[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman may have backed Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal’s U-turn to say that the Rafale documents, submitted as part of the review petition before the Supreme Court, were not “stolen” but “photocopies of the original” secret files, but the jibes at the Modi government and ‘chowkidar’ left them squirming with embarrassment.
Now, when the review petition comes up for hearing again on March 14, the Centre may ask Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta to assist the AG, reprted India Legal.
On Friday evening, in an interview to news agency PTI, Venugopal said that the Opposition’s allegation that, while arguing in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, March 6, he had claimed that documents on which the Rafale review petitions placed reliance were part of a file that was “stolen from the defence ministry” was “wholly incorrect”.
“The statement that files have been stolen is wholly incorrect,” Venugopal told PTI.
Soon after Venugopal’s volte-face, Nirmala Sitharaman posted on Twitter: “Learned AG KK Venugopal told @PTI_News the Rafale documents were not stolen from the Defence Ministry & what he meant in his submission before the Supreme Court was that petitioners in the application used “photocopies of the original” papers, deemed secret by the government.”
Sitharaman had kept silent on Venugopal’s stunning claim of the “stolen files” from her ministry since Wednesday even as Opposition leaders and a small section of the media wondered why the defence minister, who had addressed the Parliament last month on the revelations made by The Hindu, based on the supposedly stolen documents, had failed to inform MPs that a “secret” file linked to a sensitive defence deal had gone missing.
On Wednesday, while arguing against the review petitions filed by former union finance minister Yashwant Sinha and others, Venugopal had urged the top court’s bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that the pleas must be dismissed because they are based on documents from a “stolen” file which was protected under Official Secrets Act.
He had proceeded to submit before the bench that an investigation into the theft of the file had already been ordered and that the government was, in fact, contemplating filing an FIR against The Hindu newspaper and news agency ANI which had first put these documents in the public domain.
Venugopal’s submission had immediately caused a political uproar with Congress president Rahul Gandhi claiming that the new slogan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government appears to be “gayab ho gaya (gone missing)”.
The claim had also triggered a storm on social media with users posting memes and jokes about the Attorney General’s claim and wondering if Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first Prime Minister who Modi repeatedly blames for everything wrong with the country today, had stolen the files. Some questioned the ability of the ‘nation’s Chowkidar’ (one of the terms Prime Minister Narendra Modi has used for himself. Chowkidar = guard/watchman).
(cartoonist Alok @ caricatured)
(cartoonist Alok @ caricatured)
Sources told India Legal that there is considerable “unease” within the central government over his gaffe. Sources said that the Attorney General, “perhaps because he is getting on in the years (at 88 years of age, Venugopal is the oldest Attorney General of India since independence), needs some assistance to argue the government’s case in such sensitive matters”.
Sources say that the Union law ministry might ask Solicitor General Tushar Mehta “to help” Venugopal in presenting the arguments against the Rafale review petitions when they come up for hearing in the apex court next, on March 14.
The Centre is also wary of the reaction that Venugopal’s clarification may draw from the Supreme Court since his earlier claim of the “stolen” files is well documented in the top court’s proceedings of March 6. The government is aware that adverse remarks by the Supreme Court could bring more embarrassment for Modi over the continuing Rafale controversy at a time when an announcement of the Lok Sabha poll schedule is keenly awaited.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Dust storm, light rain expected in Delhi-NCR today, heatwave conditions to abate
IMD claimed in a tweet that Thunderstorm dust with light to moderate intensity rain and gusty winds with speed of 30-50 km/hr would occur over and adjoining areas of many places of Delhi, North Delhi, North East Delhi, North west Delhi, West Delhi, Central Delhi, East delhi and NCR( Loni Dehat, Hindon AF station, Ghaziabad, Indrapuram, Chapraula) Sonipat, Rohtak, Kharkhoda (Haryana) Baraut, Bagpat, Meerut, Khekra, Modinagar, Kithor , Garhmukhteshwar, Pilakhua, Hapur ,Gulaoti ,Siyana ,Sikandrabad , Bulandshahr , Jahangirabad (UP)
On Wednesday, a dust storm with light to moderate rain is expected in numerous locations in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). The India Meteorogical Department (IMD) stated the city’s maximum and minimum temperatures are predicted to be in the range of 40 and 25, respectively.
