NEWS IN BRIEF – FEB 16, 2013
1. CBI Ready for Raids in Delhi and Chandigarh, Agency plans to send
team to Italy next week to speak to prosecutors: NEW DELHI : CBI is
set to conduct raids in Delhi and Chandigarh as it begins to probe whether
AgustaWestland paid . 362 crore bribes

for securing a helicopter deal with
India. It plans to send a team to Italy next week to speak to prosecutors
there. [ET p2]
2. Not India, France Can Tax Shantha Deal: Andhra HC, Court says antitax
treaties override retrospective change to tax laws: New Delhi :
The Andhra Pradesh High Court has ruled that France, not India, is
entitled to . 650 crore in capital gains tax arising from the sale of
Hyderabad-based Shantha Biotech to Sanofi Aventis. The judgement is
likely to have a calming effect on foreign investors wary about India’s
stance on taxing offshore transactions. [ET p1]
3. Govt moves to scrap copter deal, Sends Notice To Agusta; Says
Ready For JPC Probe: New Delhi: The Rs 3,546-crore deal for 12 VVIP
helicopters is going to be scrapped. The government set the “termination
process” in motion on Friday by issuing a formal showcause notice to
AgustaWestland to explain within a week why the contract should not be
cancelled and penal action initiated against the company.[TOI p1]
4. CAG scanner on copter deal : New Delhi: In what could spell more
trouble for the UPA government, the Comptroller and Auditor General
(CAG) is auditing the VVIP chopper deal with AgustaWestland and is
looking into financial aspects and the tendering process to determine if the
Italian firm was favoured over others. [HT p11]
5. CBI to send team to Italy to probe chopper bribe case: New Delhi:
Though the CBI decided to dispatch a team to Italy within a week to probe
the allegations of a €51 million bribe being paid in the contract for 12 VVIP
choppers, the agency may not come up with its findings before the Budget
session begins on February 21, thus delaying concrete and demonstrative
action against AgustaWestland, the UK-based subsidiary of the Italian
aerospace, and defence giant Finmeccanica. [TOI p14]
6. Name ‘the family’ Italian court papers mention, says BJP : New Delhi:
The BJP on Friday stepped up its attack on the government over the VVIP
helicopter scam by asking it to name “who benefitted from kickbacks” in
the deal and which was the “the family” referred to in the Italian court
documents. [TOI p10]
7. Verma owes Khaitan 5.32L as legal fees: ED : New Delhi: Contrary to
reports that former director with Aeromatrix Gautam Khaitan held
$145,000 of Abhishek Verma’s money for disposal, documents available
with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) show that it is Verma who owes
Khaitan money. [TOI p12]
8. Scam deflates mood in Cong camp: New Delhi: Congress leaders were
in a sombre frame of mind with a fresh defence bribery scandal eroding
the confident mood of last week when the decision to hang Parliament
attack convict Afzal Guru infused a sense of purposefulness in the
government. [TOI p14]
9. Cong Hopes Show-cause Will Blunt Oppn Attack : NEW DELHI :
Congress hopes that the show-cause notice issued by the central
government to cancel the helicopter contract with AgustaWestland will
help stem the Opposition’s campaign ahead of the budget session of
Parliament. [ET p2]
10. One of Tyagi bros tried to broker Ayodhya peace : Lucknow: Dr Rajiv
Tyagi of the Tyagi trio — in the spotlight for the AgustaWestland chopper
scam — had once tried to broker truce between Muslim leaders angry
over the Babri demolition and the BJP government at the Centre, and
even assisted Amitabh Bachchan when the movie legend successfully
contested the Lok Sabha election from Allahabad in 1984. [TOI p11]
11. Petrol bomb: Price hiked 1.50/ltr, diesel 45 paise : New Delhi: Staterun
fuel retailers have decided to raise petrol prices by Rs 1.50 a litre and
diesel by 45 paise per litre, excluding local tax, from Friday midnight. The
actual pump price would be a little higher, as per the tax (VAT) rate in
each state. [TOI p1]
12. BJP to Decide When to Pick PM Nominee : New Delhi : Hinting that
home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s ‘Hindu terror’ remarks could come in
the way of BJP cooperating with the UPA government in taking ahead its
pro-reform agenda in the budget session, former party chief Venkaiah
Naidu said the party will take a stand depending on how ‘realistic’ and
‘people-friendly’ the proposals are.[ET p2]
