Daily Bulletin: ED to quiz Robert Vadra, CAG report on Rafale likely to be tabled in Parliament; day's top stories

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to hold strategy meeting in Uttar Pradesh

After the massive roadshow on her maiden visit to the state on Monday, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is scheduled to preside over several election strategy meetings with top Congress office bearers in Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow on Tuesday. She made her maiden visit to Uttar Pradesh as the Congress general secretary, raising hopes of a turnaround in the party's fortunes, as her brother and party president Rahul Gandhi asserted that it was the time to uproot the BJP and form the government in the state.

Virtually launching the party's Lok Sabha poll campaign, Priyanka Gandhi, accompanied by Rahul Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia, in-charge of the state's western region, was the centre of attention with thousands of onlookers, including enthusiastic party workers jostling to get a glimpse and capture the image of the 47-year-old beaming leader in their phones.

On Monday, she joined Twitter and garnered a massive response, attracting over one lakh followers on the social media platform within 10 hours. Comparing her first-day popularity on the micro-blogging website to that of Tamil superstar Rajinikanth, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor hailed her as a "new superstar on social media".

File photo of Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. PTI

File photo of Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. PTI

CAG report on Rafale likely to be tabled in Parliament today

The government is scheduled to table the CAG report on Rafale jet fighter deal, which has generated a massive political controversy, in Parliament on Tuesday. The CAG report will be tabled on Tuesday, PTI reported, which is a day before the end of the present Lok Sabha session. This is the last session of the 16th Lok Sabha as the general elections are due in April-May.

Former minister and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Sunday alleged conflict of interest and asked the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Rajiv Mehrishi to recuse himself from auditing the deal as he was the finance secretary when the deal was negotiated. Union minister Arun Jaitley, however, rebutted Sibal's claims saying that the Congress was casting aspersions on the institution of CAG based on "falsehood".

"Another attack on the institution of CAG by the 'Institution wreckers' based on falsehood. After ten years in Government former UPA ministers still don't know that Finance Secretary is only a designation given to the senior most secretary in the finance ministry," Jaitley said a series of tweets on Sunday.

The Congress, which has been repeatedly targetting the Centre over the issue, on Monday said that if the "overt acts of malfeasance" in the contract are ignored by the report, then it will "not be worth" the paper it is written on.

The opposition party's statement came after a report in The Hindu claimed that the Rafale deal between India and France involved "major and unprecedented" concessions from the Indian government. It reported that critical provisions for anti-corruption penalties and making payments through an escrow account were dropped days before the signing of the inter-governmental agreement (IGA).

Robert Vadra and mother Maureen to appear before ED

Robert Vadra, Congress president Rahul Gandhi's brother-in-law, is expected to make a fresh appearance before the Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday in Jaipur in connection with a probe into an alleged land scam in the Rajasthan's border town of Bikaner. Vadra's mother Maureen is also likely to appear before the central probe agency at about 10 am at its zonal office on Bhawani Singh Road in Jaipur on Tuesday, reports said.

This will be the fourth time that Vadra appears before the agency. On the last three occasions he appeared before the ED in Delhi in connection with a money laundering probe against him for his alleged role in procuring assets abroad in an alleged illegal manner.

Tuesday's appearance before the ED in Jaipur is directed by the Rajasthan High Court which asked Vadra and his mother to cooperate with the agency after they approached it seeking directions that no coercive action is taken against them by the agency. Officials said the investigating officer (IO) of the case will record the statement of Vadra and his mother under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Karnataka govt's decision of SIT probe into alleged bribery tapes to come up in Assembly today

Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy Monday announced a comprehensive SIT probe into an audio clip he released showing BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa in a purported conversation to lure a JD(S) MLA in his alleged attempt to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition government.

As the audio row rocked the assembly on Monday, Kumaraswamy accepted the "advice" from Speaker Ramesh Kumar to constitute a Special Investigation Team to probe the episode. This was to "establish the truth" as his (Kumar's) name had also been dragged with the charge that he had been "booked" for Rs 50 crore, the Speaker said.

BJP members insisted that the probe be limited to the charge against the Speaker, as otherwise the government was likely to misuse the SIT for 'political vengeance.'

Narendra Modi to visit Haryana

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Haryana's Kurukshetra on Tuesday where he will launch a series of projects, including a cancer institute. He will dedicate to the nation the National Cancer Institute at Bhadsa in Jhajjar district. The institute is the state-of-the-art tertiary cancer care-cum-research centre constructed at the AIIMS Jhajjar campus.

Modi will also inaugurate Employees' State Insurance Corporation's (ESIC) medical college and hospital in Faridabad. This will be the first ESIC medical college and hospital in north India. The 510-bed hospital will have state-of-the-art facilities. ESIC provides social security to the insured persons and their beneficiaries, especially to worker population and their dependents.

IIP, CPI data to be released today

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) is slated to release the macro-economic data points of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for December 2018 and Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January 2019 on Tuesday.

"On the economic front, with recent events being absorbed in price, we will be looking at large number of data that are coming in this week. WPI inflation and industrial output, all this will be eyed. With this, we expect the range to be intact for the coming days," said Mustafa Nadeem, CEO, Epic Research, to PTI. The macro-economic data points of WPI (Wholesale Price Index) will be unveiled on Thursday.

Govt plans Axis Bank stake sale

The government will sell part of its stake in Axis Bank held through SUUTI to raise up to Rs 5,316 crore starting Tuesday, according to a filing. The offer for sale of up to three per cent would be for two days from 12 February and is part of the government's disinvestment programme through which it aims to raise Rs 80,000 crore in the current fiscal.

"The Specified Undertaking of the United Trust of India (seller) proposes to sell up to 50,759,949 (1.98 percent) equity shares of Axis Bank (base offer size) on 12 February, 2019," Axis Bank said.

The floor price for the offer has been fixed at Rs 689.52 per share. It is lower than the Monday closing price of Rs 710.35 apiece on the BSE. Shares held by SUUTI, a promoter entity of Axis Bank, would be offloaded through the sale.

Boney Kapoor producing remake of Egyptian film Hepta: The Last Lecture

Boney Kapoor has taken the rights of Egyptian drama 'Hepta: The Last Lecture' to remake the film in Hindi and other languages in India. The film will be produced by Kapoor's Bayview Projects and co-produced by Fresh Lime Films, read a statement issued on the former's behalf. Based on Mohamed Sadek's best-selling book, Hepta..., directed by Hadi El Bagoury, revolves around the seven stages of love.

Kapoor is also remaking Hindi film Pink in Tamil. Titled AK 59, it features superstar Ajith, and is currently being shot.

Is smartphone radiation harmful?

OnePlus, Xiaomi and Pixel devices are apparently pumping us full of radiation every time we use them. But this is simply not true. All smartphones sold in India comply with very strict regulations regarding radiation. Secondly, and more importantly, the radiation emitted by cell phones is so completely harmless that you’ll get a higher dose of harmful radiation eating a banana than you would by keeping a phone in your pocket.

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Updated Date: Feb 12, 2019 07:52:41 IST

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