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AgustaWestland: Court takes cognisance of CBI suppl charge sheet

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 A Delhi court on Friday took cognisance of the supplementary charge sheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal scam.

On September 19, the agency had filed the charge sheet against 15 accused, including alleged middleman Christian Michel and accused turned approver Rajiv Saxena.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar of Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court has now issued summonses to the accused and listed the matter for October 23.

In the supplementary charge sheet, the CBI has named Sandeep Tyagi, Praveen Bakshi, Partap Krishan Aggarwal, the then Managing Director of IDS Infotech Limited, Narendra Kumar Jain, Rajesh Kumar Jain of Kolkata, Sunil Kothari, then Managing Director of OM Metals Infotech Private Limited, and Kunhikrishnan, a close associate of Michel.

The agency has also named Saxena, then Director of Interstellar Technologies Limited; Giacomino Saponaro, then Managing Director of AgustaWestland International Limited; Deepak Goyal, an official of Gautam Khaitan; IDS Infotech Limited, Aeromatrix Info Solutions Private Limited, Neel Madhav Consultants Private Limited, Mainak Agency Private Limited, and Interstellar Technologies Limited in the case.

The CBI alleged that British national Michel paid Rs 90 lakh as consultancy fee to KV Kunhikrishnan, a former GM of Westland Support Services Limited, who had received documents and information related to the proposal to buy 12 VVIP choppers.

The agency asserted that during further investigation, it was found that Sanjeev Tyagi and Sandeep Tyagi (both cousins of former IAF chief SP Tyagi) through Neel Madhav Consultants Private Limited acquired Mainak Agency Private Limited at Kolkata in 2009 to launder illicit kickbacks and received approximately Rs 5 crore through banking channels in collusion with NK Jain, RK Jain and Kothari, who created shell companies and opened fake accounts in different banks for returning such kickbacks.

It was further alleged that in pursuance of the conspiracy, co-accused Agarwal, Bakshi, and Saxena through their companies had facilitated in routing the kickbacks paid by AgustaWestland at the UK.

Saxena was brought from Dubai in January 2019 and made an approver by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the VVIP chopper deal case but the financial probe agency later sought revocation of this status by saying that he misled the investigators.

The case pertains to the purchase of 12 AW-101 helicopters built by Italian defence manufacturing giant Finmeccanica (now known as Leonardo) at an estimated cost of Rs 3,600 crore for ferrying VVIPs.

In the deal, bribes were allegedly paid to middlemen and others. The purchase was cleared in 2010 by the then UPA government.

On January 1, 2014, India cancelled the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland due to alleged breach of contractual obligations and payment of kickbacks amounting to Rs 423 crore.

The CBI had earlier filed a charge sheet in this case on September 1, 2017 against then Air Chief Marshal Tyagi and 11 other accused.

In its first charge sheet, the CBI had established a “money trail” of 62 million euros (around Rs 415 crore) out of the suspected 67 million euros (Rs 452 crore) total bribe paid to Indians through middlemen.

The second charge sheet does not name any politician or senior bureaucrat.

Source: IANS

India

Barricades to open on Jan 26 as police allow Tractor Rally

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The Delhi Police on Sunday said that after several round of talks with the farmers groups, it has permitted the tractor rally inside Delhi on January 26.

Police has said that the barricades would be lifted at Singhu, Tikri and Gazipur borders on January 26 after the Republic Day parade is over and the farmers would be allowed to enter upto 100 kilometers within Delhi with their tractors in a circular path on the routes discussed with the farmers.

The route specified is from Singhu Border to Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar, Kanjhawala, Bawana to Auchadi. From Tikri border, it will be to Nangloi, Najafgarh, Jharoda, Dhansa, Badli and the KMP and from Gazipur border to Apsara border to Hapur Road.

“We have told the farmers that the rally would start once the Republic Day parade is over. We expect with the cooperation of the farmers the rally would be peaceful,” Special Commissioner of Police, Intelligence, Deependra Pathak, said.

However, the police said that they are on alert after intelligence inputs that various Twitter handles operating from across the border are active to disrupt the rally on January 26.

“According to our intelligence input, 308 Twitter handles have been generated from Pakistan to disrupt the rally to create disturbance. We are also concerned about the security of the rally given the threat perception,” he added.

Meanwhile, several batches of farmers from Punjab and Haryana set out on their tractor-trolleys and other vehicles to take part in the proposed tractor rally on January 26 in the national capital. Tractor-trolleys have now become a common sight at the Singhu border as the farmers have started bringing in the tractors to the protest site from villages in Punjab for the proposed rally.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and other states have been protesting at multiple border points of Delhi at Singhu, Tikri and Gazipur borders since November-end. They are demanding a repeal of the three central farm laws passed by Parliament in September last year.

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Soldier injured in Pak ceasefire violation succumbs

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An Army soldier injured in a ceasefire violation by Pakistan on the Line of Control in J&K’s Rajouri district, succumbed to his injuries on Sunday.

An Indian Army statement said, “Pakistan Army had resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation on the LoC in Sunderbani sector of J&K on January 18 which was responded to strongly by our own troops.”

“In the incident, Naik Nishant Sharma of 10 JAK RIF was critically injured and was under treatment at the command hospital.

“Today the soldier succumbed to injuries. Naik Nishant Sharma was a brave, highly motivated and sincere soldier. The nation will always remain indebted to him for his supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty.”

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CBI arrests labour official in TN in bribery case

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 The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said on Sunday that it had arrested a Regional Labour Commissioner on the charge of demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 30,000.

P Sivarajan, posted as Regional Labour Commissioner (Central) in Madurai, was held along with a private person N Murali after the CBI laid a trap on Saturday and caught them with the bribe amount.

A case was registered after a complaint that Sivarajan was demanding undue advantage from Murali, representing a private company, for issuing labour licence.

Searches were conducted at five places in Chennai and Madurai (Tamil Nadu), including the residence and offices of the accused, said the CBI.

Both the accused were produced in the court of Principal Special Judge for CBI cases, Chennai, and remanded to judicial custody till February 4.

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