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Ram Jethmalani tears apart arguments of Delhi Police in Ramlila Maidan incident case

MONDAY, 17 OCTOBER 2011

By Sumit Nagpal
Noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani today blasted Delhi Police in a case relating to Delhi Police crackdown on Baba Ramdev and his supporters during the intervening night of 4th and 5th June 2011. While arguing for Baba Ramdev’s trust, Jethmalani tore apart claims of Delhi Police that if they had not taken any action, it could have led to the communal tensions in the area. In a hearing which lasted for two hours, the veteran criminal lawyer tried to pursue the judges that Delhi Police violated the provisions of Criminal Procedure Code.Starting his arguments before the bench of Justice B S Chauhan and Justice Swatantra Kumar, Jethmalani said “.fasting and meditation are two elements of Yoga and the word used for fasting is Anshan. Swami Ramdev had declared that he was fasting for a cause of bringing back black money stashed abroad. Up to 3rd of June, Ramdev was a revered personality, not only by millions, but also by the ministers of the Government. Even the Prime Minister complemented him for his suggestions. All that turned out to be hoax and after 4th June Swamy Ramdev became a criminal…”Jethmalani also informed the court that the owner of the property that is Ramlila Maidan is Municipal Corporation of Delhi. According to Jethmalani “..Use of this property doesn’t depend upon the permission from the Delhi Police, they could neither grant permission, nor could they refuse it. There is no rule under which I could be asked to take permission. It is part of the Indian tradition to hold meetings at public places…”Ram Jethmalani informed the court that the Police had imposed three conditions on Baba Ramdev for holding his Yoga camp. These three conditions were (1) You will have to take permission from the owner of the property; (2) Make sure that you don’t obstruct the free flow of the traffic in the area and (3) Depute sufficient number of volunteers at the venue.

“…There was no breach of any of the conditions, action of Delhi Police was an act of Criminal Intimidation, it was a show of Criminal Force. Men, women and children were sleeping; Delhi Police own affidavit says that Baba Ramdev himself was sleeping. This crowd went to sleep after the Shanti Paath and they had nothing to do with the traffic. Whoever woke them up is guilty of culpable homicide of the poor lady Rajbala who lost her life.Look at the shamelessness, the records show that the people were injured due to stampede and they did not have Lathis, these are monstrous lies…” argued Jethmalani.

Refuting the claims of Delhi Police that Ramdev followers had brought bricks at the venue, Jethmalani said that the bricks were brought for constructions of temporary toilets at the venue. “…the guardians of law who entered to restore the law and order were seen trowing showers of bricks on the Kutia (कुटिया ) of Baba Ramdev. They called us unlawful assembly but in this case, it was the police which formed unlawful assembly…” argued Jethmalani.

Attacking the order under Section 144 of CrPC, Jethmalani came down heavily on the language of the order. Tearing apart the contents of the order which suggested that some people or groups wanted to disturb the peace and tranquility in the area, Jethmalani argued, “…you are bound to tell under section 144 the facts, you cant just say there are “some” people who are going to create disturbance. In a way, the followers of Ramdev would have thought that they are the ones who are going to be attacked. Suggesting the entire area as a communally sensitive area is a slur on the Muslim population there…”

Concluding his arguments for the day, Jethmalani informed the bench that the police was required to give adequate notice to people before resorting to any action and if the people did not cooperate only then the police could have taken any action. The court posted the matter for further hearing for 4th November.

Posted by Spread Law at 08:30

Scam and the Whistle-blower a book by Dr. Subramanian Swamy

Courtesy: The Pioneer
Scam and the Whistle-blower
July 30, 2011 9:21:57 PM

2G Spectrum Scam
Author: Subramanian Swamy
Publisher: Har-Anand
Price: Rs 595

Subramanian Swamy not only throws light into the 2G scam, but also provides some solutions to prevent a scam of this magnitude to happen again, says Rajesh Singh

Of the many politicians who have taken up the task to bring the perpetrators of the 2G scam to justice, Subramanian Swamy stands out for his doggedness and an almost missionary zeal. He did not stop at merely stirring the murky pot and pursuing the matter in the courts; Swamy has now written an exhaustive account of the scam. While the massive irregularities the Telecom Ministry indulged in during A Raja’s tenure as Union Telecom Ministry is now all in the public domain, and whatever is not known will be out in the course of the investigations, the book is relevant for two reasons: One, it is a valuable reference material for academics, commentators and students of contemporary subjects; and, two, it raises larger issues of governance in an increasingly industrialised nation, where narrow materialistic considerations threaten to outweigh the larger national good.

