New Delhi: The government rejected a demand in the Lok Sabha for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe the alleged scam in Rafale jet deal.
Hitting back at the Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who alleged a scam in the fighter jet deal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said as the Supreme Court has already satisfied its “conscience” on the issue, there was no need for a JPC.
His speech was disrupted by continuous protests from the Congress Members, some of whom were seen throwing paper planes, drawing the Speaker’s admonition.
“Are you still kids”, an angry Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said.
Jaitley said perhaps the Congress members were throwing paper planes in the memory of Euro Fighter, which was also in the race along with Rafale.
Jaitley said the Congress felt that since “its hands are already soaked in corruption”, it decided to “manufacture” a lie to defame the Modi government which has a clean record. “Remember the JPC on Bofors … it said the kickback were winding up charges … it whitewashed corruption,” Jaitley said.
He also claimed that the JPC is a partisan body which cannot investigate fairly. He said there was no point in accepting demand for a JPC by a party which is already embroiled in Bofors corruption case.
The Finance Minister noted that the price of ‘bare aircraft’ has been revealed and that the price of ‘weaponised’ version cannot be told as it would help India’s adversaries. He also asserted that the bare aircraft was nine per cent cheaper than the one negotiated by the UPA and the weaponised version was 20 per cent cheaper.
Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi, Jaitley said, “It is a tragedy that the grand old party which was headed by the legends in the past is now headed by a gentleman who doesn’t have basic understanding of combat aircraft.”
Targeting the Congress, he also said that “conspirators” of past defence scams are now raising fingers at the Narendra Modi government and quoted the Supreme Court judgement to say that all charges have been negated.
“There are some people who have a natural dislike for truth. Every word spoken for the last six months on this subject, including in this House (by them) are false….He has a legacy of speaking falsehood,” Jaitley said.
He said Gandhi has a “natural dislike for truth” and had earlier “manufactured” his conversation with former French President, which was denied by the French government.
“We are all utterly disappointed because every word he has said has been denied by the Supreme Court. When the Supreme Court speaks on an issue, it is the last word,” the finance minister said. He asserted that nobody here can be entitled enough to challenge the Supreme Court’s verdict.
Targeting the Gandhi family, he said some people and families understand arithmetic of money but cannot comprehend issues of national security.
The finance minister also raised AgustaWestland, National Herald cases and made a veiled reference to Ottavio Quattrocchi to attack Congress leadership.
Jaitley, who briefly held the Defence portfolio, said tender for buying aircraft was floated in 2007 during UPA regime and Dassault manufacturer of the Rafale aircraft was found the L1 (lowest bidder).
“In 2012 it went to the table of the then Defence Minister, who everyone knows is a simple man who wrote that Rafale is appropriate but the process through which it has become lowest bidder need to be looked into,” Jaitley said suggesting that the then defence minister did this under the influence of his party.
CJI recuses from hearing petition challenging interim CBI chief appointment
New Delhi: Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has recused himself from hearing a plea challenging M Nageswara Rao’s appointment as interim Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Gogoi has sought transparency in the process of short-listing, selection and appointment of the CBI Director.
CJI Gogoi said he cannot hear plea as he would be part of the committee meeting to select the next CBI director.
.The plea will now be heard on January 24 by another bench.
The high-powered selection committee comprises the prime minister, the leader of the largest opposition party and the CJI or his nominee judge of the apex court.
A bench comprising CJI and Justice Sanjiv Khanna was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause challenging the appointment of Rao as interim CBI director.
‘Not safe’: Mamata refuses to allow Amit Shah’s chopper to land in Malda, BJP cries foul
KOLKATA: In yet another attempt by Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal to stop Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) President Amit Shah from addressing rally in the state, the state government has denied permission for landing of Shah’s helicopter in Malda district.
The BJP president, who was recently treated for swine flu at AIIMS in New Delhi, is scheduled to address a rally in Malda on January 22. As per BJP’s plan, Shah will reach Kolkata and then take a helicopter from there to reach Malda where he will participate in a public rally with BJP workers from North Bengal.
The Malda district administration has informed the BJP that it is not possible to grant permission to land helicopters at Malda airport this week.
“As per report of the executive engineer, PWD (civil), Malda Division, up-gradation of work at Malda Airport is going on in full swing. A large quantity of fine sand, dust and GSB materials is lying all along the runway and also stacked all around the site,” Additional District Magistrate of Malda said in a letter to BJP.
The letter added that the ongoing construction work has also affected the maintenance of temporary helipad at the airport and it is not possible to grant permission to Shah’s chopper to land at Malda Airport.
Meanwhile, General Secretary of BJP Malda unit had written to Malda DM saying that West Bengal government is using Malda Airport for landing their helicopter every Wednesday and they are refusing permission to Shah’s helicopter.
Centre threatening to impose Prez’s rule in Andhra: Chandrababu
Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday alleged that the Centre was threatening to impose President’s Rule in the state but, he said, nobody would be cowed down by such threats.
He claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a “negative leader” under whose leadership the country was regressing. Addressing a teleconference with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders, he attacked the prime minister and the BJP, saying they did nothing special for Andhra.
“They say one Union minister will come to the state every week. What good have they done for the state? On top of it, they are issuing threats that President’s Rule will be imposed in Andhra Pradesh. There is nobody here to be cowed down by their threats,” Naidu said.
Referring to the opposition parties’ rally in Kolkata two days ago, the TDP chief said it marked the beginning of the end of dictatorial rule and gave confidence to the people of the country. “We will hold a similar rally in Amaravati in which leaders of 22 parties will take part,” Naidu added.
The TDP chief lashed out at his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao and YSR Congress president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, saying they were working under Modi’s direction.
The TRS and the YSRC were conspiring to create misgivings among the backward classes so that they are distanced from the TDP, he alleged. He said the backward communities should unitedly thwart such attempts.