Newsletter Oct 12, 2018




A French news website has added a fresh twist to the Rafale deal by questioning as to how Anil Ambani-led Reliance got into a joint venture with Dassault Aviation.

Citing internal documents from Dassault — the makers of Rafale — the website ‘’ reported: “A senior management figure of the French group (Dassault) told staff representatives that the joint venture with Reliance was agreed as ‘compensation’ in the Rafale deal and that it was both ‘imperative and obligatory’ for Dassault in securing the contract.”

Dassault in a statement has denied the charge, saying it had ‘freely chosen’ India’s Reliance Group for a partnership to set up joint-venture Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL) to manufacture parts for Rafale aircraft and Falcon 2000 business jets.

In his fiercest attack so far on the government over the deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was corrupt and should resign if he could not respond.

Gandhi alleged that Modi had given a contract of Rs30,000 crore to industrialist Anil Ambani who is in debt.

The Congress chief also questioned the visit of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to France, saying she had gone abroad to “put pressure on Dassault and silence them”. “What can be a clearer message?” he asked.

The BJP in turn accused Rahul Gandhi of mocking national security and said he is trying to build his political career by spreading lies on the Rafale fighter jet deal. BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra said the Congress president himself comes from a family of middlemen.


Joining the growing chorus against sexual harassment triggered by the #MeToo campaign, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said Thursday that women are taking a “big risk” by speaking out and should not be judged. However, on the allegations levelled against Union Minister of State M J Akbar, Irani said it is for the “gentleman himself” to respond.

“Do not judge those who are speaking out right now. They are mothers, daughters and wives. They are taking a big risk and it must be very difficult for them to speak out,” Irani said at a FICCI event in Mumbai. Asked about the allegations against Akbar, she said, “It is for the gentleman in question to issue a statement. It would not be proper for me to comment because I wasn’t present.”

Akbar is the first politician among several prominent individuals who stand accused of sexual harassment by women who are part of the #MeToo movement that is sweeping Indian media, films and entertainment. Akbar, who was in Nigeria with a trade delegation and will be travelling to Equatorial Guinea, has been accused by at least seven women of sexual harassment and assault.

Sources in the government said that Akbar is expected to return by Sunday and he will be given a chance to defend himself and present his side of the story.

The BJP continues to officially remain silent and party spokesperson Sambit Patra said he would not comment on the issue.


The World Bank on Thursday released its first report on Human Capital Index (HCI), which placed India at the 115th position, lower than Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Singapore topped the poll after it was highly rated for its universal healthcare system, education exams results and life expectancy figures, as per the HCI released by the World Bank. It is followed by South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Finland. The report ranked 157 economies on parameters like child mortality, health and education. In a statement, the Finance Ministry said the HCI score for India does not reflect the key initiatives that are being taken for developing human capital in the country.

“The Government of India, therefore, has decided to ignore the HCI and will continue to undertake its path breaking programme for human capital development aiming to rapidly transforming quality and ease of life for all its children,” it said. The Finance Ministry statement said the government has taken various initiatives for transforming human capital in India touching lives of millions of people living in rural and tribal areas.


On a day when the benchmark indices, BSE Sensex and NSE’s Nifty 50, closed over two per cent lower amid a sell-off in global markets, the government hiked import duty on around 15 items up to 20 per cent, effective Friday. The latest step follows an earlier move to hike customs duty on 19 items, including air-conditioners and refrigerators, from 10 per cent to 20 per cent.

The latest hike mainly targeted communication items.

The late evening decision came after a sharp fall in stock, bonds and rupee markets, with traders cautious ahead of retail inflation and Index of Industrial Production data due Friday.

For the first time in six quarters, the balance of payments turned negative in the April-June quarter – a deficit of $11.3 billion, compared to a surplus of $11.4 billion last year.

The rupee has lost more than 13 per cent since the beginning of 2018. On Thursday, the rupee hit yet another record low of 74.45 against the US dollar. The BSE Sensex crashed 1,030 points to slip below the key 34,000-mark in the opening trade, tracking a global sell-off as. The Sensex ended 759.74 points, or 2.19 per cent, lower at 34,001.15.

In the global markets, the biggest stock slide since February impacted indices from the US through Europe and Asia on Thursday, triggered, in part, by fresh fears over countries imposing controls on global trade. While China’s Shanghai Composite gauge tumbled more than 5 per cent intra-day, the losses in the European stock markets were far more subdued. Oil prices fell to a two-week low as global stock markets slipped.





 Pakistan is seeking its largest loan package of up to $8 billion from the IMF to bail itself out from a severe balance-of-payments crisis that threatens to cripple the country’s economy, a media report said on Thursday.

The IMF could place strict conditionalities, forcing Pakistan to seek additional loans for meeting those restrictions and this could expand the loan facility to $12 billion, said the report in the Dawn newspaper.

Pakistan has received more than a dozen financial support packages from the IMF in the past. It completed the last three-year package of $6.4 billion in August 2016, which was 216 per cent of Pakistan’s quota at the IMF.