The author takes us into the frightening reality of how corrupt the country is perceived by international agencies and the general causes of the malaise. From fudged accounts of corporate entities to the generation and siphoning away of black money to the role of illicit funds in promoting terror activities, he gives us a quick take on the vast and seemingly unmanageable problem. Towards the end, Swamy suggests a national policy to counter it. This would involve the integration of “spiritual values and organisational leadership”. He lays emphasis on the incorporation of the “evolved youth” in the plan since that alone could create a “modern mindset”. But for that to happen, as he rightly points out, there will have to be a greater accountability in governance — something that the political class talks of a lot but does precious little to execute. What remains unsaid, therefore, is that such a national policy will not be forthcoming unless the people, especially the youth, compel the Government to respond.

The author has relied on a heap of material that has emerged through the investigations, including the various correspondences among Ministers and Government officials on the subject. Again, while they are all known, they help in maintaining the focus and keep the issue in perspective, highlighting the callousness of those in power in allowing the scam to take shape. The Comptroller and Auditor General’s observations, too, have been used extensively, and rightly so, because it is the CAG findings that officially set the ball rolling for a probe, involving the Central Vigilance Commission and the Central Bureau of Investigation. The latter had been rather reluctant in fully involving itself till the Supreme Court cracked the whip.

The large canvas of the scam included a number of personalities and institutions, and the author has done well to approach the issue in an uncluttered fashion. He has neatly categorised the important developments, such as those involving CAG, the Public Accounts Committee, the Radia tapes and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. He has also provided a chronology of the event dating from September 24, 2007, to January 25, 2008 — the time when the Telecom Ministry took the stand that no application under the Unified Access Services (UAS) would be accepted after October 10, 2007, to the questionable issuance of those licences. Swamy puts on record that then TRAI chief Nripendra Misra had said that the Ministry had never sought the authority’s views on grant of new licences. This is important since the Government has been saying that it had complied with TRAI guidelines. In fact, TRAI also took the position that its opinion should be sought even if the Telecom Ministry issued fresh licences under the existing policy. Misra had also warned the Government against what is now famously quoted as “cherry picking” of the recommendations the Authority had made on the matter of issuing licences.

A great deal of what the book contains will sound familiar to the regular readers of The Pioneer. The daily had been the first to break the 2G scam through a series of articles beginning 2008-end. For more than 18 months, The Pioneer continued to publish one informed expose after another, detailing the murky business of the 2G deal. The end result was that the authorities, compelled by the exposes and driven by the Supreme Court, had to take finally note and act.

There are many heroes in this tale. While Swamy is certainly one of them, he has been quick to acknowledge the others, particularly the whistle blower, Ashirvatham Achari, without whose cooperation the scam would have remained buried in the sands of time. The Pioneer correspondent J Gopikrishnan doggedly pursued the story, flinging aside temptations that were laid his way by those who wanted the matter forgotten. He is the other hero the author names.

While the probe is now on track and there is hope that the guilty will be eventually punished, the fact remains that a scam of this magnitude can happen again. The book provides some solutions to prevent that, but it is for the political class to wake up and recognise that. Meanwhile, we need more such whistle-blowers, news correspondents and activists.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/357131/Scam-and-the-Whistle-blower.html

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.

 

Sonia Gandhi: Sphinx who would be Pharaoh & When did Rahul Gandhi acquire identity of Raul Vinci? – Sandhya Jain

Sandhya Jain
06 Aug 2011
In a move reminiscent of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s startling decision to will her political party, including its workers and presumably also its voters and supporters, to her eldest son, Bilawal, the Congress president Sonia Gandhi secretly flew off to the United States for medical treatment, leaving behind a demi-testament bestowing the de facto leadership of the party on her only son, Rahul, though formally embedded among three family regents.

