Daily Bulletin: Christian Michel in five-day CBI remand in AgustaWestland case; SIT to submit report on Bulandshahr violence; Babri Masjid demolition anniversary; day's top stories
6 December, 2018: AugstaWestland middleman Christian Michel to be quizzed by CBI during for five days; SIT to submit report on Bulandshahr violence today; security hightened in Ayodhya ahead of Babri Masjid demolition anniversary; here are the top stories for the day.
Christian Michel in five-day CBI custody
Extradited AgustaWestland deal middleman Christian Michel was sent to a five day CBI custody where he will be questioned on links in India. The CBI in its remand application submitted that it wants to confront Michel with other accused, to find out who from the Indian Air Force and Ministry of Defence leaked sensitive information and confidential documents to foreigners. The probe would also seek to find out who in the political circles was in the know-how of the Rs 3,600-crore VVIP chopper deal scam. CBI also mentioned that through Michel's interrogation it wants to unearth the "deep-rooted conspiracy" and the money trail connected with the alleged scam. Michel, a national of the United Kingdom, will again be produced in the court on 10 December.
Previous developments in the case
In June 2016, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), in its chargesheet filed against Michel had alleged that he received €30 million (about Rs 225 crore) from AgustaWestland. According to the chargesheet, the money was nothing but "kickbacks" paid by the firm to execute the 12 helicopters deal in favour of the firm in the "guise of" genuine transactions for performing multiple work contracts in the country.
Later, on 1 September 2017, the CBI filed a chargesheet in the case in which Michel was named as one of the accused. Besides him, the agency also named in the chargesheet former IAF chief SP Tyagi and retired Air Marshal JS Gujral along with eight others, including five foreign nationals and the Anglo-Italian multinational firm AgustaWestland. Others named in the chargesheet include Tyagi's cousin Sanjeev alias Julie, advocate Gautam Khaitan, alleged European middlemen Carlo Gerosa, Guido Haschke, former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini and former Finmeccanica Chairman Giuseppe Orsi.
Bulandshahr violence: SIT to submit report, Yogi Adityanath to meet slain cop's family
The Special Investigation Team constituted to investigate into Monday's Bulandshahr violence will submit its report to the Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday. The violence, reportedly sparked by cow slaughter, had led to the killing of Inspector Subodh Singh and a civilian youth. However, the prime accused in the case, Yogesh Raj — who is associated with the right-wing group Bajrang Dal — is still at large and instead released a video to claim his innocence in the case. Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath will meet the family of the late officer on Thursday.
Adityanath on Wednesday night had ordered strict action against cow slaughter, unlawful trade in cattle and illegal slaughterhouses, saying that the district magistrate and other senior police officials of a district will be held personally responsible for any lapse. He also directed district magistrates and senior officials to send weekly reports and ordered divisional commissioners and zonal IGs/DIGs to review the implementation of his instructions, PTI reported
On Monday, a mob of some 400 people, including right-wing activists, violently rampaged through the Chingrawathi village apparently after cow carcasses were found strewn in a jungle nearby. The police have arrested four people in connection with the violence. Nearly 90 people have been made accused in the case and 27 of them have been named so far.
Babri Masjid demolition anniversary today
On the 26th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, Hindu outfits have planned major programmes. While The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal will mark the day as 'Shaurya Diwas' (day of bravery) and 'Vijay Diwas' (day of victory) and have asked the people to light earthen lamps and raise a chorus for construction of a Ram temple, Muslim outfits have said they will observe 'Yaum-e-Gham' (day of sorrow) and 'Yaum-e-Syah' (black day).
The VHP spokesperson in Ayodhya, Sharad Sharma, told PTI that Hindu organisations are likely "to organise a number of religious programmes so that a grand temple of Lord Ram is built". "Special prayers for Goddess Saraswati (the goddess of learning) are to be held so that the people, especially politicians do not hinder the construction of a Ram temple, besides hawans seeking to get rid of all obstructions. Tributes will also be paid to the innocent karsewaks who faced bullets and lost their lives," he said. Mahant Ramdas of Nirmohi Akhara said that "the day would be celebrated like Diwali and hawans would be held at Karsewakpuram".
Whereas, the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) has called on the people to observe the day peacefully and hold special prayers for the early resolution of the dispute. The BMAC said it will send memoranda to the prime minister and the Uttar Pradesh chief minister requesting them to ensure status quo at Ayodhya demolition site as per Supreme Court orders. The state president of Indian Union Muslim League said, “We will observe this day as Black Day. Even the Supreme Court has termed the demolition of Babri Masjid as a matter of national shame".
Security tightened in Ayodhya
Hundreds of security personnel were deployed on the streets of Ayodhya as authorities kept a tight vigil especially in the wake of saffron outfits raising the pitch over the sensitive Ram temple issue on Babri Masjid demolition anniversary. The UP Police on Wednesday arrested four activists of Hindu Samaj Party from Ram Janambhoomi police station area apprehending trouble from them at the disputed site on Thursday. So far eight people have been taken into custody this week, including Mahant of Tapaswi Chawni temple - Paramhans Das, who had threatened to commit self-immolation for the construction of Ram temple on 6 December. On the same day, Rangam Krishna Maharaj and Rajesh Mani Tripathi of Naraini Sena were taken into custody over a planned protest.