The IMD tweeted an advisory that thunderstorms, dust with light to moderate intensity rain and gusty winds with speed of 30-50 km/hr would occur over and adjoining areas of many places of Delhi, North Delhi, North East Delhi, North West Delhi, West Delhi, Central Delhi, East Delhi and NCR (Loni Dehat, Hindon AF station, Ghaziabad, Indirapuram, Chapraula) Sonipat, Rohtak, Kharkhoda (Haryana), Baraut, Bagpat, Meerut, Khekra, Modinagar, Kithor, Garhmukhteshwar, Pilakhua, Hapur, Gulaoti, Siyana, Sikandrabad, Bulandshahr, Jahangirabad (UP).
For the next two hours, light to moderate intermittent rain is expected over and near Adampur, Hissar, Hansi, and Meham (Haryana).
On Thursday, May 18, light rain is predicted for in Delhi based on the seven-day prediction for the city. The sky will mainly be cloudy, with the potential of a light rain or drizzle, according to the weather office.
The air quality will continue to be deteriorated in the city after strong winds with dust swept across the Delhi-NCR on Tuesday. Following this, visibility had reduced to 1000 metres. Kuldeep Srivastava, the head of regional forecasting centre, said the dry atmosphere is one of the reasons for the dust storms.
Following Tuesday’s severe winds and dust storm that blasted across the Delhi-NCR, the city’s air quality had taken an alarming dip.
The monsoons, which are awaited across India, are likely to make landfall in Kerala on June 4. Usually, the monsoon arrives on May 31 or June 1 but the delay will be made up as the phenomenon progresses on its south-west to north-east arc. With extreme temperatures right from a cold sytart to May to dust-laden winds in mid-May, the weather in the country is paying the price for accelerating climate change.
Security lapse at Navjot Singh Sidhu’s Patiala home, says it will not deter him from raising his voice against Punjab
After his release from jail, he slammed the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government for its law and order in the state.
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has filed a complaint with the Punjab Police after he spotted a suspicious person wrapped in a grey blanket on his terrace. He alleged a security lapse at his Patiala home. He couldn’t catch him as he fled after his servant raised an alarm.
Taking to Twitter, Sidhu said, Today on the terrace of his residence an unknown suspicious character wrapped in a grey blanket was noticed around 7:00 pm, the moment his servant went out raised the alarm, and called for help, he immediately ran and escaped.
The 59-year-old further said that he has spoken to DGP Punjab Police and has also informed SSP Patiala. He said the security lapse will not deter him from raising his voice for Punjab.
Punjab Police registered a case in this matter. According to the reports, the Patiala Senior Superintendent of Police Varun Sharma visited his residence after the complaint and is currently investigating the matter. The CCTV footage of the area is also being scanned, reports state.
Cricketer-turned-politician came out of the Patiala Central Jail on April 1 after serving nearly 10 months in a 1988 road rage case. After his release from jail, he slammed the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government for its law and order in the state.
He said Democracy is in chains. Punjab is the shield of this country. When dictatorship came in this country, a revolution also came, led by Rahul Gandhi.
Sidhu also slammed the Mann government over the pruning of security of slain singer Sidhu Moosewala and also making it public.
Air India Delhi-San Francisco flight suffers tech glitch before take-off, returns to stand
The airline has not given any official statement in this matter.
Air India flight which was en route to San Francisco from Delhi on Monday had to be returned to the stand because of a technical glitch. The San Francisco-bound flight suffered a tech issue before take off.
According to the reports, the aircraft which was carrying over 200 passengers from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) had to be replaced with another aircraft. Later, the passengers were accommodated in another aircraft.
The airline has not given any official statement in this matter.
Earlier today, another Air India incident occurred where a London-bound flight returned to Delhi’s IGI airport after a mid-air brawl between an unruly passenger and the flight’s cabin crew.
A brawl ensued between a passenger and the crew members shortly after it departed from the airport at around 6:35 am. The onboard ruckus forced the plane to turn around and return to Delhi again where the raucous passenger was deboarded and handed over to the police at the airport.
Air India apologized to the passengers on the affected Delhi-London flight for the delay and inconvenience caused to them due to the incident and assured them that efforts will be made to ensure such incidents do not occur in the future.