The Candid Eye

August 25, 2011

World’s #9 Most Powerful Person Now Accused of Corruption — Will She Fall?

From huffingtonpost article by Cleo Paskal:

 

New Delhi. Some of India’s biggest fish are getting caught up in the country’s fast-growing wave of anti-corruption activity. In what could be India’s equivalent of a judicial jasmine revolution, previously invulnerable politicians, business icons, and pillars of the community are all nervously keeping their lawyers on speed-dial.

The anti-corruption push is an unprecedented coming together of myriad facets of Indian society. Religious leaders are concerned about the effects on morality and spiritual growth. NGOs speak of the effects on the poor. The middle class is angry about its future being stifled by a smothering blanket of day-to-day corruption. The intelligence services see corruption a clear threat to national security. And the business community, thanks to globalization, has seen how efficiently things can operate without having to constantly pay bribes or be tangled in red tape, and they want the same thing at home.

Even the Supreme Court is fed up, with Justice B. Sudarshan Reddy saying about the vast sums of Indian money being illegally hidden away in Liechtenstein Bank:

We are talking about the huge money. It is a plunder of the nation. It is a pure and simple theft of the national money. We are talking about mind-boggling crime.

The scandals are bursting on to the front pages fast and thick. Suresh Kalmadi, a Congress Party politician and the former head of the corruption-plagued Commonwealth Games, was arrested April 25. According to a report by the Indian Comptroller and Auditor General, the 2G spectrum scam alone, in which 2G licenses were sold off in a manner that was, to say the least, less than transparent, cost close to $40 billion in lost revenue.

All across India, people are saying enough is enough. And suddenly the unthinkable is starting to happen. People considered above reproach, or at least untouchable, are coming under the judicial cross-hairs. 2G alone has seen charges laid against one former government minister and several captains of industry.

And the latest high profile target is one of the biggest fish of all, Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi, currently #9 on Forbes list of the World’s Most Powerful People.

Sonia Gandhi has one of the most remarkable life stories in international politics. Born Edvige Antonia Albina Maino into a family of modest means in rural Italy, she didn’t even get a chance to complete high school before heading to the UK for work. There she met Rajiv Gandhi, son of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. She eventually married him and the young family moved in to Indira Gandhi’s New Delhi’s home, putting her literally in the heart of Indian politics.

After Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984, Sonia’s husband Rajiv became Prime Minister. Following Rajiv’s 1991 assassination by Tamil terrorists, there were rumors that Sonia was going to put herself forward as Prime Minister.

As she herself later said, she “could not walk past the portraits of my husband, my mother-in-law and her father and not feel that I had some responsibility to try and save the party they had given their lives to.”

2011-04-25-SoniaCongress.jpg

Given her focus on the party, it was fitting that instead of becoming Prime Minister, she ended up as President of the powerful Congress Party. Politically, it proved to be a smart move as it gave her power without direct responsibility — while she is #9 on Forbes list of power people, the actual Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, is only #18. According to Forbes, “Gandhi remains the real power behind the nuclear-tipped throne […] she has cemented her status as true heiress to the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty.”

Her image is of a dutiful, submissive Indian wife, now widow. When her husband was alive, she would walk behind him. In public she wears saris. Although a devout Catholic, she is often photographed at Hindu Temples. And like a good Indian mother, though she has decorously pulled herself out of the race for Prime Minister, she is happy to encourage her son, Rahul, to take the job.

However there have been growing, persistent murmurs about questionable business deals and inexplicable exponential jumps in the personal wealth of her and her family.

The allegations came out in the open in 1995 when M. D. Nalapat, then Resident Editor (Delhi) of the world’s largest English language newspaper, the Times of India, began a groundbreaking series of articles about Sonia.

The articles made the controversial (at the time) claim that the public docility was just a ploy, and that Sonia actually had serious political ambitions (later confirmed by her role in Congress). Also, crucially, the series said that her desire for power wasn’t simply altruistic and that the wealth not only of her, but of her Italian relatives, rose stratospherically after Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister in 1984.

Nalapat’s articles could not be ignored as he was one of India’s most respected journalists and had, throughout his career, taken on corrupt politicians, social inequity and institutionalized discrimination.

This however was a ‘topic too far’. While the facts in the article were never refuted, Nalapat was forced out of journalism in 1998 and moved into academics.

Next came public questions from another highly reputed source, Sten Lindstrom, Sweden’s special prosecutor investigating the pay-offs associated with the sale of weapons by Bofors to the government of India. His investigation showed that a close friend of Sonia’s, Ottavio Quattrocchi, has received kickbacks in the millions.

In 1998 Lindstrom gave an interview in which he said:

the Gandhis, particularly now Sonia, should explain how Quattrocchi-owned companies got such fat sums as payoffs from the Bofors deal. After all, what is the connection of Sonia and the Gandhi family to Quattrocchi? Who introduced Quattrocchi and his AE Services to Bofors? At least one thing is certainly known now. A part of the payoffs definitely went to Quattrocchi. […] the papers all pointed to the Gandhi family.

Not only have the questions not been answered by Sonia, but in spite of substantial evidence against him, Quattrocchi has managed to evade prosecution in India, and has even had his kickback funds unfrozenfrom overseas accounts.

