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CBI raids premises of three friends of Karthi Chidambaram

Chennai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) yesterday raided the premises of three friends of former union minister P. Chidambaram's son Karthi Chidambaram and a chartered accountant in Chennai.

Karthi has asserted that all the charges on him are completely bogus and he will stand vindicated.

The CBI yesterday conducted raids at the residence of former Chidambaram and his son.

The raids took place at around 14 different locations in Chennai.

According to reports, the raids are part of the Aircel Maxis case.

It is also being said that the raids are linked to clearances given to INX media, which was once owned by Peter Mukerjea.

Delhi Police issues look out notice against Dinakaran

New Delhi: The Delhi Police have issued a look out notice against ousted All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader TTV Dinakaran and the immigration department has been informed about the same.

This comes after AIADMK leader and state Finance Minister D. Jayakumar yesterday announced that V.K. Sasikala and her nephew Dinakaran were decided to be 'delinked' from the party.

Earlier, Jayakumar announced that a new committee was formed to administer the affairs of the AIADMK.

Demanding the ouster of Sasikala and her nephew from the AIADMK, former Tamil Nadu chief minister O. Panneerselvam said the party should not be controlled by one family, adding it was nothing short of treason to allow the former to control the party's affairs.

He said that he had sent a petition to the Election Commission to declare Sasikala's appointment as AIADMK general secretary 'illegal'. 

Cap for Sasikala, Electric pole for OPS - New AIADMK symbols

Chennai: The Election Commission on Thursday allotted the symbol "Electric Pole" to the AIADMK faction led by former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and the "Cap" to the ruling AIADMK group.

"We have been given `Electric Pole' to fight the by-election from Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency. And our group will be called the 'AIADMK Puratchi Thalaivi Amma'," former MP K.C. Palaniswamy said.

On the other hand, the AIADMK faction led by the now jailed General Secretary V.K. Sasikala has been given the "cap" symbol and would be known as "AIADMK Amma".

The ruling AIADMK split into two factions after the death of Chief Minister and party icon J. Jayalalithaa.

The allotment of the symbols is important as a by-election will be held on April 12 to the Tamil Nadu assembly from Radhakrishnan Nagar, which was represented by the late Jayalalithaa.

AIADMK Deputy General Secretary T.T.V. Dinakaran will contest in Radhakrishnan Nagar on behalf of the ruling party. The Panneerselvam faction has fielded E. Madhusudanan.

In an interim order on Wednesday night, the Election Commission froze the 'two leaves" symbol of the now divided AIADMK and ruled that neither faction will use the original party name in the by-election.


TTV Dinakaran takes charge as AIADMK's deputy general secretary

Chennai: TTV Dhinakaran on Thursday took charge as All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)'s deputy general secretary.

"Thiru TTV Dinakaran takes charge as AIADMK's Deputy General Secretary," AIADMK tweeted.

Dhinakaran was appointed as the Deputy General Secretary of AIADMK by party leader V.K. Sasikala Natarajan on February 15.

Sasikala took the decision following the Supreme Court's verdict wherein she was sentenced to four-year imprisonment in disproportionate asset case.

Dhinakaran, who is nephew of Sasikala was expelled from the party in 2011 by the late former chief minister J. Jayalaithaa.

However, after Jayalaithaa's demise many relatives of Sasikala including Dhinakaran, regained their position. 

Also see: TTV Dinakaran - The nephew Sasikala trusts

Madras HC adjourns Stalin's plea against trust vote

Chennai: Declining to pass any interim order to put on hold or annul the trust vote won by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami in the assembly, the Madras High court on Wednesday adjourned till February 27 the case filed by DMK leader M.K. Stalin.

The court also ordered submission of the video footage of the happenings in the Tamil Nadu assembly on February 18 -- the day Palaniswami sought and won the trust vote by securing 122 votes and 11 against.

Stalin, DMK's Working President and Leader of Opposition in the assembly, had filed a plea to seek annulment of the trust vote.

