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Rahul Gandhi accuses PM Modi of acting like Anil Ambani’s middleman, levels treason charge

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Rahul Gandhi accuses PM Modi of acting like Anil Ambani’s middleman, levels treason charge

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]After another explosive news report on the controversial Rafale deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi today (Tuesday, Feb 12) accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of passing on information about the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for purchase of the fighter aircraft in advance to Anil Ambani, thereby violating the Official Secrets Act (OSA), compromising national security and opening himself up to criminal prosecution.

Citing a report by The Indian Express (IE), Rahul Gandhi asked how Anil Ambani knew that the deal would materialise 10 days in advance of the official announcement. Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet: “By leaking information on the RAFALE MOU in advance to Anil Ambani, the PM has broken the Official Secrets Act and compromised National Security, opening himself up to criminal prosecution.”

Rahul, addresing a press conference, was reported to have alleged that Modi was acting as a middleman of businessman Anil Ambani. Quoting an email from an Airbus executive to French officials, he alleged what Modi had done amounted to treason, “nothing less”.

“He (Modi) is doing what spies do. He is under oath to protect these secrets. But he has given these secrets to others. This itself is criminal and puts him in jail,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi rubbished the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report on the Rafale deal calling it “Chowkidar Auditor General report”. He said the CAG report was “worthless”.

Calling Modi a “corrupt man”, Rahul Gandhi said, “Earlier there was an axis of corruption (involved in the Rafale fighter aircraft deal) and an axis of procedural inconsistencies. And now there is this handing over of defence secret, of compromising national security. All three are to be investigated.”

He said neither the then defence minister Manohar Parrikar nor the foreign secretary nor Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) knew about the signing of the deal but Ambani did 10 days before it actually happened.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column css=”.vc_custom_1549976678184{border-top-width: 10px !important;border-right-width: 10px !important;border-bottom-width: 10px !important;border-left-width: 10px !important;padding-top: 10px !important;padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;background-color: #efefef !important;border-radius: 10px !important;}”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1549976765393{border-top-width: 10px !important;border-right-width: 10px !important;border-bottom-width: 10px !important;border-left-width: 10px !important;padding-top: 10px !important;padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;background-color: #bababa !important;border-radius: 10px !important;}”]The Congress president also questioned the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Rafale deal and said, “The Supreme Court judgment is open to question now.”

Gandhi reiterated his demand that a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) should be instituted in the Rafale deal. “Institute a probe by the JPC if the PM is not involved,” he said.

Official Secrets Act, 1923:

  1. Wrongful communication, etc., of information

(1) If any person having in his possession or control any secret official code or pass word or any sketch, plan, model, article, note, document or information which relates to or is used in a prohibited place or relates to anything in such a place, 13[or which is likely to assist, directly or indirectly, an enemy or which relates to a matter the disclosure of which is likely to affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State or friendly relations with foreign States or which has been made or obtained in contravention of this Act,] or which has been entrusted in confidence to him by any person holding office under Government, or which he has obtained or to which he has had access owing to his position as a person who holds or has held office under Government, or as person who holds or has held a contract made on behalf of Government, or as a person who is or has been employed under a person who holds or has held such an office or contract-

(a) willfully communicates the code or pass word, sketch, plan, model, article, note, document or information to any person other than a person to whom he is authorized to communicate it or a Court of Justice or a person to whom it is, in the interests of the State, his duty to communicate it; or

(b) uses, the information in his possession for the benefit of any foreign power or in any other manner prejudicial to the safety of the State …[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In the press conference, Rahul drew attention to the report that when Ambani had visited French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s office in Paris in 2015, about two weeks before Modi announced the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from France, the businessman mentioned that a “memorandum of understanding is in preparation” and spoke of the Indian government’s “intention to sign it” during Modi’s visit.

When Ambani visited the French Defence Minister’s office, it was known that Prime Minister Modi would make an official visit to France from April 9-11, 2015.

Subsequently, Ambani was part of the PM’s delegation during the visit where the deal for 36 Rafale aircraft was announced by Modi and then French President Francois Hollande in a joint

Incidentally, Reliance Defence was incorporated on March 28, 2015, in the same week as this meeting.

However, speaking to the press just before Modi’s visit, then foreign secretary S Jaishankar had said India does not mix up “leadership level visits with deep details of ongoing defence contract”, ruling out a possibility of the announcement of exactly such a deal.

“In terms of Rafale, my understanding is that there are discussions underway between the French company, our Ministry of Defence, the HAL which is involved in this. These are ongoing discussions. These are very technical, detailed discussions. We do not mix up leadership level visits with deep details of ongoing defence contracts. That is on a different track. A leadership visit usually looks at big picture issues even in the security field,” Jaishankar had told the media.

Public sector HAL was the licensed manufacturer of 108 Rafale aircraft in that contract but has no such role in the new deal.

Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group is the “key partner” for Dassault Aviation, manufacturer of Rafale aircraft, for discharge of offsets in the Euro 7.87 billion deal signed between India and France. The total value of offsets from the deal is estimated to be around Rs 30,000 crore, and Reliance’s exact share in that amount has not been officially confirmed so far.

The Congress alleges that the secrecy shrouding Modi’s surprise announcement of the deal and the fact that Ambani was one of the very few people who knew a state secret that apparently eluded the foreign secretary, points to the fact that Modi kept Ambani informed of the deal.

