L A T E S T      N E W S

Former Maldives President Nasheed seeks refuge
in Indian High Commission

MALE: Anti-riot police have surrounded the Indian High Commission here after former president Mohamed Nasheed went there, soon after an arrest warrant was issued against him by a Maldivian court.

The former president, who is due to attend a hearing regarding his detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012, was inside the Indian High Commission at 1:00 pm this afternoon following the announcement of the court order.

Nasheed is "seeking advice" in Indian High Commission, Minivan News reported.

Police have set up barricades around the High Commission area.

The court summons follows Nasheed's failure to attend his previously scheduled trial hearing at Hulhumale' Magistrate Court on February 10.

The former president was on an visit to India after being granted permission to depart the country by the court.

Despite his permitted travel period expiring on February 9, Nasheed arrived back in Male on February 11, Minivan reported. — PTI






Will scrap Italian chopper deal if wrongdoings found: Antony

NEW DELHI: Under fire over allegations of kickbacks in the Rs 3,600-crore VVIP chopper deal, government today asserted that nobody found guilty will be spared and if wrongdoings were found by the CBI, the contract can be scrapped. "Nobody will be spared whatever may be the consequences," Defence Minister A K Antony told reporters on the alleged Italian chopper scam.

Another scam had unfolded with the arrest of the head of a state-controlled Italian aerospace company on Tuesday that is suspected of paying bribes of about Rs. 362 crore in India to get orders for helicopters to ferry Indian VVIPs, prompting the government to order a CBI probe.

The Ministry of Defence also decided to put on hold the receipt of the remaining nine of the 12 helicopters for which the Rs 3,600-crore deal was struck in 2010.

Giuseppe Orsi, the head of Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica, was arrested on Monday in relation to a probe into international corruption.

He is suspected of involvement in the payment of bribes regarding the sale to the Indian government of 12 helicopters produced by Finmeccanica's subsidiary AgustaWestland.

Antony said CBI has been asked to give an early report on its probe into alleged kickbacks in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal.

"Once we get the preliminary inquiry report from CBI, strongest action will be taken against those found guilty," he said.

Asked about reports of the alleged role of former IAF chief SP Tyagi in the deal, the Minister said, "I have no information."

"After the CBI report, we will take serious action that may include cancelling the deal," he said.

"We don't want to jump the gun. We can get our money back even at this stage," Antony said on the Rs 3,600-crore deal.






Former IAF chief admits meeting middleman at cousin's place

NEW DELHI: Former IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi, whose name has surfaced in the VVIP helicopter scam, today admitted having met one of the alleged middlemen but claimed innocence.

"I have met Carlo in my cousins' place but when you say you have contact with him, then the answer is no. What connection could I have with him. I want to tell you that the whole process started after I retired... the entire process of evaluation, trials, contracts took place in 2010," Tyagi told reporters.

The former IAF chief refuted allegations that he was paid bribes to swing a Rs 3,600-crore deal for procuring 12 choppers from Italian firm Finmeccanica to ferry VVIPS.

"I am innocent. These allegations are totally baseless and I am denying them categorically. The deal was signed in 2010, whereas I retired in 2007 itself," he said.

Names of Tyagi's three cousins Julie, Docsa and Sandeep Tyagi have also figured in reports suggesting that they had also a role to play in clinching the deal. He denied that his relationship with his cousins had any business dimension.

Asked if he had changed any specifications for the contract to favour Finmeccanica, Tyagi said the "staff qualitative requirements for the VVIP choppers were frozen in 2003, much before I assumed the office of Chief of Air Staff, and the IAF did not change any requirements after that."

Reports today suggested that Italian investigators have alleged in a preliminary inquiry submitted in an Italian court that business conglomerate Finmeccanica bribed S P Tyagi when he was chief of the Indian Air Force to swing the controversial AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal in favour of the company.

After the arrest of Finmeccanica's head yesterday in Italy in connection with the controversial deal, the Defence Ministry here ordered a CBI probe into the charges. — PTI






Assam violence: Toll rises to 15

Goalpara: The toll in Assam’s Goalpara district rose to 15 with violence continuing night-long even as indefinite curfew continued in Krishnai and Mornoi areas today and the Army flag-marching affected areas.

The toll in the police firing rose from 12 to 15 on Wednesday, official sources said, without giving details.

Defence sources said the army was conducting flag marches and working in close coordination with the state government with additional columns kept on standby.

Miscreants fired injuring seven persons, including four seriously in Gobindapur Sala area under Goalpara police station area where ten houses were set ablaze while another five were torched at Rangagora and 20 at Paharsinghpara under Mornoi police station, police sources said.

Residents of three villages fled their homes and were sheltering in relief camps, they said.

Groups of people, including women, armed with lethal weapons attacked polling centres during the third and last phase of the panchayat elections on Tuesday.

Ministers Rockybul Hussain, Rajib Lochan Pegu with Agriculture Advisor to chief minister Bhumidhar Barman, were camping in the district.

The ethnic Rabhas and Hasongs supported by Bodo and Garo tribes have been demanding holding of the RHAC elections ahead of the grassroot polls claiming that panchayats would undermine the Council’s authority.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has announced Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of those killed in the police firing, Rs 50,000 for the injured and assistance for rebuilding houses torched. — PTI








No merger with Sena, says Raj Thackeray

Kolhapur: Ruling out any alliance with Shiv Sena ahead of 2014 General Election, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Tuesday said that there will be no alliance with any party.

“I do not wish for an alliance with anyone,” he said while addressing a rally in Kolhapur.

"There is no thought now of any alliance. Do talks of alliance happen through newspapers?," he further said.

The statement comes after Shiv Sena’s executive chief Uddhav Thackeray hinted at the possibility of reconciliation with his cousin Raj Thackeray in an interview to Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna.

However, the stand of MNS chief today has ruled out any possibility of a merger between Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) ahead of the 2014 general elections.

The two political parties, which are trying to capture the void created by the demise of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray and become the flag-bearer of the ‘Maratha’ cause, have to compete with each other in order to gain an upper hand in Maharashtra politics.Back




HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | E-mail |