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Government rejects JPC demand on Rafale



Rafale deal scam

New Delhi, Jan 2: The government on Wednesday rejected in the Lok Sabha the opposition demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Rafale fighter jet deal with France, saying there was no corruption, and accused the Congress, “which has a legacy of scams” like Bofors and AugustaWestland, of inventing allegations against a “clean” government.

Intervening in the discussion on the controversial deal with the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault, he said there was no need for a JPC since the Supreme Court had already given its verdict on the process, pricing, offset clause and HAL issue after satisfying its conscience.

A parliamentary committee can come to a consensus when it comes to policy matters but could become partisan when it comes to investigation, Jaitley said, explaining why the government was ruling out a JPC probe.

“Rafale issue is not a policy or administrative or governance matter. It is an investigation into whether it was a clean or an unclean deal. The Supreme Court has said that ‘we have satisfied our conscience’ about pricing, HAL, offset. What will JPC do in an investigation?” Jaitley said and referred to the JPC that went into the kickbacks in the Bofors deal.

“The committee headed by (late) Shankaranand gave a report saying that they were not kickbacks but winding up charges. The JPC whitewashed the fraud of corruption,” he said amid thumping of desks by party members.

“And the JPC is now being demanded by those with a legacy of corruption, wanting to invent allegations of corruption as we have given a clean government.”

Taking a dig at the Congress, he said: “The conscience of the Supreme Court was satisfied but the election needs of the Congress were not.”

The Congress, which has been demanding constitution of a JPC and staging protests in the house, on Monday suddenly offered to face a debate on the issue on which Jaitley had thrown a challenge to the party.

Launching a no-holds-barred attack on Gandhi and his family, Jaitley said one family in the country whose hands were dipped in corrupt deals was now raking up the issue of corruption in the Rafale deal, which he said was in the interest of national security and the jets were urgently required by the Air Force to strengthen its fighter squadron.

Needling Gandhi, the Minister said he had to be taught from ABC as he had described an offset partner as the manufacturer of plane.

“I did not expect to see such kind of ignorance from a party that has ruled the country for 60 years.”

Giving details of the Rafale deal, Jaitley said the current government finalised the deal for the fighter aircraft at a much cheaper price than what was negotiated by the UPA government.

He said there was a difference between the basic aircraft and the weaponised aircraft. “We have got the basic aircraft at least 9 per cent cheaper and weaponised aircraft 20 per cent cheaper than UPA’s agreement.”

Rejecting Gandhi’s charge that the deal was unilaterally decided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and regular procedures were flouted, Jaitley said all processes were followed including setting up of a Contract Negotiation Committee, Price Negotiation Committee and 74 meetings of defence officials regarding the weaponary requirements.

“The deal was finalized in 2016 after it was duly examined by the Defence Acquisition Council, the Defence Ministry and the Cabinet Committee on Security,” he said.

He justified why HAL was excluded from the deal saying the demand of the time was swift delivery of aircraft and the HAL required 2.7 times the man-days required by Dassault.

“Keeping in mind the urgent need of the Air Force, we could not have waited. And price would have also increased with more time taken to build aircraft.”

Jaitley said just as it was in national interest to have a public sector company to build aircraft, it was also national interest to ensure quick supply of aircraft to the Air Force.

Countering Rahul Gandhi’s charge of a particular company getting offset contracts worth Rs 1.3 lakh crore, the Minister asked how could that be true when the whole deal was of Rs 58,000 crore with offsets amounting to Rs 29,000 crore — distributed among 100-120 suppliers.

Jaitley accused the previous UPA government of dilly dallying on the deal because of the then Defence Minister’s indecisiveness.

He made a sarcastic reference to Antony by saying that the Minister would clear the file “on the one hand” and sought a review “on the other hand”. “One hand belonged to the Air Force and the other belonged to the Congress party.”



India-UAE special repatriation flights to begin July 12

Chartered flights operated by UAE carriers will bring stranded Indian citizens back to their homeland. The same flights will be allowed to carry ICA approved UAE residents back to their country (return from India to UAE).




Coronavirus iraq covid 19

New Delhi, July 9 : The civil aviation authorities of India and the UAE have agreed to operate special repatriation flights between the two countries during July 12-26.

As per the arrangement, chartered flights operated by UAE carriers to bring flying out Indians from the UAE will be allowed to carry ICA (Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship) approved UAE residents to their native country on their return leg.

Further, Indian carriers operating repatriation flights to bring back Indians from the UAE will be allowed to carry the ICA approved UAE residents on their onward journey from India to the Gulf country.

“As part of the close strategic partnership between the Govts of India & UAE, and with a view to assisting UAE residents who are presently in India to return to UAE, the Civil Aviation Authorities of both countries have agreed to operationalise a special arrangement,” Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted.

Earlier in the day, he had tweeted that special flights will be arranged for the nearly 500 residents of Uttarakhand stranded in Dubai.

