Did Chandrashekhar-owned company sign contract with defence ministry, asks Congress

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New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) The Congress party on Wednesday asked the Narendra Modi government whether BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar-owned company had signed any contract with the defence ministry to push its business agenda.

It also sought repy on what action the Maharashtra police had taken on the FIR lodged against co-founder of Republic TV, Arnab Goswami in an abetment to suicide case.

Chandrashekhar is one of the owners of Republic TV. His office declined to comment on the statement by the Congress.

Referring to Chandrasekhar and Goswami as the “Vikram and Baital” of the BJP, the party said in a statement that they had been at the forefront of “pushing the agenda and hate-mongering narrative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government and the RSS.”

Without providing any insight or details into the allegations, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera told reporters:”Prime time after prime time, we see stories that are meant to spread enmity amongst communities and protect the government from uncomfortable questions.”

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Citing an FIR against Republic TV head Goswami, lodged by Akshata Anvay Naik at Allibaug Police Station in Mumbai charging him with abetment to suicide of her husband, the party asked what action had been taken against him. Naik had said that her husband had taken his own life after failing to receive due payments from Republic TV. Khera also alleged that Maharashtra police was protecting Goswami.

“There have also been stories of the various business interests of Rajeev Chandrasekhar,” he added saying Chandrasekhar’s Jupiter Capital controls several media products like Asianet News, Suvarna News, web portal Newsable, newspaper Kannada Prabha and Goswami-led Republic TV.

“Chandrashekhar has been a member of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence. This not only gives him legitimised access to sensitive information but also gives him a decisive voice on matters of India’s Defense planning, strategy and expenditure,” Khera alleged.

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“He is the founder of Jupiter Capital, an investment firm managing a portfolio a roughly $1 billion. Jupiter Capital also has investments in Defense related companies.

“Axiscades Engineering Technology Limited is a company that provides technology solutions to aerospace, defense, heavy engineering, automotive and industrial production sectors. This is a subsidiary of Jupitar Capital,” Khera further said.

Khera also alleged: “In October, 2016 there was a report in a popular website that exposed a leaked email by Amit Gupta, COO of Jupiter Capital. This email was sent to the editorial heads of the media outlets owned by Jupiter Capital, and it said ‘all editorial talent to be hired with a summary of bio to be sent to CXO Office for views and guidance.

“The candidate should be, right of center in his/her editorial tonality- pro-India, pro-military, aligned to chairman’s ideology, views and should be aware of his governance reforms; – well familiarised with his thoughts on nationalism and governance”. This statement was later retracted by Gupta.” added the Congress leader.

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The party also said that in 2007, another subsidiary of Jupiter Capital won the contract to build an airport aviation training facility at former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda’s constituency, Hassan.

“The airport meant to be completed in 18 months is not yet complete. The airport was given a 30-year lease 536 acre at surprisingly low price of Rs 1,100 per acre per year. At the time of finalisation of deal, Gowda’s son Ravanna, was heading the agency to oversee the project,” said Khera.

The party asked whether Axiscades Engineering Technology Limited sign any contract with Defence ministry. “Isn’t Chandrasekhar, as owner of media houses, deliberately compromising journalistic ethics by forcing reporters and anchors to push the ideology and the agenda of the ruling party?

–IANS

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