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Govt. lost ₹6,066 crore due to Tangedco coal imports: NGO

Govt. lost ₹6,066 crore due to Tangedco coal imports: NGO

NGO Arappor Iyakkam on Tuesday claimed that Tangedco had caused a loss of ₹6,066 crore to the State government due to faulty coal import practices between October 2012 and February 2016.

In making the claim, the NGO revised upwards its own estimate of a coal import scam in Tangedco, made in January this year.

The NGO’s convenor, Jayaram Venkatesan, submitted a complaint about the scam — revealed using documents sourced through Right to Information queries and findings of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India — to the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption on August 6.

The organisation alleged that a former Electricity Minister and a former Tangedco Managing Director colluded to benefit from the scam.

“I submit that a case under Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and other relevant laws may be registered against them and all other public servants involved and the companies that colluded in carrying out this scam, resulting in a heavy loss for the exchequer,” said the complaint.

In January, Arappor Iyakkam claimed that Tangedco had caused a loss of between ₹1,700 and ₹3,025 crore by over-invoicing the government for coal imported from Indonesia during 2012-2016.

On Tuesday, the NGO rounded off that loss to ₹2,177 crore and added two other loss-making methods to inflate the size of the scam.

The NGO took a leaf out of the CAG’s report, where the latter had chastised Tangedco for not conducting reverse auction.

Rajnikanth slams Palanisamy for not attending Karunanidhi’s

Rajnikanth slams Palanisamy for not attending Karunanidhi’s

Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth criticised Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K.Palaniswami for not attending the funeral of late Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president M. Karunanidhi near the iconic Anna Memorial at Marina beach here.

“While all the important leaders were present at Marina beach to pay last respects to Karunanidhi, why the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister did not come? Is he bigger than Kalaignar or Jayalalithaa,” Rajinikanth said at Karunanidhi’s memorial event here on Monday.

Expressing his grief over Karunanidhi’s demise, the Southern superstar said he was unable to think of Tamil Nadu sans the DMK Chief.

“Karunanidhi had passed the DMK through various victories, defeats, and betrayals. If leaders from across the world used to visit Tamil Nadu, they would definitely meet Karunanidhi. I do not know who they will meet hereafter,” he added.

Karunanidhi was buried on August 8 beside former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister C. N. Annadurai, in the presence of several high-profile politicians, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, and Trinamool Congress’ Derek O Brien, among others.

However, Karunanidhi’s funeral witnessed a lot of political drama.

The Madras High Court ended a political row between the DMK and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)-led state government after the latter had denied permission to bury the five-time chief minister at the Anna Memorial, and instead offered two acres of land at the Gandhi Mandapam.

In addition, the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition filed by activist Traffic Ramaswamy, who challenged the Madras High Court’s order granting permission to bury Karunanidhi at the Marina beach.

Karunanidhi breathed his last on August 7 in Chennai’s Kauvery Hospital after a prolonged illness. He was 94.

திமுக தலைவர் கருணாநிதி மறைவு: ஒட்டுமொத்த தமிழகமும் வெறிச்சோடியது!

திமுக தலைவர் கருணாநிதி மறைவு: ஒட்டுமொத்த தமிழகமும் வெறிச்சோடியது!

திமுக தலைவர் கருணாநிதியின் மறைவை முன்னிட்டு, ஒட்டுமொத்த தமிழகமும் இன்று வெறிச்சோடி காணப்படுகிறது.

தமிழகத்தின் முன்னாள் முதல்வரும், திமுக தலைவருமான கருணாநிதி, உடல்நலக்குறைவால் நேற்று மாலை காலமானர். அவரது மறைவு உலகம் முழுவதும் வாழும் ஒட்டுமொத்த தமிழகமக்களிடையேயும் மீளாத்துயரத்தை ஏற்படுத்தி உள்ளது. சென்னை ராஜாஜி அரங்கத்தில் வைக்கப்பட்டுள்ள அவரது உடலுக்கு ஏராளமானோர் அஞ்சலி செலுத்தி வருகின்றனர்.

