nagapattinam l thursday l October 29, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION NIA searches ngos IN SRINAGAR, b’luru IN TERROR FUNDING CASE Ten locations in the Valley and one in Bengaluru were raided in connection with a case related to NGOs diverting funds Many trusts in j&k under nia lens Money diverted to fund terror? Those whose premises were searched include Khurram Parvez (coordinator of the J&K Coalition of Civil Society), his associates Parvez Ahmad Bukhari, Parvez Ahmad Matta and Bengaluru-based associate Swati Sheshadri as well as Parveena Ahanger, chairperson, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons. The offices of the NGO Athrout and GK Trust were also searched ■ The National Investigation Agency is probing if these NGOs diverted funds meant for charitable activities to ‘secessionist and separatist activities’ in Jammu and Kashmir ■ Several incriminating documents and electronic devices were seized in the raids, the NIA said in a statement on Wednesday P8 Newspaper The office of a trust owned by greater Kashmir was also raided CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Rajinikanth to call it quits even before taking the political plunge? S K UMARESAN @ Chennai After at least two decades of speculation and anticipation over actor Rajinikanth’s political debut, it now appears the superstar might call it quits without even taking the plunge. A note, purportedly authored by the actor, has been making the rounds in the State’s political space, in which, he has allegedly cited the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, his age, health condition, and uncertainty over availability of a vaccine as some of the reasons for his decision not to take part in active politics in the State. Neither Rajini nor those Fans losing hope? Rajini had claimed, his focus was on the upcoming Assembly polls. However, with the polls just around the corner, the actor’s followers had been losing hope of his grand entry close to him have confirmed the authenticity of the note. “No official statement has been issued by him,” said Riaz K Ahmed, Rajini’s public relations officer. Nonetheless, fans and members of the Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM) have begun to make peace with such a possibility RMM functionar. ies have told TNIE that they had been reliably informed that an announcement to this effect would come soon. A district functionary of the RMM, who was also part of the actor’s fans’ association since 1978, said, Rajini’s health was their top priority. “All that we (fans) wish for, is his good health and not his political entry,” said the functionary, who is in the know of recent developments. “More than anything else, we want him to live a long life. We were doubtful as to whether the situation was conducive for our leader to engage in active politics ever since the pandemic crept up.” P5 No vaccine swing in Bihar? BJP’s promise to provide Covid shots for free doesn’t appear to cut ice with the voters “When the government could not make proper arrangements @ Patna/New Delhi/Muzaffarpur for Covid-19 patients, it is foolish to believe such false promwaiting to meet the doctor at ises,” said Saroj Kumar Thakur, a nursing home in Muzaffar- 35, who runs a salon in Patna. pur, Rupesh Kumar Sinha, 44, a Why the voters are not deepmedical representative with a ly impressed by the free vacpharmaceutical company, said cine promise lies perhaps in the Covid-19 pandemic and the the Covid numbers. Despite bethreat it poses was not even a ing the third-most populated talking point among the people, state with a creaking public leave alone an election issue. health infrastructure, Bihar “I am in the field of has done well on the virus health and I have seen pafront, making it a nonear tients suffering from issue and hardly a mass to the coronavirus. People are concern. ground a bit scared but not overWhile the national ly worried,” he said, discase fatality rate is 1.5%, missing the suggestion Bihar’s is a mere 0.499%, that the Bharatiya Janata Parone of the lowest in the county’s promise to provide the Cov- try The disease’s incidence per . id vaccine free to Bihar was a million in India is 5,790.1 but in game changer. Bihar it is 1,572.5, the lowest in From Muzaffarpur and Saran the country . to Samastipur and Patna, the On total deaths and active BJP’s populist promise grabbed cases also the state has not done media headlines and was a hot badly The highest death count . topic of debate in drawing is in Maharashtra at 38,717, folrooms last week, but for the vot- lowed by Andhra