Aircel-Maxis Scam: A classic case of corruption – Team PGurus

Aircel-MaxisP. Chidambaram

Team PGurusED has unearthed $200,000 money trail between Karti’s Chess Management Consulting Pvt Ltd and Maxis Group companies after father Chidambaram approved this dubious deal. This is a classic case of corruption. – Team PGurus

After CBI declared its probe in Aircel-Maxis, the panicky former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has come out with a pack of lies. A day after the CBI declared its detailed probe details to be furnished in Supreme Court by May 2 and Enforcement Directorate reported to the Apex court about Chidambaram’s violations and son Karti’s two lakh dollar kick back from Maxis, the former Finance Minister has come out with a vague statement.

In his statement uploaded by son Karti’s Twitter account, Chidambaram cleverly tries to put the blame on senior government officials, pretending innocence. In a nut shell, Chidambaram claimed that he just signed on the papers vetted by government officers. Here Chidambaram is telling a blatant lie.

Being a Tamilian, he should be aware of his home town company Aircel’s take over by Malaysian company Maxis. Fact of the matter is that Aircel promoter Sivasankaran is known to Chidambaram as well as the then Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran and no officer would dare to question the deal.

On December 31, 2005, all media reported that Malaysian company Maxis is going to invest Rs4700 core or 1.08 billion dollars in Aircel. The news report appeared on the same day because both companies conducted joint press conference in Mumbai to announce this big deal.

In the first week of January 2006, Maxis submitted application to Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). In the application they said in many areas that they are going to invest 800 million dollars (Rs3600 crore) in Aircel. How come value of investment reduced from announced Rs4700 crore to Rs. 3600 crore? After eight years in 2014, the CAG found that the actual value invested was Rs4700 crore, though dubious approval given by Chidambaram was for Rs3600 crore. So more than Rs1000 crore came illegally and where has it gone?

Those days in 2006, any foreign investment above Rs600 crore, the Finance Minister has to send the FIPB papers to Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs(CCEA). But Chidambaram did not. He was CCEA Chairman also those days. Then why did he not send these papers to the CCEA?

The answer is simple. In CCEA, Home Ministry would have objected to Maxis because Saudi Telecom is a partner in the Malaysian company. The Saudi Telecom is also a partner in Pakistan Telecom Company known as PTCL. To avoid objections of the Home Ministry, Chidambaram might have avoided the mandatory sending of files to CCEA.

Worse, the FIPB Order on Aircel-Maxis deal never specified the value of the deal to avoid public scrutiny. How come officers ignored this basic violation? It is certain that without Chidambaram’s directions this glaring violation would not have happened.

Enforcement Directorate has unearthed $200,000 money trail between Karti’s Chess Management Consulting Pvt Ltd and Maxis Group companies after father Chidambaram approved this dubious deal. This is a classic case of corruption.

For the past 30 months, many unscrupulous elements in Delhi have been trying to save their buddy Chidambaram from the Aircel-Maxis scam. They have been trying their best to scuttle BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s case. Hope the CBI under new Director Alok Kumar Verma has awakened from its slumber and Prime Minister’s office would give strong directions on this regard on this open and shut case. – PGurus, 6 April 2017

» Team PGurus are a group of focused individuals with expertise in at least one of the following fields viz. Journalism, Technology, Economics, Politics, Sports & Business. We are factual, accurate and unbiased.

Sonia Gandhi, Karti Chidambaram & P. Chidmbaram

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India’s honest majority look to Modi to cleanse bureaucracy – M.D. Nalapat

Corruption in the Indian bureaucracy

Prof M.D. NalapatOnly an accelerated drive against high-level official corruption may motivate citizens into enduring for months more the pain caused by the incompetence of much of the bureaucracy tasked with implementing the epochal policy unveiled by PM Modi on 8 November 2016. – Prof M. D. Nalapat

The most meaningful “majority, minority” dichotomy in India is between those citizens who are honest and those others who are dishonest, i.e. those who correctly pay the numerous taxes due and those who do not. Despite the reality that continuous additions to the colonial governance codes in India have arbitrarily criminalised swathes of activity that are legal in practically all other democracies, it would be safe to say that the “majority community” in India (i.e. those who are honest) comprise 90% of the population, leaving 10% in the “minority”. Even within that sometimes under-appreciated group, government servants, about 75% are honest and less than a quarter crooked, judging by the many this columnist has come across. Among officials, around 10% occupy posts which have the potential to make a significant difference to the situation facing the public.