Given the thinly veiled nature of Sonia’s conflict with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over his refusal to step down and make way for her chosen heir after the victory of May 2009, it is safe to assume that the Signora now expects party loyalists to cluster around her charmless prince-ling and ensure him a say in government as well. Political compulsions have forced discretion regarding the chairmanship of the UPA parliamentary party, and her personal vanguard, the National Advisory Committee (whose members will doubtless be feeling orphaned already).

The composition of the committee that is now to preside over the Congress and its interaction with government reveals everything about Sonia Gandhi’s intent, mindset and style of functioning. It is an open affront to the Prime Minister and his senior cabinet colleagues (particularly to all purpose trouble shooter Pranab Mukherjee), to all senior Congress leaders with vote catching abilities, and to the party and nation. As such, it is virtually designed to undo the objective for which it has been formed, viz., install the Amethi MP as de facto leader of the party, and at an early date in the future, as head of the Government as well.

Even by the standards of the factional politics she played when she decided to keep the then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao on tenterhooks throughout his tenure – which culminated in the party denying him a ticket to contest the next Parliamentary election, and then consigning him to oblivion – Sonia Gandhi’s designated committee is scandalously narrow. Worse, it is partisan against the Hindu community, a fact that would have been noted in the country as a whole.

Besides the non-Hindu Rahul Gandhi, who is obviously positioned as primus inter pares of the group, it comprises Defence Minister A.K. Anthony (supposedly for his clean image, but really because he is a Christian co-religionist and is therefore trusted more than other party veterans); her political secretary Ahmed Patel (a Muslim with no base in his home state of Gujarat, or indeed in any part of the country); and party organizing secretary Janardhan Dwivedi (a Patel acolyte and party spokesman with no base outside 24 Akbar Road).

Neither Rahul Gandhi, nor any among this group, is known for political sagacity, vision, and the ability to inspire the masses by winning votes, and thereby elections. Rahul Gandhi’s leadership qualities (sic) have already been tested in the waters of Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and leave one speechless. His espousal of the farmers’ cause in Bhatta-Parsaul villages of UP was swiftly undone by revelations of State favours in land acquisition in Haryana for a Trust run by Sonia, Rahul, and Priyanka!

Yet Sonia Gandhi chose to shove aside all party veterans and trust such non-charismatic ‘nurses’ to propel Rahul Gandhi on a winning trajectory into the Prime Minister’s Office. Actually, the family miscalculated by refusing Dr Singh’s offer of a cabinet berth for Rahul in the recent cabinet reshuffle (though they would have been aware of Sonia’s ill-health by then), and now he is on a sticky wicket. Neither Dr Singh who sits in the Prime Minister’s chair, nor the seasoned Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who controls the Government’s purse strings, is going to forgive the calculated insult to their persons and their chairs.

Meanwhile, a number of questions arise about the secretive manner in which Sonia Gandhi went abroad for surgery on 2 August 2011. The excuse of excessive visitors disturbing patients in an Indian hospital is sheer arrogance; visitors do not get beyond the reception if one does not want them.

In January 2009 the Prime Minister underwent a well-publicized heart surgery at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences; Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar announced he was going to undergo jaw surgery for cancer some years ago. With India having some of the best oncologists in both private and public hospitals, the true reasons for Ms Gandhi opting to go abroad, and the nature of her illness, should be made known as soon as possible. Reports that she was operated upon at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center need to be confirmed or denied without further ado.

To begin with, there was simply too much secrecy. At first, on 31 July a small news item in a newspaper said Sonia was suffering from viral flu and would be back in Parliament on Thursday (4 August). That same day, Janardhan Dwivedi told reporters she had gone abroad the previous day and been operated upon successfully. When the timeline did not add up, this was amended and the operation placed in the future; then finally it was stated that the surgery was successful and that Sonia had left on 2 Aug.

