Ramesh Babu

Ramesh Babu is HT’s bureau chief in Kerala, with about three decades of experience in journalism.

Articles by Ramesh Babu

Given second life, says Kerala trekker rescued after nearly 50 hours

R Babu was admitted to a hospital after being provided food and water by rescuers, whom he embraced and thanked profusely after a precarious operation in which several evacuation attempts by helicopters failed
Kerala trekker R Babu who was trapped in the cleft of a remote mountain being rescued by the Army, in Palakkad on Wednesday. (ANI)
Kerala trekker R Babu who was trapped in the cleft of a remote mountain being rescued by the Army, in Palakkad on Wednesday. (ANI)
Published on Feb 10, 2022 12:33 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala gold smuggling case: ED summons Swapna over new allegations

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday summoned the main accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case, Swapna Suresh, following interviews she gave recently raising allegations against IAS officer M Sivasankar -- another accused
Kerala gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh was asked to appear at the ED office in Kochi at 11 am on Wednesday. (PTI File)
Kerala gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh was asked to appear at the ED office in Kochi at 11 am on Wednesday. (PTI File)
Published on Feb 09, 2022 12:17 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala guv signs ordinance clipping Lokayukta powers

Now with the governor giving his assent “a competent body will have power either to accept or reject the verdict of Lokayukta after giving an opportunity to hear parties concerned,” according to the ordinance.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who returned to the state on Saturday after week-long visit to the United Arab Emirates, called on the governor on Sunday and held one-hour discussion on the ordinance. (HT Photo)
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who returned to the state on Saturday after week-long visit to the United Arab Emirates, called on the governor on Sunday and held one-hour discussion on the ordinance. (HT Photo)
Published on Feb 08, 2022 12:16 AM IST
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Kerala governor signs amendment curtailing powers of Lokayukta

The new amendment takes away Section 14 of the Kerala Lokayukta Act, under which a public servant was required to vacate the office immediately if indicted by Lokayukta. Now, it has only recommendatory authority, not mandatory jurisdiction.
The opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had asked Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan not to sign the ordinance which they said will turn the Lokayukta redundant. (File/ANI Photo)
The opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had asked Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan not to sign the ordinance which they said will turn the Lokayukta redundant. (File/ANI Photo)
Updated on Feb 07, 2022 06:03 PM IST
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Kerala smuggling case returns to haunt govt

IAS officer Sivasankar may face action after main accused Suresh says the officer was aware of her activities
IAS officer M Sivasankar (HT Archives)
IAS officer M Sivasankar (HT Archives)
Published on Feb 07, 2022 12:39 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala govt may take action against M Sivasankar again in gold smuggling case

The Kerala government also feels that the IAS officer has given an opportunity to central agencies to corner the government again.
Kerala CM’s former principal secretary M Sivasankar was taken back into government service last month. (HT FILE PHOTO.)
Kerala CM’s former principal secretary M Sivasankar was taken back into government service last month. (HT FILE PHOTO.)
Published on Feb 07, 2022 12:14 AM IST
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Kerala gold smuggling case: Main accused says CM’s secretary was aware of her activities

Talking to news channel Asianet, Swapna shot back saying he was aware of everything and he can’t wash off his hands like this
The gold smuggling case came to light on July 5, 2020 when the customs seized 30 kg gold hidden in bathroom fittings in one of the consignments, camouflaged as diplomatic baggage, came in the name of the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram. (PTI File)
The gold smuggling case came to light on July 5, 2020 when the customs seized 30 kg gold hidden in bathroom fittings in one of the consignments, camouflaged as diplomatic baggage, came in the name of the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram. (PTI File)
Updated on Feb 05, 2022 01:04 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala HC asks Centre to give all files in ‘MediaOne’ ban case

Counsel for the channel contended that the ministry’s order was illegal and violated freedom of speech guaranteed under the constitution
Assistant solicitor general S Manu, who appeared for the union government, told the court that the ministry of home affairs denied security clearance based on intelligence inputs which are sensitive and secret in nature. (PTI )
Assistant solicitor general S Manu, who appeared for the union government, told the court that the ministry of home affairs denied security clearance based on intelligence inputs which are sensitive and secret in nature. (PTI )
Published on Feb 03, 2022 01:07 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala’s famous snake rescuer battling for life after cobra bite

