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ED names former IAF chief among 34 in AgustaWestland chargesheet

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New Delhi, July 18: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday filed a chargesheet in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal against 34 individuals and foreign and Indian companies including former IAF chief S.P. Tyagi, his two cousins, advocate Gautam Khaitan and Italians Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke.

While filing the chargesheet under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the ED informed the magistrate that money was laundered through “multiple foreign companies”.

The court was told that “foreign companies were used as fronts to park alleged kickbacks”.

The ED chargesheet named the former IAF chief’s cousins Sanjeev Tyagi and Rajiv Tyagi along with Bruno Spagnolini, former CEO of AgustaWestland, and Giuseppe Orsi, the former chief of Italian defence and aerospace major Finmeccanica.

Others named in the chargesheet are Rajeev Saxena, Director of Dubia-based firm Matrix Holdings, his wife Shivani Saxena and advocate Gautam Khaitan’s wife Ritu Khaitan.

The chargesheet also names some Indian and foreign companies like Aeromatrix Info Solution Ltd, Windsor Group Holdings, Ismax International Ltd, Cricklewood Ltd, Long Lasting Ltd, Matrix Holding Pvt Ltd, UHY Saxena, Dubai Interstellar Technologies Ltd, O.P. Khaitan and Co International Mediterranean Consulting, Tunisia Infotech Design Systems, Gordian Services, Finmeccanica SPA and AgustaWestland.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) — the prime investigating agency — has already filed a chargesheet in the case.

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, which registered an FIR on March 12, 2013, alleged that S.P. Tyagi, who was the IAF chief from 2004 to 2007, and the other accused received kickbacks from AgustaWestland to help it win the contract.

The FIR mentioned charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

According to the CBI, S.P. Tyagi allegedly took bribes of several crores from AgustaWestland through the middlemen — and a complex set of companies in several countries — to change the specifications of the contract.

The operational flight ceiling of the choppers was reduced from 6,000 metres, as originally proposed, to 4,500 metres and the cabin height was brought down to 1.8 metres.

The twin modifications were allegedly meant to rig the deal in favour of AgustaWestland, which eventually walked away with the order to supply the 12 choppers for the Communication Squadron of the IAF to ferry the President, the Prime Minister and other VVIPs.

The CBI probe revealed that several payments were made to S.P. Tyagi by middlemen Haschke, Gerosa and Christian Michel James, whose name was not mentioned in the ED chargesheet.

IANS

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New Delhi: Indian Youth Congress takes out torch rally to protest against Farm Bills 2020

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Youth Congress Farm Protest

New Delhi: Upping its ante against the government over the controversial farm Bills, the Youth Congress on Thursday took out a ‘Mashaal Juloos’ (torch rally) saying the party will always stand by the 60 crore farmers against the “black laws” and it will support all the organisations fighting for the farmers’ rights.

Hundreds of Indian Youth Congress activists led by its chief Srinivas B.V. and national incharge Krishna Allavaru started the torch rally from Raisina Road to India Gate. However, the Delhi Police stopped the torch rally before India Gate. Speaking to media, Allavaru said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi before coming to power in 2014 had promised two crore jobs to youths every year and double the income of the farmers. But now the government has brought the black laws to snatch the lands of the farmers.”

Accusing the government of being anti-farmer, Srinivas said that Youth Congress will stand with 60 crore farmers of the country and will fight the government to force it to withdraw the “anti-farmer” laws.

He also said that now the farmers will not be hoodwinked by the false promises of the Modi government and will fight for their rights on the streets of the country.

“The government talked about providing jobs and the upliftment of farmers, but with the anti-farmer black laws, the government is on the verge of making India farmer-free,” he said.

He also said that IYC will support all those organisation which will fight for the farmers’ rights.

On Wednesday also the IYC had taken out tractor rally from Panipat to New Delhi. The tractor rally, however, was stopped by the Haryana Police in Panipat’s Samalkha and hundreds of Youth Congress activits were detained.

The Congress has also planned nationwide agitations and programmes against the controversial farm Bills passed in Rajya Sabha on Sunday. The Congress has announced to collect two crore signatures of farmers from across the country by November 14 that it will submit to President Ram Nath Kovind asking him to not give his assent to the Bills.

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Congress draws up detailed plan for protests against farm Bills

Addressing a press conference, he said: I want to make two points in the context of what happened in the Rajya Sabha… I want to ask if there was any quorum or not… 5 to 7 people asked for division in front of me, but nobody paid heed.

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Kisan Tractor Rally

New Delhi: The Congress, which is protesting against the farm Bills passed by the Parliament, has chalked out a detailed programme of agitation, which will begin on September 26 with an online “Speak up for Farmers” campaign.

The party has also set up a “Save Farmer and Labour” committee.

On September 28, the party will organise a march from the Rajghat to the Raj Bhavan, and on October 2, the party will burn the effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in each assembly segment. A signature campaign will be held from October 2 to October 31, while a state-level farmers’ convention will be organised on October 10.

“BJP’s anti-farmer Bills ensure the profitability of a few in exchange of the prosperity of our farmers. These Bills are a direct attack on the backbone of our nation,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference, he said: “I want to make two points in the context of what happened in the Rajya Sabha… I want to ask if there was any quorum or not… 5 to 7 people asked for division in front of me, but nobody paid heed.”

The bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha amid an uproar by opposition members that led to eight of them being suspended from the House.

“There is no mention of MSP, no criteria for pricing… despite that you are tricking the nation by saying that we have not removed MSP,” Singhvi said.

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‘Govt Insecure of Voices of Dissent’: Cong Fumes After Salman Khurshid, Udit Raj Named in Delhi Riots Chargesheet

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Salman Khurshid

New Delhi: The Congress hit out at the Modi government Thursday after Delhi police named its leaders Salman Khurshid and Udit Raj in a charge sheet filed in the February riot cases, saying it will “neither cow down nor bow down before authoritarianism”. “The FIR against Salman Khurshid, Udit Raj and others reflects the mortal fear and cowardice of the Modi government. These are men and women of proven track record and of stellar service to the nation. Not surprising that a narcissist government gets insecure of voices of dissent,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted.

The Delhi police charge sheet has said Khurshid and Raj were among politicians who gave provocative speeches during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Police have referred to former Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan and a protected witness and said they told them about the speeches in their disclosure statements. The charge sheet said the protected witness stated in the statement, recorded under CrPC Section 161 (examination by police), that several big names such as Raj, Khurshid, CPM leader Brinda Karat had come to the Khureji protest site and gave “provocative speech”.

“Whether in the Parliament or the restless streets of India, the Modi government subjugates, suppresses and suffocates dialogue and discussion. PM Modi detests such democratic principles. Let it be remembered – we’ll neither cow down nor bow down before authoritarianism,” Surjewala added in a second tweet. Other Congress leaders too voiced their disapproval at their colleagues finding a mention in the charge sheet. Ahmed Patel said it is “shameful” that the BJP government is “falsely harassing” senior politicians like Khurshid, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechuri and others.

Yechury, Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav, economist Jayati Ghosh and Delhi University professor Apoorvanand were named in a supplementary charge sheet filed recently in the riot cases for “provoking and mobilizing” anti-CAA protesters. “These leaders have an impeccable record of fostering communal harmony, the Delhi police’s charges are not only wrong but also laughable,” Patel said in a tweet.

Jairam Ramesh tweeted, “A former Foreign Minister and Law Minister, Salman Khurshid is amongst the nicest, gentlest, learned, nationalistic, secular Indians I have known, and he figures in a chargesheet! It is a SHAME on the Delhi Police and its true and two masters.” Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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