Daily bulletin: AgustaWestland middlemen Christian Michel to be presented in court; SC to decide on Alok Verma case; day's top stories

Christian Michel likely to be presented in court today

Christian Michel, believed to be involved in the AgustaWestland chopper deal, on Tuesday arrived in New Delhi on-board a private jet. He is likely to be presented in court on Wednesday after he was formally arrested by the CBI on arrival. Investigative agencies, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI, had alleged that Michel received €30 million (around Rs 225 crore) as kickbacks from AgustaWestland to broker a deal with Indian authorities for a VVIP chopper deal.

The case, which dates back to the final years of the 10-year-long UPA rule, had become a major embarrassment for the Congress-led government heading into elections under a cloud of corruption scandals.

Michel was arrested in February 2017 by the UAE authorities and was facing prosecution there as several investigations revealed that he rerouted bribes to India through his Dubai-based firm Global Services. The ED investigation found that Michel made remittances through Global Services to a media firm he floated in Delhi, along with two Indians. This money was actually the funds he got from AgustaWestland to broker the deal.

File image of Christian Michel. News18

File image of Christian Michel. News18

CBI versus CBI: Supreme Court to decide on inquiry report against Alok Verma

The Supreme Court on Wednesday will continue the hearing in the case of exiled CBI chief Alok Verma. Wednesday's hearing is crucial as the apex court is expected to decide whether or not the inquiry report against Verma needs to be considered, after hearing his plea challenging the government's order of his externment.

According to a report by The Week, the Centre would rather not "waste time" in appointing a new full-time director due to progress in high-level cases like AgustaWestland after Christian Michel's extradition.

The report quoted an official as saying, "There is a need to have a senior officer as the director to take major decisions. The Nirav Modi case and Augusta Westland bribery case are at crucial stages of the investigation. Important decisions like filing of charge-sheets in crucial cases need to be taken."

SIT to submit its report regarding Bulandshahr violence

More than 24 hours after a mob killed a police officer and a civilian in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr, the SIT probing the case is due to submit its report on Wednesday. The Uttar Pradesh police arrested four people and registered two FIRs naming 27 people on Tuesday.

Leaders of Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad have been mentioned in the FIR. Yogesh Raj, one of the prime accused who is still on the run, is the Bajrang Dal's district head for Bulandshahr. Apart from him, Shikhar Agarwal, named in FIR, is linked with BJP's youth wing in Siana while Upendra Raghav is said to be linked with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, sources have said.

BJP, Congress make last pitch ahead Telangana and Rajasthan polls

Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu are expected to hold a joint rally in Telangana on Wednesday, ahead of the polls on Friday. The BJP, through its star campaigner Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, and the Congress have been campaigning aggressively in the state.

The results of all five states — Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan, and Telangana — that went to polls in 2018 will be declared on 11 December.

RBI monetary policy to be announced today

Amidst a disappointing Q2 GDP, data and concerns of a prolonged slowdown, the Reserve Bank of India's monetary policy is keenly awaited on Wednesday. In its last monetary policy meeting, the RBI had hinted at future rate hikes.

The Sensex is also down for the first time in seven days. Market benchmark indices broke their six-session rising streak on Tuesday as cautious investors weighed a host of factors like depreciating rupee, rising crude prices and weak global cues. Besides, a caution ahead of the RBI policy meet on Wednesday and uncertainty over the longevity of recently enforced US-China trade truce impacted market sentiments.

The BSE Sensex ended lower by 106.69 points, or 0.29 percent, to close at 36,134.31. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty fell by 14.25 points, or 0.13 percent, to end at 10,869.50.

Gautam Gambhir retires from international cricket

Former India opening batsman Gautam Gambhir, who was part of two World Cup-winning teams and scored over 10,000 international runs, announced his retirement from the sport. ICC World Cup 2011 and World T20 2007 final hero, two-time IPL winner Gambhir said in a video message that he would play his last game for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy match against Andhra Pradesh at his home ground Feroz Shah Kotla.

The feisty left-hander said, "The thought (of retiring) has been with me day and night. It has traveled with me on flights like an irritable excess baggage, it has accompanied me to practice sessions, mocking at me like a menacing bowler. On certain other days, it has made my dinner taste horrible."

Drake tops Spotify’s 2018 list with 8.2 billion streams

Spotify announced on Tuesday that the rapper Drake earned 8.2 billion streams in 2018. He also has the year’s most-streamed album and song with “Scorpion” and “God’s Plan". Drake is also Spotify’s most-streamed artist of all-time. Following Drake on the 2018 list of top artists are Post Malone, XXXTentacion, J Balvin, and Ed Sheeran, who was Spotify’s most-streamed artiste last year.

No women made the Top 5, but Ariana Grande ranks first among female artists globally on Spotify. She’s followed by Dua Lipa, Cardi B, Taylor Swift, and Camila Cabello.

GSAT-11 launched successfully

Initially slated for a launch on 25 May, GSAT-11 was recalled by ISRO for further tests after the agency's earlier communication satellite GSAT-6A lost contact with ISRO after a perfect launch. GSAT-11 was rescheduled to launch on 5 December. It will be India's heaviest and most powerful communication satellite so far. It is a key part of Digital India's BharatNet, and promises to deliver mobile and internet speeds of 16 GB per second.

Meizu to re-enter India with three new smartphones

At a launch event in New Delhi on 5 December, Meizu will re-enter the Indian market with the launch of three new smartphones, which will include a flagship phone, a mid-range device, and a budget smartphone. The budget device will likely be the C9.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 05, 2018 07:59:03 IST

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