More disturbing are the reports in the latest issue of India Today that the Gandhis habitually refuse to inform the Lok Sabha Secretariat about their foreign trips, though this is the established convention, even for personal visits. Thus, in June this year, Sonia Gandhi went to London and Italy. The same month, Rahul Gandhi celebrated his 41st birthday in London, and both reportedly went to Switzerland – where they reputedly did not visit the holiday district but the commercial centre of Zug, thereby setting tongues wagging amidst a nationwide furore over black money in Swiss banks.

When Dwivedi announced the formation of the uninspiring committee, observers were quick to notice the absence of Home Minister P Chidambaram and Rahul mentor-cum-general secretary Digvijay Singh. As Sonia does not seem to have had detailed discussions with the Prime Minister and senior cabinet colleagues about the status of her health and the issues pending before the government, political observers speculate that the UPA will have to postpone appointment of Governors in states with vacancies, and a decision on the Telangana issue. It remains to be seen, therefore, how long her ill-health can be allowed to paralyze the government.

Ra(h)ul (da) Vinci

Now that the Gandhi family has concertedly declared Rahul Gandhi as their official candidate for the leadership of the party and government, both of which they tend to regard as watan jagir, it would be appropriate for the nation to know everything it has a right to know about the Amethi MP cum wannabe PM.

To begin with – and the Prime Minister would do well to make the matter public without further delay – how and when did Rahul Gandhi acquire the identity of Raul Vinci?

As friendly journalists and newspapers were asked to acknowledge and dismiss the news that Rahul Gandhi has travelled abroad on a passport issued in the name of Raul Vinci, some questions deserve an answer: –

– Which Government issued the Raul Vinci passport? India or Italy?
– If it was Italy, does it also follow that Rahul Gandhi enjoys Italian citizenship by virtue of an old Roman law that bestows citizenship on the offspring of all children born to its native citizens? Note that Sonia Gandhi was an Italian citizen at the time her two children were born, and that the family has persistently refused to answer pertinent questions regarding their citizenship.
– The Government of India must now settle this issue in public – including the legality of the trio holding Indian passports, and contesting Indian elections.
– What are the names of the alleged parents of Raul Vinci in the fake passport and what is the place of residence given on that document? It should be made public on a Government website.
– Where is that passport now and how often and where has Rahul Gandhi travelled on it? All details should be made public on a Government website.

The specious plea that Rahul Gandhi assumed a false identity for security reasons will not wash: Benazir Bhutto’s son Bilawal studies abroad under his own name, as do the scions of other eminent families.

Then, Rahul Gandhi supposedly holds an M. Phil degree in Development Studies from Cambridge University, UK, though there is no information about when and where he completed graduate and post-graduate studies. To this day not a single person has surfaced anywhere in the world to say that Raul Vinci (his disguise) was his/her classmate at x y or z college.

Family acolyte and then Cambridge Master Amartya Sen defended the degree but refused to furnish details. Now, following revelations about the purchased Ph.D. degree of Saif Gaddafi, it seems that London routinely “takes care of” the academic credentials of political scions in the third world.

Raul Vinci is also supposed to have worked as financial consultant in London. No colleague has stepped forward to say where.

Yet this man wants to impose himself upon the nation as Prime Minister. He needs to be downsized.

And Sonia Gandhi, appropriately dubbed ‘the Sphinx’ for her dogged silence on all issues of public concern, would have realized that she was not born to be Pharaoh of India. This country is governed by the invisible ethos of Vikramaditya – the throne will move away when the utterly unworthy approach it.

The author is Editor, www.vijayvaani.com   http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=1909

Black Money Temple

Let Sonia come clean on Foundations she heads

Sonia Gandhi is associated with following Foundations and Trusts as either Chairperson, President or a Trustee. First three are multi billion rupees entities funded by tax payer money.

(1) Rajiv Gandhi Foundation- Chairperson

(2) Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust- (title not clear- web site shows  Mr. K.M. Pareeth as the chairperson)

(3) Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund- Chairperson

(4) Swaraj Bhavan Trust- President

(5) Kamla Nehru Memorial Hospital Society- President

(6) Jalianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust- Trustee

(7) Nehru Memorial Museum and Library- Member

Since  Sonia’s henchmen are too eager for Ramdevji to declare source of funding for all his trusts ad businesses, we  expect Sonia Gandhi, as a leader of the ruling combination and a prominent national figure, to come clean on this and set an example by Posting the  Details of Assets, Accounts, Black Money Donations to the her Trusts, on their respective websites.

