Metrovaartha http://www.metrovaartha.com/ en-us Wed, 28 Jul 2021 00:00:00 +0530 Border standoff: Injured Assam cop dies; toll rises to 7 http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42617/border-standoff--injured-assam-cop-dies--toll-rises-to-7 http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42617/border-standoff--injured-assam-cop-dies--toll-rises-to-7 Wed, 28 Jul 2021 00:37:05 +0530 ]]>A policeman of Assam, who was critically injured in the exchange of fire between the police forces of the state and Mizoram on the disputed interstate border, succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday, taking the death toll to seven. Guwahati | A policeman of Assam, who was critically injured in the exchange of fire between the police forces of the state and Mizoram on the disputed interstate border, succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday, taking the death toll to seven, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
Shyamprasad Dusat of 6th Assam Police Battalion succumbed to his abdominal bullet injury at Silchar Medical College Hospital, Sarma said in a tweet.
"He couldn't be operated or moved to Guwahati because of his worsening condition. I salute the brave martyr and bow in reverence. My heartfelt condolences to the family," he tweeted.
Five policemen, including the Personal Security Officer (PSO) of Cachar Superintendent of Police Vaibhab Chandrakant Nimbalkar, and a civilian were killed during the violent clashes on Monday.
Besides, 50 others, including the Cachar SP, were injured in the incident.
While Nimbalkar was taken to Mumbai by an Indian Air Force air ambulance, three others were airlifted to Gauhati Medical College Hospital on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, the chief minister paid floral tributes at Silchar to the five policemen killed in the attack.
Sarma also visited the SMCH to meet the injured and directed the doctors to ensure that they get the best treatment.
Later addressing a press conference at Silchar, the chief minister announced that Rs 50 lakh would be paid to the next of kin of those killed and a government job will also be given to a family member while those injured will be given Rs one lakh each.
He also announced that an additional one month salary will be given to all policemen deployed along the Mizoram border.

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Blinken arrives in India; to discuss plethora of issues with Indian leaders http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42616/blinken-arrives-in-india--to-discuss-plethora-of-issues-with-indian-leaders http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42616/blinken-arrives-in-india--to-discuss-plethora-of-issues-with-indian-leaders Wed, 28 Jul 2021 00:34:17 +0530 ]]>US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived here on Tuesday on a two-day maiden visit to expand the strong and growing bilateral partnership with the Biden administration describing India as a "leading global power and a key US partner" in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. New Delhi | US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived here on Tuesday on a two-day maiden visit to expand the strong and growing bilateral partnership with the Biden administration describing India as a "leading global power and a key US partner" in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.
In a clear reflection of Washington's position towards certain Chinese actions, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin talked about China's "unwillingness" to resolve disputes peacefully as well as "aggression against India", in an apparent reference to the eastern Ladakh standoff.
Separately, in a fact sheet, the US State Department said the US supports India's emergence as a leading global power and vital partner in efforts to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is a region of peace, stability, and growing prosperity and economic inclusion.
"Unfortunately, Beijing's unwillingness to resolve disputes peacefully and respect the rule of law isn't just occurring on the water," Austin said at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore.
"We have also seen aggression against India… destabilising military activity and other forms of coercion against the people of Taiwan...and genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang," he said.
On Wednesday, Blinken and Indian leaders will discuss a plethora of pressing issues such as the fluid situation in Afghanistan, regional security concerns, COVID-19 response and ways to boost Indo-Pacific engagement, people familiar with the agenda of talks said.
"India is a leading global power and a key U.S. partner in the Indo-Pacific and beyond," the US State Department said in the fact sheet which was shared with reporters by the US embassy here.
"A partnership anchored in shared values, mutual interests and goodwill. Welcome to US Secretary of State @SecBlinken on his arrival in Delhi," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.
On Wednesday, Blinken will hold extensive talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and meet National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. He will also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi before leaving for Kuwait as part of his two-nation tour.
