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LIVE: After Rahul's Middleman Charge Against PM, Jaitley Asks How Many Lies to Sustain Sinking Dynasty | February 12, 2019, 4:24 PM IST
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LIVE Updates: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a press conference in Delhi, accusing him for acting like a middleman of businessman Anil Ambani in the Rafale deal after a media report stated that Ambani met French defence officials before the PM announced the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from France.

Springing to PM's defence, Arun Jaitley questioned how many more lies will be peddled to save a "sinking dynasty". He further alleged that many of the senior leaders of the grand old party lack the courage and moral authority to advise the dynasts to "change course". Defending the Rafale deal, he said where thousands of crores of public money has been saved, a new falsehood was being manufactured on a daily basis.
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Feb 12, 2019 1:11 pm (IST)

Congress President Rahul Gandhi used a fresh media report to allege that PM Narendra Modi had acted as a “middleman” for industrialist Anil Ambani in the Rafale fighter deal and accused him of violating the Official Secrets Act (OSA)

Feb 12, 2019 12:08 pm (IST)

Rahul Gandhi alleges 'conflict of interest' in the CAG report on the Rafale deal

Feb 12, 2019 12:01 pm (IST)

Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2 PM amid uproar by SP  members.

Feb 12, 2019 11:54 am (IST)

As Rahul Gandhi finishes reading out a email that alleges the signing of an MoU ahead of the PM's visit to France, he goes on to slam the pending CAG report and calls is "worthless. " CAG report is for the chowkidar and by the chowkidar. The gentleman who is making the CAG report is party to these decisions," Rahul Gandhi adds. 

Feb 12, 2019 11:47 am (IST)

The PM Acts as a Middleman for Anil Ambani, Says Rahul | Continuing his speech, Rahul Gandhi says, "It seems like the Prime Minister is acting as the middleman for Anil Ambani in the Rafale deal. The PM is doing what spies do, he is under oath to protect secrets related to national security and this is a clear violation that should put him in jail, Rahul Gandhi says, as he goes on to highlight the fact that the email clearly suggests that Anil Ambani was aware of the deal 10 days before it was even inked. "PM is now answerable to the people of India," he says.

Feb 12, 2019 11:45 am (IST)

"Ambani’s meeting was described by Salomon to a top official of a European defence company as “confidential and planned as you can imagine with very short notice”, Rahul says. "Ambani, according to an official who was briefed on the meeting, expressed his wish to work with Airbus Helicopters on both commercial and defence helicopters. He is also said to have mentioned a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) 'in preparation and the intention to sign during the PM visit,' he adds. 

Feb 12, 2019 11:43 am (IST)

Anil Ambani Was Aware of Rafale Deal, Alleges Rahul | Rahul Gandhi is addressing a press conference on the CAG report on the controversial Rafale Deal, at the Congress headquarters in New Delhi. Gandhi is quoting from that Indian Express report, which states that in the fourth week of March 2015, about a fortnight before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from France, businessman Anil Ambani visited then French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s office in Paris and had a meeting with his top advisors,

Feb 12, 2019 11:32 am (IST)

Lok Sabha adjourned for nearly 20 minutes amid slogan shouting by opposition members. 

Feb 12, 2019 11:21 am (IST)

Just hours before the Rafale deal and the crucial CAG report on the same is taken up in the parliament today, Kapil Sabil in a tweet has once again launched an attack at the centre. "It seems Airbus , French Government , Anil Ambani all knew that the PM will sign an MOU on his visit to France between 9th and 11th April , 2015 ," he writes, along with an attachment of a mail that spells out the details. "The government's lies are now exposed," he adds

Feb 12, 2019 10:32 am (IST)

All of this is being played out at a time when the saffron party is hoping to make big electoral gains in West Bengal. Its aim is to use the Bill to consolidate the Hindu vote in its favour in this Eastern state as the party seeks to improve its vote share and tally in the coming Lok Sabha polls.

Feb 12, 2019 10:20 am (IST)

Decision To Award Bharat Ratna Cheap Thrills": Bhupen Hazarika's Son | The government had been hoping that the Bharat Ratna conferred on the late Bhupen Hazarika would placate protesters in Assam, but the legendary singer-composer’s son on Monday lashed out at the Centre, terming the award “short-lived cheap thrill” amid plans to pass the “painfully unpopular” bill.

Feb 12, 2019 10:12 am (IST)

Political parties have been protesting on the grounds that the bill seeks to grant nationality to non-Muslims who have come up to December 31, 2014, thereby, increasing the deadline from 1971 as per the Assam Accord of 1985. Also, according to the Assam Accord, all illegal immigrants who have come after 1971, irrespective of their religion, have to be deported and this bill violates that.

Feb 12, 2019 10:11 am (IST)

The government has gone ahead with the bill despite its ally in Assam, the Asom Gana Parishad, pulling out of the NDA in protest and several others threatening to do so. On Monday too, chief ministers of two northeast states, Arunachal Pradesh's Pema Khandu and Manipur's N Biren Singh, voicing their opposition to it to Singh on Monday.