Part of the genius of Sonia Gandhi is her ability to present herself as a helpless victim, convincing even her political rivals not to fear her as she is fatally flawed. In 1998, India was being led by BJP Prime Minister Vajpayee. When Nalapat spoke with him about Sonia, he was bluntly told to lay off, as, “so long as a white Christian lady is head of the Congress Party, I [Vajpayee] and my party will always be in power”. Vajpayee and his party lost power to Sonia’s Congress in 2004.

But the most serious threat to Sonia — and, as she is at the apex of the Congress Party, and so to Congress itself — is now lying on the desk of #18, the Prime Minister of India.

On April 15, former Law and Justice Minister and Harvard Professor Dr. Subramanian Swamy asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for leave to lay corruption charges against Sonia Gandhi. In a meticulously researched 200+ page submission Dr Swamy alleges Sonia Gandhi has been involved in corruption in India since 1972 and personally benefited from the Bofors scam (1986), has held billions in non-Indian bank accounts since at least 1991, illegally profited from the Iraqi oil-for-food deals (2002), and even accessed KGB payoffs during the Cold War.

The Prime Minister has three months to decide whether or not to grant sanction to prosecute. If he doesn’t, Dr. Swamy can take the case directly to the Supreme Court, which under Chief Justice Kapadia is showing a definite proclivity towards facilitating corruption cases.

While, so far, the corruption cases in India have caught up some pretty big fish, if charges are laid against Sonia Gandhi, it won’t just be part of a wave, it will be a sea change.

Sonia Gandhi is not just an individual, she is the steely core of a pillar of Indian politics. If she crumbles, it will shake the foundations of the venerable Congress Party, and possibly leave a gaping hole in the political scene. Meanwhile, a range of polarizing and regional parties are ready to rush in and stake their claim. Given the growing importance of India in our heavily globalized world, this is not just an Indian story, this is one all should be following very closely indeed.

Follow Cleo Paskal on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cleopaskal

November 11, 2010

The media has misled us on the Adarsh scam!

An article by Carl H. Gomes on Vigil Online throws light on unknown truths about Adarsh Housing scam.

Now that the dust has settled and the stench (from the shit that hit the fan) has blown away, we can perhaps look at the Adarsh scam a little dispassionately. The media (both print and electronic) really went to town on this because there is nothing that the media loves better than to tear a person?s reputation to shreds and the truth be damned. If Armed Forces officers are involved, the ferocity of the attack is worse because they can in addition sully the uniform and the institution, since the politician and the bureaucrat are impervious. And as they say, “the bigger they are, the harder they fall!”

Adarsh Housing in South Mumbai

The ..housing for widows of the “martyrs” of Kargil? is a media creation because the scheme was never meant for them nor was the plot reserved in their name. No government, however magnanimous, would have allotted such a prohibitively expensive plot in a prime location to Kargil heroes or their widows. A more likely place would have been in the satellite town of Navi Mumbai, or in Nagpur or Nasik, where land is available aplenty. The project was never promoted as a housing project for the ..widows of Kargil?; but the Kargil conflict itself was used as a ploy to get the land transferred to the society with the active connivance of the Defence Estate Officers, one of who became a promoter. Because of its location on the boundary of defence land and was in the physical possession of the Army, it had no commercial potential for a civilian project. It was the brain child of Maj Gen AR Kumar, Area Cdr/GOC (1999-2000), when the Kargil war was in progress and his deputy Brig TK Kaul. Subsequently all Area Cdrs and Sub-area Cdrs from 2000 to 2010 have been allotted flats in the building as a quid pro quo apparently to buy their silence. The Navy had no role to play in giving clearances at that time but top naval brass were offered flats all the same as one of the promoters was a naval officer. They were probably offered the “right of first refusal” but refused to refuse the offer. The other lower ranked officers (including a Petty Officer) either got it courtesy of one or other of the promoters or they just got lucky. No one looks a gift horse in the mouth!

The Adarsh plot is not located in far away Yeotmal or Aurangabad but in tony South Bombay (So Bo, as it is called) where property prices are the highest in the world and there is little vacant land left. It is just a stone?s throw away from and in full view of the headquarters of the Maharashtra government, “Mantralaya”, the BMC Headquarters and the Headquarters of the GOC, M&G Area. The building did not come up surreptitiously but grew in stature under the benign gaze of the worthies who occupy these hallowed premises and had their blessings.

Ashok Chavan

The problems really started when the Revenue Minister (now Chief Minister) Ashok Chavan demanded 40% of the flats for civilians (read politicians and bureaucrats). A modest housing project of 6 floors slowly expanded to 31 floors to accommodate the swelling demand from these big wigs who high jacked the project and colluded with the builder to break every rule in the statute book with impunity. The building is a monument to deceit to all the people of Maharashtra/Mumbai/India and not just the Kargil heroes/widows, most of whom have already got houses in New Delhi in the Dwarka project. This project never had any link to ‘war veterans and/or widows of Kargil’ who were the invisible pawns in the game. We have only been compelled by the media to think that way. In fact, membership was restricted to Maharashtrians and those who could prove domicile in Maharashtra – so much so even the two former Army Chiefs did not just walk in – they had to get exemption from the highest levels of the government, even though this is not a government project.

