Sonia & Rahul summoned in National Herald newspaper case – IANS

Copy of the National Herald

Subramanian Swamy“The judge … added that the complainant had established a prime facie case of dishonest misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy.” – IANS

A court here Thursday issued summons to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi on charges of misappropriating funds of a company that used to publish the now-defunct National Herald newspaper.

In response to a private complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy, Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha said: “I have found prima facie evidence against all the accused.”

The court directed them to appear before it Aug 7.

The Congress called it “a motivated complaint”. “The allegations are baseless,” said party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

A party statement added: “All the people named in the National Herald matter will seek legal advice and do the needful.”

Apart from the Gandhis, the court also summoned Congress leaders Motilal Vora and Oscar Fernandes, Sam Pitroda, who was an advisor to former prime minister Manmohan Singh, and former journalist Suman Dubey, who is close to the Gandhi family.

The complaint alleged that the Gandhis formed a company, Young Indian, in 2010 with 38 percent share each to take control of Rs. 2,000 crore worth of assets of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), which published the National Herald.

The National Herald was started in 1938 by Jawaharlal Nehru. Over the decades, it lost circulation and ran into major financial losses, leading to its closure in 2008.

“Since all the accused persons have allegedly acted in consortium with each other to achieve the said nefarious purpose/design, there are sufficient grounds for proceedings against all of them,” the court said.

However, the judge added in a 20-page order that “it goes without saying that guilt of an accused is determined after trial when the burden of proof is discharged beyond reasonable doubt.

Sonia Gandhi + Rahul Gandhi“This is only the stage of summoning of the accused. When the accused appear before the court they shall be at liberty to refute the allegations of (Swamy), cross examine the witnesses.”

The judge, however, added that the complainant had established a prime facie case of dishonest misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy.

The summons were also served on Young Indian.

“The chain of circumstance appears to give rise to a conclusive or irresistible inference of an agreement between the accused to commit the offences as alleged in a pre-planned manner,” the court observed.

It noted that “though the language in the documents is shrouded in ambiguity, it is not difficult to understand that the control over public money/assets appear to have been cleverly transferred to the hands of the few by creating a company (Young Indian) for this purpose”.

Speaking to reporters, Swamy said: “This is a fraud, criminal breach of trust as they have managed to misappropriate the fund of Rs. 2,000 crore.

“It is important for the court to take away the passports of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi so that they do not run away from the country.”

Rebutting the charges, Singhvi accused Swamy of running a “motivated campaign” against the Congress.

“This is a stale complaint made some time in 2013. About a year later, we heard in the press that a summons is being issued. We have not even received it yet. You can rest assured that a fitting response will be given after we receive the papers,” Singhvi said.

“Dr. Swamy is known for his motivated campaign against the Congress,” he added.

“Allegations made over a year ago lead to only a process. Issuance of process on a stale complain over a year ago is not something we are excited about. Let us receive the paper which we have not received and seek comprehensive legal advice and you will see how all allegations in this respect are going to be legally demolished.”

Herald House LucknowHe said the offence was made possible because of the Gandhis’ “crony control over the Congress party and AJL”.

He alleged that they closed AJL in 2008 due to financial crisis and stopped printing the National Herald and sister publications Navjivan (Hindi) and Qaumi Awaz (Urdu), which were saddled with huge debts.

To resolve the financial crisis, AJL transferred the share equity to Young Indian by payment of a mere Rs. 50 lakh without taking any reference from the shareholders.

Young Indian thus acquired the complete ownership of AJL real estate assets of at least Rs. 2,000 crore, including a multi-storeyed building in a prime location in Delhi.

The court observed that the office bearers of Congress by advancing interest-free loan to the AJL, a public limited company involved in commercial activities, appeared to have defrauded a large number of persons who contributed to the political party by way of donation.

The court observed that the revenue generated by the properties belonging to AJL is being dishonestly misappropriated by the directors of Young Indian. – Business Standard, 28 June 2014

See also

Hotel Tihar

VIDEOS: I agree with Dina Nath Batra – Abhinandan Sekhri

Dina Nath Batra & Abhinandan Sekhri

Bina Nath Batra is an old time school master who founded the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti  and uses the courts to get books banned. Abhinandan Sekhri works in TV and film and is a founding partner of Small Screen and Newslaundry

Part I

Part II

Narendra Modi: Exalted planet in our horoscope – Ram Jethmalani

Ram Jethmalani“I believe it was Narendra Modi alone, and none of the other distinguished Party leaders, who was responsible for including the issue of recovery of black money stashed away in foreign banks, in the BJP election manifesto. Narendra Modi is aware of my five years of legal battle in the Supreme Court to have a Special Investigation Team supervised by two ex-judges of the Supreme Court to carry out the task of recovering our stolen money.” – Ram Jethmalani

PM-Designate Narendra ModiIt is about 10 o’clock in the morning of 16 May 2014, as I write this piece after my badminton game. Before starting I turned on the television to hear the election trends. 16 May 2014 will go down as a momentous Victory Day in India’s history. The day the nation broke its shackles and attained deliverance from the corrupt, communal and colonial UPA government headed by the Italian branch of the Nehru-Gandhi family, which has bled our country by several thousands of crores during the last decade. This has been the mother of all victories, stunning the Congress into a deathly silence. With their miserable tally of 44 seats, they cannot even aspire to lead the Opposition.

