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CBI Files Supplementary Charge Sheet In Agustawestland Case, Names 15 Accused

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.

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AgustaWestland AW101

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday filed a supplementary charge sheet against 15 accused, including alleged middleman Christian Michel and accused-turned-approver Rajiv Saxena, in connection with the alleged corruption in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

The CBI alleged that British national and middleman James paid Rs 90 lakh as consultant fee to K.V. Kunhikrishnan, former GM, Westland Support Services Ltd as consultant fee.

The second charge sheet was filed on Friday and doesn’t name any politician or senior bureaucrat so far. The first charge sheet in the case was filed in September 2017 naming former IAF chief SP Tyagi and others.

The CBI filed the supplementary charge sheet in a Delhi court on Friday against Sandeep Tyagi, Praveen Bakshi, Partap Krishan Aggarwal, the then Managing Director of IDS Infotech Ltd., India, Narendra Kumar Jain, Rajesh Kumar Jain of Kolkata, Sunil Kothari, the then Managing Director of OM Metals Infotech Pvt. Ltd., Kunhikrishnan, a close associate of James.

The CBI has also named Saxena, then Director of Interstellar Technologies Ltd, Mauritius, Giacomino Saponaro, then Managing Director of AgustaWestland International Ltd., Deepak Goyal, an official of Gautam Khaitan, IDS Infotech Ltd., Mohali/Chandigarh, (through its Managing Director P.K. Aggarwal), Aeromatrix Info Solutions Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi (through its Director Gautam Khaitan), Neel Madhav Consultants Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi (through its Director Sandeep Tyagi), Mainak Agency Pvt. Ltd., earlier at Kolkata, now in New Delhi (through its Directors Sandeep Tyagi and Sanjeev Tyagi and Interstellar Technologies Ltd, Mauritius (through its Director Rajiv Saxena).

In the charge sheet, the CBI alleged that Kunhikrishnan was paid about Rs 90 lakh as consultant fee by Michel, who is currently lodged in Tihar jail after he was deported from UAE in December 2018.

The CBI alleged that Kunhikrishnan received documents and information related to the ongoing subject of procurement (12 VVIP chopper deal), which were supplied to AgustaWestland officials — Saponaro.

The CBI also said that during further investigation it was found that Sanjeev Tyagi and Sandeep Tyagi (both cousins of SP Tyagi) through Neel Madhav Consultants Pvt Ltd acquired Mainak Agency Pvt Ltd at Kolkata in 2009 to launder illicit kickbacks/ill-gotten money and received approximately Rs 5 crore through banking channels in collusion with N.K. Jain, R.K. 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 conspiracy, the other accused — Agarwal, Bakshi, Saxena — through their companies had facilitated in transferring/routing the kickbacks/bribe paid by AgustaWestland at 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 saying he misled the investigators.

ED claimed that Saxena is a ‘hawala operator’ and accommodation entry provider who runs the accommodation entry business in Dubai through numerous companies known as Matrix Group companies and has laundered proceeds of crime in the cases of AgustaWestland scam.

The CBI alleged that Goyal allegedly prepared fake invoices and sent mails for transferring the said kickbacks through IDS Infotech Ltd, Interstellar Technologies Mauritius and other companies. The CBI has recovered copies of documents and details during the probe. The case pertains to the purchase of 12 AgustaWestland helicopters built by Italian defence manufacturing giant Finmeccanica (now known as the group) 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 for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF, over alleged breach of contractual obligations and on charges of paying 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, CBI had established “money trail” of 62 million euros (around Rs 415 crore) out of suspected 67 million euros (Rs 452 crore) total bribe paid to Indians through middlemen.

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Maharashtra extends ongoing Covid-19 lockdown till November 30

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Lockdown in Maharashtra

The Maharashtra government on Thursday extended the ongoing lockdown by another month as cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) continue to rise in the state. It will now remain in effect till November 30, officials said.

The government issued a statement about the same and said, “Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and the powers, conferred under The Disaster Management Act. 2005. the undersigned, in his capacity as Chairperson, State Executive Committee, hereby issues directions that the guidelines issued vide orders dated 30’h September, 2020 and 14° October. 2020 to operationalize MISSION BEGIN AGAIN for casing of restrictions and phase-wise opening, will remain in force till 30th November 2020 for containment of COVID- I 9 epidemic in the State and all Departments of Government of Maharashtra shall strictly implement these guidelines.”