Stalin, in his petition, also sought the court's directions to assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal to hold the trust vote with a secret ballot under a monitoring committee comprising the Governor's Secretary, Chief Secretary and a senior official from the Election Commission.


Stalin leads hunger strike against TN trust vote

Chennai: The DMK party under the leadership of Working President M. K. Stalin is on Wednesday holding a day long hunger strike against the events inside Tamil Nadu assembly on February 18.

Stalin is leading the hunger strike in Tiruchirapalli, around 350 km from here. Other leaders are protesting in various districts.

The DMK and other opposition parties on February 18 demanded secret ballot or adjournment of the assembly session by a week after Chief Minister K. Palaniswami moved the confidence motion.

Speaker P. Dhanapal refused to accept the demand.

DMK members then sat in protest inside the assembly and were later evicted by marshals.

The DMK on Tuesday gave a letter intimating the party's decision to bring a no confidence motion against Dhanapal.


500 liquor shops closed: EPS begins innings with welfare schemes

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on his first day in office on Monday announced a string of welfare schemes which were part of AIADMK's poll promise.

The new Chief Minister ordered implementation of subsidised two-wheeler scheme for working women, housing scheme for fishermen, doubling of unemployment allowance and closure of 500 liquor shops.

Speaking to the media, Palaniswami said in order to enable working women to commute freely to office, the party had announced subsidised two-wheeler for 100,000 women per year.

As per the 'Amma Two-Wheeler Scheme', the government would subsidise 50 per cent of the cost of a two-wheeler, subject to a maximum of Rs 20,000.

According to him, the scheme would cost Rs 200 crore per year.

Palaniswami also ordered increase in financial assistance to pregnant women from Rs 12,000 to Rs 18,000 to benefit around 600,000 pregnant women at an outlay of Rs 360 crore per annum.

He increased the monthly allowance to unemployed persons -- Rs 200 per month for 10th standard fail, Rs 300 (10th standard pass), Rs 400 (12th standard fail), Rs 600 (graduates and post-graduates).

The additional outgo for this will be Rs 31 crore per year.

The Chief Minister also cleared the file to build 5,000 houses for fishermen at an outlay of Rs 85 crore per year.

He said orders have been issued to close 500 liquor shops towards implementing prohibition in the state in a gradual manner.

According to Palaniswami, drought relief to famers will be provided at the earliest.

It was not clear how the government could name the two-wheeler subsidy scheme as 'Amma Two-Wheeler Scheme' since late Chief Minister and AIADMK General Secretary J. Jayalalithaa was known as Amma.

The conviction of Jayalalithaa and three others was upheld by the Supreme Court in a corruption case.


DMK moves Madras HC against trust vote

Chennai: The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Monday approached the Madras High Court demanding that Chief Minister E.K. Palaniswami's trust vote in the State Assembly be declared null and void.

The Madras High Court is set to hear the petition against the Chief Minister on Tuesday

Earlier, DMK working president MK Stalin also announced that his party would launch a state-wide hunger strike to protest against the "illegal" trust vote.

AIADMK's Palaniswami won a dramatic floor test two days ago, with the speaker throwing out opposition DMK members for violence and Congress legislators walking out of the House.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao has sought a detailed report on the happenings in the state Assembly on the day of trust vote on Saturday.

The development comes in the backdrop of the ruckus in the House before the voting on the confidence motion moved by chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy in which opposition DMK MLAs were evicted en masse and the Congress and the Indian Union Muslim League members staged a walk out.

Earlier, a team of DMK leaders led by Rajya Sabha member Trichy Siva met Governor at Raj Bhavan and submitted a memorandum seeking to nullify the trust vote saying it was held in contravention of House rules.

Former chief minister and leader of the rival faction in the AIADMK O Panneerselvam also met the Governor and sought rejection of the trust vote.

In the confidence motion held on Saturday, the Edappadi Palaniswamy cabinet won by 122 votes in favour and 11 against.

