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Court admits abetment to suicide charge against Tharoor

On May 14, police chargesheeted Tharoor under sections 306 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code, pertaining to abetment to suicide and cruelty to wife, which entails a jail term that could extend up to 10 years.

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New Delhi, June 5 : Congress MP Shashi Tharoor was on Tuesday summoned as an accused in connection with the suicide of his wife Sunanda Pushkar after a court took cognisance of the police chargesheet and found sufficient grounds to proceed against him for abetment to suicide and cruelty.

The 62-year-old parliamentarian from Thiruvananthapuram has been asked to appear before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal on July 7, the next date fixed for the hearing.

“I have gone through and perused the chargesheet along with the documents filed along with it. Cognisance taken on offence regarding abetment to suicide of late Sunanda Pushkar and for committing cruelty upon her. On the basis of the police report, I take cognisance abetment of suicide punishable under 306 IPC and cruelty under 498A IPC. There exists sufficient grounds to proceed against Shashi Tharoor for commission of offence,” Magistrate Vishal said.

He was pronouncing the order after taking cognisance of the chargesheet filed by the police in the case that has taken various twists and turns ever since 51-year-old Pushkar died under mysterious circumstances in a hotel room in south Delhi on January 17, 2014, days after she alleged that her husband was having an affair with a Pakistani journalist.

A total of 27 tablets of Alprax were found in her room but it was not clear how many she had consumed.

The magistrate also issued notice to the prosecution for a written reply on the application of BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, who has been carrying on a campaign in the case, for conducting the prosecution.

On May 14, police chargesheeted Tharoor under sections 306 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code, pertaining to abetment to suicide and cruelty to wife, which entails a jail term that could extend up to 10 years.

Meanwhile, Tharoor said in a statement that he found the charges against him preposterous and baseless, the product of a malicious and vindictive campaign against him.

“I will continue to vigorously contest these charges and maintain my steadfast conviction that ultimately truth will prevail through the judicial system that we have privileged to have in our country,” he said.

Tharoor said that he would like to point out from the very start he had fully co-operated with the investigating team and continued to maintain that due legal process must be followed in all respects related to this case.

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Congress backs Bharat Bandh, Rahul Gandhi says new agriculture laws will ‘enslave’ farmers

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Voicing support for the Bharat Bandh call given by farmer organisations to protest the farm bills, the Congress on Friday alleged that the new agriculture laws will “enslave” farmers and the MSP will be “snatched away” from them.

Various farmer groups have called for a nationwide shutdown on Friday against the three bills, which were passed by both houses of Parliament during the Monsoon session and await presidential assent.

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Randeep Surjewala spoke out against the farm bills and backed the Bharat Bandh.

“A flawed GST destroyed MSMEs. The new agriculture laws will enslave our farmers,” former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted with the hashtag ‘I Support Bharat Bandh’.

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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

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Stand with 62 crore farmers: Congress

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New Delhi: The Congress on Friday made an appeal to the people to join the farmers’ agitation and oppose the Farm Bills, which have been passed by Parliament.

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “Nation should stand with 62 crore farmers who are protesting against the draconian law.”

He alleged that the Prime Minister has done this to help the crony capitalists, and “he does not care for the poor”.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said in a tweet, “This is to make farmers slaves and the farmers will become labourers in their fields and neither they will get the MSP nor respect.”

While cutting across the party lines, day long statewide protests by farmers in Punjab and Haryana began on Friday morning.

Heavy police force has been deployed in both the states to deal with any untoward situation.

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