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Nearly 600 Indians will come back from conflict-hit Iraq over the next two days of whom 200 will return by an Iraqi Airways special chartered flight from Najaf to Delhi tonight, External Affairs Ministry said today.
"The return of Indians from Iraq has gathered pace," the Spokesperson in External Affairs Minister said, adding apart from 200 Indian nationals, another 400 Indian nationals would be returning to various destinations in India, including Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, through commercial flights by Monday.
"It is estimated that about 1200 would have returned to India at government cost by Monday," the Spokesperson said.
In addition, the Indian Mission in Baghdad has been able to persuade Iraqi companies to send back approximately 600 other Indian nationals.
"Our Mission in Baghdad is also separately processing papers of approximately 400 other persons who are in some major companies. Once these are processed, the total number of Indians who would have returned to India in the last fortnight would be about 2200," he said.
"The number of others who have evinced interest in returning after this is very few," he added.
Meanwhile, with 46 nurses out of the conflict zone, nearly 50 Indians are still expected to be in these zones, which include the 39 captives.
There were about 10,000 Indians before the start of the serious strife between government troops and Sunni militants backed by al Qaida in Iraq. With MEA facilitating the departures, it is estimated that there are about 7500 Indians in the non-conflict zones left.
Former chief minister and Janata Dal (Secular) floor leader HD Kumaraswamy has been caught on tape asking for Rs. 40 crore from an MLC aspirant who sought his party?s support in the recently concluded elections to the Upper House of the Karnataka legislature.
The audio clip of the conversation between Kumaraswamy and the aspirant from Bijapur, Vijaygouda Patil, which was anonymously released to the media late on Saturday, has been authenticated by Kumaraswamy.
In the clip, the JDS leader is heard saying, ?Our MLAs are not in my control. They are already in talks with (CM) Siddaramaiah and have offered to support the Congress candidate for money. You pay the money and I will take care of the rest.?
The conversation is purported to have occurred in Bangalore during a party meet in early June this year. Vijaygouda Patil?s failure to secure the JD(S) nomination is being seen as the motivation behind the expose.
The supporters of Patil are heard saying, ?Please make it Rs. 10 crore. You and your party will get the support of our swamiji (seer not named).?
Kumaraswamy reacts angrily, ?It is not like you want to improve the lot of the people of Bijapur by becoming an MLC. You have done nothing to build the party in Bijapur. No swamiji has ever helped the JD(S)win. Talk business.?
He says, ?Each MLA is asking for Rs. 1 crore (The party has 40 MLAs). What can they do? They have also borrowed money to win the elections. They are paying huge interest on those loans ? MR Sitaram (independent) and Byrathi Suresh (Congress) also won by paying money two years ago.?
The election of these two leaders in 2012 had generated a lot of controversy in those elections which were marked by massive cross voting by the BJP and Congress.
Interestingly, Bengaluru-based realtor DU Mallikharjuna, who secured the JD(S) nomination this year, took all the party MLAs for a junket to Sri Lanka to celebrate his victory in the second week of June.
Defending his action Kumaraswamy told HT, ?This is the bitter truth of present-day politics. I am not one of those leaders who say one thing on the face and do something else behind the scenes. It is not right to project me as a villain. The other parties have also done the same in these elections. I am ready to respond inside and outside the assembly.?