Power play

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 4/11/2019 1:28:10 PM IST

 Coming 24 hours ahead of the first phase of the Lok Sabha polling, the Modi government suffered a big political setback when the Supreme Court on April 10 dismissed the government’s “preliminary objections” of allowing the admissibility of three documents related with the Rafale deal as evidence. The Apex court order came after re-examining the review petitions against its December 14,2018 judgment. The government had used every means including deploying top air force officers to speak in defence of the jet besides rushing off a delegation to have the French issue a clean chit on the deal. The Rafale deal was most elaborately exposed by The Hindu in a series of reports which raised very pertinent questions about how the PMO directly intervened to clinch the deal besides revealing how the seven-member Indian Negotiating Team (INT) concluded that the deal by the Modi government was not on better terms offered by Dassault to the UPA government while negotiating for purchase of 126 Rafale aircraft. Among several other issues, the deal done by the Modi government with Dassault also did not contain any ‘sovereign guarantee’. This is given by a sovereign government (France) to another sovereign government (India), guaranteeing enforcement of the terms and conditions of the contract signed under their auspices. The Modi government only signed a ‘letter of comfort’ with the French which is definitely not on a par with a sovereign guarantee. Loosely, it can be said to be a ‘letter of intent’, as is often used in international contracts. The Indian firm which was made offset partner filed a slew of defamation suits against media organisations, journalists and politicians for raising questions about the Rafale deal. According to The Hindu, the firm had also filed a defamation against The National Herald to the tune of Rs.5000 crore for publishing reports on the Rafale deal in 2018. The review petition in the Supreme Court was filed by former BJP Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie including activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan against the court’s December-14 judgement, in which it dismissed all petitions against the Rafale jet deal. The Modi government had tried to stonewall any probe under the plea by alluding that documents sourced by a newspaper were stolen. The government had claimed “privilege” over the leaked Rafale documents under Section 123 of the Indian Evidence Act and told the SC these papers couldn’t be considered as bases to re-examine its verdict on the controversial Rafale fighter jet deal. The government had also warned media against publishing about the deal under the Official Secrets Act since it involved national security. The Supreme Court has dismissed that contention and will now open the case for further hearing. It was a day of disappointments for Modi when the Election Commission of India (ECI) stopped the release of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s biopic and also ordered a ban on NaMo TV till the Lok Sabha elections conclude. ‘Modi Biopic’, the Vivek Oberoi-starrer film was also strategically planned to be released a week prior to elections. Prior to the biopic, the launch of the NaMo channel created a storm. The BJP capitalised on a grey area in the regulation by calling it an advertising platform to bypass licensing from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. These are setbacks but perhaps Modi is not giving up to ensure he returns to power by all means. 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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