Friday, January 28, 2011


28 Jan 2011


By R Rajagopalan

NEW DELHI: Thanks to a Delhi High Court order, the First Information Reports (FIR) of  crimes registered by any police station in the capital will be put online on the Delhi Police website within 24 hours of the registration and an accused can demand a copy by right instead of seeking one through the court.

The new regime comes into force from February 1, putting an end to several rounds of the police station one has to make and grease the palms to get a copy of the FIR. Only those FIRs concerning the sensitive crimes like terrorism, national security, rape, molestation and kidnapping for ransom may not go online.

In its ruling on December 6, the High Court also blasted the police for taking cover of Section 207 of the CrPC for denial of a copy of the FIR to the accused. It said an accused is entitled to get a copy at an earlier stage than as prescribed under the CrPC that says the accused has to move the magistrate's court to get the copy.

The High Court held that fair and impartial investigation is the fundamental right of an accused and he need not move the court to get a copy of FIR as it is the duty of the police to provide it. An accused or his representative or his lawyer has to just pay Rs 25 as the charge for getting a copy of the FIR. However, if it runs into more than four pages, he has to pay Rs 10 for each extra page.





From R Rajagopalan

NEW DELHI: Environmentalists' pipe dream of using more and more ethanol as "green" petrol instead of petrol converted from the the crude oil to save the foreign exchange remains unmaterialised.

If you think that five per cent of petrol you buy is ethanol, just forget it. The Centre certainly mandated 15 months ago to blend five per cent ethanol in petrol. Its decision, however, remains on paper even after 15 months.

It is so because of a running feud among the ministers of chemicals, petroleum and agriculture, each one of them having vested interest in lobbying for own interest group and putting the ball in the PM's court to take a final view.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as usual, however, prefers to remain neutral, putting the policy decision in limbo. The happiest is the liquor industry that is the biggest consumer of the indigenously produced alcohol up to 60 per cent as its supplies will dwindle of the same alcohol is to go into blending petrol.

Ethanol is nothing but pure alocohol produced as a by-product of the sugar mills from otherwise worthless molasses and as such its diversion for mixing in petrol may hit the liquor industry and the chemical industry that depend on it heavily.

Dithering for 10 months after the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by the Prime Minister decided the mandatory blending in its meeting on November 12, 2009, the Petroleum Ministry issued orders last August to the oil companies to start procuring ethanol at an ad hoc ex-factory price of Rs 27 a litre.

Chemicals Minister M K Alagiri, however, cried halt to the procurement and dashed off letters to the Prime Minister to intervene, the latest on January 11, pointing out that it would starve the alcohol-based chemical industries that require the industrial alcohol as an important feedstock to produce acetic acid, ethyl acetate and other chemicals.

He also took a stand that this industry contributes to green chemistry by using Ethanol instead of opting for the petrochemical route and so it should not be starved, more so when the calorific value ofethanol is 35 per cent lower as compared to petrol, making waste of the precious by-product of sugar mills for blending with petrol.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, on the other hand, has written to the Prime Minister to ensure that the CCEA-approved ethanol blending programme is not derailed at a critical stage when the country expected a good sugarcane crop and the oil companies contracted 580 million litres of ethanol at Rs 27 a litre.

He has made out a case that a successful ethanol-blended petrol (EBP) will ensure an adequate and timely return to the sugarcane farmers. He also pointed out that the government support for EBP has also been quite extensive in countries like Brazil and United States where it has reached wide acceptability.

Pawar also trashed the draft recommendations of an expert committee constituted by the government for finalising price of ethanol as Rs 27 a litre was decided only as an ad hoc rate. He asserted that the committee has gone beyond its mandate to recommend that the first priority in allocation of alcohol should be for the potable sector (read liquor industry), secondly to the industrial sector and only the leftover quantity for the EBP programme. This recommendation is "not in consonance with the deliberations held in various meetings of the committee," Pawar added.

In his January 11 letter to the PM, Alagiri has, however, challenged Pawar's contention that the draft report of the committee went beyond its mandate. He says: "...mandate of the committee is to recommend the formula/principle for pricing of ethanol after taking into account various factors/dynamics affecting the pricing. The committee is also required to look into different aspects in pricing of ethanol inter-alia including the impact on competing industries."

Alagiri quoted from the committee's first draft interim report that "the government intervention is never intended to deprive users of resources and principle of equity is to be adhered in allocation of resources." He sought the PM's intervention "so that the interests of alocohol-based chemical industry are not hampered."

He pointed out that production of ethanol or alcohol as you may call it in 2009-10 was around 1600 million litres, 900 million litres of which went to the liquor industry, leaving only 700 million litres left to be shared by the chemical industry and EBP while the chemical industry's requirement itself was 1100 million litres and it had to import as much as 350 million litres of industrial alcohol at a cost of Rs 800 crores.

