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Rafale deal: Explain choice of offset partner, give us details of pricing in 10 days, SC tells govt

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Rafale Deal

The Narendra Modi government, which has so far focused on rhetoric rather than answer questions being raised about the controversial Indo-France Rafale deal, was told by the Supreme Court today (Wednesday, October 31) to submit within 10 days the details of pricing and the selection of Anil Ambani’s defence firm as Indian offset partner in a sealed cover.

It said these details should also be provided to the petitioners in the case. Otherwise, the Centre should file an affidavit – within these 10 days – to say that the pricing in the Rafale fighter jet deal between India and France is exclusive and cannot be shared with the court.

“Court would also like to be appraised about the pricing” of the aircraft, “particularly the advantages thereof”, a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices UU Lalit and KM Joseph ordered.

“We would like the details of pricing and cost to be submitted to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover. This may be submitted in the next 10 days,” said the court.

The government argued that pricing was not revealed in Parliament and the earlier government had also not disclosed such details. Chief Justice Gogoi said the government could file an affidavit or legal document in court.

“If pricing is something exclusive and you are not sharing it with us, please file an affidavit and say so,” the bench told Attorney General KK Venugopal in its oral observations.

“Such details that may be considered strategic may not be furnished to the petitioners,” said the court.

Beginning the hearing, the judges made the observation that the suitability of the jet and its utility has not been questioned. “What had been questioned is the bonafide of the decision-making and price,” they said.

In the last hearing earlier this month, the court had asked the government to furnish details of the decision-making process that led to the deal which has Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as its offset partner, but had emphasized that it would not get into “pricing or suitability” of the jets. The bench had made clear that its direction to the Centre was issued to satisfy itself about the legitimacy of the decision-making process for procuring 36 Rafale fighter jets.

The directions were passed on October 10 on the two PILs filed by lawyers ML Sharma and Vineet Dhanda. The top court, however, had observed that the averments made in the two PILs were “grossly inadequate” and had said that it was not issuing the notice on them.

The Centre had, last week, filed the papers concerning the decision-making process with the Supreme Court’s registry in a sealed cover.

On Wednesday, as the SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and also comprising Justices UU Lalit and KM Joseph, began its proceedings in the two PILs filed over the Rafale Deal controversy – by petitioners ML Sharma, who has named Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the respondent in the case, and Vineet Dhanda – it noted that since the last date of hearing in the matter, two more litigations on the subject had been received by the court – one by former BJP leaders Arun Shourie, Yashwant Sinha and advocate Prashant Bhushan and the other by Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh.

Sinha and Shourie – both former Union ministers – and Bhushan have sought registration of an FIR into the fighter jet deal between India and France alleging “criminal misconduct” by high public functionaries. The trio has also sought a direction to CBI to investigate the offences mentioned in their complaint in a “time-bound” manner and submit periodic status reports to the apex court.

AAP MP Sanjay Singh, in his separate plea filed through lawyer Dheeraj Kumar Singh, has sought setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the supervision of the apex court to probe the Rafale deal.

He has sought that the SIT should probe the reasons for cancellation of earlier deal entered into by the UPA government for the purchase of 126 fighter jets.

On October 10, the bench had sought from the Attorney General the details of the steps involved in the decision leading to the new deal. The CJI led bench had then clarified that the details so sought would not cover the pricing or the suitability of the equipment for the Indian Air Force, bearing in mind the sensitive nature of the matter.

The Court also directed the government to hand over the details of the decision-making process of the deal to the petitioners.

The Attorney General objected to sharing of details of the deal including its pricing, by stating that it would be covered under the Official Secrets Act. Considering the objection, the Court said that whatever documents that could be legitimately produced in public domain should be given to the petitioners and all other documents covered under the Official Secrets Act should be given to the Court in a sealed cover.

So far, the court had not sought this detail from the Centre.

When Bhushan pressed for CBI probe, the CJI replied: “For CBI probe, you have to wait.”

The top court, which has now fixed the matter for hearing on November 14, said documents considered strategic and confidential may not be shared.

The PIL alleges that in the Rafale deal there is prima facie evidence of the commission of cognizable offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act by public servants occupying the highest of public offices in the country. Though the petitioners had filed a complaint on October 4 before the CBI alleging foul play in Rafale deal, no action has been taken.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi reveals plan for ambitious 2047 Viksit Bharat project, says work for the project has been ongoing for last 2 years

The Prime Minister said that he does not mean to scare or suppress anyone, but rather has plans to make India a developed nation by 2047.

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A day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released its election manifesto, which aims at building a Viksit Bharat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an interview with the media, outlined his vision for India’s development by 2047. He also addressed concerns raised by the opposition parties, who suggest that the BJP might seek to amend the Constitution if re-elected in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave his assurance to the people that they do not need to fear when he said that he has big plans for the country in his election speeches. Explaining statement, the Prime Minister said that he does not mean to scare or suppress anyone, but rather has plans to make India a developed nation by 2047.