The US will evaluate on merit a bailout package sought by Pakistan from the International Monetary Fund, the State Department said Thursday.



 Africa’s youngest billionaire was kidnapped Thursday morning by gunmen in Tanzania’s economic capital Dar es Salaam, officials said.

Mohammed Dewji, 40, who heads the MeTL Group which operates in about 10 countries with interests in agriculture to insurance, transport, logistics and the food industry, was snatched as he entered the gym of a hotel in the city.

“Initial information indicates he was kidnapped by whites travelling in two vehicles,” regional governor Paul Makonda told journalists, adding that “this kind of incident is new here”.

Dar es Salaam police chief Lazaro Mambosasa also implicated foreigners in the crime during a press conference, adding they had “shot into the air” before bustling Dewji into their car.



 “There are good doctors in Pakistan”, Supreme Court Chief Justice Saqib Nisar told Pervez Musharraf on Thursday as he directed the Dubai-based former dictator to appear before the apex court to record his statement in the treason case against him.

General (retd) Musharraf, 75, who has been living in Dubai since 2016, is facing the treason case for suspending the Constitution in 2007. The former army chief left for Dubai in March 2016 for medical treatment and has not returned since, citing security and health reasons.

The chief justice’s cryptic remarks came as he headed a bench hearing the case related to National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), passed by Musharraf in 2007.

The NRO granted amnesty to politicians and other individuals by quashing various corruption and criminal cases against them so they could return to the country. A conviction for high treason carries the death penalty or life imprisonment.





As Cyclone Titli made landfall near the Andhra Pradesh-Odisha border Thursday morning, at least seven people were killed in Andhra’s Srikakulam district when trees and polls uprooted by high-speed winds fell on them.

In Odisha, officials said Mission Zero Casualty — a target set by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to prevent loss of human life — had been achieved. However, PTI reported late in the evening that an eight-year-old boy drowned in a canal in Ganjam district. Six people from two families were reported to be missing and efforts to trace them are on.

Andhra Pradesh officials said five people were crushed under falling trees or poles in Tekkali division, one in Palakonda division and another in Srikakulam division. Heavy rain left several areas

CM N Chandrababu Naidu has directed district officials to focus on relief measures and restoration of power and communication lines. “Every hour is crucial now and care should be taken to prevent spread of diseases,’’ he said in a tele-conference with officials.

NDRF and SDRF teams have been deployed in Srikakulam and the neighbouring Vizianagaram districts. As a precautionary measure, Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation has suspended services in Srikakulam district. The NH-16 stretch passing through the district was closed to traffic as a precautionary step.


The 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, touted as the next face of the Tibetan struggle, for the first time held meetings with Trinley Thaye Dorje, who was earlier recognised by India as the ‘real’ Karmapa, in a rural location in France, according to a statement.

Government sources said the meeting reflects change in New Delhi’s stand by ironing out the differences between the two leaders and to ensure the return of the 17th Karmapa to India. Ogyen Trinley Dorje, recognised by the Dalai Lama and majority of Tibetans as Karmapa, had left India earlier this year for the US. He has imposed conditions on India for his return, including relaxation in travel restrictions within and outside India.

Trinley Thaye Dorje is a claimant to the seat of the 17th Karmapa and was projected as the Karmapa as the Indian agencies suspected Ogyen to be a Chinese spy and kept a watch on his movement in Dharamshala.  “We are both very pleased to have had this opportunity to meet and get to know each other in a peaceful and relaxed environment. We both had this wish for many years, and we are gratified that this wish has now been fulfilled,” said a joint statement issued after the meeting.

“The purpose of our meeting was primarily to spend time together so that we could establish a personal relationship. We were able to talk together freely and to learn about each other for the first time. We were thus able to begin what we expect will develop into a strong connection. While we were together we also talked about ways… to heal the divisions that have unfortunately developed within our precious Karma Kagyu lineage in recent years. We view it as our duty and responsibility to do whatever we can to bring the lineage together,” it read.

The CCS, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has decided to allot land to Dorje in Delhi to construct his monastery. The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, who is also chairman of the Delhi Development Authority, is scouting for land and is expected to decide on one soon, an official said.


Leading environmentalist Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand (Prof GD Agarwal) has passed away.

The IIT professor, seer and Ganga campaigner had been on an indefinite fast in his Matri Sadan ashram in Haridwar since June 22 to draw the attention of “fellow Gangaputra” Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards the plight of the Ganga.

He had been demanding a law to protect the holy river, maintain its uninterrupted flow in natural form between Gangotri and Uttarkashi and to keep it clean — ‘aviral’ and ‘nirmal’. He had written to PM Modi saying that like him, he too was a “Gangaputra” and was determined to carry his fast till the end.

One of his closest associates — Magsaysay Award winner and “waterman” Rajendra Singh — said Agarwal died of “heartbreak, of anguish over the Ganga deteriorating from bad to worse, his pleas being ignored and hurt over the e-flow notification by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation on Wednesday”.

Without food for 112 days, Agarwal had been planning to also give up water. “I will have no regrets even if I die in the course of saving the Ganga. The end of my life will not mean the end of efforts being undertaken to save the river” were some of his last words.


