Even Before Bhushan, Sinha and Shourie Could Begin Their PC, Media Houses and Editors Discreetly ‘Told’ to Prominently Incorporate Govt’s Views on Rafale Scam

Even before former cabinet ministers in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, along with Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan could begin their Press Conference (PC) at the Delhi Press Club on Wednesday, regarding the Rafale Jet Fighter deal, senior I&B and PMO officials were furiously working their phones.

IndiaScoops.com has learnt that government officials and BJP spokespersons including a PR agency phoned several ‘friendly’ editors of newspapers and news TV channels requesting them to either boycott the PC or relegate it’s coverage to the inner pages and non-peak time TV telecast.

The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group PR team was also on its toes, trying to find out which correspondents were attending the event.

IndiaScoops.com  spoke to five senior editors – three from national dailies and two from mainline news channels who admitted off the record that they got ‘how are you’ calls from the I&B Ministry and the PMO inquiring if they were covering the PC called by the trio.

Other editors from pro-BJP outlets refused to speak to IndiaScoops.com, or simply banged down the phone when queried on the subject, but their impulsive curtness was an indication of their indignation.

Two editors told IndiaScoops.com that they were asked as to which reporter or correspondent was covering the event, while others were indirectly advised and reminded to prominently feature the government view in their reportage of the PC.

According to a report in the Indian Express at a press meet, Shourie, Sinha and Bhushan said public sector unit Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, which was part of the original negotiations, was pushed out and a newly-minted company, Reliance Defence Ltd, which had zero experience in defence manufacturing bagged an offset contract. They said such an agreement between Reliance Defence and Dassault Aviation, which makes Rafale jets, should have come after governmental approval.

Sinha said Bofors “pales into insignificance” when compared to this “scam”. They said statements of then foreign secretary S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar suggest that none of them were aware of the new deal to buy 36 jets, against 126 aircraft as per a Request for Proposal issued in 2007, for which Dassault had been selected as it was the lowest bidder, reports the Indian Express.

“Nobody in the Air Force or the defence ministry was aware” of the reduction, Bhushan told media persons at the PC.

They also said there were no additional add-ons as per Indian specifications, as claimed by the government, compared to the original RFP. They quoted the joint statement by India and France on April 10, 2015, which mentioned that the 36 jets to be delivered by Dassault “and associated systems and weapons would be delivered on the same configuration as had been tested and approved by the Indian Air Force”.

Calling it an “enormous scandal which jeopardizes national security”, Shourie asked the government to make details of the deal public, reports Indian Express.

Regarding Dassault’s deal with Reliance Defence, he asked if it could have happened “without a nudge and a wink” from the government. He highlighted that offset guidelines of the government issued on April 1, 2016, mention that “all offset proposals will be processed by the Acquisition Manager and approved by Raksha Mantri, regardless of their value”.

A joint statement issued by the Bhushan, Sinha and Shourie said, “Could an experienced manufacturer like Dassault have picked a company that had no experience whatsoever of manufacturing aircraft…without the approval from the government and particularly the PM?”

The statement said a “private party which has had absolutely no experience in manufacturing aerospace and defence equipment has been handed an enormous financial benefit.” They demanded an independent audit by Comptroller and Auditor General.

The government machiney spun into action immediately after the PC was over. A statement was ready and emailed to most media persons. Correspondents from wire services were also sent the government’s version to counter the allegations made by the trio.

A few hours after the press meet, Arun Jaitley wrote in a blog post, “There is not a grain of truth in the wild allegations repeated today nor anything substantiating in the purported facts and voluminous documents marshaled to corroborate the baseless accusations,” he claimed

Jaitley added that the allegations constitute nothing but “reprocessed lies by forces increasingly desperate to prove their relevance”. He said the government had already responded effectively to every distortion and misinformation on the issue.” reported the Indian Express.

with inputs from Indian Express and Agencies

Deoria Shelter Rape Scandal: Girls treated like Slaves, made to do Menial jobs, forced into Prostitution

Deoria (Uttar Pradesh): Eighteen girls are still missing from Uttar Pradesh’s Deoria shelter home for women while 24 others have been rescued by authorities. The license for the home was cancelled in June last year, but the home remained open following a court stay order.

The girls were rescued after a 10-year-old girl escaped the shelter home on Sunday night and revealed that after four o’clock in the evening, several people in black and white cars would come and take girls between ages of 15 to 18 from ‘Madam’ and they would return late at night, crying.