".@SecBlinken is wheels down in New Delhi for meetings with our Indian partners. We're excited to expand the strong and growing #USIndia partnership," US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Twitter.
The US State Department said Blinken is visiting India to reaffirm the United States' commitment to strengthening the partnership and underscore cooperation on shared priorities.
"Secretary Blinken will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to discuss a wide range of issues, including continued cooperation on COVID-19 response efforts, Indo-Pacific engagement, shared regional security interests, shared democratic values, and addressing the climate crisis," it said.
This is Blinken's first visit to India after assuming charge as the US Secretary of State and the third by a high-ranking Biden administration official after visits to New Delhi by Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin in March and Special Envoy on Climate Change John Kerry in April.
According to a media advisory released by the Ministry of External Affairs, Blinken will be in Delhi for a little over 20 hours. His meeting with Jaishankar is scheduled to begin at 12 pm and he will call on Prime Minister Modi at 4:30 pm. Blinken is scheduled to emplane from Delhi at 5:30 PM.
Just before leaving for India, Blinken said he was looking forward to consultations with partners of the US for further cooperation in support of its shared interests in the Indo-Pacific and Middle East.
"Wheels up for my trip to New Delhi and Kuwait City. I look forward to consultations with our partners to further cooperation in support of our shared interests in the Indo-Pacific and Middle East," he tweeted.
It is learnt that situation in Afghanistan, expansion of cooperation under Quad, regional security concerns in the wake of China's aggressive behaviour and issues relating to the Indo-Pacific will dominate the talks.
People familiar with the agenda of the visit said both sides will extensively deliberate on the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan with the Taliban increasing its hostilities in an attempt to seize control of new areas in the country.
Afghanistan witnessed a series of terror attacks in the last few weeks as the US withdrew the majority of its troops and is looking at completing the drawdown by August 31, ending nearly two-decade of its military presence in the country.
In the talks, the Indian side is expected to raise the implications of the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and the need for sustained pressure on Pakistan on terror financing and terrorist safe havens.
"The United States and India are also closely coordinating on regional security issues, such as Afghanistan," the State Department said.
In the talks, both sides are also expected to explore ways to deepen defence collaboration, including exercises, defence transfers and technologies ahead of the next edition of the 2+2 defence and foreign ministerial dialogue to be held in the US later this year.
"US-India defence cooperation is reaching new heights, including through information sharing, liaison officers, increasingly complex exercises like Malabar, and defence enabling agreements, such as the secure communications agreement COMCASA," the State Department said in the fact-sheet under a sub-heading "Deterring Our Adversaries and Defending Our Interests".
"As of 2020, the United States has authorised over USD 20 billion in defence sales to India. Through the US-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, the United States and India work together on co-production and co-development of defence equipment," it said.
The two sides signed COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) in 2018 that provides for interoperability between the two militaries and provides for the sale of high-end technology from the US to India.
In the talks, India and the US are also expected to look at implementing the Quad vaccine initiative.
On coronavirus pandemic, it said the US and India are partnering to strengthen the global response to COVID-19 and on issues ranging from addressing infectious disease outbreaks to strengthening health systems to securing global supply chains.
"US pharmaceutical companies have coordinated with Indian companies since the beginning of the pandemic. This cooperation includes voluntary licensing and technology transfer agreements to increase global manufacturing capacity," it said.
In his address, Austin said Beijing's claim to the vast majority of the South China Sea has no basis in international law.
"That assertion treads on the sovereignty of states in the region. We continue to support the region's coastal states in upholding their rights under international law. And we remain committed to the treaty obligations that we have to Japan in the Senkaku Islands and to the Philippines in the South China Sea," he said.
Referring to COVID-19, he said when India was besieged, its friends stepped up.
In the talks, India and the US are also likely to focus on ways to augment trade and investment ties besides looking at opportunities in healthcare, education, digital domains.