The UPA ensured the unity of their coalition through their adharma of corruption. By allocating spheres of corruption to each constituent, they ensured their continuity, confident also that religious division and vote banks that they engineered would blot out their plunder at the next election. They couldn’t have been more misguided. The entire nation rejoices and salutes India’s new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who after a tireless and gruelling campaign of almost two years has received an unprecedented, historic mandate from the people of India to lead our country.

I must also congratulate every columnist of The Sunday Guardian for giving a near accurate assessment of the election result. The Sunday Guardian, right from the start has consistently supported Narendra Modi for Prime Ministership. And it has happened just as we forecast and hoped, and Narendra Modi will be Prime Minister of the country, despite the hatred, calumny and lies that was disseminated about him in the most diabolical and calculated manner. But he fought them all and won. Additionally, I congratulate M.J. Akbar, Editorial Director of The Sunday Guardian for joining the BJP, and as a spokesman now, leading the path for other secular enlightened Muslims of India.

As for me personally, I was both overjoyed and proud. Overjoyed, because the person whom I had been fighting for as most qualified and deserving for Prime Ministership of India, was miles ahead of his non-existent competitors. And proud, because my prediction made many months ago, based on my rudimentary knowledge of astrology corroborated by intuition, that Narendra Modi would be a glorious Prime Minister proved to be accurate.

 Arun Jaitley & Sushma Swaraj Let me, however, assure my readers that I have no plans to change my profession of law for one of a soothsayer. Nor is it my intention to seek some grateful reward from Narendra Modi. But today, I feel totally free to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, unrestrained by any adverse impact it might have on the electoral prospects of the BJP or any of its candidates, including Arun Jaitley. Everyone including Narendra Modi knows that I ceaselessly campaigned for him and the BJP, despite my expulsion from the party, chiefly manipulated by the notorious members of the 160 Club. My assistance during the election campaign was offered without distinction or discrimination, but about Arun Jaitley, I had written to Narendra Modi a long time ago, that his defeat was more or less certain, even without my campaigning for or against him. Apart from his humiliating electoral defeat, now that the 160 Club has also come a cropper, his attempts to flood important decision making platforms of Narendra Modi’s government with his associates is not going to do him or the new government much good, except perhaps inviting his own quarantine in the party.

I believe it was Narendra Modi alone, and none of the other distinguished Party leaders, who was responsible for including the issue of recovery of black money stashed away in foreign banks, in the BJP election manifesto. Narendra Modi is aware of my five years of legal battle in the Supreme Court to have a Special Investigation Team supervised by two ex-judges of the Supreme Court to carry out the task of recovering our stolen money. The Manmohan Singh government, under orders of Sonia Gandhi and her son managed to frustrate the Supreme Court judgement of July 2011 constituting an SIT for this purpose. This corrupt action was rejected as vexatious by the new three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Dattu on 26 March 2014. But what is most shameful is that even as election results were coming in on 16 May, Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra moved the Supreme Court for relief in the shape of stay of the constitution of the SIT, which P. Chidambaram badly wants. The Hon’ble Judges summarily rejected the frivolous and dishonest request. What Indian Black Moneyemerges crystal clear is the desperation that even as their party was being pulverised at the polls, the infamous looter trio of Sonia, Rahul and Chidambaram were trying their utmost to stall the Supreme Court directions.

In this context, I would like to ask the mother and son one question: the nation should be informed of which foreign country Rahul was sent to by his mother, even as she was dining out the Prime Minister, and what the purpose of this unusual visit was. Incidentally, I have repeatedly stated in public and to the press that Sonia and her family are the chief beneficiaries of the plunder of US $1,500 billion, equivalent to Rs 90 lakh crore.

I look forward to informing Narendra Modi, after he settles down as Prime Minister, about a few significant events that have taken place regarding disclosure about the black money holders, during March this year when I visited Germany. The German authorities required a request with signatures from the political opposition asking for disclosure of the names. On my return, I informed L.K. Advani and requested him to initiate action regarding obtaining the necessary signatures to a three-line letter (also provided to him by me), addressed to the German authorities requesting disclosure. Well, Advani did nothing; when reminded, he referred me to another BJP leader and lastly to my own son.

It would clearly appear that any aspirant for office, whether from the 160 Club or Parliamentary Board who does not act in accordance with the commitment of repatriating black money must be viewed as anti-national and anti-party, and would greatly compromise Narendra Modi and the new government. They would be seen as part of the same criminal conspiracy which includes Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, some Cabinet ministers and associates, obstructing the repatriation of our stolen wealth. A Cabinet of impeccable integrity is the only way Narendra Modi must start with.