Pradesh, ers in the dust bowls of Bihar, 9,917, and Karnataka, 9,461. BiCovid and the vaccine are hard- har’s is only 925, one of the lowly issues to be animated about. est among the populous states. Rajesh Kumar Thakur, Sana Shakil & Mukesh Ranjan BIHAR 2020 Voter turnout 53.54% Onion prices to stay north 50% Women voters 1% drop S u d h i r S u r ya w a n s h i @ Mumbai There is little buzz in Nashik’s Lasalgaon, though it is Asia’s largest onion market. For, the mandi is shut as traders are protesting against Income Tax raids on 14 of them as also the ‘mindless’ stock limit imposed by the Central government. Activity at Lasalgaon matters as a whopping 35% of India’s onion supply chain is sourced from that mandi. Sulking traders are adding to the stress the kitchen staple is already facing because of heavy rains damaging the standing crop, pushing the average retail price across the country to around `90 per kg (see box). Retail prices in Telangana are particularly swollen (Hyderabad `130-150; Warangal `100-120; Karimnagar `100) as supplies from Maharashtra are just a trickle. Caught between the government and the trading community is the aam aadmi, who is being forced to reduce his onion intake. “Many people have stopped buying the king of the kitchen for now,” revealed vegetable trader Pritam Das in Jaipur. Till about a few days ago when Lasalgaon was a beehive of activity onion arrivals were , in the range of 70,000 to 75,000 tonnes per day as against the normal of 1.25 lakh to 1.50 lakh tonnes. In other words, a drop of 40-50%, informed Nanasaheb Patil, an onion growing farmer leader in Nasik. “Lasalgaon gets ample supplies in August from states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana after harvest. But this year, the standing crop in all the three states was damaged by the rains. In the first week of October, onions normally start arriving into the mandi from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. But floods in parts of Maharashtra damaged both the old stock and fresh crops. As a result, new arrivals have been delayed by 40-60 days,” Patil shared. In Karnataka, extended monsoon in Chitradurga, Ballari, Gadag, Dharwad, Haveri and Chikkamagaluru districts contributed to the super spike in prices. “Although normally there is spike in onion prices in NovemberDecember because the March stocks tend to get exhausted and the October harvest cannot be dried and stored for long, this year’s rise is because around 70,000 hectares in Karnataka got affected by the monsoon,” said B N Prasad, managing director of Horticultural Producers’ Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society). Continued on: P7 Cu r r e n t r e tail pri ce pe r kg J&K H 70-80 Uttarakhand H 65-70 Punjab H 70-80 Uttar Pradesh H 70-80 Rajasthan H 60-80 Madhya Pradesh H 70-80 Bengaluru H 114 Kerala H 50-80 In the 2015 Assembly elections, the voting percentage was 54.75% around one percentage point higher Assam H 70-80 West Bengal H 100 Odisha H 80 Chhattisgarh H 60 Vijayawada H 80-90 Hyderabad H 130-150 Tamil Nadu H 80-100 total cases 1,90,740 11,420 Active cases Case fatality rate 0.499% Cases per mn Voters patiently await their turn to cast votes for the first phase of Bihar Assembly elections at Bhabhua police station in Kaimur district on Wednesday | PTI As for active cases, the worst five states are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra and Tamil Nadu. With 11,420 active cases, Bihar’s numbers are one of the lowest among heavily populated states. The state is at the 11th position in terms of total cases, sev- enteenth position in active cases and eleventh in recoveries. But perhaps more important than the Covid figures is the socio-economic profile of the people affected by the deadly disease, which has the potential to make the BJP’s promise a dud. continued on: P7 1,572.5 Case recovery rate 95.24% Seventeenth position in active cases Eleventh position in total cases JPC asks Twitter to apologise for Leh map goof-up EPS kicks off awareness campaign amid festive season; Covid toll crosses 11,000 Express News Service EX P RESS NEWS SERVICE Twitter’s geotagging feature displaying Jammu and Kashmir as part of China is a criminal offence and an act of treason, the joint parliamentary committee looking into the Data Protection Bill told representatives of the social media giant on Wednesday . The JPC, chaired by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, asked the firm to get an explanation from its US-based parent in the form of an affidavit along with a written apology . The panel grilled Shagufta Kamran, senior