നടന് വിജയ് ബാബു സാന്ദ്ര തോമസിനെ മര്ദിച്ചതിന് തെളിവുകളുണ്ടെന്നും നടന് ഒളിവിലാണെന്നും പോലീസ്.
തന്റെ സ്ഥാപനമായ ഫ്രൈഡെ ഫിലിം ഹൗസിന്റെ പങ്കാളിത്തത്തില് നിന്ന് ഒഴിയണമെന്ന് ആവശ്യപ്പെട്ടാണ് സാന്ദ്ര തോമസ് ഭര്ത്താവ് വില്സണൊപ്പം പൊറ്റക്കുഴിയുള്ള ഓഫീസില് വിജയ് ബാബുവിനെ ചെന്നു കണ്ടത്.എന്നാല് ഭര്ത്താവിന്റെ മുന്പില് വെച്ച് വിജയ് ബാബു തന്നെ മര്ദിച്ചതായാണ് സാന്ദ്ര മൊഴി നല്കിയത്.
സാന്ദ്രയെ ചികിത്സിച്ച കൊച്ചി അമൃത ആശുപത്രിയിലെ ഡോക്ടറും സാന്ദ്രയുടെ ശരീരത്തില് മര്ദ്ദനമേറ്റ പാടുകളുണ്ടെന്ന് മൊഴി നല്കിയിട്ടുണ്ട്.ഓഫീസ് ജീവനക്കാരും മുറിയില് നിന്ന് വലിയ ബഹളം കേട്ടതായി പോലീസിന് മൊഴി നല്കി.
തുടര്ന്ന് ചോദ്യം ചെയ്യാന് വിജയ് ബാബുവിനെ ബന്ധപ്പെടാന് ശ്രമിച്ചെങ്കിലും ഫോണ് സ്വിച്ച് ഓഫാണ് എന്ന സന്ദേശമാണ് ലഭിച്ചത്.പനമ്പള്ളി നഗറിലുള്ള വീട്ടില് പരിശോധന നടത്തിയെങ്കിലും വിജയ് അവിടെ ഇല്ല എന്ന വിവരമാണ് ലഭിച്ചത്.പൊലീസ് പറഞ്ഞു.
നിലവില് ദേഹോപദ്രവം ഏല്പ്പിക്കല്, ഭീഷണിപ്പെടുത്തല്, മാനഹാനി വരുത്തല് എന്നീ വകുപ്പുകളാണ് വിജയ് ബാബുവിനെതിരെ ചുമത്തിയിരിക്കുന്നത്.
Four years ago, Saadu Sharapudinov was a wanted man in Russia. A member of an outlawed Islamist group, he was hiding in the forests of the North Caucasus, dodging patrols by paramilitary police and plotting a holy war against Moscow.Then his fortunes took a dramatic turn. Sharapudinov, 38, told Reuters that in December 2012 Russian intelligence officers presented him with an unexpected offer. If he agreed to leave Russia, the authorities would not arrest him. In fact, they would facilitate his departure.“I was in hiding, I was part of an illegal armed group, I was armed,” said Sharapudinov during an interview in a country outside Russia. Yet he says the authorities cut him a deal. “They said: ‘We want you to leave.\\\'”
Sharapudinov agreed to go. A few months later, he was given a new passport in a new name, and a one-way plane ticket to Istanbul. Shortly after arriving in Turkey, he crossed into Syria and joined an Islamist group that would later pledge allegiance to radical Sunni group Islamic State.
Reuters has identified five other Russian radicals who, relatives and local officials say, also left Russia with direct or indirect help from the authorities and ended up in Syria. The departures followed a pattern, said Sharapudinov, relatives of the Islamists and former and acting officials: Moscow wanted to eradicate the risk of domestic terror attacks, so intelligence and police officials turned a blind eye to Islamic militants leaving the country. Some sources say officials even encouraged militants to leave.
