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Saturday, 14 April 2012

From Today's Papers - 14 Apr 2012
ED books Vectra boss Rishi for money laundering

New Delhi, April 13
A money laundering case has been registered against Vectra chief Ravinder Rishi and his firms by the Enforcement Directorate to probe alleged generation of illegal funds in the defence deal between Tatra Sipox UK and defence PSU BEML.

The agency has registered the case after gathering initial details of the probe from the CBI and other official channels and it is set to question few people including Rishi in this regard.

The Enforcement Directorate, according to sources, is probing if these defence deals and those involved in the execution of the agreements had 'off the book' or overpriced transactions leading to generation of illegal funds. — PTI

Tatra deal probe

    The Enforcement Directorate is probing the alleged generation of illegal funds in the defence deal between Tatra Sipox UK and defence PSU BEML
    The agency has registered the case after gathering initial details of the probe from the CBI and other official channels and is set to question Vectra boss Ravinder Rishi and others
India, China to kickstart maritime dialogue
To resume talks on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 13
Giving a major push to the normalisation process, India and China today decided to resume dialogue on disarmament and non-proliferation and shortly kickstart their maritime dialogue between them.

The two countries had last discussed the disarmament and non-proliferation issue in 2003.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna today held wide ranging talks with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on the sidelines of the RIC (Russia-India-China) foreign ministers’ meet in Moscow.

Official sources said the two ministers also agreed to work out the contours of the dialogue on Central Asia, West Asia and Africa. They also reviewed the activities chalked out for the ‘Year of India-China Friendship and Cooperation’.

Krishna also raised the case of the Indian traders in Shanghai who are involved in a commercial dispute and suggested that the matter be brought to a speedy and satisfactory resolution.

There was a wide-ranging discussion on various issues which we are on the agenda of the UN Security Council, including on Syria and North Korea. They agreed that it was important for their Permanent Missions in New York to work together on these issues in the next few days.

Meanwhile, the RIC foreign ministers, in a joint communiqué, said it was their common task to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons and contribute activity to strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

The three ministers reaffirmed the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including the Security Council, with a view to making it more effective, efficient and representative. Russia and china reiterated the importance they attached to the status of India in international affairs and supported its aspirations to play a greater role in the UN.
AFT reserves order on Maj Gen’s promotion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The Armed Forces Tribunal today reserved its orders in the case of Maj Gen TS Handa, who has alleged a bias on the part of Gen VK Singh, first in his capacity as the Eastern Army Commander and later as Army Chief. He said the “bias” led to him not being empanelled for promotion to the rank of lieutenant general despite an outstanding career profile.

Maj Gen Handa had moved the Tribunal about seven months ago, stating that when he was posted as the General Officer Commanding of the 57 Mountain Division, the attitude of Gen Singh, then Eastern Army Commander and the senior reviewing officer of his annual confidential report (ACR), led to him being awarded a “displeasure” and a “lukewarm” ACR.

He contended that he was targeted because he had refused to change the date of birth of the Army Chief in official records while he was posted in the Military Secretary’s Branch at Army Headquarters prior to proceeding to the North-East.

During arguments, Central Government counsel Capt Sandeep Bansal averred that there were no specific allegations of bias in Handa’s petition and his contentions were his personal perceptions. While pointing out that the allegations were not levelled against the Army Chief in the non-statutory complaint, he said these were added as an after-thought to the statutory complaint filed with the Central Government.

While arguing that Handa’s challenging the order on his non-empanelment and the marks awarded in his ACR were barred by limitation, Bansal contended that ACRs assess performance during a specific period and past performance does not guarantee future good performance. He also added that as per records, all of Handa’s ACRs were above average.
Indian Army fast-tracks air defence guns' purchase
New Delhi, April 13 — Exactly a month after army chief Gen. V.K. Singh highlighted gaps in the country's defence preparedness in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, India decided to fast track purchase of air defence guns for its forces and has called for information from global firms in this regard.

Gen. Singh had written to the prime minister on March 12 and on April 11, the army's air defence directorate issued a Request for Information (RFI) to air defence gun manufacturers seeking details of their products so that a tender document could be prepared.

Gen. Singh had said in his letter that 97 percent of the air defence guns in the Indian Army inventory were obsolete.

"The army air defence directorate has issued the RFI, as it plans to procure air defence guns having a caliber of more than 30mm," an officer in the army headquarters said here Friday.