Mr Palaniswamy is considered a loyalist of VK Sasikala, a former aide of J Jayalalithaa. Ms Sasikala is now serving a four year jail term in the Bangaluru prison after her conviction in a disproportionate assets case. 

Tamil Nadu Cabinet: List of Ministers

Chennai: The Raj Bhavan on Thursday released the names of Ministers in the new Edappadi K Palaniswami Cabinet.

Palanisami had submitted a letter to the Governor with the list of Ministers and their portfolios.

The new Cabinet is expected to be sworn in on Thursday and the Chief Minister has 15 days to prove his majority in the Assembly.

S.No

Name

Designation

Portfolios

1 2 3 4
1
K.Palaniswami,(B.Sc.) 
Edappadi(No. 86)
Chief Minister Administrative Reforms (Training), Public Werks, Irrigation including Minor Irrigation, Programme Werks, Highways and Minor Ports.
2
C.Sreenivasan,M.A.,MBA.
Dindigul (No. 132)
Minister for Forests Forests.
3
K.A.Sengottaiyan
Gobichettipalayam (No. 106)
Minister for School Education & Sports and Youth Welfare School Education, Archaeology, Youth Welfare and Sports Development Department.
4
K.Raju,B.Sc.,
Madurai West (No. 194)
Minister for Co-operation Co-operation, Statistics, Ex-Servicemen Welfare
5
P.Thangamani,(B.A.) 
Kumarapalayam (No. 97)
Minister for Electricity , Prohibition & Excise Electricity, Non-Conventional Energy Development, Prohibition and Excise, Molasses and Prevention of Corruption Act
6
S.P.Veluman i,M.A.,M.Phil.
Thondamuthur (No. 119)
Minister for Municipal Administration & Rural Development Implementation of Special Programme Municipal Administration,Rural Development Panchayats and Panchayat Unions,Poverty Alleviation Programmes,Rural lndebtedness,Urban and Rural Water Supply,Implementation of Special Programme.
7
D.Jayakumar,B.Sc.,B.L.
Royapuram (No. 17)
Minister for Fisheries Fisheries and Fisheries Development Corporation.
8
C.Ve.Shanmugam,B.A.,B.L.
Villupuram (No. 74)
Minister for Law, Courts & Prisons Law, Courts and Prisons.
9
K.P.Anbalagan,B.Sc.
Palacode (No.57)
Minister for Higher Education Higher Education including Technical Education,Electronics,Science and Technology.
10
Dr.V. Saroja,MBBS.,M.D.,DGO.
Rasipuram (No. 92)
Minister for Social Welfare & Nutritious Noon Meal Programme Social Welfare,including Women's Children's Welfare,Orphanages and Correctional Administration,lntegrated Child Development,Beggar Hornes,Welfare of the Differently abled and Social Reforms & Nutritious Noon Meal Programme.
11
M.C.Sampath, B.Sc.
Cuddalore (No. 155)
Minister for lndustries lndustries, Steel Control, Mines & Minerals and Special Initiatives.
12
K.C.Karuppanan 
Bhavani (No. 104)
Minister for Environment Minerals and Special Initiatives.Pollution Control.
13
R.Kamaraj, M.A.
Nannilam (No. 169)
Minister for Food & Civil Supplies Food,Civil Supplies,Protection and Price Control.
14
O.S.Manian 
Vedaranyam (No. 165)
Minister for Handlooms & Textiles Handlooms & Textiles
15
K.Radhakrishnan,B.Com.
Udumalaipettai (No. 125)
Minister for Housing & Urban Development Housing,Rural Housing and Housing Development,Slum Clearance Board and Accommodation Control,Town Planning,Urban Development and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority .
16
Dr.C.Vijaya Baskar,MBBS.
Viralimalai (No. 179)
Minister for Health & Family Weltare Health, Medical Education and Family Weltare.
17
R.Doraikkannu,B.A.
Papanasam (No. 172)
Minister for Agriculture Agriculture, Agricultural Engineering,Agro Service Cooperatives,Horticulture,Sugarcane Cess,Sugarcane Development and Waste Land Development.
18
Kadambur Raju 
Kovilpatti (No. 218)
Minister for Information & Publicity Information & Publicity, Film Technology and Cinematograph Act,Stationery and Printing and Government Press.
19
R.B.Udhayakumar,B.Com.,MSW,B.L.
Thirumangalam (No. 196)
Minister for Revenue Revenue,District Revenue Establishment,Deputy Collectors,Weights and Measures,Debt Relief including legislation on Money lending,Chits,Registration of Companies.
20
N.Natarajan
Tiruchirappalli East (No. 141)
Minister for Tourism Tourism,Tourism Development Corporation.
21
K.C.Veeramani,B.A
Jolarpet (No. 49)
Minister for Commercial Taxes Commercial Taxes, Registration and Stamp Act.
22
K.T.Rajenthra Bhalaji 
Sivakasi (No. 205)
Minister for Milk and Dairy Development Milk and Dairy Development.
23
P.Benjamin, B.A.
Maduravoyal (No.7)
Minister for Rural lndustries Rural lndustries including Cottage lndustries,Small lndustries.
24
Dr.Nilofer Kafeel 
Vaniyambadi(No. 47)
Minister for Labour Labour,Population,Employment and Training,Newsprint Control,Census,Urban and Rural Employment and Wakf Board.
25
M.R.Vijayabaskar,(B.A.,) 
Karur (No. 135)
Minister for Transport Transport,Nationalised Transport and Motor Vehicles Act.
26
Dr.M.Manikandan,MBBS.,MS.
Ramanathapuram (No. 211)
Minister for Information Technology Information Technology.
27
V.M.Rajalakshmi, M.Sc., B.Ed.
Sankarankovil (No.219)
Minister for Adi Dravidar & Tribal Weltare Adi Dravidar Weltare, Hili Tribes and Bonded Labour.
28
G.Baskaran
Sivagangai (No. 186)
Minister for Khadi & Village lndustries Board Khadi and Village lndustries Board, Bhoodan and Gramadhan
29
S.Ramachandran 
Arani (No. 67)
Minister for Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments Hind Religious & Charitable Endowments and Tamil Official languages & Tamil Culture
30
S.Valarmathi,M.A.,B.Ed.,M.Phil.,B.L.,B.L.
Srirangam (No. 139)
Minister for Backward Classes & Minorities Welfare Backward Classes, Most Backward Classes and Denotified
31
P.Balakrishna Reddy
Hosur (No. 55)
Minister for Animal Husbandry Animal Husbandry