The scheme continued until at least 2014, according to acting and former officials as well as relatives of those who left. The cases indicate the scheme ramped up ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics because the Russian authorities feared home-grown militants would try to attack the event.
The six Russian militants and radicals identified by Reuters all ended up in Syria, most of them fighting with jihadist groups that Russia now says are its mortal enemies. They were just a fraction of the radicals who left Russia during that period. By December 2015, some 2,900 Russians had left to fight in the Middle East, Alexander Bortnikov, director of the FSB, the Russian security service, said at a sitting of the National Anti-terrorist Committee late last year. According to official data, more than 90 percent of them left Russia after mid-2013.
“Russian is the third language in the Islamic State after Arabic and English. Russia is one of its important suppliers of foreign fighters,” said Ekaterina Sokiryanskaya, a senior analyst for International Crisis Group, an independent body aimed at resolving conflicts.“Before the Olympics, Russian authorities didn’t prevent departures and a big number of fighters left Russia. There was a very specific short-term task to ensure security of the Olympics … They turned a blind eye on the flow of radical youth” to the Middle East.
Moscow is now fighting Islamic State and other militant groups in Syria that the Kremlin says pose a threat to the security of Russia and the world. The Kremlin has justified its campaign of air strikes in Syria by saying its main objective was to crush Islamic State.
Russian authorities deny they ever ran a program to help militants leave the country. They say militants left of their own volition and without state help. Officials, including FSB director Bortnikov and authorities in the North Caucasus, have blamed the departures on Islamic State recruiters and foreign countries who give radicals safe passage to Syria and elsewhere.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told Reuters: “Russian authorities have never cooperated or interacted with terrorists. No interaction with terrorists was possible. Terrorists get annihilated in Russia. It has always been like that, it is like that and it will be in the future.”
The Foreign Ministry said claims that Russian law enforcement agencies had helped militants were “without grounds.” It said the agencies take various measures to prevent militants from leaving and to bring to account those who come back. It added that Russia has opened hundreds of criminal cases relating to Russian citizens fighting in Syria, and that therefore it was “absurd” to believe officials had facilitated the departure of militants from Russia.
The Interior Ministry declined to comment, saying the FSB was in charge of the issue. The FSB in Dagestan declined immediate comment.
Allowing militants to leave Russia was convenient for both radicals and the authorities. In the mainly Muslim North Caucasus region, the two sides had fought themselves to a stalemate.
The Islamist groups, fighting to establish a Muslim state in the region, were exhausted after years on the run and had failed to score any significant victories against security forces. The authorities were frustrated because the militants – holed up in remote mountain hideouts or protected by sympathizers – still eluded arrest.
Then from 2013 Islamists began threatening to attack the Sochi Olympics, posting videos of their threats online. An attack would embarrass Putin at an event meant to showcase Russia; Moscow ordered a crackdown.
A retired Russian special forces officer with years of battlefield experience in the North Caucasus told Reuters that the federal authorities put pressure on local officials to curb insurgency ahead of the Sochi games. “They told them before the Olympics that no failures would be forgiven and those who failed would be fired. They tightened the screws on them,” he said.
The initial approach to Sharapudinov came from a political official in the militant’s home village of Novosasitli in Dagestan, a region in the North Caucasus. The official, who has since retired, became the liaison between Sharapudinov and Russian security services. He confirmed Sharapudinov’s account to Reuters.
It took Sharapudinov several months to decide whether to take up the offer of a deal. He eventually chose to trust the local official, whom he had known since childhood.
According to Sharapudinov, the intermediary took him to the town of Khasavyurt, where a high-ranking local FSB official was waiting. Though Sharapudinov had been given guarantees about his safety, he remained suspicious, he said. So he took along a pistol and a grenade in his pocket, despite a condition that he should come unarmed.Sharapudinov had never previously tried to leave Russia, even clandestinely, because he thought he might be caught or shot. And leaving Russia openly would have been impossible because he was on a wanted list on suspicion of being involved in a bombing. If caught and convicted, he faced eight years to life in prison.
