NEWS IN BRIEF – FEB 15, 2013
1. Ex-IAF chief briefed us on tender: Middlemen, Claim They Met Tyagi
In Office, Influenced Him To Change Terms: New Delhi: The alleged
middlemen in the deal for VVIP helicopters have claimed that the then Air
Chief Marshal Shashi P Tyagi used to brief them on the developments in
the tender, according to Italian investigators.[TOI p1]
2. Pranab, Tyagi at helm when chopper specs tweaked: MoD: New
Delhi: Pranab Mukherjee was the defence minister and Air Chief Marshal
(retd) Shashi P Tyagi was the IAF chief when “changes” were
incorporated in the technical parameters for acquisition of a dozen VVIP
helicopters that are at the centre of the Agusta Westland bribery scandal.
[TOI p1]
3. Def min tries to firewall ‘Mr Clean’ from scam, Deal approved under
Pranab’s watch: Ministry : New Delhi: A six-page factsheet issued by
the defence ministry on Thursday rebuts Air Chief Marshal (retd) Shashi P
Tyagi’s argument that he had nothing to do with the changes in
specifications, while insulating present defence minister A K Antony
completely from the controversies surrounding the long procurement saga
roiling the political class. [TOI p13]
4. Front co IDS India that routed 140cr bribes doesn’t exist : New Delhi:
The company at the centre of the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter
scandal, IDS India, does not appear to exist in any official database. As
reported by TOI on February 14, this is the ‘company’ which received up
to Rs 140 crore in kickbacks in the 2010 VVIP helicopter deal with
AgustaWestland via the tax haven of Tunisia over a period of around five
years. [TOI p1]
5. Antony took no action on bribery charges for 11 mths: New Delhi:
The Rs 3,546-crore contract for 12 AW-101 helicopters, inked in February
2010, has emerged as a test case for defence minister A K Antony, who
has built his entire political career on a reputation for honesty, government
circles acknowledge. [TOI p15]
6. NDA changed specs, UPA implemented them : MoD : New Delhi : The
Defence ministry Thursday made public details of the process that led to
key changes in the technical requirements of the VVIP helicopter deal and
said the decision to make the changes was taken in 2003 when the NDA
was in power.[IE p1]
7. Copter deal during Tyagi, UPA tenure : New Delhi : New Delhi :
Former Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi was wrong when he said the
controversial decisions in Chopper gate were taken during the NDA
regime and before his tenure, suggest new revelations.[HT p1]
8. Specs changed at Brajesh’s behest: Jaswant, ‘Stop Making Wild
Charges Against Tyagi’: New Delhi: Even as the BJP kept up its attack
on the government over alleged kickbacks in the VVIP chopper deal,
senior party leader Jaswant Singh on Thursday agreed with former IAF
chief S P Tyagi that the change in specifications of the helicopters was
done at the behest of then national security adviser Brajesh Mishra. [TOI
p13]
9. Verma firms acted as Agusta brokers?: New Delhi: Controversial arms
dealer Abhishek Verma is back in the headlines. On a day when a Delhi
court denied Verma and his wife interim bail in a case involving alleged
violations of the Official Secrets Act, television channel Times Now cited
documents to suggest that his firms had acted as deal-brokers for
AgustaWestland, though not in the VVIP helicopter deal. [TOI p13]
10. Italian firm to lose Rs.44,000- cr biz : New Delhi : Finmeccanica’s
troubles have just begun to unfold. The state-controlled Italian defence
group has run into a dead end in the Indian defence sector, with kickback
charges to secure the Rs.3,760- crore VVIP chopper deal jeopardising its
chances of taking part in other military contracts worth almost $8 billion (
Rs.44,000 crore).[HT p10]
11. Prez may turn down 5 more mercy pleas : New Delhi: The Union home
ministry is learnt to have recommended rejection of mercy petitions in five
more cases as it seeks to speedily dispose of all death row cases pending
with it. Seeking swift closure on cases of those who have filed mercy pleas
against capital punishment awarded to them, the ministry has sent all the
