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Kerala rains : Tourists stranded at Munnar resort after landslides

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Munnar, Aug 10 : More than 60 foreign tourists are stranded at a private resort in Idukki’s Pallivasal in Kerala, located near Munnar after a landslide disrupted traffic in the area.

Sixty nine tourists, including some foreigners, have been stranded at the resort for the past two days.The roads leading to the resort are blocked due to landslides .

Incessant torrential rain in Kerala and subsequent flash floods and landslides compelled the state authorities to issue third red alert for the Idukki water reservoir, the shutters of Cheruthoni dam on Idukki were opened for the first time in the history of the state in 26 years.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said the Centre will provide all possible assistance to Kerala for controlling the flood situation in the state.

At least 26 people have been killed so far in Kerala, including 11 in high-range Idukki in landslides as rain continued to pound the southern state.

The United States consulate in Chennai had issued a travel alert and advised the US citizens to avoid visiting areas affected by landslides and flashfloods.

Singh told the Lok Sabha during Zero Hour that he tried speaking to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan “but it could not happen”.

Earlier after July floods, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju had toured various flood-hit districts of Kerala. The Centre had then approved Rs 80 crore for flood relief in the state.

“We have already deployed Army, Navy and other central armed forces in Kerala and the state government and the ministries are jointly working in this regard,” Rijiju earlier said.

According to state Power Minister M.M. Mani who hails from Idukki, so far three shutters of the Idukki dam has been opened till Friday.

The Army is taking part in rescue-relief and damage control exercises in Idukki, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram districts.

The army, the navy, the air force and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is working aggresively on evacuation and relief operations after shutters of one the dams of the Idukki reservoir,Asia’s highest arch dam, have been opened after the water level crossed the danger mark of 2,403, the government on Thursday thought prudent to open one of the five shutters of the connected Cheruthoni dam by 50 cms.

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Modi government does a u-turn, submits affidavit for correction in SC Judgment on Rafale

The Centre’s application followed the Congress allegation that the government has not produced the facts correctly before the Supreme Court and has “lied” in the court.

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Rafale deal scam

New Delhi, Dec 15 : Under attack from the opposition, the government on Saturday moved the Supreme Court seeking correction of its order on Friday in the Rafale verdict, saying a note submitted by it in a sealed cover has led to misinterpretation about a CAG report being examined by the PAC, leading to an error in the judgement.

In an application filed before the top court, the government said it is seeking correction with regard to two sentences in paragarph 25 of the judgement delivered on Friday.

“The error in these two sentences, as explained hereinafter, appears to have occurred, perhaps, on account of misinterpretation of a couple of sentences in a note handed over to this court in a sealed cover. The observations in the judgement have also resulted in a controversy in the public domain, and would warrant correction by this court in the interest of justice.”

The Centre’s application followed the Congress allegation that the government has not produced the facts correctly before the Supreme Court and has “lied” in the court. The party, quoting from the judgement said, the government told the court that the Public Accounts Comittee (PAC) has examined the CAG report on Rafale whereas no such report exists.

In paragraph 25 of the judgement, the court has observed that “the pricing details have, however, been shared with the CAG, and the report of the CAG has been examined by the PAC. Only a redacted portion of the report was placed before Parliament and is in public domain”.

The government said in its application that these statements appear to have been based on the note submitted by the Union of India, along with the pricing details, in two sealed covers.

These notes in sealed covers, the government said, were submitted in compliance with the court’s October 31 order, in which it had said it would like to be apprised about the details about the pricing/ cost, particularly the advantage thereof, if any, which again would be submitted to the court in a sealed cover.

In that note, which was in the form of bullet points, the government said the second point carried the sentence “the government has already shared the pricing details with the CAG. The report of the CAG is examined by the PAC. Only a redacted version of the report is placed before Parliament and in public domain”.

The government said it may be noted that what has already been done is described by the words in the past tense, that is, the government “has already shared” the price details with the CAG. “This is in the past tense and is factually correct. The second part of the sentence, in regard to the PAC, is to the effect that ‘the report of the CAG is examined by the PAC’.

“However, in the judgement, the reference to the word ‘is’ has been replaced with the words ‘has been’, and the sentence in the judgement (with regard to PAC) reads ‘the report of the CAG has been examined by the Public Accounts Committee’.”

The government maintained that its submission to the effect that the report to the CAG “is” examined by the PAC, was a description of the procedure which is followed in the normal course in regard to reports of the CAG.

“The very fact that the present tense ‘is’ used would mean that the reference is to the procedure which will be followed as and when the CAG report is ready.”

Similarly, the government said the statement that only a redacted version of the report ‘is’ placed before Parliament is referred to in the judgement as “only redacted portion of the report was placed before Parliament and is in public domain”.

“That unfortunately, an element of misinterpretation of the statement made in the note/ bullet points handed over on behalf of the Union of India in a sealed cover, appears to have crept in. This has also resulted in a controversy being raised in the public domain.”

In this background, the government has urged the court for corrections in para 25 of the judgement, so that “any doubts and/or any misunderstanding is not allowed to creep into the judgement”.

It pleaded that the words “report on the CAG is examined by the PAC. Only a redacted version is placed before parliament and public domain” may be substituted in place of “and the report of the CAG has been examined by the PAC. Only a redacted portion of the report has been placed before Parliament and is in public domain”.

In a bid to keep the pot boiling, PAC Chairman Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday said he will press for summoning the Attorney General and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to ask them when was the public auditor’s report tabled and when did the PAC examine it.

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Govt has compromised on National security on Rafale deal: Chidambaram

Air Force says its fighter aircraft strength is depleted and it needs at least 7 squadrons (126 aircraft). Then, why did the government buy only 2 squadrons (36 aircraft) ?

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P Chidambaram

New Delhi, Dec 15 : Attacking the NDA Government on the deal for Rafale fighter jets, senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday said that by buying only 36 aircraft when 126 aircraft are on offer, the Government has gravely compromised national security.”

In a series of tweets, Mr Chidambaram said, Rafale is willing to sell 126 aircraft. According to FM price is cheaper. Then, why buy only 36 aircraft?

Will someone please solve this mystery? Air Force says its fighter aircraft strength is depleted and it needs at least 7 squadrons (126 aircraft). Then, why did the government buy only 2 squadrons (36 aircraft) ?

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Agusta Westland Case: Christian Michel’s CBI custody extended by 4 days

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Christian Michel
Christian Michel (File Photo)

New Delhi, Dec 15: The Patiala House Court on Saturday extended the CBI custody of Christian Michel by another four days.

The court refused to allow Michel’s lawyer Rosemary Patrizi to meet him in CBI custody, along with Aljo K Joseph.

Michel is the alleged middleman who has been charged and arrested in the graft-tainted AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

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