manager, public policy, Twitter India; Ayushi Kapoor, legal counsel; Pallavi Walia, policy communications; and Manvinder Bali, corporate security, for about two hours. Sources said the Twitter executives apologised for the “technical issue” but the JPC members were not satisfied. The JPC also sought to know on what basis Twitter takes down content and blocks accounts. The State on Wednesday added 2,516 fresh cases to its tally , taking it up to 7,16,751. Additionally, as many as 35 deaths were reported on the day, taking the toll above the 11,000mark, to 11,018. The 10,000mark was crossed on October 8, marking a 20-day interval for the State to record 1,000 deaths. Backlogging the count, Tamil Nadu earlier took 16 days to reach the 10,000-mark from the 9,000-level which was recorded on September 23. Meanwhile, Chief Minister CM Edappadi K Palaniswami releasing CDs with short films and songs on Covid Edappadi K Palaniswami, awareness on Wednesday. Also seen are Dy CM O Panneerselvam and other ministers through a video conference from the Secretariat in Chen- protocols in view of the festive songs as part of the campaign, nai, flagged off seven of the 33 and the winter season. on various aspects, including vehicles launched for the State Palaniswami also released importance of hand washing, chapter of the “Jan Andolan” CDs with short films and songs maintaining social distancing, campaign, meant to create as part of the awareness drive, the dos and don’ts for people awareness on Covid-19, in view the first copies of which were under isolation, etc. Additionof the festive season. Prime received by Health Minister C ally, the guidelines to be folMinister Narendra Modi had Vijayabaskar and Minister for lowed in work places and inrecently launched this cam- Information and Publicity Ka- dustries, and also an advisory paign, asking people to con- dambur Raju. for the elderly are being aired duct themselves adhering to The State government has so on television channels, said an safety regulations and Covid far released 54 short films and official release. @ New Delhi Pressure on Pinarayi as Ed arrests ex-secy E x p r e s s N e w s S e r v i c e @ Kochi The Enforcement Directorate, which is probing the money laundering angle in the gold smuggling case, on Wednesday night formally arrested Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s former principal secretary M Sivasankar. He was detained soon after the Kerala High Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea. The suspended IAS officer was undergoing treatment at a private Ayurveda hospital in Thiruvananthapuram when the ED officials picked him up. He was taken to Kochi by road and was questioned in length about his involvement in the gold smuggling case. The Customs department also interrogated him separately . While the ED is probing the money trail, the Customs is investigating the smuggling angle. The development has kicked off a political storm in the state with opposition parties holding protests across the state demanding Vijayan’s resignation over the matter. Sources said the questioning will continue on Thursday . Battle against the virus DELAYING DEATH Bihar H 90-110 Factfile Toll Crossed on Time Interval 4,000 5,000 6,000 7,000 8,000 9,000 10,000 11,000 Aug 1 Aug 10 Aug 18 Aug 28 Sep 8 Sep 23 Oct 8 Oct 28 – 9 days 8 days 10 days 11 days 15 days 16 days 20 days fresh cases 2,516 deaths 35 Active cases 26,356 @ Chennai Tata Group to set up `5,000-crore electronic components plant in TN EX P RESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai Tata Group will be setting up a phone component manufacturing plant at the industrial complex in Hosur. According to reports, an electronics plant will be set up on a 500-acre land and Titan Co’s precision engineering division, and Titan Engineering and Automation Ltd will provide expertise for the project. CM Edappadi K Palaniswami, in a tweet on Wednesday said, “It is a matter of great pride that the Tata group shall invest `5,000 cr in TN. The Tatas join the ranks of international giants like Foxconn, Dell who have made their base in our State.” Interview global conclave An insight into how the American Tamil diaspora can contribute to the growth and development of Tamil Nadu Lena Kannapan American Tamil Entrepreneurs Association talking business: p4 cb-cid probe on pg med seats allotment Madras HC has ordered the probe on the alleged nexus between Directorate of Medical Education and private medical colleges, citing allotment of seats to un-meritorious candidates
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