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Thursday, 19 July 2012

From Today's Papers - 19 Jul 2012
Defence Ministry defends CBI probe in Adarsh scam

Mumbai, July 18
Terming the Maharashtra Government's objection to a CBI probe into the Adarsh scam as "illegal and malafide", the Defence ministry today rejected the ruling by a state-appointed judicial panel that the land on which the controversial building stands belongs to the state.

In an affidavit filed in the Bombay High Court, the ministry made it clear that it has not accepted the judicial commission's ruling settling the ownership of the plot in favour of the state governent, dubbing it as "completely flawed".

"Dispute over the ownership of the land is not yet over. The commission’s report is not binding on either the government or the court. The Ministry of Defence has not accepted the report.

"The report of the commission is completely flawed, contrary to the evidence on record and is made on patently incorrect interpretation of law," the Defence Ministry said in an affidavit filed before a Division Bench of Justices S A Bobade and Mridula Bhatkar.

The Maharashtra Government and Adarsh Society have contested CBI's jurisdiction to probe the alleged scam on the ground that neither the state nor the high court had handed over the investigation to the central agency, as required under the law.

The CBI launched its probe into the scam on the direction of the Defence Ministry after an inquiry by the Army Chief. It formally registered an FIR in January last year. — PTI
Pak role in promoting terrorism
Military unlikely to allow change in policy
by G. Parthasarathy

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has quite correctly made it clear that he will visit Pakistan in response to invitations he has received if there are prospects of tangible results emerging from such a visit. His announcement followed the visit of Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani to India to carry forward the much-touted “composite dialogue process”. The very fact that we are carrying on with this “dialogue process” is a concession made to Pakistan. India agreed to this dialogue in 2004, only consequent on a categorical assurance from the then President of Pakistan, Gen Pervez Musharraf, that he would not allow any “territory under Pakistan’s control” to be used for terrorism against India — an assurance that was buried by the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai.

Despite evidence available from the trial of David Headley and Tahawwur Rana in Chicago and from the testimony of Ajmal Kasab, confirming the role of ISI officials in the attack, Pakistan has remained in a denial mode about the involvement of either LeT chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed or the ISI in the meticulously planned and executed attack. This posture of injured innocence has been maintained even after Saudi Arabia, coming under American pressure, decided to deport Syed Zabiuddin Ansari aka Abu Jundal to India despite Pakistani pleas of his being a Pakistani national, who had visited Saudi Arabia with a Pakistani passport and other identity documents.

Ansari is singing like a canary, corroborating what others have said about the involvement of ISI officials in the Mumbai carnage, both from a “Control Room” near Malir Cantonment in Karachi and in earlier training and planning exercises for the attack. Jilani, not surprisingly, turned belligerent when questioned about the statement of Home Minister P. Chidambaram alluding to new information about ISI involvement.

Just how realistic is it to expect any change in policies by Pakistan on the state sponsorship of terrorism? It is now known that after crossing the Durand Line in 2001, Osama bin Laden lived in Peshawar and then moved to Haripur, near Islamabad, before moving to his mansion located in the heart of Abbotabad cantonment. Two of Osama’s three wives accompanied him to Abbotabad. His first wife Khairiah joined him in 2011. Osama fathered four children from his fourth wife Amal, a favourite, while in Pakistan. Two of his children were born in government hospitals. He lived with three of his wives, eight children and five grandchildren in Abbotabad. Yet, the Pakistan army still claims that it had no idea of Osama’s stay in Pakistan! The 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, in which 250 people were killed and 700 injured, were planned and executed by the ISI, using Mumbai mafia don Dawood Ibrahim as the executor. Dawood lives in the elite Defence Housing Society of Karachi despite his being sought by the US Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI for financing of international terrorism through drug money. Pakistan, of course, blandly denies that it knows anything about Dawood’s whereabouts!

There is no reason to believe that Pakistan’s elected government is in a position to compel its powerful military to change course on backing terrorism in India and Afghanistan. Its Parliament elected a Punjab politician, Raja Pervez Ashraf, as the country’s 25th Prime Minister on June 22. President Zardari’s first choice to succeed Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was yet another minister, who like Gilani, was a leader from southern Punjab, Makhdoom Shahabuddin. Interestingly, a court served an arrest warrant on charges of corruption against Shahabuddin virtually within 24 hours of his preparing to file his nomination. Judicial activism in Pakistan can be very selective politically, with the Supreme Court Chief Justice himself mired in controversy over the financial indiscretions of his son! Moreover, Prime Minister Pervez Ashraf himself faces charges of corruption for his actions during his tenure as Minister for Water Resources and Power. It appears inevitable that the Supreme Court will stir up action on corruption charges against the newly elected Prime Minister and also attempt to compel him to act on its demand that he should obtain details of President Zardari’s Swiss bank accounts — a demand that Ashraf will inevitably decline to act on.