The chemicals minister also rubbished the environmentalists' stress that the gradual shift to ethanol by blending it with petrol will save precious foreign exchange on the crude oil imports. He points out that the alcohol-based chemical industry also contributes to the foreign exchange earnings and savings of about Rs 4500 crores in terms of direct exports and reduced imports of the end products.

The ethanol-based chemical industry employs about one lakh persons. If ethanol is not available to the chemical industry, prospects of closure loom large on the sector, jeopardising employment opportunities in the sector, Alagiri added.



New Delhi grapevine snippets
for publication on Sunday January 30, 2011


R Rajagopalan

MK Alagiri celebrated his 60th birthday before 
Karunanidhi in , by tying Mangalsutra to his 
wife for second time.(sashtiabthapoorty)
MK Stalin and Selvi were present,. But not Kanimozhi
A senior CWC member from north India was 
full of praise for Union Home Minister
Chidambaram. The senior Congress leader stated
that Chidambaram will be remembered in history for 
3Ts. (Tiranga, Telangana and Thomas(PJ)
Other leaders had a boisterous laughter on this cheap joke.
Government is yet to allocate Residential accommodations
for two Vigilance Commissioners Garg and Sri Kumar.
are staying in guest houses.
Robert B Zoellick Chairman World Bank convyed 
his appreciation to Finance Minister Dr Pranab Mukherjee 
and felt proud to tell him that he had interactions with the
two prospective Prime Ministers. Pranab da was 
taken back. Much attracted by Nitish Kumar performance
and the second is the immense knowledge of Rahul Gandhi
on rural development. Zoellick also stated that the
guidances from Jairam Ramesh Green Minister
and also from Pulok Chatterjee the Executive Director
of World Bank.
Rahul Gandhi spent one hour with the Chairman World Bank
Robert B Zoellick without fanfare in media, discussed
future rural development and right to information. 
2011 calendar of Parliament of India was designed by
Meira Kumar Speaker of Lok Sabha. Artistic works around
the corridors were taken as the main theme of the calendar.
Each month had the best selection. For next year 2012
Meira Kumar decided to have a theme of outside view of
12 select parliaments of the world including Sri Lanka and 
Sushma Swaraj is believed to have engated a private 
media relations agency to project her image as shadow
prime minister. They are now tweeting her one liners.
She dictates the tweets to 'control room'  in New Delhi. 
Face book and Orkut are now full of BJP leaders.
certain disadvantages are also to be faced in digital media 
relations. One question was on B S Yedurappa. But no
answer from Sushma.

Sunday, January 23, 2011




show details 6:41 PM (1 hour ago) 
At the site of the mangalore air crash. Air India had put up names of victims on black marble at the place where the planew went down the gorge. Within six days the plaque was vandalized and the names lie broken and strewn on the ground. Some half-names hand in mid-air. Sending 3 pics.


Friday, January 21, 2011

swiss bank

21 Jan 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Bhartiya Janata Party Vice-President Shanta Kumar, a former Himachal chief minister, on Friday accused the Prime Minister of misleading the nation on the Swiss bank accounts, asserting that the Swiss government considers money in these accounts as "stolen property" and wants to return it.

India has to just ratify the UN convention against corruption under Article 51 an 52 adopted in 2003 and claim the money but it is sitting over the ratification since after signing it in 2005, Shanta Kumar said in a statement.

"No member country can cooperate on the matter of illicit money flow without ratifying the convention," he underlined while wondering if the government is giving time to the culprits to withdraw money from their foreign banks by delaying action in "the worst-ever biggest loot committed by the pseudo elites of our country." He quoted a report of Global Financial Integrity that Rs 2000 lakh crores had been flown illegally from India since 1947.

He debunked Dr Manmohan Singh for taking the cover of the double taxation avoidance agreements (DTAA) requiring confidentiality as if the black money were just an issue of tax evasion, while it is the money earned through unfair and illegal means, including corruption, that is a criminal offence and should be dealt as a crime.

The BJP leader dubbed the government's reluctance to recover the black money stashed away in banks in Switzerland and other tax heaven countries as "unfortunate and disgusting," particularly when the Swiss government has conveyed to Delhi that it wants to return the illicit money in its banks to the concerned countries and India is one of them. Time is essence as any delay in recovery of the black money stashed abroad will enable the culprits to withdraw it from the banks, he said.

Shanta Kumar described in this regard his discussion with Swiss representative Mithias Bachman during participation in the UN General Assembly discussion in October on corruption and flow of illicit money. Bachman told him the Swiss government's commitment to return the black money to the originating countries as it treats it as "stolen property" and that it has already started returning money to the countries fulfilling the required conditions of the UN convention.

Besides enacting a law to return the black money to originating countries, Switzerland also ratified the UN convention against corruption also and so return of illicit money depends upon the political will of the concerned country, Bachman told Shanta Kumar.