Anti-Modi campaign from USNarendra Modi is completely aware of the test through fire that awaits him. He has so many priorities to attend to — reducing prices, creating jobs, revving up the economy, development, finding ways of uprooting the deep tendrils of corruption. But one of his first acts after becoming Prime Minister must be to specifically and categorically assure the minorities that he is not their enemy and they have nothing to fear from him. He must take them into confidence and explain to them how the hate campaign against him was systematically orchestrated and sustained by the enemies of India. This is important, for he must start peeling off the layers of lies that have been perpetrated around him in India and abroad, through hired mercenaries and intellectuals, including Nobel Laureates. These lies need to be demolished as systematically as they were constructed, and the best way to start is through such an assurance to all minorities that they will be protected, and treated as equal citizens of India in the same manner as the rest, and that their religious freedom will not be touched. Sab ka saath, sab ka vikaas. In this respect, Narendra Modi’s words must be matched by actions, to prove his detractors and accusers as complete liars who misled vast sections of the people of India. The undesirable fringe elements who act rabidly against Hindu principles of tolerance and in the past have attacked churches have been responsible for giving the BJP a bad name. These fringe elements must be controlled and disowned, and a strong diktat must be issued against invoking religion in national policies, where all citizens are treated equally, or in making communal hate speeches. The Inter Faith Committee, which is part of the BJP Election Manifesto, must be established immediately, and a special vigil should be kept to ensure that no anti national mischief makers engineer any communal riots in the country just to malign Narendra Modi.

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is a law that grants special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir.Another important issue regarding which well intentioned but misinformed advice is being rendered by several of Narendra Modi’s colleagues is regarding Article 370 of the Constitution of India. The ramifications of this issue are complex, and I look forward to discussing them with the Prime Minister, and fully informing him, particularly in the background of the negotiations that took place by the Kashmir Committee chaired by me during the Vajpayee regime, which I continued thereafter.

As for me, I continue to remain in the departure lounge of God’s airport, with no desire for office or political ambition, except to return at least a part of the debt which I owe to my country. – The Sunday Guardian, 18 May 2014

 

The Nehru family fight – Madhav Nalapat

M.D. Nalapat“Because of the fall in popularity of the Congress Party and a rise in popularity of the BJP, there seems to be rising panic within the ruling party’s ranks. In order to ensure that Maneka and Varun are not seen as what they are, full members of the Nehru family, a diatribe has been launched against them, including by Sonia and her two children.” – Prof Madhav Nalapat

Feroze Jehangir GandhiEvery family is subject to its feuds and tensions, and the Nehru family is no exception. Because the husband of Jawaharlal Nehru’s only child, Indira Priyadarshini, was re-named “Feroze Gandhi” by Mahatma Gandhi himself, the Nehru family has usually (and inaccurately) been referred to as the “Gandhi family” when in fact there is no blood tie between any of them and any member of Mahatma Gandhi’s family. Indeed, the latter have been conspicuous in the way in which they have declined to take advantage of their world-famous ancestor.

Whether it be Gopal Gandhi, the soft-spoken diplomat who was also Governor of West Bengal, or any of the other descendants of the Mahatma, each has shown a modesty and a dignity that has remained immune to the lure of either power or money. In contrast, Sonia Gandhi has adopted a leading role in the country’s politics, and uses such perquisites of high office as corporate jets while staying in a huge mansion that would cost about $150 million if placed on the open market. Of course, she gets it virtually rent-free from the Government of India, which also takes care of much of the travel and other costs incurred by her and her family members. Interestingly, both son Rahul as well as daughter Priyanka have their own state-provided mansions in Delhi, even while their mother stays in a dwelling that is by any standard palatial, and which has more than enough room to accommodate the two children. There has always been tension between Sonia Gandhi, the wife of elder son of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, and Maneka Gandhi, the Sikh bride of younger son Sanjay. During the period from the Congress defeat at the 1977 polls to Indira Gandhi’s victory in the 1980 polls, it was Sanjay and Maneka who gave courage to Indira Gandhi, and who carelessly worked towards a political comeback. During this entire period, Rajiv And Sonia were abroad for extended lengths of time, or spending time away from Indira Gandhi and Sanjay.

Indira Gandhi & Sanjay GandhiIndeed, it was no secret that Rajiv and Sonia regarded Sanjay Gandhi as responsible for the downfall of Indira Gandhi, or that Sonia Gandhi had the same feelings towards the younger and attractive Maneka as have been immortalised in “Bahu versus Bahu” soap operas throughout the subcontinent, whether in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh. After the death of Sanjay Gandhi in 1980, which occurred soon after Indira Gandhi returned to power and Sanjay emerged as the second-most powerful person in the country, reports have it that Sonia worked ceaselessly to poison the mind of Indira Gandhi against the young widow, Maneka Gandhi, such that the latter was forced to leave the Prime Ministers House along with her infant son. Since then, Maneka has followed a political career entirely independent of the Nehru family, unlike family of Rajiv Gandhi, which has enjoyed the privileges of state patronage ever since.

