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Ready to negotiate on basis of international law: Italy

NEW DELHI: Stung by the strong Indian reaction to its decision not to send the two accused marines back to India for trial, Italy on Wednesday said it was ready to negotiate the case on the basis of international law as the two were facing trial in the case in a court in Rome.

“The judgment by the Supreme Court of India on Jan 18 has denied Italian jurisdiction on the case and invited both countries to engage in a common effort based upon Article 100 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” a statement from the Italian embassy said.

The statement was in reaction to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s saying in parliament that Italy would have to face “consequences” for refusing to send back the two marines to face trial in India for killing two fishermen.

The Italian statement also said that Rome had done “everything we could to find an acceptable solution to such case, within the framework of our strong and friendly relations with India, and Italy will continue to do so”.

“Legal proceedings against the two marines are still under way before the Court of Rome,” it said.

“Italy has stated its readiness to start negotiations on such basis. Since there has been no reaction from India in this regard we have come to the conclusion that it is appropriate to solve the legal dispute according to the international law.

“The Note Verbale sent by the Embassy to the external affairs ministry on March 11 was intended to give the opportunity to settle the dispute through the consensual means offered to the parties by the international law with the aim of defining a legally sound solution to the case.

“This is consistent with Italy’s position since we have continuously advocated a settlement of the case according to the rules of international law on jurisdiction of the flag State and on functional immunity of State organs.” — IANS






Terrorists attack CRPF camp in Srinagar; 
5 jawans, 2 militants killed

Srinagar: Five CRPF troopers and two terrorists were killed here Wednesday when the guerrillas attacked a paramilitary picket in the first terror attack in the Kashmir Valley in three years.

Nine others were injured when a deadly firefight erupted as at least two heavily armed militants entered the play ground of a police public school in Bemina area.

The attackers had apparently mingled with some boys who went to the school to play cricket. The school was shut because of a strike in the Kashmir Valley called by separatists.

A police officer told IANS: "There was fierce exchange of gunfire, and two militants were killed. Five CRPF troopers were martyred." 

Three civilians and six men of the Central Reserve Police Force were injured in the attack.

"All the injured civilians are out of danger. Doctors have described the condition of one of injured CRPF personnel as critical," a police officer told IANS.

Security forces immediately cordoned off the ground and mounted a massive search for militants who may be hidden in the complex. 

Today's suicide attack in Srinagar is the first since 2010. No one has claimed responsibility.

The attack came at a time when the separatists had called for protests in the Kashmir Valley to mount pressure on the government to return the body of Afzal Guru, who was hanged for the attack on Indian parliament.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told the assembly in Jammu about the attack.

Abdullah, who also holds the home portfolio, said the attack began at 10.45 a.m. — IANS







Chopper scam: CBI files FIR against Tyagi, 11 others

NEW DELHI: CBI on Wednesday filed an FIR against former IAF Chief SP Tyagi and 12 others for alleged cheating and criminal conspiracy in Rs. 3600 crore VVIP Helicopter deal. Two new names, which were not part of the agency's preliminary enquiry, have also been included in the FIR. They include brother of former Union Minister Santosh Bagrodia, Satish Bagrodia and Pratap Aggarwal, Chairman and Managing Director of IDS Infotech respectively.

Tyagi is first Chief of the Indian Air Force to be named in a corruption or criminal case by the CBI.

CBI sources said provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act have also been slapped in the FIR filed by the agency.

At least 12 teams of the agency also carried out coordinated searches at 14 locations across posh localities of Delhi, NCR and Chandigarh which include the residence of Tyagi, his cousins and offices of Finmeccanica, AgustaWestland, IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix among others, they said.

The agency has also named four companies--Italy-based Finmeccanica, UK-based AgustaWestland and Chandigarh-based IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix in connection with the case.

The sources said suspected European middlemen Carlo Garosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschkhe, advocate Gautam Khaitan formerly associated with Aeromatric and its CEO Praveen Bakshi, former Finmeccanica Chairman Giuseppe Orsi, former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno SpagnoliniTyagi--Julie, Docsa and Sandeep have also been named in the FIR.

After carrying out its preliminary enquiry for nearly 16 days, the agency gathered evidence to register a case in connection with alleged payment of Ra 362 crore bribe to swing the 12 helicopter deal in favour of AgustaWestland, CBI sources said.

They said the agency has got some documents from Italy and files from the Defence Ministry which indicate criminal conspiracy to make alterations in the requirement of helicopter specifications which suited AgustaWestland.

The agency has also carried out detailed questioning of Tyagi, his cousins--Julie, Docsa and Sandeep, Gautam Khaitan, Praveen Bakshi and Bagrodia--last week, the sources said.

All the accused have denied allegations against them.

Italian company Finmeccanica allegedly paid a commission to the middlemen out of which huge sums were transferred to Indian nationals through Tunisia and Mauritius, the PE said.

The money was sent in the garb of of engineering contracts with two Indian companies — IDS Infotech and Aeromatrix, it said.

The Italian agencies on February 15 had arrested Orsi, former Chairman of the Finmeccanica, parent company of AgustaWestland, on charges of paying bribe for the contract.

The investigation report by Italian prosecutor had claimed that Hashcke and Gerosa, through the Tyagi brothers, who in turn through their cousin SP Tyagi, managed first to change the tender details, in a way to favour, modifying the ‘operational ceiling’ from 18,000 to 15,000 feet of altitude, thus allowing AgustaWestland spa (which otherwise could not have even submitted an offer) to take part in the tender.

The report also claimed that the duo managed to introduce a comparative flight trial with non-functional engine, thus facilitating AgustaWestland helicopters, the only ones which had three engines, swinging the deal in its favour.
It alleged payments were made to Hashcke and Gerosa through a consultancy contract between AW spa and Gordian Services Sarl and an amount of 400,000 Euros (about Rs. 2.8 crore).

Out of this amount 100,000 Euros ( Rs. 72 lakh) were allegedly paid in cash to the Tyagi brothers (Julie, Docsa and Sandeep), it alleged. — PTI







DSP murder case: CBI team attacked

Lucknow: The CBI team probing the triple murder at Uttar Pradesh's Pratapgarh village in which former state minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh aka Raja Bhaiyya is an accused, was attacked by unidentified assailants late Tuesday.

The team's vehicle was pelted with stones near Manikpur late night, leaving its windscreen smashed and the driver of the vehicle injured, police said.

Police officials rushed to the spot and combed the area, but the attackers had fled by then. A case was later registered against unknown people and the circle officer of Kunda has been handed over its probe. At the time of the attack, Deputy Superintendent of Police (CBI) Surendra Singh and three other sleuths were inside the car.

The CBI team has been camping in the area for the last five days. It is trying to recreate the scene of the crime, interrogate witnesses and zero in on call details of Rajiv and Guddu Singh - close accomplices of Raja Bhaiyya. 

CBI sources said that while it "was too early to conclude anything as of now, the probe was in the right direction".Back




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