Let us consider the following:

This is India, the country where the Armed Forces are just ‘use and throw? commodities like “curry patha”. This is Maharashtra which is one of the few states that does not have any sympathy or respect for the Armed Forces – the only state that charges the maximum taxes on goods sold through the CSD, including liquor. This is Mumbai which is the only city that does not exempt Armed Forces veterans from paying property tax on their houses even if it is ..self-occupied?.

The Govt could have selected a location where the land is cheaper and available in abundance like Navi Mumbai or also in places to which most of such heroes and widows would have belonged. It is hard to imagine a farmer from Haryana or a villager from Bihar wanting to stay in a tony area with the Ambanis as their neighbours – the Ambani residence SEAWIND is just next door.

The plot had CRZ restrictions due to which only a six-storied building could be officially built; thus, with 3 to 4 flats per floor, maximum 20 three bedroom flats – OR – not more than 30 two bed-room flats. would have come up.

This is a self financed scheme – not free houses. Their life-time savings (even if those martyrs had been alive) could not have enabled them to dream of possessing a house at the above location. The cost of land alone is in excess of Rs 60,000/- per sq. ft.

Heroes and widows of Kargil war number more than one thousand. Most of them have already been allotted flats in Dwarka in Delhi or in their own home states – and hence have no need for a second home. Besides, it is unthinkable that the Army would think of a welfare activity which could benefit just a small fraction of deserving personnel.

The Navy did not participate in the Kargil conflict yet there are several naval personnel amongst the members. The Air Force did participate but not one AF person is a member.

Security clearance from the Navy became an issue only in 2009 after the Navy was made responsible for coastal security in the wake of the 26/11 terrorist strike on Mumbai. The spot where the terrorists landed is only a few hundred metres up the road from Adarsh on Cuffe Parade. That is how the Navy raised a flag; but by that time the building was almost complete.

This was a scandal that was waiting to happen – it is neither the first, nor is it the last in an unending series of such scams that have dotted the Maharashtra landscape. Because of its location, Adarsh is very visible but it is just the tip of the iceberg; what of the innumerable Adarshes across the country which is driven by the greed of the rapacious builder-politician- bureaucrat nexus? The armed forces personnel, serving and retired are guilty by association and of impropriety and collusion. They will definitely face justice of one kind or another but will the politician and the bureaucrat be touched? We have seen what happens to them post 26/11.

Liar Rajdeep Sardesai

55% of Mumbai?s population of 15 million live in slums or on the streets while 13 % live in ownership flats. 70% of the rest live in one-room tenements, some of which are crumbling. In a scenario of such abject deprivation, Adarsh is a monument of shame. Let us not drag the names of Kargil heroes into this filth even by association, which the media (Arnab Goswami and Rajdeep Sardesai) insists on doing. I cannot ask retired officers to stop appearing on TV talk shows, but I wish they would because they make asses of themselves.

– Carl H. Gomes.

October 4, 2010

Home truths for Rahul Gandhi!

In what is clearly an indictment of PV Narasimha Rao, one of India’s greatest Prime Ministers, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi declared a couple of weeks ago that the Babri Masjid would have been saved if a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family had been in active politics at that time. Though Mr Gandhi has belatedly tried to make some amends, this incident has once again brought to the fore the feudal mindset of members of the Nehru-Gandhi family, their insecurities (which prevent them from acknowledging the contribution of leaders outside their family) and their persistent efforts to distort historical truths.

Rahul Gandhi Family - Courtesy : in.com

Since Mr Gandhi has sought to give us a glimpse of what would have been if a member of his family had been at the helm in December 1992, here is a summary of this family’s track record when it did hold the political reins. Let us begin at the beginning. Acting on the advice of Lord Mountbatten, the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, gave Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel the task of integrating all the 565 princely states in the Indian Union. Even as Sardar Patel set about his task, Nehru, in a display of pettiness typical of this family, moved “Kashmir Affairs” from the Department of States to the Ministry of External Affairs, which was under his charge. Patel executed his responsibility in a clinical and ruthless manner and successfully completed the gigantic task of stitching together 564 princely states into the Indian Union. Nehru took on the responsibility of integrating one princely state (Jammu & Kashmir) and we all know the consequence – this has remained India’s most problematic State for the last 60 years.

But Nehru’s Kashmir blunders did not end here. In October 1947, Pakistan sent in thousands of heavily armed tribesmen into Jammu & Kashmir in a bid to capture it by force. After Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession, the Indian Army marched in and began pushing back the intruders who had captured Baramulla and cut off power supply to Srinagar. Even as our gallant soldiers were driving out the intruders, Nehru cried halt to the Army operation and, much against the advice of Sardar Patel, took the fateful decision to lodge a complaint against Pakistan before the United Nations Security Council on January 1, 1948.