But now, according to Sharapudinov, the FSB officer said he was free to leave Russia and that the state would help him go.
“They said: ‘Go wherever you want, you can even go fight in Syria,\\\'” Sharapudinov told Reuters in December. He recalled that the Olympics came up in the negotiations. “They said something like, ‘to let the Olympics pass without incidents.’ They didn’t conceal they were sending out others as well,” he said
Sharapudinov had his own reasons for leaving Russia. There were tensions between him and the local emir, who was also the commander of the militant group to which he belonged. When Sharapudinov told his mother of the FSB’s offer, she tearfully asked him to take it, he said, because she did not want him to be a fugitive any longer.The plan required the involvement of more state machinery: Sharapudinov needed a new passport to leave Russia, according to the former local official who acted as a go-between.“Since he was on the wanted list, they couldn’t send him out otherwise,” the former official told Reuters.
Sharapudinov said he was handed a new passport when he arrived at the Mineralnye Vody airport in southern Russia in September 2013, where he was escorted by an FSB employee in a silver Lada car with darkened windows. Along with the passport he got a one-way ticket to Turkey.Sharapudinov showed Reuters the passport that he said had been supplied by the Russian state. It had a slightly different name and date of birth to those recorded for Sharapudinov on an official list of wanted militants. The photograph showed Sharapudinov, who had a beard when he was interviewed for this article, as shaved. He said he had got rid of his beard for the new passport.
While Reuters was unable to confirm the provenance of the passport, neighbors of Sharapudinov and the former official who acted as a go-between confirmed his identity and his story of how he got the document. Sharapudinov asked that the name in the passport, which he uses as his new identity, not be published.North Caucasus security officials deny that Islamist radicals were intentionally helped out of the country, but agree their absence helped to solve security problems in the region. “Of course, the departure of Dagestani radicals in large numbers made the situation in the republic healthier,” said Magomed Abdurashidov from the Anti-terrorist Commission of Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan.
A security services officer who took part in negotiations with militants from Novosasitli confirmed that a few fighters “laid down arms and came out” from hiding before later traveling to Syria. “Since they disarmed we stopped prosecuting them,” he said.He said there were cases over a few years but that it had nothing to do with the Sochi Games. He said the security services did not help anyone leave. “If no measures are being taken against them, according to law, they have same rights as every Russian citizen,” he said. “They could get an international passport and leave.”The security services officer said he did not know Sharapudinov’s case.
When Sharapudinov got to Syria, he said, Islamic State was on the rise but did not control much territory. He joined a rebel group called Sabri Jamaat with other fighters from Russia and post-Soviet states. They were based in Al Dana near Aleppo, and Islamic State controlled neighboring territory.According to Sharapudinov, the two groups were friendly toward each other. Later, Sabri Jamaat pledged allegiance to Islamic State, though Sharapudinov said that by that time he had quit fighting and left Syria. He declined to say whether he had seen other Dagestani radicals in Syria.
Reuters independently found details of five other militants who left Russia in similar circumstances to Sharapudinov. The five are either dead, in jail or still in Syria and unreachable.
Relatives, neighbors and local officials gave accounts of what happened to the men. The five shared some common threads: They were all from Dagestan, and Russian authorities had reason to deny them travel documents and prevent them from leaving the country. But according to relatives and local officials, in each case the authorities made their passage possible.
One of the five other militants who left Russia was Magomed Rabadanov from the village of Berikey. A local police officer in the village said that in 2014 his orders were to keep a close eye on Rabadanov and other suspected radicals as part of a new security policy established before the Sochi Olympics.
