the case was progressing in a 'judicious and impartial' way.

Referring to the opposition stand that Mani should not present the budget on March 13, Chennithala asserted that Mani would present the budget.

Maintaining that government had nothing to hide on the matter, he said, "On completion of probe, the report would be submitted to the court."

A visibly upset Mani stood up and said he was rejecting the opposition's allegations.

Mani also said he would file a defamation case against the bar owner, who levelled bribery charges against him.

Seeking notice for the motion, CPM leader S Sharma said,"Mani has no moral and democratic right to continue in office."

Sharma alleged that a political conspiracy was underway to protect Mani, who is the supremo of Kerala Congress (M), the third largest partner in UDF and that any action against Mani would "destabilise" the UDF ministry.

Lambasting Mani on the issue, Achuthanandan said Mani's continuation as a minister was a "shame" on entire Kerala.

After Chennithala's reply, Deputy Speaker N Sakthan, who was in the Chair, disallowed leave for the motion, which stated that attempts were on to weaken the case against Mani by wooing the bar owner who levelled the allegations.

Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau had registered a case against Mani in December last in connection with the allegation that he had accepted bribe from bar owners to renew liquor licences.


Pay 80% Compensation to Petitioners, Says HC
The high court, on Monday , appointed an advocate commissioner to find out the alleged damages that happened when 10 families from Pachalam were hastily evicted for the proposed railway overbridge project in a predawn move. After filing a petition before the court questioning the hasty move, the families' counsel Sam Issac Pottiyil had sought an urgent hearing before Justice V Chitambaresh when Monday's hearing began at 10.15am.

By the time the court was in session, 10 shops and houses were already demolished by a team led by deputy collector P Shobana. The court posted the matter for hearing at 1.45pm to hear the counsels representing the district administration and agencies implementing the Kochi Metro project.

In the petition, the families had demanded that they should be paid a higher compensation than being offered now as per a 2013 law, Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act. However, government has taken the stand that the law is not applicable as no rules have been framed by it yet. This violates the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 300A of the Constitution, which says that no person can be deprived of property without following procedure established by law, the families have alleged.

During the hearing, their counsel pointed out that the district administration issued notice for eviction late at night on Friday and gave no opportunity to reply . The following two days were holidays and at 4am on Monday , they began demolishing using JCBs. After receiving the notice, the families tried to contact the collector. When they went to his camp office, police detained them, including kids and the aged, until Monday afternoon, the counsel submitted.

Compensation for the properties should be released immediately and an advocate commission should be appointed to assess the illegality and damages, the counsel demanded. Special government pleader Tom K Thomas pointed out that 22 of the 32 families have already received compensation and only 10 families had objection to the value fixed. Government is ready to give 80% of the market value fixed by the district-level purchase committee, which is 15 lakhcent.

Following the submissions, the court issued an interim order stating that acquisition proceedings shall go on as scheduled. Appointing Mathew George Vadakkel as the advocate commissioner, the court directed him to conduct a local inspection and verify the improvements in properties and file a detailed report. The court asked the government to pay 80% of the compensation if the petitioners execute necessary documents. The court clarified that the amount so received will be without prejudice to the right of the families to receive enhanced compensation as per the 2013 law. The case was postponed to be heard along with other petitions related to the Pachalam railway overbridge project.

The Palluruthy police on Monday arrested a 59year-old man for allegedly raping a 25-year-old woman.The accused Ponnan, an autorickshaw driver from Konam Road, Palluruthy , was arrested based on a complaint filed by the girl.

As per the complainant, Ponnan took the woman to his house last Tuesday and raped her when she was alone at home.

Police said that the accused was currently living with his second wife after ending his relationship with his first wife. Meanwhile, po lice said that the complainant and the accused were in good terms and the former used to visit his house. “The girl used to visit Ponnan's house as their families knew each other. Ponnan took advantage of this and allegedly raped her when nobody was at home,“ said a police officer.

However, police are also suspecting the version of the girl as the accused had confessed to the police that they were in a relationship for long time. The accused was nabbed in the early hours of Monday . He was produced before the court and remanded in judicial custody for 14 days.

The regional edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala being organised by the Kerala Chalachitra Academy begins here on Tuesday.

According to Academy vice chairman Joshy Mathew, nearly 40 films will be showcased under the four categories of World Movies, Contemporary Indian Cinema, Malayalam Cinema and Iranian Cinema. There will be four shows daily in two private theatres, Anand and Asha. ‘Meet the Director’ programme would be organised every day on the sidelines of the festival, Mr. Mathew said.

The festival will commence with No One’s Child (Serbia) at 11 a.m. at Anand. Other movies being shown at the theatre on Tuesday are Asthamayam (Malayalam); Wild Tales (Argentina); and Miss Violence(Greece). The films being shown at Asha on Tuesday are The Bright Day (Iran); Theeb (UAE); The Tale of Nayanchampa (India); and Melbourne (Iran).

The cash prizes for the films selected by the jury at the IFFK in Thiruvananthapuram will be distributed during the festival. The line up includes December 1 , The President , Bethlehem , and Con Island . A special exhibition to mark the 25th death anniversary of Prem Nazeer and a special screening of the filmBhargavee Nilayam as a tribute to cinematographer-director A. Vincent will also be organised. The valedictory ceremony has been scheduled for 5 p.m. on March 14.


A 24-year-old man from Jharkhand was injured after the trailer truck he drove rammed the guard rail of a bridge near Nettoor on the Vyttila-Aroor Bypass Road in the wee hours of Monday . The driver, Aarif, has been admitted at a nearby private hospital. His hand was partially torn off in the accident. The accident occurred around 3.30am and the police had to break open the cabin of the trailer to save him.

In another accident, a 57year-old housewife was injured after she fell off the road while trying to board a bus near Mamagalam.

Aysha Beevi, wife of Hassan from Mamangalam, was injured after she lost grip and fell on road while boarding a bus around 9.30am.

Tense moments and last-minute preparations marked the first day of SSLC and higher secondary examinations that began on Monday .The first paper for SSLC students was Malayalam-I. “It was not bad as we thought. It did go well, although the paper was quite lengthy . But that was expected,“ said Karthika A G, a Class X student of Government Girls High School, Ernakulam.

Political science was the first paper for the higher secondary (Plus One and Plus Two) students. “It was a good start,“ said Aishwarya V , a Class XII student of GGHS.“We did have enough time to prepare. Between the exams too there is time,“ said Mary David, a Class XII student of St Teresa's Convent Higher Sec ondary School. The timetable of exams are now prepared considering the students' convenience too.

“The tougher ones come first,“ said Sabeena K V, princi pal of the higher secondary division, St Antony's HSS, Kacheripady .

“We got to know that the paper was fine from students and teachers. Nowadays, students are given counselling sessions,“ said M E Saraswathi, headmistress of Government Girls' High School.

The SSLC exam will conclude on March 23. As many as 37,427 students are appearing for the state exam in Ernakulam, which has 317 exam centres and 2,638 invigilators.

Meanwhile, 30,124 regular students are appearing for Class XII exam in the district.HSE exams will go on till March 30. All the districts have implemented online tabulation system to announce the results as early as possible.