Mangaluru, Sep 24: Karnataka Minister for Energy, Kannada and Culture V Sunil Kumar on Saturday alleged that the Congress encouraged the activities of Popular Front of India (PFI) during their rule.

Addressing reporters in Udupi, he said the BJP lost 14 of its workers as a result of Congress nurturing the PFI.

The Minister said the raid on PFI and SDPI offices in the State is the natural conclusion to the actions taken after the murder of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha leader Praveen Nettaru.

The NIA is conducting the investigation into the case at the highest level. The Congress, during its rule, had created a situation of unrest in the State by withdrawing cases against SDPI and PFI workers, he alleged.

He termed the 'PayCM campaign by the Congress as a bundle of lies.' Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was the father of corruption, he alleged, and said the Congress has no moral right to criticise the BJP government.

If they have any complaint, let them approach the Lokayukta or raise it in the State assembly, Sunil Kumar said.

On the proposed power tariff hike in the State, the Minister said tariff is hiked every year. The tariff is fixed on the rise due to rhe price of coal, he said.

To a question, Sunil Kumar said the BJP would come back to power in the State in the next Assembly elections and Basavaraj Bommai would be the captain.

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Moscow, Dec 4: About 2,500 seals have been found dead on the Caspian Sea coast in southern Russia, officials said Sunday.

Authorities in the Russian province of Dagestan said it was unclear why the mass die-off happened but that it was likely due to natural causes.

Regional officials initially reported Saturday that 700 dead seals were found on the coast, but the Dagestan division of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment later raised the figure to about 2,500.

Zaur Gapizov, head of the Caspian Environmental Protection Center, said in a statement that the seals likely died a couple of weeks ago. He added that there was no sign that they were killed or caught in fishing nets.

Experts of the Federal Fisheries Agency and prosecutors inspected the coastline and collected data for laboratory research, which didn't immediately spot any pollutants.

Several previous incidents of mass seal deaths were attributed to natural causes. Kazakhstan, which has a long Caspian coastline, reported at least three such incidents this year.

Data about the number of seals in the Caspian vary widely. The fisheries agency has said the overall number of Caspian seals is 270,000-300,000, while the Caspian Environmental Protection Center put the number at 70,000.