Panneerselvam revolts, says he was forced to resign

Tamil Nadu CM O Panneerselvam finally broke his silence and led an open revolt against Sasikala Natarajan, the AIADMK general secretary.

"If people are willing, I would even withdraw my resignation...I would fight to save the party and the goodwill of Jayalalithaa’s legacy," Panneerselvam said, in an address to journalists.

Panneerselvam spoke to the press in a surprise move after he spent about 40 minutes meditating at the memorial of Jayalalithaa on Marina Beach. He was accompanied by a large number of his supporters and AIADMK activists. "I have come to Amma's memorial to reveal certain truths," he said after his meditation.

The Chief Minister said he was forced to resign at a meeting at Poes Garden on Sunday. "I went to Poes Garden when the meeting of MLAs was on. They said Sasikala should take over as CM. I thought what was the need for that. I never knew about the MLAs' meeting at all. I asked why I was being humiliated like this after foisting the job I was not willing to take over?"

The AIADMK leader said he never revealed the truth behind the scenes because he didn't want the party's name or Amma's legacy to be sullied.

Earlier, he said, Ministers R B Udhayakumar, Sellur Raju and Thambidurai openly called for Sasikala to take over as CM. "When members of my Council raise a voice against me, I felt humiliated."

He said he was reluctant to don the mantle of Chief Minister. "AIADMK presidium chairman Madhusudhanan proposed my name to take over the party’s mantle after Amma’s death. But I did not accept it first. I was convinced later by Madhusudhanan to take over the mantle, he said.