The minor also alleged they were being forced to engage in sexual activities and work as servants by the couple.

The girl suggested that other dubious activities were taking place in the shelter home.

“The girl who escaped had been staying at the home for the last three years. She said they treated her like a servant. She also told us many girls were taken away in cars at night. They returned in the morning and cried through the day. Adoptions were also happening in an illegal manner here. We are looking into it and searching for the missing girls,” Superintendent of Police Rohan P Kanay said. Investigations are underway, he added.

After hearing the ordeal, the police raided the shelter and rescued the girls.

Deoria Police have arrested Girija Tripathi, the manager of the Vidhvansani Mahila and Balika Sanrakshan Griha and her husband Mohan after a raid by the local police late on Sunday.

“During the raid, 18 of the total 42 women enrolled were found missing. We have arrested the women operator and her husband as they could not give any satisfactory answer,” SP Rohan P Kanay said during a press conference late on Sunday.

The girls have been sent for medical examination and their statement will be recorded before a magistrate, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Anand Kumar said. “The Women and Child Development Department is also coordinating. The inquiry will be done under proper legal procedure,” he said.

Uttar Pradesh Women and Child Welfare Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi said a directive was issued to shift the inmates and shut the shelter home after the CBI inspection last year established that it was running illegally. She added that the order was not followed.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has sent a two-member high level committee to Deoria for the investigation. The delegation will be staying in Deoria today and will submit a report, following which action will be taken, Rita Bahuguna Joshi said.

SP Rohan P Kanay said that trouble regarding the shelter home started way back when an order to close the institution was made and the organisation’s director misbehaved with the police team. After that incident, a girl came running from that same institution and this explains the state of things back at the shelter home, Kanay added.

Till its license was cancelled in 2017, the privately run shelter in Deoria used to receive funds from the government. However, the couple continued to run the home even after their license was cancelled. When a team of police went to inspect the home last week, the duo misbehaved and turned them away. A First Information Report or an FIR was filed against them.

The horrific incident comes to light amid massive outrage over the sexual abuse of girls at a state-funded shelter in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur. Over 30 girls, one as young as seven years, put up at the shelter were sedated, tortured and raped allegedly by the man made in charge by the government.

Allegations have also been made against the husband of a minister in Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s government.

The opposition parties have lashed out at the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh and demanded a CBI probe into the case and strict action against the accused.

Deoria’s district magistrate Sujeet Kumar has been removed from his post.

Source: Deccan Chronicle

Sonia Gandhi, Deve Gowda and I can unite Opposition, says Sharad Pawar

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has proposed that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and he — three senior leaders with “no ambition to become Prime Minister” — should come together to unite the Opposition, travel throughout the country, give confidence to the people, and provide a robust counter-narrative to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, reports the Hindustan Times.

Pawar has also, for the first time, opened the doors of the NCP-Congress alliance in Maharashtra to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and said that while he had not discussed the issue with BSP chief Mayawati, he would be ‘happy’ since this association will pay dividends.

In an interview to Hindustan Times, Pawar laid out a detailed roadmap for the Opposition for 2019. He compared the current political situation to 1975-77; argued that disillusionment has set in against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, like it had against Indira Gandhi; and suggested that the Opposition focus should be on state-wide alliances instead of a national alliance. Pawar called for the leadership question to be left for after the elections, and while urging the Congress to adopt a “rational approach” on state partnerships, said that he has felt over recent conversations that Rahul Gandhi has “substantially improved”.

Emphasising the parallels between the current political climate and the situation in 1975-77, when he was a minister in the Maharashtra government, Pawar said that like Indira Gandhi, Modi too had “control of media, government and government agencies”.

At that time too, he said, people were pointing to the lack of an alternative platform, organisation and leader to pose a genuine challenge.

“The difference is there was one leader – Jayaprakash Narayan. Political leaders and people were willing to accept his advice. And ultimately on his advice, most leaders forgot their parties.” Pawar said that it was eventually after the election that the Janata Party came together and Morarji Desai was elected the leader.

He added, “I honestly feel that there are some leaders, like Sonia Gandhi, (HD) Deve Gowda and, while I should not say it, myself also…we have no ambition to become Prime Minister. At least I am speaking for myself. But I have ambition to bring all these forces together and provide a viable alternative. For that, some of us – the names I have mentioned – can travel throughout India and give confidence to the people of India because today, there is no JP (Jayaprakash Narayan).”

