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India On Verge of Major Upheaval – Subramanian Swamy

India On Verge of Major Upheaval – Subramanian Swamy

INDIA JOURNAL – 08/04/2011
K.B.NAIRCERRITOS , CA – In a hard hitting speech Janata Party Leader, Dr Subramanian Swamy lashed out at the Congress administration and its role in the several corruption scandals which are rocking India and proclaimed that the country is on the verge of a major upheaval in which by the end of the year many in the present Government would find themselves out of power and behind bars. He made this statement at a public meeting organized by the Bhartiya Vichar Manch in the Sierra Room of the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts on July 31. He went on to state that the strong movement against corruption is gaining momentum and predicted it would lead to elections being called early next year.

Dr Swamy started his address following the screening of a short video titled “ India- Republic of Scams” which briefly outlines the state of affairs in India resulting from alleged large scale scams and urges people to get involved in saving the country from disaster. Against this background Dr Swamy broke down his speech into three broad headings starting with what is corruption, followed by how it negatively impacts the country and finally what is the solution to the problem.

In defining corruption as a crime when a public office is misused for private gain, Dr Swamy said he was not referring to the small sums of money which changes hands at lower administrative levels which he thinks is unpreventable. What he finds disturbing is the scale to which corruption has escalated depriving the Government of several million dollars of revenue and thereby seriously undermining the financial stability of the nation. He went into the details a couple of such cases where ministers had used their positions for their personal financial gain or their kith and kin. The first he touched on related to the construction of the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project which proposed to link the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Manar. Dr Swamy alleges the project was aggressively promoted with the intention of benefiting the companies of family and relatives of the then Shipping Minister through construction, shipping and dredging contracts related to the project.

The second was the most volatile and recent 2G scam over which controversy is still raging across the country. A significant part of his address was devoted to this subject in which after explaining its technical details he went on to describe how the then Telecommunications Minister A. Raja, by twisting the rules, masterminded the sale of spectrum to Swan and Unitech in which he had a stake, at throwaway prices on account of which the nation lost a staggering $ 40 billion in revenue.

This apart, he added the complex international financial transactions involved in the process would in itself pose immense security risks as anti national individuals and organizations had stakes in the foreign companies associated with the scheme, which in turn could be utilized to finance and support its own terrorist activities in India. Dr.Swamy named individuals who had connections to the gangster Dawood Ibrahim and the ISI.

Every time Dr Subramanian Swamy quoted how he had thwarted efforts by those in power to cover the scams by moving the Courts, he was met with thunderous applause from the audience.

Among the more serious ramifications of accumulation of such huge quantities of unaccounted wealth Dr Swamy stated was the lavish life style of those possessing them because of which there is an alarming shift from production of consumer goods for the average general public to the catering of luxury goods to the rich where the margins are far more attractive. Also inevitable is the skyrocketing prices of real estate and the illegal trade in food items and necessities resulting in inflation shooting to 16%. Another is the stashing of undeclared wealth in foreign banks which not only do not pay interest but charge a 2% service fee thus depriving the country of crores of rupees of revenue for its social programs. He also went on to explain procedures through which by the use of “participatory notes” the payment of Capital gains tax is cleverly avoided in transactions involving foreign currency.

In providing solutions to the colossal corruption problem Dr Swamy expressed the prevailing laws are sufficient but time consuming but in the short term he suggested the appointment of an independent prosecutor with sufficient powers to proceed legally against those who break the law so swift justice is arrived at. As an example he quoted the case of Bernie Madoff in the US who was convicted and incarcerated within 6 months whereas Ramalinga Raju’s case in the Satyam scandal is still pending mired in the Indian legal system for years. In the long term he called for a Renaissance of Indian traditional social values of Sanatan Dharma and by giving up the current trend of the relentless pursuit of making money ushered in by the hunger for material prosperity and globalization. He pointed out that money alone does not bring happiness as it proven by the fact that droves of wealthy individuals are arriving in India to find peace and purpose in their lives.

 

Congress backs discredited cop-why should a discredited IPS officer be taken seriously?


Courtesy: The Pioneer

August 05, 2011   11:36:46 PM


Ashok Malik

If the former Telecom Secretary’s statements are meant to be brushed aside as discredited nonsense, why should a discredited IPS officer be taken seriously?

As it finds itself increasingly beleaguered, the Congress is talking itself into one trap after another. Two recent instances stand out.

In the midst of the telecom scandal trial, Mr Siddhartha Behura, former Telecom Secretary, told the court of a crucial meeting that apparently took place on December 4, 2007. The meeting, Mr Behura claimed, was attended by Mr P Chidambaram, then Finance Minister, and Mr D Subbarao, then Finance Secretary. This meeting decided upon the pricing of 2G licences, he has said. His contention is that he, as Telecom Secretary, only implemented the decisions taken at this meeting. In a sense, he has sought to expand the ambit of culpability.