He said he was told to put potential radicals on a watch list and to telephone them once a month. “If they didn’t pick up, we had to find them,” the officer said in his office, showing a Reuters reporter Rabadanov’s profile on his computer monitor. The police officer said that during preparations for the Olympics, Rabadanov was listed as a person “with non-traditional Islamic beliefs, Wahhabism” – the school of Sunni Islam known for its strict interpretation of the faith.At one point, Rabadanov had been detained for keeping explosives at his home, according to his father, Suleiban Rabadanov, but had been released shortly afterwards and placed under house arrest instead.Despite being under such restriction, Rabadanov was able to leave Russia: He passed through passport control at a Moscow international airport along with his wife and his son in May 2014, his father and the local police officer said. He later turned up in Syria, his father said. Government officials had no comment on Rabadanov.
Suleiban Rabadanov said he received a message on Jan. 2, 2015, from someone who said his son had been killed fighting with Islamic State militants against Kurdish forces near the Syrian town of Kobani, on the border with Turkey.
The father of another militant also said his son was allowed to leave Russia as part of a deal with the authorities. The former official who acted as the go-between in Sharapudinov’s case said two other militants were helped to get passports.
Residents and officials in Dagestan said that once Russian militants arrived in Syria they encouraged others from their home communities to join them. From the village of Berikey, which has a population of 3,000, some 28 people left for areas of the Middle East controlled by Islamic State, according to the local police officer. He said 19 of the 28 were listed in Russia as radicals.In a police station near Berikey, a Reuters reporter saw a computer file on dozens of suspected militants. The file was entitled “Wahs,” an abbreviation the police use for “Wahhabis.”Some pictures showed groups of bearded young men from Berikey and nearby villages, posing with guns. The officer said the photographs, found or received online, showed the men in Syria and Iraq.
Google faces a record antitrust fine of around 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) from the European Commission in the coming weeks, the British newspaper Sunday Telegraph said.The European Union has accused Google of promoting its shopping service in Internet searches at the expense of rival services in a case that has dragged on since late 2010.Several people familiar with the matter told Reuters last month they believed that after three failed attempts at a compromise in the past six years Google now had no plans to try to settle the allegations unless the EU watchdog changed its stance.
The Telegraph cited sources close to the situation as saying officials planned to announce the fine as early as next month, but that the bill had not yet been finalised.Google will also be banned from continuing to manipulate search results to favor itself and harm rivals, the newspaper said.The Commission can fine firms up to 10 percent of their annual sales, which in Google’s case would be a maximum possible sanction of more than 6 billion euros. The biggest antitrust fine to date was a 1.1 billion euro fine of chip-maker Intel in 2009.The Commission declined to comment, while Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Among those mounting objections are the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Roman Catholic nuns that runs care homes for the elderly.The court, divided 4-4 between liberal and conservative justices without the conservative Scalia, is set to hear the case on Wednesday.Scalia was considered a reliable vote for the religious groups. In 2014, he was in the majority when the court ruled 5-4 that family-owned companies run on religious principles, including craft retailer Hobby Lobby Stores Inc, could object to the provision for religious reasons.
If the four conservatives who sided with Scalia in that case remain unified, the best result the challengers could get would be a 4-4 split. That would leave in place lower-court rulings that favored the Obama administration.\\\"Unless the court\\\'s four justices in the dissent in Hobby Lobby dramatically change their minds, the likely worst outcome for the government would be a 4-4 split,\\\" said Gregory Lipper, a lawyer with Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which filed a brief backing the Obama administration.Lawyers for the challengers forecast that they can win, citing among other things the fact that women can obtain alternative coverage via Obamacare\\\'s online marketplace.
\\\"The idea that the government doesn\\\'t have some other way to do this is really a pretty silly argument,\\\" said Mark Rienzi, a lawyer with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents the Little Sisters.The Christian groups object to a compromise first offered by the federal government in 2013. It allows groups opposed to providing insurance covering contraception on religious grounds to comply with the law without actually paying for the coverage required by the 2010 Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare.
