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Loss Of Face For Rahul & Co. As SC Vindicates Govt, Again, On Rafale

The SC also rejected the contention that there was a need for registration of FIR in connection with the deal.

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today rejected a batch of review petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets, saying the pleas were without merit.

The rejection of review petitions is tantamount to the apex court giving the clean chit to the Narendra Modi government for the second time.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph pronounced verdicts on three review petitions filed by the trio, lawyer Vineet Dhandha and Aam Aadmi Party lawmaker Sanjay Singh.

A three-judge bench also rejected the contention that there was a need for registration of FIR in connection with the deal.

We had concluded that other than the three aspects — Decision-Making Process, Pricing and Offsets — that too to a limited extent, this Court did not consider it appropriate to embark on a roving and fishing enquiry.


“We were, however, cautious to note that this was in the context of the writ petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, the jurisdiction invoked,” said the bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.

About the allegation of irregularities on the pricing of the jets, the top court said that it satisfied itself with the material made available and it is not the function of this court to determine the prices and act on mere “suspicion” of certain persons.

The internal mechanism of such pricing would take care of the situation. On the perusal of documents, we had found that one cannot compare apples and oranges. Thus, the pricing of the basic aircraft had to be compared which was competitively marginally lower.


“As to what should be loaded on the aircraft or not and what further pricing should be added has to be left to the best judgment of the competent authorities,” the bench said.

The pleas had sought re-examination of Apex Court’s  14th December 2018 verdict which said there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process.

The three-judge bench stated there is no merit in the review petition and no probe required in the purchase deal. The petition is dismissed on the grounds that it is not within the purview of judicial review under Article -32 of the Constitution.

A batch of petitions, including those filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, and lawyer Prashant Bhushan had sought a review, alleging that material facts were suppressed and a criminal investigation should be filed in the case.

The SC termed Rahul Gandhi’s statements against Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “unfortunate” but let him off saying no further contempt proceedings needed to be pursued against the Congress leader.

Gandhi had repeatedly said “chowkidaar chor hai” (the security guard is a thief) in an apparent reference to Modi who calls himself “desh ka chowkidaar” (the nation’s security guard).


Centre has welcomed the Supreme Court decision. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh welcomed the dismissal of the review petitions in the Rafale case.  Mr Singh said the NDA Government stands vindicated with this pronouncement.

The Defence Minister said the issues pertaining to defence preparedness and national security should never be politicised. He said that the allegation of corruption in Rafale deal was nothing but an attempt to malign the clean and honest image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and NDA government.

BJP said Congress and party leader Rahul Gandhi must apologise to the country after Supreme Court rejected a batch of review petitions seeking probe into Rafale deal.

Briefing media in New Delhi, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, Mr Gandhi deliberately misquoted Supreme Court and attributed ‘chowkidar’ remark to the apex court.

Party spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said the petitions were politically motivated and an attempt to tarnish the reputation of BJP and NDA government. He said that by dismissing the review petitions, the Supreme Court has given a clean chit to the entire Rafale deal.

On the apex court’s decision regarding Congress leader Rahul Gandhi wrongly attributing the apex court his “chowkidar” remark in Rafale case, the BJP spokesperson said, Congress now stands exposed in front of the whole country. He said the Supreme Court admonished Gandhi for dragging the Court in political discourse. He said Rahul Gandhi’s credibility has gone down after this.

On the other hand, Congress said the Supreme Court has opened the way for a comprehensive criminal investigation in the Rafale case.

Briefing media in New Delhi this evening, party Spokesman Randeep Surjewala said, BJP is celebrating the case without analyzing it. He said, the Supreme Court has clearly said their hands can be tied due to the limitations and rights of the constitution, but the hands of an investigation conducted by an impartial agency are not tied and that can happen.

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COVID19

COVID-19 World: 10,00,000 Cases, 53,000 Deaths; And Counting

The true extent of the pandemic is likely to be significantly greater.

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WORLDWIDE: More than 1,014,499 people have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 disease worldwide, as the death toll surpassed 53,000 while about 212,000 patients recovered. Alarmingly, while the first 100,000 cases of the virus were reported after 55 days of its discovery, the first 500,000 cases mark was reached within a mere 76 days — indicating that the rate of infection appears to also be growing.

Total cases reported by Thursday grew 10 per cent from a day earlier, the first time the rate has hit double digits since the virus took hold outside China.

Dubbed COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation, the virus first spread in the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province in December, before reaching across to Italy, Iran and South Korea.


What makes it worse is that the true numbers are believed to be much higher, because of testing shortages, many mild cases that have gone unreported, and suspicions that some countries are covering up the extent of their outbreaks — as concerns have been raised over the truthfulness of figures coming from some governments including Tehran and Beijing.

