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SC rules out probe in Rafale deal, cautions Rahul to be careful in future

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New Delhi: Warning Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to be more careful in future, the Apex Court on Thursday rejected petitions seeking an inquiry into the Rafael fighter jet deal. The court closed a contempt case against Rahul linked to the issue.

The top court said it found no merit in the pleas for review of its earlier ruling in which it had given a clean chit to the government and ruled out any “roving” inquiry into the deal for procuring 36 fighter planes from French company Dassault.

The court had on May 10 reserved its order on the petitions filed by lawyer Prashant Bhushan and former Union ministers Yashwant Singh and Arun Shourie, seeking a review of its ruling of December last year that there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process involved in the Rafale deal.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and including Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph said the court does not find it necessary to order a “roving” inquiry or an FIR into the deal to probe the deal announced in April 2015 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France.

The Rafale deal issue was raked up vigorously by the Congress during campaigning in the last Lok Sabha election, with its then President Rahul Gandhi alleging corruption in it and targeting the Prime Minister through his slogan “Chowkidar chor hai” (watchman is the thief).

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Interpol issues notice against fugitive godman Nithyananda

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New Delhi: The Interpol has issued a Blue Corner notice against fugitive self-styled godman Nithyananda, wanted in India for alleged rape and abduction, officials said on Wednesday.

Officials told IANS that the notice was issued much before on the request of Gujarat Police to locate the controversial godman. A Blue Corner notice makes it mandatory for member countries to share whereabouts of a person involved in a crime.

Nithyananda had allegedly fled India without a passport to save himself from a rape case registered against him in Karnataka.

The Ministry of External Affairs had last year cancelled Nithyananda’s passport, and also “sensitised” all its foreign missions and posts to keep track of his movements.

The MEA said Nithyananda had a passport issued in 2008 with a 10-year validity but it was cancelled before 2018. Nithyananda had applied for a fresh passport, but was denied police clearance.

Recently, Ecuador denied Nithyananda’s presence and said it had rejected his request for asylum.

Nithyananda’s real name is Rajashekharan and he is a native of Tamil Nadu. He opened an ashram near Bengaluru in the early 2000s. His teachings were said to be based on those of Osho Rajneesh.

In 2010 a video of him in a compromising position with an actress emerged online and he was later arrested on charges of rape. He was also arrested and charge-sheeted in a separate case of rape later.

According to reports, Nithyananda is now being investigated by French authorities for alleged fraud involving $4,00,000.

Last month, an FIR was registered against Nithyananda after two girls went missing from his ashram in Ahmedabad — Yogini Sarvagyapeetham. He was charged with kidnapping and wrongful confinement of children to make them collect donations from followers to run his ashram.

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