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There’s a scandal, people must know about it: SP Tyagi

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There’s a scandal, people must know about it: SP Tyagi

Former IAF chief Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi on Wednesday refuted allegations that he was paid bribes to swing a Rs. 3,600 crore deal for procuring 12 choppers from Italian firm Finmeccanica to ferry VVIPs. “I am innocent. These allegations are totally baseless and I am denying them categorically. The deal was signed in 2010 whereas I retired in 2007 itself,” he said.
Asked if he had changed any specifications for the contract to favour Finmeccanica, Tyagi said the “staff qualitative requirements for the VVIP choppers were frozen in 2003, much before I assumed the office of Chief of Air Staff, and the IAF did not change any requirements after that.”

Asked about his relations with three alleged middlemen for the deal including one ‘former IAF officer Captain Tyagi’, the former Chief said he was his cousin but their relationship did not go beyond this.

Reports on Wednesday suggested that Italian investigators have alleged in a preliminary inquiry submitted in an Italian court that business conglomerate Finmeccanica bribed S P Tyagi when he was chief of the Indian Air Force to swing the controversial AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal in favour of the company.

After the arrest of Finmeccanica’s head on Tuesday in Italy in connection with the controversial deal, the Defence Ministry here ordered a CBI probe into the charges.

“I have been hit by a thunderstorm,” Tyagi told reporters on allegations that the Italian company had bribed him to swing the chopper deal in its favour.

Another scam unfolded with the arrest of the head of a state-controlled Italian aerospace company that is suspected of paying bribes of about Rs. 362 crore in India to get orders for helicopters to ferry Indian VVIPs, prompting the government to order a CBI probe.

The Ministry of Defence also decided to put on hold the receipt of the remaining nine of the 12 helicopters for which the Rs. 3600 crore deal was struck in 2010.

“Giuseppe Orsi, the head of Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica, was arrested on Monday in relation to a probe into international corruption. He is suspected of involvement in the payment of bribes regarding the sale to the Indian government of 12 helicopters produced by Finmeccanica’s subsidiary AgustaWestland,” Italian news agency Ansa said.

“There is smoke,” Tyagi said while favouring a probe into the deal.

“When I became the Air chief in 2004 and in 2007, I retired, during that period no changes were made.

“According to my information, nothing was done which raises a suspicion from my side. But it is true if there are so many reports, then there is something in it.

“I don’t know what it is but all I can say is that it should be inquired. There should be an inquiry so that all the facts come out. I am not only ready for an inquiry but I want an inquiry,” he said.

“There is a scandal. People must know about it,” Tyagi said.

Asked about the alleged involvement of three of his relatives, he said, “The fact is they are related to me. But there are no business links (as alleged) with them….We were really not in touch when I was in service”.

“Tender was issued during my tenure but the charge is that the company which got the tender, AugustaWestland they may not have been able to compete if the requirements would not have been changed. For these matters only somebody will bribe me.

“So I want to tell you two-three things – Air Headquarters cannot change requirements. It is not a general store, there is a system. The system is Air Headquarter can recommend but cannot approve,” the former Air chief said.

Maintaining that there were no changes between 2004 and 2007, he said, “If you remember in 2000, the Defence Minister was George Fernandes, he use to go to Siachen and other places. So it was thought that VIPS will go to Siachen. So till 18000 feet the plane should operate.

“If Prime Minister accompanies them, SPG will also go. His PS will also go. So what should be its weight and other technicalities. So I don’t know about these things. But there was a talk about 18,000 feet. When in 2000 tender action was taken they got to know that nobody in the world builds a plane that operates at 18,000 feet only. In the entire world, a French plane was there which could operate at 18,000 ft,” he said.

In 2003, Government said it is not proper. SPG said cabin weight of the copter is low and they will not be able to stand in it, he said, adding that the SPG wanted to be involved in the selection process.

These changes were made in 2003 before he took over, Tyagi said.

“After that I know only this much that SPG and Defence Minister had a lot of correspondence on the kinds of fittings in the plane for example SPG wanted to install an armour plate but we said plane will not fly because it will be heavy. It will become a tank,” he said.
-PTI

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CM Jairam Thakur Tests Positive for COVID-19, Quarantined

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HImachal Pradesh CM Tests Positive for COVID-19

Shimla-Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam Thakur, have tested positive for COVID-19 and has been quarantined at his official residence. The report was confirmed by the Chief Minister through a tweet in which he informed that he was under quarantine at his residence after coming into contact with a COVID-19 positive person. On the appearance of symptoms, he got himself tested and the report was found to be positive, he informed.

According to the initial report, the Chief Minister had come in contact with some COVID-19 positive persons in Manali. MLA of Banjar, Surinder Shourie, who was positive for COVID-19 had participated in the event organized on the occasion of the inauguration of Rohtang Tunnel, had also tested positive. Shourie had spent the entire day with the Chief Minister, reports said.

His private secretary had also tested positive, and there are chances that the Chief Minister might have contracted the infection from him. However, there is no certainty regarding the contact who infected the Chief Minister.