Panneerselvam detailed the challenges he faced in his stint as Chief Minister since December. "I decided to work as CM to carry forward Jayalalithaa’s legacy. Then cyclonic storm Vardha came. Our work during the storm got us praise. Our work irked certain people."

"I went to Andhra Pradesh to get Krishna water for Chennai, which too got us good name. When the Jallikkattu protests happened and the youth came out to protest, I went to Delhi and lobbied with PM Modi to get an ordinance drafted for reviving jallikattu in consultation with legal experts," he said.

On social media, the Chief Minister's open revolt led to shock and applause.

234 jobs to open up in Tamil Nadu, says cricketer Ashwin

New Delhi: Cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin, commenting on the political developments in Tamil Nadu said on Monday "234 job opportunities" will shortly open up for the youth in the state.

The Tamil Nadu assembly has 234 seats.

Ashwin's tweet came a day after AIADMK legislators elected General Secretary V.K. Sasikala as their leader, paving the way for her to become the next Chief Minister, two months after her, mentor J. Jayalalithaa, died.

The 59-year-old Sasikala, a long-time Jayalalithaa confidante, later said that outgoing Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam himself wanted her to head the government.

Jayalalithaa passed way in December 2016 after a prolonged illness.


DMK slams AIADMK for lack of transparency

Chennai: The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Monday slammed the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) for its lack of transparency in latter's office affairs in relation to Sasikala Natrajan's appointment as the legislative party leader of the AIADMK.

The DMK also expressed its confidence in its party leader MK Stalin for facing the AIADMK in the elections and yielding great results.

"We have always pointed out there is no transparency in how the affairs of the AIADMK are functioning. Right from the hospital association of the Chief Minister or yesterday's incident on how the resignation letters were sought from top advisors of the government. Everything is shrouded in mystery," DMK spokesperson A Saravanan said. 

He further asserted that there is nothing new or shocking about the quick development as the AIADMK has always worked in mysterious ways.

Beaming with confidence in his leader MK Stalin and the DMK's history of defeating the AIADMK on many accounts he said

"Ever since our leader MK Stalin took charge as our working president and especially as the opposition leader, he has been commended a lot for his dignified politics, courteous manner and how he brought back lot of bonhomie into politics. He is gaining appreciation. That will definitely guide us to victory in whatever we face," Sarvanan said.

He added that the DMK has seen a lot of famous political leaders in the opposition and has fought and won fair and square.

"Be it the case of great leader Ram Raj, Raja ji or MGR all of them we have fought them and we have won them, so there is nothing for us too fear, we have the faith in people , we have the faith in our ideologies and policies, and the way we have implemented our policies for the development of Tamil Nadu," Sarvanan said.

AIADMK general secretary Sasikala Natarajan on Sunday was elected as the legislative party leader of the party and with this she is all set to take over as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

Incumbent Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu O. Panneerselvam proposed the name of Chinnamma (Sasikala Natarajan) as the AIADMK legislative party leader.

Speculations were rife that party general secretary Sasikala would be chosen as the new legislative party leader - paving the way for her to assume the chief minister's mantle. Though many party leaders favour such a move, a few believe Panneerselvam should be retained because he is doing a good job at the helm of affairs.

Earlier, Rajya Sabha MP Sasikala Pushpa and AIADMK leader KC Palaniswamy complained to the Election Commission (EC) that Sasikala's appointment as the party's interim general secretary was carried out in an undemocratic manner. The Election Commission then issued a notice to the AIADMK, seeking clarifications in this regard.

Sasikala will be the third woman Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu after Janaki Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa.

Tamil Nadu Bill seeks to bypass NEET for MBBS, BDS course admissions

Chennai: A Bill was tabled in the Tamil Nadu Assembly today to allow MBBS and Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) course admissions to continue on basis of marks obtained in higher secondary exams rather than on the basis of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) examination.

Registrations for appearance in the NEET have been delayed by six weeks with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) dilly-dallying over the final syllabus for the exam.