The BJP did not comment on Pawar’s remarks.

Pawar said his assessment was it was not possible to bring all forces at the National level. “Is it possible at the state level? I am in close dialogue with various state leaders and my own assessment is yes.”

Pawar then laid out the architecture of the state-wide alliances, which would have to rest on other parties conceding space to Congress where it was the dominant force and Congress recognising its era of total dominance was over and giving space to regional parties in other places.

In Kerala, West Bengal and Delhi, he spoke of the Left, Trinamool Congress and Aam Aadmi Party respectively as the number one forces around which the Opposition should rally.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi had broadly agreed with him, claimed Pawar, praising Gandhi’s approach of not projecting any leader before elections as the “correct, sensible approach”.

“He (Rahul) said there are some states where it is difficult for my colleagues to accept or digest this situation, particularly Kerala and West Bengal. In Kerala, they feel our fight with the Left is equal. In West Bengal, the position is not like Kerala, but the overall thinking of the leadership of the Congress party about Mamata is such that it is difficult for them to accept her. He told me that it is difficult in these two-three states. I told him you are the leader, and it is your job to convince.”

Comparing Sonia and Rahul, the NCP chief said that even though he had fought with Sonia Gandhi, they shared an excellent equation, she tried to understand issues and gave respect to other leaders. “Rahul is also showing it. There is a definite improvement.”

Pawar also said that he had recently met Mayawati. “She has consolidated the position in UP with Samajwadi Party and others. But she expects other parties to take a rational approach in other states. She is totally for a change and she is ready to work hard.” When asked if he would be open to allying with her in Maharashtra, he replied, “I have not discussed it with her. I will be happy. Her association will pay dividends in Vidarbha region.”

Pawar categorically ruled himself out of the PM race. “Irrational thinking has no meaning in politics. There has to be rational thinking. My party will ultimately contest 30-35 seats throughout India. I may get 50 percent maximum. With that number, if anyone dreams of becoming PM of this country, he is quite away from reality.”

Milan Vaishnav, senior fellow and director of the South Asia programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said: “Pawar’s assessment broadly strikes a chord with the mantra other opposition leaders have uttered: ‘localise, localise, localise.’ While the BJP pushes to nationalise and make 2019 about Modi, the best bet for the Opposition is to make this 543 unique elections. State-specific alliances avoid tricky pan-Indian questions about leadership that the opposition is in no place to answer right now.”

Vaishnav added that a big looming question is whether the Congress would be willing to take a backseat in electorally critical states. “Recent moves — Karnataka is a case in point — suggest it might be.”

Source: Hindustan Times

Ashamed? Then take immediate action: Rahul Gandhi to Nitish Kumar on Muzaffarpur sex scandal

New Delhi: It took a number of days for Nitish Kumar to break his silence on the alleged sexual assault of 34 women in a Muzzafarpur shelter home that has enraged the entire country, reports Zee News.

When he did speak – on Friday, the Bihar CM said he is ashamed of the incident. It is this admission that rival parties have clung to with Congress president Rahul Gandhi saying that if Nitish Kumar meant what he said, he must act immediately.

Rahul on Saturday was at a Rashtriya Janata Dal-led sit-in protest where he said the state CM should take stern action against those guilty.

“We have gathered here for the women of our country and we stand with them. If Nitish ji is really feeling ashamed then he should take immediate action,” he demanded.

Beside him was RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav who has already accused Nitish of trying to shield Brajesh Thakur, the owner of the shelter home who is believed to be politically influential.

Thakur is the prime accused in Muzaffarpur shelter home case. At least 34 girls were allegedly sexually assaulted at the shelter home.

He has also been named in a case pertaining to another shelter home run by him. Eleven women have reportedly gone missing from the shelter home.

Rival parties have been targetting the JDU-BJP combine in Bihar for being lenient on crime and of not taking action in the particular case of Muzzafarpur sex scandal.

Saturday’s protest was attended by – among others – Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D Raja, LJD’s Sharad Yadav and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.