After arriving in India, Blinken tweeted that he spoke to Nepal's Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and discussed the advancement of the US-Nepal partnership including cooperation on the shared fight against COVID-19 and the effects of climate change. 

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BSF DG Rakesh Asthana appointed Delhi Police Commissioner http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42615/bsf-dg-rakesh-asthana-appointed-delhi-police-commissioner http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42615/bsf-dg-rakesh-asthana-appointed-delhi-police-commissioner Wed, 28 Jul 2021 00:30:22 +0530 ]]>During his stint in the CBI in 2018, he was engaged in an unsavoury spat with the then CBI Director Alok Verma with both of them levelling allegations of corruption against each other. New Delhi | Rakesh Asthana, a senior IPS officer of Gujarat cadre, was appointed as the Commissioner of Delhi Police on Tuesday.
According to a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order, Asthana, currently serving as Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF), will join as the Delhi Police Commissioner with immediate effect.
The appointment of Asthana, a 1984-batch IPS officer, to the post of Commissioner of Police (CP), Delhi came just days before his superannuate on July 31.
While clearing his appointment as the CP Delhi, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the inter-cadre deputation from Gujarat to AGMUT cadre.
The ACC also extended his service initially for a period of one year beyond the date of his superannuation on July 31 or until further order, whichever is earlier.
This is one of the very few instances when an IPS officer outside of the AGMUT cadre has been appointed as the Delhi Police chief.
Usually, an officer belonging to the Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre is appointed to the post.
Asthana had earlier served as the Special Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
During his stint in the CBI in 2018, he was engaged in an unsavoury spat with the then CBI Director Alok Verma with both of them levelling allegations of corruption against each other.
Both the officers were later removed from the central probe agency by the Union government and Asthana was subsequently cleared of the charges.
Asthana was appointed chief of the BSF in August 2020. He was also holding the additional charge of the head of the Narcotics Control Bureau.
Asthana had also served as the DG of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).
The police officer has served in various capacities in Gujarat Police apart from serving in various ranks of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Senior IPS officer Balaji Srivastav is currently holding the charge of CP Delhi, after the retirement of S N Shrivastava in June-end.

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Plea filed before court seeking NIA probe on spread of coronavirus http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42614/plea-filed-before-court-seeking-nia-probe-on-spread-of-coronavirus http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42614/plea-filed-before-court-seeking-nia-probe-on-spread-of-coronavirus Wed, 28 Jul 2021 00:25:45 +0530 ]]>The plea by former DGHS Dr Jagdish Prasad urged to direct the NIA to lodge an FIR for various offences punishable under UAPA, Weapons of Mass Destruction Act and Indian Penal Code against China. New Delhi | A plea was filed in a Delhi Court on Tuesday seeking a probe by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) into the spread of COVID-19 virus which allegedly originated from China.
The plea filed by former Director General of Health and Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Jagdish Prasad, urged the court to direct the NIA to lodge an FIR for various offences punishable under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act and Indian Penal Code.
In the complaint filed before Special Judge Dinesh Kumar Sharma, Prasad said it was a public knowledge that the origin of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS- CoV-2), which causes COVID-19, was in the city of Wuhan in Hubei Province, China.
The complaint claimed that even though the intelligence agencies and agencies responsible for oversight of immigration into India were aware of the risk associated with the virus, they did not issue any warnings, directions, or take any steps to control the spread of the virus in the early stages.
“Their role therefore appears to be under scrutiny in the investigation,” it said.
It further submitted that the discovery of facts in the knowledge of several officials who have been involved in the management of the spread of COVID-19 in India may also be necessary.
Officials associated with the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), etc., are material witnesses in the process of investigation, it said.
“In view of the nefarious, terrorist, expansionist, aggressive and animus behaviour of China at the borders in North-East region of India, it would be very dangerous to not undertake a detailed investigation qua the origins and spread of the virus from China to India so that the entire truth in this regard can come out and the guilty are punished in accordance with various provisions of Indian laws,” it said.
