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Sonia made interim chief as Nehru-Gandhi family trusted: Baghel

New Delhi, Aug 19 The people and the Congress workers have confidence in the Nehru-Gandhi family and that is why Sonia Gandhi was made the party”s interim chief, says Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.

He also said the differences of opinion among party leaders over Article 370”s abrogation was “discernible” as the government decision “surprised” them.

In a candid interview with , Baghel said that Rahul Gandhi had committed that he would not be leading the party in case of a defeat in the Lok Sabha elections and he kept his promise. “Party leaders and workers tried to convince him, but he remained steadfast on his decision,” he said.

On whether Sonia Gandhi”s appointment again promoted the idea of the dynasty culture, Baghel said: “The people have faith in the Nehru-Gandhi family. What others are saying is of no use. The fact is Congress leaders and workers have immense trust and faith in the Gandhi family and that”s why Sonia Gandhi was made the interim chief on August 10.”

Backing her appointment, he said: “Rahul Gandhi had asked for a non-Gandhi family person to lead the party. But the voice from across the country was for Rahul Gandhi. But as he said no, it (party presidentship) was again given to Sonia Gandhi, which she accepted after many party leaders requested her to do so.”

Stressing the contributions made by the Gandhi family in the Independence and development of the country, he said: “The sacrifices made by them can”t be ignored. The Gandhi family has led the party in difficult situations, be it the freedom movement or after Independence.”

Recalling the political acumen of Sonia Gandhi, Baghel said: “She said no to politics and (Sitaram) Kesariji was made the party chief. But she joined politics on the insistence of the Congress leaders and workers. Under her leadership, when the party faced a lot of leadership issues, the Congress formed the government twice at the Centre and in many states.”

“It”s an indestructible relation of the people with the Gandhi family and the trust that”s not going to wane,” the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister said.

On the differences in the party over the BJP government”s decision to abrogate Articles 370 and 35A from Jammu and Kashmir, he said: “On the issues of Articles 370 and 35A, the government should have taken the opposition and all the stakeholders into confidence, which they didn”t do.”

“They brought the resolution on the floor (the Rajya Sabha) surprising everyone. When such things happen, different voices crop up.

“But when the same leaders sat at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, they spoke on the issue in one voice,” Baghel said.

“The differences were discernible as the decision was sudden. Also, the people for whom the decision was taken were unaware due to the lockdown,” he said referring to clampdown in the Valley and arrest of leaders. He also said the BJP had talked about revoking Article 370 in its manifesto, but “the way it was done is unconstitutional”.

On China moving the UN Security Council on the issue and trying to internationalise it, he said: “The government of India has to decide how it plans to defend its action at international platforms.”

On his government”s decision to increase reservation to 72 per cent, Baghel said: “The maximum population of the state belongs to OBCs, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes. To bring them to the mainstream and for their development, we decided to raise the quota.”

The Baghel government has increased the reservation for OBCs to 27 per cent from 14 per cent and for SCs by one per cent, while not changing the quota for STs. Chhattisgarh has reserved 58 per cent seats in jobs and educational institutions.

Once implemented, the quantum of reservations will surpass Tamil Nadu, which has 69 per cent reservation. The Supreme Court has capped the quota at 50 per cent, except for states that have been able to justify their “unique” nature.

“As maximum of our population comprises OBCs, SCs and STs, we will defend it,” in the Supreme Court, Baghel asserted.

(IANS)

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India

Chidambarams interim protection from arrest extended

A special court here on Monday extended the interim protection from arrest for former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and his son Karti till April 26 in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

This is the third time in a month that the court has extended the protection to the Chidambarams.

The court had issued a similar order on February 18, extending the protection till March 8 which was later extended till March 25.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are probing how Karti Chidambaram got clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006 when his father was the Union Finance Minister.

The ED on October 25, 2018, had filed a chargesheet naming him and a few others in the case.

Last July, the CBI had filed another chargesheet against 18 persons.

IANS

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India

Delhi High Court refuses interim relief to Robert Vadra

The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to grant any interim relief to Robert Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi.

Vadra has challenged a money laundering case brought against him.

A division bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Vinod Goel asked the Centre and Enforcement Directorate (ED) to file response on Vadra and his close associate Manoj Arora’s plea challenging certain provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The court has also asked Vadra to file an affidavit explaining maintainability of his plea and listed the matter for further hearing on May 2.

The trial court which on March 19 extended Vadra’s interim protection from arrest till March 25, will hear his anticipatory bail plea post lunch.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has questioned him in the case several times. The agency has also requested the trial court to dismiss his anticipatory bail as it may require his custodial interrogation in the case.

The case relates to ownership of 1.9 million pounds overseas assets by Vadra. It pertains to undisclosed foreign assets and entities to evade tax.

IANS

 

 

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India

Chidambarams’ interim protection from arrest extended till March 25

A special court here on Friday extended interim protection from arrest to former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and his son Karti till March 25 in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

This is a second time in a month that the court has extended the protection to the two. The court had issued a similar order on February 18, extending the protection till March 8.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are probing how Karti Chidambaram got clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006 when his father was the Union Finance Minister.

The ED on October 25, 2018, had filed a chargesheet naming Chidambaram and a few others. Earlier in July same year, the CBI had filed another chargesheet against 18 persons in the case.

IANS

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India

Robert Vadra’s interim protection from arrest extended

A Delhi court on Saturday extended the interim protection from arrest granted to Robert Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, in a money laundering case.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar extended the interim protection from arrest to Vadra and his associate Manoj Arora till March 19.

