kochi l Thursday l January 07, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l late city EDITION Fuel price nears all-time high as oil cos hike rates Petrol price was hiked by 26 paise a litre and diesel by 25 paise, according to a price notification from oil marketing companies Increase in tandem with crude oil prices Impact on India’s Import bill The price change was effected by state-owned fuel retailers after a rise in crude prices. Brent crude rose to $53.94 a barrel on Wednesday on the back of Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut daily production by 1 million barrels. The highest petrol price in India was recorded on October 4, 2018 when one litre cost C91.34 in Mumbai. At that time, Brent was trading at $85.45 ■ ■ ■ To cool prices, the government had in 2018 cut excise duty According to reports, every dollar per barrel increase in crude prices will raise India’s oil import bill by C10,700 crore Industry data show that US crude stockpiles fell last week, which further aided the surge in crude prices in the international market A84.49 The price of one litre of petrol in kochi on Wednesday 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 Walayar case: High Court quashes acquittal of four, orders retrial Asks accused to appear before trial court on Jan 20, slams police, prosecution and judge E x p r e s s N e w s S e r v i c e @ Kochi THE High Court on Wednesday quashed the Palakkad Special Court’s order acquitting all the four accused in a case in which two minor Dalit girls were found hanging in their makeshift house at Walayar in Palakkad in 2017. The HC ordered a retrial in the case and directed the accused to appear before the trial court on January 20. The court held that the acquittal of the accused persons by the trial court could not be solely due to want of adequate evidence. It was mainly because of the dereliction of duty by the officials in the trial process. Coming down heavily on the Kerala Police for the faulty investigation in the case, the court described the initial part of the investigation as “utterly disgusting”. It observed that despite a reasonably good job done by DySP M J Sojan, who was deputed to investigate the cases almost a week after the younger girl’s death, he could not gather any proper scientific evidence. The court also flayed the trial judge and observed that he failed to perform a proactive role at the time of examining DEMOCRAT 49 Two girls, aged 13 and nine, were found hanging inside their one-room house 52 days apart — elder girl on January 13, 2017. HC says the acquittal of the accused persons by the trial court was mainly because of the dereliction of duty by the officials the evidence. Two girls, aged 13 and nine, were found hanging inside their one-room house 52 days apart — elder girl on January 13, 2017. Post-mortem examinations confirmed that the minors were subjected to sexual assault before their deaths. The accused, Valiya Madhu and Kutti Madhu, are close relatives of the girls’ mother while Shibu is a former co-worker of her parents. Pradeep Kumar, who died by suicide when the case was pending at the High Court, had lived in the area. The court said that despite REPUBLICAN 50 Democrats set to control Senate too Express News service No stay, but SC to examine ‘love jihad’ laws Express News Service @ New Delhi The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to stay new laws introduced in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand to punish interfaith marriages based on religious conversion but agreed to examine them. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde issued notices to both state governments. The court also issued notice to the Centre on two petitions filed by advocate Vishal Thakre and Teesta Setalvad’s NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace. 16 pages, including 4 pages of KOCHI Express Flays trial judge and observes he failed to perform a proactive role while examining evidence Says none of the officials paid any attention to find out the cause for the elder girl’s suicide We are happy that the High Court has quashed the special court’s verdict acquitting the accused. We will also petition the government demanding a CBI probe — C R Neelakantan, patron, Walayar Neethi Samara Samithi 51 NEEDED FOR CONTROL The Democratic Party is on course to taking control of the Senate, which is crucial for United States Presidentelect Joe Biden to push his legislative agenda, with the Georgia elections tipping the balance in the party’s favour. Major US media outlets have already declared Pastor Raphael Warnock as the winner, while fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff is comfortably leading in the second seat over Republican Senator David Perdue. Warnock beat Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler to become the first African-American to represent Georgia — a slavery state in the US Civil War — in the US Senate. He is also the first Democrat to win the Senate race from Georgia in over 20 years. The election in Georgia is No faith in state police, want CBI probe: Girls’ mother #justiceForWalayarSisters Warnock Ossoff being rerun thanks to the state’s rule that a candidate must take 50% of the vote to win. In the November 2020 general election, none of the candidates could meet that threshold. As things stand now, Democrats would need to take both the seats in Georgia to gain full control of Congress, while the Republicans need to win just one to retain the Senate. Ossoff has declared victory but no major news outlet has projected him as the winner. the major finding in the postmortem examination report of the victim, none of the responsible persons paid any attention to find out what could have been the root cause for the elder girl’s suicide. The investigation was in cold storage until the