Prasad claimed that whether the virus was transmitted to human beings upon contact with bats, through an intermediary host, or was a result of incidental or intentional transmission from a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, has been subject matter of inquiry at the national level in various countries, including the United States of America, and Australia, as well as the World Health Organization.
The complaint said that an investigation was required to be conducted into the origins of the virus and its transmission to human beings “which has culminated in the most devastating pandemic of this century.” Further, the economic impact of the pandemic has been catastrophic, with the economy of India having contracted by 24% between 2020-2021, it added.
“Surprisingly, despite the fact that the virus had undoubtedly originated in China, the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in China has been miniscule, with barely ninety thousand cases, and less than five thousand deaths while their economy remains rather unaffected by the pandemic, meanwhile the economy of India has taken a nosedive, giving a strong indication of motive and benefit for the criminal intent behind the origin and spread of the virus,” it said.
It claimed the virus was a “possible deliberate conspiracy by state and/or non-state actors in China”, as part of a coordinated creation and transmission of the virus.

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Will be asking Centre for more vaccines before Onam: Kerala Chief Minister http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42613/will-be-asking-centre-for-more-vaccines-before-onam--kerala-chief-minister http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42613/will-be-asking-centre-for-more-vaccines-before-onam--kerala-chief-minister Wed, 28 Jul 2021 00:07:23 +0530 ]]>With the number of COVID-19 cases rising in Kerala and there being an acute shortage of vaccines in the state, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday said he will be asking the central government to provide more vaccine doses before Onam. Thiruvananthapuram | With the number of COVID-19 cases rising in Kerala and there being an acute shortage of vaccines in the state, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday said he will be asking the central government to provide more vaccine doses before Onam.
The chief minister said the state would be asking for more vaccines as the five lakh doses expected to be received by Wednesday would be used by Friday.
Even the state police chief, Anil Kant, swung into action in view of the rise in cases and directed senior IPS officers in Kerala to take charge of the districts where the number of infections are very high and to ensure effective enforcement of COVID protocols.
Earlier in the day, the chief minister told the Assembly that Kerala wasone of the states which had implemented the vaccination drive in the most effective manner but admitted that it was facing challenges in fighting the pandemic.
He also lashed out at Union Health Minister Mansuk Mandaviya, who had recently said that 10 lakh doses of vaccine, supplied to the southern state, had been left unused.
"When the minister had made such a statement, there were only five lakh doses of COVID vaccine with the state. The present circumstance is that we are facing an acute shortage of the jab. That is the truth," Vijayan told the state Assembly.
Claiming that Kerala had made no lapse in the immunisation drive, he said the present situation was that the available vaccine stock was not enough to meet its demands.
The Chief Minister also said the state would approach the Centre demanding more doses of vaccine.
Later in the day, the chief minister at a review meeting of the COVID situation said that the Centre will be asked to provide more doses before Onam and if the same becomes available, attempts would be made to give at least four lakh jabs per day, a state government release said.
The state on July 24 had vaccinated over 4.5 lakh people.
He said that to make vaccination efforts more effective, it should be conducted at the local self government level.
The chief minister, at the meeting, also said that the existing restrictions would continue, the release said.
He said that clothing stores should follow COVID protocols strictly when they open for business and the owners should make arrangements for deploying a fixed number of staff who are vaccinated.
He said that the officials concerned should monitor whether the said protocols were being followed and action should be taken in case of any violation.
Vijayan also said that photo studios would be allowed to open on certain days of the week as photographs would be required for NEET exams.

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Flipkart eyes 2X growth in 'Pay Later' offering, aims to cross 100 mn transactions by year-end http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42612/flipkart-eyes-2x-growth-in--pay-later--offering--aims-to-cross-100-mn-transactions-by-year-end http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42612/flipkart-eyes-2x-growth-in--pay-later--offering--aims-to-cross-100-mn-transactions-by-year-end Wed, 28 Jul 2021 00:03:22 +0530 ]]>Walmart-owned Flipkart is working on expanding its 'Pay Later' credit offering and aims to clock 2X growth over the next six months. Currently, there are over 2.8 million customers who have adopted Flipkart Pay Later and have made more than 42 million transactions on the platform to date. New Delhi | Walmart-owned Flipkart is working on expanding its 'Pay Later' credit offering and aims to clock 2X growth over the next six months.
