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VVIP chopper scam: CBI grilled ex-IAF chief S.P. Tyagi for 10 hours, to question again

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Former IAF chief S.P. Tyagi on Tuesday leaves from his residence will be questioned again by Central Bureau of India (CBI) over alleged corruption in the Rs.3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

On Monday, Tyagi arrived at the Central Bureau of Investigation headquarters around 10 a.m. and was questioned till 8 p.m. The investigating agency had issued him notice on Friday.

Read  More: AgustaWestland deal: Former IAF chief SP Tyagi reaches CBI headquarters for questioning

Tyagi has been named in the FIR in the chopper deal along with 13 others including his brothers — Sanjeev, Rajeev and Sandeep — and European middlemen Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

Sources said Tyagi’s brothers will soon be summoned for questioning along with Gautam Khaitan, another accused in the case.

The allegation against the former IAF chief is that he had reduced flying ceiling of the helicopter from 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres (15,000 feet) so that AgustaWestland was included in the bids.

Tyagi maintains the decision was reportedly taken in consultation with officials of the Special Protection Group (SPG) and the Prime Minister’s Office. Twelve helicopters were to be bought by India.

The CBI says the reduction of the service ceiling, which is the maximum height at which a helicopter can perform normally, allowed the Britain-based firm to get into the fray. Otherwise its helicopters were not even qualified for submission of bids.

The chopper deal resurfaced after an Italian court last month referred to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh among others in connection with the chopper deal but gave no details of any wrongdoing by the two leaders.

The CBI, which has received a copy of the Milan court order, has now prepared a fresh set of questions for Tyagi, who has denied the bribery allegations.

The Milan court has also given details of how alleged bribes were paid by AgustaWestland’s parent company Finmeccanica as well as AgustaWestland to Indian officials through middlemen to clinch the deal.

The order mentions Tyagi’s name in several places.

The investigating agency had quizzed former IAF deputy chief J.S. Gujral on Saturday.

Both Tyagi and Gujral were questioned in 2013 but the fresh round of questioning was necessitated after the recent order of the Italian court.

AgustaWestland’s Rs.3,600 crore contract for supplying 12 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force was scrapped by the then UPA government over charges of paying kickbacks to Indian agents.

In January 2013, India cancelled the deal and the CBI was assigned to investigate the matter.

The CBI on March 13, 2013 registered a first information report against Tyagi and others in the case.

Firms Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland, IDS Infotech Ltd (India) and Aeromatrix India were also booked as accused in the case.

Wefornews Bureau

India

Rs 80,000 cr has come to BJP coffers in last five months, says Hazare

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Guwahati, Dec 15: Noble social activist Anna Hazare on Friday hit out at the Narendra Modi-led central government saying, the country has topped the list of corrupt countries in Asia in the last three years of the NDA rule and Rs 80,000 crore has come to the coffers of the BJP in the past five months as donation.

Hazare, citing a Forbes Magazine article that quoted a Transparency International survey, said India tops the list of corrupt countries in Asia. “I am not claiming this but it being reported by Forbes Magazine after conducting a survey among the Asian countries,” he said, news agency IANS reported.

“I have been silent for the last three years. When a new government comes we must give them some time. So I remained silent, but now the time has come to speak against them. I am going to start another movement for a strong Jan Lokpal as well as for the farmers of the country from March 23 next year,” Hazare asserted.

Slamming the Centre, he revealed Rs 80,000 crore had come to the coffers of the NDA-led ruling party in the past five months as donation.

“The common people are still reeling under problems. The farmers of the country are suffering. Banks give loans to the farmers but slap interest as per their whims and fancies. The Reserve Bank of India must fix a rate of interest for all the farmers and banks should not be allowed to fix the interest for the benefit of the farmers.”

Flagging his concerns, he stated  “The farmers commit suicide as they fail to get good price for their crops to repay the loan. There is no MSP for their paddy”.

Hazare said he had written 32 letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the ltas three years but haven’t received  response to any of them from the PMO.

“I am going to involve everyone in the movement for a strong Jan Lokpal and farmers’ issues. I am going everywhere to speak to the people. We are ready to go to jail. But if they put us in jails we must ensure that every jail in the country should be filled by people,” he added.

“Earlier there was a provision which made it mandatory for the officers to declare their assets but the present government abolished it. While the companies were allowed to donate 7.5 per cent of their profit to political parties, now any amount can be donated to the political parties,” said Hazare while urging people to support the movement staring from March 23.

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Anil Ambani Group sues Congress’ Singhvi for Rs 5,000 crore

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Ahmedabad, Dec 15 : The Reliance Anil Ambani group has filed a Rs 5,000-crore ($ 780 million) defamation suit here against Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi, accusing him of making “false, defamatory and libellous statements”.

The suit has been filed in the Gujarat High Court.

According to company sources, the Congress leader “made false, defamatory and libellous statements against the group. We have filed a Rs 5,000-crore suit for damages against him for making these false and defamatory statements”.

Singhvi had, on November 30, attacked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, contending that he was “fooling” people by saying the government had not waived loans of big defaulters.

Alleging that the government had written off Rs 1.88 lakh crore debt of wilful defaulters, he had said: “We all know that top 50 corporates owe Rs 8.35 lakh crore to banks and out of those, three top Gujarat-based companies — Reliance (Anil Ambani Group), Adani and Essar — owe Rs 3 lakh crore.”

He had charged that the Finance Minister, instead of declaring these liabilities as NPAs, was “trying to help the defaulter with further defence contracts like the Rafale deal”.

A Reliance Defence statement had earlier clarified the joint venture between Reliance Aerostructure Ltd and Dassault Aviation was a bilateral agreement between two private companies — and had nothing to do with the government.

The statement had added: “Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd will be only one of the key players in the discharge of offset obligations. Over 500 large, medium and small Indian companies will benefit from the offsets which are nothing but an export obligation for goods and services from India. Offsets referred to are spread over a period of nearly 10 years.”

IANS

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Union cabinet clears Triple Talaq Bill

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New Delhi, 15th December: Union government on Thursday(15th December) cleared the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, to make the practice of “instant” triple talaq an offence.

The draft bill was sent out to states earlier this month proposed that triple talaq be made a cognisable and non-bailable offence that would attract a jail term of three years.he practice of Triple Talaq as illegal

On August 22 the Supreme Court announced the practice of Triple Talaq as illegal.Now the bill will be introduced in both Upper and lower houses for approval in the winter session of Parliament.

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