Vava Suresh is a household name across the state and has rescued over 50,000 snakes and other animals over the last two decades
Vava Suresh has suffered over 250 snake bites. (HT Photo)
Vava Suresh has suffered over 250 snake bites. (HT Photo)
Updated on Feb 01, 2022 09:54 AM IST
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Two years on, Kerala battles high Covid caseload

In the midst of a third wave, it remains the highest contributor for almost a month and in death rate it is second to Maharashtra.
With just 2.8 per cent of India’s population, it reported 14.3 per cent of total cases and 10.6 per cent of deaths, showing the intensity of the pandemic in the Kerala. (HT Archives)
With just 2.8 per cent of India’s population, it reported 14.3 per cent of total cases and 10.6 per cent of deaths, showing the intensity of the pandemic in the Kerala. (HT Archives)
Published on Jan 31, 2022 12:28 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

R-Day gaffe: Kerala minister hoists national flag upside down, salutes it

The Kasaragod district administration announced a probe into the R-Day incident and opposition Bharatiya Janata Party sought action against the minister and erring officials
After hoisting the national flag upside down, the Kerala minister and other officials including the district superintendent of police saluted the Tricolour. (AFP Photo)
After hoisting the national flag upside down, the Kerala minister and other officials including the district superintendent of police saluted the Tricolour. (AFP Photo)
Updated on Jan 26, 2022 03:53 PM IST
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Ordinance seeks to dilute Kerala Lokayukta’s powers, triggers row

The anti-corruption ombudsman is probing three complaints against chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan for allegedly misusing funds meant for disaster relief
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. (HT PHOTO)
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. (HT PHOTO)
Published on Jan 25, 2022 04:13 PM IST
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Kerala orders probe against hospital after transgender’s suicide

Six months after a 28-year-old transgender activist died by suicide allegedly due to medical complications from her sex re-assignment surgery, the Kerala government on Monday ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident
The activist underwent the surgery at a private hospital in Ernakulam in 2020. (Representative)
The activist underwent the surgery at a private hospital in Ernakulam in 2020. (Representative)
Published on Jan 25, 2022 12:54 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala to probe trans activist’s suicide after sex reassignment surgery

The state government has directed the additional director of health to make a detailed inquiry and submit a report in a month’s time
LBTQ community members have been seeking a probe into the trans activist’s suicide following alleged medical complications after her sex reassignment surgery at a private hospital in Kerala. (Archives)
LBTQ community members have been seeking a probe into the trans activist’s suicide following alleged medical complications after her sex reassignment surgery at a private hospital in Kerala. (Archives)
Updated on Jan 24, 2022 03:45 PM IST
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‘Miscarriage of justice’: Uproar mounts on court order

Widespread outrage continued in Kerala on Saturday, a day after a Kottayam court acquitted Roman Catholic bishop Franco Mulakkal of charges of repeatedly raping a nun
Nuns hold protest demanding justice after an alleged sexual assault of a nun by a bishop in Kochi, Kerala. (FILE PHOTO)
Nuns hold protest demanding justice after an alleged sexual assault of a nun by a bishop in Kochi, Kerala. (FILE PHOTO)
Published on Jan 16, 2022 12:43 AM IST
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{Kerala nun rape case} Outrage mounts over acquittal; activists launch online campaign

The nun had alleged Mullakal had raped her several times between 2014 and 2016; the Kottayam court said the victim’s statements were contradictory and corroborative evidences were missing
Former Bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mullakal, 57, was the lone accused in the Kerala nun rape case. (HT file photo)
Former Bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mullakal, 57, was the lone accused in the Kerala nun rape case. (HT file photo)
Published on Jan 15, 2022 10:25 PM IST
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Bishop Franco acquitted in Kerala nun rape case

