Monday, February 28, 2011


March 1, 2011


By R Rajagopalan

MK Alagiri Union Minister after six months, will visit Ministry of Fertiliser in 
Shastri Bhavan to meet Secretaries and discuss post Budget
AIADMK MPs today to stall both houses briefly to raise allegations 
against Tamil Nadu Police for tapping Jayalalitha telephones.
MK Stalin this morning celebrated 63rd birthday in Chennai.But 
today MK Alagiri is in Delhi to attend parliament Blood is thicker than water
Special favour for 1976 IAS by Finance MinisterPranab Mukherjee.
FM is to host special dinner  for successful presentation of Union Budget 
for 4 1976 IAS Secretaries  for their relentless assistance. 
They are R Gopalan,Sunil Mitra, Sumit Bose , Sashi Kant Sharma. 
First time such a rare combination of same batch under a 
"Pranab da banian-tree " commented a senior bureaucrat

Saturday, February 26, 2011


26 Feb 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: The 72-year old social activist Kisan Baburao alias Anna Hazare is going on fast unto death at Jantar Mantar here from March 5 to press for Parliament to enact the "Jan Lokpal Bill" drafted by former Supreme Court Judge Santosh Hegde to effectively tackle corruption in the government.

Padma Bhushan awardee Hazare, who has gone on many such fasts in Maharashtra since after relinquishing the Army job in 1977 under influence of Swami Vivekananda's books, on Saturday appealed to the fellow countrymen to join him in fasting for one, two, three or whatever number of days they are comfortable to support the cause he is fighting for.

He appealed to pray for a "better and corruption free India" and be prepared to go to jail for the cause, stressing that "collective prayers from all the people of India would definitely have a huge impact."

Addressing a Press conference along with noted personalities like Kiran Bedi, former Chief Election Commissioner J M Lyngdoh, activist Arvind Kejriwal, Swami Agnivesh, Arch Bishop Vincent Concessao and Sri Sri Ravishankar, Hazare described the new movement they have launched as another "freedom movement."

Pointing out that the draft "Jan Lokpal Bill" was sent to the Prime Minister and all chief ministers on December 1 but there was no response, the assembled veterans announced to organise a rally at Ramlila Grounds here on Sunday and march to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar's residence to petition for getting the anti-corruption law enacted as a week's ultimatum to the government before Anna sits on the fast.

They said leaders, organisations and common man from across India will be with Hazare in building pressure on the government to banish corruption, affirming that "this is do or die moment and let us make it happen."

Hazare also appealed to write to the Prime Minister for passing the Bill "or else we will be compelled not to vote for his party in the next elections." Not to be dubbed anti-Congress from his call, those at the press conference made it known that the movement built under the banner of "India Against Corruption" is "neither affiliated nor aligned to any political party."


Thursday, February 24, 2011


Prime Minsiter Dr Manmohan Singh: Terror is not something which can be attributed to any one religion.   Terrorists have no religion.  Therefore, we have to create a climate where this country will unitedly face terrorism of any hue. It will unitedly face that menace and overcome that menace.

SHRI YASHWANT SINHA (HAZARIBAGH):   Why did the Home Minister refer to saffron terror?  What does he mean by it?… (Interruptions)

Read the full text of PM intervention on motion of thanks to President on Thursday in Lok Sabha

Wednesday, February 23, 2011



By R Rajagopalan

NEW DELHI: In deference to a directive from his DMK supremo M Karunanidhi, Arrested former telecom minister A Raja has dropped plans to participate in the Lok Sabha debate slated on Thursday on formation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the irregularities in grant of the telecom licences.

Five DMK MPs called on him in Tihar Jails here on Wednesday to convey to him the wish of Karunanidhi to better lie low for the time being and not insist on going to Parliament on Thursday to join the JPC debate.

The party sources said Karunanidhi obliged the Congress that had approached him to persuade Raja not to precipitate any new problem by insisting on participating in the debate.

Earlier plans were that Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister M K Stalin, son of Karunanidhi, will fly to Delhi on Wednesday to meet him in place of his father and console him that the party continues to hold him in high esteem and sees all the charges of the 2G scam levelled on him as politically motivated that will not stand test of the law.

However, the party MPs were asked to go to Raja, who is in the judicial custody until March 3, and convey him the supremo's message since Stalin is tied up with the negotiations on the electoral alliance. They conveyed to Raja that the crucial DMK-Congress talks are slated on Friday and hence Karunanidhi will prefer that he does not open him mouth, putting the Congress to any embarrassment.

Meanwhile, an emissary of Karunanidhi conveyed to Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday that the party should climb down its demand for one-third seats in the upcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly elections and be realistic in contesting only on the seats it can win.

The emissary also made it known that the DMK cannot commit at present on the Congress demand for participation in the next government in the state as such deals can be considered only in the post-poll scenario.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011


22 Feb 2011



By R Rajagopalan

NEW DELHI: The Rajya Sabha is slated to take up an impeachment motion for three days from March 14 against Calcutta High Court judge Soumitra Sen, the second judge of the higher judiciary in independent India facing such a humiliation.

Justice Sen is accused of misconduct in allegedly misappropriating Rs 42 lakh when he, as a lawyer, had been appointed a receiver in a case by a court.

The motion will be put to vote on March 16, the last day of the first half of the budget session, unless and except Justice Sen resigns before or during the impeachment proceedings.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari has admitted the impeachment motion on the basis of the report of a three-member committee headed by sitting Supreme Court Judge Justice B Sudarshan Reddy that found him guilty of misconduct. Other members of the panel were former Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Mukul  Mudgal and leading Jurist Fali S Nariman.

There are about a dozen senior lawyers in the Rajya Sabha belonging to various political parties in the Opposition who will be too keen to speak on the motion as that gives them an opportunity to embarrass an already distraught UPA-II government by focusing on corruption in the judiciary in one form or other.

Of course, the ruling Congress too has a battery of senior lawyers in the House but the party will not like any of them try to defend Justice Sen as it would amount to defending corruption, the party leaders said.



22 Feb 2011


By R Rajagopalan

NEW DELHI: The Government will press on Thursday to cover all telecom decisions and policies right from 1998 when the BJP-led NDA was in power as terms of reference of the proposed Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the 2G scam.

The main opposition Bhartiya Janata Party, however, smells a trick in the move to keep out all its senior leaders from joining the JPC, be they Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh, Ananth Kumar, Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh, Murli Manohar Joshi or Shahnawaz Hussain.

Each one of these seniors have been the Cabinet ministers during the NDA regime and have been party directly or indirectly to the decisions taken by the then government and so they cannot sit in judgement on own role under the principle of conflict of interest.

Since the JPC will be probing into even the Cabinet decisions, the BJP seniors who were part of the Cabinet cannot become members of the JPC. That will force the BJP to field its second rung leaders to become members of the JPC, a top party leader said.

