Connecting Music

Connecting Music HD Videos

Friday, December 31, 2010

25 paise and below coins not acceptable from June 30

December 30, 2010

New Delhi: Come June 30, 50 paise will be the minimum coin accepted in the markets as all denominations below it will cease to be legal currency. "From this date, these coins (denomination of 25 paise and below) shall cease to be a legal tender for payment as well as on account," the Finance Ministry said in a statement Thursday.

It further said that the minimum denomination coin acceptable for transaction will be 50 paise from that date.

Also, the entries in books of accounts, pricing of products, services and taxes should be rounded off to 50 paise or whole rupee from that date. "The procedure for call in shall be notified separately by the Reserve Bank of India," it added.

Lookout circular for Citibank manager accused of multi-crore fraud

December 30, 2010

Gurgaon: A Citibank manager accused of cheating investors of what is now said to be Rs.200 crore after promising to double their money continues to be on the run, police said Wednesday, a day after one of India's biggest banking frauds came to light.

The Gurgaon police has so far sealed 81 bank accounts of different banks into which Shivraj Puri, the bank's relationship manager here had transferred money.

"At least Rs.200 crore have been transferred from Puri's account to these 81 accounts," Gurgaon Police Commissioner S.S. Deswal said.

Haryana Police has issued a lookout circular for Puri after failing to track him down.

His passport details have been sent to all international airports in the country to prevent him from fleeing, said a police officer in this upscale satellite town adjoining the Indian capital.

Puri reportedly managed to con high net worth investors after forging Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) documents purportedly offering lucrative returns which he said enjoyed Citibank's backing.

Of the sealed 81 accounts, three are in the State Bank of India in the name of his relatives, 18 in Citibank and remaining 60 in different banks.

SEBI has denied the existence of schemes made popular by Puri.

Since the task of opening new accounts had been assigned to Puri, he managed to dupe several people without the bank's knowledge.

In the process, he opened as many as 18 accounts in various banks and asked those who fell into his trip to put their money in them.

Police and bank sources had initially estimated that he duped people of over Rs.100 crore before he was busted this week, unveiling one of the biggest frauds in the Indian banking industry in recent times.

Police said they had recovered Rs.3.85 crore of the duped money.

Some of the accounts he opened were in the Gurgaon branch of Citibank and in the name of his relatives Premnath, Sheela and Deeksha.

"Initial investigation has revealed he opened 18 accounts and transferred huge amounts. We have recovered Rs.3.85 crore and are investigating the involvement of his three relatives," a police officer said.

But police are baffled because none of the victims of the fraud has come forward to claim the money.

Citibank has said it too was investigating the mammoth fraud but assured customers that their money was safe.

"We recently initiated an investigation into a certain set of suspicious transactions based on documents forged by an employee involving a few accounts in our Gurgaon branch. We immediately reported the matter to all the relevant regulatory and law enforcement authorities," a spokesperson said.

"This issue does not impact other accounts, transactions or customers of the bank," the official added.

Cases of cheating and forgery have been registered at the DLF Phase 2 police station. The Gurgaon police commissioner has constituted five police teams to solve the case.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Four Lashkar terrorists who entered Mum could be foreigners'

24 Dec 2010

Mumbai: Four alleged members of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), who sneaked into the city to carry out 'violent' attacks, could be 'foreigners' and are believed to have infiltrated into the country from the Bangladeshi border, police said. 'The nationality of the four terrorists could not be ascertained yet, but they do not appear to be Indians. They could be from other country or countries,' Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjeev Dayal told PTI. The city police yesterday said that four suspected LeT operatives have sneaked into Mumbai recently to carry out 'violent' attacks with the aim of causing 'destruction' ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations.

'The four jihadis were identified as Abdul Kareem Moosa, Noor Abu Ilahi, Walid Jinnah and Mahfooz Alam. The four recently sneaked into the city to carry out extremely dangerous activities,' Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy had told reporters last night. Roy had released a sketch of Jinnah and issued an advisory to the citizens of the metropolis to remain alert. Sources said they had received information that the LeT operatives had sneaked into the country through the
borders of Bangladesh. 'There is also a possibility that Jinnah could have changed his appearance, as his sketch was released. They were co-ordinating with the state and central intelligence agencies to track them down,' said a senior police official, requesting anonymity.