The unexpected verdict sparked a wave of condemnation, with supporters of the victim saying they will move the high court
Bishop Franco Mulakkal was accused of raping the woman 13 times between 2014 and 2016 during his visits to a convent in Kuruvilanghad in Kottayam, when he was the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. (PTI)
Bishop Franco Mulakkal was accused of raping the woman 13 times between 2014 and 2016 during his visits to a convent in Kuruvilanghad in Kottayam, when he was the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. (PTI)
Updated on Jan 14, 2022 11:39 PM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala nun rape: unusual case that witnessed many twists and turns

Earlier many priests have faced sexual harassment and assault charges from believers, but this is the first time one from the ordained flock turned against the powerful diocese head attracting widespread attention.
The powerful church stood with Bishop Franco Mullakkal though many activists and a miniscule section of the clergy rallied behind the agitating nuns. (PTI Photo)
The powerful church stood with Bishop Franco Mullakkal though many activists and a miniscule section of the clergy rallied behind the agitating nuns. (PTI Photo)
Published on Jan 14, 2022 06:55 PM IST
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‘Pity that vice chancellor can’t write two sentences properly’: Kerala governor

Kerala University vice chancellor Prof. Mahadevan Pillai’s handwritten letter to governor revealed sthat the V-C, instead of convening a meeting of the university Syndicate meeting to decide on the governor’s suggestion, “discussed” it with some the university Syndicate members and told the governor that the University Syndicate had turned down the proposal.
Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan, who is at loggerheads with the Kerala government over alleged political interference in the functioning of the universities, expressed his wish to step down as chancellor of universities in the state from December 8 last year, alleging political interference in their functioning. (Kerala)
Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan, who is at loggerheads with the Kerala government over alleged political interference in the functioning of the universities, expressed his wish to step down as chancellor of universities in the state from December 8 last year, alleging political interference in their functioning. (Kerala)
Published on Jan 10, 2022 04:54 PM IST
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Abandoned tiger cub develops cataract, rewilding prospects hit

The forest department is planning to import a drug from the United States called Lanosterol, which experts said can help dissolve the cataract to an extent
HT had reported in June 2021 that the cub was around two months old when two forest guards on patrol duty had spotted her in November 2020. (REPRESENTATIONAL)
HT had reported in June 2021 that the cub was around two months old when two forest guards on patrol duty had spotted her in November 2020. (REPRESENTATIONAL)
Published on Jan 10, 2022 12:27 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala actor’s abduction, assault case drags on

The Kerala actor abduction and assault case saw two special public prosecutors resign, 38 witnesses turned hostile, and prosecution moved higher courts, seeking a change of the trial judge
After the revelation, the investigating officer Baiju Paulose had moved a fresh plea in the Kerala high court requesting to question the main accused Pulsar Suni, who is in judicial custody. (Representative use)
After the revelation, the investigating officer Baiju Paulose had moved a fresh plea in the Kerala high court requesting to question the main accused Pulsar Suni, who is in judicial custody. (Representative use)
Published on Jan 06, 2022 12:41 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala: Vijayan announces relief package for those facing losses due to K-Rail

Congress, the main Opposition party in the state of Kerala, and the Bharatiya Janata Party have been opposing the rail project
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan has maintained that his government will not bow to protests over the high-speed K-Rail project. (PTI/File)
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan has maintained that his government will not bow to protests over the high-speed K-Rail project. (PTI/File)
Updated on Jan 04, 2022 04:32 PM IST
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18 years and fighting: HIV-infected Kerala mother seeks job for her educated children

Her children were thrown out of their school but she fought back and ensured education to her children at the same school
The heart-rending tale the woman and her three minor children surfaced in 2003 when a lower primary school in Kottiyoor (Kannur district) expelled her two children after it came to know that they were also infected with the HIV (HT FILE PHOTO)
The heart-rending tale the woman and her three minor children surfaced in 2003 when a lower primary school in Kottiyoor (Kannur district) expelled her two children after it came to know that they were also infected with the HIV (HT FILE PHOTO)
Published on Jan 03, 2022 12:23 AM IST
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Year that was: Left’s hold continues; nature’s fury returns in Kerala