How did Sanjay Gandhi die? It was in an air crash, when the small aircraft flown by him crashed. But Sanjay was an excellent pilot, and there is talk that the aileron wires were filed in such a way that a few hard tugs on the joystick would have resulted in their fraying and breaking away, thereby sending the aircraft into a fatal dive, which is exactly what happened. There have been whispers that the incident was arranged by local agents of the intelligence agency of a huge country that Sanjay was open in his dislike of. This was the USSR, now defunct. Moscow saw Delhi as its most important strategic partner in Asia, and was apprehensive that Sanjay Gandhi would persuade his mother to move away from the USSR to get closer to Washington, the way Anwar Sadat had in Egypt.

Pope John Paul II with Rajiv & Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi in 1986. Rajiv & Sonia were good Catholics and very good friends of Moscow (who paid Rajiv large amounts of money).Certainly Sanjay Gandhi was an individual of firm views, and he was never afraid to express them. Such transparency may have been his undoing. Certainly, with the death of Sanjay Gandhi, all expectations of a geopolitical shift from Moscow to Washington disappeared. Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were very respectful of the USSR and it needs to be mentioned that this loyalty by a Congress Party dominated by them continued to the very last hours of the USSR. Of course, much of the cause was the approach of Washington towards Delhi, with successive US administrations looking not for the crafting of a fair bargain but a surrender by India to the dictates of the US. Sonia Gandhi has several admirers in the Indian media, among which is Vir Sanghvi, who lost his temper at this columnist on a television show some days ago. This was because Vir (who is ordinarily very pleasant and well-mannered) mentioned that Sanjay Gandhi’s widow Maneka “was not a Gandhi”. Such a view is in sync with that of much of the media, which forgets that Indira Gandhi had two sons, and that both families have the same right to legacy of the family.Indeed, out of fear or respect for Sonia, a conscious effort has been made to airbrush Maneka and her son Varun (who is also an MP in the BJP) from any discussion of the Nehru family.

Maneka & Varun GandhiHowever, because of the fall in popularity of the Congress Party and a rise in popularity of the BJP, there seems to be rising panic within the ruling party’s ranks. In order to ensure that Maneka and Varun are not seen as what they are, full members of the Nehru family, a diatribe has been launched against them, including by Sonia and her two children. This is unfortunate. Family is family, and civilities need to be maintained untainted by politics.No more can the fiction be maintained that Indira Gandhi had in effect only a single son, Rajiv, and that other son, Sanjay (and his wife and son) are seen as unpersons. The more Sonia and her children rail against Maneka and her son,the faster will be the loss of their public support and popularity. The people of India respect family ties,and those that uphold them. – Pakistan Observer, 18 April 2014

» Prof M.D. Nalapat is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Karnataka State, India.

Shahzada on the blink!

Indian Politicians: If they spoke their minds – Virendra Parekh

PVirendra Parekholiticians, we are told, use words to conceal their thoughts and not to express them as we ordinary people do. That art blossoms to its best during the election season — also known as the silly season or ‘mat’wali mausam. All leaders try to be all things to all people. Just try to imagine, what would these leaders say if they were really to speak up their minds? Let’s have a go at it — in good humour and without offence. – Virendra Parekh

Narendra Modi Narendra Modi

I had left clear instructions for that rally. Yet they goofed up some of the things. It shows that Advani still has some pockets of influence in the party. How can the country be run like this? Whenever I talk about the country, some people whisper behind my back that “Saheb, you have not become prime minister as yet.” My sources dutifully report such malicious whispers to me. Let the time come.

Some people say I am contesting from two places because I am not sure of winning. They do not know even ABC of politics, especially politics in the BJP. You have to displace some people from the place they want to stand from; you have to force some people to stand from a place they do not want to stand from; and you have to prevent some people from standing altogether. For that you have to do many things which will not be readily intelligible to all people. Only about one thing there should be no doubt in anybody’s mind: who is the boss.

Arvind KejriwalArvind Kejariwal

Ambani’s agents are everywhere in the media. They are asking all sorts of questions to me, forgetting that asking questions and making allegations is my monopoly. I can question Narendra Modi’s record on economic development, I can accuse Delhi’s Lt. Governor of being a Congress agent and I can doubt the need for Army’s presence in J & K. Proof? My word is enough.

Unfortunately, media has lost the plot. Instead of reporting and amplifying my questions and allegations targeting others, they are now carrying reports that popular support for me and my party is eroding fast, that I have still not vacated the two spacious bungalows allotted to me as Delhi’s chief minister and that I have forgotten all about Congress’s corruption. They must have been bribed by Modi’s corporate backers. They will come to their senses once we win 100 seats and play kingmakers in Delhi. I have already hinted what is in store for them. I heard cricket boss Srinivasan is planning to join AAP to acquire a lily-white image. Great!

