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Hollande revelations contradicts defence minister and GoI on Rafale deal

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Kapil Sibal

New Delhi, Sep 22 : Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said now the revelations made by former French President Francois Hollande on Rafale deal contradicts the claims made by the defence minister, therefore it is high time that  Government of India should disclose the facts to the country.

“This contradicts what the defence minister has said and what government of India (GOI) has been saying, I believe  GoI has also denied it, now we don’t expect anything better from GoI.”

“It’s time for GOI and the defence ministry to disclose to the people of this country what the facts of Rafale deal are and there is no point in not disclosing it, as truth has somehow has the ability to come out in the open,” he said.

“It’s a significant revelation. A website in France disclosed that French President Hollande made a statement that Dassault didn’t choose Mr. Ambani’s company and it was GOI which insisted on choosing him as a partner with Dassault. It contradicts what GOI has been saying,”  Congress leader and former Law Minister Kapil Sibal  said.

Kapil Sibal’s statement came after the interview published in the French publication quoted former French President Francois Hollande as saying that the Indian government was the one which proposed Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as Dassault Aviation’s partner in multi-billion dollar Rafale jet deal, and that France did not have a choice.

“HAL has said that we were capable of manufacturing the Rafale aircraft, they had been manufacturing very sophisticated Russian aircraft so that also gives a lie to what the defense ministry has been saying.”

The controversy over the ongoing Rafale deal took a new direction when former French president Francois Hollande said that Dassault Aviation was given no choice but to partner with Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence for the offset clause in the Rafale fighter jet deal.

In an interview to a French media house, Hollande on a question about who selected Reliance as a partner and why, said it was the Indian government that proposed Reliance’s name and Dassault had no choice but to take the company given to it.

India

PM Narendra Modi visited 58 countries since 2015 and total expenditure of Rs 517 crore was incurred on the visits: Govt

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited 58 countries since 2015 and a total expenditure of Rs 517 crore was incurred on them, the government said on Tuesday

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Narendra Modi Aircraft

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited 58 countries since 2015 and a total expenditure of Rs 517 crore was incurred on them, the government said on Tuesday.

Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan provided details of the prime minister’s visits abroad since 2015, including their outcome, in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.

“The total expenditure on these visits was ₹ 517.82 crore,” he said.

According to the details provided by Muraleedharan, the prime minister made five visits each to the US, Russia and China, and multiple trips to some other countries like Singapore, Germany, France, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates.

Some of the visits the prime minister undertook were multi-nation trips while some were standalone bilateral visits.

Modi’s last trip was to Brazil on November 13-14 in 2019 where he attended a summit of influential grouping BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa).

Muraleedharan said Modi’s visits to the countries have enhanced their understanding of India’s perspectives on bilateral, regional and global issues.

He said the visits helped in strengthening India’s relations with the countries in a wide range of sectors including trade and investment, technology, defence collaboration and people-to-people contact.

“These, in turn, have contributed to India’s national development agenda to promote economic growth and well being of our people,” the minister said.

“India is now increasingly contributing to shaping the global agenda at the multilateral level including on climate change, trans-national crime and terrorism, cyber security and nuclear non-proliferation, and offering to the world its own unique initiatives for global issues like the International Solar Alliance,” he added.

To a separate question on Nepal, Muraleedharan said India’s age-old ties with the neighbouring country are “unique and special”, based on shared history, geography, culture, close people to people ties, mutual security and close economic linkages.

Asked whether the government is aware that Nepal has signed a number of transit and transportation treaties with China in the past few years to shrug off its dependence on India, he said New Delhi’s ties with Kathmandu stand on their own merit.

“Two thirds of Nepal’s global trade is with India and over 90 per cent of Nepal’s third country import-export transit is through India. India’s ties with Nepal stand on their own merit, and are independent of Nepal’s relations with third countries,” he said.

India’s ties with Nepal came under strain after the Himalayan nation came up with a new political map in May showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura in Uttarakhand as its territories.

India maintains that these areas along the border with Nepal in Uttarakhand belong to it.

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Cannot release all categories of prisoners due to Covid-19: Supreme Court

The plea had contended despite HPC orders, many continue to languish in jails in Maharashtra.

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Jail Prisoners

New Delhi, Sep 22 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that it never meant to release all categories of prisoners accused of any offence during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, dismissed a plea by the National Alliance for People’s Movement, through its convenor Medha Patkar, challenging the Bombay High Court decision to uphold the Maharashtra high-powered committee’s recommendation to not release on emergency parole prisoners convicted for offences punishable with less than seven years under special Acts such as the NDPS Act, UAPA, MCOCA etc,

Against the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic, the apex court had, in its order on March 23, had asked states to constitute high-powered committees to decide the release of prisoners on interim bail while considering the gravity of the offence committed and the length of the jail term.

“The present option provided is only as a solution to help decongestion and to avoid the spread of the virus. At the same time, benefit granted in such circumstances cannot be to the detriment of social order by releasing all categories of prisoners irrespective of the categorisation to be made depending on the severity of the crime etc,” said the top court.

The bench observed that it is of the opinion the HPC is constituted for a specific purpose, and interference in a judicial proceeding of the present nature to alter the criteria would not arise unless it is shown to be so arbitrary that no reasonable person can accept it.

The plea had contended despite HPC orders, many continue to languish in jails in Maharashtra.

“Reconsider the cases of 11,000 convicted prisoners for temporary release on emergency parole pending the final hearing of the matter as per the classification of the prisoners done by the HPC and pursuant to the decision of the Government of Maharashtra, as announced by the Home Minister by way of press release dated March 26, if they are yet to be released,” the plea had said.

The apex court said it is necessary to indicate that the cause for grievance may arise for an individual undertrial/convicted prisoner only if such person has been discriminated against as against the prisoner in the same category for which the benefit has been provided by the categorisation made by the HPC.

“But in circumstances where there is any individuous discrimination amongst the prisoners in same category and similarly placed, it would be open for the competent court to examine the same to that limited extent when grievance is raised by the person who is denied the benefit if he/she is entitled to such benefit,” the top court said.

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Ashok Chavan meets NCP chief Sharad Pawar over Maratha reservation

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ashok chavan

Mumbai, September 21: Maharashtra Minister and Congress leader Ashok Chavan met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai on Monday over Maratha reservation.

“A petition has to be filed in Supreme Court for vacating its interim order (on Maratha reservation). The Chief Minister has discussed the matter with senior leaders,” Chavan said while speaking to the reporters here.

Speaking about the Agriculture Bills and Congress’ stand, Chavan stated, “Congress’ stand is very clear, the Bills are against the farmers hence Congress is against those Bills. These Bills are being opposed to in various parts of India.”Chavan also spoke about the COVID-19 situation in the sate, as Maharashtra continues to be the worst affected in the country. He said that the situation is really bad hence imposing a lockdown is one of the solutions to contain the spread of the virus.

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