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Agusta Westland chopper scam: S P Tyagi, others granted bail by Delhi court

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New Delhi: Former Air Force Chief S P Tyagi and his cousins were granted bail by the Patiala House Court in Delhi on Wednesday in the AgustaWestland money laundering case.
They were asked to furnish Rs 1 lakh as bail bond with one surety of the same amount. The case pertains to the alleged money laundering of Rs 3,600-crore deal through many channels to make AgustaWestland helicopters eligible for the India contract.
Special judge Arvind Kumar, after taking cognizance of the chargesheet filed in the case, had summoned over 30 accused in the case to appear before it today, including former AgustaWestland andFinmeccanica directors Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini and lawyer Gautam Khaitan and his wife Ritu.
AgustaWestland and its parent company Finmeccanica SPA were also issued summons. All the foreign individuals and firms failed to appear before court today.
In 2010, AgustaWestland signed a Rs 3,546 crore contract to supply 12 AW-101 helicopters to the IAF. Eight of these were to be used to transport VVIPs including the President, Prime Minister, the Vice-President and others, while four were to be used for other duties. Finmeccanica edged out American chopper maker Sikorsky’s S-92 Superhawk to bag the contract.
The AW-101s were meant to replace the Soviet Mi-8 helicopters, which had completed their technical life.
In its chargesheet filed under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the ED accused 34 people and entities of playing a role in the deal. It said a company, which Tyagi was a partner at, received over Rs 1 crore in kickbacks as part of the deal. Tyagi and his cousins Sanjeev Tyagi and Rajeev Tyagi were a 50 per cent partner in the firm.


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Amit Shah accuses Rahul Gandhi of supporting ‘urban Naxals’

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Raipur: BJP president Amit Shah on Friday accused Congress chief Rahul Gandhi of supporting “urban Naxals” plotting to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked him to clarify his stand on the issue to people in poll-bound Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Shah’s comments come in the wake of the Maharashtra police arresting five human rights activists late last month for their alleged links with Maoists.
Addressing party workers, Shah also mocked Gandhi, calling him “Rahul baba” and saying he is “day-dreaming” about the Congress’ victory in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, BJP-ruled states where elections are due by year-end. He said “Rahul Gandhi and company” were supporting “urban Naxals” plotting to assassinate the prime minister.
“Shouldn’t those who were plotting to assassinate the prime minister be arrested?” Shah asked. “Rahul baba should make his stand clear on the issue of urban Naxals to the people of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh,” he said.
He exhorted workers in Chhattisgarh to ensure that the party wins more than 65 seats in the 90-member assembly in the state and the Congress is decimated. Anything below the target of 65 seats should not be considered a win, the BJP chief said.
The saffron outfit currently has 49 MLAs in the state, where it has been in power since 2003.
Mocking Gandhi for predicting a Congress win in the three poll-bound states, Shah said, “Rahul baba is dreaming in broad daylight with his eyes open.”
The BJP chief also highlighted the achievements of the Narendra Modi government in the last four years. “Since 2014 when Narendra Modi became PM, the Congress has lost each and every state election. You (Rahul) ask us what the BJP has done in four-and-a-half years…Our government is working for the poor, youth and farmers who were neglected during your family rule. When Pakistan-based terrorists attacked us, (then PM) Manmohan Singh remained quiet. But, under Modi, our security forces conducted surgical strikes after Uri attack,” Shah said.

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Death toll from clashes in Libya’s Tripoli climbs to 96

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Tripoli :Fighting between rival groups in Libya’s capital has killed at least 96 people since August 26, with civilians among the casualties, authorities have said.
Libya’s Tripoli-based Health Ministry, in a statement , said 11 people, including five civilians, were killed on Thursday night as battles raged between militias aligned to the UN-backed government and from two nearby towns.
A resident told DPA news agency that some families were trapped in their homes due to the heavy exchange of fire while some refused to leave due to fears of looting.
Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed, reporting from Tripoli, said the sound of gunfire echoed across “many parts of the capital” on Friday with aid agencies fearing for the civilians stranded by the violence.
“Aid agencies have been trying to reach out to families stuck in areas in or near the fighting,” he said, adding that the clashes caused lasting damage to a power plant with several areas in the capital suffering from power cuts.
Fighting has mainly taken place in the southern Salah al-Din district and along the road leading to Tripoli airport, which has been closed for years.
The fighting violated a September 4 UN-brokered ceasefire deal and underscores Libya’s lingering lawlessness since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.
“The is the third time the UN-brokered ceasefire agreement has been breached with each side accusing the other of violating the terms of the agreement,” said Abdelwahed.
Tripoli-based militias loyal to the internationally recognised government say the fighting is aimed at expelling “criminals and outsiders” from the cities of Tarhouna and Misrata, Abdelwahed said.
“Meanwhile, the Seventh Infantry Brigade from the town of Tarhouna and its allies from Misrata say they are trying to rid the capital of militias that are blackmailing state institutions and imposing royalty fees on banks,” he added.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has described the situation in the north African country as “desperate”, with the fighting, collapsed economy and destruction of infrastructure leaving hundreds of thousands of people “increasingly vulnerable”.
“Seven years of war in Libya has driven over 500,000 people to flee their homes,” the ICRC said in a tweet.
“For Libyans trying to return home, there’s not always much to return to. Houses, schools are often destroyed completely.”
The group also cited the sabotaging of health facilities, water and electricity supplies, as well as the dangers of unexploded remnants.

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France concealing facts on Rafale deal: Congress

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New Delhi :After the French government and Dassault Aviation contradicted former President Francois Hollande’s claim in choosing Indian industrial partners in the multi-million dollar Rafale jet deal, the Congress on Saturday said the French statement “conceals more than it reveals”.
“The French statement conceals more than it reveals. The French government knows verbal interactions between former President Francois Hollande and Indian interlocutors are minuted and would emerge.
“Speculation of French Parliamentary hearing into Rafale and access to administration documents under France’s Freedom of Information Law 1978 rife,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari tweeted.
“What French government/corporate entity has just ended up doing is making Rafale procurement a veritable domestic issue in French politics also.
“By saying Hollande is being economical with truth they have set the stage for facts/documents to become a torrent.”
Countering the attack, Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Union Minister Ananth Kumar tweeted: “Nailing the lie on its head — misinformation about Rafael deal, Dassault being called out by the French government.”
The statement by the French government issued here late Friday came after Hollande’s reported claim that the Indian government suggested a particular private firm for Rafale offset contract.
In response to the claim, the statement said: “The French government is in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners who have been, are being or will be selected by French companies.”
Dassault Aviation, the makers of the Rafale jets, in a statement also on Friday night, said: “This offsets contract is delivered in compliance with the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016 regulations. In this framework, and in accordance with the policy of ‘Make in India’, Dassault Aviation has decided to make a partnership with India’s Reliance Group. This is Dassault Aviation’s choice.”
The deal to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from France was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 and signed in 2016.
The UPA government was earlier negotiating a deal to procure 126 Rafale jets, with 18 to come in flyaway condition and 108 to be manufactured by HAL under licence.
The Modi government has repeatedly said it was Dassault that chose its India partner for offsets and that the government had no say in the deal.

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