With this single act, Nehru demoralised the Army (which wanted just a few more days to throw out the intruders), allowed Pakistan to retain 30,000 square miles of illegally occupied territory in Jammu & Kashmir and internationalised the Kashmir issue. So, while Nehru made a mess of the Kashmir issue, Patel coaxed, cajoled or bamboozled recalcitrant princes like the Nizam of Hyderabad and a couple of pro-Pakistan princes on the Gujarat coast to fall in line and accede their territories to India. But for Patel’s firmness, we would have lost Hyderabad and the coastal areas of Gujarat to Pakistan in1948 itself and Hyderabad, in the words of the Sardar, would have become an “undigested lump” in India’s belly.

Let us now examine the report card of another member of this family – Mrs Indira Gandhi.

In 1975, Mrs Gandhi imposed an internal Emergency and turned a vibrant democracy into a dictatorship. Her Government wrecked the Constitution through a series of horrendous amendments, jailed most of her political opponents under draconian laws, ordered forcible sterilisation of men in the reproductive age group and sent bulldozers to drive out the poor from the cities. All this would never have happened if a non-Nehru-Gandhi had been the Prime Minister.

Thereafter, between 1980 and 1984, Mrs Gandhi’s Government offered tacit support to Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale just to spite the Akalis and allowed him to store deadly weapons in the Golden Temple. When things went out of control, she ordered the Army to march into the shrine, causing huge loss of human life and hurting the pride of the Sikhs. Thereafter, Mrs Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards leading to a pogrom in which more than 3,000 Sikhs were lynched in Delhi and other parts of northern India at the behest of Congress leaders. None of this would have happened if a non-Nehru Gandhi had been the Prime Minister between 1980 and 1984.

Coming to the era of Rajiv Gandhi, his approach to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) eerily resembled the Sikh militancy story. This too ended in the tragic deaths of hundreds of brave, young soldiers and the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. All this would never have happened if a non-Nehru-Gandhi had been Prime Minister between 1984 and 1989.

There are several other decisions taken by members of this family, which have resulted in much social, economic and political strife. For example, Rajiv Gandhi succumbed to pressure from the Muslim clergy and amended the law to deny maintenance to divorced Muslim women after the Shah Bano case. Thereafter he felt compelled to appease Hindu sentiment and so had the Ram Temple in Ayodhya unlocked and a ‘shilanyas’ performed. Yet, Mr Rahul Gandhi showers abuse on Narasimha Rao and expects us to believe that the family that blessed the ‘shilanyas’ would have saved the masjid! The list is endless.

However, since Mr Gandhi has sought to run down Narasimha Rao, we need to ask ourselves whether members of this family have ever had the civility to acknowledge the contribution of national leaders from outside this family, be it Sardar Patel, BR Ambedkar or Narasimha Rao. When Narasimha Rao became Prime Minister we had mortgaged gold to the Bank of England because we had run out of foreign exchange. By the time he completed his five-year term, he had laid the foundation for India’s emergence as an economic superpower. I shudder to think what would have been India’s fate if instead of the cerebral Narasimha Rao, a Nehru-Gandhi had been the Prime Minister between 1991 and 1996!

Narasimha Rao, along with Mr Manmohan Singh, not only gave India hope but also unlocked the creative genius of Indians, which had been bottled up during the era of the Nehru-Gandhis. The Nehru-Gandhis will never acknowledge this, but we do not have to be so ungrateful. Now that Mr Rahul Gandhi has sought to besmirch the image of Narasimha Rao, we must demand the appointment of a Truth Commission to document the commissions and omissions of every Prime Minister so that our post-independence history, which is currently corrupted by the mythology promoted by the Nehru-Gandhis, becomes a more honest narrative.

Source : The Pioneer

September 6, 2010

How the UPA robbed us of Rs2,80,795 crore

An excellent article by R Jagannathan appeared on DNA.

The number in the headline is the amount of money looted by the UPA government from taxpayers and investors since 2004. And all this is from just one sector: petroleum.
The only difference between a Ramalinga Raju, who raided Satyam’s cash chest to bankroll his infrastructure dreams, and the government, which dipped into public sector assets to finance its re-election, is this: Raju cannot legislate away his crimes. Government can.
Let’s go back to the first number: Rs2,80,795 crore. I owe this piece of info to my colleague Mayank Aggarwal, who had put in an RTI query to the ministry of petroleum and natural gas asking them how much money was transferred from profit-making oil companies to loss-making ones to fund the subsidisation of kerosene, cooking gas and diesel (among other things).
The answer he got was frightening. Between 2004-05 and 2009-10, the three most profitable oil and gas companies (ONGC, GAIL and Oil India) were summarily asked to hand over Rs1,12,592 crore to three loss-making oil marketing companies.
That’s nearly three times the current year’s central outlay for NREGA, the flagship social security scheme of the UPA. But even Rs1,12,592 crore wasn’t enough to staunch the bleeding of Indian Oil, BPCL and HPCL. Over and above the robbery of three profit-making oil companies, the government had to raid the taxpayer’s chest for another Rs1,68,203 crore over 2005-10 (paid through oil bonds) to ensure the marketing companies stayed afloat.
Now, let’s restate the full extent of the skullduggery. To ensure that oil prices did not rock its electoral boat, it transferred Rs1,12,592 crore from publicly-listed profit-makers to the loss-makers, but there’s a procedural complication here.