Source: Zee News

To save their jobs, sacked ABP journos were asked to submit a written undertaking not to criticize PM Modi in future

Two journalists from ABP News, Managing Editor Milind Khandekar and Punya Prasun Bajpai had reportedly resigned days earlier, stirring debates on Twitter and leading the Opposition Congress to allege that the government of India was interfering in the media after both journalists had carried out a story that contradicted the government’s claim.

The journalists’ were particularly critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and even mentioned his name in their reports.

According to media reports, Managing Editor Milind Khandekar and primetime anchor Punya Prasun Bajpai tendered their resignations amid allegations of “pressure from the Centre” doing the rounds.

Senior journalist Abhisar Sharma also went “on leave”. These developments come days after Union Ministers such as Nirmala Sitharaman and Rajyavardhan Rathore tweeted against ABP News with the hashtag #UnfortunateJournalism, criticising a story that was critical of the government.

Now according to the latest information leaking out of the ABP newsroom, the top ABP bosses had given the journalists an option. Fall in line with the management diktat and submit a written undertaking not to criticize PM Narendra Modi and the BJP government at the Centre in future shows.

Says a source at ABP: The channel management was aware of the negative impact and widespread criticism of the media house, if the journalists were directly asked to quit and wanted to avoid it at all costs. Even the government didn’t want them to go immediately as the BJP government and Modi would automatically get mired into the controversy, with the Opposition parties having a field day.

As a face saving measure for all – the PM, the government, the channel management and the journalists, the duo – Bajpai and Sharma were asked to submit a written undertaking stating that they would stick to the management stand and not indulge in any ‘adventure journalism’.

The management wanted them (Bajpai and Sharma) to give a water-tight written undertaking in the form of an ‘additional contract’ says a source, which would have legally bound both the TV anchors to dance to the management’s tunes. If they were ready to do so, they could continue with their jobs, they were told. But they turned down the offer and continued with their tirade against the Center.

When the journos refused to sign the undertaking, Managing Editor Milind Khandekar was asked to sack Bajpai the next day. Instead Khandekar chose to quit himself.

Bajpai resigned a day later in protest, against what he called ‘acute management interference in editorial matters’. Sharma was asked to proceed on a 15-day leave and was taken off-air.

Last month, the channel elicited strong comments from the government for a story on Masterstroke in the wake of a video interaction Prime Minister Narendra Modi held on June 20 with beneficiaries of various government programmes.

A participant from Chhattisgarh, a farmer, Chandramani Kaushik, told Modi on the show said that her income had doubled after she switched from cultivating paddy to growing custard apples.

Sources said the channel was under great pressure to reign in the “errant” journos.

Asked how exactly the channel was being pressurized, the source at ABP said, “Sponsors were pulling out, and not just government sponsors. There are private companies that stopped advertising on ABP,” reports The Quint.

with inputs from Scroll.in, The Quint and The Wire

Rahul Gandhi chairs CWC meet, decides to target Modi govt on corruption

Congress party chief Rahul Gandhi on Saturday chaired the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting held in New Delhi. He said key issues pertaining to corruption, the political situation of the country and unemployment were deliberated in the CWC meeting, reports the Indian Express.

This was Rahul Gandhi’s second CWC meet as Congress president. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was not present at the meeting today. “The CWC met today. As a team, we discussed the political situation in the country & the huge opportunity for the Congress to highlight issues of corruption and failure of the government to provide jobs to our youth. Thank you to all those who attended today’s meeting,” Gandhi wrote on Twitter.

Addressing media after the meet, senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot mentioned that besides the issues of National Register of Citizens (NRC), Draft Bill, corruption, bank fraud cases and Rafale deal, the party is also preparing for the upcoming elections in four states. “Issues of NRC Draft Bill, corruption, bank fraud cases and Rafale deal were discussed in CWC. Discussions were held on the issue of unemployment. We have also started preparations for upcoming elections in four states,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.

After the CWC meeting, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that the party will launch a public campaign or ‘Jan Andolan’, against the Narendra Modi-led government in the next few days while in consultation with state units and leaders, according to a report by PTI.

The Congress alleged that the government’s ‘complicity and connivance’ in helping Mehul Choksi escape has been exposed and quoted Antiguan authorities who said that Indian agencies gave no unfavourable information against Mehul Choksi when a background check was conducted before granting the billionaire his citizenship.

Surjewala said that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was initiated by late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1985 after signing an accord with Assam and it was Congress’ ‘baby’.