இந்த நிலையில் கருணாநிதியின் உடலை மெரினாவில் அடக்கம் செய்வதில் சட்டசிக்கல் இருப்பதாக தமிழக அரசு அறிவித்தது, மக்களை மேலும் அதிர்ச்சியில் ஆழ்த்தியது. மெரினாவில் அண்ணா சமாதி முன் தனது உடலை அடக்கம் செய்ய வேண்டும் என்பது கலைஞரின் இறுதி ஆசை. அதை நிறைவேற்ற தமிழக அரசு உரிய நடவடிக்கை எடுக்க வேண்டும் என தொண்டர்கள் மற்றும் பொதுமக்கள் கோரிக்கை விடுத்துள்ளனர்.

இந்த நிலையில் திமுக தலைவர் கருணாநிதியின் மறைவை முன்னிட்டு, ஒட்டுமொத்த தமிழகமும் இன்று வெறிச்சோடி காணப்படுகிறது. இன்று காலையில் பால் பாக்கெட்டுகளை விற்பனை செய்வதற்காக மட்டும் வியாபாரிகள் கடைகளை திறந்து வைத்திருந்தனர். சென்னையில் எப்போதும் பரபரப்பாக காணப்படும், டி.நகர், வடபழனி, கோயேம்பேடு உள்ளிட்ட இடங்கள் ஆள் நடமாட்டம் இல்லாமலும், போக்குவரத்து சேவை இல்லாமலும் முற்றிலும் வெறிச்சோடி காணப்பட்டது.

கோயம்பேடு பேருந்து நிலையத்தில் வெளியூர்களுக்கு செல்லும் பேருந்துகள் எதுவும் இயக்கப்படவில்லை. மாநகர பேருந்துகள் எதுவும் ஓடாததால் அங்கு அனைத்து பேருந்து நிறுத்தங்களும் வெறிச்சோடி காணப்பட்டது. மின்சார ரெயில்களும், மெட்ரோ ரெயில்களும் வழக்கம் போல இயங்கி வருகின்றன. தமிழகம் முழுவதும் உள்ள அனைத்து மாவட்டங்களிலும் பெரும்பாலும் இதே நிலைதான் காணப்படுகிறது.

What is the next step for DMK ?

What is the next step for DMK ?

On July 27, Karunanidhi achieved a feat few political leaders can boast of — being at the helm of a political party for 50 years. He would have been hoping that his successor, if not in terms of longevity, at least in terms of ease with which he controlled the party, would have the same felicity.

But that appears tough, given the ill will between his nominated successor, MK Stalin, and his other children.

Consider the last major electoral test the party faced. RK Nagar in Chennai was an assembly seat held by chief minister J Jayalalithaa before she died. When by-elections were held in 2017, with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) split into two factions and each of them putting up their candidates, it was predicted as an easy win for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

When the results came in, the DMK was in the third position. Party president Karunanidhi’s second son MK Alagiri blamed his younger brother and working president of the party, Stalin, for the defeat and said: “Not just RK Nagar. The DMK will not win any polls till he is at the helm. This would not have happened if Thalaivar (referring to Karunanidhi) had been in charge.”

The comment indicated that despite Karunanidhi’s best efforts to ensure a smooth family succession to the party’s leadership, the sibling rivalry smouldered on. For the longest time, Stalin had been his father’s understudy, the chosen one to eventually succeed.

Karunanidhi groomed him first as the mayor of Chennai and later inducted him into his cabinet and made him the state’s first deputy chief minister. Known for his low-key manner and ability to take party seniors along, he was a study in contrast to his elder brother.

Alagiri, who used to be the DMK’s strongman controlling the southern districts of the state, is known to be brash. His supporters had attacked the Madurai office of Dinakaran, a daily owned by his cousins Marans, when it published a survey that didn’t portray him in a flattering light.

“The DMK is the first regional party to win on its own in an Indian state and it has never ever faced a leadership crisis. Unlike the AIADMK, which witnessed leadership crisis, things will be fine for the DMK,” asserted the party’s south Chennai district secretary and former mayor M Subramanian.

“There is no alternative to our leader Kalaignar, but the only relief is that he leaves Stalin as his political heir,” he said.