Politicians & Corruption

Cartoon Sourcehttp://lifesacomicstrip.blogspot.com/2009/09/politicians-and-money.html
The government itself owns majority stakes in these profit-makers, so the real extent of money transferred from private investors is equal only to the level of public shareholding in these companies.
Since the public shareholding is 25.86% in ONGC, 21.57% in Oil India and 42.18% in GAIL, private investors were cheated of Rs29,991 crore in the process. That’s their share of profits in ONGC, Oil India and GAIL that got transferred to the marketing companies. Investors in these three companies can approach Sebi and ask it to take action against the promoter (the government) for corporate misgovernance and misappropriation of shareholders funds.
To be sure, this is not a point that has not been made before. What we are now clear about is the exact extent of the government’s bad politico-economic decisions that investors and taxpayers finally ended up paying for.
Misgovernance and fraud is built into the public sector primarily because politicians use public assets for private ends, including financing their own re-election.
Let’s also remember, the Rs2,80,795 crore scandal is only the tip of the iceberg. If we add up the subsidies handed over to fertiliser companies, farmers and the Food Corporation of India (a substantial part of the grain mountain that is now being fed to rats), the losses will be truly stupendous.
The best thing the UPA did recently was thus to move towards oil price deregulation, but we are going to continue to pay for past follies. A case in point is the Direct Tax Code (DTC) that was recently cleared by the Union cabinet. Originally touted as a big deal for taxpayers, it has been reduced to a minor concession, thanks to past overspending.
The original idea behind the DTC was to move to a tax system that was transparent and easy to administer, but the UPA cannot afford it anymore. A mountain of work has, thus, yielded a mouse. After producing two draft codes for public discussion, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has more or less opted for incrementalism rather than radical change.
The initial proposal was simple enough: give taxpayers a large dose of tax relief, lump all exemptions into one package, and make the tax system less complicated. If Mukherjee had stuck to that goal, taxpayers would have surrendered small reliefs here and there and gained big on tax slabs and choice of tax-free investment avenues. But now Mukherjee’s DTC is a pale shadow of its former self.
Under the original draft proposal, taxpayers in the higher brackets would have saved more, as the idea was that the lowest rate of 10% would cover incomes upto Rs10 lakh. The middle rate of 20% would apply to incomes in the Rs10-25 lakh bracket, and the top rate of 30% to incomes above Rs25 lakh. As things stand now, the tax-free bracket merely moves up from Rs1.6 lakh to Rs2 lakh.
The 10%, 20% and 30% brackets also shrink to Rs 2-5lakh, Rs5-10-lakh and Rs10 lakh plus.
This is incrementalism at its worst, and Pranab-da has missed a golden opportunity to empower taxpayers. Having robbed them in the past, he cannot play Robin Hood now.

The number in the headline is the amount of money looted by the UPA government from taxpayers and investors since 2004. And all this is from just one sector: petroleum.
The only difference between a Ramalinga Raju, who raided Satyam’s cash chest to bankroll his infrastructure dreams, and the government, which dipped into public sector assets to finance its re-election, is this: Raju cannot legislate away his crimes. Government can.
Let’s go back to the first number: Rs2,80,795 crore. I owe this piece of info to my colleague Mayank Aggarwal, who had put in an RTI query to the ministry of petroleum and natural gas asking them how much money was transferred from profit-making oil companies to loss-making ones to fund the subsidisation of kerosene, cooking gas and diesel (among other things).
The answer he got was frightening. Between 2004-05 and 2009-10, the three most profitable oil and gas companies (ONGC, GAIL and Oil India) were summarily asked to hand over Rs1,12,592 crore to three loss-making oil marketing companies.
That’s nearly three times the current year’s central outlay for NREGA, the flagship social security scheme of the UPA. But even Rs1,12,592 crore wasn’t enough to staunch the bleeding of Indian Oil, BPCL and HPCL. Over and above the robbery of three profit-making oil companies, the government had to raid the taxpayer’s chest for another Rs1,68,203 crore over 2005-10 (paid through oil bonds) to ensure the marketing companies stayed afloat.
Now, let’s restate the full extent of the skullduggery. To ensure that oil prices did not rock its electoral boat, it transferred Rs1,12,592 crore from publicly-listed profit-makers to the loss-makers, but there’s a procedural complication here.
The government itself owns majority stakes in these profit-makers, so the real extent of money transferred from private investors is equal only to the level of public shareholding in these companies.
Since the public shareholding is 25.86% in ONGC, 21.57% in Oil India and 42.18% in GAIL, private investors were cheated of Rs29,991 crore in the process. That’s their share of profits in ONGC, Oil India and GAIL that got transferred to the marketing companies. Investors in these three companies can approach Sebi and ask it to take action against the promoter (the government) for corporate misgovernance and misappropriation of shareholders funds.
To be sure, this is not a point that has not been made before. What we are now clear about is the exact extent of the government’s bad politico-economic decisions that investors and taxpayers finally ended up paying for.
Misgovernance and fraud is built into the public sector primarily because politicians use public assets for private ends, including financing their own re-election.
Let’s also remember, the Rs2,80,795 crore scandal is only the tip of the iceberg. If we add up the subsidies handed over to fertiliser companies, farmers and the Food Corporation of India (a substantial part of the grain mountain that is now being fed to rats), the losses will be truly stupendous.
The best thing the UPA did recently was thus to move towards oil price deregulation, but we are going to continue to pay for past follies. A case in point is the Direct Tax Code (DTC) that was recently cleared by the Union cabinet. Originally touted as a big deal for taxpayers, it has been reduced to a minor concession, thanks to past overspending.
The original idea behind the DTC was to move to a tax system that was transparent and easy to administer, but the UPA cannot afford it anymore. A mountain of work has, thus, yielded a mouse. After producing two draft codes for public discussion, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has more or less opted for incrementalism rather than radical change.
The initial proposal was simple enough: give taxpayers a large dose of tax relief, lump all exemptions into one package, and make the tax system less complicated. If Mukherjee had stuck to that goal, taxpayers would have surrendered small reliefs here and there and gained big on tax slabs and choice of tax-free investment avenues. But now Mukherjee’s DTC is a pale shadow of its former self.
Under the original draft proposal, taxpayers in the higher brackets would have saved more, as the idea was that the lowest rate of 10% would cover incomes upto Rs10 lakh. The middle rate of 20% would apply to incomes in the Rs10-25 lakh bracket, and the top rate of 30% to incomes above Rs25 lakh. As things stand now, the tax-free bracket merely moves up from Rs1.6 lakh to Rs2 lakh.
The 10%, 20% and 30% brackets also shrink to Rs 2-5lakh, Rs5-10-lakh and Rs10 lakh plus. This is incrementalism at its worst, and Pranab-da has missed a golden opportunity to empower taxpayers. Having robbed them in the past, he cannot play Robin Hood now.