“The NRC is a baby of the Congress party and it will ensure that no Indian citizens is deprived of his legitimate right,” he said.

During the previous CWC meet on July 22, the Congress had laid down its strategy for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The party, which will fight the election under the stewardship of Gandhi, will set up a group to look into forming alliances across the country.

The party also decided on a mass movement to highlight issues including agrarian distress, joblessness, state of the economy, atrocities against Dalits and tribals, attacks on women, foreign policy and worsening internal security and restoration of institutional integrity to take on the BJP-led government.

The members of the new CWC are: Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Motilal Vora, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, AK Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ambika Soni, Oommen Chandy, Tarun Gogoi, Siddaramaiah, Anand Sharma, Harish Rawat, Kumari Selja, Mukul Wasnik, Avinash Pande, K C Venugopal, Dipak Babaria, Tamradhwaj Sahu, Raghuveer Meena, Gaikhangam and Ashok Gehlot.

Source: Indian Express

In a first, Light Combat Aircraft’s naval variant lands on warship INS Hansa deck in Goa, Arrestor Hook trial declared successful

The Light Combat Aircraft’s (LCA) naval variant landed on the deck of warship INS Hansa in Goa, said its maker Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) on Thursday.

“This is the first of a series of engagements planned to prove the arrestor hook capability of the combat fighter,” said HAL Chairman T. Suvarna Raju on the occasion, reports IANS.

The achievement pushes India into a select club of the US, Europe, Russia and China in having the capability of deck-landing by a fighter aircraft.

“Piloted by Captain Shivnath Dahiya, the LCA naval prototype (NP-2) landed safely on the deck of INS Hansa at the naval shore-based test facility in Goa,” said state-run defence behemoth HAL.

The maiden feat involved the pilot making contact of the arrester hook system with the arresting wire at moderate taxi-in speed on the location at the test facility.

The first taxi-in engagement was monitored by the landing signal officer Commodore J.A. Maolankar and test director Group Captain A. Kabadwal (Retd).

The city-based aerospace major’s design wing, Aircraft Research and Design Centre, developed the arrestor hook system for ship-deck operations of LCA naval version.

The LCA naval prototype was integrated with the hook system and has been operating at INS Hansa since July 28 after the landing system was verified in-air operation in Bengaluru on July 23.

The prototype’s carrier compatibility trials are slated at shore-based test facilities, built at the Indian naval base in Goa.

The evaluation involves shore-based trials before embarking on actual deck for the LCA Navy.

State-run Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the military aircraft’s airworthiness certifying agency Cemilac and the Indian Navy worked together for the maiden deck landing.

Source: IANS

Sanatan Sanstha like cancer, a killing agency and breeding ground for murderers, ban it, demands Goa-based Sahitya writer Damodar Mauzo

Goa-based Sahitya writer Damodar Mauzo, who has been provided security cover following intelligence inputs about a threat to his life, in an interview to news agency PTI, says right-wing outfits such as the Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha should be banned as they are like “cancer” for the state.

Asserting that he would continue writing and speaking against such outfits, Mauzo said bullet cannot kill a thought. He is not scared of such outfits, he claimed, but demanded that the Government must not tolerate such “killing agencies”.

Also Read: SIT arrests teacher Suresh Kumar, formerly the prime witness for non-cooperation and misleading the Gauri Lankesh murder probe

The Goa Police recently provided security cover to the 73-year-old Sahitya Akademi award winner following intelligence inputs from the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Karnataka Police, probing the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, about a threat to his life.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

Mauzo said if action was taken against the Sanatan Sanstha in 2009, when involvement of its activists in a bomb blast in Margao was established, then people like Gauri Lankesh, and rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, M M Kalburgi and Govind Pansare would not have been killed.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

Two Sanatan Sanstha workers – Malgonda Patil and Yogesh Naik – had died when the bomb they were ferrying to Margao city in Goa accidentally exploded in November 2009.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

The National Investigation Agency, which was probing the case, had arrested some people having links to the Sanatan Sanstha, a right-wing outfit with its headquarters at Ramnathi village in North Goa district, about 40 km from here.

“I have always been saying that Sanatan Sanstha is a rogue institution. All suspects in the four cases (Lankesh, Kalburgi, Pansare, Dabholkar) belong to this institution, which means that it is a training ground, it is a breeding ground,” Mauzo alleged while talking to PTI.

