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Amid Rafale row, Rahul Gandhi to meet HAL employees in Bengaluru




New Delhi | Standing in support of state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Congress president Rahul Gandhi will Saturday meet the employees of the public sector unit outside its headquarters in Bengaluru.

The Gandhi scion said there was a need to “defend the dignity of India’s defenders” as he accused the Narendra Modi government of “snatching” the Rafale offset contract from HAL and “gifting” it to Anil Ambani’s company.

“HAL is India’s strategic asset. The future of India’s aerospace industry has been destroyed by snatching #Rafale from HAL & gifting it to Anil Ambani,” the Congress president tweeted.

“Come defend the dignity of India’s defenders. I am in Bengaluru to stand with HAL’s employees. Join me outside HAL HQ, at 3 PM,” he added.

Rahul Gandhi and his Congress party have been attacking the Modi government over the Rs 58000 crore Rafale fighter jet deal alleging corruption and favouritism.


CBI Vs CBI: Alok Verma files his response

Smita Sahu



Exiled CBI chief Alok Verma filed his reply to the Supreme Court today on a probe report given by the anti-corruption watchdog Central Vigilance Commission. The top court earlier today told him to file his response “as quickly as possible” as it would not adjourn the hearing to another date.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was informed by lawyer Gopal Sankaranarayanan, representing Mr Verma, that the exiled CBI director had not yet filed his response with its registry.

“We are not shifting the date. You file as quickly as possible. We will have to read the response,” the bench said.

Mr Verma has challenged the government’s decision to send him on forced leave after he and CBI No. 2 Rakesh Asthana set off an unprecedented rift within the country’s top investigating agency. Both accused each other of corruption; the CBI filed a case against Mr Asthana, who, in turn, wrote to the cabinet secretary and the vigilance chief listing allegations against his boss.

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The saga of the Sterling Biotech fraud

Akhilesh Bhargava



The fugitive Sandesaras, the dubious promoters of the Sterling Biotech Group, which has duped banks of over Rs.8100 crores (it could be much more), and who have run away to

Nigeria, which has no extradition treaty with India, where they have established a huge asset
base, built by looting banks in India, has had companies and offices at British Virgin Islands,
Liechenstein, Seychelles, Dubai and China and whose overseas assets have included oil rigs,
offshore oil blocks and infrastructure for oil evacuation and transportation; yet in India, the
company addresses of this asset loaded multinational group, were located in a chawl, a slum,
in vacant buildings, as also in buildings that did not exist at all. But this is not it. The saga of this fraud has more to it. Mr. Akhilesh Bhargava, Business Editor of HW Business and Finance shares his singhts on the matter.
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Sri Lanka braces for protest over Prime Minister’s sacking




Sri Lanka

Colombo|  Sri Lanka on Tuesday braced for a protest called by ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s party against what it said was a “coup” by President Maithripala Sirisena which has triggered a political crisis in the country.

Sri Lanka, a Buddhist-majority nation in the Indian Ocean, was plunged into chaos on Friday when President Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Wickremesinghe in a surprise move. He also suspended parliament in an apparent bid to shore up support for newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sirisena is under increasing political and diplomatic pressure to reconvene parliament and resolve the constitutional crisis.

Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) is set to hold a protest on Tuesday in the capital, Colombo.

“We are calling upon all sections of the society who believe in democracy and rule of law to gather and protest,” Champika Ranawaka, a former minister said.

Mangala Samaraweera, the ex-finance minister under Wickremesinghe said, “This was a constitutional coup and it is our duty to protect democracy and sovereignty of people”.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya urged the president to let Wickremesinghe prove his majority support on the parliament floor.

The supporters of Rajapaksa, a former president, are confident that he would be able to prove majority support on the parliament floor as they are sure that members of Wickremesinghe’s UNP would defect.

“We are waiting for more UNP members to join us. We have the numbers,” Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, a Rajapaksa loyalist, said.

Wickremesinghe has said that he still commands the majority. However, he suffered a setback after four lawmakers from his party, who had pledged allegiance to him in the public, took a U-turn and accepted ministerial positions in the Rajapaksa government.

“We have the majority despite four of them joining Rajapaksa,” Ranjith Madduma Bandara, an ex-minister, said.

Speaker Jayasuriya has called for a meeting of all party leaders to assess the current political situation. At least 128 members had written to him calling for reconvening of parliament.

Jayasuriya has insisted that the issue needs to be settled within parliament.

The crisis turned deadly on Sunday when the bodyguard of a former cabinet minister fired on a crowd, killing at least one person and wounding two others.

Under Sri Lanka’s constitution, the president, who maintains executive powers, can appoint a new prime minister once the current premier has lost control of parliament.

Wickremesinghe argues he cannot legally be dismissed until he loses the support of parliament. His party, which holds a plurality of seats in the 225-member assembly, was prevented from holding a vote when Sirisena abruptly suspended parliament on Saturday until 16 November.

Wickremesinghe claimed in a Facebook post on Monday he had obtained the signatures of 126 MPs calling for parliament to be returned immediately to end the political standoff.

Both camps are working to secure their numbers in parliament.

Rajapaksa’s tenure as president was marred by allegations of authoritarianism, corruption and human rights abuses, especially against the country’s Tamil minority.

He was defeated at the 2015 presidential elections when Wickremesinghe and Sirisena formed an unlikely coalition, and their government initiated several investigations into alleged Rajapaksa-era crimes.

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