Sharad PawarSharad Pawar

Sometimes I really wonder whether our people are fit for democracy. Recently, at a public meeting I told my supporters that they should vote twice: once while in their native places which they visit every summer and then again in Mumbai where they stay and work. You know the art of removing the ink mark from the finger, I gently reminded them.

And lo and behold! All hell broke loose as if I was inciting them to do something terrible. Election Commission and police were dragged in. Nobody appreciated that I was only trying to strengthen democracy by increasing people’s participation in it. For that we need to work at grassroots level in a manner that is readily understood by people, which is what I have been doing all these years. Instead of getting any appreciation for my work, I was made to do lot of explaining. Phew!

Sonia GandhiSonia Gandhi

People of India may or may not get bread, but me and my family will never run short of butter. Soon after Raul’s interview on TV, poor boy was butt of cruel jokes on social media and these Congressmen met me with big bouquets to congratulate me for Raul’s performance in the interview. Even now, some of them assure me that Congress will get around 300 seats. When I ask them sternly which seats they are talking about, they stammer for a while before clarifying that it was about group booking in the multiplex. I often ask them to tell me the truth, even if it is unpalatable. But they keep saying that Modi fears our family, which is why he is not contesting from Rae Bareli or Amethi.

Rahul GandhiRahul Gandhi

My name is Rahul Gandhi. I am … Congress candidate for prime ministership … no, I am not … I mean I am …

It is a bit embarrassing, but nobody talks about me these days. Everywhere it is either dadhee or muffler. It is not that I did not try. I grew beard, cried hoarse, made aggressive statements … but nothing seems to work. The media is no longer interested in me.

A wag told me he had a grand idea. “Boss, I suggest you file your nomination papers from Amethi and then withdraw your candidature on the last day. Then see the media attention you will get. You will be all over TV channels and newspapers. Your family has a glorious tradition of making sacrifices for the country. This is the best sacrifice you can make for the country. It will create a great sympathy wave in favour of Congress.” Really? Or is someone pulling up a fast one on me? Have to ask Diggi uncle.    

»  Virendra Parekh is the executive editor of Corporate India magazine and lives in Mumbai.

Excerpts from Chanakya’s New Manifesto: To resolve the crisis within India – Pavan K. Varma

Chanakya

Pravan K. Varma & Pranab MukherjeeIndia’s crisis of governance is not new. It has plagued the Republic since Independence. Governments have got more things wrong than right. The crisis has only become more acute over the last 18 months as the thin veil which obstructed a clear view of the deep rot within the system was pulled away. That was when public anger spilled out onto the streets. The response of the political establishment has been slow and unconvincing. The people of India are looking for concrete action. Several mass protests have identified the problems but nobody has seemed to have a concrete set of solutions.

In his new book, author and former diplomat Pavan K. Varma takes inspiration from the wisdom of Ancient India’s greatest thinker on statecraft, Chanakya, to provide specific solutions “To Resolve the Crisis within India”. Chanakya famously strategised to overthrow the corrupt Dhana Nanda, ruler of Pataliputra, and replace him with Chandragupta who eliminated misgovernance and ruled what was the first pan-Indian empire. Unlike Chanakya, Varma does not suggest an overthrow of the system. Varma’s New Manifesto (even if he modestly calls it Chanakya’s) is full of ideas within the constitutional framework of India. The following extracts capture some of those ideas in the five different spheres of government he identifies for overhaul: Governance, Democracy, Corruption, Security and Inclusive Society. – India Today

Constitutional panel to appraise governance

All political parties that propose to be part of a coalition grouping or front must declare their intention to do so prior to elections taking place. Coalition groupings, such as the UPA, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and a putative Third Front already exist so this would only require their constituents, and any other party that wishes to be part of them, to make a choice, not after, but before votes are cast.

Along with unattached political parties, each coalition must publicly announce a common Governance Agenda, with indicative timeframes for specific deliverables. This must be worked out prior to the elections so that voters know what rival political groupings are offering. Such a carefully worked out document is an important part of coalition arrangements in many other parts of the world.

Following elections, pre-identified coalition partners would be compulsorily committed to the declared Governance Agenda for a lock-in period of at least three years. Further, during the minimum lock-in period of three years, no coalition partner will be allowed to withdraw support to, or defect from, the coalition partnership.

Far from being an infringement of democratic rights, this would considerably enrich the democratic process. First, voters would know of coalition groupings in advance of the elections, rather than finding out subsequent to the elections that parties they did not support, or were openly opposed to, have become partners solely for the pursuit of political power at any cost.

A five-member Governance Appraisal Panel (GAP) should be set up as an independent evaluation body. It will be provided a compact secretariat, will have constitutional status, and report to the president of India.