Our black money is here, not in Switzerland

This is an interesting observation. Economics is not my field so I cannot judge the arguments made here. Perhaps, some one of the stature of Dr. Subramanian Swamy can shed light on this.
By Swaminathan SA Aiyar in The Economic Times
Baba Ramdev’s financial naivete is only to be expected. But I am astonished that the media endlessly repeats the myth that enormous hoards of black money are lying in Swiss banks.

Only financial illiterates will leave their money in Swiss banks offering very low interest rates (sometimes under 1%). To maximize their gains and hide their cash trail, savvy crooks route their money through various tax havens, and then seek the assistance of financial managers to maximize gains.

Financial managers will suggest a variety of assets from shares and bonds to real estate, aiming for annual returns of 10-20%. When such high returns are available, only novices will leave their money in bank deposits with very low returns.

This is obvious from the details disclosed of Indian-owned accounts in the LGT Bank in Liechtenstein. Of the 26 Indian accounts unearthed, some were owned by NRIs, and only 18 looked taxable. These had received inflows of just Rs 39 crore over two years, some of which may have been legitimate earnings abroad. This suggests that even if the Swiss bank secrecy is broken, relatively modest sums may come to light.

The government is signing agreements with many countries to access more information on foreign bank accounts. The very signing will warn crooks to transfer their funds to chains of corporations in lightly taxed places ranging from Liechtenstein to Cayman Islands and Mauritius to Bermuda. Once laundered through a dozen corporations in a dozen tax havens, money becomes white.

Some businessmen may park large sums temporarily in Swiss banks pending better deployment. Some politicians may not yet be financial savvy and may be content keeping large sums in Swiss banks. These will be exceptional cases. The bulk of black money abroad is in financial assets across the globe.

Where exactly? Nobody knows. But one of the best places in which to invest money is India, not Switzerland or the US or any western destination. Housing prices in the US doubled after 2000 and that was called a bubble, but housing prices in India rose almost ten-fold. Declarations by politicians of their assets show a huge preference for real estate over all other assets.

The Dow Jones index in New York is barely higher today than in 2000, but the Bombay sensex is up six-fold. Interest rates on Indian government bonds are 8% against 3% in the US and Germany. Clearly India is one of the best investment destinations in the world. Income tax rates today are modest and there is no tax on dividends and capital gains.

So, enormous sums of black money that once went abroad have returned in white form over the last two decades. These flows may have helped the Indian economy grow faster. They have certainly helped push up land and stock prices to dizzy heights, and election spending too.

India now gets $60 billion annually of remittances from NRIs, and up to $50 billion from portfolio inflows. A significant part of this must be black money returning as white. Some inflows come as NRI bank deposits in India.

UPA needs to drop arrogance and get real

The Sunday Standard (Indian Express Group)
Last Updated : 13 Jun 2011 11:21:42 AM IST

Offence is not always the best defence. Delhi’s ruling establishment is learning it the hard way. For the past few weeks, the UPA, the Congress and its megaphones have gone cacophonic with questions over the colour of the movements led by Anna Hazare and Ramdev against black money and corruption.

The reaction of the Government and the party to civil society’s champions defies not only logic but also consistency. They decided to defame and deride the same leaders whom they treated like manna from heaven until last week. Both Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had written personal letters to both the reformers, praising them for their relentless drive against the same cause to which, both claimed, the Congress is equally committed. Over a dozen ministers were deputed to plead and pray together with Baba and Anna. No doubt, Manmohan Singh and Sonia later put together a very effective team comprising spin doctors, legal eagles, filibusters and sagacious leaders to deal and tame the rising revolt against the establishment. The team led by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was expected to rein in both the crusaders by dialogue, debate and database.