Currently, there are over 2.8 million customers who have adopted Flipkart Pay Later and have made more than 42 million transactions on the platform to date.
"Owing to the growing reliance on digital payments, Flipkart Pay Later has seen a 70 per cent adoption rate among customers at the time of check-out, and (it) plans to cross the 100 million transaction benchmark by the end of the year," Flipkart said in a statement.
The online platform said its Pay Later offering has seen an increase of over 50 per cent in the number of registered users as of July 2021 in comparison to the previous year.
Customers have used the offering mainly for purchases across categories of beauty and general merchandise, home and lifestyle, it added.
In categories such as lifestyle, Flipkart Pay Later has exceeded the credit card transactions, making it the top prepaid instrument used by consumers for the category, it noted.
Pay Later offering is a 30-day credit product that does not have an interest fee. It has end-to-end digital KYC, a seamless checkout process for items priced up to Rs 10,000, and a single-click payment mechanism.
"As a homegrown platform, enabling accessibility and affordability for customers is at the heart of all our offerings.
“The success of Flipkart Pay Later so far has shown the benefits that the construct is able to provide to millions of customers and made us confident of its market-readiness for a much wider adoption - both on and outside Flipkart Group's platforms," Flipkart Head – Fintech and Payments Group Ranjith Boyanapalli said.
By expanding the offering, Flipkart wants to enable customers across the country to fulfil their shopping needs in a seamless and hassle-free manner, he added.
According to a recent TransUnion Cibil-Google report, small-ticket lending has gone up from 10 per cent in 2017 to 60 per cent in 2020. Customers are increasingly relying on fintech players for their credit demand that has further been accelerated during the pandemic.

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Kitex group alleges surprise check by govt officials at its unit in Kerala http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42611/kitex-group-alleges-surprise-check-by-govt-officials-at-its-unit-in-kerala http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42611/kitex-group-alleges-surprise-check-by-govt-officials-at-its-unit-in-kerala Tue, 27 Jul 2021 23:55:54 +0530 ]]>Kerala-based Kitex group, which is at loggerheads with the state government, on Tuesday alleged that a "surprise check" was carried out by the officials of the ground water department at its industrial unit at Kizhakkambalam near Kochi. Kochi | Kerala-based Kitex group, which is at loggerheads with the state government, on Tuesday alleged that a "surprise check" was carried out by the officials of the ground water department at its industrial unit at Kizhakkambalam near here.
Officials in the ground water department rejected the allegations of "surprise check" at Kitex company.
They said the company has not obtained a mandatory No Objection Certificate (NOC) for using groundwater for industrial purposes.
The issue was raised in the previous District Development Council meeting and as a follow-up action the officials visited the company to inform them about the necessity of obtaining NOC for groundwater usage for the industrial purpose, an official told P T I.
The official said the Kizhakkambalam panchayat authorities, which issue licences for running the industry, have also been officially informed about the absence of NOC from the groundwater department for Kitex to run the factory.
In a statement, Kitex group chairman Sabu Jacob alleged that the "surprise check" was carried out two weeks after the state Industries Minister announced that there would be no such inspections in factories in the state.
Jacob claimed that the officials informed the Kitex management that the inspection was carried out based on a complaint lodged by P T Thomas, MLA, at a district development committee meeting held recently.
Senior Congress leader Thomas, who is representing Thrikkakara seat in the State Assembly, did not deny the allegations.
When contacted, he said there was no need for the company management to worry about such inspections if they have done all legalformalities for running the company.
Earlier, Kitex had alleged that officials from various government departments conducted 11 inspections at its units in Kizhakkambalam.