The president’s role in preserving the authority and autonomy of bodies with constitutional status needs to be strengthened. In this context, consideration should be given to modifying the 42nd amendment to the Constitution introduced by Indira Gandhi during the Emergency. This amendment bound the president of India to act in all matters only on the advice of the Cabinet, and even after it was diluted subsequently, still seriously curtails the legitimate constitutional powers vested in an elected head of state. For independent constitutional bodies which are directly under the president and report only to that office, it is essential that the president exercises powers to protect the jurisdiction and authority of such bodies from interference, subversion or infringement by the government of the day.

The GAP will consist of a leading economist (or a senior representative from the corporate sector), a distinguished member of the media, a respected former administrator, an academic of eminence in the area of public affairs and governance, and a retired chief justice of India or a retired Supreme Court judge.

Its members will be selected by a three-member committee consisting of the PM, the leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and the chief justice of India. The committee will select the members of gap by consensus.

The GAP will have a five-year term and will submit its report annually to the president of India. The report will make an independent assessment of the governance performance of the government on the basis of the objectives it had promised in its Governance Agenda. It will also devise its own criteria for the measurement of the ruling government’s performance and will be guided in its endeavours by the measurement indices of World Government Indicators or WGI, which has been working in this field for more than two decades. A report on the WGI rightly states that all modern democratic societies require independent evaluation, which is possible with a good set of indicators, and public debate on the quality and improvement of governance. 

Disqualify legislators if they flout norms

The current practice which allows parties not to identify donors contributing less than Rs. 20,000 must be scrapped. This is the principal (but not only) channel for parties to collect vast amounts of undeclared funds. Every paisa given as a donation to political parties must be accounted for and transacted through auditable and transparent bank transactions.

Conversely, all payments made by political parties, exceeding Rs. 20,000 must be made by crossed account payee cheques. This has also been recommended by the Core Committee on Electoral Reforms sponsored by the Election Commission (EC) and the ministry of law and justice.

All political parties must compulsorily make public their audited accounts every year. Currently candidates are required to disclose their assets and liabilities but not political parties. As far back as 2004 the ec recommended that ‘political parties should be required to publish their accounts (or at least an abridged version) annually for information and scrutiny of the general public and all concerned’, for which purpose the maintenance of such accounts and their auditing to ensure their accuracy is a pre-requisite. The auditing may be done by any firm of auditors approved by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).The audited accounts must be made public.

The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and the CAG must be given powers to scrutinize and monitor all party funds. Currently political parties merely obtain a certificate from the ec that they have submitted their annual audited statement of accounts. This is completely inadequate.

Whatever the reasons, the time has come to take some clear and resolute decisions with regard to the proper functioning of our Parliament and state assemblies.

To begin with, any member who flouts the rules or breaks the decorum of the house should, after being warned, be named by the presiding officer and asked to withdraw from the house.

If a member who has been suspended, again infringes the rules of established decorum of the house in a manner sufficient to attract the notice of the presiding officer, he should be disqualified from membership of the house for the balance period of the life of the house, or three years, whichever is more.

No member shall ever enter the well of the house. This has become routine practice now and is a blatant violation of the rules and decorum of the house. Such behaviour is not about the expression of democratic freedoms but contempt of democratic practices. Any member who violates this absolute injunction should be expelled for the balance period of the life of the house. 

Transparency between public and government

It is imperative that, through the enabling legislation of the union government, all states mandatorily adopt a Right to Public Services (RTES) Act immediately. This act, even allowing for variations in each state, must have the following compulsory elements: Clearly identified services encompassing as many areas as feasible where the ordinary citizen needs to interact with the government; multiple modalities, including online access, to apply for or to avail of these services; a clear-cut time frame for the services to be rendered by a clearly designated authority; not more than one appellate authority for the final disposal of the service requested and a specified time frame for disposal by the appellate authority; a computerized tracking method to monitor the status of each application; in case of failure to deliver, exemplary deterrent punishment for the official responsible for providing the service; annual evaluation by a third party of the working of the act.

Break nexus between China and Pakistan

The bedrock of India’s foreign policy must be the understanding that until they prove, without a shadow of doubt, their good intentions towards India, Pakistan and China must be classified as hostile or potentially hostile states. This does not mean that attempts to improve bilateral relations with them should be jettisoned; nor does it preclude negotiations and dialogue where required, or the furtherance of people to people contacts where desirable; clarity of vision enables the use of a variety of approaches without losing sight of the truth. Any nation that enhances our security must be cultivated; any nation that is allied or close to nations that threaten us, must be contained, by co-option, seduction, engagement or other means.

A real threat to our security is the collusion between China and Pakistan. We must, therefore, be prepared for a war against both, in a worst-case situation. A principal tenet of our foreign policy must be to break, weaken or dilute the nexus between the two countries. If this requires us to sow discord or to create mistrust or encourage suspicion between them, we must do so. If we can weaken the nexus by providing to any one of the two greater dividends through engagement with India, this too should be pursued, but as conscious policy, not through policy drift.