It is on this 2.5% of the total of government employees that Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to most concentrate on. Corrupt officials have an outsize influence on policy. They have the ability to move up the promotion ladder much faster than the honest, who need to spend most of their time trying to make both ends meet till the next payday, rather than wooing their superiors and political heavyweights in the manifold ways that the crooked have access to. Indeed, the uninterrupted flood of repressive laws and regulations that each government unleashes on the population demonstrates the choke-hold of the upper echelons of the 2.5% of officials who are dishonest. 

Almost all such regulations are broad and vague enough to be subject to misuse, thereby becoming manna for the dishonest rather than (as pious declarations accompanying such measures invariably aver) balm for the honest. The historically outsize influence of the dishonest in the actual working of the governance system ensures that many honest citizens get penalised under such laws and regulations, usually for technical violations, even while relatively few of the big fish get caught. These latter have the means to reach out to the dishonest minority within the governance system, thereby ensuring their safety. For public consumption, there may be a prime time hullaballoo raised by the very officials who are shielding them. However, proof of official intent vests in practical outcomes. If depredators either escape or get away with a mere wrist slap (such as a small fine), it is reasonable to assume that much more than conversation was exchanged between officials and the wrongdoer. When the political executive is being served a menu of policy options, and the judiciary the chance to review them, these two pillars of the governance system need to factor in the reality of corruption within the system in weighing and discounting recommendations made by officials which may focus not on the public interest but on their own and that of other corrupt individuals.

RBI ATMThe Reserve Bank of India has believed since the time of Governor Yaga Reddy that the 1.26 billion people of India should be made to adopt the cashless ways of Sweden, despite the difference in conditions between the life of the median Swede and the median citizen of this country. It is clear from 8 November that RBI Governor Urjit Patel looks askance at those citizens with zero untaxed income who have nevertheless withdrawn substantial amounts of cash from their accounts to use towards patronising the (much-derided by Central bankers ) “informal” economy. The most trumpeted e-gateway in India for making payments is controlled by Jack Ma, who when last sighted was not an Indian citizen. Indeed, foreign rather than domestic interests have a lock on most major internet and mobile telephony entities in India. And “Indian” banks have been silently taken over by foreign entities. US shareholders dominate the big credit card gateways used in India, with Chinese shareholders in the same companies coming a close second and those with Indian citizenship nowhere on the equity horizon. Unless PM Modi manages to endow digital keys to over 600 million citizens within his term, for a considerable time to come it is more socially advantageous to put (taxed) rupees in the hands of the poor and the lower middle classes such as small shopkeepers and crafts-persons, rather than entirely through plastic controlled by multinational interests that are gaining in advantage over their domestic competitors with every passing day because of the rupee falling while interest rates and crippling regulations rise, with some rules making the word “draconian” an extreme understatement. An individual may have kept apart substantial cash (drawn from his or her bank account and shown in tax returns ) not to pay the “black” component of a future real estate purchase, but to make repairs to a temple entering the stage of dilapidation. The grim 1970s-style warnings issued by officials to taxpayers who prefer holding on to and paying with cash are making honest taxpayers, rather than the big crooks, nervous about depositing their clean “old” cash in banks despite the fact that such holdings will become waste paper after 30 December. Prime Minister Modi must protect the honest majority of citizens from crooked officials expert at using technical or imagined violations into darts designed to squeeze payments from honest taxpayers. Modi needs to ensure that the regulations being unveiled day after day on television be designed so as to protect the honest and get used on “bulk carriers” and not only small “fishing boaters” of black cash. A sniper rifle should be used in enforcement that aims at big fish rather than allow bureaucrats to wield blunderbusses spraying multiple innocents even as they incentivise the guilty to increase the bribe offer. 

