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    CBI Files Graft Case Against 2 Army Officers For Allegedly Taking Bribes

    The Army had carried out a court of inquiry during which it was found that Rs. 82 lakh were allegedly paid to these two officers by Jai Prakash Singh, a contractor, it said.

    CBI Files Graft Case Against 2 Army Officers For Allegedly Taking Bribes

    Complaint was filed by Brigadier Rajiv Gautam at Army’s 3 Corps headquarters (File)

     

    NEW DELHI: The CBI has filed cases against two Army officers for allegedly taking bribes of over Rs. 82 lakh from a civilian supplier in the procurement of rations for troops posted in Nagaland, officials said on Tuesday.

    The action has been taken on a complaint from Brigadier Rajiv Gautam posted at the headquarters of the Army’s 3 Corps.

    Lt Col Amit Sharma and Lt Col Sutikshan Rana, officers of the Army Service Corps, received bribes worth Rs. 82 lakh between 2012 and 2016 from a supplier of ration, according to the complaint, which also stated that the figure might increase.

    Sharma was commanding officer of the Army Service Corps (Supply) Type ‘C’ at Dimapur from July 27, 2012, to October 15, 2014, while Rana held the position from October 16, 2014, to September 10, 2016.

    The Army had carried out a court of inquiry during which it was found that Rs. 82 lakh were allegedly paid to these two officers by Jai Prakash Singh, a contractor, it said.

    During a seven-month-long preliminary enquiry, the CBI managed to established alleged payments of Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 3.40 lakh from Singh to Sharma and Rana, respectively, the officials said.

     The payments were made through bank deposits of third parties known or close to the family members of Sharma and Rana, they said.

    Trump orders military to withdraw half of its troops from Afghanistan

    WASHINGTON: The Donald Trump administration on Thursday ordered the withdrawal of 7,000 US troops from Afghanistan, a day after an abrupt announcement to pull out 2,000 troops from Syria.

    NYT■ File photo of US Army soldiers overseeing Afghan National Army trainees at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.

    An estimated 7,000 American troops will still remain in Afghanistan after the withdrawal, but only under a cloud of uncertainty given the nature and timing of the US president’s decision – coming just hours after the resignation of defence secretary James Mattis.

    There have been no formal announcements, not even a tweet from the president. But the decision appears to be in line with Trump’s distaste for these military engagements.

    The war in Afghanistan is the longest American military engagement yet, lasting 17 years.

    A spokesman for Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani said via social media, “If they (US) withdraw from Afghanistan, it will not have a security impact because in the last four and a half years, the Afghans have been in full control.”

    The backlash for Trump at home was unsparing. Senator Lindsey Graham, a close ally of Trump, tweeted, “The conditions in Afghanistan – at the present moment – make American troop withdrawals a highrisk strategy. If we continue on our present course, we are setting in motion the loss of all our gains and paving the way toward a second 9/11.”

    Graham had called the Syrian pull-out a “disaster” and a “stain on the honour of the US”.

    Trump had campaigned against these long wars and had vowed to end them after taking the US presidency. His argument – as he said in a tweet on the Syria pull-out move – was that the US cannot be the policeman of the world and it should not be spending money and spilling American blood fighting wars for others.

    An administration official said, according to The Wall Street Journal, “I think it shows how serious the president is about wanting to come out of conflicts. I think he wants to see viable options about how to bring conflicts to a close.”


    Govt allows agencies to monitor computers, sparks privacy fears

    opppn slams Centre; provision was laid down by UPA govt, says Jaitley
    NEW DELHI: The government and the Opposition on Friday sparred over a notification allowing 10 central agencies, including the Delhi police, rights to snoop into anyone’s computer, with Congress president Rahul Gandhi raising the spectre of a “police state” and finance minister Arun Jaitley and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad clarifying that this was merely a repetition of rules passed during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime in 2009.

    Jaitley maintained in the Rajya Sabha that “authorised agencies have right under the law to intercept any attempt to subvert national security, defence, public order or integrity of India”, even as Congress president Rahul Gandhi seized the opportunity to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his tweet that said, “Converting India into a police state isn’t going to solve your problems, Modi Ji. It’s only going to prove to over 1 billion Indians what an insecure dictator you really are.”