Under the 20th Amendment to Pakistan’s constitution, the elected government makes way for a neutral “caretaker” government when general elections are announced. It appears that by the end of this year Pakistan will be headed for elections following the appointment of a caretaker government, whose composition could be a source of considerable controversy. In case there is no consensus in Parliament on the composition of the “caretaker” government, its composition will be decided by the Chief Election Commissioner. Political parties have, however, acted wisely in nominating a highly respected Judge, Justice Fakhruddin Ebrhaim, to be the next Chief Election Commissioner, reducing the possibility of the army or the judiciary subverting the electoral process. The 2013 elections are, however, likely to produce a split verdict, despite the army’s support for Imran Khan.

Adding to this uncertainty is the prevailing opposition to the “deal” with the Americans on reopening NATO supply routes, even as drone attacks across the Durand Line continue. The army is under pressure on two fronts. Firstly, it cannot just reconcile the contradictions between hunting with the American hound and running with the Taliban hare. Secondly, having brought the jihadi groups under the umbrella of the “Difah-e-Pakistan Council” led by the likes of Maulana Samiul-ul-Haq and Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, it cannot entirely do a u-turn on its backing jihadi groups’ activities in India and Afghanistan. In any case, there is nothing to suggest that the army as an institution wants to give up the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy.

The clear enunciation of Indian policy on Siachen by Defence Minister A.K. Anthony, which requires an agreement with Pakistan on “determination, delineation and demarcation” of the existing ground positions before we can even consider discussions of a troop pullback has convinced the Pakistani military that India will not agree to anything which encourages them to undertake another Kargil-style misadventure. It remains to be seen if in these circumstances Pakistan’s elected government will be permitted by the military to move ahead on issues like expanding people-to-people contacts, or promoting two-way trade and economic relations. India, therefore, needs to move ahead in improving its internal security structures and capabilities so that it does not repeat the earlier mistakes it made after it got indications in 2008 of a possible sea-borne terrorist attack on Mumbai.
Bomb strikes at core of Syria regime
DAMASCUS: A suicide bomber struck Wednesday at the heart of Syria's top command, killing three of President Bashar al-Assad's security chiefs in an attack claimed by rebels who warned of more carnage to come.

The bombing, which an official blamed on a bodyguard attending a meeting of security chiefs at their Damascus headquarters, prompted US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta to warn that Syria was "spinning out of control."

The attack, which targeted Assad's inner core for the first time in a 16-month uprising, came ahead of a showdown between the West and Russia and China over a draft UN resolution calling for sanctions that now appears to have been pushed back by a day to Thursday.

A Syrian security official told AFP the bombing was carried out by a bodyguard of one of the ministers or security chiefs at the meeting. The attacker had been wearing an explosives belt.

The blast killed fefence minister General Daoud Rajha, Assad's brother-in-law Assef Shawkat and General Hassan Turkmani, the head of the regime's crisis cell, state media said.

Among those wounded were Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar and General Hisham Ikhtiyar, head of National Security.

The rebel Free Syrian Army claimed the attack, which came as its fighters battled Assad loyalists across Damascus for a fourth straight day.

The FSA command "announces the good news of the outstanding operation this morning that targeted the National Security headquarters and the killing" of the officials "responsible for barbaric massacres," it said.

The rebels said the attack, part of Operation Damascus Volcano launched on Monday, "is the first in a series ... aimed at bringing down Assad and the pillars and symbols of the regime, whether civilian or military."

Defence Minister Rajha, a Christian, was the highest-ranking officer in the army under Assad's overall command.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights called Shawkat's death "a severe blow to the Syrian regime since he played the main role in operations by regular forces to crush the revolution."

State television said Assad had appointed Fahd al-Freij as new defence minister, while the military said the "terrorist act increases the armed forces' determination to clean the country of terrorist groups."

The attack came a day after the FSA -- comprising army defectors and civilians who have taken up arms -- declared that its battle to "liberate" Damascus had begun and warned the government to "expect surprises."

'Syria spinning out of control'

Columns of black smoke rose over the capital on Wednesday as troops shelled the districts of Qaboon and Barzeh and fighting raged across the capital, activists said.