pending files to President Pranab Mukherjee for a final call. [TOI p1]
12. Delhi lawyer’s name surfaces in payoffs : New Delhi : The name of a
Delhi based lawyer has surfaced in the over R3,600 crore VVIP chopper
deal that has its roots in Italy, and has triggered a political storm in the
country.[HT p10]
13. Shinde sent mercy plea files to Prez in 100 days : New Delhi : The
President had sent the files to Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde
on October 30 for his review and opinion. Shinde sent the files back within
100 days in a major shift from the pattern where decisions on mercy
petitions were indefinitely delayed with files shuttling between the home
ministry and the Rashtrapati Bhavan. [TOI p23]
14. Govt Did Not Intend to Inform Afzal Guru’s Family in Advance: NEW
DELHI : The authorities made sure that the family of Parliament attack
accused Mohammad Afzal was not informed that he was about to be
hanged at 8 am in Delhi’s Tihar Jail on February 9, the sequence of
events pieced together by ET shows.[ET p2]
15. Retail FDI faces fresh hurdle in Rajya Sabha : New Delhi : The
government’s decision to allow FDI in the multi-brand retail sector is set to
face a fresh vote in the Rajya Sabha during the budget session, with
chairman Hamid Ansari admitting a motion moved by Left parties to seek
rejection of new rules framed to implement the decision.[HT p14]
16. Indian firm

in China-based nuclear smuggling plan? : Beijing’s weak
enforcement of nuclear anti-smuggling laws may finally be catching up
with it as the number of brazen attempts to illegally export nuclear parts
linked to China multiply rapidly.[The Hindu p12]
17. Pact with Areva not in India’s interest : Karat : New Delhi : The
National Committee in Solidarity with Jaitapur Struggle has asked the
government not to sign any agreement with French company Areva on
supply of an EPR reactor for the Jaitapur nuclear power plant during the
two-day visit of French President Francois Hollande to India that began on
Thursday.[The Hindu p12]
18. Inflation eases to 3-year low, but food prices remain high : New Delhi
: A sharp spike in prices of food articles, such as rice, wheat and
vegetables, offset the three-year-low rise in the wholesale price indexbased
inflation rate. While the inflation rate grew at 6.62% in January
against 7.18% in December, 7.24% in November and 7.23 % in January
last year, food prices rose 11.89% in January on a year-on-year basis.[HT
p1]
19. CBI quizzes its 2G prosecution team: New Delhi: The CBI on Thursday
questioned its prosecution team members to understand whether the
corruption slur on one of its prosecutors in the 2G case was an ‘aberration’
or more individuals were allegedly compromised. [TOI p18]
20. Kurien meets Sonia, explains Suryanelli : New Delhi : Rajya Sabha
deputy chairman PJ Kurien on Thursday met Congress president Sonia
Gandhi to explain his position in the 1996 Suryanelli rape case. Kurien
refused to divulge what transpired in his about 20-minute meeting with
Gandhi.[HT p10]
21. With eye on polls, Congress seeks pro-people budget : New Delhi : In
its wish-list for the last general budget ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls,
the Congress party suggested to finance minister P Chidambaram to give
it a propeople touch so that the party reaps a rich electoral harvest.[HT
p17]
22. Vayalar’s sexist swipe at scribe adds to Cong woes: New Delhi:
Information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari on Thursday said
that his colleague and minister for overseas Indian affairs Vayalar Ravi
has apologized for his sexist comments, and the matter should rest there.
Tewari said the remark was unbecoming for someone working in the
public sphere, but since Ravi had apologized and withdrawn his remarks,
the matter should now be put to rest. [TOI p20]
23. Our ability to tolerate is going down : Manish Tiwari : New Delhi :
“The right to free speech and expression includes the right to offend,” said
Manish Tiwari on Thursday adding the caveat that this right should be
balanced by the availability of a robust set of remedies to the other side.