The BJP vice-president pointed out that the whole world was  concerned with the malice  of corruption and as such the UN passed the convention in 2003 after long discussions that provides for return of the stashed away money to the originating countries.

Pointing out that this convention against corruption is an important international legal tool to recover money from foreign banks, he said the Indian government is handicapped to take any action under it until it is ratified. He said it was this handicap in the government failing to get the Swiss bank account details of Pune stud farm owner Hassan Ali Khan despite the Income Tax Department unearthing Rs 1 lakh crores deposited by him in the Swiss banks.




new delhi grapevines

UPA2 leader Sonia Gandhi gift to DMK is revival
of  Tamil Nadu Legislative Council by end of this month.
After a suspension of 24 years the Council is revived.
Once the Council is formed in mid February 2011 much before
Tamil Nadu polls, the DMK chief Karunanidhi wants K Anbalagan as Chairman
of 78 members Tamil Nadu Legislative Council,
DMK is to give 8 seats of nomination to Congress. Karunanidhi also has 
plans to get Governor's nominations numbering twelve to DMK activists
With such DMK and Congress shall have a strength of 45
In the event of Jayalalitha returns to power - the legislative council
will be a blockade for all innovative measures. 
Internal Tamil Nad Congress politics is such that out of its 8 seats
G K Vasan, KV Thankabalu and Chidambaram group will now
begin to fight for their rights.
Green Minister Jairam Ramesh is keen to render vocal carnatic music 
at a function in Thiruvaiyaru to commemorate Thyagaraja Festival.
G K Vasan is the Chairman of the trust. But TNCC is surprised with
a new chemistry-between Jairam and Vasan,
They feel this new combination will further erode the
authority of Chidambaram in state politics.Adage is
"enemy's enemy is my friend"
Kiran Kumar Reddy Chief Minister found himself in a tight spot.
PMO and Finance Minister Offices insisted him to go slow on
implementation of Micro finance institution act passed by Andhra
assembly. Many of the Public Sector Banks oppose andhra act.
Kiran Reddy's first test case- will he oblige PM or dying farmers
due to MFIs
Fiasco at PM function during launch of mobile number portability
at Vigyan Bhavan. No live coverage of the PM speech or Kapil Sibal's
with TV channels were prevented to take wire into the second floor
as the hall was too cramped and small in size. TV cameras could not
be accommodated. SPG and PMO were upset with Kapil Sibal
for having chosen the smallest hall. From Mobile Number portability
the joke in Telecom is that fiasco will make Kapil Sibal portability easier
than number portability.
Why Andhra Congress MPs meeting with Pranab Mukherjee
was held inside Parliament House on Thursday night.
Reason if it was held in Pranab da house in Talkatora Road,
like past two times, the Telangana students ghero the carcade
of Andhra MPs. Apart from this two students sat on bonnet of
of Pranab Mukherjee army vehicle. Police cannot shoot down
the telangana student . One Congress MP joked that student was
like a mouse on Shivling. You cannot smash a mouse, as blood
will come on ling.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


AT 1600 HOURS 

By R Rajagopalan

PMO web site shall have the list of names at four pm
an hour prior to the swearing in ceremony, according to highly
placed sources.

There have been speculations since morning about the
swearing in despite PMO confirming it by sms to newsmen.
Confusion was worst confounded with lots of SMS and phone
calls in and out of several ministers offices.

Even the invitation to attend the swearing in ceremony was
not printed by the Cabinet Secretariat - and also by the
President estate, And there was no distribution done
till 1300 hours.

Never before such a confusion was felt by the coordination
sections in Cabinet Secretariat and also with the President estates.

Officials dealing with the protocols of the President Estate
categorically told this correspondent not to disturb with frequent
phone calls for updates.




Cabinet Secretary is yet to get the list of new faces 
for induction

Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar is waiting for the list of new faces
to be inducted. He will be the first to get the list from Prime Minister for
for today evening cabinet swearing in ceremony. Reason, KM Chandrasekhar
has to issue a letter as Cabinent Secretary inviting the incumbent Minister
that Prime Minister has desired to induct him or her to the Council of Ministers
and please indicate the acceptance and awaiting him or her to be sworn in.
Insiders in the Cabinet Secretariat told this correspondent that at elven
am the list might be sent to them for further administrative actions.
Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to have three days holidays with her close relatives
from Friday morning. Six members of family have arrived in Delhi from London.
Informed sources say that scheduled departure time is known only to the pilot
of  a  ten seater special aircraft provided by an airport builder. She wants to escape
the pressure soon after the Union Cabinet shuffle.
Pranab Mukherjee opted out of his heading the Indian delegation to World Economic
Forum to be held in Davos.As Pranab da is busy with the budget preparations conveyed
his decision to Prime Minister. PMO sources confirmed that Dr SIngh has deputed
P Chidambaram to be the leader in place of Pranab da.
Two Union Ministers played Cards with a deputy chief minister 
from ten pm to three am - through out night- but the winner 
is deputy chief minister who won more than ten lakhs. as
per winning point a nominal amount was agreed upon as one lakh.