They were also under instructions that if they failed in their endeavour, they should not spare any page in the rulebook to derail and demoralise the civil society groups through the use and misuse of the ever-ready investigative agencies. As the public outcry against the system acquires monumental proportions, the Government has devised a dangerous mechanism of dealing with dissent in a democracy. The message is clear: Join Us or Perish.

Once Anna and Baba refused to fall in line, the ruling establishment dubbed them as communal, corrupt, thugs and agents of unknown enemies of the state. But the Government fell into yet another trap for which they weren’t ready. Those who oppose both Anna and Baba chose to ask some questions like:

● Who were the donors who provided huge funds to both these campaigners?

● How are they spending their money?

● Why don’t civil society leaders declare their assets to the public?

● Are civil society leaders divided on many issues?

● How can a few selected people be allowed to dictate the nation’s agenda?

● Why do they want a live telecast of the proceedings of the panel on the Lokpal Bill?

● Why have they taken the support of organisations like the RSS and other allegedly communal organisations?

Interestingly, none of these issues were raised by any of the senior ministers who spent over 50 hours with Anna and Ramdev at the cost of government functioning, pleading for the agitation to be called off. As the Government and opinion-makers it sponsors mounted a tirade against Anna and Ramdev, they received an equally powerful rebuttal to each of the doubts raised about their motives. Team Anna turned the tables on the Government by putting out the assets of each key team member on their website.

Anna also ensured his website was brought to date by uploading the names of the movement’s donors, money spent on each rally, travel and so on and so forth. An earlier attempt to tar the image of Shanti Bhushan and his son by circulating a fake CD fell flat when two contradictory reports were handed over about the veracity of the discs. The Delhi Police have conveniently chosen to forget all about the case. Some prominent Government leaders issued veiled threats, promising reprisals against those who were part of the civil society movements. In Baba’s case, the threats were implemented; the Government selectively leaked reports on his business empire. It also sent out clear signals to all its departments to dig deep into the yoga guru’s past and present to try sabotage his future.

If the Government’s moves were aimed at silencing and demoralising both Baba and Anna, it failed miserably. Instead, it only brought them together.

Allegations of a division among civil society ranks were exposed by a massive protest fast at Rajghat by Anna and his team. They argue that when Parliament proceedings are telecast live, what is the problem with doing the same with the Lokpal Bill meetings? Civil society leaders were particularly upset with the way the Government treated Baba. Questions posed by the establishment were answered to with more inconvenient questions to the Congress and the Government. The most devastating question was on the legitimacy of the National Advisory Council led by Sonia. If, as the Government points out, unelected leaders like Anna and Baba are forcing it to set the tone for legislative business, then why is the NAC, with unknown members, being allowed to summon government files and officials for a brief on every law that the Government proposes to enact? The prime minister and all political parties are under pressure now to force ministers and leaders to declare assets on regular basis. Now, the public will ask the leaders to declare how much money was spent on each rally and also the names of donors who contributed towards these political shows.

Even the Election Commission that has failed to take any serious action against political parties for not filling their annual returns correctly will have to pull its socks. No political party has ever given out the names of those who give them money to run their political establishments and fight the elections.

According to credible estimates, over Rs 80,000 crore is spent by parties every five years on contesting polls and meeting their running costs. Most leaders now travel only by chartered planes.

It is now time to come down to earth. If the Government continues with its strong-arm tactics, it should be ready to confront a tsunami. After all, arrogance does bring agony.

– prabhuchawla@newindianexpress.com

http://expressbuzz.com/thesundaystandard/upa-needs-to-drop-arrogance-and-get-real/282690.html

The adharma of politicians: Joginder Singh in The Pioneer

June 13, 2011   10:52:12 AM

Joginder Singh

Whenever politicians are caught with their hand in the till they cry foul and claim innocence. M Karunanidhi’s defence of Kanimozhi demonstrates this point.

The paterfamilias of the first family of the DMK which was routed in the recent Assembly election, has said that his daughter Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha MP who is in jail for her alleged role in the 2G Spectrum scandal, has been imprisoned “either because of an instruction from the Centre or due to the negligence of the Centre”. Earlier, Mr M Karunanidhi, had also said that “bad friendship” would end in trouble.