India’s honest overwhelmingly cast their 2014 votes for Narendra Modi. The target of his next high-octane “surgical strike” should be the crooked among the higher rungs of the bureaucracy. Those who have defiled the noble calling of government through graft and misfeasance should be made to encounter justice rather than peacefully catch a flight together with family to London or Miami for—in more than a few cases—a very long stay. Only an accelerated drive against high-level official corruption may motivate citizens into enduring for months more the pain caused by the incompetence of much of the bureaucracy tasked with implementing the epochal policy unveiled by PM Modi on 8 November 2016. – Sunday Guardian, 26 November 2016 

Corruption in India

Julian Assange: Clinton Foundation and Islamic State are funded by the same money – DC

XHillary Clinton

Deccan ChronicleThe Clinton Foundation just recently confirmed it accepted a $1 million gift from Qatar while Hillary Clinton was US Secretary of State without informing the State Department. – Deccan Chronicle

London: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange claims that Hillary Clinton’s foundation has received generous donations from the same wealthy officials of Qatar who have also provided financial assistance to the dreaded Islamic State.

In an interview to documentary maker John Pilger for RT at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Assange said the Clinton Foundation, which was started by former US President Bill Clinton, has been receiving the money from those who also support the Islamic State.

Pilger asked Assange if “this notorious jihadist group, called ISIL or ISIS, is created largely with money from people who are giving money to the Clinton Foundation,” to which Assange said “Yes”.

Tamim bin Hamad Al ThaniAssange explained that although the US has never officially acknowledged in public the alleged support given to Islamic State by middle-east countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the e-mail exchange between Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager John Podesta, shows that they were aware of it.

In the email which was leaked last month, Clinton talks of putting pressure on the two countries over the alleged financial assistance to ISIS.

“We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region,” Clinton wrote in the mail.

The Clinton Foundation just recently confirmed it accepted a $1 million gift from Qatar while Hillary Clinton was US secretary of state without informing the State Department, even though she had promised to let the agency review new or significantly increased support from foreign governments.

Qatari officials pledged the money in 2011 to mark the 65th birthday of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton’s husband, and sought to meet the former US president in person the following year to present him the check, according to an email from a foundation official to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta. The email, among thousands hacked from Podesta’s account, was published last month by WikiLeaks. – Deccan Chronicle, 5 November 2016

• Hillary Clinton Is Saudi Arabia’s President Of Choice

• Saudi Arabia Has Funded 20% Of Hillary’s Presidential Campaign, Saudi Crown Prince Claims

A Clinton presidency will be a disaster for India – Arvind Kumar

 In this Oct. 18, 2011, file photo, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya. Clinton insists that if she pursues the presidency again, it will be different this time around. But revelations that she sidestepped the government email system as secretary of state suggest she may have a long way to go in making good on that promise. (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool, File)
Sunday GuardianA Hillary Clinton win … would bring back the hostility of the 1990s towards India that existed under the presidency of Bill Clinton. … A Hillary presidency will be an unmitigated disaster for India. – Arvind Kumar 

Every four years, during the presidential election process in the United States, a question invariably comes up, “Which candidate is better for India?”

This question is best answered if one realises that American politics has been a massive stage-managed show based on an illusion of choice, with the illusion mesmerising an entire population into believing that they choose their political leaders and vote on issues that are dear to them. In reality, the Republican Party and Democratic Party work together behind the scenes and act in tandem on important issues. Voters are asked to make the choice between these two parties only on issues that do not matter to those in power. Even in these cases, the voters are manipulated into voting along racial and religious lines so that there is an appearance of the two parties having an equal share of the vote and competing against each other. Occasionally, when it appears that a candidate who is not part of the system could win an election, those in power are not beyond using illegal means to keep out such people from succeeding.