Responding to Mr Behura’s charge, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal was dismissive. “We have looked into records,” he said, “the records show that there was no such meeting. Neither Mr Chidambaram nor Mr Subbarao remembers any such meeting.” He also warned of “the danger of taking arguments made on behalf of an accused, and treating them as evidence and gospel truth”. Mr Behura, the Telecom Minister added, would attempt to save himself “even on the basis of non-existent facts”.

For all one knows, Mr Sibal may be right. Perhaps Mr Behura is indeed lying and attempting to implicate others in a show of desperation and bravado. If that is the case, the UPA Government needs to oppose him tooth and nail.

Now consider another example. In Gujarat, Mr Sanjiv Bhatt, an officer of the Indian Police Service, has spoken of a meeting at the Gandhinagar residence of Chief Minister Narendra Modi on February 27, 2002. This was on the evening of the Godhra train incineration. Mr Bhatt has alleged Mr Modi asked that Hindus be allowed to “vent out their anger” and wanted Muslims to be “taught a lesson”.

Potentially this is explosive stuff. A police officer is actually saying a Chief Minister asked his administration to back off and allow a state-backed massacre of innocent people. However, the Modi Government has denied Mr Bhatt was in the meeting of senior police officials that the Chief Minister called on February 27, 2002. The then State police chief has refuted Mr Bhatt’s contention that he was in the room that day. Mr Bhatt, it is said, was simply too junior to have attended the meeting.

It has also been established that Mr Bhatt has been in touch with activists such as Ms Teesta Setalvad and with the Congress’s Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly. In e-mail correspondence that is now before the court, he is offered legal support and coaching for his deposition before the Special Investigative Team by Ms Setalvad. He exchanges documents with the Congress leader, Mr SS Gohil, and asks him for a Blackberry phone. He tells another police officer to find out where Haren Pandya, a Minister in the Gujarat Government who was later assassinated, was on February 27, 2002.

The SIT, set up by the Supreme Court to look into the Gujarat violence, had asked Mr Bhatt if Pandya was present at the meeting. Presumably, Mr Bhatt was so engrossed in listening to his Chief Minister that he didn’t notice who else was around. Alternatively, could it be concluded Mr Bhatt wasn’t around himself?

Mr Bhatt has had a controversial career. He faces court cases for misuse of official authority. He has been involved in land-grab cases. In one incident, he was charged with framing a person who had a property dispute with a then judge of the Gujarat High Court. The National Human Rights Commission passed strictures against Mr Bhatt in this matter and fined him for “falsely involving a person in a criminal case … (and violating) fundamental human rights”.

Disciplinary action was taken against the judge as well. The judge appealed before the Supreme Court, but unsuccessfully. The judge’s lawyer, as it happened, was Mr Chidambaram, now Union Home Minister. Today, of course, Mr Chidambaram glosses over that old association and his party praises Mr Bhatt’s “courage”.

Mr Bhatt’s history has led to him having run-ins with the Gujarat Government. He has also been denied a promotion. His career is at a dead-end. Isn’t there enough reason for him to resort to desperate measures and attempt to resurrect himself “even on the basis of non-existent facts”, to borrow Mr Sibal’s expression?

If Mr Behura’s statements are meant to be brushed aside as discredited nonsense, why is Mr Bhatt supposed to be taken so seriously? Does the Congress believe all non-existent meetings are irrelevant but some non-existent meetings are less irrelevant than others?

In another episode, the Jan Lok Pal Bill activists led by Anna Hazare released preliminary findings of a survey they said they had conducted in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha constituency. The survey apparently showed overwhelming support for the activists’ version of the Lok Pal Bill. To be fair this proved nothing. The Hazare-driven Jan Lok Pal Bill is severely flawed and will end up creating a bureaucratic monster.

However, what was worth noting was the Congress’s reaction. Mr Manish Tiwari, the party spokesperson, invited Mr Hazare to contest the 2014 parliamentary election from Chandni Chowk (now represented by Mr Sibal) and essentially convert that battle into a referendum on competing versions of the Lok Pal Bill.

This is an interesting methodology, one that places primacy on the democratic process and reduces all debate to judgement only by the electronic voting machine. It is worth considering whether Mr Harsh Mander can be put up as the National Advisory Council candidate from Madha or Baramati, take on Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, and convert a constituency contest into a referendum on competing versions of the Food Security Bill.

Alternatively, Ms Setalvad (or even Mr Bhatt) could be the joint Opposition candidate from Maninagar in the December 2012 Gujarat Assembly election. This could then be presented as a referendum on alternative narratives on Gujarat in the past decade.

Those two final suggestions may sound facetious and silly. They are; yet no less offensive is Mr Tiwari’s mocking invitation to Anna Hazare to join electoral politics. Indeed, it is the Congress’s sudden belief in the purity and integrity of the political process that is so astonishing. In Gujarat, it has used extra-political means to fight its opponents. With the NAC, it has used extra-political mechanisms to draft and push through legislation. Having built the kitchen, it suddenly can’t stand the heat. How convenient.