CONG CRISIS: On the other hand, the Congress has also plunged into a crisis on deciding names of its MPs to be put on the JPC. Anyone who joins the JPC will lose the chance to join the Union Ministry in the reshuffle the Prime Minister has promised in May after the Parliament session and hence there are no takers for berth on the JPC, the Congress sources said.

Those reluctant to be on the JPC include even all three senior party MPs, V Kishore Chandra Deo (Andhra), P C Chacko (Kerala) and Girija Vyas (Rajasthan), who are the probables shortlisted for heading it as each one of them is quite hopeful to become the cabinet minister and they feel their chance will be spoiled if they join the probe committee as they will have to then wait out until the committee finishes its report.

There is still no clarity from the government side on the number of members of the JPC as to whether there will be 21 or 31. If it is 21, the Lok Sabha will have 14 members and the Rajya Sabha 7. If it is 31, the Lok Sabha will get 21 berth, including that of chairman, and the Rajya Sabha 10.

Once the Lok Sabha adopts a government-sponsored resolution for setting up the JPC, it will go to the Rajya Sabha to elect its members to be placed on it. The final decision of the names and the terms of reference will be decided together by Speaker Meira Kumar and Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari.


Monday, February 21, 2011


By R Rajagopalan

Third front leaders seek representation in JPC on 2G,
today they met Speaker Meira Kumar. Support for inclusion
of Left came from LK Advani. Their voice also to be heard
in JPC said Advani. Hence the Govt is keen to increase
JPC number from 21 to 30,.
Union Minister Napolean today met A Raja inside Tihar Jail
spent half an hour discussing personal as well as DMK affairs.
A Raja enquired the health of Karunanidhi.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Monday appointed
Ahmed Patel MP from Gujarat as member of Gujarat Waqf Board
This has irrirated Congress MPs
Osmani Students booklet is provocative. that Hyderabad will
face another Egypt style Tahirir Square. Blockade starts from
Tuesday for 41 days.No aircraft can land or take off from Hyderabad
from Thursday. People will march towards Airport in thousands not
to allow any passenger to come out or go into airport.
Central Hall on the opening day of Parliament gave a deserted look.
No senior MP or opposition leaders were present. This is a resemblance
for the Budget session to come. Many MPs will be busy in
electioneering campaign from March first week onwards.
Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal MPs numbering to 100 may
not be present. Similarly Pranab da and Mamta will also be
missing their constituencies, as they should be here to get
the Budget passed.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Telangana echo. security tightened in Parliament

Telangana students agitation
By R Rajagopalan
Telangana Students might create security problem
by getting entry into Lok Sabha  visitors gallery and shout
Jai Telangana slogan, folowed by their  jump into the well
when the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi will be present.
Parliament watch and ward staff have been alerted of a
possible threats from few students by getting public gallery
passes through MPs. As a precaution, more security is now
being mounted inside Parliament House.
Security agencies like IB and Delhi Police have begun to
double check the visitors from Andhra Pradesh inside
Parliament House. Entry pass to witness Lok Sabha
is recommended by a Member of Parliament and that too
for a specific one hour.
Intelligence reports sugget that a group of four Telangana students
have planned to get passes to get into the Lok Sabha public gallery
on working days, from MPs. To focus the struggle of Telangana
a martyrdom if they are killed or provocated to burn themselves.
Secret reports conveyed to Parliament Security staff is that
as a precaution, many guards are likely to be filled inside
the visitors gallery, so that such incidents can be averted
by over powering on the agitators.


Verbatim letter of Sonia Gandhi to LK Advani on Blackmoney


Dear Shri Advaniji,

My attention has been drawn to a publication titled 'Indian Black Money Abroad
in Secret Banks and Tax Havens' purporting to be a report submitted by a Task 
Force appointed by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

This so-called report contains reckless and baseless allegations against me and my 
family, including my late husband and my mother. These lies, energetically 
disseminated from time to time by sections of the media and interested 
parties have so far been treated by me with the contempt they deserve.

But I must let you know that I am surprised and disappointed to find a leader of 
your stature occupying important positions in the NDA and the BJP endorsing 
such scurrilous and malicious fabrications through their release at a function 
presided over by you.

Yours sincerely,

Sd. Sonia Gandhi

18 Feb 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Even as veteran Lal Krishna Advani's regret letter to Sonia Gandhi
 created a sort of crisis in the BJP, he got released the letter through the party 
headquarters to put it in right perspective.

Here is text of the letter dated February 16:

"Dear Smt Sonia ji,

On my return from Kolkata last night, I found your letter dated 15th February awaiting me.

I am happy that you have denied the reports relating to you and your family 
alluded to in the Task Force's Report on Black Money.

If these had been denied earlier, the Task Force would have taken your denial 
into account. Even so, I deeply regret the distress caused to you.

With best regards,

Yours sincerely,

L K Advani."



19 Feb 2011



From Jal Khambata

NEW DELHI: In a new embarrassing twist for the government trying to set up a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the 2G scam, arrested former telecom minister A Raja wants to attend the Lok Sabha and participate in the debate expected on Tuesday on an official resolution for the committee's constitution.

Even if he is unable to participate in the debate, he wants to exercise his right to make a clean breast of the scam allegations, exercising the right under the Lok Sabha rule 357 that "a member may, with the permission of the Speaker, make a personal explanation, although there is no question before the House."

He had refrained from making a personal statement in the House in November as allowed to any minister on resignation because that would have embarrassed the government, but he wants to exercise the right as a MP now since after the Prime Minister painting him as a culprit in his televised media interaction early this week, his DMK MPs said.

INTERIM BAIL OR PERMISSION: Though in the judicial custody in Tihar Jails here until March 3, he has asked his lawyer to examine and secure an interim bail from the CBI court to enable him to attend Parliament to perform his duties as a parliamentarian.

Failing to get the bail, he wants the court's direction to the Tihar Jail authorities to take him to the Parliament House daily in custody to enable him attend the Lok Sabha.

He does not want to attend Parliament on the opening day of the budget session on Monday when the two Houses will adjourn after the President's address to a joint session as it does not serve his purpose, but he has asked the lawyer to secure an interim bail or get the court's permission to attend the House from 11 AM every day from Tuesday and return to the jail only after the day's proceedings end.

Himself a lawyer, Raja's view is that even the convicted MPs whose appeals are pending in higher courts are allowed to attend Parliament under the police escort while he is just an accused who has not even been charge-sheeted and hence the court cannot restrain him from attending the House, the DMK MPs said.

Failing to get relief from Special CBI Judge O P Saini who sent him to the judicial custody in the 2G scam on Thursday, Raja contemplates to even approach the High Court to get permission to attend the House.

CBI OPPOSED: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will be, however, opposing any interim bail or any sort of freedom from the custody on the ground that the investigations in the scam have not yet been concluded and Raja can derail the process if he gets free access to meet anybody.