The share of American voters, who have seen through this game, has grown in recent years, and the support for Donald Trump in the Republican Party and Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party during the 2016 primaries was the direct result of an increase in the number of voters who have gained an understanding of the system. Even though it is possible that neither candidate is actually against the existing setup, there is no denial that the support for them is from people who are opposed to the system. Among the candidates representing the two dominant parties who have made it past the primaries, Donald Trump is perceived as the candidate who is against the corrupt establishment, while Hillary Clinton is seen as part of the establishment and as the most corrupt candidate to run for President in the history of the country.

Hillary Clinton & Sonia GandhiThe fact that the Clintons have used politics to make hundreds of millions of dollars and have funnelled vast sums of money from around the world to the Clinton Foundation, has only strengthened the belief that they are extremely corrupt people who sell influence in exchange for money and power. The most famous case related to the Clinton Foundation is their effort to raise money ostensibly to help the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. However, the money was not used to help the victims, but for other purposes including investments in insurance businesses and luxury hotels. Bill and Hillary Clinton, as the UN Representative and the US Secretary of State, respectively, also controlled the flow of money from other sources into Haiti, and the contracts to rebuild the country in the aftermath of the earthquake were given either to friends and relatives like Hillary Clinton’s brother or to firms that donated money to the Clinton Foundation. It is little wonder that the moniker “Crooked Hillary” has stuck to Hillary Clinton and even her official campaign has not made any efforts to counter it. Instead, they have admitted in emails that Hillary Clinton suffers from problems related to trustworthiness among the people.

A Hillary Clinton win in the election would bring back the hostility of the 1990s towards India that existed under the presidency of Bill Clinton. India’s relationship with the US took a sudden downturn after Bill Clinton took office in 1993. For nearly a year, Clinton did not bother appointing an ambassador to India even as he went about opposing India on a number of fronts, leading to resentment in the Indian establishment. He first set about the task of disarming and weakening India by preventing access to technology and simultaneously mounted a sustained attack on the Indian economy by imposing several economic sanctions.

In 1991, Senator Joe Biden, who is now the Vice President under Barack Obama, introduced an amendment in the bill granting aid to Russia, making the aid conditional on the fact that Russia could not sell cryogenic engines for India’s space programme. The Clinton administration persisted in taking measures intended to retard the development of India’s space and technology sectors and blocked the sale of Cray supercomputers that had been approved under the Ronald Reagan administration. This was done even as the Clinton administration allowed the sale of these supercomputers to China. India was also targeted for several economic sanctions and was threatened under what was called the Super 301 clause of the American trade law.

The Clinton administration specially targeted the Indian textile and carpet industries for destruction. Throughout the 1990s, the terms “Dunkel Draft”, “Super 301”, “WTO” and “patent laws” became synonyms for the US attempting to destroy the Indian economy and led to many protests in India. In one famous episode, the Clinton administration declared Indian skirts to be flammable and banned them after an official ignited a skirt in front of television cameras.

On the security front too, the Clinton administration was consistently anti-India and pro-Pakistan. Members of the Clinton Cabinet supported terrorists in India, with Clinton’s Vice President Al Gore using the term “Khalistan” to describe Punjab. Bill Clinton’s close friend Robin Raphel was made the Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, and under her, the US State Department pursued an agenda that supported violent anti-India groups in Jammu and Kashmir, while offering F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan. The State Department also propped up the Taliban regime in Afghanistan during this period.

Hillary Clinton EmailsMore recently, when Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State, Robin Raphel was appointed to oversee a $7.5 billion aid package to Pakistan, but ended up being investigated by the FBI for spying on behalf of Pakistan and lost her security clearance. The charges against her were dropped only after Hillary Clinton herself ended up being investigated by FBI for using a private email server for classified emails. Had Robin Raphel been prosecuted, it would have been impossible for the FBI to justify dropping the charges against Hillary Clinton.

