“I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.” ― Virginia Woolf
Inroads and partnerships of the corrupt do not happen in a day. In this world of cut-throat geopolitics, bribery, and wars, even the corrupt do not trust others with their lives, literally, without some basis.
So, when we saw the rampant and endemic corruption during the Congress era, it wasn’t something that happened in a day. It took forever to create. The Gandhi family connections go beyond one generation. They have had links for many generations with power-centers around the world.
That is why India was not compromised by just one person during Bofors or Agusta Westland. Those guys simply tapped into the already created web of corrupt networks that had been laid painstakingly by those who came before him.
If the Congress brass is so enamored with the Gandhi family then it is not just because they serve as the figure-heads of a corrupt empire that allows all its ‘card-holding tribesmen’ to loot and prosper. But because the Gandhis have created a network that anyone with an ambition to make money unscrupulously can tap into.
The story of Agusta Westland, for example, does not start with Michel or Saxena. It goes back to Indira Gandhi and Gaddafi. That is where the foundational network was laid for relationships to be tapped into.
deep histories and corrupt links
Christian James Michel, a British national who was involved in the AgustaWestland chopper scam, was extradited late on December 4th, 2018.
Michel was the intermediary hired by Agusta Westland to bribe Indian politicians for the helicopter deal.
According to the CBI, Michel was allegedly hired by AgustaWestland to influence people -- including politicians, officials and even journalists. He, along with two other middlemen, Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke, are accused of bribing people to secure the deal for AgustaWestland.(Source)
Rajiv Saxena was deported from Dubai in January 2019.
Rajeev Saxena, an accused in multi-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal scam, and lobbyist Deepak Talwar are being extradited to India from Dubai, UAE. The two latest extraditions come as a major breakthrough for the investigating agencies in the AgustaWestland case. They were extradited to India and were arrested by ED at 2 am last night. Officials said that in the first case, Rajeev Shamsher Bahadur Saxena, was picked up by Dubai authorities early Wednesday in connection with the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP choppers money laundering case. Saxena's lawyers alleged that no extradition proceedings were started against him in the UAE and he was not allowed to access his family or lawyers while being sent to India.(Source)
He was paid by Christian Michel in the Agusta Westland deal as well.
British national Christian Michel James received Euro 37.4 million from AgustaWestland and he paid Euro 0.9 million to Dubai-based chartered accountant Rajiv Saxena's four companies, the CBI claimed in its supplemntary chargesheet in the Rs 3,600-crore VVIP chopper deal case.(Source)
Earlier this year, the Enforcement Directorate had attached Saxena’s assets worth $50 mn.
In one of the biggest attachments so far in UPA-era AgustaWestland scam, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth US dollars 50.90 million (equivalent to Rs 385.44 crore) including a villa in Palm Jubeirah, Dubai and five Swiss bank accounts belonging to AgustaWestland scam alleged middleman Rajiv Saxena, who the agency says managed the proceeds of crime and tainted money of many high profile and High Net worth Individuals (HNIs).(Source)
Rajiv Saxena has turned an approver in this Rs 3600 crore VVIP chopper scandal.
In his interrogations, Saxena has discussed the transactions that linked his firm with those of Christian Michel and Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri. He has now also named Kamal Nath’s son Bakul Nath, along with Congress leaders Salman Khurshid and Ahmed Patel.
The Agusta Westland kickbacks were routed via Rajiv Saxena’s Interstellar Technologies and Global Services owned by Christian Michel.
What were these monies for? Yes, you guessed it. To pay off the politicians.
These payoffs, Saxena told ED, “were (also) for the benefit of political leaders and bureaucrats who were in a position of influencing the decision at that point of time. Some of these funds were once again, directly or indirectly, through structured transactions, and some of the structures set up by me, were routed into investments in India.” (Source)
This whole kick-back web is huge and complex with many beneficiaries involved on the way.
But the main beneficiary is also “the family.” That is what sustains the Congress ecosystem.
In December 2018, CBI had informed the court that Christian Michel's father Wolfgang Michel was a friend of Indira Gandhi.
As per TimeNow reporting based on the remand documents that CBI prepared.
As per the remand documents, accessed by Times Now, CBI said that Christian’s father Wolfgang Michel, was a consultant of Westland Helicopters to Government of India in the 1970s. The probe agency informed the court that Christian claimed that his father had told him that he used to meet the Gandhis, a fact that was also told to Christian by people close to his father. “His father knew late Indra Gandhi since 1970s and was very close to Gandhi family,” read the document.The CBI document further referenced to an incident in 1982-83 when a question was raised in the Indian Parliament regarding the identity of ‘Mr Wolfgang Michel”. The then PM Indira Gandhi is said to have replied that she “considered him as a friend of India”, as per the CBI’s remand papers.(Source)
What is very interesting is that Sonia Gandhi also entered the life of Rajiv Gandhi in the late 1960s. Rahul Gandhi was born in 1970. Was the access to the Gandhi household and the close relationship of Sonia and Indira Gandhi during that time have anything to do with each other?