"Qaboon is surrounded by tanks, and regime forces are shelling the quarter from all sides," the Union of Coordinators of the Syrian Revolution said on Facebook.

The Local Coordination Committees -- a grassroots activist network -- reported fighting in Al-Midan and Zahira districts, and loud explosions in the western suburb of Mashrou-Dumar.

Outside the capital at Jdaidet Artuz, but still in Damascus province, blasts and the sound of gunfire could be heard in the area, where electricity supplies had been cut off.

Northwest of the city near the border with Lebanon, troops bombarded the town of Zabadani, said the LCC.

In Washington, Pentagon chief Panetta said the situation was "spinning out of control" and that international community must "bring maximum pressure on Assad to do what's right, to step down and to allow for that peaceful transition."

France also said the attack showed the urgent need for a political transition.

"The situation in Syria is worsening day by day as the violence intensifies. Bashar al-Assad must understand that his struggle to retain power is futile and that nothing will stop the Syrian people's march to a democratic future," foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.

Russia demanded the arrest and strict punishment of those behind what it called an "act of terror."

"We expect the organisers of the act of terror in Damascus to be identified and for them to face their deserved punishment.

"We see the events as another attempt to further destabilise the situation in Syria," the foreign ministry said, calling on both Assad and the Syrian people to reassess the situation and seek a peaceful compromise.

Moscow had earlier given notice it would not back the Western-drafted UN resolution on the crisis.

"Now the Damascus Volcano, the battle for the capital and a decisive battle have been declared in Syria. Adopting the resolution would mean outright support of a revolutionary movement," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

In contrast, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Syria was tipping into chaos and collapse, and that a strong UN stand was needed to push for a transition.

"This incident, which we condemn, confirms the urgent need for a Chapter VII resolution of the UN Security Council on Syria," said Hague.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged the council to unite and take action on the "very serious" situation after meeting President Hu Jintao of China, which has twice joined Moscow to block resolutions critical of Damascus.

The current 90-day UN mission in Syria ends on Friday, and if no resolution is passed by then, it would have to shut down this weekend, diplomats say.

According to British diplomats, UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has asked the Security Council to delay the vote calling for sanctions.

But even so, the United States announced on Wednesday that it was slapping 29 members of the Syrian regime with a new set of sanctions of its own.;-indian-army-secret-documents-recovered/976181/
Pakistani spy arrested in Delhi; Indian Army 'secret' documents recovered
A man has been arrested for allegedly working for a Pakistani intelligence agency and was found in possession of secret documents relating to Indian army which were to be supplied to an "agent" of Pakistan High Commission here.

Zubair Khan, a resident of Kakrala village in Uttar Pradesh, was today remanded in two-day police custody after he was produced in the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Manish Yaduvanshi by the crime branch of Delhi Police which had arrested him yesterday.

The police told the court that on July 17, on receipt of secret information, Zubair was apprehended near parking gate of Kalindi Kunj Park here.

When he was searched, confidential documents and photographs pertaining to Indian army were recovered.

During his interrogation, Zubair disclosed that he was working for a Pakistan intelligence agency and was in contact with some officials of Pakistan High Commission here and that the recovered documents were to be handed over to that agent of the Commission, police told the court.

The police said the Zubair has to be interrogated at length to unearth the entire conspiracy and also to identify the persons who had supplied him the secret documents.

"As per the disclosure statement of the accused, custodial interrogation of the accused is required not only to apprehend the co-conspirators but also to interrogate him in detail to unearth the whole conspiracy pursuant to which the accused was stateted to have been found in possession of documents which are secret documents pertaining to the Indian army," the ACMM said.

The court then granted police his custody for two days as against the requested five days.
Adarsh scam: Army counters Maha govt on CBI role
Mumbai: Observing that it would first deal with the issue of whether or not CBI has jurisdiction to probe the Adarsh Housing society scam, the Bombay High Court Wednesday directed the society to file a reply to an application by Defence Ministry challenging the objection raised against CBI probe in the matter.

Maharashtra government and Adarsh society had last month filed affidavits in the high court stating that CBI has no jurisdiction to probe the matter as the land where the 31-storey building stands belongs to the state government.

"We will first deal with the jurisdiction issue," a division bench of Justices S A Bobade and Mridula Bhatkar said.

The state government in its affidavit said it had not consented for CBI probe in the matter.

"The judicial commission set up to probe the alleged scam has submitted that the land belongs to state government hence local police has jurisdiction to probe the matter," government had said in its affidavit.