On Tuesday, the Centre sounded a terror alert for Mumbai and Ahmedabad following specific Intelligence inputsthat the LeT teams may have entered the two cities to carry out strikes.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Karunakaran was a kingmaker in national politics: Antony

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 23: Defence Minister A.K. Antony paid glowing tributes to departed Congress leader K. Karunakaran Thursday, describing him as a kingmaker in national politics.

Four-time chief minister of Kerala, Karunakaran passed away Thursday evening at 5.30 p.m. at a private hospital here.

'At one point of time, Karunakaran went on to be a kingmaker of national politics, such was his stature,' said Antony.

Antony arrived at Karunakaran's home late in the evening to pay his tributes.

'I am sad that I was not able to see him after he was admitted to the hospital. I reached here cancelling a programme that I had when I learned that he was serious. I reached two hours late and hence could not see him.

'I first came in contact with Karunakaran 46 years back when I was elected as the Kerala Students Union president and since then, we have had a long and enduring relationship. It is true that at times we have had differences of opinion but even during that time, we had the best of personal relations and we made sure that there was always a mutual respect,' said Antony.

'I always believed that Karunakaran was one who led the party from the front in the state. I used to meet him every time I came to the city,' he added.

Antony occupied the Kerala chief minister's post thrice and also replaced Karunakaran on two occasions following political developments.

Kerala mourns as ’Leader’ departs, cremation Saturday

Thiruvananthapuram: Veteran Congress leader K. Karunakaran, a four-time chief minister of Kerala who was a pale shadow of his original self in his final days, died here Thursday evening of old age and illness, enveloping the entire state in sorrow.

Despite rains, thousands poured on to the streets as the body of the 92-year-old was taken from the Ananthapuri Hospital, where he was admitted Dec 10, to his home less than 10 km away in a closed ambulance as news of his death spread rapidly.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi will visit Kerala Friday to pay homage to a man who once rubbed shoulders with Jawaharlal Nehru and was a confidant of Indira Gandhi, a closeness that made him Kerala's undisputed Congress leader. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will attend the cremation Saturday.

The Marxist-led Kerala government announced a public holiday Friday. The cremation will take place in his hometown Thrissur Christmas day Saturday, the event expected to draw a mass of people from all over Kerala.

Karunakaran's condition deteriorated last week and he was put on the ventilator. His condition improved in a few days but he suffered a stroke Wednesday. He died at 5.30 p.m. Thursday. He is survived by his politician son K. Muraleedharan and daughter Padmaja Venugopal.

As Congress leaders described his death as a huge loss to the party, Marxist Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan rushed to the hospital to salute a man he had politically opposed all his life.

"He was a leader who relentlessly worked for the development of Kerala, and his attachment to the ordinary worker was something that was unique to him," Achuthanandan said.

So thick was the rush of mourners that the chief minister had to struggle to enter the hospital. Later, as the body was taken to his home, the rains began to batter the city, drenching everyone.

K.M. Mani, who served in all his four cabinets, said it was amazing to see Karunakaran handle crisis moments.

"It was a thing that made him a great leader because at times of crisis he always appeared to be a man of great determination," said Mani, who heads the Kerala Congress (Mani).

On Friday, his body would be taken to the Congress office and kept at the Durbar Hall at the State Secretariat for people to pay homage.

Born in Kannur July 5, 1918, Karunakaran tasted his first electoral victory in in 1945 when he was elected to the Trissur Municipal Council on a Congress ticket.

He was elected to the Kerala assembly seven times consecutively from Mala in Trissur, from 1967 to 1991. He was a minister, leader of the opposition thrice, chief minister four times, and was elected to the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha thrice and twice respectively.

Karunakaran survived two serious road accidents in the 1990s, one of which needed treatment in the US.

But even as he built up the Congress in Kerala, making it a formidable opponent of the well-entrenched Communists, no party leader could rise in the state unless minus Karunakaran's blessings.

His main rival in the Congress was A.K. Antony, now the defence minister.
He groomed more than three dozen Congress leaders including the present state party president, Ramesh Chennithala.

His first major setback came when he had to resign as chief minister a month after taking charge following a judicial stricture over the death of a young man accused of being a Maoist, post-Emergency.

The disappearance of Rajan, the engineering college student, haunted Karunakaran for the rest of his life.

