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Hollande ‘Orchestrated’ Rafale Deal Controversy: Arun Jaitley

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Arun Jaitley

Sep 23 : Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday alleged that former French President Francois Hollande had orchestrated his statement on Rafale deal with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

Jaitley made this statement after  Hollande told a French media outlet that the Indian government proposed Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence to grab the offset contract for the deal to buy 36 Rafale warplanes from Dassault Aviation.

Pointing towards a tweet made by Gandhi on August 30 that said “some bombs are going to burst in Paris in the next couple of weeks”, Jaitley said that the entire controversy seems to have been orchestrated to target the Narendra Modi government.

Congress got the ammunition to attack PM Narendra Modi, with Gandhi calling him a “thief” and demanding his resignation.

“Truth cannot have two versions,” Arun Jaitley wrote in a blog that he posted on his official Facebook page this morning.

The finance minister sought to draw attention to a “conflict of interest” concerning Hollande. “…it may be mentioned that the former French President, Hollande, is countering statement made against him with regard to a conflict of interest in his dealing with the Reliance Defence.”

Arun Jaitley based his attack on a tweet that he claimed was posted by the Congress on August 31 that would place Hollande’s latest statement in a contradictory position. “The Congress Party’s official handle on 31.8.2018 had carried the tweet of one of its leader ‘It is evident that Anil Ambani bribed President Hollande through his actor-partner to get the Dassault partnership’,” Arun Jaitley wrote.

Jaitley, citing this tweet, questioned the credibility of the Congress’s allegation. “…the Congress party to allege that a former president had been bribed by an Indian business group, and then use him as a primary witness, particularly when he is facing criticism for an alleged conflict of interest within his own country.”

“It is very important for PM now to either accept Mr. Hollande’s statement or state that Mr. Hollande is lying. He must tell us what the truth is. It is a question of the dignity of the office of Prime Minister. It is the question of the future of our jawans and the Air Force,” Gandhi said on Saturday, adding that for the first time, “an ex-French President has called our PM a thief”.

India

Why shall CBI’s appeal in 2G case be given priority over pending matters: Advocate to HC

He further argued that allowing the application for early hearing shall be against the interest of justice, as the respondents shall not get adequate opportunity as the records run into lakhs of pages.

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CBI Headquarters

New Delhi, Sep 21 : While the Delhi High Court on Monday was hearing an application seeking early hearing in the 2G spectrum case, the accused persons, including former Telecom Minister A. Raja, businessman Shahid Balwa and others, opposed the said application filed by the CBI and the ED.

When the matter was being heard by Justice Brijesh Sethi, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain informed the court that the matter is of public interest and since Justice Sethi is due to demit his office on November 30, the court may hear the matter expeditiously.

Responding to the arguments, the counsels appearing for the various accused persons opposed the plea moved by the agencies. Advocate Manu Sharma, appearing for A. Raja, argued that there was no reason to grant an out-of-turn, urgent hearing to the appeals moved by the CBI and the ED amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Advocates Vijay Aggarwal, Mudit Jain and Ashul Agarwal, representing Shahid Balwa and several others, too opposed the said petition and stated that the CBI has not explained as to why the appeal filed by them should be given precedence/preference over other appeals.

“Why is the appeal so important and be given this much priority when there are several pending matters wherein the accused persons are languishing in jail,” Aggarwal argued.

He further argued that allowing the application for early hearing shall be against the interest of justice, as the respondents shall not get adequate opportunity as the records run into lakhs of pages.

“However, to address the arguments, each person will not even get 0.89 day to argue his or her case as the concerned judge is scheduled to demit his office. Justice hurried is justice burried,” Aggarwal said.

The court will now hear the matter on Tuesday.

The probe agencies, both CBI and ED, had moved the court in March 2018 challenging the trial court’s order which had acquitted all the accused persons in the 2G spectrum case. In 2017, a special CBI court acquitted all the 18 accused, including A. Raja and K. Kanimozhi.

The scam came to light almost seven years ago when the Comptroller and Auditor General in a report held then Telecom Minister A. Raja responsible for causing the state exchequer a loss of Rs 1,76,379 crore by allocating 2G spectrum licences at throwaway prices.

However, the trial court found that the prosecution failed to prove the charges. This verdict, however, didn’t override the Supreme Court judgement or take away from the fact that the licences issued during 2G spectrum allocation were illegal.

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Encounter on between terrorists, security forces in Kashmir’s Budgam

“Encounter has started at Charar-i-Sharief area of Budgam. Police and security forces are on the job,” police said.

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Jammu and Kashmir Shopian Indian Army

Srinagar, Sep 21 : An encounter is underway between terrorists and security forces at Charar-i-Sharief in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Monday, officials said.

The firefight took place after security forces cordoned off the area and launced a search operation on the basis of specific information about presence of terrorists. As the security forces zeroed in on the spot where terrorists were hiding they came under a heavy volume of fire that triggered the encounter.

“Encounter has started at Charar-i-Sharief area of Budgam. Police and security forces are on the job,” police said.

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India

PM Modi to address IIT Guwahati’s convocation on Tuesday

As many as 1,803 students including 687 B.Tech and 637 M. Tech students will be obtaining degrees.

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Narendra Modi

New Delhi, Sep 21 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the convocation of IIT, Guwahati on Tuesday through video-conferencing.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, his deputy Sanjay Dhotre among others will also join in.

As many as 1,803 students including 687 B.Tech and 637 M. Tech students will be obtaining degrees.

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