Alleging harassment, Kitex abandoned its Rs 3,500 crore investment plan in Kerala and decided to launch its apparel industry in Telangana.

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Lingayat leader and Yediyurappa loyalist Basavaraj Bommai new Karnataka CM http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42610/lingayat-leader-and-yediyurappa-loyalist-basavaraj-bommai-new-karnataka-cm http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42610/lingayat-leader-and-yediyurappa-loyalist-basavaraj-bommai-new-karnataka-cm Tue, 27 Jul 2021 23:48:19 +0530 ]]>Basavaraj Bommai is from the dominant Veerashaiva-Lingayat community to which Yediyurappa also belongs. His father S R Bommai was a Janata Parivar stalwart and had served as the 11th Chief Minister of Karnataka. He is a graduate in Mechanical Engineering and worked in Tata Motors, Pune for three years. Bengaluru | Basavaraj Somappa Bommai, a Yediyurappa loyalist, who has his origins in the Janata Parivar, on Tuesday won the race for Chief Minister's post as the BJP leadership decided to replace B S Yediyurappa with another Lingayat leader.
The 61 year-old leader was the Minister for Home Affairs, Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Legislature in Yediyurappa's council of ministers that was dissolved on Monday and was also the Minister in-charge of Haveri and Udupi Districts.
Bommai's father S R Bommai was a Janata Parivar stalwart and had served as the 11th Chief Minister of Karnataka.
Born on January 28, 1960 in Hubballi, Basavaraj Bommai is a graduate in Mechanical Engineering.
He worked in Tata Motors, Pune for three years and then became an industrial entrepreneur.
His caste, educational qualification, administrative capacities and proximity to Yediyurappa and central leaders of the BJP is said to be the reasons for his choice for the post.
Bommai is from the dominant Veerashaiva-Lingayat community to which Yediyurappa also belongs.
The community accounts for 16-17 per cent of the state's population and is counted as a key vote-base of BJP.
He started his political career with the Janata Dal, and was a member of the Karnataka Legislative Council, twice (in 1997 and 2003) from Dharwad local authorities constituency.
He had also served as Political Secretary to Chief Minister J H Patel and as Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the council.
Bommai quit the Janata Dal (United) and joined the BJP in February 2008 and in the assembly elections held later that year, was elected as MLA from Shiggaon constituency in Haveri district.
He then went on to retain the seat in the 2013 and 2018 assembly polls.
Married to Chennamma, he has a son and a daughter.
Bommai had served as Minister for Water resources and Cooperation in the previous BJP government.
Widely appreciated for his knowledge regarding irrigation projects in the state, Bommai was like Yediyurappa's shadow in the just-dissolved BJP government, as he used to follow the 78-year-old Chief Minister at meetings, events and press briefings and assist him.
Bommai,who was in-charge of Home Affairs at the beginning of the term, was subsequently given Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Legislature as additional portfolios during the cabinet reshuffle a few months ago.
The new leader of the BJP legislature party enjoys reading, writing, golf and cricket and has served as Chairman of the Karnataka State Cricket Association, Dharwad, and Karnataka Volleyball Association, Dharwad District.
He is also the founder of Arunodaya Co-operative Society, a member of Jayanagar Housing Society and German Chamber of Commerce.

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Complaint to Lok Ayukta for action against Saseendran for intervention in sexual harassment case http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42609/complaint-to-lok-ayukta-for-action-against-saseendran-for-intervention-in-sexual-harassment-case http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42609/complaint-to-lok-ayukta-for-action-against-saseendran-for-intervention-in-sexual-harassment-case Tue, 27 Jul 2021 23:39:21 +0530 ]]>A complaint has been made to the Kerala Lok Ayukta seeking directions for removal of state Forest Minister A K Saseendran from the cabinet for his alleged intervention in a sexual harassment case against an NCP leader to setlle the matter. Thiruvananthapuram | A complaint has been made to the Kerala Lok Ayukta seeking directions for removal of state Forest Minister A K Saseendran from the cabinet for his alleged intervention in a sexual harassment case against an NCP leader to setlle the matter.