“Fellow RS Parliamentarian @anil_baluni discussed the issue of nearly 500 Uttarakhand residents who are stranded & distressed in Dubai. I have assured him that special flights will be arranged for them. My office is coordinating with @MEAIndia to ensure their early return,” he said in another tweet.

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Closed Markaz, no foreigners dims hopes for Nizamuddin shopkeepers

In comparison to the adjoining Bhogal market, Nizamuddin market is primarily focused on the needs of the visitors to the Markaz. Now since the markaz has been closed, the usual flow of customers is missing.




Nizamuddin Markaz

New Delhi, July 10 : A group of five men in white kurta pyjamas wait outside the Nizamuddin Markaz for the local policeman to arrive. After some anxious moments, the policeman arrives on a motorcycle with the building”s key. It is time for afternoon prayers and only five people are permitted to offer prayers inside the Markaz five times a day. As he unlocks the gate, the five men walk in to offer Zohar Namaz.

Khaleeq, who has his small shop, selling skull caps, beads and other religious items, exactly opposite the Markaz entrance, feels that with foreigners gone from the area, the market will have a hard time to pick up.

“With the uncertainty on when foreigners would be allowed in Markaz now, the business at Nizamuddin market is badly hit. Most of the shops here are based on the foreigners” needs and demands. With no foreign customers, we are facing heavy losses,” he said.

The worst affected are money exchange shops which were mostly dependent on foreigners” visit to Markaz.

Ahmed Uzair, a banker who resides in Nizamuddin, believes that the market might now pay the price of being too much dependent on foreign customers attending the jamaat at Nizamuddin Markaz.

“Many shopkeepers are vacating their shops as they are unable to pay the rent. Many have packed up and went to their native places as they see a bleak future of what was once a flourishing market,” Uzair said.

After de-containment of Nizamuddin, the barricades present at the main road leading to Nizamuddin Markaz has been removed now but there are little or no customers in the market.

In comparison to the adjoining Bhogal market, Nizamuddin market is primarily focused on the needs of the visitors to the Markaz. Now since the markaz has been closed, the usual flow of customers is missing.

“Not just foreigners but visitors from other states in India formed the backbone for the survival of this market. It”s facing a tough time now and it seems it will continue for some time,” said Shamshad Ahmed, another shopkeeper in the area.

The Markaz was closed since the lockdown and on the night of March 29, police and health authorities started bringing people out from the Markaz and sent them to hospitals and quarantine facilities.

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Did Vikas Dubey reach Ujjain himself or was he brought there?

After Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra announced his arrest, the Congress is raising questions.




Vikas Dubey.

Ujjain/Bhopal, July 9 : After gangster Vikas Dubey, who had been on the run for the last seven days, was arrested in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain on Thursday morning, a controversy erupted over how he managed to reach the temple town. Questions have been raised whether he came on his own or was brought here, and also as to how he manage to cross many districts of Uttar Pradesh without being recognised.

Dubey, accused of killing eight police men in Bikaru village of Kanpur, was constantly changing his location for the past seven days. Though the Uttar Pradesh Police continued to raid various possible locations, he still reached Ujjain, dodging the police of several districts of UP and Madhya Pradesh.

Dubey, whose in-laws are also from Madhya Pradesh, has been coming to Ujjain every year. His mother Sarala Devi had admitted that he used to go to Ujjain every year to offer prayers at Mahakaal temple. It is being said that he reached Ujjain by road and also offered prayers at the temple on Thursday morning.

After Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra announced his arrest, the Congress is raising questions.

Police sources said that Dubey came to Ujjain in a car from Uttar Pradesh and he also stopped at a residence of a person known to him in Nagjhiri area where he stayed for some time. He reached the temple for ”darshan” on Thursday morning. However, the security guards posted at the temple got suspicious and stopped him for questioning. He reportedly had a brief scuffle with the security guards who then informed the police post. Dubey was later arrested there.

But if Dubey did actually come to Ujjain by road, then he must have covered a distance of about 200 km in Madhya Pradesh seemingly without attracting police attention. Before entering Madhya Pradesh, he must have passed through several districts of Uttar Pradesh as well. Apprehension has been expressed that he reached Ujjain via Rajasthan”s Kota. The police is investigating this also.

Mishra said that Dubey came to Ujjain driving his own vehicle. “Two of his accomplices — Bittu and Suresh have also been arrested. The entire state police was on alert after the Kanpur incident. The surveillance was carried out and finally MP police succeeded in arresting him.”

However, questioning the government, Congress Rajya Sabha member and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh said: “It looks like a sponsored surrender to avoid an encounter by the Uttar Pradesh Police. My information is that this has been possible with the courtesy of a senior leader of Madhya Pradesh BJP.”

However, it was not immediately known whether Dubey reached Ujjain on Thursday morning itself or had come a day before.

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