Having worked as a Union minister in Manmohan Singh’s cabinet during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) -2 regime, Alagiri can claim administrative experience. However, he was expelled in 2014, just ahead of parliamentary polls because of alleged anti-party activities.

The DMK, founded in 1949, will be hoping that the party will be spared the succession chaos that plagued the AIADMK after the death of its founder MG Ramachandran in 1987 and that of J Jayalalithaa in 2016.

Political analyst A Marx said it is unlikely that the party will split after the death of Karunanidhi. “Karunanidhi has shaped Stalin for the past five years to drive the party. Stalin is also doing well in the recent years when compared to his past. Since cadres and office bearers have accepted Stalin, there will not be any split post-Karunanidhi,” he said.

“Since Alagiri is out of politics for some time, he will not be in a position to control the party. Initially, he had strong supporters based in southern Tamil Nadu but most of his loyalists have now migrated towards Stalin. Unlike AIADMK, DMK will function smoothly under the leadership of Stalin,” he added.

Stalin has been functioning as the party’s working president for several years now and, in the absence of Karunanidhi, has taken all the key decisions.

The ‘Thalapathi’ (or commander), as Stalin is fondly known, will be hoping that senior guard of the party will stay loyal and aid him in establishing control.

Though side-lined, Alagiri and half-sister MK Kanimozhi, apart from the influential cousins, the Maran brothers, will inevitably have some say on who will control the party.

While Stalin holds control, whether he is able to retain it or a battle for succession will break out remains to be seen.

Kamal Haasan: In my era, cinema wasn’t driven by studios

Kamal Haasan: In my era, cinema wasn’t driven by studios

Tamil film icon Kamal Haasan, who started his acting career when he was just three years old, says he comes from an era when artistes believed that cinema was one vision and not driven by studios.

Kamal has donned many hats — as an actor, a writer and producer — for several films, including his forthcoming one titled “Vishwaroop 2”.

What makes him take up so many roles instead of sharing the responsibilities with othersIJ

“I used to because when you want something done precisely as per your vision… I have learnt from all my masters, including my mentor with whom I was an understudy, Mr. Balachander. He wrote, he directed and if given a chance, he could have been a fantastic actor but fortunately, he didn’t desire to do that.

“Otherwise, I would have lost out on 36 films with him. He (Balachander) could have played all those characters,” Kamal, who worked with the filmmaker in films like “Manmatha leelai” and “Ek Duuje Ke liye”, told IANS in an email interview.

The actor, also a politician, admires others as well.

“Even those whom I admired like (Charlie) Chaplin or (Alfred) Hitchcock or even Francois Truffaut, they all ended up acting, producing and did everything…including (acting) in other people’s films. Usually directors shy away from it. But Truffaut acted in Steven Spielberg’s film ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’.

“So for me, it (multi-tasking in films) is nothing new because my masters – be it Chaplin or Truffaut, all of them moved from one to another so easily. So, it seemed natural, and I come from an era when we believed that cinema was one vision and it was not driven by studios,” said the actor, now in his 60s.

“Vishwaroop 2” is a sequel to the 2013 movie “Vishwaroop”.

Does he feel more pressure when he does sequelsIJ

“No, but I thought of sequels long time back. So much before that people thought I was an eccentric and a dangerous person to deal with… in the sense… I wanted a sequel to ‘Ek Duuje Ke liye’. He (Balachander) asked, ‘How do you make a film after ‘Ek Duuje Ke liye’IJ” So I told my boss, my mentor, the story.

“He asked ‘How could you rise from the deadIJ’ and I replied ‘It’s been done before, the new testament is all about it and finally Sir, you killed those lovers, you have the right to resurrect them’.”

And, they did make a film.

“But he didn’t want to call it ‘Ek Duuje Ke liye 2’. So, we called it ‘Punnagai Mannan’ in Tamil,” said Kamal.

“Vishwaroop 2” will hit the screens on August 10. Its Hindi version will be presented by Rohit Shetty and the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Entertainment. It’s a bilingual shot in Tamil and Hindi, and also dubbed in Telugu.