Gold smuggling case: Swapna Suresh, Sandeep Nair arrested in Bengaluru by NIA

News Network
July 12,2020

Kochi, Jul 12: The two main accused in Kerala gold smuggling case, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair have been arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Both the accused will be produced before NIA court in Kochi, Kerala on Sunday.

Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair were detained by NIA from Bengaluru, Karnataka on Saturday.

Swapna is named as the second accused and Sandeep has been named as the fourth accused in the FIR taken by NIA and both have been slapped with Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, (UAPA) along with first accused Sarith PS and third accused Fazil Fareed
Already, Sarith PS was arrested by the Customs, while Fazil Fareed is still at large. 

NIA officials yesterday conducted a detailed interrogation of Sarith after reaching the customs office in Kochi where he is in custody.

The Customs Department had on July 5 seized 30 kg gold worth Rs 15 crore concealed in diplomatic consignment at the Thiruvananthapuram international airport.

The NIA on Friday registered a First Information Report (FIR) against Sarith Kumar, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, the three persons allegedly involved in the case.

The agency has charged them with offences under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Swapna Suresh was on the run following the gold seizure. She was employed in Space Park and Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITL), which comes under the IT department, a portfolio held by Kerala Chief Minister. She was ousted after being named an accused in the case.

Sarith Kumar, an accused in the case who had previously worked as a public relations officer (PRO) in UAE Consulate-General's office in Thiruvananthapuram, was arrested on July 6.

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Man hangs himself after recovering from covid-19

coastaldigest.com news network
August 11,2020

Karwar, Aug 11: A 47-year-old man, who had recovered from Covid-19 a month ago but was ostracised by villagers, committed suicide on Monday by hanging himself at his house.

The deceased is Ratnakar Naik, 47, a resident of Shirwad in Karwar. He was working in a private pharmaceutical company in Goa and the company had turned into a Covid hotspot. Thereafter he returned to Karwar and tested positive. He underwent treatment and recovered.

But life was not the same after he returned to his village. Though he had recovered from Covid-19, villagers, including some of his friends and relatives, feared that he was still a carrier of the virus. They looked at him with apprehension and kept him at a distance. 

Whenever he came out of house, people avoided him. If he went to the nearby well to fetch water, people would run away after seeing him, said his family members. Ratnakar gradually slipped into depression and stopped coming out of his house. On Monday he hanged himself from the roof at his house.

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First-of-its-kind mobile covid-19 lab dedicated to public in Karnataka's capital

News Network
August 6,2020

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Bengaluru, Aug 5: Touted as a first of its kind in the nation, a mobile Covid-19 lab was inaugurated on Wednesday by the Karnataka Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar.

The lab, approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) can do 9,000 RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) tests per month, an official press release said here. "This is a unique lab having all safety features and capable of producing 100% accurate results within four hours," Dr Sudhakar was quoted as saying in the press release.

The Indian Institute of Science (IISC) had developed the lab and handed it over to the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS).

The mobile lab can also be used for molecular diagnostic-testing and can be deployed in coronavirus hot spots quickly, the release said adding, apart from Covid-19, the lab can be utilised for testing H1N1, HCV, TB, HPV and HIV among others.

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Karnataka to regulate Remdesivir supply to private hospitals to check black marketing

News Network
July 22,2020

Bengaluru, Jul 22: Karnataka's Covid-19 task force on Tuesday decided that the state government will regulate the supply of Remdesivir, the drug used in the treatment of coronavirus infected patients, to private hospitals to check black marketing and hoarding.

"Remdesivir which is currently available in the government hospitals will be supplied to private hospitals through the government.

This will help curb black marketing of this drug," Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar's office said in a release.

Along with Sudhakar, other task force members, including Health Minister Sriramulu, Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan and Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar attended the meeting. However, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai was not part of it as he was out of Bengaluru.

At the meeting, the government has also fixed the rate for Covid-19 tests in private labs- Rs 2,000 for government referred cases and 3,000 for self-reporting cases.

It was also decided to purchase 4 lakh antigen test kits and 5 lakh swab test kits to ramp up testing, the release said, adding that approvals have also been given for additional drugs for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

The decisions also included increasing monthly salary for Ayush doctors to 48,000, MBBS doctors to 80,000 and nurses to get 30,000 for next 6 months.

The task force also made it clear that private hospitals have to reserve 50 percent beds for the government for Covid-19 treatment. The remaining 50 percent can be used by the private hospitals for Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 treatment.

Private hospitals provide treatment under Ayushman Bharat scheme (ABARK) for Covid-19 patients.

Those cases in which treatment does not cover under the scheme can be charged as per the user charges, the release said.

A committee will be formed to supervise and recommend the purchase of equipment and medicines for Covid-19 treatment, which will be headed by ACS, ITBT Department.

Approval has been given for the procurement of N-95 masks and lakh PPE kits for the safety of healthcare workers. The decision also has been taken to connect oxygen pipeline to 4,736 beds in 17 government medical colleges, which will enable high flow oxygen for these beds besides being beneficial for future use as well.

According to the release, 16 RTPCR and 15 Automated RNA extraction units will be established to ramp up testing and this will help achieve the target of 50,000 tests per day. "On the whole approvals given for purchase of equipment and upgradation of existing facilities at government hospitals is estimated to be about Rs 500 Crore," it added.

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