After the bomb blast at Margao in 2009, the outfit should have been banned. If action was taken at that time, people like Kalburgi, Pansare, Lankesh and Dabholkar would not have died, he said.

“Why do we need such a rogue institution in our peaceful state? I can say bluntly…this is a cancer, which is curable, just remove it and Goa will be free from any fears,” he said, referring to the organisation.

If action is taken against the Sanatan Sanstha, then its sister organisations will also be afraid, he opined.

“For us Goans, peaceful coexistence is so much dear to us and we know its worth. The trust between communities living in Goa has to remain,” he said.

Asked about his ideology, the writer, who won the Sahitya Akademi award for his novel “Karmelin” in 1983, said, “Let others decide what ideology I belong to. I am a humanist and I will always remain a humanist.”

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder shooter Parashuram Waghmore linked to Sri Rama Sene

Mauzo, who played an important role in the 1967 Opinion Poll, a referendum on whether Goa should merge with neighbouring Maharashtra, said the prevailing situation in the state was concerning.

“It is a worrisome situation. For the first time a writer has been threatened in Goa. All Goans should come together and demand that institutions which are against our harmony be banned,” he said.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

Mauzo said though the Sanatan Sanstha has not committed any crime in Goa so far, he is not sure about the future. Alleging that the outfit is a “breeding ground for murderers”, he said action should be taken against it immediately.

This is the time that the government should prove it is working in the interest of Goa and Goans. “Bullet is not an answer, no bullet can kill a thought,” he said.

Also Read: Probe into Gauri Lankesh’s murder reveals links to extremist Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha

Asked why he is on the radar of right-wing outfits, Mauzo, who has written several novels and is also a regular contributor to newspaper columns, said he had closely worked with Kalburgi on ‘Vachana’ literature (about sacred texts) for nearly two years.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder accused confesses to being indoctrinated at Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha other Hindu outfits involved

“But I am not on the radar because of Kalburgi. I am on their radar because I am outspoken and I had pointedly mentioned about the Sanatan Sanstha during the Guwahati Literary Festival (last year) in the presence of the Assam chief minister and also Union minister Prakash Javadekar,” he said.

Also Read: Sanathan Sanstha a nodal agency for radicals involved in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, money for hits, was routed through donations made to Sanstha

Mauzo said at the festival, he had expressed apprehensions about multi-culturalism “which is being thrust upon by perpetrators of mono-cultaralism”. “I have been vocal about such things.”

Also Read: Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha was the main Agency to carry out Killings, Gauri Lankesh was Second on a ‘Hitlist’ of 36 targets

He said he had also delivered a hard-hitting speech at a writers’ forum in New Delhi, which might have disturbed some people.

“When I spoke against the Sanatan Sanstha, they felt pinched and somebody somewhere felt that I should be eliminated,” he claimed.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva outfit including a retired Indian Army Colonel hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot, claims SIT 

Mauzo, however, said he would continue writing and speaking against them.

“If I stop writing or going out fearing the threat, that means they have succeeded. When the police gave me protection,I said give me protection but my freedom should not suffer, there should not be any curbs,” he added.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva extremist outfit hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot

Mauzo is the co-founder and co-curator of the Goa Art and Literary Festival, an annual event that started here in 2010.

According to the SIT probing the Gauri Lankesh murder two  ‘hitlists’ were found in the possession of Amol Kale (36), who was arrested in May. Lankesh’s name was second on a list that  had a total of eight names. Theatre legend Girish Karnad’s name topped the list.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

The other list included 26 targets. Amol Kale, in whose possession the diary was found, is a resident of Pune and a former convenor of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti.

The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti or HJS, registered in 2002, is an offshoot of the Sanstha. The HJS’s stated aim is to establish a ‘Hindu nation’.

Also Read: 36 Targets and 50 Shooters: Gauri Lankesh Murder Suspect’s Diary Reveals Chilling Details

He has been associated with the Sanatan Sanstha for a long time.

Sanatan Sanstha, established in 1999, has been accused in several high-profile killings and 2008 Thane and Vashi bomb-blasts, claims a report in the The Wire.