Over 2,500 police personnel, besides Rapid Action Force and paramilitary CRPF, have been deployed as part of multi-layered security in Ayodhya including in and around the disputed site and several parts of Hanumangarhi area of the city, officials said. Despite the visible security presence, it was business as usual in the temple town as pilgrims moved in and around the Hanumangarhi area and most of the eateries and shops were open.
The Ayodhya dispute
The Babri mosque was demolished on 6 December, 1992 by kar sevaks who had converged as part of a movement by the BJP and Hindu outfits for Ram temple at the disputed site. The Ramjanmbhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit is pending in the Supreme Court, which will decide the schedule of hearing in January. Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against a high court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77 acre land be partitioned equally among three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. After the Supreme Court refused an early hearing, Hindu outfits have been demanding that the government bring in an ordinance for construction of the Ram temple.
Karnataka chief minister calls for an all-party meeting to discuss Mahadayi river water dispute
An all-party meeting will be chaired by Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy to discuss the way forward in the Mahadayi river water dispute with former chief ministers and water resources ministers to discuss the state’s water disputes and irrigation projects.
Whereas, on Tuesday, Kumaraswamy had also asked MPs from the state to stand together against any opposition by neighbouring Tamil Nadu to the Mekedatu project across the Cauvery river during the winter session of Parliament. Tamil Nadu has demanded that the Centre withdraw its permission to Karnataka for preparing a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for a proposed balancing reservoir-cum-drinking water project at Mekedatu across the Cauvery river.
India vs Australia: Visitors struggling at 56/4 at lunch on Day 1
India were off to a nightmarish start after opting to bat first in the opening Test at Adelaide, as the top-order crumbled against the quality Australian pace attack to reach 56/4 at lunch on Day 1. Skipper Virat Kohli was dismissed for 3, thanks to a sharp catch by Usman Khawaja at gully. Josh Hazlewood grabbed a couple of wickets for himself, with Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins getting a dismissal each. Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara were unbeaten on 15 and 11 respectively at the end of the first session. Follow live updates on Day 1 of the first Test here.
Sensex tumbles, global markets see weakness amid US-China trade war fears
Benchmark equity indices fell for the second straight day on Wednesday as the RBI left the repo rate unchanged while global markets suffered a sell-off as concerns over the US-China trade war resurfaced. The BSE Sensex tumbled 249.90 points, or 0.69 percent, to close at 35,884.41. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty fell 84.55 points, or 0.74 percent, to end at 10,784.95. The fall in domestic equities was led by metal, pharma, auto and banking stocks. Weakness in the rupee against the US dollar also weighed on domestic stocks. The local unit fell 11 paise to Rs 70.60 against the US dollar intra-day.
Internal documents reveal how Facebook executives make deals for data
British lawmaker Damian Collin on Wednesday released a 250-page cache of Facebook documents that were earlier deemed as confidential, revealing how executives at the highest levels of the company, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, made crucial decisions on handling user data. Facebook has said and continues to stand by its stance that the company does not sell access to its users’ data, and nothing in the documents directly point to the fact that they do. However, the documents do give us a peek into how a social media giant like Facebook makes decisions about deals surrounding user data access.
Bombay HC dismisses plea by Jiah Khan's mother to retrieve her BBM chats
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday dismissed an application filed by late actor Jiah Khan's mother Rabia, seeking retrieval of messages her daughter and her actor-boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi exchanged on Blackberry messenger. Pancholi has been charged with abetting Khan's suicide.
According to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Khan, best known for her performance in film Nishabd starring Amitabh Bachchan, was found hanging at her residence here on 3 June, 2013. In her application filed before the court, Rabia had sought to bring on record as evidence the details of the Blackberry messenger chats exchanged between her daughter and Pancholi. On Wednesday, justice Mridula Bhatkar, however, rejected Rabia's request. While dismissing the plea, justice Bhatkar said the request made by Rabia was "not feasible under the law".
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UP DGP Hitesh Chandra Awasthi also said that the cause of death of the two teenagers could not be ascertained and that the police is taking the help of forensic experts and looking into all possibilities
West Bengal polls: BJP, Muslim-led parties hope to unseat TMC as religious polarisation gains ground
Bengal is not like any other state of India when it comes to Hindu-Muslim politics. Both Hindu and Muslim religious politics have deep roots here, going back to the first Partition of Bengal in 1905.
David Warner to return to action next week despite still requiring 'six to nine months' of rehab for groin injury
The 34-year-old had sustained the injury during the second ODI against India in November and was subsequently ruled out of the third game in Canberra, the three-match T20 series and the first two Tests.