The NEET was first introduced in 2013 when Maharashtra scrapped the medical entrance test.

Based on a petition filed in 2014, the NEET was scrapped by the Supreme Court and the state conducted its own CET based on the NEET syllabus, while in 2015 the MH-CET was conducted on the basis of state board syllabus.

In April 2016, however, the Supreme Court once again lifted the ban on NEET and proposed to conduct admissions to the MBBS, BDS and post-graduate courses through this one common test.

CET for medical admissions has since been scrapped in Maharashtra.

Earlier, a political blame game erupted between the ruling Congress and opposition BJP in Karnataka over non-inclusion of Kannada among the languages for holding the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for admission in medical colleges for the academic year 2017-18.

Chennai Corporation launches dengue awareness campaign

Chennai: With the onset of dengue season, the Greater Chennai Corporation Zone V, Kalyanapuram Housing Board has launched an awareness campaign to prevent the mosquito-borne disease.

Officials said that cleanliness and awareness about the diseases are very important to stay healthy.

The public were briefed on source reduction, clearing coconut shells, plastic bags, and other unwanted materials, which would stagnate rain water. They were also briefed on how these unused materials can become a breeding home for these mosquitoes.

People with fever, chills, knee, muscle, shoulder pain and headache are advised to visit the doctor.

SRM Chairman TR Pachamuthu arrested in medical admission scam

Chennai: Founder Chairman of the SRM Group of Educational Institutions TR Pachamuthu was on Thursday night arrested over the medical admission scam where over 100 parents have complained that they paid hefty donations for medical seats but were then duped.

The arrest comes a week after the Madras High Court (HC) pulled up the Chennai city police for its failure to arrest Pachamuthu. The HC had threatened to hand over the case to an external agency then.

"Pachamuthu has been arrested by CCB (Central Crime Branch) sleuths," a top police official told the PTI.

The SRM University Chancellor's arrest was made under section 420 (cheating), section 406 (criminal misappropriation of property entrusted to someone) and section 34 (invoked when a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all) of the Indian Penal Code.

Film producer Madhan (Vendhar Movies), who claimed he was just an agent for Pachamuthu and SRM and had allegedly collected donations running into crores from the aggrieved parents, is the key accused in the case. Madhan has been missing since May 27.

Madhan's family members had filed a habeas corpus and sought Pachamuthu's arrest after he went missing.

According to reports, the Chennai Police has registered 109 cheating cases and Madhan had allegedly collected about Rs 73 crore from the parents.

Earlier in 2013, CBI had conducted raids in SRM and Madhan's production house, which had yielded unaccounted cash.

Chennai floods caused economic loss of $2.2 billion: Study

Chennai: The floods in Chennai last year caused an economic loss of $2.2 billion, out of India's total economic loss of $6.2 billion suffered due to disasters in 2015, says a study by reinsurance company Swiss Re.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Swiss Re said the total economic losses suffered by India due to all disasters -- natural and man-made -- was down to $6.2 billion in 2015 from $13.4 billion in 2014.

According to the study, the insured losses due to the Chennai floods were estimated at $755 million, making these floods the second costliest insurance event in India on sigma records.

A large part of the losses originated from commercial lines. The event highlighted the vulnerability of rapidly growing urban areas to flash floods caused by heavy rains, the statement said.

According to the study, uninsured losses from all catastrophes were 84 percent of total losses in 2015 down from 93 percent in 2014.

"Although the protection gap was smaller last year than in 2014, it was still high relative to global and regional standards. The global protection gap was around 60 percent in 2015, down from 68 percent in 2014. In Asia, the gap was at 81 percent in 2015, down from 90 percent in 2014," the study said.

Madras Court exempts non-Tamil students from Tamil language paper

Chennai: The Madras High Court today exemptedall class X students having mother tongue other than Tamilfrom writing Part I Tamil language during the board examcommencing on Tuesday provided they had sought the relief fromauthorities concerned.