March 29, 2010

Lord Ram temple demolished by Secular Christians!!

It was very shocking when I read this news on this site. When Churches in Karnataka were attacked, all news channels were busy 24×7 broadcasting the news saying BJP led Karnataka government let loose all the culprits who were responsible for this act.The anti-Hindu campaign has been so much so that even in the recently held BBMP election campaigns, this was blown out of proportion by the Congress party to hoodwink people of Karnataka just to get the votes to loot further.

Where are these secular media and newspapers and English speaking  elitists? None of the English channels have given any hint on this most criminal offence.When the media is very busy in  highlighting  “Advani celebrated when Babri came down”.”Modi deserved this treatment.”, they simply ignored this piece of information just because the perpetrators belong to Sonia Gandhi’s religion.

English Media in India has lost all its credibility among the common man.When Churches and Mosques are protected by our government, temples are not.When Christians and Muslims are protected by Law, Hindus and their place worships are not.Hindus are required to pay their taxes to send the Muslims and Christians to Mecca and Jerusalem.The poor Hindus will be kicked out if they ask even a temporary shelter in Amarnath.

Please note that though the FIR is submitted, NO ACTION has been taken so far.Compare this with the hue and cry this peace loving church and Christians would make if similar incident happen to them.

Excerpts start here

Sources: 1) Andhra Jyothy, March 18, 2010

http://www.andhrajyothy.com/tabloids/2010/mar/18/wgd/wgd%20page05.pdf

2) FIR submitted by a villager

——– Translation of the Newspaper article ———————–

Temple demolished in MangalaGunta Palem Narasapuram rural: March 17: A few people (Christians) belonging to the Managalagunta palem have demolished a temple. It has been found that the incident happened on Tuesday night. This temple has a 100 year history. According to some villagers the demolition is part of a conspiracy. The Tehsildhar of the village Jawaharlal Nehru visited the place after he came to know about the incident. Police have taken precautionary measures to prevent disturbances. Tehsildhar mentioned that inquiry is going on to identify the culprits and the underlying reasons.

——- Translation of the FIR submitted to police (no action was taken so far ——-

To

The Superintendent of police, West Godavari Dist,

The report submitted by

Bandela RamaChandra Rao, Narasapuram, West Godavari Dist on 17-March-2010

Sir,

We belong to Mangala Gunta Palem Village in Kustubada Panchayati. There is a 100 year old Ramalayam (Rama’s temple) in the Harijan (Dalit) area in our village. In this temple, for the last 100 years festivals such as Nandi puja, Sri Rama Navami etc were celebrated grandly.

For sometime Christians belonging to our village have been trying to demolish this temple and create communal disturbances. During many such attempts earlier, we protected Hindus and this Sri Rama temple from these militants.

We have been planning and making arrangements to celebrate Sri Rama Navami from 24-March-2010 5:00 PM onwards. After looking at these arrangements, the Christian anti social elements decided to stop the same at any cost. On 16-March-2010 7:30 PM the following Christians named

1. Gorinkala Vijaya Prasad S/O Adam

2. Bandela Venkataratnam S/O Gnana Rao

3. Gorinkala Sharmila W/O VijayaPrasad

4. Kollabothula Appa Rao S/O Yesu Dasu

5. Kona Ratnam Raju S/O Satyanarayana

6. Kollabothula Sundara Rao S/O Vanamayya

demolished the Sri Rama Temple and destroyed the idols of Sri Rama etc. This is an anti-Hindu extremist activity.