[The Hindu p12]
24. Chopper deal : Jaswant defends Tyagi but BJP questions his role :
New Delhi : Former defence minister Jaswant Singh and his party on
Thursday expressed contrasting views on former Air Force chief S P Tyagi
over the VVIP chopper deal with Italian firm Finmeccanica, with the leader
coming out in Tyagi’s defence and the BJP stressing he has a lot to
answer for. The party demanded a monitored probe to prevent a delay in
unearthing the truth.[IE p3]
25. Waive Farm Loans in Budget: Vora to PC : NEW DELHI : Congress
leaders made a strong pitch for another farm loan waiver in the
forthcoming budget to help it win the several state elections scheduled for
this year and the Lok Sabha polls of 2014. The demand was put forward
to finance minister P Chidambaram during the pre-Budget consultation he
had with his party leaders at the AICC headquarters on Thursday evening.
[ET p2]
26. HC bench recuses itself from PIL against Gadkari’s Purti Group:
Mumbai : A division bench of the Bombay High Court recused itself from
hearing a PIL seeking a CBI inquiry into the alleged financial nexus
between former BJP president Nitin Gadkari and DP Mhaiskar, founder of
Indian Road Builders (IRB).[HT p10]
27. Parties gearing for early polls? : New Delhi : Political parties have
started identifying candidates for the Lok Sabha elections even before the
Budget Session of Parliament, apprehending early polls. The BJP’s prime
ministerial aspirant and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is taking
interest in identifying candidates in Mumbai, according to NDA
insiders.).[AA p2]
28. 2G scam : SC dismisses curative pleas of 4 telcos, Raja : New Delhi :
The Supreme Court Thursday dismissed curative petitions filed by four
telecom firms, seeking re-examination of the court’s verdict cancelling the
2G spectrum allotted to them when A Raja was the Telecom minister.[IE
p5]
29. Paid news’ offenders may lose registration: New Delhi: The
government is considering amendments in the Press and Registration of
Books (PRB) Act to make “paid news” in the media an offence which may
attract a monetary fine or, in extreme cases, cancellation of the
publication’s registration. [TOI p18]
30. BJP rejects Kurien’s Jaitley alibi, says quit : New Delhi : Dismissing
Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson P J Kurien’s claim that Arun Jaitley was
convinced of his innocence, the BJP Thursday re-iterated its demand for
his resignation. “BJP has asked his resignation. Let him say whatever he
has to say. The party has taken a position that he will have to resign,” BJP
spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.[IE p4]
31. Kurien plays down Jaitley remark : New Delhi : With BJP sticking to its
demand that the Deputy Chairman of the Upper House step down, P J
Kurien on Thursday sought to play down his remarks regarding Arun
Jaitley, stressing that his interaction on related issue in the past was solely
a “client-lawyer” relation.[IE p4]
32. BSP members disrupt U.P. budget session : Lucknow : The budget
session of Uttar Pradesh legislature got off to a stormy start on Thursday,
with Bahujan Samaj Party members creating a ruckus during Governor
B.L. Joshi’s address to the joint sitting of the House.[The Hindu p5]
33. Cop held for bid to hack Jaitley’s call details : New Delhi : A 32-yearold
Delhi Police constable was on Thursday arrested for making an
unauthorised attempt to access the call detail records (CDR) of the Leader
of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley.[Pioneer Daily p1]
34. Tripura sees over 90% voter turnout: Agartala: More than 90% of
Tripura’s electorate came out to vote and elect a new 60-member
assembly on Thursday. Barring a few incidents, including the death of a
young voter due to heart attack, polling went off peacefully. [TOI p22]
35. Jaitley to be Rajasthan poll in-charge? : Jaipur : Leader of Opposition
in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley is likely to be given charge of Rajasthan
ahead of Assembly elections, which are now only couple of months away.