younger girl was found hanging on March 4, 2017. Allowing the appeal filed by the state government and the victims’ mother to challenge the special court order, the bench comprising Justice A Hariprasad and Justice M R Anitha held that the prosecution can file an application be- Palakkad: Reiterating that she has no faith in the state police, the girls’ mother said the police’s lapses in the investigation had led to the acquittal of all four accused. “We want a court-monitored probe. We’ll meet Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and demand a CBI probe,” she said. fore the Special Court under Section 173 (8) of CrPC, if required. The trial judge should, in all cases, permit the prosecution and, if sought, by the defence also to cite fresh evidence in the form of oral submissions or documentary. The Director of Kerala Judicial Academy shall periodically arrange special training programmes for the additional sessions judges handling Pocso cases in order to guide and sensitise them on the legal, social and psychological aspects involved in such cases, held the court. P4 Another UP horror as woman, 50, raped & murdered in temple N a m i ta B a j pa i @ Lucknow THE badlands of western Uttar Pradesh saw yet another gangrape and murder, this time of a 50-year-old anganwadi worker in Badaun district, with brutalities perpetrated on her in a reminder of the Nirbhaya case. The woman was allegedly raped and brutalised within a temple premises by three men, including the priest, and left to die outside her house on Sunday. While the priest, The 50-year-old Baba Satyanarayan Das, is woman, who had gone to a temple on the run, the other two on Sunday, was perpetrators — Ved Ram found dead under and Yashpal — have been mysterious arrested. circumstances. The incident was report- Family members ed from a village in the have accused the Ughaiti police station area temple priest and his accomplices of in Badaun. raping and The victim’s post-mor- murdering her tem examination revealed grievous injuries in her SSP Sankalp Sharma private parts. Her left ribs and a leg were also broken while one lung had ruptured as it was apparently hit with a heavy object. A rod was inserted into her private parts causing fatal damage to her internal organs. The autopsy said the woman died due to excessive bleeding. Neyyattinkara couple suicide Tahsildar says disputed land belongs legally to Vasantha Sugandhi, who had procured it from three original title deed holders by payTHE Neyyattinkara land dispute saga ing the price in cash. But, the tahsildar that ended in the tragic death of Rajan has asked the government to verify and his wife Ambili a couple whether the original title holdweeks ago has taken a fresh Yet to register ers had acquired the land illecase turn. gally The collector has handed . A report by the Neyyat- The police are yet over the report to government tinkara tahsildar on Wednes- to register a case for further action. day found out that the disput- against Vasantha, Revenue officials said Rajan ed four cents of land belongs and ASI Anilkumar, had filed an RTI in the Neyyatto neighbour Vasantha and whose attempt to tinkara taluk office in SeptemRajan and his family had “enber 2020 seeking details of the snatch the croached” on it one-and-half ownership of the land after cigarette lighter years ago. The report ruled from Rajan’s hand Vasantha filed a case in the out Rajan’s claim that the Neyyattinkara munsiff court allegedly led to property was poramboke (ex- the fire that killed seeking his eviction. However, cess government) land. officers reportedly misincouple. The report, submitted to formed him that the land beDistrict Collector Navjyot Khosa, said longed to three people, S Sukumaran Vasantha had bought the land from one Nair, K Kamalakshi and K Vimala. E x p r e s s N e w s S e r v i c e @T’Puram Eye on elections, govt gives Sabari rail green light EXPRESS NE W S SERVICE @ T’Puram IN what could be termed as the latest course correction by the Pinarayi Vijayan government, after its stance on women’s entry had antagonised Ayyappa devotees, the Cabinet on Wednesday decided to put the `2,815-crore Sabari rail project back on track. The state will fund half of the project through the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB). The decision to restart the longpending project aimed at facilitating the Sabarimala pilgrimage also comes with an eye on the upcoming assembly elections, especially with the Central Travancore region having favoured LDF considerably in the recent local body polls. While being a boon for passengers visiting the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple, the rail project will also pave the way for the development of the southeastern part of the state. The proposed 111-kilometre line from Angamaly in Ernakulam district to Erumeli in Kottayam district was announced during the 1997-98 railway budget. It was put in the cold storage after differences surfaced over its ● More on P4 cost. WHO rebukes China over blocking virus probe team Express News Service Months after grandstanding at the World Health Organization, saying it was ready allow an expert team to probe the origins of the deadly coronavirus, China denied them entry drawing a rare rebuke , from WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Better known as China’s poodle, Tedros said, “Today, we learned that Chinese officials have not yet finalised the necessary permissions for the team’s arrival in China. I’m very disappointed with this news, given that two members had already begun their journeys.” Central team to visit state A central team will visit the state on Friday. The Union health ministry said the team will review the public health interventions made by the state government. P2
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