French President Emmanuel Macron Didn’t Contradict Hollande’s Claim On Rafale Deal: Congress

NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader Jaipal Reddy Thursday alleged French President Emmanuel Macron did not contradict Francois Hollande’s claim on Rafale deal which was tantamount to the confirmation of his predecessor’s claim.

Noting that the “Rafale scam has begin to stink and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has begin to sink”, Mr Reddy said India has had a very good relationship with France and “when a former French president says something, this country needs to sit up and take notice”.

Mr Reddy claimed the prime minister is getting caught or sandwiched between international revelations and internal disclosures.

He alleged Anil Ambani’s company was taken as an offset partner because of the pressure from Government of India and it was so intense that the French authorities were left with no choice.

“It is for the first time that the present French president Macron while answering a specific question avoided the question. He simply said I was not incharge at that time. In other words, he did not contradict the version of former French president Hollande,” he claimed.

“The point we would like to highlight is this consistent non-contradiction by the current French authorities which is absolutely tantamount to confirmation on the facts mentioned by the former president,” he claimed.

“The non-contraction by the current president of France is equivalent to an international revelation,” he added.

Mr Reddy said PM Modi owed an explanation to the nation about the statement made by the former president of France on Mr Ambani’s company.

Source: PTI

Rafale Deal: Technical HODs at Dassault Aviation claim Reliance Defence was never the first choice, decision to drop HAL was taken by CEO Eric Trappier at the last minute

In complete contradiction to what an official press statement from the French aviation giant Dassault Aviation, manufacturers of the Rafale fighter aircraft say, two top technical heads at Dassault Aviation (DA) have claimed in an exclusive interview with IndiaScoops.com, that the entire technical staff team at Dassault Aviation were unhappy with the move to drop the Indian PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and go ahead with Reliance Defence Ltd.

Speaking to IndiaScoops.com on phone, the two internal experts pointed out that there was a discussion between officials at DA and several emails were exchanged over a period of 7-8 days. The entire technical team wanted to work with HAL, but the decision was overruled by the top DA management headed by CEO Eric Trappier at the last minute.

Also Read: GOI told us take Reliance or No Deal: Former top Hollande aide stands by ex-President’s statements on Rafale

“We were sure we would be working with HAL and not any other Indian company. At least a 100 emails went to and fro from different departments at DA on the issue. At the last minute, we were informed that HAL was dropped and a new Indian company with whom we had never worked before and which had no expertise in manufacturing fighter aircraft was selected for the job. The entire technical team and our team heads and HODs were shocked. It was a bolt from the blue. But we had to follow instructions. At the end of the day, it’s profitability for the company that matters and if the top management decided to work with Reliance Defence, we had to toe the line. We all knew that the new company had no expertise, no experience. Internally, this issue was discussed among the technical HODs on email and several emails went to and fro. But it was CEO Eric Trappier and a couple of other officials’ at DA who took the decision to go with Reliance Defence,” the officials told IndiaScoops.com.

The decision to drop HAL and go with Reliance Defence Ltd was that of CEO Eric Trappier and two others who mysteriously refused to listen to any advice of the departmental HODs and selected Reliance on the grounds that the deal would be scrapped, they told IndiaScoops.com in an exclusive interview.

“We were told the Indian government would have scrapped the deal if Reliance was not taken on board. (Read Here) Scrapping the deal would mean losses for the company and hence the top management headed by CEO Eric Trappier  took the decision to work with Reliance, even though the in-house technical HODs had vetoed working with a new company having no experience and expertise – this was the official explanation given to the team. The technical HODs told the Dassault Aviation top management that handing over the contract to a new company would compromise and jeopardize the technology and equipment as well as be hazardous for the over-all image of DA as a world-class manufacturer of fighter aircraft. This has been put in writing on several emails, but the final decision by CEO Eric Trappier and two others  was in favor of Reliance Defence,” they told IndiaScoops.com.

IndiaScoops.com has with held the names of the officials concerned to protect their identity as “confidential sources” primarily as they are not authorized by DA to speak to the media, given the fact they head vital technical teams at DA and revealing their identity would violate their employment contracts and also prevent us from accessing further information.

