Skip to main content

Arrest of a military chief ( The Hindu )



Arrest of a military chief DECEMBER 12, 2016 00:02 IST UPDATED: DECEMBER 12, 2016 00:48 IST 

e arrest of Indian Air Force former chief Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi on Friday by the Central Bureau of Investigation is a sobering moment. This is the first instance of a serving or retired military chief being arrested on charges of corruption. The CBI arrested ACM Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan in connection with the purchase order for VVIP helicopters in 2010 for the IAF. In an official statement, the CBI said they were arrested for alleged irregularities in the procurement of a dozen AW101 VVIP helicopters from U.K.-based AgustaWestland, part of the Italian consortium Finmeccanica. The CBI claims that ACM Tyagi “entered into criminal conspiracy with other accused persons and in 2005” to change the service ceiling of VVIP helicopters from 6,000 m to 4,500 m, to make AgustaWestland eligible to participate in the tender. Twelve per cent of the total deal of Rs.3,767 crore is alleged to have been the commission involved. After the allegations first emerged in Italy, an embattled UPA government had moved swiftly to order an investigation in February 2013. The case was handed over to the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate, which have relied substantially on evidence from Italian courts. The case in Italy has witnessed several twists and turns, with a lower court in October 2014 acquitting ACM Tyagi, Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi and others of corruption charges. On April 8, 2016, the Milan Court of Appeal overturned the order, and sentenced Mr. Orsi to about four years in jail. This is not the first time that the name of a retired military chief has come up in a defence scandal. In 1987 the central investigation agencies had raided Admiral S.M. Nanda, accusing him of being a middleman in the sale of German-made HDW submarines to India in the early 1980s. Two decades later the case was formally closed by the CBI, saying no concrete evidence was available. In 2006 the CBI filed an FIR alleging kickbacks in the purchase of the Barak missile system from Israel, naming among others Admiral Sushil Kumar. With extensive use of RTI, he contested the charge, and seven years later the CBI told a Delhi court it couldn’t find any evidence. This is not to suggest that defence deals are all clean. In this case, the Indian hand in the deal has been corroborated by an Italian court. But a case is only as good as its conclusion. And defence deal investigations have a habit of getting complicated by the difficulties in securing the kind of evidence that is required to secure firm convictions. How this case, which has significant political ramifications, plays out, remains to be seen.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

SC asks Centre to strike a balance on Rohingya issue (.hindu)

Supreme Court orally indicates that the government should not deport Rohingya “now” as the Centre prevails over it to not record any such views in its formal order, citing “international ramifications”.

The Supreme Court on Friday came close to ordering the government not to deport the Rohingya.

It finally settled on merely observing that a balance should be struck between humanitarian concern for the community and the country's national security and economic interests.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions, one filed by persons within the Rohingya community, against a proposed move to deport over 40,000 Rohingya refugees. A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, began by orally indicating that the government should not deport Rohingya “now”, but the government prevailed on the court to not pass any formal order, citing “international ramifications”. With this, the status quo continues even though the court gave the community liberty to approach it in …

Khar’s experimentation with Himalayan nettle brings recognition (downtoearth)

Nature never fails to surprise us. In many parts of the world, natural resources are the only source of livelihood opportunities available to people. They can be in the form of wild shrubs like Daphne papyracea and Daphne bholua (paper plant) that are used to make paper or Gossypium spp (cotton) that forms the backbone of the textile industry.

Nothing can compete with the dynamism of biological resources. Recently, Girardinia diversifolia (Himalayan nettle), a fibre-yielding plant, has become an important livelihood option for people living in the remote mountainous villages of the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

There is a community in Khar, a hamlet in Darchula district in far-western Nepal, which produces fabrics from Himalayan nettle. The fabric and the things made from it are sold in local as well as national and international markets as high-end products.

A Himalayan nettle value chain development initiative implemented by the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiati…

India’s criminal wastage: over 10 million works under MGNREGA incomplete or abandoned (hindu)

In the last three and half years, the rate of work completion under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has drastically declined, leading to wastage of public money and leaving villages more prone to drought. This could also be a reason for people moving out of the programme.

At a time when more than one-third of India’s districts are reeling under a drought-like situation due to deficit rainfall, here comes another bad news. The works started under the MGNREGA—close to 80 per cent related to water conservation, irrigation and land development—are increasingly not being completed or in practice, abandoned.

Going by the data (as on October 12) in the Ministry of Rural Development’s website, which tracks progress of MGNREGA through a comprehensive MIS, 10.4 million works have not been completed since April 2014. In the last three and half years, 39.7 million works were started under the programme. Going by the stipulation under the programme, close to 7…