KOCHI l wednesday l february 10, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 18 l LATE city EDITION w.h.o. probe into origins of coronavirus a dud Leak of virus from the Wuhan lab unlikely, claims team, inconclusive on the origin and human transmission; aligns itself with China’s line transmission from intermediary species WHO’s foreign expert Ben Embarek feels human transmission happened through an intermediary species, but identifying the actual host would require a detailed probe. Comprising experts from 10 countries, the mission landed in China on Jan 14 after being earlier stonewalled by Beijing, which had provoked the WHO’s China-friendly chief to issue a rare public rebuke 2.3 mn strict chinese monitoring ■ The run-up to the probe was marked by the US and China trading charges. China relented to host the team amid increasing global pressure, but kept the probe’s progress under strict monitoring ■ Incidentally, the Wuhan whistleblower Dr Li Wenliang’s first death anniversary was commemorated earlier this week deaths caused across the globe by the virus since december 2019 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 Rauf, Kappan raised funds for CAA stir, Delhi riots: ED T O B Y A N T O N Y @ Kochi Rauf Sherif Siddique Kappan Agency wants Rauf to be shifted to Lucknow ED has filed a petition at the PMLA court in Kochi to transfer Rauf to the Lucknow PMLA court’s custody as the chargesheet is filed there. Rauf is currently lodged at the Ernakulam Sub Jail. Rahul to hold roadshow in state, Priyanka too to campaign The Enforcement Directorate has filed a chargesheet against Campus Front of India leader Rauf Sherif, Malayali journalist Siddique Kappan and three others at a Special Court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases in Lucknow. In the chargesheet, ED claimed that Rauf and other Popular Front of India (PFI) and Campus Front (CFI) members collected funds overseas which were allegedly used for anti-CAA protests and Delhi riots. The chargesheet named Athikur Rahman, Masud Alam and Mohammad Alam, be- CONGRESS leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi will kickstart the UDF’s poll campaigning in the state capital on February 23, coinciding with the culmination of the Aishwarya Kerala Yatra. Though the yatra, led by Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala, was scheduled to conclude on February 22, it has been extended by a day because of Rahul’s inconvenience. During the event, Rahul will also launch the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) scheme, which was proposed during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Rahul is also expected to hold a roadshow from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram after the poll dates are announced. “In all likelihood, Rahul Gandhi is expected to hold a roadshow in his car on the lines of his Tamil Nadu event. Priyanka Gandhi will also be a star campaigner,” KPCC general secretary K P Anil Kumar told TNIE. Apart from Kerala, elections will be held in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam and Puducherry . Since Rahul represents Wayanad in Parliament, the stakes are high for him in the assembly polls. The AICC aims nothing short of a win for the Congress-led UDF in Kerala and has conveyed the message to the state leaders. By making Rahul the star campaigner in the assembly elections, the AICC hopes to pull off a victory ● More on P4 this time. native of Anchal, was involved in conspiracy along with PFI and CFI members settled overseas to fraudulently remit funds raised through bogus transactions to acquire the proceeds of crime. “Rauf and his PFI/CFI associates also received and possessed the said proceeds of crime in their bank accounts as well as in the form of cash. The fraudulent remittance of funds in the manner was in furtherance of a larger conspiracy to utilise the proceeds of crime in funding anti-CAA The fraudulent remittance of funds in the manner was in furtherance of a larger conspiracy to utilise the proceeds of crime in funding anti-CAA protests and Delhi riots — ED chargesheet Race trying to reach 37time against workers Rescuers trapped deep within the tunnel, 32 bodies found so far at various places V inee t Upa d h yay @ Dehradun C y n t h i a C h a n d r a n @ T’Puram sides Rauf and Kappan. The central agency is probing the money laundering aspect behind the case registered by the Uttar Pradesh police against Kappan and three others for alleged attempt to disrupt social and communal harmony after the Hathras gang-rape incident. ED had arrested Rauf last