Other than Chief Minister, three Cabinet ministers – Urban Development Minister Suresh Bharadwaj, Power Minister Sukh Ram Chaudhary, Jalshakti Minister Mahender Singh- have tested positive so far.  Over ten MLAs have already tested positive and some of them have recovered too.

Meanwhile, despite community spread, the testing and tracing seem to have fallen and the fatality rate has witnessed a steep rise. Till 12 pm today, the COVID-19 death tally for the state was 245, and the total number of cases registered was 17414. But these are official statistics and these numbers are likely to be much higher. 

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Himachal: COVID-19 Kills 59 in 9 Days, Govt Still Clueless About Actual Number of Cases

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Himachal PRadesh Jairam Thakur

Shimla-COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc in Himachal Pradesh as the death tally spirals upward rapidly. Currently, 240 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Fifty nine of these deaths have been reported during the last nine days of October month, which is quite alarming. But contrary to that, the attitude of the state government, as well as, the public is becoming more casual. The SOPs issued by the government are hardly being followed anywhere. The fact that with the community spread, the cases of COVID-19 are falling in the official information released by the state Health Department.

On October 9, the Department traced only 199 cases but reported seven deaths. The total number of active cases was cited to be 2856. The deceased included three females and four males aged between 49 -75 years. View details of the deceased in the below-given table:

Shimla-covid-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

The total number of cases, as per the official statistics, had reached 16977 till yesterday evening (9 PM). But these are official statistics and the real number is likely to be much higher due to a community spread. Similarly, the actual number of COVID-19 deaths could be higher than the official statistics. Despite it, the state government is reluctant to release any projection regarding the real numbers. No statements have been issued regarding the current situation and strategy to combat the rising fatality rate. Rather, the state appears to be refraining from bringing up the matter.

The oppositions, HP Congress and CPI (M), are targeting the government over its failure to combat the spread of COVID-19. However, this opposition is quite feeble and hasn’t resulted in any reforms in the attitude of the government.

In a statement to media, Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla and a senior CPI (M) leader, said that the rise in fatalities is the result of the government’s lackadaisical attitude. The suicide committed by a positive patient at the DDU COVID-19 hospital is evidence of it, he said. He said this approach has endangered health lives of ministers, officials, and the staff at their offices. Further, he said, health staff, paramedical staff, and police staff are getting infected, and even losing lives due to the government’s unpreparedness.  The government had even compromised the safety of the Prime Minister and Education Minister by violating norms set regarding COVID-19, he said.

HP Congress chief, Kuldeep Rathor also expressed shock over the presence of COVID-19 positive MLA of Banjar, Surender Shourie, in the event organized for the PM. He alleged that by violating all norms, the MLA concealed information regarding his COVID-19 positive status and did not quarantine himself, which reflects the state government’s attitude toward management of the corona pandemic. He had demanded registration of an FIR against Shourie and action against erring officials.

Sanjay Chauhan, further said that the government did not prepare itself to combat the pandemic the way it was expected to. The people of the state had followed the lockdown and sacrificed their livelihood with a hope that the government would prepare itself during this period to combat the spread and to strengthen the health infrastructure and services. But instead, the government indulged itself in making people clap and beat ‘thalis’.  The Chief Minister adopted and preached unscientific practices like performing a ‘havan’.  Despite a steep rise in fatalities, the government is still not serious about the situation, he said. 

He said the CPI (M) demands that the government starts working on war footing to prepare a strategy by involving health experts, strengthening the health services by recruiting doctors, para-medical and other staff, and constitute a task force to deal with the situation. The government should work diligently on following the norms set for prevention from COVID-19, he added.  

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Shocker for Himachal as Ex-CBI Chief & Governor Ashwani Kumar Found Dead at His Shimla Residence

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Himachal IPS Officer Ashwani Kumar found deat in shimla

Shimla-Ashwani Kumar – 1973 IPS officer from Himachal Pradesh cadre who had served as the Director-General of HP Police (2006-2008) and CBI chief (August 2008 to November 2010), and was later appointed the Governor of Nagaland in 2013-was found dead at his residence in Shimla on Wednesday evening. The news came as a shocker as Kumar was considered as one of India’s finest and honest officers.

Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Mohit Chawala, in statement to news agencies, confirmed the report. According to the initial report, he reportedly hanged himself and ended his life. However, no formal statement was issued regarding the suicide. According to the police, a suicide note was also recovered from the spot. However, the note was yet to be verified.

Kumar was a well known name as he had dealt with famous cases including that of Arushi Talwar murder and fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in which current Home Minister Amit Shah was arrested in 2010.

He was one of the first appointees made to resign from the post of Governor, Nagaland, as soon as the current ruling party came into power in 2014. He also remained Governor of Manipur for a short period of time. After his retirement, Kumar was serving as the Vice-Chancellor of a private university in Shimla.

The officials who have served under Aswani Kumar have expressed shock over his demise in such a manner. 

Director-General of Police, Sanjay Kundu, and a team of medical staff was rushed to the spot. More details are awaited as the district police have not issued any formal statement regarding the incident.

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