Gulf OPEC members including Saudi Arabia are looking to revive the idea of coordinated oil-output action by major producers when the group meets on Thursday including by establishing a new output ceiling inside the group, OPEC sources said.Saudi arch-rival and OPEC member Iran said the country was not yet ready for an output pact, but several OPEC sources said the atmosphere inside the group had improved and a compromise was possible.Any agreement between Riyadh and Tehran would be seen as a big surprise by the market, which in the past two years has grown increasingly used to clashes between the two political foes and a lack of OPEC decisions.“The Gulf Cooperation Council is looking for coordinated action at the meeting,” a senior OPEC source said, referring to a group combining OPEC’s biggest producer Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.Saudi Arabia effectively scuppered plans for a global production freeze – aimed at stabilising oil markets – in April. It said then that it would join the deal, which would also have involved non-OPEC Russia, only if Iran agreed to freeze output.Tehran has been the main stumbling block for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to agree on output policy over the past year as the country boosted supplies despite calls from other members for a production freeze.
Tehran argues it should be allowed to raise production to levels seen before the imposition of now-ended Western sanctions over Iran’s nuclear programme.On Wednesday, Iran said its position had not changed and even though its exports were rising quickly it was too early for Tehran to join such a pact – meaning it would need an exemption, which Saudi Arabia has repeatedly resisted.“Iran supports OPEC’s efforts to bring stability to the market with fair and logical prices, but it will not commit to any output freeze,” Iran’s representative to OPEC, Mehdi Asali, was quoted as saying by Iranian oil ministry news agency Shana.“The issue of output rationing can be discussed after the market stabilises,” Asali said. Iranian officials had yet to arrive in Vienna.
At its previous meeting in December 2015, OPEC failed to set any production policy including a formal output ceiling, effectively allowing its 13 members to pump at will in an already oversupplied market.As a result, prices crashed to $27 per barrel in January, their lowest in over a decade, but have since recovered to around $50 due to global supply outages.Those include declining output from U.S. shale producers badly hit by low prices but also forest fires in Canada, militant attacks on pipelines in OPEC member Nigeria and declining output in Venezuela, also a member of the group.
On Wednesday, four OPEC sources said the group was likely to consider setting a new production ceiling.Until December 2015, OPEC had a ceiling of 30 million barrels per day (bpd) – in place since December 2011.OPEC currently produces around 32.5 million bpd. Any ceiling below that number would represent an effective production cut.Three sources said the ceiling would need to be set substantially above 30 million bpd, but a final figure would likely require lengthy discussions.
“Even a 32 million bpd target would only ratify maximum production and not amount to a policy change. But it could be signalling surprise given the low expectations the market has for this meeting,” said Robert McNally, president of the Rapidan group.Oil recouped intraday losses to trade flat near $50 a barrel on hopes of possible compromises at Thursday’s meeting.The new Saudi energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, was due to meet fellow Gulf ministers later on Wednesday in a traditional gathering preceding OPEC.
Falih was the first OPEC minister to arrive in Vienna this week, signalling he is taking the organisation seriously despite fears among fellow members that Riyadh is no longer keen to have OPEC as an output-setting organisation.Earlier on Wednesday, Falih met Venezuelan energy minister Eulogio Del Pino, who said in a statement that the two “agreed on the importance of OPEC as a major player in the oil market”.He also warned that supply outages have propped up prices in recent months but a global oil glut might build up again when missing barrels return.“More than 3 million barrels are out of the market. When those circumstances are removed from the market, what’s going to happen?” Del Pino told reporters in Vienna.For a Take-a-Look on Reuters stories on OPEC, click on
The United States announced an end to its embargo on sales of lethal arms to Vietnam on Monday, an historic step that draws a line under the two countries’ old enmity and underscores their shared concerns about Beijing’s growing military clout.The move came during President Barack Obama’s first visit to Hanoi, which his welcoming hosts described as the arrival of a warm spring and a new chapter in relations between two countries that were at war four decades ago.Obama, the third U.S. president to visit Vietnam since diplomatic relations were restored in 1995, has made a strategic ‘rebalance’ toward Asia a centerpiece of his foreign policy.