    On Thursday, Union home secretary Rajiv Gauba issued a statutory order authorising 10 “security and intelligence” agencies to lawfully “intercept, monitor and decrypt” information through a “computer resource”. It became the latest bone of contention between the Opposition and the government.

    BJP chief Amit Shah hit back at Gandhi. “Yet again, Rahul does fear-mongering and plays politics with national security. UPA put no barriers on surveillance. When Modi govt puts safeguards for citizens, Rahul cries conspiracy,” he tweeted.


    Court relief for ex-IAF chief in chopper case CBI told to cancel lookout circular against Tyagi

    New Delhi, December 21

    A Delhi court today directed the CBI to cancel the lookout circular (LOC) issued against former IAF chief SP Tyagi, an accused in the VVIP chopper scam. Special Judge Arvind Kumar directed the probe agency to inform the authorities concerned about it.

    The CBI had issued LOC — to check if a person who is travelling is wanted by the law enforcement agencies — against Tyagi in 2013.

    The CBI on September 1, 2017, had filed a chargesheet in the case in which Tyagi and British national Christian Michel were named as accused along with others. Eight others were also named in the chargesheet in connection with a bribery case in the VVIP chopper deal.

    Tyagi (73) is the first chief of the Indian Air Force to be chargesheeted in a corruption or a criminal case by the CBI and he has denied all charges against him. On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Italy-based Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP helicopters to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks to the tune of Rs 423 crore by it for securing the deal.

    The CBI has alleged there was an estimated loss of 398.21 million euro (around Rs 2,666 crore) to the exchequer in the deal that was signed on February 8, 2010, for the supply of VVIP choppers worth euro 556.262 million. — PTI


    US ignored Pak nukes in ’70s at China’s insistence: Papers

    Washington, December 21

    The US acceded to Pakistan’s demand to overlook its secretive nuclear weapons programme following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s after Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping convinced Washington to support Islamabad for the “stability” in South Asia, according to latest declassified State Department documents.

    The documents reveal that the then Pakistani dictator Gen Zia-ul Haq and Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping were successful in extracting this price from the US in lieu of Islamabad’s support to America against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

    Deng also convinced the US to start giving more military and financial aid to Pakistan, according to the US Foreign Relations 1977-1980 volume on Afghanistan.

    The voluminous document indicates that both Zia and Deng successfully convinced the then Jimmy Carter administration that India under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi would be pro-Soviet.

    “There are limits on our ability to aid Pakistan because of their nuclear explosive programme. Although we still object to their doing so, we will now set that aside for the time being, to facilitate strengthening Pakistan against potential Soviet action,” the then US Defence Secretary Harold Brown said in a January 8, 1980, meeting with Deng.

    “Pakistan has its own arguments, i.e., India has exploded a nuclear device but the world has not seemed to complain about this. So now you have decided to put this aside and solve the question of military and economic aid to Pakistan. We applaud this decision,” said Deng, who later emerged as China’s top leader.

    He also convinced the US to not equate India and Pakistan when it comes to giving aid. “Regarding India, we have always felt that the United States should try to cultivate good relations, and this has had a good effect. But India is not a stabilising factor. Perhaps you already know the general election results,” he said. He was referring to the then just-concluded parliamentary elections in which Indira Gandhi came back to power with a majority. Observing that Gandhi had got 70 per cent of the vote, Deng said it was very difficult to judge how India will go. — PTI


    IG scale assured for CAPF vet officers after 20 yrs in service

    Vijay Mohan

    Tribune News Service

    Chandigarh, December 21

    The Centre has approved dynamic assured career progression (DACP) for the combatised veterinary officers of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs). Consequently, promotions of veterinary officers from the level of assistant commandant (Vet) to higher ranks will not be based on available vacancies, but on the duration of service, sources said.

    Further, automatic pay scale upgradation to pay matrix 13A and 14 are assured to all officers, implying that every officer is guaranteed promotion to the rank of commandant after 13 years service and the pay level of an inspector general after 20 years of service.

    The DACP will be implemented with effect from April 2002, the date from which the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has implemented an order of the Central Administrative Tribunal passed in a similar case in 2010. The scheme is applicable to officers in the Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Sashastra Seema Bal, Assam Rifles and the National Security Guard.

