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Kamal Haasan richest candidate in Tamil Nadu Assembly polls

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BY S VENKAT NARAYAN,

Our Special Correspondent

 NEW DELHI, March 20:

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan has emerged as the richest candidate in the fray for the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections on April 6. The founder and chief of Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) declared moveable assets worth over INR450 million. He filed his nomination from the Coimbatore (South) constituency.

 Candidates, including heavyweights such as Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, DMK President MK Stalin, Haasan and Deputy Chief Minister O Pannerselvam, have officially entered the fray for the April 6 election.

 The Chief Minister, who filed his nomination from Edapadi constituency on Monday, declared movable assets worth over INR 4.7 million while stating that he has no immovable assets to his name. He further stated that his wife’s movable assets were worth INR 10.4 million and that of the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) were INR 5.021 million.

 He declared immovable assets in his wife’s name at INR 17.8 million and a further INR 21 million under the HUF, including ancestral property. His affidavit further states that he owes a “hand loan” of INR 1.5 million to an individual.

 In his 2016 poll affidavit, the AIADMK joint coordinator had pegged his movable assets at over INR 1.283 million and immovable assets at INR 19.7 million. In his latest filed on Monday, he declared that he owes the government no dues, including on the Income Tax and GST fronts.

 Stating agriculture as his primary profession, the CM said he has no pending cases against him. He chose the ‘Not Applicable’ option in a section of the nomination papers where a candidate is required to enter the total number of cases in which he/she has been convicted. Palaniswami has contested six Assembly elections till date, winning four of them.

 Stalin declared movable assets worth a little over INR 49.4 million, while pegging his immovable assets, comprising land and residential buildings, at INR22.4 million. The DMK president, who is seeking a third successive term from Kolathur constituency, stated that his wife’s movable assets were worth INR 30,52,854.

 He said he had no vehicle in his name while his wife was in possession of gold jewellery worth INR 2.477 million. Adding that he INR50,000 as cash in hand, Stalin declared that he owed no dues to banks or government agencies and had no other liabilities. He stated the sources of his income as his monthly salary as MLA, bank deposits, and rent.

 Stalin’s son and the party’s youth-wing secretary Udhayanidhi, who is making his electoral debut from the Chepauk-Triplicane segment this year, declared INR211.3 million worth of movable assets, including a four-wheeler of 2016 model. Declaring the ‘procurement price’ of his vehicle as INR17.7 million, he stated that he had immovable assets worth INR 65.4 million.

 Haasan quoted his movable properties over INR 450 million. These include two vehicles – BMW 730 LD and Lexus LX 570, the combined valuation of which comes to INR 30.7 million. The veteran actor pegged his immovable properties, including commercial buildings and agricultural land, at a little over INR1.31 billion.

 He also declared two residential buildings in Chennai, cumulatively priced at INR 195 million, and a joint property in London worth INR25 million. The superstar stated that he has INR 495 million in liabilities, adding that he has no spouse or dependents. 



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Cardinal: Was there any link between passage of 20A and Easter Sunday probe outcome?

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… stands by his claim of foreign involvement

By Norman Palihawadana

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday said that there could be a connection between the outcome of the probe into the Easter Sunday attacks and the enlisting of Muslim MPs’ support for the passage of the 20th Amendment.

The Cardinal said: “The leader of a Muslim political party voted against the 2Oth Amendment. But his MPs voted for it. The brother of Rishad Bathiudeen too was released around the same time. These are questionable developments. These events could be part of a deal.”

The Cardinal reiterated that international forces were behind the Easter Sunday attacks and that he did not believe that there had been any local political group directly involved in the Easter attacks.

Addressing the media yesterday, the Cardinal said that the remarks he made on Sunday had been misunderstood. He stood by his claim that international forces had been behind the attacks, he said.

“However, some people claim that I said a local political group was behind the attack. I have always maintained that there are international forces that use religious and ethnic extremists such as Wahabists to create conflicts. I was referring to such groups.”

The Cardinal added that only a small group of Muslims was involved in extremism.

The Archbishop also said that former President Maithripala Sirisena believed that taking action against extremists like NTJ leader Zahran Hashim would create unnecessary issues.

“Something along these lines is also in the PCoI on Easter Sunday attacks. The report also implies that the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was lenient in dealing with growing extremism in Sri Lanka.”

The Cardinal urged the government to protect the country and ensure that there would be no repeats of incidents like the Easter Sunday attacks.

The Archbishop of Colombo requested all religious leaders to work on rebuilding trust among all communities.

 

 

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AG appeals to Supreme Court against granting of bail to Ravi, others

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The Attorney General yesterday appealed to the Supreme Court against bail for former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and seven others indicted in the bond case by the Colombo Special High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The eight accused were arrested and remanded over the bond scams. Later, they were released on bail.

The court warned that if the accused attempted to exert influence on the witnesses, by any means, bail would be revoked and they would be placed on remand until the end of the trial.

 

 

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26 more coronavirus cases detected in Jaffna Tirunelveli market area

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Another 26 COVID-19 cases had been detected on Sunday, from the Tirunelveli Market in Jaffna, which was the epicentre of the recent outbreak in the town, Dr. A. Kethiswaran, Regional Director Health Services told the media yesterday.

The market and its surroundings had been reopened on April 11 following a 19-day lockdown. However, 378 PCR tests were conducted after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and 26 of them proved positive.

Dr. Kethiswaran warned last week that there might be a spike in COVID-19 cases in Jaffna after the New Year celebrations.

A large number of COVID-19 cases had been reported in Jaffna in the past few weeks. Thus, the people should adhere to health guidelines. If people did not follow the guidelines, there would be a spike in cases and then some places would have to be lockdown, he warned.

“It’s too early to say whether we have to close the area down. We are monitoring the situation,” DR. Kethiswaran said.

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