To take care of internal security effectively, a separate ministry of internal security headed by a cabinet minister should be hived off from the ministry of home affairs. A minister with this portfolio has been a feature of some previous cabinets but without specific focus or clout and always subordinate to the minister of home affairs.

The new ministry will have two primary wings: One, an antiterrorism unit which will unite under one umbrella to direct the nation’s war against this threat; and two, an anti-insurgency department, which will single-mindedly tackle the threat of left wing extremism and other insurgencies. With the creation of these two wings, the need for the Intelligence Bureau (IB), as it currently exists, must be seriously reviewed.

Partner with NGOs in rural areas

If the economy grows rapidly, it helps the underprivileged. However, governments should especially focus on increasing growth in those sectors of the economy that impact the poorest the most.

With this in view, the government must adopt a new National Mission on Agriculture with the aim of tripling national agricultural growth rates in the next five years. The vast sums of money that are being mismanaged in populist schemes would be redeployed for attacking the root of the problem, viz, low productivity, except in drought affected areas where special state interventions are required. A quantum jump in agricultural productivity will make an unprecedented dent in the numbers of those below the poverty line, apart from providing spin off benefits to all other sectors of the economy.

The government has almost never tried to partner with nongovernmental agencies to implement its welfare programmes. But the few attempts that have been made have succeeded beyond all expectations. K. Anji Reddy, the founder chairman of the Naandi Foundation and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, moots the idea of what he calls ‘post-reform development services enterprises’. ‘These will be run by passionate, young professionals who will use the best of management principles with a focus on efficiency and outcomes. They will partner with the government for one-time subsidies for capital investment or for tapping budgetary allocations’ in order to reach deliverables to the poor. He cites several examples where this is working very well. Partnering with the government, and with the support of corporate donations, these entrepreneurs are efficiently running kitchens in urban areas and remote drought-hit regions which have brought the mid-day meal to 5 million children. The Haryana and Punjab governments have also taken the initiative to float tenders to provide safe drinking water to villages at a fixed price. ‘These post-reform development entrepreneurs,’ says Reddy, ‘got a one-time subsidy from the state governments for the capital cost, and run their enterprise with the efficiencies reaped in management and service delivery mechanisms.’ When the Andhra Pradesh government outsourced water treatment plants to tackle the rampant problem of fluorosis, a thousand micro-entrepreneurs responded, leading to a near-complete eradication of the disease. – India Today, 11 January 2013

» Pavan K. Varma took voluntary retirement from the Indian Foreign Service in 2012 to enter public life and is presently the Cultural Adviser to Nitish Kumar the Chief Minister of Bihar.

Freedom of speech and the academic abuse of Hindus – Gautam Sen

Dr. Gautam SenThe first thing to note about freedom of speech is that it is not an absolute freedom and has never been. It is and has always been constrained by social convention and legal statute. Nobody, however elevated, is permitted to say or depict whatever they please. If they do so, there is every prospect, at minimum, of being ostracised and even more likely, facing sanctions of the criminal statute. So, some of India’s half-educated, pseudo nationalist columnists and editors, who have joined the chorus of freedom, should get off their absurd high horses and stop talking rubbish.” – Dr Gautam Sen

Prof Amartya SenMuch arrant nonsense on free speech is being solemnly voiced by a so-called Indian intelligentsia, known neither for intellectual originality or integrity, to defend a demoniac, serial abuser of Hindus from Chicago. The ones abroad are basically purchased nautch girls and those still in India importunate to join them in that bastion of human rights, created through genocide and enriched by plantation slavery. And it remains a nation hell bent on inflicting endless violence against the non white lower orders of the world, to which faux Indian liberals have no trouble offering their deplorable services as catamites!

The fountainhead of much of this inane hand-wringing originates at Harvard, inspired by a purportedly celestial personage whom economists revere as a philosopher and vice versa. Neither economists nor philosophers sufficiently impressed to judge him anything other than a modest interloper in their own profession. A high-minded Bertrand Russell or John Maynard Keynes he is not!

Martha NussbaumOne former girlfriend of his at Chicago University, injured indelibly by failure to be appointed at Harvard, has taken to inventing foul canards about Hindus. Her vile Chicago colleague publishes quasi pornography about all things Hindu and their past. All of them haughtily claim association with India’s imported, de facto head of state, who has devastated it on a scale that recalls Tamerlane and Nadir Shah. But they would no doubt be inclined to offer her a professorial chair on Misgovernance and Wealth Acquisition at their illustrious institution now that she faces unceremonious ejection from power. Quite possibly, this Italian finds herself in a position to fund, if need be, a named chair of her own to occupy, with the vast wealth she has purloined! Harvard and Chicago both have sufficient numbers of obnoxious anti-Hindu ideologues to make her feel entirely at home.