The Defence Ministry today filed an application in the high court raising objection to the state government's claim that CBI had no jurisdiction to probe the matter.

"Dispute over the ownership of the land is not yet over. The commission's report is not binding on either the court or the government. The Ministry of Defence has not accepted the report. The report of the Commission is completely flawed, contrary to the evidence on record and is made on patently incorrect interpretation of law," the defence ministry said.

The defence affidavit termed Maharashtra government's objection to CBI probe as "illegal and malafide".

The bench today directed Adarsh society to file its reply to defence ministry's application by August 3.

The court was hearing a batch of public interest litigations filed by social activists Simpreet Singh and Pravin Wategaonkar seeking monitoring of the investigation by the high court.

The affidavit of Defence Ministry said, "The state government since last year has not taken any objection to CBI probe in the matter. The high court on several hearings since a year has rapped CBI for its slow probe and directed it to carry on investigations."

"The CBI has also filed reports before the court. The government on all these occasions did not raise objection," it said.

The Defence ministry further claimed that it has the biggest stake in the matter and has suffered huge loss as a result of the "fraudulent and illegal" transfer of the land by the state government.

At the last hearing, the Court had allowed the Ministry of Defence to intervene in the PILs and asked it to file its response to Maharashtra government's stand that CBI cannot probe it.

Accordingly, the Ministry filed an affidavit today.

The Maharashtra government and Adarsh Society have contested the CBI's jurisdiction to probe the alleged scam on the ground that neither the state nor the high court had handed over the investigation to the Central agency, as required under the law.

The PILs have sought monitoring of the probe by the high court and invoking provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the case.
Key Indian Army, IAF commanders meet; talk synergy
New Delhi, July 16 (IANS) In the first such effort, the commanders of the Indian Army's and the IAF's swordarms that defend most of the western frontiers with Pakistan met one-on-one here Monday to discuss better coordination between their forces and beefing up security in the region.

The Indian Army's Chandimandir-based Western Commander, Lt. Gen. Sanjeev Chachra, called on the Indian Air Force's Subroto Park-based Western Commander, Air Marshal Arup Raha, to discuss their respective formations' operational readiness and means to achieve jointness, a defence ministry official here said.

'This is first such meeting between the commanders of the two spearhead formation of the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force since they assumed their respective appointments recently,' the official said.

'The two commanders had several rounds of discussions with the command staff on numerous operational aspects,' he said.

The two officers had taken over their appointments last month.

The Western Army Command and the Western Air Command work closely on a day-to-day basis on a wide spectrum of operational issues.

A deep operational synergy exists within the two formations to ensure real-time sharing of information and optimum utilisation of resources be it air defence networks and assets, sharing of intelligence inputs or fine-tuning operational plans.

The Western Air Command is also similarly engaged with the Udhampur-based Northern Army Command and the recently-formed Jaipur-based South Western Army Command.

The Western Air Command has a unique role in support of the three operational army commands. The challenging task entrusted upon the Western Air Command is supported by the advance headquarters of the Western Air Command, headed by Air Vice Marshal P.N. Kaushik and is co-located with the Western Army Command in Chandimandir.

An army ground liaison section located at the Western Air Command headquarters in Subroto Park, headed by a colonel, provides a reciprocal support for the army formations.

This unique section has played a significant role during operations in the past. The section is active throughout the year and supports operations of three army commands associated with the Western Air Command.

Lt. Gen. Chachra and Air Marshal Raha termed their meeting as 'a continuation of the operational jointness between the two formations'.

'Such visits are aimed at appreciating mutual concerns, constraints, dynamics and synergy in the operations amidst an ever changing security scenario,' the defence ministry official added.
Russia To Take Delivery Of BrahMos Missiles From India
Our BureauViewed: 524 times
Wed, Jul 18, 2012 09:57 CET
      The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, an Indo-Russian joint venture, currently being built in India, will soon be delivered to Moscow.

      The decision to supply the missiles to Russia comes after a meeting between Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony in New Delhi.

      India, has already inducted BrahMos into the Indian Army and Navy, and is urging Russia to induct the 290 kilometer range missile.

      Rogozin, who was visiting the BrahMos complex in New Delhi, was briefed about the capabilities of the different variants of the Indo-Russian missile.

      BrahMos was conceived as a joint venture between India and Russia in 1998. The air version of the BrahMos is still in the development stage.

      Meanwhile, Antony has asked the Russians to keep to the delivery schedule of the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya which is now on sea trials after a refit at Russian shipyards and is now expected to reach India by July 2013.

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