“The activities already allowed and permitted from time to time shall be continued and all earlier orders shall be aligned with this order and shall remain in force up to 30th November, 2020.”

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West Bengal Dy-Speaker Sukumar Hansda Dies Of Cancer

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Sukumar Hansda

Kolkata: West Bengal Legislative Assembly deputy speaker and Trinamool Congress MLA from Jhargram constituency Sukumar Hansda died of cancer at a private city hospital on Thursday. He was 67.

The Trinamool lawmaker was admitted to the state-run SSKM Hospital but was shifted to a private medical facility a few days ago. Earlier, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“Deeply grieved to hear about the passing away of West Bengal Assembly Deputy Speaker and Jhargram MLA Shri Sukumar Hansda. He was also serving as All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) state vice-president. His relentless service for people shall always be remembered,” West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, condoling Hansda’s bereaved family members.

A doctor by profession, Hansda took charge as the Deputy Speaker in December 2018 after the demise of former deputy speaker Haider Aziz Safwi.

He became the minister for Paschimanchal Unnayan Affairs between 2011 and 2016 after the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government stormed to power in Bengal in 2011. But he was included in the state cabinet despite being re-elected for the second term.

His father, Subodh Chandra Hansda, was a Union minister in a Congress government during 1957-62.

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National Lost A Stalwart Leader: President On Keshubhai’s Death

The BJP leader was the Chief Minister of Gujarat twice — in 1995 and from 1998 to 2001. He was a six-time MLA. He was replaced by Narendra Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001.

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New Delhi: Conveying his condolence to the kin of former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said the nation has lost a stalwart leader.

The President took Twitter to express his condolence, saying “Keshubhai Ji’s dogged determination for social service and committment to Indian ethos will remain exemplary for all. My condolences to his family and friends”.

“With the demise of Keshubhai Patel, former Gujarat Chief Minister, the nation has lost a stalwart leader. His long public life was dedicated to improving the lives of millions, especially in villages. As champion of farmers’ causes, he enjoyed extraordinary rapport with masses.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh along with various Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) expressed sorrow over the death of Patel who breathed his last at a hospital in Ahmedabad on Thursday morning at the age of 92 years.

The Prime Minister expressed deep sadness at the death of Patel, calling him an “outstanding leader” who devoted his life towards the progress of Gujarat.

Mentioning as “our beloved and respected Keshubhai”, Modi in a series of tweet said, “I am deeply pained and saddened” on his passing away.

“He was an outstanding leader who cared for every section of society. His life was devoted towards the progress of Gujarat and the empowerment of every Gujarati.”

The Prime Minister said that Keshubhai travelled across the length and breadth of Gujarat to strengthen the Jana Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“He resisted the Emergency tooth and nail. Issues of farmer welfare were closest to his heart. Be it as MLA, MP, Minister or CM, he ensured many farmer friendly measures were passed,” Modi said.

Modi reminded how Keshubhai mentored and groomed many younger Karyakartas including him.

“Everyone loved his affable nature. His demise is an irreparable loss. We are all grieving today. My thoughts are with his family and well-wishers. Spoke to his son Bharat and expressed condolences. Om Shanti.”

Expressing condolence at the sudden demise of Patel, Shah said: “While in the BJP, Keshubhai played an important role in strengthening the organization in Gujarat. As a trustee of Somnath Temple, he always supported the development of the temple. Keshubhai will always remain in our memory with his actions and behaviour.”

In his condolence message, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said Keshubhai Patel ji was an effective administrator who left an indelible mark in public life.

“I offer my tributes to the departed leader. In this hour of grief, I express my heartfelt condolences to his family and well-wishers. Om Shanti,” Singh said in a series of tweets.

Singh said that Keshubhai Patel will always be remembered for his unwavering commitment to serve the people.

“Former Chief Minister of Gujarat, Keshubhai was a political stalwart who played a significant role in strengthening the BJP in the state. Deeply pained by his demise today.”

Patel was hospitalised after he complained of difficulty in breathing on Thursday morning. He breathed his last during treatment.

The BJP leader was the Chief Minister of Gujarat twice — in 1995 and from 1998 to 2001. He was a six-time MLA. He was replaced by Narendra Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001.

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