Once any MP in custody, whether convicted or not allowed bail, is brought to the Parliament House by police, he gets full freedom to move in the sprawling complex and police has to sit out to get him back to jail. The escorting Policemen cannot go around with the MP in the complex which is completely under jurisdiction of the Lok Sabha Speaker.

The CBI has got scent of Raja's plans to attend Parliament and hence it is taking legal advice on how to prevent him even a temporary release from the judicial custody. Its worry is that Raja will be moving around the Parliament House complex and can meet those who are yet to be interrogated in the case, affecting the investigations.

Of course, he cannot meet any such suspect in the House itself but the CBI has no way to check whom he meets in the Central Hall, the Parliament library or any other place in the complex and that will defeat the very purpose for which he is confined to the custody, the agency officials point out.

KARUNA PLANS: Meanwhile, the DMK MPs said their party supremo and chief minister M Karunanidhi is contemplating to make a day's trip to Delhi next week to meet Raja inside the Tihar Jails, provided his health permits six hours of flight to and fro Chennai.

They said Karunanidhi wants to send a strong signal to the DMK cadres that Raja has done no wrong by meeting him in jail. It will also send a political message to the Congress. A trip to Raja before starting the Assembly election campaign will remove despondency in the demoralised DMK cadres, the party MPs said.


Friday, February 18, 2011

bjp leaders upset over advani apology to sonia gandhi

8 Feb 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Senior Bhartiya Janata Party leaders are quite upset over their leader Lal Krishna Advani rushing an apology letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi without any consultations within the party.
Though no one is ready to speak out on Advani regretting in response to Sonia Gandhi protesting at his party accusing her and her late husband Rajiv Gandhi had accounts in foreign banks, insiders said his letter has triggered a crisis in the party. Among those who have reportedly conveyed their unhappiness to Advani at putting the party into a bad light included Opposition leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley and senior leader S S Ahluwalia.

Their contention is that the BJP had outsourced investigations into the black money stashed abroad to a 4-member 'task force' and as such Advani had no reason to apologise on its findings, more so when neither he nor any other BJP leader had seen the report before releasing it that levels the accusation on Sonia Gandhi and her family.

The report titled "India's corruption and crime money parked in Swiss bank and other tax havens" was released at a NDA Press conference at Advani's residence here on February 1 and Sonia Gandhi had reportedly sent a protest letter to him for the insinuations against her, asserting that she has no foreign accounts.

Even if Advani wrote back expressing regrets as the working chairman of the NDA, he should have first discussed it in a meeting of the NDA partners who were in any way meeting on Monday, his detractors said, wondering what was hurry for the party stalwart to send the apology. Moreover, they said he did not even refer to Sonia's letter at a BJP office-bearers' meeting in Kolkata on Tuesday and as such the media flashing his apology came as a bombshell for them.

First to go on record and confirm the apology was BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad.
He said Advani had written to Sonia Gandhi expressing regrets for causing any hurt to her and her family and pointed out that such allegations had been aired in various quarters for years and the same would not have found their way into the party report if she had denied them earlier.

Those upset with Advani for putting the BJP into embarrassment, however, insist that it was not a party report but one submitted to the party by the task forces for which the party cannot be held responsible.

For that matter, they say there are many controversial claims in the report that cannot be owned up by the BJP and moreover they were not surprised by mention of Sonia Gandhi in the report as its authors included Chennai-based chartered accountant S Gurumurthy who has a personal agenda against her for years.

CONG DOUBLESPEAK: Meanwhile, Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed welcomed Advani's apology, but there came a tongue-in-cheek attack from Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni that she had thought Advani had "retired" and she thought he had left space for younger people like Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley who are now occupying two positions of leaders of Houses" of Parliament.

Ambika Soni reacted when she was approached by reporters for her comments on the sidelines of a function here. She added: "Mr Advani has been making a statement every day on different subjects... probably he (is) not having enough study of what he is saying."

At the AICC Press briefing, spokesman Shakeel Ahmed was careful in stating that "what I have seen is only in the media, but if it is true, it is welcome."

18 Feb 2011



NEW DELHI: Even as veteran Lal Krishna Advani's regret letter to Sonia
Gandhi created a sort of crisis in the BJP, he got released the letter
through the party headquarters to put it in right perspective.

Here is text of the letter dated February 16:

"Dear Smt Sonia ji,

On my return from Kolkata last night, I found your letter dated 15th
February awaiting me.

I am happy that you have denied the reports relating to you and your
family alluded to in the Task Force's Report on Black Money.

If these had been denied earlier, the Task Force would have taken your
denial into account. Even so, I deeply regret the distress caused to

With best regards,

Yours sincerely,

L K Advani."


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

one liners

February 15, 2011

T R Baalu DMK leader today had a major slip
at Delhi airport T3 terminal, but he escaped
unhurt. He struggled on thelong walkway after dropping
his boarding card. He almost fell.
Senior MPs questioned CBI director Amar Pratap Singh
at the Public Accounts Committee meeting.One MP was
heard asking the personal mobile number of  CBI director.
Part A of the Union Budget of Pranab Mukherjee is being
printed today, at the basement of North Block, with strict
security. Saturday and Sunday the taxation proposals
will be finalised. Friday the entire budget documents will
be printed.
KM Chandrasekhar Cabinet Secretary with family performed
nine rounds parikrama at Sarojini Nagar Vinayak temple.
broke a huge coconut. 

PM to answer 20 questions from owners of TV channels

for TV interaction, while Sonia Gandhi
to announce CWC on Thursday.

By R Rajagopalan

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh spent the second half of
Tuesday with Union Ministers and senior officials to update himself
on the Wednesday TV editors meeting.

TKA Nair Principal Secretary to Prime Minister and Harish Khare
had identified thirty major issues on which possible questions 
expected. First and foremost is on ISRO Antrix-Devas deal.
Three or four times, PMO was in constant touch with
ISRO chief and with Kasturi Rangan. To elicit more inputs
on cancellation of the Devas deal.

The second key issue on which PM will face tough
questions on 2G and JPC.

But from PM personal preference would be to deal
more with the foreign relations questions-then economy
finally the politics. Dr Singh is certain to take his personal 
theory forward, like Shram el Sheikh- utterances. To deal
with Pakistan. PM is also likely to come out a political package
for J&K.  

Wednesday will be the day of Prime Minister  Dr SIngh,
while on Thursday, it is of Sonia GAndhi.

Both of them had strategised to hold on to the headlines
of TV and print media, Hence  a possibility of a massive 
publicity  for Sonia Gandhi who is set 
to announce the CWC and also AICC shuffle.

In Monday morning core committee the strategy to divert
focus of TV channels from ISRO to political side, 
AICC and PMO were too concerned on negative publicity
the UPA2 had drawn on ISRO. 