By 1996, India was justified in believing that Indo-US relations had hit the lowest point, but things took a dramatic turn for the worse during Bill Clinton’s second term in office. Warren Christopher was replaced by Madeleine Albright as the Secretary of State and she made no efforts to hide her hostility towards India and her weekly outbursts on television even bordered on racism. Even after leaving office, Albright continued her attacks on India and called for a plebiscite in Kashmir, thus justifying the actions of violent groups. Albright’s cynical action of bombing Yugoslavia and then getting her investment firm to attempt a takeover of mines in that country is an example of the abuse of power by people close to the Clintons. Albright also justified the deaths of half a million Iraqi children and claimed that the deaths were “worth it”. Recently, Albright threatened women in America and claimed that there was a special place in hell reserved for them if they did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton, during her tenure as the Secretary of State, picked up where Bill Clinton and his Cabinet members had left off and did not waste any time in pursuing anti-India activities. Within weeks of Hillary Clinton assuming office, Teesta Setalvad, an activist involved in framing Narendra Modi using false charges, was paid a handsome donation by Vikram Chatwal, whose father Sant Chatwal was at one time a trustee of the Clinton Foundation. Emails leaked by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks show that Sant Chatwal also had a role in the infamous cash-for-votes scam in which money was paid to purchase votes in the Lok Sabha. Other emails leaked by WikiLeaks show that the US government intended to fund Teesta Setalvad’s NGO and use her claims in the so-called human rights reports that could be used against India and Hindus.

Given Hillary Clinton’s background, these actions are not unexpected. Investigative reporter Jeff Sharlet has exposed the fact that Hillary Clinton is part of a secretive group in Washington DC variously known as the Fellowship, the Family, or the C Street House. This group is known to use religion to further their geopolitical agenda around the world and evangelical Christians are their main tool when it comes to interfering in other countries. The separation of East Timor from Indonesia using religious persecution as the excuse was one of their achievements under Bill Clinton, and when Atal Behari Vajpayee became the Prime Minister of India for a few days in 1996, Bill Clinton acted at the behest of this group and set up an advisory committee that would supposedly deal with religious freedom around the world.

Hillary Clinton the Christian EvangelistCuriously, this committee had members from every faith except Hinduism, and it recommended the creation of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a government agency that has used, since its inception, fictitious claims to attack Hindus and India. It was the USCIRF that was responsible for demonising Narendra Modi using false charges and recommending that he not be permitted to enter the US. According to emails leaked by WikiLeaks, Preeta Bansal, the USCIRF commissioner, who was the main person responsible for this action, has also pressured Vietnam into accepting proselytism by American missionaries and is close to people in the Hillary Clinton campaign.

It is not just the past record, but the future too portends a disastrous era for Indo-US relations should Hillary Clinton end up becoming the President of the United States. There is already talk of Joe Biden being tapped by Hillary Clinton for the position of the Secretary of State. Biden would definitely pursue his agenda of thwarting the development of India’s space programme and other technological advancements. Even more worrisome is the fact that Hillary Clinton’s closest confidante is Huma Abedin who is of Pakistani descent and whose family has links to radical Islamist elements in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Abedin could end up playing an important role in determining American foreign policy.

Another point against Hillary Clinton is that the war hawk Henry Kissinger has come out in support of her and has praised her stint as Secretary of State. Kissinger’s hostility towards India is no state secret, as many of his racist, anti-India statements have been recorded on tape.

It is in the light of this background that many Indian-Americans have opposed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton and have come out in support of Donald Trump. In contrast to the policies of the Clintons, Trump has promised to make India the best friend of the US and has stated that he looks forward to working with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Trump has also reached out to Hindus in US. While there is always a risk of the unknown and it is not clear if Trump can succeed in cleaning up the system even if he intends to do so, a Hillary presidency will certainly be an unmitigated disaster for India.

Despite these facts, some Indian-Americans support Hillary Clinton, but their support is not based on sound analysis but on flawed information fed to them by the media. Most such supporters are highly qualified when it comes to educational degrees, but fall under the category of what is known in American parlance as “low information voters”. Most educated Indian-Americans typically demonstrate very little interest in politics and have almost never been part of even informal political discussions. America has made many things accessible to most people and politics is no exception. Usually, the process of making things accessible to a large number of people has involved dumbing down the system and controlling the behaviour of people.