He had to quit as chief minister again in March 1995 when his name was linked to a police official in what was known as the "ISRO spy scandal".

Karunakaran was the industry minister in the cabinet of P.V. Narasimha Rao.

It was his undisguised love for his son Muraleedharan, who took to politics after failing in business and was elected to the Lok Sabha, that began to turn many Congress members against him.

As rival Antony grew in strength, in New Delhi and Kerala, Karunakaran made political mistakes.

To hurt Antony, he did the unthinkable and supported the Left in a Lok Sabha election. Then, he dramatically dumped the Congress and formed his own party in 2005, with the intention of crossing over to the Left.

That did not happen and he returned to the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF). He later merged his party with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), a Left ally.

Finally, Karunakaran returned to the Congress. But his son refused to follow suit and, to his shock, renounced all ties with his father.

From then on, Karunakaran was a broken man. He occasionally visited the Congress office but was no more the giant of a leader that he was for four long decades.

Thiruvananthapuram comes to a halt, political leaders praise Karunakaran

Thiruvananthapuram : Huge crowds thronged the roads outside the hospital where four-time former chief minister K. Karunakaran died and along the route to his home as political leaders cutting across the divide acknowledged his tall stature.

The capital city came to a halt and traffic stopped when the ambulance carrying the body of Karunakaran, who passed away Thursday evening at 5.30 p.m., was taken from the Anathapuri hospital to his home near here.

A large police force found it difficult to control the surging crowds that had gathered at the hospital upon hearing of the demise of the 92-year-old veteran Congressman.

Tears rolled down the cheeks of many people. Senior Congress leaders found it difficult to come near the body of Karunakaran with his ordinary supporters jostling for space to have one last look of the departed leader.

Even Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, who rushed to the hospital on hearing of the demise of his long time political adversary, had a tough time trying to come near the body.

'He was one who relentlessly worked for the development of the state and his attachment with the ordinary worker was something which was unique to him only,' said Achuthanandan.

Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy described Karunakaran as one who was a 'practical politician'.

'My relation with him dates 40 years back when I first arrived as a legislator in the assembly and he was the leader of party. Over the years through his hard work and determination he went on to be the senior most leader in our party. His greatest virtue as I see was his closeness with the ordinary supporter of the party and his loss is a great loss for the country,' said Chandy.

As the body reached his home in the city, the skies opened up. However, that did not deter the massive crowd of supporters who were waiting for the body to arrive.

Left Democratic Front convenor Vaikom Viswan, in his message, said that though he had differences of opinion with the departed leader, one aspect of Karunakaran that made him dear to even his adversaries was the way he used to behave with all.

'His behaviour was exemplary in nature and it was this character of his which won him accolades,' said Viswan.

K.M. Mani, who served in all of Karunakaran's four cabinets, said it was amazing to see him handle crises.

'Karunakaran's greatest ability was to come out unscathed from any crisis, and it was the thing that made him a great leader because in times of crisis he always appeared to be a man of great determination,' recalled Mani who heads the Kerala Congress (Mani).

R. Balakrishnan Pillai, a veteran Kerala politician who was close to Karunakaran and was in three of his cabinets, described him as a leader with a vision who used his Delhi connections for the development of the state.

'He was the one who virtually single handedly guided the Congress party when it went through bad times,' said Pillai.

The cremation will be held in his home town in Thrissur Saturday morning, president of the Congress' state unit Ramesh Chennithala told reporters outside the hospital where Karunakaran was admitted since Dec 10.

Friday has been declared a public holidy, and Saturday is a holiday on account of Christmas.

'The body would be taken to his home and Friday morning it would be taken to the Congress party office. From there it would be kept at the Durbar Hall at the State Secretariat and in the afternoon It would be taken through the national highway to Thrissur. The cremation would take place at the same place where his wife has been laid to rest,' a tearful Chennithala said.

The 92-year-old veteran leader's condition deteriorated last week and he was put on the ventilator.

He recovered a few days later and was removed from the ventilator, but his condition worsened Wednesday morning and he suffered a stroke. He breathed his last at 5.30 p.m. Thursday.

Sonia, Chidambaram pay homage to Karunakaran

Thiruvananthapuram: A steady stream of mourners led by Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday paid homage to veteran Congress leader K Karunakaran at his residence here where his mortal remains are kept.

