Solid defence


Solid defence

It seems to be a case of once bitten, twice shy. The Central Bureau of Investigation, which let arms dealer Abhishek Verma out on bail in 2008 in the Navy war room leak case, is trying hard to ensure that he does not get out of jail this time. After filing a chargesheet against Verma and his wife under the Officials Secret Act last week, the agency is now planning to approach the Delhi court seeking to cancel Verma's bail in Navy war room leak case. CBI has charged that Verma violated the conditions of bail granted in 2008 under OSA and committed a similar offence again. After coming out on bail, Verma floated new companies, forged new ties and enrolled new staff to extract defence secrets.


SENIOR NCP leader Praful Patel's remarks in the Lok Sabha last Wednesday seeking to distance the party from Maharashtra government's nod to FDI in multi-brand retail came as a surprise to Congressmen who claim that Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had taken the approval of NCP chief Sharad Pawar before formalising the state government's stand on this issue. As it turned out, just a day after Patel's hard talk, Chavan had to agree to reinstate Ajit Pawar as deputy CM even though he was said to be in favour of re-inducting him during a cabinet reshuffle a few weeks later. Many Congressmen also pointed out that preparations for the White Paper on Irrigation had started in May with NCP leader Sunil Tatkare being at the helm of state Water Resources and Irrigation Ministry. By the time Ajit resigned as deputy CM in September, much of the substance in the White Paper was already in place.


DURING his speech in the Lok Sabha on the vote on FDI in multi-brand retail, Congress MP Deepender Hooda had tried to provoke the BJP benches by referring to the presence of the Purti group in the retail market of Ambala, Sushma Swaraj's home town. The Purti group is owned by Ajay Sancheti, a close friend of BJP president Nitin Gadkari and a Rajya Sabha MP. Hooda's attempt did not get the desired result, with the BJP letting it pass, but Sancheti did receive kudos from the party after the vote ended in Rajya Sabha on Friday. Sancheti, whose coal blocks were used by the Congress to get even with BJP's charges on coal block allocation scam, voted along the party line. The joke in the BJP later in the day was that Sancheti was probably the only industrialist in the Rajya Sabha, which boasts of several prominent corporates, to have voted against FDI entry. Independent MPs like Vijay Mallaya and Rajeev Chandrasekhar — BJP was expecting both to vote with it — and Parimal Nathwani all supported the government.

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