Briefing

ITALY

Italian government is probing allegations that chopper manufacturer, Agusta Westland, paid more than Rs 350 crore to a Switzerland based consultant for a deal to sell 12 VVIP choppers to India for Rs 3546 crore. Under the 2006 deal, the delivery of the choppers was supposed to start by this year end. Interestingly, J&K also owns an Augusta (109E) chopper. The twin engine chopper is the state of art which can manage even an aerial attack. How was this chopper purchased? But the incumbent regime should not rush to the court for slapping a libel case because the chopper was approved for purchase by the cabinet led by Mufti Sayeed on May 29, 2005. It cost J&K government US $ 4411500. But were there kickbacks?

SOPOREYasin Malik Distributing Relief among Encounter Victims
Separatists have been mourning deaths and devastation for more than two decades now. Usually, it is a speech or a copy of the holy Quran that the affected was given as consolation. Last week, JKLF leader Yasin Malik created a difference when he visited Sopore where a few houses were destroyed in an encounter. He gave the affected family Rs 2.25 lakh of which Rs 1.25 was raised in Srinagar. The rest was collected from within the town itself. It happened within a week after some families of militants literally blasted the Hurriyat politicians for ignoring them when they required their help in a seminar.

DELHI

Sunanda Pushkar
Sunanda Pushkar

Kashmir understands its share in the cabinet reshuffle differently. It has a son (Dr Farooq), two son-in-laws (Sachin Pilot and Shashi Tharoor) and Ghulam Nabi Azad who is a son and son-in-law in the new cabinet! It was Ms Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor, the Sopore damsel, who got maximum coverage. Her involvement in the cricket racket led to Tharoor’s resignation last summer. Then his girlfriend, they married later and celebrated their marriage anniversary in Dachigam last month. After Tharoor was re-inducted, Narendra Modi termed Sunanda “a Rs 50 crore girlfriend”. Tharoor termed her priceless, making another BJP leader say that Congress should have a “love ministry” for the Kerela novelist. Interestingly, Omar had a different priority. He wanted Prime Minister to retain ‘friend of Kashmir’ Jairam Ramesh in rural development, a wish that was granted. Jairam is now in cabinet.

JAMMU

Police arrested Umesh Kumar, a computer engineer from Churu (Rajasthan) for repeatedly breaching hi-tech security at various Army installations including Nagrota based 16 Corps, Yol Cantonment in Himachal and Military Hospital, Satwari. He had created fake identity card of Army Captain, would don uniform and carry many fake documents including fake pay slips. He was operating from Patiala. While police is investigating motives, he has said he was in love with Yamini, an AMC nurse currently posted at 166-military hospital in Satwari.

 MINAMuhammad and Saafya

Kashmir residents Muhammad and Saafya toiled hard over the last 70 years to perform Hajj. Now that they are in nineties, their dream has come true, a Saudi newspaper reported. They had put their savings inside a red box that had come to be known among their relatives and friends as the box of lifetime journey. Saafiya said she and her husband did not have any children and they have lived alone. When her husband, Muhammad, proposed to her and she agreed, he promised her 70 years ago that he would take her to Hajj. The husband and his wife kept working to raise the money.

 KATHUA

It seems to be the turn of loudmouthed Congressman, Lal Singh, state’s former health minister and an MP now. His brother, Rajinder Singh, alias Bubby, who was recently booked for illegal mining in Kathua stands declared a proclaimed offender for a case of illegal constructions in Lakhanpur. But the larger problem for Singh is a PIL that was submitted to the court over his grabbing of 92 kanals of state land in Karandi village, something that cropped up and was subsequently suppressed in 2006. Petitioner S K Bhalla stated that Singh’s family is in possession of 317 kanals, 16 marlas land acquired through gift and sale deeds by Ms Kanta Andotra, wife of Singh and Kamia, their daughter. The RB Educational Trust managed by Kanta is running Delhi Public School (DPS) from the aforesaid land with a huge farm house in the background.

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