The UPA Chairperson, accompanied by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, placed a wreath and paid her respects to
Karunakaran, who passed away at a private hospital on Thursday after a prolonged illness. Gandhi spoke to Karunakaran's politician son Muraleedharan and daughter Padmaja Venugopal and conveyed her condolences.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is scheduled to attend the funeral, Congress sources said.Union Ministers A K Antony, Vayalar Ravi, and other senior Congress leaders from the state paid their respects to the departed leader.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to arrive in Thrissur Saturday where the veteran leader is to be cremated.

Sonia, who reached the capital along with Chidambaram in a special flight at 10 am, was welcomed by union ministers Vayalar Ravi, Mullapally Ramachandran and KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala at the airport.

At 8.15 a.m. Friday, his body was moved to the party headquarters where a huge crowd was waiting to have a last glimpse of the veteran. Karunakaran's body will be taken to the Durbar Hall in the State Secretariat.

By noon, his journey began to his hometown Thrissur where he will be cremated Saturday. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to attend the last rites.

Party officials said all efforts are being made to see that the funeral procession makes brief stops at major towns like Kollam, Alappuzha and Ernakulam for people to pay their respects.

As a mark of respect to the departed leader, the state government has declared a public holiday Friday and all university and state public service examinations and interviews has been postponed.

Karunakaran's condition deteriorated last week and he was put on the ventilator. His condition improved in a few days but he suffered a stroke Wednesday. He died at 5.30 p.m. Thursday. He is survived by his politician son K. Muraleedharan and daughter Padmaja Venugopal.

Karunakaran's death has cast a shadow of sorrow on Kerala, almost eclipsing the Christmas spirit and joy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Terror originating from Pakistan unacceptable to world: Sarkozy

Dec 7, 2010

MUMBAI: Promising to be with India to ensure justice in 26/11, French President Nicolas Sarkozy Tuesday said New Delhi had shown remarkable restraint after the attack. He emphasized it was unacceptable for terror to originate from Pakistan.

"I want to tell you that we will never forget (the terrorist attack on Mumbai) and will be with India so that justice is rendered," he said at a 26/11 commemorative function in Oberoi-Trident Hotel here.

"The Mumbai attack proved one more time that terrorism is nothing but criminal activity. It pretends to act for political or religious objectives, but it is just savagery. It pretends to serve ideals but it injures them through its acts," Sakozy said in French.

Terrorists from Pakistan sneaked into Mumbai in November 2008 and went on a killing spree, leaving at least 166 people dead. Many of them were foreigners and included two French nationals. The Oberoi-Trident hotel was also attacked.

Sarkozy said, "We know of the price the Pakistan population is paying for terrorism but it is not acceptable for the world that terrorist attacks originate from or (terrorists) are trained in Pakistan."

He also praised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for showing restraint after the Mumbai strike.

"The Indian prime minister has shown remarkable restraint following the attack and is continuing the dialogue with Pakistan and has tenaciously created the politics of dialogue, which France supports," said Sarkozy.

"For us all who are explicitly threatened by the Al Qaida and its accomplices, it is not enough to protect ourselves from such attacks. We must find a way to prevent them from repeating themselves. It is not acceptable that terrorist groups operating from neighbouring territories are able to threaten the security of India," said Sarkozy.

"It is not acceptable for Afghanistan and our troops in Afghanistan that Taliban and Al Qaida should find refuge in the frontier zones of Pakistan."

While the French president was dressed in a black suit, blue shirt and a navy blue tie, his wife Carla Bruni stood beside him, wearing a white outfit.

Sarkozy said France values its relations with Pakistan. "A Pakistan which is democratic, stable and prosperous, is in the interest of this region and the world," he said.

"France itself has been menaced and blackmailed by Islamist terrorists to whom it will not give in and France has intensified its efforts to eradicate terrorism," he added.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange arrested in London

07 Dec 2010

The founder of the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, Julian Assange, has been arrested by the Metropolitan Police.

The 39-year-old Australian denies allegations he sexually assaulted two women in Sweden.

Scotland Yard said Mr Assange was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant by appointment at a London police station at 0930 GMT.

He is due to appear at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court later.

Mr Assange is accused by the Swedish authorities of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape, all alleged to have been committed in August 2010.