Dassault, one of the world’s most established and experienced defence manufacturers, picked Anil Ambani’s debt-ridden firm as a partner in India, “because it was registered with the MCA (Ministry of Corporate Affairs) and had land in Nagpur which provided access to the runway,” said top sources at the French firm, in a damage control move, speaking to NDTV on the condition of anonymity.

As justification, those reasons are unlikely to tamp down the opposition’s allegations that Anil Ambani benefited from brazen crony capitalism in a massive $8.6 billion deal for India’s purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France, a deal that was negotiated personally and then announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016 during a visit to Paris, reports NDTV.

According to an Economic Times (ET) report, the French government has said it was in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners for the multi-billion dollar Rafale fighter jet deal as former French president Francois Hollande’s reported comments that New Delhi proposed Reliance Defence as the Indian partner for the contract escalated the political row over it.

While the French government said French companies have the full freedom to select Indian firms for the deal, Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale, said it had made the decision to partner with Reliance Defence Ltd, reported ET.

Both the French government and French aerospace company Dassault issued separate and varying statements following a French media report which quoted Hollande as saying that the Indian government proposed Reliance Defence as the partner for French aerospace giant in the Rs 58,000 crore Rafale deal and France did not have a choice.

The sensational comments quoted to Hollande by French publication ‘Mediapart’ gave a new twist to the controversy as the Indian government has been maintaining it was not officially aware of whom the Dassault Aviation has selected as its Indian partner to fulfill offset obligations of the deal.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after holding talks with then French President Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris.

“The French government is in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners who have been, are being, or will be selected by French companies,” the French government said in its statement as quoted by ET.

NDTV reported that Hollande’s office said he stood by his earlier remarks and statements made to Mediapart.

Hollande’s comments drew sharp reactions from the opposition parties in India, which have been accusing the government of massive irregularities in the deal and benefiting Reliance Defence Ltd (RDL) despite not having any experience in the aerospace sector.

According to a report in The Hindu, the former French President Francois Hollande claimed that the Indian government suggested industrialist Anil Ambani’s company as the offset partner for the €7.87 billion deal to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets. Hollande was the French President at the time the deal was signed in 2015.

He told a French news outlet, Mediapart.fr, on Friday that his government didn’t have “a choice” in the selection of Reliance Defence, the company owned by Anil Ambani.

“It is the Indian government which has proposed this service group and it is Dassault that has negotiated with Ambani. We didn’t have a choice, we took the interlocutor that was given to us,” he was quoted as saying.

Repeated assertions
His comments fly in the face of repeated assertions made at the highest level of the Indian government that it was Dassault Aviation (DA) that selected Reliance Defence as its offset partner. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said “no offset contract has been signed so far” and an agreement between two companies did not require the permission of the government.

“As per the applicable guidelines, DA is free to select the Indian offset Partners and provide their details at the time of seeking offset credits, or one-year prior to the discharge of offset obligation,” the government had stated.

Responding to Hollande’s comments, the Defence Ministry tweeted that the statement was being “verified.” “It is reiterated that neither [the] Government of India nor [the] French Government had any say in the commercial decision,” the Ministry said in a tweet.

In September 2016, India and France signed a €7.87 bn agreement for 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition. The deal includes aircraft, spares, weapons, maintenance and performance guarantee for five years. The deal has a 50% offset clause to be executed by DA and its partners. Under this, DA and Reliance Defence have set up a joint venture to manufacture aerospace components.

In a recent interview Ms. Sitharaman denied any government role in the choice of offset partner in the Rafale deal.

She had said, “Isn’t that a decision of a commercial enterprise to take on its own? I have nothing to do with it. I have not prompted them, not led them, not told them, not instructed them. I have not done any match-making whatsoever.”