As soon as the news of the attack to came to the notice of the villagers, members belonging to the Harijan (Dalit) Ramalaya protection committee and temple protection committee visited the place. The following members of the committee were attacked by the Christian extremists.

1. Vangala Jagannadha Krishna Kishore

2. Desetti Satyanarayana

3. Boosim Sankar

4. Koppada Harinath

5. Boodida Venkateswara Rao

6. Sangani Venkateswara Rao

Excerpts end here

January 21, 2010

The terror masters of Kerala

An article by Dr. Babu Suseelan

Most security and terror experts agree that the indifferent attitude of the Marxist government and the pro-jihadi policies of the Sonia government helped to furnish the stage set for the Mumbai jihadi massacre.

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are the ideological, financial and training centers of the global Islamic terrorism. Now Dubai has joined the terrorists club. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Al-Qaeda, and Laskhar-e-Toiba use Dubai for financing, recruiting and deploying jihadi terrorists against India. The Saudi ministries of Islamic affairs budgets billions of dollars for disseminating the “Word of Allah” throughout the world. The Saudi Religious Affairs Ministry finances thousands of mosques in Kerala and different parts of India. The Islamic goal is to abolish Indian Hindu culture and secular ethos and replace it with Islamo fascism.

Apostasy in Islam : Image Courtesy - http://www.bendib.com/

Thousands of Muslims from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Somalia, and Sri Lanka are working in Dubai as labourers. They work below poverty level salaries and live in filthy labour camps. Pakistan jihadi recruiting agents and ISI target Muslims from Kerala with financial largesse. Recruited Muslims are sent to Pakistan for further indoctrination, and jihad terrorism training. Pakistan trained jihadis have penetrated every state in India. They have established a vast network of jihadis and additional training centers in different parts of India.

Dubai based Muslim businessmen use a complex financial money laundering web to provide infrastructure and financial support for the Islamic terror groups in Kerala.

Now, Kerala, the land of Sankaracharya has become a jihadi terror centre of India. Jihadis are running around with bombs and explosives targeting innocent people at will. Muslims in Kerala receive financial largesse from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and from Kerala Muslims settled in Dubai. They have established a vast and complex financial, religious, media, and educational networks in Kerala to propagate Islamic extremism and jihadist interests. Through numerous charitable organisations, business houses, news papers and television, jihadis have successfully recruited thousands of terrorists for the Islamic jihad against India.

New Age Islam Niqab in Europe : Image Courtesy - http://www.newageislam.org/

Thejas, a jihadi owned daily in Malayalam receives enormous amounts from Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Iran and Pakistan. Thejas is in the forefront in supporting Islamic terrorism against India. It is the mouthpiece for SIMI, PDP and NDF. These organisations are declared as terror outfits by security agencies. It’s most dangerous effect being its cultural, political, and intellectual influence in various fields.

Recent arrest of Soofia Madany, Thadianteavide Nassir, Umar Forooqi, Halim, Majeed Parambil, Tajudeen, Sabeer and Shuhoe and several jihadi terrorists reveal a complex system of material support they have received from Pakistan and Dubai. Jihadi terrorist groups pay through Thejas daily for Marxist intellectuals, phony social leaders, fake Human Rights groups for drafting and placing Op-Ed pieces, conducting outreach events, organising Press conferences, and arranging political party leaders visit to Dubai.

PDP leader Abdul Nasser Madany who was implicated in Coimbatore bomb blast case where 93 people were killed has defined their goal in one of his speech. The mischievous orator stated that “There was no way that Islamic society could compromise with Hindutva”. “Islam would prevail in India.” “There is no middle ground.” As a consequence he echoed Al-Qaeda in believing that only by purging secular influences and returning to “true Islam” could the Islamic world ever recover its past glory. His views and attitudes towards the Marxists are known as well. Yet the Marxist party made an unholy alliance with jihadi Madany and his Islamic party PDP. His wife Soofia Madany is now implicated in Kalamessari bus burning case, Ernakulum, Kozhikode and Bengaluru explosions and several bombing and arson cases.

For several years, the Congress government and the Marxist government have showed absolutely no desire for the investigation of several jihadis bombing in Kerala. When Madany was arrested and handedover to Tamil Nadu for Coimbatore bomb blast case, by the Marxist Chief Minister Nayannar, Jihadis hatched a plan to murder Nayanar. The Marxist and the Congress government refused to arrest and prosecute jihadis for the murder plan. The Congress and the Marxist governments stalled the investigation. The jihadis were whisked out of the country before they could be arrested. The Marxist government contented that their whereabouts are unknown.

Later in December 2009, Thadiantaveede Nassir was quickly whisked out of Bangladesh where he was planning bombing against American and Indian embassies in Bangladesh. He revealed jihadis involvement in Kalamassery bus hijacking and burning, Kzhikode bomb blast, Ernakulum explosion, bombing in Bengaluru and Mangalore. Most security and terror experts agree that the indifferent attitude of the Marxist government and the pro-jihadi policies of the Sonia government helped to furnish the stage set for the Mumbai jihadi massacre.