Vietnam, a neighbor of China, is a key part of that strategy amid worries about Beijing’s assertiveness and sovereignty claims to 80 percent of the South China Sea.The decision to lift the arms trade ban, which followed intense debate within the Obama administration, suggested such concerns outweighed arguments that Vietnam had not done enough to improve its human rights record and Washington would lose leverage for reforms.
Obama told a joint news conference with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang that disputes in the South China Sea should be resolved peacefully and not by whoever “throws their weight around”. But he insisted the arms embargo move was not linked to China.“The decision to lift the ban was not based on China or any other considerations. It was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving towards normalization with Vietnam,” he said. Obama later added his visit to a former foe showed “hearts can change and peace is possible”.The sale of arms, Obama said, would depend on Vietnam’s human rights commitments, and would be made on a case-by-case basis.
Human Rights Watch reacted with dismay to Washington’s decision to toss away a critical lever it might have had to spur political reform in the Communist party-ruled state.Phil Robertson, the watchdog’s Asia director, said in a statement that even as Obama was lifting the arms embargo Vietnamese authorities were arresting a journalist, human rights activists and bloggers on the street and in their houses.“In one fell swoop, President Obama has jettisoned what remained of U.S. leverage to improve human rights in Vietnam – and basically gotten nothing for it,” he said.Obama told the news conference with President Quang Washington would continue to speak out for human rights, including citizens’ right to organize through civil society.Obama is scheduled to meet with a group of activists on Tuesday.
Quang, who actually announced the lifting of the U.S. embargo before Obama could do so, was until recently minister of public security, which activists say harasses and arrests dissidents.Dissent was once the domain of just a few in Vietnam, but while the party has allowed more open criticism in recent years, it is quick to slap down challenges to its monopoly on power.Though the communist parties that run China and Vietnam officially have brotherly ties, China’s brinkmanship over the South China Sea – where it has been turning remote outcrops into islands with runways and harbors – has forced Vietnam to recalibrate its defense strategy.
Security analysts and regional military attaches expect Vietnam’s initial wish list of equipment to cover the latest in surveillance radar, intelligence and communications technology, allowing them better coverage of the South China Sea as well as improved integration of its growing forces.Washington has allowed sales of defensive maritime equipment since 2014. Hanoi’s military strategists are expected to now seek drones, radar, coastal patrol boats and possibly P-3 Orion surveillance aircraft from the United States.Carl Thayer, an expert on Vietnam’s military at Australia’s Defence Force Academy, said the steep costs of U.S. arms would remain a factor for Hanoi, pushing it toward its traditional suppliers of missiles and planes, particularly long-time security patron, Russia. On the other hand, the lifting of the embargo will provide Vietnam with leverage in future arms deals with those suppliers.
China sees U.S. support for rival South China Sea claimants Vietnam and the Philippines as interference and an attempt to establish hegemony in the region. Washington insists its priority is ensuring freedom of navigation and flight.However, China’s response to the announcement in Hanoi was muted. The foreign ministry said it hoped the development in relations between the United States and Vietnam would be conducive to regional peace and stability.Underlining the burgeoning commercial relationship between the United States and Vietnam, one of the first deals signed on Obama’s trip was an $11.3 billion order for 100 Boeing planes by low-cost airline VietJet.
China is Vietnam’s biggest trade partner and source of imports. But trade with the United States has swelled 10-fold over the past two decades to about $45 billion. Vietnam is now Southeast Asia’s biggest exporter to America.In the commercial hub, Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, Obama will on Tuesday meet entrepreneurs and tout a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal he has championed.Obama said at the news conference he was confident the trade pact would be approved by U.S. legislators, even though it is an election year. He said he had not seen a credible argument that the deal, which will group 12 economies, would hurt U.S. business.