Indian Americans for Donald TrumpJust as education has been dumbed down in US in order to make it easy for everyone to be part of the school system, politics too has been dumbed down and simplified so that even the most ignorant voter can have a sense of making a choice and being politically empowered. The educated class among Indian-Americans are especially suited to this model as they have no inclination towards politics but have been conditioned to refer to books as the source of their knowledge. They have thus internalised the idea of treating the printed word and assertions they hear from “authoritative sources” as the ultimate truth. They are told through television channels and newspapers that politics consists of exactly two groups, with one group consisting of heroes and the other group consisting of villains, a simplification that they readily embrace. They even use labels like “progressive”, “liberal” and “conservative” to describe themselves, even though they do not really comprehend the meaning of these terms and do not realise that these labels are handed out by politicians. In contrast, many supporters of Donald Trump discuss political issues and seem aware of the situation.

In order for India to build a constructive relationship with US, it requires people in both countries to have good intentions. It is clear that India cannot have a good relationship with the US if Hillary Clinton is at the helm of affairs. On the other hand, Donald Trump has articulated the right intent and his tenure holds promise for India. – Sunday Guardian, 30 October 2016

» Arvind Kumar is a political analyst based in New York.

Republican Hindu Coalition Chairman Shalli Kumar (2nd R) helps Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (2nd L) light a ceremonial diya lamp before he speaks at a Bollywood-themed charity concert put on by the Republican Hindu Coalition in Edison, New Jersey, U.S. October 15, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The bribe-takers – M. D. Nalapat

Prof M.D. NalapatNarendra Modi has followed the same example he set in Gujarat, of not making changes in the composition of officials inherited from the previous regime. While overall this is a good idea, yet an exception needs to be made in the case of that small number of officials who were accomplices to corrupt ministers and politicians. Such individuals need to be investigated, and it needs to be ensured that they be removed from sensitive positions that are susceptible to misuse. – Prof M. D. Nalapat

Whether a politician is amassing wealth or not can often be gauged by the lifestyles of his or her family members. For those with access to the internet, it is no secret that this columnist is not an admirer of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, although he retains an open mind on her son and heir, Rahul Gandhi. The reason for the negativity is twofold: several of the closest political associates of the lady who dominated politics in India till the emergence of Narendra Modi to the centre stage of national politics in 2013 are individuals who may reasonably be termed as “fixers” and “dealers”. Their families have, without exception, progressed at speed up the income ladder, with expensive cars and luxurious residences replacing more modest transport and accommodation. Even in their income tax returns, they have shown incredible skill in increasing their net wealth, often setting up businesses that make huge profits. To cite a particular instance, a minister who was very powerful by being a confidante of the Congress Party leader has an offspring who has made money in incredible amounts.

Sonia GandhiIn the case of Sonia Gandhi, her two sisters live in luxury despite considerable ambiguity about their occupations. India’s incurious media has not regarded it as important to report on the lives and lifestyles of not only Sonia Gandhi’s sisters but the children and other relatives of others who are or were hyper-powerful. For example, it is unknown in India that an individual placed at the core of the security apparatus by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had as foreign citizens his wife and all his children. In the US, there are clear lines drawn between “No Forn” documents and briefings that are off limits to foreign nationals, and others that are allowed to be accessed by foreign nationals.

In the case of India, several key officials have progressed in their careers despite their close family members exchanging their Indian passports for that of a foreign country. Indeed, such a fact is regarded as too trivial to document. Another fact seen as outside the ambit of government is educating children in foreign countries, with few superiors curious about how an officer can educate his or her children abroad at a cost much above his or her salary.