Prannoy Roy from NDTV, Arun Purie from Headlines Today
and top editors of the TV news channels are invited to interact 
on Wednesday at 1030 hours with Prime Minister at 7 Race Course Road.
Doordharshan will go live, while other national channels will link
to DD.

Just before Parliament, the publicity stunt style suggested
by the duo Harish Khare and Janardhan Diwedi will be put
to test, and that too just before the commencement of Parliament.


Monday, February 14, 2011

mamta fights for fundamental rights of govt employees

14 Feb 2011



on tackling corruption charges of Govt employees

Mamta cautions Centre that Govt servants fundamental
rights to be protected.

By R Rajagopalan

NEW DELHI:  Mamta Banerjee Railways Minister
differed with Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram
at a meeting of the Group of Ministers on Corruption
stated that while she is agreeing with Home Minister
on Government employees being targetted for corruption
she sought a background paper. Mamta Banerjee cautioned
that while making changes in Corruption laws, ensure that
fundamental rights of citizens and government servants
also need to be duly protected.

This correspondent has the 32 pages Secret notes of the
first GOM on to tackle Corruption, where Mamta Banerjee
reference is available.

Believe it or not, the Union Ministers have hardly any
discretionary powers that can be grossly misused and bracketed in the
category of corruption. At least, that is the position on paper as
revealed in an 8-page document prepared by the ministries for urgent
government action!

The document listing 32 such small discretionary powers enjoyed by 14
ministers was examined on Monday by a Group of Ministers (GoM) on
Corruption headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as part of its
terms for relinquishing all discretionary powers.

As a member of the GoM noted after the meeting, these are the
discretionary powers conceptualised for public good and it would be
foolish if the ministers are not allowed to extend a helping hand to
the deserving needy persons by extinguishing such powers.

The whole issue of the discretionary powers was brought into focus by
Congress President Sonia Gandhi at the party's plenary here in
December in the context of the discretions by the Maharashtra chief
minister and ministers in the Adarsh Housing Society scam of Mumbai.

She wanted that there should be no discretionary powers with the
ministers as they lead to partisanship and corruption, but perhaps she
is not privy to machinations of the governance for never being in the
government that the ministers can make the bureaucrats swing the
decisions as they like without any need of special powers.

The Home Minister tops in the document with seven discretionary
powers, followed by the Tribal Minister five, Railway Minister four,
Tourism, Telecom and External Affairs Minister two each.

Just sample some of these powers:

The Agriculture Minister has powers to appoint the government nominees
in cooperative organisations like NAFED and managing committees such
as NIAM and SFAC and nomination of non-officials on autonomous
institutions like Coconut Development Board, National Horticulture
Board and Joint Hindi Advisory Committee.

Minister for Fertilisers has powers to appoint personal staff and two
farmers' representatives in the fertiliser advisory forum.

Telecom Minister has discretion to nominate members of the Telephone
Advisory Committee (TAC), sanction out-of-turn telephone connections
and approve issue of stamps on dignitaries, subject to guidelines and
annual stamp issue programme. MoS Telecom can also sanction
out-of-turn telephone connection. Who needs them in today's time when
mobile phone connections are go begging?

And, look at the maximum discretionary powers that the Home Minister enjoys:

-- Central assistance to civilian victims of terrorist, communal,
naxal violence;

-- Relief to needy persons who have served the nation in the
political, social, philanthropic and other fields;

-- Rewards to persons in recognition of outstanding deeds of valour
and public good;

-- Subventions to deserving institution rendering services to the
nation in various needs;

-- Relief to persons decorated with national awards in extreme cases
of distress for their and their family members' medical treatment;

-- Provision of Rs 1 crore under HM's discretionary grants in
financial year 2011-12; and

-- Release of grant in any other exceptionally deserving cases.

The Tribal Affairs Minister has the second highest discretions on five grounds:

-- Aid to individuals and institutes promoting welfare and development of STs;

-- Education to exceptionally brilliant tribal children whose parents
are no more or whose parents' income from all sources does not exceed
Rs 5000 a month;

-- Medical treatment to those whose income from all sources does not
exceed Rs 5000 a month;

-- A grant by minister shall not exceed Rs 10,000 in a year;

-- Total budget for a year under the discretionary funds of the tribal
affairs minister is Rs 2 lakh but no grant has been sanctioned during
the last three years under this head.

The Railway Minister can grant concession on requests besides those
permissible under the tariff, grant enhanced ex-gratia to victims of
train accidents, issue complementary card and cheque passes to persons
and organisations engaged in social, cultural, educational, sports and
welfare activities as also on welfare grounds and she can also
nominate chairmen and members of the passenger amenities committee and
passenger services committee.

The External Affairs Minister has discretion to grant diplomatic
passport under Category 'F' and allot a portion of Haj seats. The
Tourism Minister has powers to nominate members on various advisory
committees and boards of autonomous institutions and approve central
financial assistance (CFA) priority to projects.

The Commerce Minister enjoys powers to select any officer from the
panel sent by Civil Services Board. The Human Resources Development
Minister has no discretionary powers in admissions and appointments in
schools or colleges but has a discretionary fund of Rs 4 lakhs a year
for providing financial assistance for cases of hardship.

As regards the Mine Minister, the document says the Mines and Minerals
Bill is being brought to Parliament for minimising discretionary
powers of the minister. The Steel Minister does not have discretionary
powers but as chairman of Steel Consumers Council, he directly
nominates some 400 non-official members.

There is only one scheme of National Welfare Fund for Sportsperson in
which the Sports Minister has the discretion to sanction assistance in
deserving cases even to those who technically are non-eligible,
depending upon facts and circumstances of each case. He also has the
discretion to decide quantum of assistance.


Hearsay- all heard in the corridor of power

Karunanidhi request to Dr Manmohan Singh is not being
attended to. That to appoint a close relative of DMK leader
who is an educationist, as Member of the Union Public Service
Commission.DMK is irritated over the delay by PMO. 
Former Union Finance Minister Ashok Chawla, a Gujarat cadre
IAS officer who retired January-end, is tipped to become an
information commissioner in the Central Information Commission
constituted under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The Commission headed by Satyananda Mishra has five vacancies as the
Act provides for up to 10 commissioners but at present there are only
five, namely Annapurna Dixit (62), a former officer in the India
Country Office of the United Nations Children’s Fund, Shailesh Gandhi
(63), an entrepreneur activist, M L Sharma (61), former CBI special
director and Rajasthan cadre IPS, Deepak Sandhu (62), former PM's
media adviser and former Principal Information Officer, PIB, and
Sushma Singh (61), a former I&B Secretary and a retired IAS officer).
Good news for 1978 and 1981 IAS officers. Process for their
promotions as Secretaries and Additional Secretaries have since
begun. Cabinet Secretary has constituted an Eminent Persons Group
to submit panel by July 2011. And the promotions will be approved
by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet by December 2011.
The empanelment drill takes atleast one year's time.
T R Baalu was in and out of DMK general council meet
held recently in Chennai. This gave an impression to
many of the senior leaders that Baalu maintains a 
best liaison with UPA2 leadership and also with PMO.
But it turned out to be too personal. T R Baalu was 
talking to a Union Minister about the pending clearance
for his son's King Chemicals factory. DMK MPs are
upset, as the cat was out of the bag, when a Union Minister
shared this joke with the DMK MPs.
Egypt commotions resulted in the cancellation of Oman Sultan Quabbas
visit to New Delhi to receive Jawaharlal Nehru International award.
Diplomats are serious over sudden cancellation and relate to
Oil diplomacy.

p c chacko tipped to be JPC chief on 2G

P C Chacko or 
V Kishore Chandra Deo
Chairman of JPC on 2G?