The Reliance Group had stated that it got the offset contract from DA and did not receive any contract from the Defence Ministry till date.

with inputs from The Hindu and The Economic Times

Nitin Gadkari proposes Mumbai-Bali cruise via Goa, Cochin and Andaman and Nicobar

Panaji, June 12: Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari today said his ministry was working on a cruise route from Mumbai to Bali in Indonesia, via Cochin and the Andaman and Nicobar islands, to boost cruise tourism.

“I have met a minister from Indonasia. We have initiated the idea of having cruise from Mumbai to Andaman Nicobar via Goa and Cochin. The ships can go up to Bali, Indonesia. Indians usually visit Singapore or Bangkok. They can go there directly on a cruise from Mumbai,” the minister told reporters.

Gadkari is on a two-day visit to Goa to attend a meeting of Highways department officials to review the ongoing works across the country.

Gadkari also said the work to widen the Mumbai-Goa highway will be completed by March 2019.

“The work on all the packages on the Mumbai-Goa highway has begun. The work on tunnels has also started. We want to complete the entire road by March next year except a tunnel at Kashedi Ghat in Maharashtra,” he said.

Gadkari said the refurbished highway would be an “engineering marvel” and motorists could enjoy a scenic drive.

The four-lane highway expansion project has been delayed for several reasons, including lack of permission to cut trees. Once completed, the drive from Goa to Mumbai will be just six-hour-long.

Gadkari appealed to common people, politicians, and NGOs to adopt highways by planting trees along them.

“I appeal to all members of public, MLAs, MPs and NGOs to come forward and plant trees along the highways. They should plant the trees and adopt them,” the Union minister said.

Gadkari said he had spoken to Rajya Sabha MP Narayan Rane, who hails from Sindhudurg district in neighbouring Maharashtra, about tree plantation and the latter has assured to implement the same in Sindhudurg taluka.

The minister said the Goa-Mumbai waterway was now opened up for regular boat service.

“We have opened up the Mumbai Goa waterway for boat service. Initially, there were some technical problems for this service, which are fixed now,” he said.

A private shipping company had recently announced its service connecting Mumbai to Goa.

“The successful trial of the ship was also conducted. The service is right now on hold because of monsoon. It will restart after two months post monsoon,” Gadkari said.

The cruise service between Mumbai and Goa is likely to become operational in September this year.

Gadkari said the Central government always encouraged cruise tourism.

“Mumbai gets 80 cruise ships. We have constructed a state-of-the-art terminal for ships. Goa also gets a number of cruise vessels. We expect that in the next five years 950 cruise vessels will be calling the Goa port,” he said.

Gadkari said he would address a workshop of tour and travel companies in Mumbai for which Goan operators are also invited.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 to release 8 GB, 512 GB variant?

According to a new rumor, Samsung might offer a Galaxy Note 9 variant with 8 GB RAM and 512 GB storage. The rumor comes in the form of a tip from Ice Universe, who has a decent track record when it comes to Samsung-related leaks/tips.

The tipster, however, didn’t reveal whether or not the model will be restricted to any particular market(s). Rumors so far had revealed 6GB RAM and 64/128/256GB storage options for the upcoming Note series smartphone (which is similar to the memory configurations the Galaxy Note8 launched with).

We have already had several weeks of intense information with rumours surrounding the Samsung Galaxy S9, the company’s next flagship smartphones, which is expected to be presented at MWC 2018 and put on sale this spring. Well, now new information reveals what would be the memory options of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus.

This week we knew new details about the camera of Samsung Galaxy S9, which could win many entities thanks to the features that the Exynos 9810 processor will bring, which has been just presented by the South Korean giant Samsung.

With mobiles of up to 8GB of RAM since the middle of last year in the market, many wonders if we will see that amount of RAM in the high range of the South Korean giant Samsung, and if the 4GB will finally be dismissed, as well as offering new modes of storage. Well, now from China we hear new rumours about the RAM and storage configurations with which the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus will be launched. It seems that the 4GB of RAM will continue to be present in the high-end Samsung devices, despite having arrived in 2016.

We have already had several weeks of intense information with rumours surrounding the Samsung Galaxy S9, the company’s next flagship smartphones, which is expected to be presented at MWC 2018. However, now according to the latest reports, the South Korean giant Samsung will ship its top variant of the Galaxy S9, of course, the Galaxy S9 Plus with whopping 512GB storage capacity.