The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay KishanKaul and Justice M M Sundresh, granted the exemption whilepassing orders on a batch of petitions from Guru DhornacharyaSchool of Excellence in Krishnagiri district and others.

The matter relates to a government rule making it compulsoryfor class X students to write Tamil examination from thisyear.

The petitioners sought a direction to the state SchoolEducation authorities to exempt the students, belonging toother states and having different mother tongues, from writingthe Tamil language exam and instead to write the exam in theirrespective mother tongue languages.

The bench noted that the students had applied for exemptionwell in time. However, the delay was on the part of therespective schools. The delay was also meagre ranging to amaximum of 10 days. The state was also affected by the floodsand this had created some functional problems.

"We believe that the fate of the students should not beaffected by some delay in forwarding of the applications bythe institutions, if they are otherwise eligible, which is theposition in case of all these candidates," the bench said andpointed out that it had granted such exemption on earlieroccasions also.

"We, thus, allow all these writ petitions and exempt themfrom taking the Tamil exam on parity with the order passed byus on the earlier occasion," the bench said.

To prevent any unnecessary harassment to other students,who are similarly placed but may not have been able toapproach this court, so long as they approached theDirectorate of Government Exams., today by 5 p.m., the benefitwould be extended to them, too, the bench said.

Chennai IPS officer found hanging in officer's mess

Chennai: A 32-year-old IPS officer was todayfound dead in the police officer's mess here.

The body of Assistant Superintendent of Police N Harish,attached to the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption,was found in a room of the officer's mess premises at Egmorearound noon, police said.

Harish was an officer of 2009 batch and had recently beentransferred from Madurai to Chennai.

The cause of death was being ascertained andinvestigations were on, police said.

Chennai teen run over by train while taking selfie

Chennai: A 'selfie' moment ended in a tragedyfor a 16-year-old student who was run over a speeding trainwhile trying to click a picture of himself besides the train.

Dinesh Kumar, a Class XI student, was walking along therailway track with a friend at suburban Vandalur on Sundayevening when the incident happened, police said today.

He tried to click a picture of himself with the speedingsuburban train behind him when it ran over him, killing theteenager on the spot, they added.

The victim's body was sent for post-mortem and furtherprobe was on.

The incident comes close on the heels of a man and a girldrowning in Arabian Sea in Mumbai recently.

The man had perished trying to save the girl who fell intothe sea while attempting a selfie.

Doctors have been warning that taking too many selfiescould result in "Selfitis," which they describe as a mentaldisorder.

IIT-Madras girl vanishes looking for Nirvana

Chennai: An IIT-Madras student has gone missing, apparently in a quest to find Nirvana in the Himalayas, according to various reports.

When 22-year-old Vedantam Prathyusha, a second year MS Engineering student from IIT-Madras, filled in the permission register at the Sabarmati hostel in the early hours of January 17, she mentioned that she would return by January 20th.

But that was the last that any one saw of her.

Her friends tried to reach her cell phone later in the day but found it unreachable. They called her parents, who confirmed that she never reached her hometown of Brodipet in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. By January 18, her friends involved the hostel warden and opened up Vedantam's room, where they discovered her bizzare good bye letters.

Written in English and Telugu, the notes were addressed to her father and her close friend. In them, she narrated her desire to find a higher spiritual experience and claimed that she was going to the Himalayas to become closer to god. She hoped to become a saint, she said, and also stated that she was being protected by god, and would never be found by her family. 

No one has been able to find her since.

An FIR has been lodged at the Kotturpuram police station at the request of her parents and the police are investigating the case. Speaking to the New Indian Express, a police official said - "She had mentioned her fondness for International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and her wish to explore more about her spiritual learning."

The police confirmed that she used to visit the ISKCON temple in ECR often. Also an investigation into her social media presence confirmed her vivid interest in spiritual matters.

Her fellow students and hostel staff told DNA that she was a 'bubbly girl' who did not seem depressed, and they expressed surprise at her sudden desire to find god.

She seems to have told no one about her plans and has not contacted any one so far.