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Politician Jaya Jaitley, 2 Others Get 4 Years In Jail In Defence Corruption Case

The convicts have been asked to surrender before the Tihar Jail authorities before 5 p.m. on Thursday.

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Jaya Jaitley

New Delhi, July 30 : A Delhi court on Thursday sentenced former Samata Party President Jaya Jaitly to four years in jail in a corruption case related to a defence deal, asserting that “there should be zero tolerance towards corruption in defence procurement deals”.

Two other convicts Gopal Pacherwal and Major General (Rtd.) S.P. Murgai have also been awarded a similar jail term. On July 20, the three were held guilty of corruption and criminal conspiracy in the purported purchase of hand-held thermal imagers.

CBI judge Virender Bhat, while sentencing them noted: “There should be zero tolerance towards corruption in defence procurement deals as these have direct bearing upon the independence and sovereignty of our country. Hence, the crime which these convicts have committed is of highest degree. They certainly do not deserve any mercy.”

“The virus of corruption which has engulfed the entire fabric of our society,” the court said “is becoming a major obstacle in the growth and development of our nation”.

The convicts have been asked to surrender before the Tihar Jail authorities before 5 p.m. on Thursday.

The genesis of this case lies in a sting operation conducted by a news website Tehelka in the year 2000-2001 termed as ‘Operation Westend’ to expose the corruption in defence procurements deals in India. Tehelka had made the operation public during mid-March 2001.

Twenty years after the sting operation was done to expose alleged corruption in the defence deal, the court has convicted Jaya Jaitly, Major General S.P. Murgai and Gopal K. Pacherwal in the case.

On the basis of the sting operation, an FIR was registered against four — Jaya, Major General S.P. Murgai, Gopal K. Pacherwal and Surender Kumar Surekha but the latter turned approver for CBI. The CBI filed the charge sheet against Jaitly and others in 2006.

According to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Jaitly entered into a criminal conspiracy with Murgai, Surekha and Pacherwal in the year 2000-01 and obtained Rs 2 lakh as gratification for herself or for any other person from Mathew Samuel, representative of fictitious firm M/s Westend International, London.

While sentencing them to the four-year jail term, the court noted that they took money from the representative of a fictitious firm without bothering to ascertain whether the firm was actually in operation and whether the product of the said firm sought to be inducted in the Indian Army was worth it.

“They chose to remain blind folded on all the vital aspects of the concerned product of the said fictitious firm only with a view to get some monetary enrichment. By their act, they compromised the entire defence system of the country. It is a crime with very wide and huge repercussion for the entire nation.”

According to the CBI, Jaitly did it as a motive to exercise influence upon the public servants in the matter to getting supply orders for defence equipments i.e. Hand Held Thermal Cameras (HHTC) from the Ministry of Defence for the said fictitious firm.

It is alleged that a number of payments were made to Major General S.P. Murgai for his service in this regard and a sum of Rs 1 lakh was paid to Surekha for his assistance in the matter.

India

RS passes two agri Bills amid pandemonium

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The Rajya Sabha on Sunday passed two agriculture-related Bills amid a pandemonium due to protests by opposition members.

The Upper House gave the nod to The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, as opposition MPs continued to shout slogans during their passage. Some lawmakers even staged a walkout in protest.

Earlier, replying to the debate on the Bills, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar assured the House that the Minimum Support Price regime will not be scrapped. Some of the amendments moved by the opposition lawmakers were not pressed for voting while those pressed for voting were negated.

The opposition also demanded that the Bills be sent to the Select committee of the Upper House but it was not accepted by the government.

Earlier, the House witnessed unruly scenes when TMC MP Derek O’Brien went near the Chair and tried to snatch a mike while citing from the rule book. When his objections were overruled, an aggressive Derek O’Brien tore the rule book by calling the Bills “Kala Kanoon” or black laws, leading to adjournment of the House for a brief period.

The Trinamool leader was also heard saying: “You cannot do this” to the Chair. At one point in time, the aides of the Deputy Chair, who was conducting the House proceedings, had to come forward to shield him.

Despite repeated requests, many opposition members reached the Well of the House to register their protests.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad demanded that discussion on the Bills be continued on Monday. “To decide this, we should go by the consensus among the members, not by the numbers of the ruling party,” Azad said.

The opposition as well as BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal termed the Bills an “anti-farmers” move by the Centre, with some staging a walkout.

Thousands of farmers in Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been protesting since the government introduced these Bills in the Lok Sabha on September 14, the opening day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

The Bills seek to replace the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 promulgated on June 5.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 seeks to provide a new ecosystem in which farmers and traders, as per the government, will enjoy freedom of choice relating to sale and purchase of their produce and facilitates remunerative prices through competitive alternative trading channels to promote efficient, transparent and barrier-free inter- and intra-state trade and commerce.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, aims to provide a national framework on farming agreements that protects and empowers farmers to engage with agri-business firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers.

–IANS

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India

Rajya Sabha passes controversial Agri Bills amidst protests

A final end date is yet to be fixed, though sources indicated that it could end on Wednesday.

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Farmers Protests Kurukshetra

New Delhi: Rajya Sabha on Sunday witnessed chaos as the ruling party passed the contentious Agriculture Bills amidst prolonged protests by the Opposition.

The protesting MPs occupied the well and shouted slogans, resulting in the Upper House being adjourned for a brief duration.

The monsoon session of the Parliament, which was scheduled to end on October 1, is likely to be cut short owing to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. A final end date is yet to be fixed, though sources indicated that it could end on Wednesday.

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Security beefed up on Delhi borders over protests by farmers

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Security on the inter-state borders of Delhi was beefed up on Sunday in view of the ongoing protests by farmers in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana against the three Bills related to the agriculture sector, a Delhi Police officer said.

More police personnel have been deployed in the border areas as a precautionary measure, including at Singhu border and GT-Karnal Road.

Farmers from nearby states are expected to arrive in Delhi to mark their protest, since different farmer organisations have given calls for protests over the proposed legislations.

“We are keeping an eye on the borders with Punjab and Haryana; arrangements have been made to stop farmers from entering Delhi,” the senior police officer said.

Precautionary measures have also been taken on Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border. Two companies of security forces have been deployed near Ghazipur and Ashok Nagar side to prevent the entry of farmers from western Uttar Pradesh.

“We have set up border pickets as a precautionary measure on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border. Our teams are on alert,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Jasmeet Singh said.

Farmers in several states are up in arms against the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation) Bill; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill; and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill.

Source: IANS

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