By R Rajagopalan

P C Chacko from Kerala  or V Kishore Chandra Deo Congress MP from Andhra Pradesh 
are the strong contendors  to head  JPC on 2G, according to highly placed Congress sources.

There are others from Lok Sabha Congress MPs
Francisco Sardinha or Vijay Bahuguna. But Sonia Gandhi is also 
keen to have a woman MP  Girija Vyas. 
But the key contendor is V Kishore Chandra Deo.

A final decision is likely to be announced on February 23,
just before the economic survey will be presented.

Sonia Gandhi and Pranab Mukherjee will identify the chairman
and convey to the Speaker Meira Kumar. She in turn will also
have   a consultations with Chairman of Rajya Sabha Hamid Ansari.
The total number of Members of JPC will be 21. if earlier JPCs
are to be taken the calculation is that 14 Lok Sabha and 7 Rajya Sabha MPs
will form the part of the JPC.

Invariiably the Chairman of JPC goes to Lok Sabha Member of the ruling

Indications available with this correspondent is that AIADMK may be
kept out of the JPC as they do not have specific cut off number of
27 MPs. In other words, whichever political parties have 27 MPs
as a group they will be given one Member of the JPC.
But highly placed sources indicate that Congress might give one
of its berths to DMK.


The Congress core group on Monday decided to concede the
Opposition's demand for a Joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe
into the 2G scam and Andhra Congress MP V Kishore Chandra Deo, who
turns 64 on Tuesday, is tipped to head the 21-member committee.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee,
who attended the core group meeting besides Sonia Gandhi, her
political secretary Ahmed Patel and Defence Minister A K Anthony, will
be briefing the Cabinet on Tuesday to take into confidence the allies
in the government, a top Congress source said.

He said the PM was earlier reluctant to have a JPC as that may throw
dirt on him and his government, but he was reconciled at the meeting
after persuation by Mukherjee who also said he had promised the
Opposition called over lunch last week to get back to them after a
final view emerges on the issue.

In the previous 14th Lok Sabha, Deo, a 5-time Lok Sabha member from
Araku ST and once a Rajya Sabha member as also a former union minister
of state, has been chairman of the committees constituted by then
Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to probe misconduct of MPs like taking
money to ask questions as also the money allegedly paid to three BJP
MPs to vote for government on the confidence vote. Deo is currently
chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Undertakings. There
will be 14 members from Lok Sabha, including Deo, and seven from the
Rajya Sabha in the JPC.

Mukherjee is convening a meeting of the opposition leaders in a day or
two to take them on board with a commitment on the JPC as a part of
the Congress-led UPA government's strategy to have a smooth run of the
Parliament budget session beginning on February 21. The core group
authorised him to give a word to the Opposition to ensure it does not
resume blockage of the sittings to press for the JPC demand that
resulted in the washout of the entire winter session.

At the AICC Press briefing, party spokesman Manish Tewari said the
Congress was not averse to the JPC but the Opposition should agree to
the probe modalities and a prior debate. Admitting that it is for the
government as well as the Opposition to work out how to run the
democratic institutions, he said: "Opposition should not run away from
a debate. The demand for a joint parliamentary committee probe should
not become a subterfuge to run away from debate. Debate on the floor
of the House is a fair, legitimate and just demand."

The Congress may press for the JPC probe to cover the mobile phone
licences and spectrum allocations right from 2001 to cover the period
when late Pramod Mahajan and Arun Shourie of the BJP were the telecom
ministers. The probe will also cover DMK's former telecom ministers
Dayanidhi Maran and A Raja.

Meanwhile, Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar has convened a meeting of all
political parties on Sunday on the eve of the three-month long Budget
session to make it a smooth affair.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

new delhi grapevine snippets

embargoed for publication on Monday
February 14, 2011

R Rajagopalan
Karunanidhi request to Dr Manmohan Singh is not being
attended to. That to appoint a close relative of DMK leader
who is an educationist, as Member of the Union Public Service
Commission.DMK is irritated over the delay by PMO. 
Former Union Finance Minister Ashok Chawla, a Gujarat cadre
IAS officer who retired January-end, is tipped to become an
information commissioner in the Central Information Commission
constituted under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The Commission headed by Satyananda Mishra has five vacancies as the
Act provides for up to 10 commissioners but at present there are only
five, namely Annapurna Dixit (62), a former officer in the India
Country Office of the United Nations Children’s Fund, Shailesh Gandhi
(63), an entrepreneur activist, M L Sharma (61), former CBI special
director and Rajasthan cadre IPS, Deepak Sandhu (62), former PM's
media adviser and former Principal Information Officer, PIB, and
Sushma Singh (61), a former I&B Secretary and a retired IAS officer).
Good news for 1978 and 1981 IAS officers. Process for their
promotions as Secretaries and Additional Secretaries have since
begun. Cabinet Secretary has constituted an Eminent Persons Group
to submit panel by July 2011. And the promotions will be approved
by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet by December 2011.
The empanelment drill takes atleast one year's time.
T R Baalu was in and out of DMK general council meet
held recently in Chennai. This gave an impression to
many of the senior leaders that Baalu maintains a 
best liaison with UPA2 leadership and also with PMO.
But it turned out to be too personal. T R Baalu was 
talking to a Union Minister about the pending clearance
for his son's King Chemicals factory. DMK MPs are
upset, as the cat was out of the bag, when a Union Minister
shared this joke with the DMK MPs.
Egypt commotions resulted in the cancellation of Oman Sultan Quabbas
visit to New Delhi to receive Jawaharlal Nehru International award.
Diplomats are serious over sudden cancellation and relate to
Oil diplomacy.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

devas scandal facts and figures of scam

(This note is in circulation on email/internet sourced to  ISRO employees association)

1. DEVAS does not own either the spectrum, the two satellites or the user terminal technology. It is only an agent for foreign multinationals. It paid Rs.1000 Crores, so far, for two custom-built satellites 
but not a dime for Spectrum!!! What a sweet deal. Most of the DEVAS employees, Board Directors and Advisers are ex ISRO personnel who provide the “inside” information not technology.