The first thing to note about freedom of speech is that it is not an absolute freedom and has never been. It is and has always been constrained by social convention and legal statute. Nobody, however elevated, is permitted to say or depict whatever they please. If they do so, there is every prospect, at minimum, of being ostracised and even more likely, facing sanctions of the criminal statute. So, some of India’s half-educated, pseudo nationalist columnists and editors, who have joined the chorus of freedom, should get off their absurd high horses and stop talking rubbish. It would appear that frequent appearances on Barkha Dutt’s NDTV boudoir have caused a degree of mental atrophy. However, if they are angling for an invitation to an obscure American university they might be more upfront instead of slyly disparaging hapless Hindus as anti-freedom bumpkins though this may be a clever stratagem for the aforesaid purpose.

Prof Wendy DonigerWhen one starts pontificating about the right of the likes of Wendy Doniger to purvey pure abuse, what is being effectively posited is that her views are within the parameters of legitimate discourse. This is what defines the boundaries of free speech, the latitude of expression accepted by societal convention, in contrast with what is not supportable as an exercise in freedom of speech. It is would not be acceptable to advocate paedophilia, unless one is a member of the Catholic clergy, or the beating up of old ladies for fun. There is, ergo, no absolute freedom of speech. It just so happens there is serious disagreement on where that boundary does or should lie in the context of Wendy’s porn. It is not a deep philosophical debate, per se, about freedom of speech. Of course how it is being portrayed is not-so-subliminally conditioned by the fact that the disagreement is between a white-skinned angel, with the implicit backing of a violent society that happens to rule much of the world and sweaty, dark-skinned Hindus, not always able to muster the correct terminology and grammar. But that circumstance is not adequate criteria for adjudging the legitimacy of the rival views espoused.

US President George BushAn enduring myth is the idea the intelligentsia is to be found on the side of the oppressed. In some rare honourable cases that is indeed true, but they are not, as a rule, on the side of the angels and have never been. Intellectuals are mostly akin to street walkers and perform for money. They possess an especially astute sense of how to keep the powers that be in good humour and invariably strive to do so. Having spent more than half my life in a supposedly leading world-class academy I am deeply familiar with the dishonourable complicity of the academic intelligentsia in the affairs of State. Virtually all my thirty-five departmental colleagues at the London School of Economics supported the genocidal invasion and eventual destruction of Iraq, which is known to have been rationalised with pure fabrication by Tony Blair and George Bush Jr. Position and favour are disbursed to the compliant academic and they are intelligent enough to know so and sufficiently impecunious to hanker after a professorial chair, for which salaries are negotiated rather than confined to the modest official grade.

An entire academic discipline, anthropology, was spawned as an intelligence venture to reconnoitre native peoples to better subjugate, enslave and exploit them mercilessly. Much of the British ‘academic’ output in colonial India was the work of hard faced administrators and its purpose was to enhance control over the native population. The distinguished writer Max Weinreich has recorded the role of German scholars in supporting the mass murderer, Adolf Hitler, in his book, Hitler’s Professors: The Part of Scholarship in Germany’s Crimes Against the Jewish People, published in 1946. The great twentieth century philosopher, Martin Heidegger and lover of the leading Jewish intellectual, Hannah Arendt, was an ardent Nazi sympathiser. Virtually the entire Indian liberal arts and social science academic cohort in the US and Europe sympathises with variants of left-wing fascism and achieve career advancement by denouncing of all things Indian, anti-Hinduism only being the icing on the cake to attract a favourable press!

N. Ram & M.F. HusainThe likes of Wendy Doniger, M. F. Husain, her counterpart in visual pornography and most of India’s post-independence historians, are enemy combatants, in the latter case traitors serving foreign countries. One of them, who duplicitously made a virtue of refusing honours from her own government, which nevertheless funded her handsomely over a lifetime, did what can only be deemed a naked dance on being awarded an extremely well rewarded position in the US Congressional library, a veritable bastion of human rights, etc. Her ascent was aided by that Harvard Brahmo Samaj, Christian-Islamist, who masquerades as a Hindu, while inciting hatred against them and their past. The fact of the matter is that freedom of speech is usually reserved for people in positions of power, serving their political masters. Joe public, so to speak, rarely gets a look in.

The average person in the street may, in theory, have the freedom to rant and rave, but will go unheard. Freedom of speech, without the right to be actually heard is utterly meaningless. This essential condition for exercising the right of freedom of speech is of paramount importance and its possession is extremely skewed. The powerful only defend freedom of speech, although they deviously Dina Nath Batraignore the existence of social and legal boundaries to it when convenient, because they also have the means to communicate their thoughts. There is complete asymmetry between them and the hoi polloi and it can only be remedied by other means! The weak and victimised have no recourse to express their views in the Washington Post, The New York Times or indeed the treasonous English language media of India.

On this rare occasion the beleaguered Hindus went to court and prevailed. We should celebrate their magnificent victory against this particular enemy combatant. – IndiaFacts, 7 March 2014

» Dr. Gautam Sen taught international political economy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

 

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