Speaking to the media, PM Modi said, when he says that he has big plans, no one should be scared. He said he does not take decisions to scare or run-over anyone, he takes decisions for the wholesome development of the country. He added the government always says they have done everything.  He said he did not believe that he had done everything. He added he had tried to do everything in the right direction, yet there is so much he needed to do, because he saw that his country has so many needs.

The Prime minister asked how did he fulfill the dreams of every family? He said this is the reason why he said this has been a trailer. PM Modi said he had been working on the ambitious 2047 Viksit Bharat project for the past two years. And for that, he asked for opinions and suggestions from people across India.  He said he had taken suggestions from more than 15 lakh people on how they want to see India in the coming 25 years.

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Kangana Ranaut meets Dalai Lama in Dharamshala shares pictures on social media ahead of Lok Sabha elections, post goes viral

The Bollywood actor met Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama in Himachal Pradesh’s Dharamshala and said it as one of the most memorable moments of her life.

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The Bollywood actor and BJP candidate for the Mandi Lok Sabha seat met Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama in Himachal Pradesh’s Dharamshala on Monday. She said it as one of the most memorable moments of her life. Kangana Ranaut also shared pictures on social media.

The Lok Sabha elections in Himachal Pradesh are scheduled for June 1, marking the seventh phase of elections to elect four members of the 18th Lok Sabha. As the voting day is still over a month away, candidates contesting in the 4 constituencies are actively participating in various campaign activities. Among them, the BJP’s star candidate Kangana Ranaut, who is contesting from Mandi against Congress’s Vikramaditya Singh, is leaving no stone unturned to win the votes of the people.

Kangana Ranaut also shared what Dalai Lama told her during the meeting. She said, his Holiness ji said that he enjoys being in Himachal Pradesh and absolutely loves Bharat. She said this is such a privilege and such an honour. After her meeting with the spiritual leader, the actor told the media that it was divine. She said it was an experience which she will cherish all her life. She thought it is exceptional to be in the presence of such a being who has sheer divinity around him. She said it was very emotional for her and ex-CM Jairam Thakur. She added she will cherish this experience all her life.

Earlier, Kangana Ranaut slammed Himachal Pradesh minister Vikramaditya Singh for calling her the queen of controversies while she was addressing a poll rally in Mandi. She said, Yeh tumhare baap-dada ki riyasat nahin hai, ke tum mujhe dara, dhamka ke vapis bhej doge. She further added this is the new Bharat of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where a small, poor boy who used to sell tea is the biggest hero and pradhan sevak of the people.

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Priyanka Gandhi asks for how long will BJP keep blaming Congress

Priyanka Gandhi today addressed public rally in Ramnagar, Uttarakhand, where she asked BJP that for how long they will keep blaming Congress

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Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday responded to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s frequently made accusation that nothing happened in the country during the decades the grand-old party ruled, claiming the party is being responsible despite having been out of office for the last ten years

How long will you continue blaming Congress? Priyanka said, the Congress has not been in power for the last ten years, during a public rally in Ramnagar, Uttarakhand.

She said, the BJP has had a complete majority in government for the last 10 years, but they now claim that they want 400 paar, or an even larger majority. They claim that in 75 years, nothing has changed. Priyanka said, in Uttarakhand, the home of IITs, IIMs, and AIIMS, how have these capabilities grown if nothing has changed? Was it feasible that Chandrayaan landed on the moon if Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru hadn’t constructed these? she continued.

Priyanka criticised the Modi government for abandoning youth who put in a lot of effort to enlist in the Army, using the contentious Agniveer project as an example.

The Congress leader said, in his speech, Prime Minister Modi mentioned soldiers, but who introduced the Agniveer scheme? A sense of patriotism drives thousands of young people to dedicate years of their lives to enlisting in the army. They believe that by continuing in their work, they will support both their parents and the nation. But by introducing a plan like Agniveer, Modi ji broke the dreams of the youth, she claimed.

She further claimed that PM Modi and the BJP had abandoned Devbhoomi (Uttarakhand) after the  terrible disaster.

Priyanka took aim at the Prime Minister, by saying that he believes everyone is corrupt while he is not. They have forgotten about jobs and inflation because they are too preoccupied with using the ED, CBI, and IT to win over leaders to their party and overthrow the government. The question of accepting donations and conducting business came to light once the electoral bond was disclosed, she added.

Earlier this month, the Congress party presented its Nyay Patra, or Lok Sabha election manifesto. Among other things, it calls for a minimum support price (MSP) for farmers crops.

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