13. Blame game at Rahul meeting with PCC chiefs, CLP leaders : New
Delhi : Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s meeting with state unit
presidents and Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leaders here Friday
turned out to be a blame game exercise, with leaders taking potshots at
rivals. If Delhi Congress president J P Agrawal complained of noncooperation
from the Sheila Dikshit government, his Madhya Pradesh
counterpart Kantilal Bhuria alleged that senior leaders such as Kamal
Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia were not allowing him to work.[IE p8]
14. Karat: Congress trying to scuttle job guarantee scheme in Rajasthan
: Jaipur : Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash
Karat has accused the Congress government in Rajasthan of working
against the interests of the poor and trying to defeat the objectives of the
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.[The
Hindu p12]
15. EC disqualifies 2,171 candidates for not filing returns in time : New
Delhi : The Election Commission has disqualified 2,171 candidates who
contested by-elections/general elections to the Lok Sabha and Legislative
Assemblies and Councils for failing to submit their poll expenditure
accounts within the stipulated 30 days from the date of announcement of
results.[The Hindu p12]
16. Govt allowed Finmeccanica India chief to flee : BJP : New Delhi : The
BJP on Friday said the UPA regime by “avoiding proper inquiry” into
alleged irregularities in the VVIP helicopter deal allowed the Indian
operations chief of Finmeccanica to leave India.[IE p8]
17. Pak soldier killed, India returns body : Jammu/New Delhi: The Army
on Friday returned the body of a Pakistani soldier, who was killed after he
had intruded into Indian territory near Laam post along the line of control
(LoC) in Jammu & Kashmir’s Rajouri district a day earlier. [TOI p1]
18. AI to mop up Rs. 5,000 cr from property sale : New Delhi : Cashstrapped
Air India (AI), which is surviving on a government bailout, is
planning to raise more than Rs.5,000 crore by selling its properties
worldwide by 2016 — five years ahead of the target set by a government
panel as part of the airline’s turnaround plan (TAP).[HT p1]
19. SAR Geelani leads ‘inabsentia’ funeral prayers for Afzal Guru : New
Delhi : Delhi University professor SAR Geelani, who was acquitted in the
2001 Parliament attack case, on Friday held a funeral “in absentia” for
Afzal Guru, who was hanged in Tihar jail last week after being convicted in
the case.[IE p5]
20. HC rejects plea of Modi govt, wants scheme implemented :
Ahmedabad : In a split verdict, a five-judge Bench of the Gujarat High
Court on Friday upheld the constitutional validity of the Centre’s prematriculation
scholarship for students of minority communities and
directed the Gujarat government to implement the scheme in the state.
The state government has resisted implementing the 2008 scheme on the
grounds that it is “discriminatory”.[IE p8]
21. Focus on fighting Opp, not each other : Rahul : New Delhi : Congress
vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday asked Chief Ministers of Congressruled
States and PCC leaders to avoid complaining against each other
and focus on aggressively fighting the opposition in the Assembly polls
due in nine States this year and Lok
22. Sabha elections in 2014.[Pioneer Daily p5]
23. Didn’t grasp govt dynamics, but have support : Nilekani : Mumbai :
Nandan Nilekani is not just determined to provide Aadhaar, the 12-digit
individual identification number, to citizens across India but to make the
idea “irreversible” and “sustainable” before the next elections.[IE p1]
24. Constable held in Jaitley call record case : New Delhi: Few days after
BJP Leader Arun Jaitley’s call detail records were illegally sought from an
official email ID of Delhi Police, the special cell has arrested a constable
working in Parliament Street police station. [TOI p3]
25. Assam rural polls : 3 killed during counting : Guwahati : Three
persons were killed and two injured when BSF personnel opened fire to
disperse a mob that entered the panchayat election vote counting hall at
Hatsingimari in Dhubri district in Assam on Friday. Several others,
including five police and BSF personnel, were also injured as the mob
clashed with the police.[IE p9]
26. Cong keeps RJD, LJP on tenterhooks : Patna : Though both RJD and
LJP have expressed their eagerness to create a secular front in Bihar to