According to party sources, the change is likely as relations between
present in charge of the State Kaptan Singh Solanki and Rajasthan BJP
president Vasundhara Raje are not very cordial.[Pioneer Daily p6]
36. SP ANNOUNCES 4 MORE NAMES FOR LS, CHANGES 3 : Lucknow :
The Samajwadi Party on Thursday announced four more candidates for
the Lok Sabha elections and changed three candidates. The party has
announced Ms Aisha Islam as its candidate on the Bareilly seat, Sachin
Singh Yadav on the Farukkhabad seat, Hiralal Yadav on the Ambedkar
Nagar seat and Abdul Kalam on the Sant Kabir Nagar seat.[AA p2]
37. BJP demands SC-monitored investigation : New Delhi : The BJP on
Thursday stepped up pressure on the UPA demanding an ‘independent”
and “Supreme Court-monitored” probe in the VVIP chopper scandal and
distanced itself from Jaswant Singh’s defence of for Air Chief SP
Tyagi.[Pioneer Daily p5]
38. MP BJP holds 4-Level survey ahead of polls : Bhopal : The ruling
Bharatiya Janata Party in Madhya Pradesh has the strategy and road map
in place to zero-in on the “right or the winning candidates” for the state
Assembly elections due later this year.[AA p2]
39. NBW against JD(U) MLA : Patna : A court here on Thursday issued a
Non-Bailable Warrant (NBW) against JD(U) MLA Anant Singh and others
in connection with a case lodged against them for assaulting a journalist in
2007.[IE p4]
40. Sikh leaders ask Sushma to raise turban ban issue : New Delhi : A
delegation of Sikh leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday
submitted a memorandum to Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha
Sushma Swaraj, requesting her to raise the issue of ban of turban in
schools in France during her meeting with French President Francois
Hollande.[AA p4]
41. Congress eyes comeback amid peace talks fatigue : Kohima : Ten
years after it made way for a regional identity, the Congress is eyeing a
comeback in Nagaland. It hopes to cash in on ‘rampant corruption’ and
fatigue induced by a longdrawn peace process between New Delhi and
Naga rebels.[HT p14]
42. In election year, rivals battle over polyclinic, Cong, BJP Bicker Over
Name Of Health Centre: New Delhi: With assembly elections scheduled
later this year, BJP and Congress are leaving no opportunity to claim
credit for development work in the capital. Both parties are at loggerheads
over the naming of a municipal polyclinic in Uttam Nagar G-block. While
Congress claims that the polyclinic was named Maharaja Agrasen
Polyclinic during their tenure in the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of
Delhi (MCD), BJP has refuted the charges, saying no such proposal was
passed earlier. [TOI p8]
LEGAL/CRIME NEWS
43. High Court to hear Chautala’s bail plea today : New Delhi : The Delhi
High Court will hear this Friday former Haryana Chief Minister Om
Prakash Chautala’s appeal against his conviction and 10 years’ jail
sentence for illegally recruiting 3,206 Junior teachers 12 years ago.[The
Hindu p5]
EDITORIAL/OPINION
44. Rahul Gandhi’s Vadra Test : Vivek Katju : Rahul Gandhi has finally
made the choice of leading the Congress party in the next general election
even though Sonia Gandhi will, as party President and UPA chairperson,
continue to have a major role in all aspects of the campaign. Whatever the
Congress may say, Mr. Gandhi, by accepting the post of party vicepresident,
has also more or less indicated that should the UPA win the
election he will not be averse to becoming Prime Minister.[The Hindu
p11]
BUSINESS NEWS
45. Finmin to Seek Cabinet Nod for Voda Tax Talks, Chidambaram to get
authority to thrash out a settlement; Retro law may go: New Delhi :
The finance ministry is likely to seek permission from the Cabinet to enter
into discussions with Vodafone Plc to settle the long-running $2-billion tax
dispute between the Indian government and British telecom giant,
according to sources familiar with the matter.[ET p1]
INTERNATIONAL NEWS
46. Maldives slams ‘mediator’ India, Nasheed Row Widens As Male
Decries Delhi’s Poll Remarks: Male: India’s effort to play peacemaker
between Maldivian president Waheed Hassan Manik and his deposed
predecessor Mohamed Nasheed has left the Indian High Commission in
the Maldives capital a virtual war room. [TOI p23]