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News18 Daybreak | Political Slugest Over CAG's Rafale Report and Other Stories You Need to Watch Out For

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Updated:February 15, 2019, 4:39 AM IST

What to Watch Out For

CAG report on Rafale deal gets tabled in Parliament; raises questions on Centre’s claims

Political slugfest over the Rafale deal continues, with the much-awaited Comptroller and Auditor General’s report being tabled in the Parliament on Wednesday.

The report has created quite a buzz as it actually contradicts several of the Centre’s claims on the fighter jet acquisition deal between India and France.

Claims and contradictions: The government had in January said that the new negotiated price is 9% cheaper than the one chalked out by the UPA in 2007.

The CAG report, however, says there is no difference between the two bids when actual escalation factors are considered, and any savings due to the difference in adjusted inflation rates would have been part of the 2007 offer as well.

CAG also notes that the deal signed under the NDA waived off bank guarantee allowing Dassault to make a savings of an unspecified amount in ‘bank charges’.

Overruling Law Ministry’s advice on seeking sovereign guarantee, the PM-led Cabinet Committee on Security accepted a ‘Letter of Comfort’ from the French government.

A bank guarantee is automatically invoked in case of breach of contract, but with the new deal providing for no such safety-net, India would have to sit for direct arbitration and legal resolution with Dassault.

According to the report, the Indian government had also procured 13 enhancements, despite the Indian Air Force’s objections, which made the deal more expensive.

Another contradiction was spotted in the delivery schedule as the new deal advances the delivery schedule only by a month, despite the “urgency” of acquisition cited by the government when scaling down the contract from 126 to 36 fighter jets.

He said she said: While noting that the report has “demolished” the government’s defence on the pricing and faster delivery, Rahul Gandhi criticized the report for not mentioning the dissenting note by negotiators.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Gandhi called the report a “cover-up” and added that it “was not worth the papers it was written on”.

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad hit out at the Congress chief and demanding an apology. “SC order and CAG report on the Rafale jet deal has exposed his lies”.

Union Minister Arun Jaitley also slammed the leader in a series of tweets, saying the “lies of ‘Mahajhootbandhan’ stand exposed… It cannot be that the Supreme Court is wrong, the CAG is wrong and only the dynasty is right”.

Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Mahagathbandhan leaders in talks over pre-poll alliance

Opposition leaders who held a 'Save Democracy' rally against the Centre on Wednesday announced that a pre-poll alliance is in the works. "We'll work together at the national level. We'll have a common minimum agenda. We'll have a pre-poll alliance," said West Bengal CM and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee. The leaders - Congress’ Rahul Gandhi, Aam Admi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal and Telugu Desam Party’s Chandrababu Naidu held a meeting at the residence of Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar. The Congress chief took a swipe at the Centre and asserted the need for the common minimum programme to “defeat the BJP”.

Another meeting between the leaders is slated to take place on the 26th of the month. Prior to the meeting between the opposition leaders, the Aam Admi Party held a rally in the national capital in which its leader and Delhi CM hit out at the PM Modi for “trying to tear apart the Constitution and destroying the democracy”. The rally was attended by Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu, National Conference's Farooq Abdullah, and CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury.

Mamata Banerjee with Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal.

Delhi-Centre Tussle: SC expected to announce verdict on services, ACB

Amid the ongoing tussle between the Centre and the Aam Admi Party-led government in Delhi, the Supreme Court is expected to give its order on the plea against notifications related to control over services, setting up of Commission of Inquiry and power of Anti-corruption Bureau in Delhi. The conflict arose after the landmark 2018 judgement which held that although Delhi cannot be accorded the status of a state, the powers of the Lieutenant Governor (LG) are limited and s/he has to act on the aid and advice of the elected government. Soon after, the L-G at the time - Najeeb Jung, in a statement said that he would still continue to control services prompting the petition in the Supreme Court.

What You May Have Missed

AIADMK-BJP alliance almost cemented, OPS’ big hint in Assembly Session

AIADMK coordinator and Tamil Nadu’s deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam (OPS) on Wednesday hinted at a pre-poll alliance with the BJP. During a heated exchange between the AIADMK and the Congress inside the state Assembly, Paneerselvam said, “Since the Congress-DMK alliance is done and spoken about, there is no question of AIADMK planning or exploring the possibility of going for the polls alone.” Multiple sources from the AIADMK and the BJP could also confirm that talks are on between the two parties and there is no question of the party contesting alone like it did in 2014. The last few weeks have seen several of the party’s senior leaders air diverse views with Lok Sabha deputy speaker Thambidurai and senior leader C Ponnaiyan expressing their reservations about a tie-up with the BJP.

14 students AMU sedition slapped with sedition after altercation with TV crew

Fourteen students of Aligarh Muslim University were booked for sedition on Tuesday evening after an altercation with Republic TV crew. The students were charged on the basis of complaints filed by Bharatiya Janata Party Yuva Morcha district leader Mukesh Lodhi and a Republic TV correspondent. The BJP leader in his complaint alleged that he was attacked amid a row between Hindu and Muslim students. The Republic TV correspondents said that they were attacked in a separate incident. Several students, however, opposed these allegations saying that the altercation took place after the TV crew made provoking remarks about AMU being a “university of terrorists”. Sharjeel Usmani, a final year student of the institute also filed counter-complaints against Lodhi and the news channel correspondent and rubbished claims of communal conflict.

Rajasthan government passes bill granting 5 per cent quota to Gujjars and four other communities

The Rajasthan Assembly on Wednesday passed a bill granting 5 per cent reservations to the protesting Gujjars and four other communities in jobs and educational institutions. The bill seeks to increase the backward classes' reservation from the present 21 per cent to 26 per cent with five per cent reservation for the Gujjars, Banjaras, Gadia Lohars, Raikas and Gadaria. The Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla has however said that they will read the bill before calling off the protest, which is on its seventh day today.

Visuals from a protest site. (Image: ANI)

SP patriarch Mulayam Yadav wishes PM Modi a second term on last day of the Budget session

The Samajwadi patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav wished PM Modi a second term as the Prime Minister on the last day of the budget session as the country heads to general elections. With Sonia Gandhi seated beside him, Mulayam stood up and said, "I would like to congratulate the PM on trying to work with everyone. I hope that all members win the elections again and you get elected as the Prime Minister.” Sonia Gandhi kept a straight face all through, while PM Modi smiled and acknowledged the wishes with folded hands. The SP leader’s statement is sure to cause embarrassment to the present Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh, who recently firmed up an alliance with BSP to take on the BJP in Uttar Pradesh.

News18 Elections Lab: As polls get expensive, here's where political parties are investing and spending their money

There’s no denying the fact that elections are an expensive affair in India. The investment that a political party makes on propaganda to stand a chance of a shot at power has witnessed a manifold increase with each election in India in the past decade. But what about the individual parties? How much has the BJP or the Congress spent in the last three general elections? Read Fazil Khan’s analysis in the fourth instalment of Paisa, Polls and Politics to find out.

On Reel

Scientists are warning that human activity could bring about the largest extinction event on earth for millions of years. This follows a global scientific review of insect numbers that combines 73 studies from around the world.


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