Monday, January 10, 2011


10 Jan 2011



From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: A slip-up of the Environment and Forests Ministry in the hasty grant of the Jaitapur nuclear power plant in Ratnagiri district came to light on Monday when it extended moratorium on all projects in the ecologically sensitive districts of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra up to June 30.
The ministry even bypassed the 14-member Western Ghat Ecology Expert Panel, headed by 69-year old ecology scientist Madhav Gadgil of Pune, constituted in March to scrutinise all proposals in the Western Ghat areas of six states of Maharashtra, oa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

In fact, the panel had toured Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts for nine days in October to scrutinise the nuclear power park and four other thermal power plants. 

There is, however, no reference to its findings in the clearance granted to the controversial 9900-MW nuclear plant facing a host of public protests  through a notification issued on November 26. What use constituting such panel when it is bypassed for clearing the nuclear plant, the environmentalists are ought to ask.

The clearance also bypasses the ministry's own circular of August 16, 2010 banning up to December 31 issue of the project clearances sought from it or from the Maharashtra State Environment Impact Assessment Authority.

The moratorium on projects in the two districts has been extended since the ministry has not yet received a report from the Western Ghat Ecology Expert Panel.

Instead, the nuclear plant and its township were secured a clearance from the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for nuclear power projects, slapping 35 specific safeguard conditions and a dozen general conditions. The hurry in grant of the clearance was to give the green signal to the government-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) before arrival of the French President as the first two units of 1650 MW are to be set up by French firm Areva.

The Rs 60,000-crore project envisages a nuclear power park of six reactors to be installed in phases at the small port of Jaitapur off Madban village in Rajapur Taluka of Ratnagiri district on 938 hectares of land. The first phase is planned to be completed in 3-4 years while the second phase involving installation of four European pressurised reactors is to be completed by 2018. NCPIL hopes to start supplying electricity from this project by 2016.



10 Jan 2011



By R Rajagopalan
NEW DELHI: The government has quietly dropped a move to haul up the ministers for corruption as it does not figure in the terms of reference of the 8-member Group of Ministers, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, appointed last week to consider measures to tackle corruption.

The GoM, asked to give its report within 60 days that is by the first week of March, has been asked to advise the government on seven issues in particular, including the state funding of elections, but it is given freedom "to consider all measures, including legislative and administrative, to tackle corruption and improve transparency."

The secret document accessed by this correspondent shows the GoM  has been also asked in its terms of reference to also examine Sonia Gandhi's proposal at the Congress plenary for "relinquishing discretionary powers enjoyed by ministers at the Centre." Sonia Gandhi has sent out a separate letter to the Congress chief ministers to remove such discretionary powers.

Other issues to be dealt by the GoM are:

-- Ensuring full transparency in public procurement and contracts and enunciation of public procurement standards and policy;

-- Fast tracking of all cases of public servants accused of corruption;

-- Amendment to Article 311 of the Constitution to provide for summary proceedings in cases of grave misdemeanor or blatant corruption by public servants;

-- Introduction of an open and competitive system of exploiting natural resources; and

-- Consideration of relevance for Section 6(A) of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, under which the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) operates, requiring it to obtain prior approval of the government to probe any offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act against the bureaucrats of the level of joint secretary and above.

Article 311 provides protection to the civil servants of the Centre and state as also those in the all-India services from dismissal, compulsory retirement, removal or reduction in rank except after an inquiry.


Friday, January 7, 2011



Mohammad Hamid Ansari may be the deputy of President Pratibha Patil but he overtook her in one aspect last year when he attended more functions than her in the capital. 

However, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tops the list for attending functions with 187 programmes under his name in the capital. 

According to the Delhi Police Annual Report 2010, Patil attended 99 functions in the capital till December 15, 2010 while Vice President Ansari attended 150 for which the city police oversaw the security arrangements. 

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi attended 107 functions while there were 288 functions were attended by foreign heads of states and another 380 by "distinguished" foreigners. 

Vimla Mehra, Special Commissioner (Security), said 14,932 visiting persons specified for protection were provided security by Delhi Police's Security Wing last year. 

"There are a total of 430 individuals under protection from Delhi Police under various categories in Delhi. In addition, visiting individuals from various states specified for protection are also given security during their stay in the capital," Mehra said. 

Delhi Police's Security Wing is entrusted with the responsibility of providing security to President, Vice President, Prime Minister, home minister and other union ministers, Leader of Opposition and judges of Supreme Court and High Court besides others