According to the CBI’s chargesheet, Kanimozhi was arrested along with the managing director of Kalaignar TV for allegedly receiving `200 crore in the 2G Spectrum allocation scam. Mr Karunanidhi, however, claimed that the investigating agency had arrested his daughter as it needed someone to take the blame.

Having seen the CBI work from close quarters, I know for a fact that whenever a politician involved in a scam or a scandal is arrested, the standard response is that he or she has been falsely implicated and that it is a part of vendetta against an innocent person. I have also noticed that politicians and the truth rarely go hand-in-hand. Moreover, if the politician has held a position of power, his or her approach has generally been to loot as much as possible as if there is no tomorrow and he or she would never be held accountable.

In this context, I am reminded of a dialogue between dharma and the eldest Pandav brother, Yudhisthir. dharma asked Yudhisthir, “What is the biggest wonder of the world?” Yudhisthir replied, “The biggest wonder of the world is that people should see others dying and still somehow believe that death will bypass them.” In other words, people tend to forget that nature too works along Newton’s Third Principle: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

In the name of coalition dharma, partners in a coalition tend to become law unto themselves. Minority partners hold the majority party at gunpoint and the latter conveniently looks away so that they may all continue to remain in power. Yet, no dharma permits such adharma that allows the evil of corruption to thrive. In our country, the laws have been so framed that any investigation may be strangled by the Government at any step.

For example, according to the CVC Act the CBI cannot start any investigation against any officer of the level of Joint Secretary and above, which would include Ministers, without the Government’s sanction that can come only after the matter has been investigated. Thus, the CBI or any anti-corruption agency is left to deal with peons and clerks or junior officials at best, when everybody knows that the rot starts at the top.

The UPA Government went all out to save former Telecommunications Minister A Raja for nearly14 months, till such time the Supreme Court took over the monitoring of investigations into the 2G Spectrum scam. Only after that was A Raja arrested and a case registered against him. Three months later, Kanimozhi was also put behind bars. Now, the politicians are making a fine distinction between what is moral and what is legal as a subterfuge to escape punishment for their crimes. The Government, of course, is still doing its best to save the thieves and robbers, especially if they happen to belong to the ruling alliance. The only barrier that stands in its way is the judiciary.

This is not the case only in India; it is the same the world over. The famous American journalist Frank I Cobb once said about the US what is now equally applicable to India: “If the author of the Declaration of Independence were to utter such a sentiment today, the Post Office Department could exclude him from the mail, grand juries could indict him for sedition and criminal syndicalism, legislative committees could seize his private papers … and United States Senators would be clamouring for his deportation that he… should be sent back to live with the rest of the terrorists.”

The system today continues to be unjust to the masses with the result that people with lots of money and the ability to afford expensive lawyers often go unpunished. Regarding the Government’s indifference to the criminal justice system, the Supreme Court recently said, “The criminal justice system has been destroyed by the Government. They are not providing (adequate) funds to the police and the courts.” The observation only proves that the Government has actually done more than enough to bail out criminals, contrary to what Mr Karunanidhi would like to believe.

Moreover, by ensuring that the CBI remains under-staffed and hamstrung, the Government has significantly weakened its main anti-corruption agency as well. According to the CBI’s data, some 915 posts at the executive officers level — these include positions for Inspectors, Sub-Inspectors, Deputy Superintendents of Police, Superintendents of Police, Deputy Inspectors-General, Additional and Special Directors, Law Officers — are currently vacant. Hence, Mr Karunanidhi’s charge that the Union Government has not done enough to save his daughter does not stand up to scrutiny.

The only reason why Kanimozhi is in jail is because her case is being directly monitored by the Supreme Court. Once a case comes under the scrutiny of the judiciary, the Government has no say and cannot even direct the CBI. However, the abuse and misuse of the police and other law enforcement agencies will continue unless they are given a constitutional status. But we can only dream about such things since no politician would like to place a noose around his or her own neck. The State Governments have not even implemented the September 2006 directives of the Supreme Court for minimum reforms within the police department.

