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Modi’s personal culpability in Rafale scam: Shourie, Sinha

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Sinha Shorie

New Delhi, Sep 11 : Alleging Narendra Modi’s “personal culpability” in the Rafale jet purchases, former BJP Ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie on Tuesday accused the Prime Minister of “compromising national security” by unilaterally finalising the deal, shunning every rule of military procurement.

Addressing the media, both Sinha and Shourie said the government had “spun a web of lies to protect Modi’s culpability in the largest defence scam” the country had ever seen.

The two dismissed all the explanations given by the Modi government and the ruling BJP in justifying the deal as “blatant lies” and said Modi “usurped the authority” and unilaterally cancelled the original deal for the sake of his “crony capitalists”.

“In so far what has transpired, it directly reflects Modi’s personal culpability, there is no escaping that fact. Every explanation they put out ensnares the government in the web of lies they have spun. This means they have a lot to hide,” said Shourie.

They said that Modi kept the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Defence Ministry and the External Affairs Ministry in the dark about the new deal before making a sudden announcement in April 2015.

“National security has been compromised by Modi and every rule of procurement flouted to unilaterally reduce the number of planes from 126 to 36 and remove Make in India under Transfer of Technology by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) despite the fact that IAF, Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) and MoD had come to a reasoned conclusion that 126 aircraft were required for the long term needs and security of the country,” said Shourie.

Citing procedural requirement of DAC’s approval being a condition precedent for finalising a new deal, they pointed to the fact that the approval for Modi’s deal was given by DAC on May 13, 2015, more than a month after Modi had already announced the new deal.

Shourie along with Sinha and lawyer activist Prashant Bhushan also claimed that the choice of a private party as offset partner rejecting HAL was a “result of Modi’s personal decision”.

In the wake of the government recently rejecting a proposal by Russia to make Adani Group a partner for a joint venture to manufacture the modern AK-series assault rifles, both Shourie and Bhushan said “MoD’s total abdication of duty while granting approvals for offset contracts in the Rafale deal was exceptional”.

“The question is how the price of Rs 670 crore per aircraft went up to Rs 1,670 crore. The government has been hiding behind confidentiality clause. If it is confidential, then how come (former defence minister) Manohar Parrikar and then (Minister of State for Defence) Subhash Bhamre had quoted the price of the jets,” asked Shourie.

Parrikar in 2015 told Doordarshan that the UPA-negotiated price for 126 Rafale combat aircraft would have been Rs 715 crore apiece while a year later Bhamre told the Lok Sabha that the NDA-negotiated price would be approximately Rs 670 crore.

“Each new invention shows that all these arguments are an afterthought to justify the scam through which the price per aircraft has been increased from Rs 670 crore to Rs 1,660 crore approximately,” said Sinha.

IANS

India

Supreme Court sets aside NGT order allowing re-opening of Tuticorin plant

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Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, Feb 18: The Supreme Court on Monday set aside the National Green Tribunal’s order which had allowed the reopening of Vedanta group owned Sterlite copper plant in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin.

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Aircel-Maxis case: Interim protection of P Chidambaram, Karti extended till March 8

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P Chidambaram

New Delhi, Feb 18: The Patiala House Court on Monday extended the interim protection of former Union Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram till March 8 in the Aircel-Maxis case.

The ED is probing the Aircel-Maxis deal under the PMLA after taking cognisance of a 2011 Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) complaint in the case.

On November 26, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had informed the Court that it has been granted permission by the central government to prosecute Chidambaram in connection with the case.

Chidambaram has denied all charges leveled by the central probe agency.

The agencies are investigating how Karti Chidambaram allegedly managed to get a clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in the Aircel-Maxis deal when his father P Chidambaram was the Union Finance Minister in 2006.

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Army major, 3 soldiers in killed Pulwama encounter

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Pulwama Encounter

Srinagar, Feb 18: A major and three soldiers have lost their lives in an encounter in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian Army personnel of 55 Rashtriya Rifles, have been identified as Major VS Dhoundiyal, Havaldar Sheo Ram, Sepoy Ajay Kumar, and Sepoy Hari Singh.

Besides Indian Army personnel, a civilian named Mushtaq Ahmad was killed in the gunfight.

A top Jaish-e-Mohammed commander linked to Pulwama Attack believed to be trapped in the ongoing encounter with security forces, news agency ANI reported citing sources.

The gunfight erupted on Sunday late night after security forces, including the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), Special Operations Group (SOG) of the state police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), surrounded the village following the information that Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants were hiding in the area.

The same outfit that carried out the February 14 attack claiming lives of nearly 40 CRPF troopers.

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