A member of the organisation is a key accused in the murder of writer and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh shooter kept in house rented by man from Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

The Sanathan Sanstha had also been accused of being responsible for an explosion in Goa in 2009, and for bombings in Vashi, Thane and Panvel in 2007, according to a submission which was part of a plea filed by Vinay Rokade in the Bombay High Court, which sought a ban on the organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Source: PTI

Taxpayers Will Pay 1 Lakh Crore To PM’s Friend For Rafale: Rahul Gandhi taunts favouritism to Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence

NEW DELHI:  Congress president Rahul Gandhi today stepped up his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that the tax payers would have to pay Rs. 1 lakh crore over the next 50 years to “Mr 56’s friend” for maintaining the 36 Rafale aircraft that the country was buying.

Mr Gandhi has been taking a swipe at PM Modi using the “56-inch-chest” remark that the latter had made at elections rallies in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress had also been questioning the prime minister about when he would show that “broad chest” while dealing with Pakistan and China.

“Over the next 50 years, Indian Tax Payers will pay Mr 56’s friend’s JV, 100,000 Cr to maintain 36 RafaleScam jets, India is buying,” Mr Gandhi tweeted.

The Congress chief attached an investor presentation of Reliance Infrastructure, saying there was “truth” in it, which would soon be denied “as usual” by Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in a press conference.

The Congress has been attacking the BJP government over the Rafale deal, alleging favouritism in granting the offset contract to Reliance Defence in violation of the rules. It had accused PM Modi and Ms Sitharaman of “lying” to the nation on the issue.
The party had described the deal as the “biggest example” of crony capitalism and alleged that national interest was compromised. It had also given a notice for breach of privilege in the Lok Sabha against the prime minister and defence minister on the issue.
Source: PTI

OMG! Parrikar says it’s Not Urgent to discuss Formalin-in-Fish issue, as Import Ban already in place

There is no urgency to discuss the formalin-laced or formalin in fish controversy, because import of fish from other states has already been banned, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday, on the sidelines of the ongoing monsoon session of the Goa legislative assembly, whose functioning was disrupted by the opposition on the second-day over this issue, reports IANS.

Also Read: Fish mafia earns a ‘minimum profit’ of Rs 5-10 Cr a month or Rs 120 Cr annually, politicians, senior police officials, bureaucrats are either partners or get the best catch free?

Speaking to media persons, the CM said:

“We have already banned the import of fish so there is no urgency to discuss the issue,” Parrikar said after House proceedings were adjourned till afternoon by the Speaker Pramod Sawant, following protests by the Opposition.

This statement was made in defence of the Speaker’s decision to adjourn the house for the second day, after proceedings were not allowed to proceed by a noisy Oppostion Congress, who demanded a discussion on the Formalin issue.

Also Read: Rs 25 lakh ‘bribe’ paid by inter-state fish mafia to BJP-led Goa Govt to get a clean chit in formalin contamination controversy

The Chief Minister also said that he would be making a statement on the contentious issue on Monday, said the IANS report.

Also Read: Fish Mafia King Maulana Ibrahim Funded and Actively Campaigned for Goa Forward Party During 2017 Elections?

“I have already told the House that I will be giving my response to the calling attention on Monday. I need time because it involves two departments (namely) the Fisheries Department and the Food Drugs Administration Department,” Parrikar said.

Also Read: Should we give FDA Padma Bhushan? Vijai Sardesai slams media & FDA, calls journos ‘prophets of doom’ who made FDA director a ‘heroine’   

The Goa government on Wednesday had imposed a 15-day ban on import of fish from neighbouring states, after Food and Drug Administration officials claimed last week that formalin was being used to preserve fish.

Also Read: Parrikar admits current Goa FDA setup unequipped, understaffed and incapable of properly detecting adulterants in food and fish across the State?

The BJP-led coalition government in the state has been on the back foot ever since the controversy erupted, more so after two cabinet ministers, namely Town and Country Minister Vijai Sardesai and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, tried to downplay the use of formalin in fish, claiming it was within “permissible limits”.

Also Read: Should I look into your stomach? Should I enter your stomach and tell you if fish is formalin free: angry Parrikar retorts

According to IANS, the claim was disputed by several experts including marine scientists at the Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography.

Also Read: Parrikar going soft on formalin-fish issue to protect Minister, Save Govt

Meanwhile, Goa Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo on Friday said that he supported the Opposition on the formalin issue and said that there should be a discussion on formalin in fish issue in the state assembly, reports UNI.

Source: IANS & PTI