Monday, December 6, 2010

WikiLeaks: LeT planned to kill Modi, set up bases in south India

06 Dec 2010

Washington: Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), blamed for Mumbai terror attack, had planned to assassinate Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and use Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu as a strike base in southern India, a leaked US diplomatic cable reveals.

A June 19, 2009 secret State Department cable signed (Secretary of State Hillary) Clinton released by whistleblower site WikiLeaks also suggests a dangerously expanding LeT network in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

The cable is marked 'NOFORN', shorthand for not to be shared with foreign governments.

'India - LT member Shafiq Khafa possibly preparing for operations: Tearline reports, & Hussein, an India-based Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LT) member, continued operational planning on three tasks in early June,' the secret intelligence cable relating to terrorist activities around the world read.

'The tasks were associated with a possible operation against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendar Modi, the establishment of a training camp, and unspecified work involving a car. Hussein would coordinate his activities with an India-based colleague identified as Sameer,' it said.

'Separate tearline indicates, &Pakistan-based Shafiq Khafa prepared in mid-June with India-based associate S J for possible operations in India. Khafa was looking for information on possible training sites in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala,' it said.

'19. (S//NF) DS/TIA/ITA notes earlier credible tearline suggests Khafa's network is striving to stand up two teams in southern India that rely on the support of LT members based in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Nepal,' another paragraph of the cable read.

'Although specific details of planned LT attacks remain unknown, late-May intelligence indicates Khafa's cells were engaged in surveillance activities of potential targets, likely in southern India.

'Early-May reporting further suggests Kerala or Tamil Nadu may be used as a base of operations following the establishment of a facilitation team in Sri Lanka, with the estimated time of completion for setting up the facilitation route and camps to be two to three months,' the cable said.

Obama asks Hu to send 'clear message' to North Korea

06 Dec 2010

Washington : US President Barack Obama today asked his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao to 'send a clear message' to North Korea that its provocations like shelling of the South Korean territory were 'unacceptable'.

Obama called Hu to discuss the situation in the Korean peninsula and other international issues.

'The President emphasised the need for North Korea to halt its provocative behaviour and to meet its international obligations, including its commitments in the 2005 Six Party Joint Declaration,' the White House said in a statement issued in the wee hours of Monday.

Hu told Obama that a 'cool and rational' response from all sides is needed on the crisis in the Korean peninsula, Xinhua news agency reported.

The two Presidents discussed their common interest in peace and stability in Northeast Asia and the priority of
ensuring the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

'They agreed on the importance of the United States and China working together toward these shared goals,' the statement said.

During the telephonic call, Obama condemned the North Korean shelling of a South Korean island on November 23 and its pursuit of a uranium enrichment program in defiance of its obligations.

'He urged China to work with us and others to send a clear message to North Korea that its provocations are
unacceptable,' the White House said.

Hu told Obama: 'Under the current situation, it is imperative that the response is cool and rational and that we
firmly prevent a deterioration of the situation,' the foreign ministry quoted Hu as saying.

'Under the current situation, it is very possible that tensions on the Korean peninsula could further escalate and get out of control if not properly handled.' Obama also highlighted the American commitment to the security of our allies in the region, it added. Raising the issue of Iran, Obama stressed the importance of P5+1 unity in order to address Iran's nuclear program, the White House said. PTI

Friday, December 3, 2010

Advani's appeal to government: Concede JPC demand

03 Dec 2010

New Delhi : Stating that the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was indifferent to corruption, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Thursday appealed to the government to accept the opposition demand for a parliamentary probe into the 2G spectrum allocation and let parliament function smoothly.

'I appeal to the government on behalf of the entire opposition that for the parliament to function smoothly they should concede the demand for JPC,' Advani said at a press conference here as both houses were adjourned for the 15th successive day over the demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe.

The press conference, called to explain the opposition stance on the stalemate, was also attended by his party colleagues Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and S.S. Ahluwalia as well as leaders from the National Democratic Alliance's Janata Dal-United, Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal.

Accusing the government of not being serious about curbing corruption, Advani said 2G spectrum allocation was a 'multi-dimensional scam which undermines democracy'.

'The government is indifferent to the problem of corruption...This is something, NDA feels, has to be fought against because it is not only corroding society but affects the government as a whole,' he said.

He said the NDA had decided to fight against corruption not only in the precincts of parliament but also take the issue to the people. The NDA would hold rallies throughout the country and also invite other opposition parties.