Wolfgang Michel was actually very close to Col Gaddafi of Libya and got many deals done for the West in Libya. Here is an extract from Shouting in the Street: Adventures and Misadventures of a Fleet Street Survivor by Donald Trelford
And his dealing with India had been going on for a long time. His activities included the export of Jute!
Mr Michel, who said he knew Mr Gadaff Al Daim, cloaks his business affairs in mystery via a Liechtenstein offshore trust. Records show a UK investment company ultimately controlled by him – Entera Corporation – has brought into Britain more than £2m in commissions earned from India.Associates say he has acted to sell arms on behalf of Russia, but Mr Michel denied this. He said he had “negotiated legitimate sales of civil aircraft to India”. He points out his commissions include earnings from the export of jute. (source)
Btw, this Mr. Gadaff Al Daim – cousin of Col Gaddafi – is the same guy who had that infamous affair with the Indian Call girl Pamela Bordes while Daim was negotiating a deal between Libya and the Italian car firm Fiat. The relationship between Libya and India also took a special turn in 1984 when Indira Gandhi visited Tripoli to meet Col Gaddafi.
So this whole world of arms and bribery intrigue did not just get invented recently with Rajiv Saxena. It has connections to the relationships that were developed decades ago!
Indian food vs Western food - food pairings and taste
Pairing food ingredients is a great obsession with many food scientists and chefs in US and Europe. A practice which was pioneered by flavor chemist François Benziand chef Heston Blumenthal. The aim is to go for molecular matching in the foods that are combined together. (Source)
It is said that most food ingredients contain about 50 different kinds of flavor molecules on average.
So in Western cuisine, the objective is to combine foods that share common flavor molecules. The more flavor molecules the different components of a dish have in common, the more delicious that food is perceived to be.
In 2015, Anupam Jain and fellow researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology in Jodhpur shared something in their study (Spices form the basis of food pairing in Indian cuisine) startling. When the studied 2,500 Indian recipes ranging from Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, and South Indian cuisine (taken from tarladalal.com), they found that common combinations in the Indian food have negative food pairings.
They just do not share any flavor compounds!
In fact, when we add spices like red pepper, garam masala, ginger, or even tamarind, the negative pairings become even more negative.
The whole logic and structure of Indian food is the complete opposite of Western food.
Maybe that is the reason for the amazing taste in Indian food.
Interestingly, most of the spices have been used in Ayurveda and have been mentioned in Charaka Samhita. These act as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, chemopreventive, antimutagenic, and detoxifying agents.
It has been found that lentils, millets, and spices, (like turmeric and garlic) were used as far back as in the Indus Valley Civilization!
Here are some food pairings that Indian recipes use. A data analyst gathered the data from Kaggle and used the following tools to create a pairing map.
Some explanation to the illustration below:
Parsed 6000+ Indian recipes to find the spices used in making them. Looked at the combination of spices by tabulating their occurrences together in a given recipe. Node size is the number of times a spice occurred in a recipe. Larger the node, the more common that spice. Edge thickness is the strength of the connection. The darker the edge more frequently that combination occurred together. (Source)
Check them out.
And, this is very important. The Indian recipes embed wisdom of many millennia. That our ancestor could turn the common perception of food combination on its head because it made sense health-wise and stick with that line of cooking for so long, while improving it means something.
Unfortunately, it is something that this generation is losing when the kids do not learn the recipes from their parents and grandparents.
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the wrong Mecca?
A very interesting study and documentary. Very little original work is done in the Islamic world when it comes to history. Specifically in Arab lands. So it was refreshing to see someone discuss a key aspect of Islamic history in a new way.
The Sacred City presents compelling evidence that suggests the holy city of Mecca is in the wrong location and that the worlds 1.6 billion Muslims are praying in the direction of the wrong city. Compiling evidence from both historic sources and new technologies point to the correct location in this seismic, revelatory new film. In this startling and original documentary, writer and historian, Dan Gibson, shows that descriptions of Mohamed’s original holy city – as detailed in the Qur’an and Islamic histories, do not match that of the Mecca we know today. If true this could shake Islam to it’s roots, because every Muslim is required to pray towards the ‘forbidden gathering place’. If Dan Gibson is right, Muslims are praying in the wrong direction. In the film ‘The Sacred City’ we set out his evidence from within Islamic and ancient histories – while also using modern technologies - to track down the biggest secret of the last fifteen hundred years. Gibson not only finds the location of the original Mecca but also provides a convincing argument as to how such a great misunderstanding in Islamic history came about.
Would this lead to a change in the construction of all the mosques?
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