— malikashok@gmail.com

http://www.dailypioneer.com/358712/Congress-backs-discredited-cop.html

Sonia Gandhi and the hidden trail : John MacLithon

Source: Express buzz

22 Dec 2010 11:33:00 PM
The Indian media has begun even doubting Manmohan Singh’s integrity — mental, at least — as he must have been knowing for nearly two years that the Indian exchequer was defrauded of `1.76 lakh crores. But so far, Sonia Gandhi has been spared.

Yet, if you are an observer of Indian politics, as I have been, since I landed back in India in the early ’Sixties, you have to come to the conclusion that most of the funds of scams end up in the coffers of political parties, particularly of the Congress.

Today the DMK is taking the brunt of the blame, but actually political parties have been forced to follow suit after the grand old party of India’s independence, began using percentages allotted by foreign companies on mega deals, military and otherwise, to secretly fund its election campaigns and give freebies to poor villagers. Of course, Bofors was the first one of the big scams to be uncovered.

I remember in the mid-Eighties a Swiss radio colleague of mine from Radio Suisse Romande, telling me that Amitabh Bachchan’s brother, Ajitabh, (when the Bachchan family was still close to the Gandhis), was one of the first safe keepers of the kickbacks of the Swedish canon makers. Exposes of Swedish newspaper, Dagens Nhyeter further confirmed it, though Ajitabh went to court against them.

There is no doubt, further says my Swiss friend, that part of the Bofors money is still in Switzerland. Indeed, we are all waiting for the Swiss banks to reveal (under US pressure) the names of all the dictators, thieves, dishonest rulers of so many countries in the world, who have stashed their ill-gotten money in UBS bank or Credit Suisse.

Meanwhile, all roads seem to lead to Sonia Gandhi: she is the first Lady of India, although she is a simple MP like hundreds of others, the ultimate arbiter, and nothing of importance is decided without her caveat. The immense power she wields within the Congress cannot be only due to her charisma, of her having the Gandhi name or having brought cohesion in the Congress.

It is also, and perhaps mainly, because she holds the purse strings of tremendous amounts of money. These party funds are overt: all the foundations, Rajiv, Indira, Nehru, etc, which store thousands of crores; and covert, starting with the Bofors scam. Where are the secret bank accounts where the scam money is stored? Under whose names are they operated? How is the money brought back to India? Who will answer all these questions?

We know that Quattrochi, the man who could have spilt the beans, was shamelessly let off the hook, not only by the CBI which today is conducting — two years late — the investigation on the 2G scam, but also by the then law minister who is today the governor who pretends to be after corruption in Karnataka! Not only was Quattrochi spared, but was allowed to take the money he had looted from India and which was frozen in British banks, so that he would not talk.

Will Raja talk, if he is arrested, as it is rumoured? Surely he knows a lot of secrets, as some of the 2G, Adarsh CWG money, and other unknown scams, must also have gone into the Congress coffers. That is the question that the Congress leadership should debate instead of going after ‘Hindu terror’, a misnomer if there is one.

If you look at statistics for the last 1,000 years, it is Hindus who have been at the receiving end of terror — millions of them have died, including in Kashmir in the late ’Eighties, when Benazir Bhutto launched her ‘Azad Kashmir’ movement (I was there).

Yet Sonia Gandhi remains a mystery for many of us, even for me who has known her for a long time.

I found her quite likable when she was just Rajiv Gandhi’s (the pilot) spouse, a loving wife, who had adopted the Indian way of life; a good daughter -in-law: Indira Gandhi died on her lap on the way to the hospital, after being shot by her Sikh bodyguards; and more than everything, a good mother, who doted on her children and tried all her life to protect them.

I then knew that she had kept her Italian passport, even after taking the Indian nationality (India does not allow you to hold two passports), but I have met quite a few foreigners in Delhi who also retained their origin passports after having obtained the Indian one.

I myself toyed for some time with the idea of taking the Indian nationality, as I speak Hindi quite fluently, but it is too difficult to travel with an Indian passport. I do not mind also her remaining a Christian: after all, I am still one myself. Indeed, one of my Italian journalist friends told me that he prayed with her, along with Rajiv Gandhi, at a mass in Calicut with the bishop officiating — that is her private business.

But after her husband was blown to pieces by the LTTE, I observed a drastic change in her: she did not seem to trust anybody anymore, became aloof and suspicious. I also watched with dismay how the Congress leaders, some of them men and women of substance, whom I knew personally, applied pressure on her to enter politics for years.

Furthermore, I thought that in her fortress of Janpath, surrounded twenty-four hours by security, she gradually lost touch with the reality of India. Despite the fact that I met her a few times after Rajiv’s death, I thus took discreetly my distances with her. It is then that I came up with my famous phrase on Sonia, for which she never forgave me: “the moribund and leaderless Congress party has latched on to Sonia Gandhi who is Italian by birth and Roman Catholic by baptism”.

John.maclithon@gmail.com


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