defeat the BJP-led alliance in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the Congress
continues to give worrisome moments to both parties.[Pioneer Daily p7]
27. Vijender steps down for Vijay as BJP gears up : New Delhi: The BJP,
which has not been functioning as an effective opposition in the state, on
Friday replaced Vijender Gupta as party state president with the old
warhorse and BJP national general secretary Vijay Goel. Goel, who is a
former union minister and a three-time MP from Delhi, will be taking over
the reins of the state unit in a critical year when the Delhi assembly polls
will be held before the parliamentary elections of 2014. [TOI p2]
28. Goel pips Gupta for Delhi BJP top job : New Delhi : Former Union
minister Vijay Goel on Friday replaced Vijendra Gupta as president of the
BJP’s Delhi unit where factional squabbles have cast a shadow on the
party’s preparation for the assembly polls due in November this
year.Goel’s appointment was announced by party chief Rajnath Singh
after days of intense discussion among top leaders.[HT p6]
29. BJP and Congress Councillors locked in tussle over park : New Delhi
: A popular park under the South Delhi Municipal Corporation which has
for the last four decades been the venue for various festivities is the latest
casue of tussle between the ruling BJP and the Congress.[The Hindu p4]
30. Cop hacked call details to recheck BJP leaders’ claims : New Delhi :
Delhi Police constable arrested for making an unauthorised attempt to
access the call detail records (CDR) of Leader of Opposition in the Rajya
Sabha, Arun Jaitley, has revealed that he wanted to cross check the
claims of two Dehradun-based BJP leaders that they would help him in
getting his real estate business established in Uttarakhand using their
contacts with Jaitley. However, the sleuths of the Special Cell are not
relieving on his theory and they are planning to approach both the
Dehradun-based BJP leaders for questioning. [Pioneer Daily p2]
31. Swine flu kills 2 more; Delhi cases rise to 302 : New Delhi: Two more
people have died of swine flu in the city on Friday, taking the H1N1 toll to
seven this year. The Delhi health department said the victims, both
middle-aged, were hospitalized last week and died due to severe
complications caused by the viral infection. Another death was reported
from Safdarjung Hospital but the officials did not confirm it. [TOI p1]
32. Emaar MGF washes hands of Kanishka, Haschke : New Delhi : Real
estate major Emaar MGF on Friday claimed it has “no links with Kanishka
Singh or any of his relatives”. The company also said that it was in no way
connected with the business of the Italian middleman Guido Haschke and
that he served only for a short period in its Board of Directors.[Pioneer
Daily p5]
LEGAL/CRIME NEWS
33. Death penalty every third day in India : New Delhi : Despite the rarest
of rare doctrine propounded by the Supreme Court, awarding of death
penalty does not appear to be a rarity in Indian courts. Indian judiciary has
sent 1,455 convicts to the gallows between 2001 and 11 — an average of
132.27 convicts per year — a report by Asian Centre for Human Rights
(ACHR) said. Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 370 such sentences.[HT
p10]
34. Ponty Chadha’s manager held on conspiracy charge : New Delhi :
The security manager of slain liquor baron Gurdeep ‘Ponty’ Chadha,
Narendra Ahlawat, was arrested by the Crime Branch on Thursday. Police
said Ahlawat was arrested on the charge of trespassing and criminal
conspiracy to forcibly occupy farmhouse No 42 in Chhattarpur, where
Ponty and his brother Hardeep Singh were killed in a gun battle on
November 17. Ahlawat was injured in the shootout.[IE p5]
35. 6 months after Geetika, mom too kills herself, Blames Kanda,
Chaddha In Note: New Delhi: Exactly six months and 10 days after
airhostess Geetika Sharma committed suicide by hanging herself at her
north Delhi residence, her 51-year-old mother, Anuradha Sharma, also
allegedly hanged herself, using a chunni in the same room of their Ashok
Vihar flat on Friday evening. [TOI p1]
EDITORIAL/OPINION
36. Our bigger defence scandal : Shekhar Gupta :The only positive aspect
of the Finmeccanica helicopter deal is that investigating it conclusively
may be easier as, unlike Bofors, where holier-than-cow Sweden did
nothing and even got a major New Delhi avenue named after Olof Palme,
here the supplier country is investigating.[IE p14]