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Felt like a nationalist caught in ISIS camp: P Padmakumar

(Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 2, 2016, PTI): Four days after joining CPI(M) as a mark of protest against "demonetisation and political violence", a local RSS leader has returned to the Sangh Parivar fold.

P Padmakumar, a former state Secretary of the 'Hindu Aikya Vedi', had joined CPI(M) on November 27, after snapping his fourdecadelong link with the Sangh.

In the presence of CPI(M) district Secretary Anavoor Nagappan, Padmakumar had told reporters here that he had decided to join CPI(M), after being fed up with the "political violence" and "inhumane stand" of the BJPRSS.

However, the leader announced his return to RSS fold in a meeting organised by Yuva Morcha here last evening.

"My experience and feelings while being in CPI(M) was similar to that of a nationalist caught in the midst of IS terrorists," he alleged.

He also claimed that the press release distributed by CPI(M) leaders at the press conference on November 27 did not reflect his views.

Padmakumar, while announcing his decision to join CPI(M), had said that "I was against the inhumane attitude of RSS and its politics of violence. The demonetisation of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 was the last straw and I decided to quit the outfit.

Loksabha adjourns for the day amid incessant Oppn protests

(New Delhi, Dec 2, 2016, PTI): With no signs of thaw in the deadlock with the government, a combative Opposition today continued their vociferous protests in the Lok Sabha over the demonetisation issue, forcing adjournment of the House for the day without transacting much business.

Marking another week of virtual washout of proceedings barring the passage of the Bill to amend the IT Act without discussion, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the proceedings for the day little past 1230 hours.

Opposition members, including those from Congress, TMC, AIUDF and the Left parties, trooped into the Well, resorting to highdecibel sloganeering. Some of them were even howling as the proceedings went on. AIADMK, RJD and NCP members were seen standing at their seats.

As the ruckus continued during Question Hour, a visibily peeved Mahajan said it was not proper to disturb other members and also warned the protesting members not to disrupt Ministers when they were giving replies.

"I am warning you, I will have to name you... I am again requesting you, this is not good, this is not proper, don't disturb others," she said.

While mentioning that they have been doing it for several days, Mahajan said, "I have not prevented you but please don't curb the rights of other members... Don't come to this side (in front of Treasury benches). Don't disrupt the Ministers who are replying to questions".

Notices for adjournment motion moved by various members from the Opposition were not allowed by the Speaker.

Amid the din, the House was adjourned for a brief while till noon amid protests during Question Hour, where as many as seven questions and supplementaries were taken up.

Members continued their protests after the House resumed at noon. The Zero Hour went on for little over halfanhour before Mahajan adjourned the proceedings for the day.

Opposition parties have locked horns with the government over the issue of demonetisation of high value currencies, with the Lok Sabha witnessing a virtual washout since the Winter Session began on November 16.

Jaitley tells Pakistan to introspect

(New Delhi, Dec 2, 2016, PTI): Blaming Pakistan for having uneasy relationship with India, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said it is for Islamabad to introspect as to why there are tensions between the two neighbours.

"It is a serious situation. Right from the day this government had been formed and even prior to that, India has taken one step after another honestly trying to improve relations with Pakistan," he said at HT Leadership Summit here.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a lot of initiatives including unconventional ones but then the response was Pathankot or Uri attack, prompted by Pakistan, he said.

"This cannot be normal as far as IndoPak relationships are concerned. If there are tensions, it is for Pakistan to introspect really why there are tensions," he said.

Asked about impact of change in regime in the US, Jaitley said the relationship between the two countries is expected to strengthen further.

"I have not the least doubt that India's relations with the United States would continue to be on the same plank as it was, probably growing and maturing almost by the day," he said.

"This was unusual election as far as the US was concerned.

When one of the world's most powerful democracies through a fair electoral process takes a decision, we have to accept the decision," he added.

CBI Director Anil Sinha retires; Asthana takes charge

(New Delhi, Dec 2, 2016, PTI): CBI Director Anil Sinha today retired from the post handing over the baton to his secondincommand, Gujaratcadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana, as the government did not name any fulltime chief.

Asthana, a Gujaratcadre officer of 1984batch, got elevated as the secondincommand in CBI two days ago when Special Director R K Dutta, who was among the frontrunners for the top post, was shifted to the Home Ministry as a Special Secretary. The post of second special secretary was created for the first time in the ministry.

It is the first time in last 10 years, that no new CBI chief has been named to succeed an incumbent. Sinha completed his twoyear tenure today.

"The competent authority has approved assignment of additional charge of the post of Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), to Rakesh Asthana, IPS (GJ: 1984), Additional Director, CBI with effect from the date of relinquishment of charge by Anil Kumar Sinha, IPS (BH:1979) on completion of his tenure with immediate effect and until further orders," an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training said.

The CBI chief is selected through a collegium comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition or largest party in opposition in Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India. The collegium has not been able to meet.

60yearold Sinha took charge of the agency when it was earning sobriquet of "caged parrot" and "closure bureau of investigation" and he managed to steady the ship by keeping away from media and ensuring a low profile with limited social circle.

Sinha proved to be a softspoken yet assertive leader for the agency who guided investigation in a number of important cases like the Sheena Bora murder case and Vijay Mallya loan default case.

In Mallya's case, Sinha ensured that a case is registered against the flamboyant liquor baron for his alleged default of loans extended to his nowdefunct Kingfisher Airlines even though banks did not approach CBI with a complaint.

He directed his teams to explore role of media baron Peter Mukerjea in the Sheena Bora murder case after the agency was handed over the investigation.

Sinha ensured that CBI rigorously follows cases of piling of Nonperforming Assets in public sector banks even though banks were reluctant to initiate a probe in these cases fearing loss of possible middle path which can be arrived at through discussions with defaulters.

Sinha, an alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University where he studied during the first decade of its inception, follows his interests in psychology and economics and loves to spend a quiet time with his family.

Crowds throng banks and treasuries in Kerala

(Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 2, 2016, PTI): Banks and treasuries in Kerala are witnessing heavy rush and serpentine queues today for the second consecutive day, with people queueing up to withdraw salaries and pensions.

The state government had asked RBI to release Rs 127 crore to meet the demand for distributing salaries and pensions, but received only Rs 57 crore till 11 AM, official sources here said.

As many as 50 treasuries are yet to receive any amount and the treasury employees are waiting at the banks to get the money released, they said.

Irrespective of cities and villages, senior citizens, including women, could be seen queueing up before treasuries to withdraw monthly pension since early morning.

A elderly man, who queued up before a suburban treasury here, said he travelled over 10 kms to reach the treasury to collect his monthly pension but was told that there was no money.

Another pensioner said she was queueing up since 5 am before the treasury.

Protesting the fund crunch in treasuries and difficulties faced by people, around 50 government employees, under the aegis of NGO association, took out a march to the district treasury here.

Meanwhile, state Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac said in New Delhi that the government was considering a plan to shift the accounts of state PSUs, including that of Kerala State Beverages Corporation, to district cooperative banks, with an aim to resolve the crisis faced by the cooperative sector in view of the Centre's demonetisation move.

"Many public sector undertakings including Beverages are getting fresh currencies. In my opinion, it is better to deposit the amount in cooperative banks. A final decision in this regard will be taken after discussing it with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan," he told reporters.

About Rs 3,000 crore is needed every month to disburse salaries to government servants and pensioners in Kerala.

The strength of salaried employees and pensioners in the state is over five lakh each.

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