We have already had several weeks of intense information with rumours surrounding the Samsung Galaxy S9, the company’s next flagship smartphones, which is expected to be presented at MWC 2018 and put on sale this spring. Well, now new information reveals what would be the memory options of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus.

This week we knew new details about the camera of Samsung Galaxy S9, which could win many entities thanks to the features that the Exynos 9810 processor will bring, which has been just presented by the South Korean giant Samsung.

With mobiles of up to 8GB of RAM since the middle of last year in the market, many wonders if we will see that amount of RAM in the high range of the South Korean giant Samsung, and if the 4GB will finally be dismissed, as well as offering new modes of storage. Well, now from China we hear new rumours about the RAM and storage configurations with which the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus will be launched. It seems that the 4GB of RAM will continue to be present in the high-end Samsung devices, despite having arrived in 2016.

In fact the memory of the Samsung Galaxy S9 would be 4GB of RAM, instead this year it would increase in the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, since it would be 6GB, as in the case of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which has been released in the past 2017 so in the basic version of the new flagship there will be no news of this kind, something that will surely disappoint many. Without any doubt one more difference for which many will prefer to take the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, which will also have a dual camera, instead of the traditional standard model.

Regarding the internal storage of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus would be an interesting novelty. Since there could be a version with no less than 512GB of internal storage, yes, limited to its marketing in some regions, which have not been specified yet.

Otherwise, the available storage would be 64GB and 128GB in the Samsung Galaxy S9, while in the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus would be 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and 512GB, in the latter case as we say only in some regions. In this way, all the news in this aspect would receive the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, while the standard would be a copy of the Galaxy S8.

Nipah Virus Travel Warning: UAE tells citizens not to travel to Kerala

DUBAI:  The United Arab Emirates has asked its citizens to put off unnecessary travel to Kerala, where a Nipah virus infection has claimed 12 lives while at least 40 others are in quarantine, the health ministry said in a statement.

The Nipah virus, which commonly affects animals such as bats, pigs, dogs, and horses, can spread to humans and cause serious illness among humans.

In Kerala, the Nipah virus has so far claimed 12 lives and the state government has stepped up efforts to contain the outbreak.

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) in a statement said that it was closely monitoring the situation.

“The ministry works with its strategic partners to assess the risk of importation of Nipah virus (NiV) cases to the country and put the necessary control measures. Also, Mohap is in continuous coordination with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to implement the global recommendations,” the statement read.

“Mohap alerts the people travelling to Kerala to be aware of possibly of contracting the infection and advises them to postpone unnecessary travel till the situation will be controlled,” it added.

Among the advisories given, the world body has advised countries to enhance surveillance at healthcare facilities including at points of entry and give case definitions among healthcare workers.

It said that Nipah symptoms are not specific and include flu-like illness and hence can be confused with any respiratory illness.

Dubai-based Emirates airlines also issues a statement saying that they are monitoring the situation closely.

“Emirates is aware of recent Nipah cases reported in the state of Kerala, India. The safety of our passengers and crew will always be our top priority, and we are monitoring the situation closely. With regards to preventive or other measures, we will take guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other international bodies. At this time, there are no recommended actions for airlines, ” the statement said.

Colombo Police Not Doing Enough to Nab Absconding Tamil Film Director hiding in Sri Lanka: Avantika Gaokar

A Tamil director who had reportedly fled to Sri Lanka and released a fake video of a Mumbai model and actress is supposedly hiding in Colombo.

The actress has now accused the Colombo police of shielding the director and not doing enough to nab him. “He is moving and travelling about freely in Sri Lanka,” she told a Mumbai-based news channel. Gaokar’s team has appealed to the Sri Lankan media to bring up the matter so that the local police will act.

“He is sending me vulgar and obscene emails from Colombo. The Indian police have submitted the IP address and other technical details of his location in Colombo. Even the make of the mobile phone handset he is using to send the emails is known to the police. Why does it take the Colombo police so long to act. It’s been almost 15 days now and he is not been arrested,” Gaokar’s manager told the news channel.