December from the Thiruvananthapuram airport while Kappan was arrested by the UP police en route to Hathras from Delhi in October. The chargesheet said Rauf, a With the toll in the Uttarakhand disaster climbing to 32, rescue workers raced against time on Tuesday to save the 37 workers trapped deep inside the Tapovan tunnel since Sunday's flash floods that choked it with loads of slush. The 37 are part of the 174 others who are still missing. Officials from the Army Medical Corps (AMC) said the trapped workers are not just without food and water, night time temperature within the tunnel could go down to as low as 20C. "They don't have food, water and additional amenities to shield themselves from the cold. Time indeed is running out for them," an AMC official agreed." But officials associated with the project said workers have enough clothing to give them some protection from the freezing temperature. Rakesh Dimri, an official from NTPC said, "The workers have war m clothes, boots, helmet with headlight, a torch, a rope, a knife and other items. I hope they will be rescued." The key to survival is the availabliity of air vents, said medical experts. Dr Vipul Kandwal, a medical practitioner in Dehradun, said, "If they are not drowned, air passage would act as a lifesaver. The problem with sludge is it blocks almost everything, including oxygen." Dr Adarsh Singh concurred. "Time is not on their side, as a human can survive without food or water or both for a week or so under such conditions." However, they do not rule out the possibility of a miracle. "We have witnessed miracles and I am certain that our forces will save all those men. Whole nation's prayers and wishes are with them," said Dr Singh. Meanwhile, officials have deployed heli-bound Laser and Electromagnetic Pulse Imager to look for air pockets in the 1.9 km long tunnel network at the hydropower project site. Manjunath P C, commandant of Indian Reserve Battalion said, "This will act as a multiplier in our efforts to save the trapped workers." Meanwhile, six bodies were found at different locations on Tuesday, including Raini village, Tapovan, Nandprayag, Karnpyarag and Haridwar, taking the total body count to 32. From within the tunnel, nine dismembered body parts were found. Also five vehicles that were swept into the tunnel have been recovered. They include a Scorpio and a JCB. Naval divers have been deployed to search for bodies at various locations, including in the vicinity of the Tapovan project as more than 100 workers were at the site when tragedy struck. Aparna Kumar, deputy-inspector general, ITBP, Dehradun sector said, "No stone has been left unturned to save those men. We have reached beyond 100 metres into the 180-metre stretch of the tunnel where the men are trapped." Many feel at this pace the operation to reach them could take three-four more days. P11 express read Deposit compensation, SC tells Maradu builders Kochi: A year after the demolition of four apartment complexes in Maradu, the apex court directed the builders to deposit half the amount earmarked as compensation for flat owners. Else, the builders will have to face revenue recovery, the SC warned. P4 RT-PCR test rate hiked to L1,700 in private labs T’Puram: The health department has increased the RT-PCR rate by J200 to J1,700 for tests conducted in private labs. Private hospitals and labs had approached the High Court after the state slashed the rate from J2,100 to J1,500. P2 18 pages, including 4 pages of KOCHI Express (Clockwise from left) An aerial view of the Tapovan barrage two days after the flash floods; rescuers try to reach the tunnel from another end; and a recovered body | Shekhar Yadav Rescue effort Over 100 personnel from ITBP, SDRF and NDRF part of the rescue team. In all, over 800 personnel are on the site. 700 personnel are on standby Two excavator/JCB machines have excavated over 6,700 tonnes of slush from the tunnel. They have reached 130 m into the 30 ft high, 25 ft wide tunnel. But muck removal is taking time, reducing the cleared part to 90 m A drone is being used to look inside the tunnel to find possible entry points through the slush/muck protests and Delhi riots, and more specifically in the purported visit of PFI/CFI members by putting to use proceeds of crime for disturbing communal harmony, instigating riots and spreading terror,” the chargesheet stated. The chargesheet also said that Athikur, Masud, Kappan and Alam were travelling to Hathras to utilise the proceeds of crime and that they have committed offences of money laundering. Interestingly the ED finding is that , the `5,000 transferred to the account of Athikur’s account by Ahamed Shibili, an associate of Rauf, is part of the proceeds of crime. Proud to be Hindustani Muslim, says Azad after PM’s teary farewell speech E xpress N ews S ervice @ New Delhi An emotional Prime Minister Narendra Modi bade a tearful farewell to Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, whose current tenure ends on February 15. Azad signed off with a poignant speech that drew a parallel between the lives of Muslims in India and Pakistan, and said he prided himself in being a Hindustani Musalman. Asserting that India was untainted by the evil practices prevalent in countries like Pakistan, Azad said, “If any Mus- lim in the world should be proud, it should be the Hindustani Muslims. I am among those who have never been to Pakistan, but when I read about the evils that exist in Pakistani society I think Hindus, tani Muslims should be proud.” Modi’s speech was interspersed with many long pauses as he broke down while recalling his long association with Azad Describing him as his true friend. Modi said: “his work will inspire generations of MPs to come. Posts come, high offices come, power comes, but one must learn from Ghulam Nabi Azadji how to handle them.” Recalling the 2007 terror attack in Kashmir, where a grenade was lobbed at a bus carrying Gujarat pilgrims, Modi said, “Nabiji was as concerned as he would have been if his family members were victims. He was the first person to call me. During that call, he continuously wept,” Modi said, adding that he would always expect Azad to share his inputs with him. Red Fort riots ‘key instigator’ Sidhu arrested E xpress N ews S ervice @ New Delhi Small-time actor Deep Sidhu, who was on the run after allegedly instigating a mob to desecrate the Tricolour at the Red Fort on Republic Day, was arrested from his hideout in Haryana’s Karnal. Sidhu carried a reward of `1 lakh. A team of Southwestern Range of Special Cell led by Deputy Commissioner of Police Sanjeev Yadav made the arrest around 10.30pm at Karnal, where he had been hiding for the past 15 days. However, he kept releasing provocative videos to instigate Punjab and Haryana youth, police said. Sidhu was produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Prigya Gupta at the Tis Hazari Court on Tuesday afternoon and was remanded in sevenday police custody. Crime branch officials claimed that the actor had instigated the mob to break the barricades. Police try to take away a KSU worker who barged into Kerala University Vice-Chancellor V P Mahadevan Pillai’s room in T’Puram on Tuesday. KSU activists were protesting against alleged mark tampering by university staff | Vincent Pulickal Protest escalates to newer levels 7 PSC CPO rank-holders threaten to jump from a building next to the administrative office to gain the government’s attention. P4 Ramesh Chennithala and Mullappally Ramachandran come down on Thomas Isaac & E P Jayarajan for belittling the protesters. P4 The CMO seeks the number of employees whose temporary postings were made permanent during the UDF government’s tenure. P4 Don’t use Sabarimala as poll plank, address devotees’ woes jointly: NSS EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Kottayam Lashing out at attempts to use the Sabarimala issue as a poll plank to woo devotees, Nair Service Society g e n e r a l s e c re t a r y G Sukumaran Nair said he expects a more responsible and sincere effort from political parties to protect the right to practise religion and to live according to one’s belief. “Around 95 per cent of the people in Kerala are believers of one faith or another. It is not Hindus alone who believe in Lord Ayyappa. The sentiments of Ayyappa devotees have been hurt and I want all political parties to come together to protect our rights. What is happening at Sabarimala today can happen to any other religion tomorrow. So I want a more responsible approach from political parties to address the woes of devotees and to ensure that such incidents don’t repeat,” he told TNIE on Tuesday . Earlier in the day, a statement issued in that regard had led to speculation on the intention of the NSS leadership. But Sukumaran Nair clarified there was no change in the political stand of the organisation. “We don’t support any front and will continue our stand of equidistance,” he said. The statement said the implementation of the verdict by the five-member Supreme Court bench would adversely affect the centuries-old rituals and practices of various temples across the state. ● More on P4
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