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SC asks Centre to submit Rafale jet deal price details in 10 days to court

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court directed the Centre to submit the price and other details of the Rafale fighter jet deals in a sealed envelope within 10 days to the top court.

Clarifying that it doesn’t want technical details pertaining to the Rafale deal, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to share information which can be brought in the public domain with the petitioners. Details considered “strategic and confidential” can be held back, added the top court.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices U U Lalit and K M Joseph was listening to two PILs filed lawyers Manohar Lal Sharma and Vineet Dhanda on India’s deal with France to buy the fighter jets.

 

The top court has now fixed the matter for hearing on November 14.

During the hearing, Attorney General K K Venugopal said that the pricing of the jet is something exclusive and can’t be shared. To this, the top court asked the centre to file an affidavit stating the same.

The top court, on October 10, had directed the Centre to provide in a sealed cover the “details of the steps” taken in the decision-making process, sans pricing and technical information, which led to the deal.

Dassault Aviation is expected to deliver the 36 fighter jets to India from 2019.

A huge political row over the Centre’s deal with France, spearheaded by Congress party, emerged in the past few months. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of benefitting Reliance Defence’s Anil Ambani with the deal.

Earlier this month, an investigative report by French news website Mediapart claimed that it was “imperative and obligatory” for Dassault Aviation to agree to work with Anil Ambani’s firm in order to procure the contract to produce 36 Rafale jets for India.

The report quoted a leaked company document of Dassault Aviation, where a senior company executive was recorded as saying the same.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after talks with the then French President Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris. The final deal was sealed on September 23, 2016.


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National

Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs

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Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.

“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.

This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.

 

According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.

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Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara

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Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.

The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.

“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.

 
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Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.

With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.

Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.

 

Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.

However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.

The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.

The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.

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