Usually, some unknown institution steps up with a scholarship to the offspring of a senior official, and shuts down soon after the education of the lucky youngster concludes. And of course there is the fact that several international financial companies—who make fortunes out of insider information—hire the children of top decision-makers. Interestingly, the head of the Reserve Bank of India retains his lien on the University of Chicago job he temporarily took leave of to become the czar of monetary policy in India, as well as the option to become a US citizen at will. Similar is the case with the head of the erstwhile Planning Commission ( now renamed Nit Aayog) and the Economic Advisor to the Finance Ministry, each of whom appear to regard their current jobs as stopgap employment before returning to the US, a prospect they are reported to discuss with friends off and on. In the two years that he has devoted to his current job, Narendra Modi has followed the same example he set in Gujarat, of not making changes in the composition of officials inherited from the previous regime. While overall this is a good idea, yet an exception needs to be made in the case of that small number of officials who were accomplices to corrupt ministers and politicians. Such individuals need to be investigated, and it needs to be ensured that they be removed from sensitive positions that are susceptible to misuse. Such a spring cleaning has yet to take place.

AgustaWestland HelicopterHence, although corruption in Delhi has been dramatically reduced since Modi took over, the pace of investigation and accountability has been glacial in its pace. A few [weeks] ago, a higher court in Italy convicted some individuals of having paid bribes to Indians to purchase some helicopters for the Air Force in its VIP squadron. It would have been a simple matter to track the money flow from Europe to Mauritius to India, but this was apparently not done even after the new government took charge. Contrary to the charges being made by some that such inaction shows the “complicity” of the Modi government in such scams, the fact is that it reveals the opposite.

The Prime Minister has left the bureaucracy alone, and has ensured that his ministers follow the same discipline (of refusing to intervene). However, such a rule needs exceptions, especially in the case of those instances which involve corruption of a level of tens of millions of dollars. In the case of the helicopter deal, several senior officials were involved, and some are still in very high positions. These have clearly used their influence to ensure that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) slept at the wheel. Although two years have gone by since the BJP government took charge, neither the CBI nor the ED have bothered to uncover the money trail. So the public in India is witness to the shameful spectacle of an Italian court convicting Italian bribe-givers, but Indian agencies inactive against the Indian bribe-takers, many of whom have influential friends across the political spectrum.

The Italian court relied on 181 boxes of evidence about the bribes paid by AgustaWestland, the helicopter company, but thus far, no agency from India has shown any interest in examining the data revealed there, even though they relate to bribes paid in India to Indian citizens. Neither has any anti-corruption agency Narendra Modiin India sought to assist the Italian court with evidence that was relevant to the case, despite the desirability of doing so. Prime Minister Modi will need to revise his Hands Off policy towards the bureaucracy, for in some departments, freedom from political influence is leading to greater misuse of authority. The system of democracy mandates control by elected politicians over unelected officials, and the Prime Minister and his ministers need to exercise that control rather than refrain from it. Of course, concurrently there needs to be much greater transparency in government, so that online tracking takes place of decisions such that laggards get identified.

As also much more accountability. For a start, Modi needs to identify and punish each of those [politicians, officials and military] guilty in the AgustaWestland helicopter scandal, no matter how high the post held or which party the wrongdoer belongs to. Unless he does so, from now onwards, politically it will all be downhill for the BJP. – Pakistan Observer, 6 May 2016

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

What is preventing Modi Sarkar from acting against the Chidambarams? – Team PerformanceGurus

Nalini Chidambaram & P. Chidambaram

Team PerformanceGurus Logo“It is a known fact that a coterie including Chidambaram worked overtime against Modi and BJP President Amit Shah to fix them in Gujarat related encounter cases. Then why show leniency to Chidambaram when in power? What compulsions are preventing the Modi Government from letting the law do its job?” – Team PerformanceGurus

Nartendra ModiAs the Narendra Modi government completes two years, it is a million dollar question as to why the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) are not acting against the Chidambaram family. Violations and illegalities committed by Chidambaram are clearly mentioned in the CBI’s chargesheet in Aircel Maxis scam. In the charge sheet submitted before the 2G Court in August 2014, CBI had emphatically said that the probes against Chidambaram will be finished soon and CBI counsel on record informed the court that they will soon file a Supplementary Charge Sheet on this regard also. On BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s petition, the Supreme Court in October 2014, directed CBI to submit the progress report on the probe. Yet there is no action.