2. This scam is masterminded by the three former Scientific Secretarys of ISRO – MGChandrasekhar, KRSridharamurthy and A.Bhaskaranaryana. ISRO HQ is too chairman centric and a den of corruption and favouritism. There can be another scam on this.

3. They misrepresented facts to the then Secy, DOS, Additional Secretary and misled the Space Commission and the Union Cabinet . The fact that a very one-sided contract has been signed by ANTRIX with DEVAS was never told to the Space Commission or the Union Cabinet. In fact a copy of the contract was never given to SC and Cabinet. The so called approvals were obtained from SC and Cabinet for the satellite GSAT-6 and more recently 6A without disclosing that these satellites have been contracted out to DEVAS.

4. No declaration of interest was put out on the ANTRIX website requesting bids from other interested parties before signing the Agreement.
5. emerging requirements of S-band spectrum by Strategic Government organisations (50 MHz) and societal needs ignored;
6. the Agreement raises serious national security issues due to the liberty provided to the private party to co-opt any partner without clearance of ANTRIX
7. The AGREEMENT violates INSAT Co-ordination Committee (ICC) guidelines of ‘Non-exclusiveness’.
8. It violates Govt.’s policy as contained in the Recommendations of TRAI dated 28 Aug.2007 that for any terrestrial transmission, except for 800,900,1800 MHz band, the spectrum allocation has to be done through an auction and,
9. the ANTRIX-DEVAS contract, contravenes the existing policy framework of the Government as part of this spectrum was co-ordinated for strategic use and is not to be shared with commercial applications to a private party Terrestrial transmission is not permitted in this part of S band as per TRAI regulation.

10. SECRETARY DOS is Deliberately not proceeding on the Directives of SC for the past seven months issued vide minutes of the SC mtg on July 2,2010 as pressures from former Chairmen, ISRO are overwhelming. Dr.Kasturirangan is worried about his clean image getting dented. Prof. U.R .Rao’ daughter works for DEVAS!!

11. The sweet deal between ANTRIX and DEVAS was considered to be similar to earlier INTELSAT contract but is not. This agreement allows DEVAS to sub-lease, assign or sell the capacity without any approvals of ANTRIX which would give rise to serious security concerns; violates INSAT Coordination Committee (ICC) guidelines of ‘Non-exclusiveness’ in leasing capacity , violates transparency, no technology neutrality, non-information of the Agreement to the Cabinet and the Space Commission, non-commercial viability for ANTRIX, terms of contract being biased against ANTRIX’s interest. (The fact of the contract already having been signed in Jan.2005 was not informed to the Union Cabinet while seeking clearance for financial sanction to build GSAT-6 satellite though the notes to the Union Cabinet were sent subsequently on Nov.17,2005) ; The total payment to be made by DEVAS to ANTRIX is not commensurate with the cost of the satellite and the normal profit projections of a commercial corporation. severe penalty clauses to be borne by ANTRIX for delayed delivery of the spacecraft.(Any body can check that these are true by referring to the Agreement)

12. DoT, Min,of Law and Justice have favoured cancellation of the contract.

13. The Agreement was never discussed in TAG or ICC. as it was considered “Commercially Confidential.” AGREEMENT copy was denied to Hindu under RTI?? Can you believe this in this age?
14. DOT/MOC vide their note dated 28.07.2010 further stated: “… that terrestrial component of the BSS frequencies should also be given similar treatment as in the case of 3G and BWA spectrum with regard to pricing, and, auction mechanism should be adopted for fair spectrum allocations”.

15 From observations above it is seen that the ANTRIX-DEVAS contract has to be terminated.

16. What happened between Jan.2005 and July 2010?

DEVAS was busy selling the capacity to foreign vendors, getting FIPB clearances, attempting trials without witnesses, waiting for European technology to mature which they could sell as their own indigenous technology. In short attempting bigger frauds and covering their tract as the satellites were getting ready.

17. Who wanted this spectrum?

All 4G vendors and LTE operators. They still want it.

18. Does DEVAS have a S-DMB license now?

No. Though the AGREEMENT is for delivery of S-DMB service, DEVAS does not have an operating license. Why? Because MI&B clearance is also required and DEVAS does not know or wants to know how to get S-DMB license. They hope to get it from the powers in Delhi on a platter.

19. The S-band spectrum has been auctioned in the World since 2000. A report is enclosed. UK sold 60 MHZ for 22.5 billion GBP.

20. AIR operates its services in this band and recently DD has plans to use this band for S-DMB which should take priority. Why are they not doing it then? Simply because there has been no meeting of the Inter-ministerial group for the past 2 years. The Govt. processes of checks and balances has been completely suspended. Who did it? The present Chairman ISRO to keep the lid firmly on the scam.


Space Commission to consider cancallation of Antrix Davas deal

February 12,

Cancellation of the Davas and Antarix deal
Space Commission emergency meet

By R Rajagopalan

Space Commission is to hold its full bench emergency meeting
on February 12 Saturday in Delhi to consider cancellation
of the Davas Antarix deal on S band allocations.
This decision will be put up to the Cabinet Committee on Security
next week. CCS is alone competent to take a decision
on spectrum and its pricing.

ISRO chief who is also Chairman of Space Commission
Dr Radhakrishnan will chair this meeting to be held in Lok Nayak Bhavan
in Khan Market in Delhi on Saturday at eleven am.
Other members of the Space Commission are
TKA Nair, KM Chandrasekhar, SS Menon,
Sushma Nath, R Gopalan and other three permanent members of 
Space Commission.

PMO is concerned about negative publicity it is getting from 
TV and print media. And parliament session is to commence
from February 21, To defuse the tension, the Government ordered
Space Commission to cancel the deal, 


Tuesday, February 8, 2011


8 Feb 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Hyperactive Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, busy rescuing the
UPA government in the 2G scam ever since he took over after A Raja
resigned in November, finds himself caught up in another spectrum scam
of the Indian Space Research Organisation's gift of 70Mhz dirt cheap
in 2005 to its former officer that is now turning out to be a Rs
2-lakh crore scam.

He was part of the Space Commission as a member in his capacity then
as the minister of state for science and technology that cleared the
deal. And, it was his note on which the deal was sealed with the Union
Cabinet's nod back in 2005. The Cabinet Secretary, then National
Security Adviser (NSA) M K Narayanan, now West Bengal Governor, and
the ISRO chairman were the other members of the Space Commission.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cannot wash off his hands in this
scandal as he not only chairs the cabinet meetings but he was also
briefed by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar last year on need to
cancel the ISRO's deal at a ridiculously low price of Rs 1000 crores
in view of the huge sums of Rs 1.06 lakh crores received in auction of
the 3G spectrum.