    According to orders issued by the Home Ministry on December 19, an assistant commandant will be promoted as deputy commandant after four years of service, and thereafter as second-in-command after another five years.

    Promotion to the rank of commandant, equivalent to a colonel in the Army, will be after four years of service in the previous rank, placing the officer in level-13 of the pay matrix. Another three-year service at this rank will place the officer in level-13A, which is equivalent to a Brigadier.

    Thereafter, pay upgradation to Level 14, in which an inspector general of police of a Major General is placed, will be done after four years service at level13-A. If there are no vacancies at DIG or IG level, automatic pay scale upgradation to pay matrix 13A and 14 is assured provided their annual confidential reports are at benchmark.

    Why the move 

    • Aim is to remove stagnation in veterinary cadre of Central Armed Police Forces
    • Paramilitary vet officers are deployed in border locations to look after horses, mules and camels that provide logistic support
    • The officers also look after CAPF dog squads that are used for security cover

    US ignored Pak nukes in ’70s at China’s insistence: Papers

    Washington, December 21

    The US acceded to Pakistan’s demand to overlook its secretive nuclear weapons programme following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s after Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping convinced Washington to support Islamabad for the “stability” in South Asia, according to latest declassified State Department documents.

    The documents reveal that the then Pakistani dictator Gen Zia-ul Haq and Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping were successful in extracting this price from the US in lieu of Islamabad’s support to America against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

    Deng also convinced the US to start giving more military and financial aid to Pakistan, according to the US Foreign Relations 1977-1980 volume on Afghanistan.

    The voluminous document indicates that both Zia and Deng successfully convinced the then Jimmy Carter administration that India under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi would be pro-Soviet.

    “There are limits on our ability to aid Pakistan because of their nuclear explosive programme. Although we still object to their doing so, we will now set that aside for the time being, to facilitate strengthening Pakistan against potential Soviet action,” the then US Defence Secretary Harold Brown said in a January 8, 1980, meeting with Deng.

    “Pakistan has its own arguments, i.e., India has exploded a nuclear device but the world has not seemed to complain about this. So now you have decided to put this aside and solve the question of military and economic aid to Pakistan. We applaud this decision,” said Deng, who later emerged as China’s top leader.

    He also convinced the US to not equate India and Pakistan when it comes to giving aid. “Regarding India, we have always felt that the United States should try to cultivate good relations, and this has had a good effect. But India is not a stabilising factor. Perhaps you already know the general election results,” he said. He was referring to the then just-concluded parliamentary elections in which Indira Gandhi came back to power with a majority. Observing that Gandhi had got 70 per cent of the vote, Deng said it was very difficult to judge how India will go. — PTI


    Big Brother watching Govt overreach encroaches on privacy:::opinion Tribune

    Big Brother watching

    The recent order by the Cyber and Information Security Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs giving 10 Central agencies the power to intercept and monitor information on computer devices has rightly been criticised by a cross-section of society. The order would empower such agencies to access computers of any individual or organisation, giving them the power of ‘interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer’.  Computers are the fulcrum of day-to-day lives and activities of individuals, and allowing any agency unbridled power to snoop over them smacks of an Orwellian overreach. There should be judicial oversight to any situation that requires a security agency to infringe on an individual’s privacy. Due process should never be threatened by the possibility of subversion due to expedience or for any other reason.

    The country has started setting boundaries for international companies by asking them aggressively to locate their data centres in India, and thus curb the flow of information on Indian citizens internationally. Indeed, even financial services like Mastercard have now started purging data on Indian credit card holders from international servers, and there has been some movement in social media sites locating data centres in India. All this is to safeguard the privacy of Indian citizens and save their information from being traded by apps and cyber companies. Any encroachment of privacy is a matter of concern, be it from international conglomerates or the government. Indian citizens have a right to privacy and this must be respected.

    The government’s defence that it has basically modified an earlier order to the same effect is a weak one. The language of this order allows any of these agencies to demand access to data stored in computers of any kind. Not only that, they can ask for the data to be decrypted and monitor data that is transmitted from computers. ‘Surveillance state’ fears expressed by Opposition leaders are real, and it is up to the state and its agencies to reassure the citizens.


    6 militants, including Zakir Musa’s aide, killed in gunfight in Pulwama

    6 militants, including Zakir Musa’s aide, killed in gunfight in Pulwama

    Intermittent firing exchanges are still going on at the gun battle site.