The Income Tax Department on Thursday carried out searches at residential and official premises of media baron, Raghav Bahl, proprietor of Quint portal and founder of Network 18 TV channel, in Noida, Delhi and Bangalore.

There were allegations of him receiving benefits of “bogus” long-term capital gains (LTCG) and in connection with a case of alleged tax evasion, a senior official of the Central Board of Direct Taxes said.

Bahl, who was in Mumbai at the time, shared his “great concern” with the Editors Guild.


 With the #MeToo movement sweeping India, the latest name is of Suhel Seth, 55, who has been accused by at least four women, of sexual harassment.

Seth, a popular celebrity consultant, has been accused by filmmaker Natashja Rathore, 27, who posted a number of screenshots of a WhatsApp message that she sent him recently recapping an alleged incident that had taken place last year at Seth’s condo in Gurgaon.

The second woman to have accused Seth is 33-year-old journalist Mandakini Gahlot, who narrated an incident that involved Seth at a policymakers’ retreat that was held in Goa in July 2011.

The other two woman who have acciused him have so far chosen to remain anonymous.



 Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Thursday in his classic way came up with yet another unusual word ‘hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia’ on Twitter, which again created a buzz on social media.

Tharoor was, however, quick to provide the meaning of the word in the tweet to his followers.

“I’m sorry if one of my tweets y’day gave rise to an epidemic of hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia! [Don’t bother looking it up: it’s just a word describing a fear of long words]. But #TheParadoxicalPrimeMinister contains no words longer than Paradoxical!” wrote the Congress leader.



 Representatives of India’s teenage opener Prithvi Shaw have issued cease-and-desist orders and filed a lawsuit of Rs one crore against two brands and a hospital group for unlawfully using the batsman’s image and name to promote themselves.

Shaw became the youngest Indian to score a century on Test debut last week. Amid the celebratory messages, Freecharge and Swiggy put out his name along with their company logos. The e-commerce website posted an image with the batsman’s likeness and name along with the caption ‘Super charged Shaw’, while the food delivery platform congratulated the batsman with a message: ‘Firsts we will remember forever. First bite of Rasmalai. First Prithvi Shaw innings.’

In response, Shaw’s representatives have taken legal recourse alleging ambush marketing against the two brands, as well as a speciality hospital group that took out an advertisement in one of the top dailies.



 Usman Khawaja batted bravely for nearly nine hours to make 141 and help Australia salvage a draw in the first Test against against Pakistan here today. Set an improbable victory target of 462, Australia resumed on 136/3 hoping to survive the final day to force a draw.

The overnight pair of Khawaja and Travis Head played sensibly to deny the Pakistan attack in the morning session and guide their team to 215/3 at lunch.

Later, skipper Tim Paine (61) and Nathan Lyon (5) remained unbeaten to seal the draw as Australia finished on 362/8 — the second highest fourth-innings score by a visiting team in a Test in Asia.

Scores: Pakistan: 482 and 181/6 decl. drew with Australia: 202 and 362/8 (in 140 overs)

This is the longest (in terms of overs) Australia have ever batted in a fourth innings to save a Test. Their total of 362/8 is the second-highest fourth-innings score by a visiting team in Asia.



Sensex 34,001 (-760), Nifty 10,234 (-225), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores) 38,661

Nasdaq 7,329 (-93) Dow 25,053 (-545), S&P 2,728 (-57)

US$-Rs. 73.99 GBP-Rs. 97.79, Euro-Rs. 85.59, UAE Dhm-Rs.20.14, Can$-Rs. 57.73, Aus$- Rs. 52.51

GBP 0.75 /US$, Euro 0.86 /US$, Jap.Yen 112.19 /US$, Aus$ 1.40 /US$, Sing 1.37 /US$, Bang Taka 83.20 /US$, Can$ 1.30 /US$, Mal Ring 4.15 /US$,

Pak Re 129.97 /US$, Phil Peso 54.08 /US$, Russian Rouble 66.50 /US$, NZ$ 1.53 /US$, Thai Baht 32.74 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 27.84 /US$, Norway NOK 8.21/US$

Bitcoin – USD 6,250

Dollar Index 94.70 Brent Crude 80.60 BDI 1493

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,220 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 3179 / 2991, Silver (Rs. Per KG) 41,100


 Our grand business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand. – J. W. Eagan



The husband finally wised up to the fact that his wife was less than faithful. He hired a private investigator to follow her and in less than a week, had all the information that he needed on the “other man”. Being a man of the millennium and all, he decided to handle the matter in what he judged to be sophisticated and business- like manner. He sent the following e-mail to his wife’s lover:.

Sir, It has been brought to my attention that for some time now you have been carrying on an affair with my wife. So that we may settle this matter in an intelligent fashion, please be at my office at 3 PM on Friday next.

The “other man” was highly amused by the husband’s formal manner and sent the following reply: Dear Sir, I have received a copy of your mass mailing this morning. You may be advised that I will attend the scheduled conference in your office’s auditorium.

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