"This RFI has been issued with a view to identify probable vendors who can undertake the said project. The original equipment manufacturers/vendors have been requested to forward information on their product which they can offer the Indian Army," the officer added.

The air defence guns that the army is looking for should be capable of engaging air targets during both day and night, with or without a fire control system, and should be transportable by broad gauge rail rakes.
Parliamentary panel to query service chiefs, but not on April 20
New Delhi, April 13 — The three armed forces chiefs will be questioned on the gaps in India's military preparedness but not on April 20 as has been reported in the media, the parliamentary standing committee on defence said Friday.

'We have not invited the three service chiefs on April is media speculation...but we may seek their valuable views on the issue in the future,' committee chairman Satpal Maharaj of the ruling Congress told IANS.

Sources said the panel wants to invite all the three chiefs on a single day and not separately. That meeting would happen on a date on which the three service chiefs are available, the sources added.

Taking serious note of the gaps in defence preparedness, the parliamentary panel had April 9, decided to summon the three chiefs to clarify the actual state of their readiness in case of a war but no date was decided.

The decision was taken after panel members, cutting across party lines, wanted to known the present state of affairs as far as India's defence preparedness is concerned.

The need to seek the views of the service chiefs was felt by the panel after a 'top secret' March 12 letter from Army chief Gen. V.K. Singh on deficiencies in the equipment of key fighting units such as infantry, artillery and armoured corps was leaked to the media.

The parliamentary panel had taken serious note of the gaps in the armed forces' weapon systems and sought an explanation from army vice chief Lt. Gen. S.K. Singh April 9.

Earlier the same day, Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma had told the panel that the media reports of two key army units moving towards the national capital without prior notice raising an alarm among the top brass of the nation's security was a wrong inference of a routine training drill.

According to sources, Sharma had told the panel that the army had not violated any standard operating procedure and that there was no need for any prior notice to the government for such an exercise to be carried out.

Sharma was asked to clarify a report in the Indian Express in the first week of April that claimed two key army units - from an armoured division in Hisar and a para brigade in Agra - had moved towards Delhi, 'spooking' Raisina Hill, the seat of the Indian government.
Bribe claim: Two Colonels to help CBI study Tatra deal
New Delhi: The Ministry of Defence on Thursday appointed two Indian Army officers of Colonel rank to assist the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the probe into the Tatra-BEML deal, said sources.

According to sources, the officers will help the investigating agency in understanding the documents related to the Tatra-BEML deal.

The CBI had sought the help of the Ministry of Defence saying it needed expert assistance to understand some of the contracts and documents related to the deal.
Bribe claim: Two Colonels to help CBI study Tatra deal

Meanwhile, the CBI has sought an appointment with Army Chief General V K Singh on his letter detailing the Rs 14 crore bribery offer to by former officer Lt General Tejinder Singh to clear the purchase of sub-standard all-terrain vehicles for the forces.

Lieutenant General (retired) Tejinder Singh, who allegedly offered the bribe on behalf of Tatra trucks, will also face the CBI officers after the investigating agency meets the Army Chief. The CBI will try to get more details from the Army Chief on the allegations levelled by him against Lt Gen Tejinder Singh.

General VK Singh will be asked why he delayed complaining about Lt Gen Tejinder Singh's alleged bribe offer. The Army Chief would also be asked to explain why no immediate action was taken by him on the bribe offer.

Senior CBI officers involved with the investigation feel that the matter involves the Army Chief and another very senior Army officer, and so they should study all the details of the case and proceed accordingly. They have also sought the opinion of Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati on the allegations.

On March 26, in an interview to English daily, the Army Chief had alleged that he was offered a bribe to clear a tranche of Tatra trucks. The Army Chief and a press release by the Army Headquarters hinted at the involvement of Lt Gen Tejinder Singh.

General Singh said that he had informed Defence minister AK Antony about the bribe offer. Antony ordered a CBI inquiry into the allegation after the matter came to light.

Refuting the allegations Lt Gen Tejinder Singh filed a defamation case in the Patiala House against General Singh and four other senior Army officers. The court will give its order on April 21 whether or not to summon General VK Singh.

Besides General VK Singh, he has also named Vice Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General SK Singh, Lieutenant General BS Thakur (Director General Military Intelligence), Major General SL Narshiman (Additional Director General of Public Information) and Lieutenant Colonel Hitten Sawhney.

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