Mr Karunanidhi’s statements thus reflect the mindset of today’s politicians who, like our erstwhile colonial rulers, are habituated to using the police as puppets to implement their wishes as was evident during the eviction of Baba Ramdev and his supporters from Delhi — they had gathered to protest against corruption and press their demand that the Government should bring back the black money stashed in safe havens abroad.

It is a fact that fighting corruption has never been on the agenda of any political party. Though there are some honest politicians, most others use black money to fund their election campaign. This is done with the explicit help of the Government. Therefore, it is the Government’s duty to ensure that everyone declares their source of income. But perhaps it is never going to happen. So anybody who leads a movement against black money and corruption would be doing a signal service.

Many people say that democracy does not work. Of course it works. But we are the ones who have to make it work.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/345368/The-adharma-of-politicians.html

Democracy in Danger- HAF Press Statement

Democracy in Danger: HAF denounces Indian Government’s violent expulsion of Baba Ramdev and peaceful protesters
Washington, D.C. (June 6, 2011) – The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) strongly denounced Saturday night’s brutal police attack in New Delhi on a peaceful gathering of fifty thousand people led by the world renowned yoga guru Baba Ramdev. Shortly after midnight, on the orders of India’s ruling Congress Party led UPA government, police officers used batons and tear gas on the unarmed crowd, including women and children, which had gathered in a yoga-inspired anti-corruption protest to demand that the Government of India account for billions of dollars in “black” money. “Black” money, gained through corruption schemes, is commonly believed to be hidden overseas by many politicians and businesses.

Scores of Hindu Americans were also participating in symbolic fasts this week to support Baba Ramdev’s call for a “satyagraha” against corruption, echoing Mahatma Gandhi’s own method of peaceful, civil disobedience.

“The first and foremost responsibility of any functioning democracy is to protect the civil rights of its citizens, even when they speak against the sitting government,” said Rishi Bhutada, a member of the HAF Executive Council. “When a government acts contrary to that principle, it risks ruling by tyranny, as seen in the actions of a government that would attack one of India’s respected Hindu religious leaders and his unarmed supporters.”

The ruling Congress Party of India recently became the subject of investigation after under the table sales of India’s 2G mobile network connections led to the loss of almost $40 billion in revenue for the central government. Rampant bribery and embezzlement during the lead up to the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 also made international headlines, and a prominent Congress Party leader was arrested in connection earlier this month. Most political observers hold the current Manmohan Singh government culpable for gross negligence, while some have claimed that the practice of storing laundered wealth overseas runs right up to the doors of the Congress Party headquarters, and its leader, Sonia Gandhi. Baba Ramdev had called for a hunger-strike and the current protest, reacting to this unprecedented string of high-profile scandals that involved high-level politicians within the UPA government.

“The gratuitous, middle-of-the-night attack on Baba Ramdev and tens of thousands of peaceful supporters was revolting to witness, and clearly an attempt to detract attention from the sitting government’s unwillingness to curb corruption within its ranks,” said Jay Kansara, HAF’s Washington, D.C. based Assistant Director. “HAF has called attention to similarly brutal attacks on peacefully gathering Hindus in Malaysia before, and is closely monitoring persecution of Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh–it is an utter shock to see the Congress-UPA combine emulate such tactics.”

A well respected spiritual leader both in and outside of India, Baba Ramdev has traveled many times to the United States, delivering discourses on yoga and holistic lifestyles attended by thousands. In 2009, he laid the foundation to jointly explore with MD Anderson Cancer Institute potential naturopathic treatments for cancer. Though his message is apolitical, he began speaking out forcefully against corruption five years ago and rose to prominence as a critic of the sitting government, especially since the recent scandals.

“Baba Ramdev touches the lives of millions of people everyday through his message of peace, wellness, and enlightenment, and his non-violent movement to end corruption resonated with the ideals of a healthy democracy,” added Bhutada. “Just this past March, HAF leaders were testifying in support of India’s human rights record and history of democratic dissent in front of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. It is a sad irony that Saturday’s attack is contrary to our words in India’s support, and we call upon the UPA government to reaffirm its commitment to religious pluralism and democracy in light of this week’s events.”

The Hindu American Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting the Hindu and American ideals of understanding, tolerance and pluralism.

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