Responding to the Congress chief’s allegations, Reliance Defence said the “proposed MoU” mentioned in a purported email cited by Rahul Gandhi was a reference to its cooperation with Airbus Helicopter and had “no connection” with the Rafale deal.

“Purported email being referred by the Congress Party is regarding the discussion between Airbus and Reliance Defence regarding Civil & Defence Helicopter Programs under ‘Make in India’,” a Reliance Defence spokesperson said in a statement, reported The Times of India (TOI).

“The discussion on proposed MoU was clearly with reference to cooperation between Airbus Helicopter and Reliance. It had no connection whatsoever with Government to Government Agreement between France and India for 36 Rafale aircraft,” the Reliance Defence spokesperson said.

It is in public domain that Airbus Helicopter has partnered with Mahindra for the Military Helicopter Programme, the spokesperson added.

“Also, for the record, the MoU for Rafale aircraft was signed between France and India on January 25 2016 and not in April 2015. From the above, it is evident that the facts are being deliberately twisted and reality being ignored,” the company said.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Election Commission advises Bengal Governor to not visit Cooch Behar on voting day

The Election Commission advised the Bengal Governor to call off his proposed visit to Cooch Behar on April 19.

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West Bengal governor CV Ananda Bose has been warned by the Election Commission of India (ECI) not to visit Cooch Behar on April 18 and 19, since the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls will begin with a silence period on Wednesday evening.

According to those familiar with the situation in the EC, the poll body informed the governor’s office that no local program could be planned for the governor on April 19 due to the Model Code of Conduct and the election day.

The poll body added that if they had to provide local security cover for this unexpected proposed visit without a imminently known requirement, the tour would be a diversion because the district administration and police force will be completely occupied with election management on April 18 and 19.

As a result, under Section 126 of the Representation of People Act, campaigning is prohibited in Cooch Behar starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

In order to ensure a free and fair election process, the poll board has asked all district election officers and district police chiefs to make sure that all prominent individuals, campaigners, and political workers who are not local voters leave the polling area once the silence period begins.

The seven phases of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections will take place between April to June. Polls will be conducted in seven phases: the first on April 19 and the seventh on June 1. On June 4, the results will be announced.

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India News

Lamborghini Gallardo worth nearly Rs 1 crore set on fire over business dispute

A video circulating on social media shows the luxury car Lamborghini Gallardo being burned and reduced to ashes. The police officials said a complaint has been registered by Neeraj, a car reseller who had bought the luxury car from its original owner.

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A person who deals in the sale and purchase of old luxury cars and a few others has allegedly burnt an old but expensive model of Lamborghini Gallardo on a road in Hyderabad over a dispute with its owner on Monday. The police said the owner of the Lamborghini Gallardo, Neeraj wanted to sell off the vehicle, estimated to be worth up to Rs 1 crore, and had informed some of his friends to look for a buyer.

The police added that the main accused Ahmed had called a friend of Neeraj and asked him to bring the car. The said friend of Neeraj was known to the Ahmed. When the luxury car was brought to Mamidipalli Road which is situated on the city outskirts Ahmed along with a few others, burnt the luxury car using petrol and claimed that Neeraj owed him money.

A video circulating on social media shows the luxury car Lamborghini Gallardo being burned and reduced to ashes. The police officials said a complaint has been registered by Neeraj, a car reseller who had bought the luxury car from its original owner. By the time fire department vehicles arrived at the scene it was too late as the luxury car was engulfed in flames and badly damaged. A video of the burning Lamborghini Gallardo has been circulating on social media.

The incident is a proof to the lengths to which disputes can rise. An expert spoke about the car that got burnt and said it was the Gallardo Spyder. He pointed out that it is a substantially older gen model which can only be found in the resale market. The expert further added the car has a powerful 5-litre NA V10 engine that made 513 horse power and 510 Nm of peak torque.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

2024 Lok Sabha elections: TMC releases manifesto, Mamata Banerjee vows to scrap CAA, stop NRC

The Trinamool Congress has today released its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections

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West Bengal CM Mamta Banarjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) today released its manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. In its manifesto, the TMC pledged to repeal the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), stop the development of a National Register of citizens and the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), and stop its implementation nationwide.

The manifesto was unveiled by Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien, West Bengal Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya, and Amit Mitra, who is the Special Advisor to the Chief Minister. However, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee was not present at the event.

As Derek O’Brien unveiled the manifesto, he said, this is what they will do when the TMC, as part of INDIA bloc, forms government.

The Citizenship Amendment Act has long been opposed by the Trinamool Congress. Five years after it was approved by Parliament, the central government finally put the CAA into effect last month.

The party led by Mamata Banerjee has also expressed resistance to the National Register of Citizens proposal, claiming that West Bengal will never adopt it. 

The manifesto titled Didi’s 10 sapaths, alludes to 10 oaths made by Mamata Banerjee, popularly known as Didi.

The Mamata Banerjee-led party additionally pledges to raise the daily allowance under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act to Rs 400 per day in addition to the UCC and CAA. Everyone has also been offered pucca houses by the party.

A monthly pension of Rs 1,000 for people over 60, free home delivery of 5 kg of ration for every ration card user, 10 free LPG cylinders annually for families below the poverty line, and universal healthcare coverage worth Rs 10 lakh are among the other significant commitments made.

Additionally, the Trinamool Congress has pledged to establish a price stabilization fund in order to control the cost of gasoline and LPG.

The party has assured the youth that every student will receive a monthly stipend up until the age of 25. A student credit card of Rs. 10 lakh will be awarded to those who choose to continue their education.

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