Mumbai model and actress Avantika Gaokar’s nude pictures were initially leaked online and now the same Tamil movie director has released a fake nude MMS video on YouTube of the actress.

In a statement to a website, Avantika accused a small-time Tamil director Rameshnath Venkat Rao of releasing a nude MMS video on YouTube that he claimed to be of hers.

Calling the video fake, she said the 22-second clip was uploaded on YouTube around Sunday midnight but was deleted within hours after she and other viewers reported it. Rao had earlier threatened to release the clip when Avantika filed a case against the man for allegedly leaking her nude images online, as per the statement.

The accused had reportedly fled to Sri Lanka, after two arrest warrants were issued against him by courts in India.

“I was shocked to learn from my friends that this fraud and conman director after releasing my nude photos has now uploaded an MMS. When I checked it I found that it was fake. It was a video clip from some porn movie and he had simply renamed the video as Avantika Gaokar nude mms. My friends and I, several of us reported the fake video to YouTube using the report option and luckily the video was deleted within few hours. But by then the fake video had got about 2000 views,” Avantika told IBTimes.

The Mumbai-based model had earlier alleged that Rao had fraudulently acquired her nude pictures and sold them to a media house without her permission. She said that the man, claiming to be a casting director, had sought her nude photos saying a Hollywood director wanted to see those for the audition of a Netflix show.

However, the private pictures got leaked online, and after Rao failed to come up with a satisfactory explanation, the model filed a case against him.

Avantika had further said that the concerned Hollywood director had confirmed that he did not ask anyone for any nude pictures, and also the mentioned that the Netflix show didn’t exist in the first place.

All the leaked bikini images of Avantika Gaokar can be viewed here. Avantika’s management confirmed that about 15 raw bikini images have been leaked which were meant to be confidential and private. More images  (See Pics) of Avantika Gaokar in a hotel wearing a red bikini were also leaked today.

ISIS threatens to kill Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at Russia World Cup 2018, 200 jihadi commandos being specially trained for hit

ISIS has threatened to behead Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi at the World Cup in chilling mocked up photos.

The barbarous terror group is repeating calls for “lone attackers” to strike ahead of the tournament in Russia next month. According to an anonymous post about 200 special jihadi ISIS commandos are being trained for strikes on WC 18 venues. 

They have already made a number of sickening threats as they lose ground in Syria and Iraq but have ramped up the violence in their latest campaign.

Sickening mocked up photos show Ronaldo and Messi pinned to the ground by masked jihadis in a packed football stadium.

The vile picture, captioned “Your blood will fill the ground” shows the extremists hacking at the footballers’s heads.

The latest threat was revealed by cyber intelligence firm Sixgill, which monitors ISIS chatter, according to the Mirror.

France’s biggest newspaper Le Monde snubs Narendra Modi, refuses to run interview

A prominent French newspaper Le Monde refused to run Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interview after it was told to publish his written answers and not to interact with him. Le Monde, which is one of the largest newspapers in France, gave the PM a royal snub and decided to boycott the visit of the PM of India to France.  The PM’s office had sent out a ‘press release’ to the news papers and expected the paper to publish an article based on that press release.

Le Monde’s South Asia correspondent Julien Bouissou tweeted, “Le Monde refused to run an interview of Narendra Modi after we were told to publish written answers, and not to interact with him.”

In a face-saving measure, the Prime Minister’s Office later on negotiated an email interview with Le Figaro another equally prominent publication. Modi arrived in France on Thursday night, the first leg of his three-nation tour. During his four-day stay, Modi will hold talks with President Francois Hollande and meet business leaders. The focus of the talks will be civil nuclear, defence and trade.

The two leaders are also expected to unveil Franco-Indian stamps. The highlight of the trip will be a boat ride on the Seine river which is being described as ‘Naav pe charcha’.

In France, the Prime Minister will also visit the World War-I memorial and pay tributes to about 10,000 Indians who lost their lives while fighting alongside France.