He also heads the Department of Space (DoS) that did not order
cancellation of the ISRO's contract with the Bangalore-based Devas
Multimedia Private Limited headed by ISRO's former scientific advisor
Dr M.G. Chandrasekhar even after getting an opinion from the Law
Ministry last year in response to the Cabinet Secretary's query that
ISRO is within its rights to cancel the contract signed on its behalf
by its commercial arm Antrix Corporation with Devas.

Sibal may also have to explain why the Department of Telecom (DoT) is
sitting over a recommendation of the regulator TRAI (Telecom
Regulatory Authority of India) last May to allow review of the usage
of the spectrum available with various government agencies to enable
it to schedule release of spectrum to the telecom sector for speedier
rollout of the telecom and broadband services in the country.

DoT is the custodian of the spectrum or airways in India and an
estimated 55 per cent of the available 1,161 Mhz spectrum is with the
government agencies including DoS and Defence Ministry.

Though the government may act fast to scuttle the Devas contract to
wriggle out of the direct charges levelled by the Opposition on the
Prime Minister for the scam that is bigger than the irregularities in
the 2G spectrum allocation, it cannot shut off the reality of Davos
attracting huge investments from abroad alike the telcom players
buying 2G airways cheap and selling them at huge profits.

The catch in the Devas contract is that the company can offload the
excess spectrum with it to others if it is not able to utilise all
70Mhz and there is bound to be a huge race among the private telecom
operators to seize part of it instead of knocking doors of DoT all the
time for access to more spectrum.

While Devas offloaded its 36749 shares worth US $75 million to
Singapore-based Deutsche Telekom Asia Pte Ltd, it also took other
investors, many from the tax heaven Mauritius that launders the
Indians' black money received through havala and ploughs it back in
the name of the companies that can be easily registered in that

Two Mauritius-based companies -- CC/Devas (Mauritius) Ltd and Telecom
Devas Mauritius Ltd were issued 15730 convertible cumulative
preferential shares each on March 16, 2006 at a huge premium of Rs
21445.82 for the shares with equity value of Rs 10 each, only few
months after the company got the scarce spectrum. These two Mauritius
companies were further allotted 15,619 shares each in three tranches.

The balance sheet of Devas Multimedia shows that its capital shot up
eight times in only three years from Rs 67.5 crores on March 31, 2007
to Rs 578.82 crores in 2010. In fact, the capital investment went up
by Rs 123 crores in just one year between 2009 and 2010.

Since after allotment of the scarce S-band spectrum, that was once
used by Doordarshan for serving remote areas through satellite, the
company raised several hundred crores and even made investments in
mutual funds and financial institutions.

An interesting alibi from Antrix Corporation Limited that made the
deal with Devas which also includes use of two satellites to be
launched specifically for it is that ISRO was burdened with unused
S-band spectrum that was vacated by Doordarshan and it readily agreed
to give 70 Mhz from it to Devas that approached it. It argues that no
other company had approached it as otherwise they too would have been
given the spectrum instead of letting it lie idle. What an excuse!


Saturday, February 5, 2011

all pranab da men in finance


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: A day after appointment of Expenditure Secretary Sushma
Nath as India's first woman finance secretary, Information Technology
Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma (58), a Bihar cadre IAS officer of 1976
seniority, on Saturday joined the Finance Ministry as the new
financial secretary to handle the banking sector.

He succeeds R Gopalan who was holding the additional charge since
after he was shifted as Secretary, Economic Affairs, in place of
retired finance secretary Ashok Chawla.

With the induction of Sharma, the stamp of Finance Minister Pranab
Mukherjee is obvious with all officers who worked with him in the past
are now assembled in the finance ministry. Sharma was an additional
secretary in Defence when Mukherjee was the defence minister. Gopalan
is also a Mukherjee favourite.

Earlier, Thomas Mathews, another IAS officer who was in Defence, was
brought in by Mukherjee to monitor the capital markets in place of Dr
K P Krishnan, a P Chidambaram appointee.

Much to the resistance of the IAS lobby, Mukherjee had brought in Venu
Rajamoni, an IFS cadre officer, to look after the fund banking
division. Venu was a Pranab da favourite when the latter was the
External Affairs Minister.


dmk bocotts jairam ramesh


DMK snubs Congress

Angry Karunanidhi withdraws
Forest Minister to meet 
Jairam Ramesh

By R Rajagopalan

DMK is upset with the Centre for not declaring the revival of Legislative Council
to show its anger Karunanidhi on Friday directed N Selvaraj to boycott the
Forests Ministers meeting convened by Jairam Ramesh in Thiruvandandapuram on
Sunday. DMK chief directly accuses Jairam Ramesh for stopping Dr Manmohan Singh
from attending the Adayar Green House project.

DMK is suspicious of roles played by Jairam Ramesh to get Congress nearer to AIADMK.
Senior leaders cry foul that Jairam is directly responsible for Rahul Gandhi not
meeting Karunanidhi. To explode the bubble of this rumours, DMK is now taking
directly on Jairam Ramesh.

DMK has listed our three crucial issues  with the absence of response from Congress
and Centre, Karunanidhi is now  turning the table against Congress.  Mid February is too crucial
for DMK Congress alliance, and sort out formulae for seat sharing.

DMK wants the announcements of revival of Legislative Council, clearance of Ram Sethu
project by Union Ministry of Shipping by approaching Supreme Court to vacate the stay,
and third most important is CBI might approach DMK first family with set of questions to the
wives of Chief Minister and daughter Kanimozhi on 2G scam.

But the latest to come to light is a direct rebuke by DMK to 
Congress by boycotting the Meeting of Ministers of Forests from Southern States 
convened to discuss environmental issues in the four states. 

DMK Chief Minister Karunanidhi asked N Selvaraj Forest Minister not to attend the Southern States
Forests Ministers meeting as it is being presided over by Jairam Ramesh Union Minister for Enviroment.

It is a protest by the DMK to Jairam Ramesh as he stopped Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh opening
Adayar Green House Park in January, also not approving the personal projects of T R Baalu  where
environmental clearances are pending with Ministry.

N Selvaraj Minister of Forests Tamil Nadu told senior officials of  Union Ministry of Environment that 
he is abstaining after the directions from the Chief Minister.


BJP's 23 point action plan to bring back black money

5 Feb 2011            


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: The Bhartiya Janata Party will pressure the government in
the upcoming Parliament session to act on a 23-point charter
formulated by its task force for following constitutional, legal,
political and geo-political measures to unearth and bring back the
Indian monies illegally stashed abroad.

