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CPI(M) suspends Shoranur MLA Sasi from party on sexual harassment charges

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P K Sasi

Thiruvananthapuram | The ruling CPI(M) in Kerala on Monday suspended its Shoranur MLA, P K Sasi, against whom sexual harassment charges were levelled by a woman party worker, for six months from the party’s primary membership. The decision in this regard was taken at the CPI(M) state committee meeting at AKG Centre, the party headquarters here.

The Left party, in a release, said Sasi was suspended from the CPI(M)’s primary membership for six months after it was found that he had conversed with a woman worker “in a manner not befitting a party leader”. The decision will be implemented after getting the ratification from the party’s central committee, the release said.

A woman Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) leader had accused Sasi of trying to sexually abuse her following which the party had initiated a probe.

A two-member party appointed commission, comprising law minister, A K Balan, and Kannur MP and central committee member P K Sreemathy, which probed the allegations had in its report stated that Sasi had not sexually assaulted the complainant, but had conversed with her inappropriately.

Sasi, Palakkad district secretariat member, who had earlier dismissed the allegation against him saying it was a “well planned conspiracy” to malign him politically, Monday said he would accept any decision the CPI(M) took against him and would always remain with the party.

According to media reports, the DYFI leader had filed the complaint alleging the MLA tried to sexually abuse her at the party office at Manarcaud in Palakkad. The complaint had been sent to CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat on August 14 and via an e-mail to CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury as well.

The CPI(M) decision comes a day ahead of the Kerala Assembly session convening on Tuesday, which is likely to be stormy.

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UDF disrupts Kerala Assembly for 6th day, proceedings adjourned in 32 minutes

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Thiruvananthapuram | Sloganeering and a banner protest by the opposition Congress-led UDF legislators over the Sabarimala issue marred proceedings of the Kerala Assembly for the sixth consecutive day Monday.

As opposition members, armed with placards and banner, trooped to the well of the House and continued sloganeering, Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan scrapped the question hour and zero hour and rushed through the listed business of the day before adjourning the House in 32 minutes.

Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran started replying to questions but the UDF MLAs stood in front of the speaker’s podium demanding lifting of prohibitory orders in Sabarimala, which was further extended by the government till December 12. The Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government’s alleged lukewarm response towards the ‘satyagraha’, staged by three UDF MLAs at the portals of the House since last week demanding removal of curbs at the hill shrine, also irked opposition members.

They raised slogans expressing solidarity with fellow lawmakers-V S Sivakumar (Congress), Parakkal Abdullah (Indian Union Muslim League) and N Jayaraj (Kerala Congress-Mani)- who had launched the indefinite ‘satyagraha’ on December 3. Some of the opposition members even tried to attract the Speaker’s attention by blocking his view by the banner.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala later told reporters that the CPI(M)-led LDF government was extending prohibitory orders “intentionally” as UDF MLAs were staging protest. He, however, said the opposition would go ahead with the protest and would not buckle under pressure of the Left government and the chief minister. As soon as the House proceedings began, the lone BJP MLA O Rajagopal and independent Legislator, P C George staged a walkout.

They said the walkout was a mark of protest against the LDF government’s decision to continue prohibitory orders in Sabarimala and to express solidarity with the BJP leader A N Radhakrishnan, who has been on a fast for the last eight days in front of the Secretariat here demanding lifting of curbs at the hill shrine. The hill shrine had been witnessing protests by devotees and right wing groups against the government’s decision to implement the September 28 Supreme Court verdict, permitting women of all age groups to offer prayers at the temple.

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Agusta Westland case: CBI Special Court extends Christian Michel’s custody

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Christian Michel

New Delhi | The CBI special court on Monday extended Agusta Westland Middleman Christian Michel’s custody for an additional 5 days.

The Central Beaureu of Investigation (CBI) had demanded a custody of further 9 days claiming that Michel was uncooperative and evasive during the custody. The agency further claimed that Michel didn’t co-operate with the Italian investigation in the case.

Opposing the custody Michel’s lawyer Aljo Joseph argued that Police custody is not required anymore as there is no incriminating evidence against Michel. CBI further informed the court that the British Council has approached it for consular access to Michel.

Earlier the CBI special court on December 5 sent Christian Michel to a 5 days CBI custody in a case related to the 3,600 crore AugustaWestland case. Christian Michel James, the alleged middleman in politically-sensitive Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal, was brought to India on late December 4 night following his extradition by the UAE. Earlier, the UAE Ambassador Ahmed Albana had said that the decision of the extradition of Christian Michel- a British citizen should be left on the judicial system of the United Arab Emirates.

Michel has been accused of influencing politicians, officials and journalists using monetary incentives to procure 12 VVIP helicopters, to be used for the Indian Prime Minister, the President and other important personalities. The deal signed in 2007, was scrapped in 2013 following the bribery allegations.

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Develop Gorakhpur as city of knowledge: President Ram Nath Kovind

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Gorakhpur (UP) | President Ram Nath Kovind said Monday that Gorakhpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh should be developed as a city of knowledge in the next 15 years as the state has the largest human resource in the country.

Addressing the founder’s week celebration of Maharana Pratap Shiksha Parishad, Kovind said Gorakhpur, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath‘s political home turf, should be developed as a knowledge city by 2032 — the centenary year of the Parishad, which works in the field of education and capacity building. He said Uttar Pradesh has the largest number of youths in the country and the new policies of the state government should help them become “job creators”.

The president said the objective of education is to develop a good human being, but stressed that quality of education is as important for a country’s development. Recalling the great men from the region — such as Paramhans of the Nath sect, Sufi saint Roshan Ali Shah, Baba Raghav Das, Munshi Premchand, Ram Prasad Bismil and Firaq Gorakhpoori, the president asked students to follow the path of Maharana Pratap, a Rajput warrior from the Mewar region of Rajasthan.

He also praised the contribution of saints from the Nath sect in the field of education and contribution towards society and during the freedom struggle. He said he has visited the Gorakhnath temple several times when Mahant Avaidyanath, the mentor of Adityanath, was its head.

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