The USA has seen by far the most cases, with at least 234,462, while Italy and Spain have also passed the 100,000 thresholds. Next is Germany, which has reported at least 84,264 cases, and then China, where the outbreak began, which researchers say has seen at least 82,432 cases.

US President Donald Trump acknowledged on Wednesday that the federal stockpile is nearly depleted of the protective equipment needed by doctors and nurses, and some “horrific” days lie ahead.


The case numbers skyrocket, rising from more than 12,000 to more than 212,000 in the space of a fortnight. Deaths in the country have also risen from 175 to 4,746 in the same span of time, while today figures showed more than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week in the latest indication that the pandemic is ravaging the nation’s economy.

In one of the worst hotspots around the country, Louisiana, deaths climbed to at least 310 and confirmed infections spiked 42% to nearly 9,200, in what Governor John Bel Edwards attributed in part to backlogged test results finally coming back from laboratories.

“We want people focused on what they can do about it. Don’t be despondent. Don’t despair. Don’t throw your hands up,” he said. “We can determine how bad it gets by whether we comply with the social distancing, the stay-at-home order and all the hygiene we’ve been promoting.”

Among the grimmest scenarios, the coronavirus pandemic death toll in Spain passed 10,000 on Thursday, as the country reported its highest single-day number of deaths since the outbreak began, with the total rising by more than 1,000 to 10,096 among 110,238 infections.

There are 117 countries and territories that have reported over 100 cases, 50 with outbreaks of over 1,000 and seven that have reported 50,000 or more COVID-19 cases – the US, Italy, Spain, Germany, China, France and Iran.


Developing story. More soon.

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COVID19

COVID-19: PM Modi Announces Platform For Donations, ‘PM-CARES Fund’

Donations to this fund will be exempted from income tax under section 80(G).

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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the constitution of the PM’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) fund today. This will be a dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation like posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister is the Chairman of this trust and its Members include Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister. Citizens and organisations can go to the website pmindia.gov.in and donate to PM CARES Fund.

This fund will enable micro-donations allowing a large number of people will be able to contribute with the smallest of denominations.


Donations to this fund will be exempted from income tax under section 80(G).

In a series of tweets, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, people from all walks of life have expressed their desire to donate to India’s war against COVID-19. He appealed to the people to contribute to the PM-CARES Fund.

PM Modi said that this will go a long way in creating a healthier India — before adding that this fund will also cater to similar distressing situations in the future too.

A PIB release read: “The Prime Minister’s office has been receiving spontaneous and innumerable requests for making generous donations to support the government in the wake of this emergency.”

Keeping in mind, the need for having a dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and to provide relief to the affected, a public charitable trust under the name of Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund’ (PM CARES Fund)’ has been set up,” the release read.


The release also provided account details for those willing to donate as per their wish:

Name of the Account: PM CARES

Account Number : 2121PM20202

IFSC Code: SBIN0000691

SWIFT Code : SBININBB104


Name of Bank & Branch: State Bank of India, New Delhi Main Branch

UPI ID: [email protected]

Following modes of payments are available on the website pmindia.gov.in:

1. Debit Cards and Credit Cards
2. Internet Banking
3.UPI (BHIM, PhonePe, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, PayTM, Mobikwik, etc.)
4. RTGS/NEFT

The Fund Gets Off The Ground With Great Support From Known Names:

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COVID19

COVID-19: SHAHEEN BAGH Flock, A Criminal Health Hazard, CLEARED

Police have detained 6 women and 3 men for violating Section 144 prohibitory orders.

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NEW DELHI: The Shaheen Bagh protest site, where hundreds of Islamists, largely elderly women, were stationed for several months for the agitation against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), has been cleared by Delhi Police personnel. Police have detained 6 women and 3 men from Shaheen Bagh for violating Section 144 prohibitory orders after they showed resistance to police action.

The eviction of protesters comes two days after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the national capital was going into a complete lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has already claimed over 13,000 lives worldwide and is keeping the Indian establishment and health professionals on their toes.

In a communication on Monday, Delhi Police Commissioner S N Srivastava ordered that all border pickets in Delhi be sealed with “immediate effect”. All essential services will continue without any hinderance, he said.


On Sunday, police imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in Delhi till March 31 in view of the coronavirus outbreak, banning protests, and other gatherings. Section 144 of the CrPC bans assembly of four or more people in one place.

DCP South East said, “People at the protest site in Shaheen Bagh were requested today to clear the site as lockdown has been imposed. But after they refused, action was taken against violators as the assembly was unlawful. Protest site has been cleared. Some protesters have been detained.”

 

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