Islamic religious leaders who actively oppose Islamic extremists risk their lives. Witness the murder of Chekannur Maulavi and the lack of credible investigation of his murder.

There is a grand alliance among the Marxist party, jihadis and phony intellectuals and bogus secular activists. The Marxist government has allocated thousands of hectors of land for an Islamic University in Mallappuram. An Islamic Bank in Kerala is on its way. Government financés Islamic centres, Muslim academicians and the government also increased the Haj subsidy.

Financial experts suggest that vast sums of Pakistan printed counterfeit Indian currency have been found their way into the mosques, Islamic centres, real estate and Muslims businesses. The implications of this enormous amount of counterfeit Indian currency distribution are frightening. The Marxist and the Congress government authorities aided and abetted these jihadi culprits in their crime.

But it was only in the arrest of Tahadiantavide Nassir and the BJP ruled Karnataka police began prying into the web of terrorist bombing of Bengaluru, the magnitude of jihadi terrorism is recognised. With the money flowing in from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Dubai, one can expect more jihadi terrorism in Kerala. Jihad war is an Islamic enterprise that will be always be with us. For Muslims, jihad war is constant and it will not change. Its methods and delivery systems are changing. From Islamic swords and clubs now jihadist have changed their methods to plane hijacking, bus burning, pipe bombing, “Love Jihad”, chemical jihad, cyber jihad, and kidnapping.

There is a vast jihad support network in Kerala. Since the Marxist government and secular political parties are sleeping with the jihadist and the government provides support services, special reservation, free college education, many of the Muslims have little motivation to live peacefully with the majority.

Soon the Marxist government and the Congress party will discover that the jihadi demands they have nurtured would haunt them. Since the High Court has made several comments on terrorism and love jihad, the Marxist government find itself in a dangerous paradox. Although Chief Minister Achuthanandan has come to understand the need to sever all connections to jihad terror groups, he stands alone in their own pro-jihad party.

Now the Marxist government has arrested Soofia Madany, the ring leader in several jihadi terror incidents in Kerala and Karnataka. Nevertheless, the Marxist government has much to answer in their delay in investigating and arresting dangerous jihadi terrorists. The Marxists and the Congress party and pseudo secular elites have created the monster of jihadism in Kerala and exported it to neighbouring states. Now the monster has grown in an enormous size and the general public is in danger.

In addition to these new developments, there are additional ineptitudes of the Marxist government. One of these is the Marxist government’s tendency to limit police investigation. Even more importantly, the Marxist government sympathises with them and takes psychological comfort in letting jihad criminals escape to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Dubai.

In sum, there will be additional terrorist attacks in Kerala is a virtual certainty. The general public wants to enjoy life and retreat into private life, drink hot tea and watch television. They are taught to believe that the government can do marvelous things, provide safety and security to the public in countless and unlimited ways. It is time of that to stop, and there are several ways the peace loving majority has to take. First democracy does not mean only to participate in voting. They have to be active, rise up and challenge the despotic Marxist government colluding with criminals. Second thing is longer term, but equally vital. Be active in politics and elect only leaders with nationalist interest and proven track record. In doing so, we must remember, we are choosing our future.

Source: Organiser

January 12, 2010

Every 25 km, PM and Sonia will wish you on highways!!

The government may be shouting “austerity” from the rooftop, but on the ground, literally, it is planning to indulge in lavish self-adulation. The National High Authority of India (NHAI) proposes to put up 1,488 billboards with pictures of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi lining national highways.

The Prime Minister & Manmohan Singh : Image Courtesy - http://www.cartoonistgautam.com/

If the cost of each 20 ft x 10 ft billboard is estimated at Rs 4 lakh, the entire project would amount to around Rs 60 crore. The billboards staring at travellers every 25 kilometres on both sides of the national highways across the country will be alternatively in English, Hindi and the regional language. The boards will display project-related information like the name of the concessionaire, the name of the supervision engineers, project cost, name of project director and telephone number, so that anyone can call in case of a complaint. The information was given by the Centre in a reply to a RTI application filed by SC Agarwal.

However, the NHAI has said that the display boards are to be provided “at the cost of the contractor” and the NHAI would not incur any expenditure on this account. The NHAI head office issued a circular dated October, 2009, to all its project directors regarding provision of display boards at 25-km intervals on both sides.

The idea may be a takeoff from the NDA government. Picture boards carrying photographs of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had been put up on National Highways during the NDA regime. But, these had to be covered later on directions of the then Election Commission because of Lok Sabha elections. These boards were later changed or removed causing wasteful expenditure of first putting them up and then dismantling them. At that time, Congress had criticised the effort of highways minister B C Khanduri. Now, BJP is attacking highways and surface transport minister Kamal Nath, saying highways are national assets and cannot be used to fulfil a political agenda.

The NHAI is drawing a distinction between Mr Vajpayee’s boards and the proposed ones of the Congress leaders, saying the earlier boards did not contain project information and were fixed on the overhead gantry giving direction and distance information.

However, the project could land in a controversy given that putting up pictures of political leaders was mere propaganda and may be brought down with the change of government at the Centre.

Source : ET

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