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Give answers on Rafale instead of whataboutery, Congress tells BJP

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Rafale deal scam

New Delhi, Oct 12 : Dismissing the ruling BJPs latest bid to defend the Rafale deal, the Congress on Friday demanded that the Modi government give “factual answers about irregularities in the deal instead of indulging in whataboutery”.

Soon after Railways Minister Piyush Goyal accused Congress President Rahul Gandhi of “spreading falsehood and lies” over the deal with France to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets, the party questioned why the NDA government was shying away from a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe.

The Congress also sought answers over the issues of “corruption and irregularities” in the deal announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2015.

“One after the other, BJP ministers keep coming up with different justifications without answering any of the basic questions that the Congress has been raising since the deal was announced. Instead of giving factual answers to our questions they indulge in whataboutery,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera told the media here.

“The country doesn’t want adjectives for Rahul Gandhi or what his father did or his mother did. The country wants answers on the Rafale deal, which the BJP and the government has been unable to give,” said Khera.

Ridiculing Gandhi’s Thursday charges of corruption against Modi, Goyal called him a “serial liar”.

The Union Minister’s remarks came in the wake of Rafale-maker Dassault Aviation’s CEO Eric Trappier saying that the company’s joint venture with Reliance represents only about 10 per cent of the offset obligations in the jets deal and it was in negotiations with about a 100 Indian companies.

Khera said that the BJP was trying to “defend the indefensible” and reiterated its demand for a JPC probe.

“They keep coming with one or the other justification. Every time, their lies are exposed. They continue to hide behind the confidentiality clause when the fact is that both Dassault and Reliance, in their annual reports, have revealed the price of the jets.

“They denied any hand in the ouster of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) from the deal but were exposed again when Trappier said that their agreement with HAL was on track. Further, HAL ex-chief T.S. Raju too said that the Indian aircraft maker had entered into a work-share agreement with Dassault,” said Khera.

“Why does the government shiver over a JPC. Let them submit to it all the questions which we and the country have been raising. Their lies have been exposed every time but they continue to refuse to give factual answers to any of the questions raised,” added Khera.

The Congress has twice petitioned the Comptroller and Auditor General of India for a special and forensics audit and also moved the Central Vigilance Commission seeking a probe and seizure of deal documents.

Besides questioning the “inflated” price of the jets, the Congress has also been targeting the Centre over the propriety of a newly-founded private company getting the Rs 30,000-crore Rafale offset contract at the cost of the state-owned HAL.

Following fresh revelations in the French media over the choice of offset partner, Gandhi on Thursday called Modi “corrupt” and asked him to quit if he failed to respond to the charges.

Cities

Bihar: DGP reveals killing of Indigo Airlines station manager was over airport contract parking

Nitish Kumar has also taken full information about the investigation of the case. DGP said the police have almost completed the investigation into the Rupesh murder case.

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The killing of Indigo Airlines station manager Rupesh Kumar Singh because of the contract at the airport. In Bihar, DGP Sanjeev Kumar Singhal has disclosed that Rupesh Singh was murdered because of the contract of airport parking. He said there was a big controversy over the contract. The DGP claimed that the police are very close to the revelations of the murderers in the case.

The DGP said that the police are examining all other aspects of the murder case. Nitish Kumar has also taken full information about the investigation of the case. He said the police have almost completed the investigation into the Rupesh murder case. DGP said the murder case was carried out by the contract killer.

The police have jointed all the open links of this incident. The entire development will be disclosed soon. DGP said that the airport parking contract is under thorough investigation.

Police interrogate female airlines employee

A special team of Patna police has questioned the female worker of another airline company. There was a dispute between the lady worker and the Rupesh about something. Later, the lady worker quit the job and joined another airline.

The police asked her the reason for the dispute. In addition, police have also questioned a former worker of Indigo Airlines. It came to the fore that the worker was removed from the job by Rupesh.

DIG said that the police have also questioned those who run the taxis at the airport stand. In fact, the police had come to know that there was a dispute over the stand a few days ago. The police, therefore, examined this aspect. However, during interrogation, any concrete motive did not come out in Police’s eyes.

Bihar: The raids for contract killers

Bihar Range IG said that the police team is engaged in solving this blind case. It is discovered that Rupesh has been murdered by the contract killers. Raids were launched at several places in their search. It is also being ascertained as to what is the cause of the incident. If the reason is known, the mastermind can also be easily reached.

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No more food subsidy at Parliament canteen: LS Speaker

Sources said that the savings could add up to almost Rs 17 crore annually with the removal of subsidised food at the Parliament canteen.

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New Delhi, Jan 19 : From the upcoming Parliament session beginning this month-end, there will be no food subsidy at the Parliament canteen.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Tuesday announced the new move, saying “Food subsidy at Parliament canteen has been completely removed”. Birla made the announcement addressing the media ahead of the forthcoming Budget session of Parliament that will begin from January 29.

Sources said that the savings could add up to almost Rs 17 crore annually with the removal of subsidised food at the Parliament canteen.

In the winter session of Parliament in 2019, Birla mooted a suggestion for it and the Members of Parliament unanimously decided to not avail of any subsidy at the Parliament canteen.

Birla later shared details about the time schedule of how Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will function in the upcoming session.

“Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Budget session will commence from January 29. Rajya Sabha will sit from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Lok Sabha will sit from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Zero Hour and Question Hour will be held,” the Speaker said.

He made it clear that all MPs will have to go through RT-PCR test before joining the Parliament session and that they have been told to undergo the mandatory Covid-19 test.

The Budget session will commence with the President’s Address while the Union Budget will be presented on February 1. The session will conclude on April 8 with a recess in between from February 15 to March 8.

The President will deliver his annual address to a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament at 11 a.m. on January 29. The two Houses will meet separately for tabling of the President’s Address.

The Economic Survey will also be tabled in both Houses in this 30-minute sitting and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union Budget at 11 a.m. on February 1.

Covid protocols will be followed in this session on the same lines as the Monsoon session.

The session is being held at a time when the government is grappling with the farmers’ agitation and vociferous demands from the opposition for the repeal of the three contentious farm laws.

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Alarming rise of crime against women in Assam: Congress

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee General Secretary Bobbeeta Sharma highlighted incidents of rape and violence in the recent past, including the alleged rape and killing of a teenager and her aunt in Dibrugarh district.

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Guwahati: The Assam Mahila Congress on Monday expressed concern over the “alarming increase” of crime against women during the last few years under the present BJP government.

The state has reported “the highest rate of crime against women for the last three years consecutively” and the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics reveal that it is constantly increasing, Assam Mahila Congress president and MLA Nandita Das told reporters here.

Incidents of registered violence against women were 20,869 in 2016, which increased to 23,082 in 2017 and to 27,728 in 2018, while in 2019, it again reported the highest crime rate “at 177.8 per lakh population”, she said.

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee General Secretary Bobbeeta Sharma highlighted incidents of rape and violence in the recent past, including the alleged rape and killing of a teenager and her aunt in Dibrugarh district.

The girl was sleeping with her aunt, who was killed, and the girl was dragged out of the house, raped and then killed by the miscreants, Sharma alleged.

“A house is considered to be the safest place but under this government, even the four walls are not safe for women in Assam,” she said.

Sharma said the fact that such cases are increasing proves that the state government and its agencies have failed to instil fear among the perpetrators.

She added that the Congress in its manifesto for the forthcoming polls will include several measures for the protection of women, including a woman police battalion force and women cell in all police stations.

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