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Chennai Airport gets new Director



S Sreekumar Sankaranarayanan Thampi took over as the Airport Director, Airports Authority of India, Chennai Airport from June.

He succeeds G Chandramouli, who will assume charge of Regional Executive Director (Western Region), Mumbai.

Sreekumar was the Regional Executive Director (Southern Region), Chennai. He started his career in AAI in 1989 as an Assistant Executive Engineer at Chennai Airport and later worked in various capacities in Chennai, Calicut, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Guwahati, Trichy, and New Delhi Airports and Central headquarters says a release from AAI Chennai Airport.


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Gutka, pan masala banned in Uttarakhand



The Uttarakhand government has put a total ban on the manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of products like gutka and pan masala which have a high content of tobacco and nicotine in them.

In order to this effect was issued here by Food Safety Commissioner Nitesh Kumar Jha late on Friday evening.

The decision was taken in view of the harmful effects of tobacco and nicotine-based chewing products like gutka and pan masala on human health.

Explaining reasons behind the ban, the order said, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India prohibits use of tobacco and nicotine as an ingredient in any product meant for human consumption but it has been found that gutka, pan masala, and several other similar products being sold under different names continue to have a high content of them as components.

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Karnataka students made to wear cartons to stop them from cheating



In a bizarre incident, students at a private college in Karnataka were made to wear cartons during an exam to stop them from cheating.

The pictures of students of Bhagat Pre-University College in Haveri, about 330 km from Bengaluru, are being widely circulated on social media where they are seen sitting in a classroom, wearing cardboard boxes.

The students were writing papers as part of their mid-term exams. Invigilators can also be seen in the visuals, monitoring the students.

The institute has drawn criticism on social media with many questioning if the measure could really be a deterrent.

On Friday, Karnataka Education Minister S Suresh Kumar reacted to the media reports, saying that the incident was “totally unacceptable”. “This is totally unacceptable. Nobody has any right to treat anybody more so students like animals. This perversion will be dealt with aptly,” he tweeted.

Many on social media echoed the views of the state education minister. “This is ridiculous and humiliating for the students. Yes, cheating is a problem, but this is not the way to solve it. Whoever approved this should be reprimanded,” wrote a user.

Justifying the action, College head MB Satish told reporters that a college in Bihar had used a similar method to curb cheating during exams and was widely appreciated on social media.

“We tried to do this for the betterment of students. We don’t want students’ mind to be diverted… the front side of the boxes was open. This was our new experiment. We have received both positive and negative feedback,” he said.

A senior officer of the Deputy Director of Public Instruction said that an inquiry has been ordered into the incident, which happened on October 16. 

“I had personally visited the College while the exam was going on and I made them remove those cardboard Head Covers and have not only served notice to the College but have asked the Director Education to inquire. We will take action once the Inquiry is completed. Meanwhile, we have asked students not to follow such instructions if given by the college management,” SI Peerzada said. 

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Income Tax founds Rs. 409 Crore receipts on Spiritual Guru “Kalki Bhagwan”



Searches in multiple premises in firms and trusts founded by spiritual guru ”Kalki” Bhagwan has led to the detection of undisclosed income of more than Rs. 500 crore, the Income Tax department said on Friday.

The undisclosed income covers unaccounted cash receipts of about Rs. 409 crore.

A total of Rs. 43.9 crore in cash and US currency worth Rs. 18 crore was seized and the total value of the seizure is about Rs. 93 crore, which includes gold and diamonds, a tax department official release said.

It was found that the group was investing in tax havens and the tax department is probing “diversion of income taxable in India to offshore entities.”

A string of 40 premises connected to a conglomerate of trusts and companies founded by the spiritual guru that ran “wellness courses” were searched on Wednesday.

The searches, which are still in progress, has covered premises in Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Varadaiahpalem in Andhra Pradesh, a stone’s throw from the Tamil Nadu border.

The entities founded by the guru, who propounded “oneness philosophy, “offered “wellness courses” and training programmes in philosophy and spirituality at various sprawling residential campuses at Varadaiahpalem, Chennai and Bengaluru.

The courses attract residential customers from abroad and the group earns substantial receipts in foreign exchange.

The group, with interests in several sectors, including real estate, construction and sports in India and abroad, “is presently managed and controlled by the spiritual leader who laid the foundation of the group, and his son.”

Raids were initiated on a tip-off that the group has been suppressing receipts that are ploughed into investments in abroad and landed property in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, according to the department.

During the searches, evidence was found that the group has been regularly suppressing its receipts at its various centres or ashrams.

Evidence was found with key employees, who maintained a record of cash collections that were kept outside the accounts for use in making investments elsewhere and also for paying for properties over and above documented values.

“It is learnt that the group also earned unaccounted income in receiving cash from property sales over and above documented values. A preliminary estimate of such unaccounted cash receipts is Rs. 409 crore from Financial Year 2014-15 onwards,” the release added.

Such unaccounted cash receipts are also evidenced by huge quantities of cash and other valuables found at the residences of the spiritual guru and his son, and at one of the campuses.

A total sum of Rs. 43.9 crore in cash was seized by the department during searches.

American currency worth about Rs. 18 crore and foreign exchange in other currencies were also seized.

Undisclosed gold jewellery of about 88 kg valued at over Rs. 26 crores, and similarly diamonds (1,271 carats), valued at about Rs. five crores, were also seized.

“The total value of the seizure so far is approximately Rs. 93 crore. The undisclosed income of the group detected so far is estimated at more than Rs. 500 crore. The search proceedings are still in progress,” the department said.

A key finding of the search is that the group has been investing in a number of companies in India and abroad, including in tax havens.

Some of these companies based in China, USA, Singapore, UAE, are found to be receiving payments from foreign clients who attend the various residential “wellness” courses offered in India.

The department is probing diversion of income taxable in India to offshore entities by the group in this process.

Aspects like receiving donations and returning it under the garb of expenses and receiving a small percentage as a fee, were found.

Instances have also been found where the group was not accounting money received from foreign clients in cash in foreign currency and then exchanging the same in the grey market.

“All these leads are being pursued and investigation is in progress.”

The tax department, however, refrained from naming Kalki Bhagwan and instead confined itself to describing him as a spiritual guru with “oneness” philosophy.

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