Feb 12, 2019 10:09 am (IST)

Section 144 Imposed in Imphal After Protests Jolt Manipur | Section 144 has been imposed in Imphal and all internet services were suspended on Monday night, as massive protests jolt the state capital. On Sunday, at least six women were injured when police fired tear gas shells at a group of people who had gathered to protest against the bill in Imphal. The violent protests against the Bill continued on Monday and the police used tear gas to dispel the agitators. 

Feb 12, 2019 10:09 am (IST)

Protests Against th Bill Engulf the States of Northeast | Widespread protests have engulfed states in the northeast after the government passed the Bill in the Lok Sabha during the winter session on January 8. Illegal migration is a sensitive issue in the northeast, where tribals and other ethnic communities wish to keep out the outsiders. The Bill has rekindled an old fear among the indigenous Assamese people that their cultural identity would be diluted if Bengali speaking outsiders are given legal sanction to settle in their state.

Feb 12, 2019 10:08 am (IST)

Citizenship Bill to be Tabled in Rajya Sabha Today | On the other hand, the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to provide citizenship to six minority groups from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, will be tabled in the Rajya Sabha by home minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday amid protests in northeastern states against it. The government is making one last effort to push this Bill through the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, the penultimate day of last parliament session before the Lok Sabha elections. But it is likely to be met with protests by the opposition.

Feb 12, 2019 9:49 am (IST)

The Congress has been demanding that the pricing details of the fighter jets be made public - a demand rejected by the government citing a secrecy clause in the inter-governmental agreement with France. The party's chief Rahul Gandhi has repeatedly targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that the centre scrapped a deal for 126 Rafale jets negotiated by the previous Congress-led government and entered an expensive new contract for 36 jets just to help Anil Ambani's defence company bag an offset partnership with Rafale-maker Dassault.

Feb 12, 2019 9:47 am (IST)

Pariality of CAG Rajiv Mehrshi Questioned | Opposition parties have also questioned the impartiality of the current CAG, Rajiv Mehrshi, in the audit, as he was an official in the Finance Ministry during the Rafale negotiations. This has provoked Congress allegations of conflict of interest. The Finance Ministry on Monday, however, issued a statement that such an accusation was “totally a figment of imagination and stretch of facts”.

Feb 12, 2019 9:46 am (IST)

The CAG findings will be tabled amid media reports that say that the Prime Minister’s Office conducted parallel negotiations with France on the Rafale deal had “undermined” the position of the Indian Negotiation Team, and that the government had waived crucial anti-corruption penalty clauses in the deal days before the inter-governmental agreement was signed.

Feb 12, 2019 9:45 am (IST)

CAG Report to Mask Details on Pricing, Say Sources | Officials working with the CAG's office have said that a copy of the report is with President and three copies are with the finance ministry. CNN-News18 has learnt that the CAG has prepared the report in two volumes. Volume one deals with 10 air acquisitions while volume two deals with the Rafale deal. The two volumes have been printed together.  A CAG officer on the condition of anonymity, said the  price of the 36 Rafael jets will be masked (redacted) in the CAG report. "We have two reasons to mask the price. One national security and second the contract signed between government of France and India about non-disclosure of prices, " he said.

Feb 12, 2019 9:43 am (IST)

CAG Report on Rafale Deal of 36 Jets May Get Tabled Today | Amid new revelations that anti-corruption clauses in the Rafale deal with France were waived by the government, a report by national auditor CAG on the Rafale deal for 36 fighter jets is likely to be tabled in Parliament today. However, according to sources, the report does not mention pricing, the subject on which the government is facing massive opposition allegations of corruption. The CAG report - officially called Capital Acquisitions for Air Force - will be submitted just a day before the end of the  parliament session, which is the last before the national election due by May. 

LIVE: After Rahul's Middleman Charge Against PM, Jaitley Asks How Many Lies to Sustain Sinking Dynasty
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi flashing the alleged email that says that A Ambani met the French Defence Minister prior to PM's visit.

Gandhi's attack came a day after the CAG report on the controversial 2015 Rafale jet deal was submitted to the government. It is expected to be tabled in the Lok Sabha soon. The Congress, claiming that CAG Rajiv Mehrishi has conflict of interest, says the document will "not be worth" the paper it is written on if the "overt acts of malfeasance" in the contract are ignored in it.

The opposition had turned up the heat on the Narendra Modi government ahead of elections after media reports said the Rafale deal between India and France involved "major and unprecedented" concessions from the Indian government. Former minister and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal has also alleged conflict of interest on the part of CAG Rajiv Mehrishi, asking him to recuse himself from auditing the deal as he was the finance secretary when the deal was negotiated.

The Rajya Sabha, meanwhile, is bracing for chaotic scenes as the controversial Citizenship Bill, which has sparked violence protests in the northeast, awaits passage. The bill provides for according Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after seven years of residence in India instead of 12 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any document.

The government had been hoping that the Bharat Ratna conferred on the late Bhupen Hazarika would placate protesters in Assam, but the legendary singer-composer’s son on Monday lashed out at the Centre, terming the award “short-lived cheap thrill” amid plans to pass the “painfully unpopular” bill.
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