The court also directed them to appear before the Enforcement Directorate, which is presently probing the case, whenever they are required.

The court was hearing Vadra and Arora’s anticipatory bail pleas.

The case relates to the ownership of overseas assets worth 1.9 million pounds by Vadra.

On December 7, 2018, the ED had raided several of Vadra’s properties in Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru.

IANS

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India

AgustaWestland; Saxena’s interim bail extended till Feb 25

A Delhi court on Friday extended the interim bail granted to Dubai-based businessman Rajiv Saxena till February 25 in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar also reserved order on his regular bail plea.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has not opposed Saxena’s bail plea on medical grounds as he was cooperating in the VVIP chopper deal probe.

Saxena told the court that he was suffering from radiating back pain, numbness and heaviness in legs, along with other ailments.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) security agencies had picked Saxena from his Dubai residence on January 30 and extradited him to India later that night, along with corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar.

According to the ED, in connivance with lawyer Gautam Khaitan, Saxena provided a corporate structure across the globe to launder money for payment to various political leaders, bureaucrats and Indian Air Force officials to influence the contract for supplying 12 VVIP helicopters in favour of AgustaWestland.

Saxena’s name was mentioned in a chargesheet filed against his wife, Shivani, who has been out on bail after being arrested by the ED earlier.

IANS

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India

SC declines to interfere with Nageswara Rao’s appointment as CBI interim director

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to interfere with the earlier appointment of M. Nageswara Rao as the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) interim Director, since a new director of the probe agency has already been appointed.

The bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra also declined to issue any direction, as sought by the petitioner NGO Common Cause, making the entire appointment transparent.

Nageswara Rao was twice appointed as CBI’s interim director after former Director Alok Verma was removed from the post on January 10.

IANS

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India

Court extends Chidambarams’ interim protection from arrest

A Delhi court on Monday extended former Minister P. Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram’s interim protection from arrest till March 8 in the Aircel-Maxis deal case.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are probing how Karti Chidambaram got clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006 when his father was the Union Finance Minister.

The ED on October 25, 2018 filed a chargesheet naming Chidambaram and a few others. The CBI had on July 19, 2018 filed another chargesheet against 18 persons in the case.

IANS

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India

AgustaWestland; Rajiv Saxena gets interim bail till Feb 22

A Delhi court on Thursday granted interim bail to Dubai-based businessman Rajiv Saxena till February 22 in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar asked the businessman to furnish two sureties bond of Rs 5 lakh each and also sought a detailed medical report of Saxena from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday told the court it was not opposing Saxena’s bail plea on medical grounds as he was cooperating in the VVIP chopper deal probe.

Saxena told the court he was suffering from radiating back pain, numbness and heaviness in legs, neck pain and other ailments. Despite this, he has been cooperating, he said.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) security agencies had picked Saxena from his Dubai residence on January 30 and extradited him to India later that night, along with corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar.

According to the ED, in connivance with lawyer Gautam Khaitan, Saxena provided a corporate structure across the globe to launder money for payment to various political leaders, bureaucrats and Indian Air Force officials to influence the contract for supplying 12 VVIP helicopters in favour of AgustaWestland.

A non-bailable warrant was issued against Saxena after he did not join the investigation despite repeated summons.

Saxena’s name was mentioned in a charge sheet filed against his wife, Shivani, who has been out on bail after being arrested by the ED earlier.

IANS

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India

Rahul’s tweet most re-tweeted during Interim Budget

Twitter on Monday said it recorded over eight lakh Interim Budget-related conversations in the four-day period (January 31-February 3) in which a tweet by Congress President Rahul Gandhi became the most re-tweeted.

The budget-related tweets this year was more than 1.5 times the conversation volume from Budget 2018 in the same timeframe, the micro-blogging platform said in a statement.

“The budget discussion and debate lit up the world with more than 1.4 million tweets generated,” said the company.

“Five years of your incompetence and arrogance has destroyed the lives of our farmers. Giving them Rs 17 a day is an insult to everything they stand and work for,” was the tweet from Rahul Gandhi that was the most re-tweeted one.

IANS

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India

Robert Vadra gets interim bail in money laundering case

A Delhi Court on Saturday granted interim bail to Robert Vadra till February 16 in connection with a money laundering case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Special Judge Arvind Kumar directed him to join the ED investigation on the evening of February 6.

The court was hearing Vadra’s anticipatory bail plea.

The case relates to ownership of undisclosed assets abroad worth 1.9 million pounds allegedly belonging to Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi.

The ED lodged a money laundering case against Vadra’s close aide Manoj Arora after his role surfaced during the probe of another case by the Income Tax Department under the new Black Money Act and tax law against absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.

It said the London-based property was bought by Bhandari and sold in 2010 for the same amount despite incurring additional expenses on its renovation.

On December 7, as part of its investigation, the ED conducted searches at a number of premises in Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru.

IANS

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India

Paswan calls Interim Budget ‘second surgical strike’

Union Minister and Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan called the Interim Budget 2019-20 the “second surgical strike” by the NDA government and said the opposition leaders looked “despondent”.

“The first surgical strike occurred on the border. Jawans fought it with bullets. Here, we will fight with ballots. People will decide that the NDA wins 400 seats. Narendra Modiji will be the Prime Minister (again),” he told reporters outside Parliament.

“Has anybody ever thought of such a big step for farmers?” he asked.

Equating the Budget with cricket, Paswan said it was “a sixer” and the opposition would not be able “to find the ball” until the Lok Sabha elections.

IANS