'We have reached a stage at which a crusade at the people's level is needed,' he said.

Advani also alleged that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) were being used as instruments for achieving political ends.

Taking exception to the way the government had appointed P.J. Thomas as the Chief Vigilance Commissioner, overlooking the objections of Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, Advani said the government should take cognisance of Supreme Court observations concerning him in the 2G spectrum case.

He said Thomas should resign.

Accusing the government of not taking steps to bring money of Indians stashed illegally in foreign banks, he said India was among the 14 countries that had not ratified the UN convention of corruption.

Advani admitted that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had its role in examining the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on the 2G spectrum, but could not examine the tapes that had surfaced.

Referring to the conversations of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, excerpts of which have been published in magazines, Advani said business houses had been lobbying to determine who should be a minister and what portfolio he should have.

'The scams that have surfaced now must be probed thoroughly. We think nothing short of JPC can do the task.'

In Advani's view, if the issue of inflation dominated the monsoon session, corruption dominated the winter session.

Referring to the three meetings held to break the deadlock in parliament over the demand for JPC, he said opposition unity on the demand grew firmer with each meeting.

The opposition, he said, was willing to sit extra hours to complete the business if the government conceded the JPC demand.

Big B in Kerala ad an year after party's reservations

03 Dec 2010

Thiruvananthapuram: Nearly an year after the CPI-M central leadership shot down a proposal to make Amitabh Bachchan brand ambassador of Kerala tourism, the Bollywood icon has been prominently featured in an advertisement of the state-sponsored shopping festival alongwith Malayalam's Mohanlal.

The ad issued the other day to mark the inaugural of the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF) gives the impression that Bachchan also has become a brand ambassador of the fourth edition of the 46-day event.

The ad showed a scene from military thriller 'Kandahar' co-starring Bachchan and Mohanlal and being directed by Major Ravi of 'Kurukshetra' and 'Kirthichakra' fame.

The commercial termed it as an 'advertisement done for Kerala Government by Lt Col Dr Mohanlal and Ashirwad Max Lab Films.'It showed Mohalal, who is a Lt Colonel in Territorian Army, in mlitary uniform with Bachchan standing beside in civilian clothes.

Earlier,the CPI-M central leadership had come in the way of the state Tourism Department making Bachchan as its brand ambassador on the ground that he had signed a similar contract for Gujarat under the Narendra Modi Government.

When asked about the incongruity, a GKSF official said the ad was released by Ashirwad films with which the event had a contract as one of the main sponsors . 'Any creative matter released by them have to be issued by us under the contract', he said.

The office of state Tourism Minister, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, said the Government had nothing directly to do with the advertisement' 'It is a mere coincidence that the next film of Ashirwad happens to be Kandahar in which Bachchan appears in a lead role', a spokesman for the minister said.

' Linking the earlier episode with the current event twould only create unnecessary cotroversies, in which we are not interested', he said.

About an year back, Bachchan had offered his readiness to be the brand ambassador for Kerala during a television interview.

Taking cue from it, the state Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who is also CPI-M polit bureau member, wrote to Bachchan inviting him to the assignment. The proposal,however, came under sharp attack from pro-Left cultural circles. With the issue snowballing into a controversy, senior CPI-M leader Sitharam Yechury openly commented against the decision, following which the proposal was shelved.

The GKSF is touted as a major shopping festival to attract both domestic and foreign visitors to buy a variety of things in shops across the state. Over 6000 traders had joined the event, offering various rebates and prizes including 101 Kg of gold.

Organised in partnership with Tourism department,the event had a turn over of Rs 4000 crore last year and it was targetted to increase this year to Rs 5000 crore.PTI

Madani case: 2 people booked

03 Dec 2010

Madikeri : Police Inspector General A S N Murthy today said cases have been booked against two people for entering Kodagu in the guise of journalists and trying to destroy evidence against terrorist Madani.

Addressing reporters here this evening, Mr Murthy said a group of people had visited Kodagu and tried to destroy evidence against terrorist Madani.

The accused had visited Hostota where terrorist Nazir was staying.

Two cases are booked at Somwarpet and Siddapur police stations under section 506 IPC. The district Crime Branch police were asked to investigate, he informed. He said the names of the accused were kept as secret as the investigation was going on.

Superintendent of police Manjunath Annigeri, Dy SP J D Prakash and SI Durga were present.