The Task Force, comprising noted Bangalore IIM professor R
Vaidyanathan, chartered accountant S Gurumurthy, former Intelligence
Bureau chief Ajit Doval and senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, son of
Ram Jethmalani who is pursuing the black money case in the Supreme
Court, gave its report to the BJP early this week and its veteran Lal
Krishna Advani lost no time in getting the report endorsed by its
allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Topping the recommendations of the task force is enactment of a law
that declared the Government of India as beneficiary of all monies,
assets and bank accounts held abroad by the Indian nationals without
declaring the same to the Indian authorities. Such nationals be
allowed to reclaim the assets by proving with evidence before an
impartial tribunal that the assets held outside India are acquired by
them by proper means and the non-declaration is merely a technical

The task force said such an asset restoration provision will shift
onus of proof on the person who has held undeclared wealth abroad and
the government will not face the charge of expropriating the assets
without the due process under the law.

VOLUNTARY DISCLOSURE: It says if political consensus is possible, the
government may think of providing a window of opportunity to
businessmen and professionals to bring back the money with suitable
grace period and penalty and beyond the moratorium period of say six
months, the government completely nationalise any funds kept abroad.

Also, persons who have accumulated funds abroad illegally should be
barred from holding any public office and getting loans from banks,
etc. as a form of punishment. Even cancellation of citizenship can be
considered, the task force stressed, pointing out that otherwise the
black sheep will continue to have every privilege.

On the basis of such a law, the task force argues that the government
can ask the world governments and banks committed to secrecy like the
Swiss banks to recognise the Indian government as the beneficiary of
the undeclared wealth, bank accounts and other assets till the owner
is able to prove that he had acquired it by fair means and from
legally valid sources.

OMNIBUS FIR: It also suggests registration of an omnibus criminal case
by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) against suspected
unidentified persons who have been transferring money to more than 70
tax havens abroad illegally. It says the case may be transferred to a
special team of CBI and investigated under the Supreme Court's
supervision. Such FIRs had been registered in the past in case of
Punjab terrorism and Nagaland insurgency against the unknown accused

Registration of the criminal case will enable the investigating
agencies to summon people for questioning, interrogate suspects, seize
incriminating documents, conduct raid, make arrests and examine
documents. An omnibus FIR will facilitate continuous investigation.

Another suggestion is to look at the issue as a criminal act against
the State since some portion of the stashed away money is suspected to
be used also for funding terror related activities.

DEAD DEPOSITORS: The task force also noted that huge amounts of the
Indians in secret bank accounts get appropriated by the banks as these
cannot be bequeath to their progenies and most of the depositors die
without informing the progenies about the accounts. It may run into
billions since 1950s as sudden death of a political leader or
businessman creates such situations.

"Such monies should be declared by a special law as escheat and vested
in Government of India with a provision that the progenies of the
account holder may claim the same by providing requisite evidence to
show that the monies in such accounts were sourced in legal business
or other receipts.

The task force also stressed that every politician at the time of
elections and those at the time of appointment as Reserve Bank
governor, SEBI chairman, CBI chief, IB chief, RAW chief, Central
Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) etc should affirm on affidavit that they
do not hold illegal money abroad.

GLOBAL EFFORTS: It also stressed that India must join global efforts
against tax havens and secret banking as enunciated in the meeting of
the Finance Integrity and Economic Development in Bergen, Norway in
September that was also attended by the Finance Ministry officials.

As for the illegal funds kept for nefarious purposes, the BJP task
force suggests that the government raise the issue in multilateral
forums like G-20 and UN Security Council to get a common legislation
enacted to draw out funds from tax havens.

The task force stressed that the bilateral treaties have limitations
since their jurisdictions in many cases are non-transparent and rather
created to hold illegal wealth. As such, it says the government better
set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to distinguish between
funds and holders as it will help in voluntary confessions with
penalty to those who have accumulated funds abroad to evade taxes.
Such a commission will be able to distinguish between different shades
of criminals.

DESTABILISED ECONOMY: It also wants constitution of an
inter-ministerial task force comprising representatives of SEBI, RBI,
RAW, IB and Law Ministry and outside experts to deal with the billions
of dollars brought in as otherwise it may destabilise forex rates and
fuel further inflation.

Some other recommendations of the task force are:

-- The Prime Minister take the nation into confidence by disclosing
the foreign travels to tax havens by his union ministers;

-- Black money abroad be treated as "treason" since at least the
domestic black or unaccounted money is used in our economy and hence
productive but it is not so with the money kept in foreign banks as
"domestic black money is a vote of no confidence on the government
only, while illegal Indian wealth abroad is a vote of no confidence on
India as a country;"

-- Political parties and media as also intellectuals and well-meaning
citizens like the former Supreme Court and High Court judges, members
of the bar, academics and professionals join hands to create a public
opinion against the black money and appeal to the global institutions
and diverse governments of the world alike Tunisia movement that
compelled the Swiss government to act against illicit monies stashed
by the Tunisian rulers; and

-- Middle class that has retreated from the public domain, seeking
comfort in their private life and careers, will have to come out in
the open to demand action, and the spiritual leaders will have to also
do so.

The task force also stressed that India take up the responsibility of
enunciating a new global financial architecture suiting Asian value
systems and replacing the architecture evolved in the 20th century by
the anglo-saxon laws that promoted secretive jurisdictions.

"We should stress on geographical disclosure of sources and uses of
funds by global banks and based on that 'automatic information
sharing' should be done by the recipient nations. In other words,
closing down of the secretive tax jurisdictions should be one of the
objectives of India for a non-conflicting civilizational future," the
task force added.


new delhi corridor gossips


for Publication on Sunday February 6, 2011

R Rajagopalan

First task of a Union Minister after assuming the new role
was to seek the files of allotment of additional accommodation
of a top bureaucrat. Minister ordered thorough enquiry into 
the misuse.The said official felt the heat of paying penalty.
union Minister took revenge on this official, because, said 
babu taken on the Minister without rhyme or reason.
Central Bureau of Investigation  interrogated
arrested telecom minister A Raja for two hours, confronting 
him with original files and noting made by him on these files.
His interrogation was conducted in the presence of two top Department
of Telecom (DoT) officials -- A K Srivastava and P K Gupta -- and
videographed, Insiders say  Raja was quite non-plus in replying to 
16 questions posed to him during the interrogation as he came out 
with the flip-flop answers.
Due to fragile health and advanced age Karunanidhi was strained.
While discussing with Sonia Gandhi he snored and dozzed off.
Kanimozhi, Dayanidhi Maran and TR Baalu who were present
were seeing the discomforts condition of Karunanidhi. Sonia also
realised the predicaments.
Sushma Swaraj visit to Coastal areas of Tamil Nadu to understand
the difficulties of Tamil fishermen being killed in international waters
while they fish in smaller boats. Sushma before reaching Nagapatinam
Vedaranyam she learnt few sentences in Tamil. She became too popular
with fishermen wives as she spoke six sentences of Tamil so fluently.
She is good with Kannada -as she fought Bellary parliament elections.