    Tribune News Service
    Srinagar, December 22

    A foreign militant belonging to the Zakir Musa outfit, Ansar Ghazwatul Hind, was among the six militants killed on Saturday in a gunfight with security forces in Tral area of Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir, police said.

    Following information about the militants’ presence, the security forces surrounded Arampora village. “As the cordon was tightened, the militants fired triggering the encounter,” a police officer said.

    Intermittent firing exchanges were still going on at the gun battle site. With agencies 

    2 Army JCOs die in Pak fire along LoC

    Suspecting infiltration, combing ops on

    Majid Jahangir
    Tribune News Service
    Srinagar, December 21

    Two Junior Commissioned officers (JCOs) of the Army were killed in ceasefire violation by Pakistan along the Line of Control in the frontier Kupwara district, officials said.

    While initial indications are that the two were hit by sniper fire, the Army termed it “unprovoked ceasefire violation” by Pakistan, which was retaliated strongly.

    Sources said the incident took place at Jumagund in the Keran sector around noon, when Pakistan troops targeted an Army post manned by 2/8 Gorkha Rifles some 500 metres inside the LoC.

    “In the Pakistan firing, Subedar Gamar Bahadur Thapa, 42, was killed on the spot, and Subedar Raman Thapa, 29, critically wounded. He was shifted to the Army Base Hospital in Srinagar, where he succumbed to injuries,” an official said.

    The Army launched a massive combing operation in the sector as they suspected the violation by Pakistan might have been aimed at pushing infiltrators from across the border.

    “The combing operation is still underway in the dense forest area to see if the firing was carried out to push infiltrators,” a defence official said.  This is the second ceasefire violation along the LoC in Kupwara district this month. On December 6, a soldier, Rajesh Kumar, was killed in truce violation in the Machil sector of Kupwara.

    As many as 89 security men have so far been killed in the line of duty in Kashmir this year. Incidentally, this is the highest casualty figure for the forces in the past decade. Over 235 militants have also been killed this year.


    IAF moves tanks, carriers in display of its airlift prowess

    NEWDELHI:Early last Friday when C-17 Globemasters — the strategic heavy-lift transport aircraft — of the Indian Air Force dipped down mountain peaks and came into land in Leh Airport as a part of Exercise Bahubali, they had a secret load inside their belly – tanks and armoured personnel carriers for rapid troop movements.

    PTI■ IAF generally moves 3,000 tonne a month, but during Exercise Bahubali, the IAF moved nearly 540 tonne in just six hours.Ability to move men and material at a short notice to reinforce Ladakh that shares a long and disputed boundary with China would be a game changer. At another level, Exercise Bahubali also demonstrates India’s ability to rapidly moving troops and equipment over long distances to respond to sudden developments in the Indo-Pacific region. Queries of the Hindustan Times to the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army went unanswered.

    The IAF generally moves about 3,000 tonne a month, however, during Exercise Bahubali, the IAF moved nearly 540 tonne in just six hours, a senior defence ministry official not authorised to speak to media said to explain the significance of the exercise.

    “In a span of six hours, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army moved enough number of tanks, men and spares deep inside Ladakh that can help change the shape of the battlefield,” said a senior defence ministry who is not authorised to speak to the media.

    “Rapid air mobility is a key component of modern warfare. This assumes greater significance in short and intense wars,” Air Marshall NJS Dhillon, senior air staff officer of Western Air Command was quoted saying in a press note issued by IAF later.

    The IAF deployed eight US C-17 Globe Masters, around four Russian made IL-76 – both heavy lift aircraft – and another four Russian made medium-lift aircraft: AN-32. The strategic heavy lift aircraft, which are under the command of the Air Headquarters, were deployed with the Western Air Command.

    The ability to swing resources, for instance, heavy lift assets or fighter jets and deploy them from one sector to another is a reason cited by IAF against theatre command. “We are not against more integration, integration has to happen at the national level,” Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanao said in Jodhpur, where IAF and Russian Air Force are exercising jointly.

    “The fighters you see flying here can be refuelled and deployed in Siachen Glacier or along the northern borders, “but if you tie them down” to a certain geography or a theatre it will hamper our operational edge.”