This year saw the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) making history in the April assembly election by retaining power in Kerala that usually boots out the incumbent
At least 40 people killed in Kottayam and Idukki districts in October after heavy downpour and landslides. (HT)
At least 40 people killed in Kottayam and Idukki districts in October after heavy downpour and landslides. (HT)
Updated on Dec 30, 2021 12:45 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala high-speed rail: CPI expresses concern, PCC warns Tharoor to mend his ways

Two weeks back when 17 MPs from the state wrote to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav urging him not to give clearance to the high-speed project ‘K Rail,’ Tharoor abstained from it saying he needed more time to study the project. But he made it clear that not signing the letter does not mean that he supported the project.
The Kerala Congress on Sunday asked party MP Shashi Tharoor who refused to oppose the rail project to fall in line. (HT FILE PHOTO.)
The Kerala Congress on Sunday asked party MP Shashi Tharoor who refused to oppose the rail project to fall in line. (HT FILE PHOTO.)
Published on Dec 27, 2021 12:11 AM IST
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Row over K Rail intensifies as CPI expresses concern

The 63,490-crore K-rail project aims at developing a high-speed rail network, connecting north Kerala’s Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram in the south.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said his government will go ahead with the project, with his party asking the cadre to “expose forces” that are bend to “derail developmental activities” of the state. (HT PHOTO)
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said his government will go ahead with the project, with his party asking the cadre to “expose forces” that are bend to “derail developmental activities” of the state. (HT PHOTO)
Published on Dec 27, 2021 12:11 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Differently abled man in Kerala overcomes hurdles to help needy during Covid

Since 2019, Salim is the most sought after person in Ranni town of Pathanamthitta district, where he has helped more than 2,000 Covid patients reach the hospital in the past two years.
Polio-stricken, once Salim Kumar (38) gets into his specially-modified car with the help of two persons, he swifts away to reach the needy. (HT)
Polio-stricken, once Salim Kumar (38) gets into his specially-modified car with the help of two persons, he swifts away to reach the needy. (HT)
Updated on Dec 23, 2021 12:37 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Plea to remove PM photo from jab certificate dismissed. HC orders 1 lakh fine

The Kerala high court said the petition to remove PM Modi’s photo from the vaccine certificates was a publicity-oriented petition. “...and I have a strong doubt that there is political agenda,” the judge ruled
The Kerala high court judge earlier gave the petitioner an opportunity to withdraw the petition seeking removal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photograph from Covid-19 vaccine certificates issued by the government but the petitioner declined. (ANI)
The Kerala high court judge earlier gave the petitioner an opportunity to withdraw the petition seeking removal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photograph from Covid-19 vaccine certificates issued by the government but the petitioner declined. (ANI)
Updated on Dec 21, 2021 01:10 PM IST
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‘Appeasement politics’: MoS Home Nityanand Rai raps Kerala govt on twin murders

The minister rushed to the state to pay homage to Sreenivasan who was hacked to death in his home in Alappuzha on Sunday
BJP OBC Morcha state secretary Ranjith Sreenivasan was hacked to death in his house allegedly by SDPI workers. The BJP leader was attacked on Sunday morning while he was coming out of his house for a morning stroll. (SOURCED)
BJP OBC Morcha state secretary Ranjith Sreenivasan was hacked to death in his house allegedly by SDPI workers. The BJP leader was attacked on Sunday morning while he was coming out of his house for a morning stroll. (SOURCED)
Updated on Dec 20, 2021 08:59 PM IST
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Third generation Kerala craftsmen keep tradition of ‘Nettur petti’ alive

Craftsmen have no idea how Nettur petti got its name. “It is also known as Malabar petti, and we feel it might have imbibed the name from a village along the Malabar coast,” Suresh said.
Many swear they still keep their valuables in ‘Nettur petti’ as part of the tradition, and some believe it is a symbol of luck and prosperity. (Vivek R Nair/HT)
Many swear they still keep their valuables in ‘Nettur petti’ as part of the tradition, and some believe it is a symbol of luck and prosperity. (Vivek R Nair/HT)
Published on Dec 20, 2021 12:18 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram
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