The complaint has been filed by one Navas, who is the state general secretary of Yuva Janata, a wing of Bharatiya National Janata Dal.
The complainant has urged the Lok Ayukta to take appropriate action against the minister.
The issue of Saseendran's alleged intervention in the sexual harassment case was raised in the second session of the Kerala Assembly by the Congress which had sought his removal.
However, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan defended his embattled colleague by saying that the minister had already made it clear that he had interfered thinking it was some party-related matter.
The Chief Minister had also informed the Assembly that police were probing the complaint of the victim and there was no need to discuss it in the House.
In view of the stand taken by the chief minister, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) staged a walkout.
Saseendran had to resign as transport minister from the first Vijayan government, in the wake of sleaze talk allegations against him.
In the instant matter, after her statement was recorded, the victim told the media she told the police about the harassment faced at the hands of NCP leader Padmakaran.
The issue came to the fore after Malayalam news channels started airing an alleged telephonic conversation between Saseendran and the woman's father, seeking to settle the issue by mutual agreement.
Subsequently, the minister had told the media that he did call up the girl's father, but to try and settle what he thought was a dispute in the party.
He had claimed that when he found out that it was a case of attempted sexual assault, he did not intervene any further.
The woman, a BJP member, has alleged that Padmakaran had asked her in March whether she had joined BJP to earn money and if so, he would pay her and had then allegedly grabbed her arm.
However, she had not lodged a complaint then.
Thereafter, he used to mock her at various fora and then on June 28 posted her election campaign poster on WhatsApp with a comment that her father got her to join the BJP for earning money.
Upon seeing this, the woman related the earlier incident to her father following which he preferred to lodge a complaint with the police.

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The Empire' visual spectacle never seen before in India: Kunal Kapoor http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42608/the-empire--visual-spectacle-never-seen-before-in-india--kunal-kapoor http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/42608/the-empire--visual-spectacle-never-seen-before-in-india--kunal-kapoor Tue, 27 Jul 2021 23:14:09 +0530 ]]>Actor Kunal Kapoor says his upcoming Disney + Hotstar series "The Empire" will be a "visual spectacle" for the audience, with battle sequences mounted on a huge scale. Mumbai | Actor Kunal Kapoor says his upcoming Disney + Hotstar series "The Empire" will be a "visual spectacle" for the audience, with battle sequences mounted on a huge scale.
The epic period-action-drama, created by filmmaker-producer Nikkhil Advani, will follow the story of a warrior, adventurer, survivor, and a king.
On the Mitakshara Kumar-directed show, which traces the origins of a dynasty, Kapoor features as an emperor. The "Rang De Basanti" actor said "The Empire" was the perfect platform for him to make his digital debut with as it was "something that I never really had a chance to do before." "It has been an interesting experience. I don't think I have been part of something that has been mounted on this big a scale. It is going to be an interesting experience for the audience because, primarily, it is a visual spectacle, the kind of which you have not seen on any platform in this country," Kapoor said in a virtual press conference for the unveiling of Disney+Hotstar's new slate. The actor said it was challenging to film the series and mount big-scale action pieces, especially due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Shooting all the battle scenes during the last couple of years, shooting a big spectacle in the middle of a pandemic has been difficult but it has turned out really well and I am looking forward to how the audience reacts to it," he added."The Empire" also stars Shabana Azmi, Dino Morea and Drashti Dhami.Azmi, who was also present at the virtual event, said the show offered her the chance to do a historical character.
"What intrigued me the most about my character was that she is feisty, educated and she is the king maker. You usually see a man being a king maker but in her case, she is the one. That excited me about the part. The makers, Nikkhil and Mitakshara, have a great eye."Mitakshara, particularly, is interested in the fine detailing of a frame. That was attractive for me. I am sure the show will be appreciated a great deal," she added.

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