The Apex Court’s direction led to summoning of the former minister by CBI on December 6, 2014. But what happened later was that the officer, Joint Director Ashok Tewari who summoned Chidambaram was unceremoniously shunted out from the organisation. He is now working as Chairman and Managing Director of State Road Transport Corporation in Himachal Pradesh.

Who is protecting Chidambaram? It is a known fact that Chidambaram and current Finance Minister Arun Jaitley are good friends for the past 26 years. This was revealed by none other than Chidambaram, when Jaitley cornered him 2012 in Rajya Sabha during the heated debate on Aircel-Maxis scam. It is an admitted fact that both were buddies in the law profession and may have helped each other out. But then the question is why CBI under Prime Minister Narendra Modi tolerates such connections? It is alleged that in the current Finance Ministry, majority of the top bureaucrats are Chidambaram friendly officers and ED is totally under the Ministry.

Rajeshwar SinghKarti P. Chidambaram, ED’s Investigating Officer of 2G and Aircel-Maxis scam was shunted out from the organisation during Chidambaram’s tenure in Finance Ministry. On Swamy’s petition in April 2014, Supreme Court had ordered to reinstate him. But it was intriguing that the Finance Ministry which came under Jaitley in mid May 2014, did not obey that order. After Swamy’s fight, the Supreme Court in September 2014 gave stern warning to the Ministry to post him back in ED and ordered that the officer should not be transferred till the end of the trial. During the arguments the then Revenue Department under Revenue Secretary Shakti Kanta Das even allegedly lied in court that the officer’s services were not needed as ED had completed its probe in Aircel-Maxis scam. Shakti Kanta Das is said to be a known Chidambaram protégé.

There are still Chidambaram compliant officers in CBI too. Once in a tweet, Swamy accused CBI Director Anil Sinha as “Chidambaram compliant” officer. It is a fact that the same officers’ lobby works in CBI which gave a clean chit to Chidambaram in 2G cases, while fixing all the blame on Telecom Minister A. Raja.

Apart from Aircel-Maxis scam, CBI has not acted against Chidambaram in the Swan-Etisalat approval deal. This comes under 2G case streams and ED had already registered ₹10,000 crore ($1.5 billion) fine slapping notice under FEMA. If FEMA is slapped on a dubious deal, then why is the CBI not imposing Prevention of Corruption of Act against Chidambaram, for approving this questionable deal? Rajeshwar Singh slapped FEMA violations on this deal in 2011 and invited the former Finance Minister’s wrath.

It must be remembered that all these unholy nexus dare to operate when the cases are monitored by Supreme Court. At last the ED and Income Tax conducted raids at Karti Chidambaram linked companies in December 2015.  The Pioneer had reported the details of the raid and massive wealth amassed by these companies in 14 countries—UK, Dubai, South Africa, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, British Virgin Island, France, USA, Switzerland, Greece and Spain.

All the wealth acquired by Karti linked companies was during the period when father Chidambaram was Finance and Home Minister during 2004 – 2014. The accumulation of such huge wealth is a clear case of launching Disproportionate Assets case against the Chidambaram family for misuse of power. The wealth in these 14 countries would easily cross the value of ₹3000 crore ($451 million). According to the affidavits of Chidambaram and his wife Nalini Chidambaram both are having assets of ₹11 crore ($1.65 million) and ₹12 crore ($1.8 million) respectively. This was according to the mandatory affidavit filed by Chidambaram to Prime Minister in 2012. According to the affidavit filed before Election Commission by Karti in April 2014 is that his total assets come to around ₹60 crore($9 million). When this became an issue in Parliament, Jaitley claimed that the government would go deep into the probe and fix the culprit. Now 45 days have passed after Jaitley’s assurance to the Parliament. In Indian Parliament such assurances were made by ministers in the past also and nothing happened on the ground.

Nalini ChidambaramChidambaram’s wife Nalini Chidambaram was also not new to controversies. Her name was dragged in Saradha Scam and Hasan Ali related money laundering cases. The TV channel owner Manoranjana Singh, who was associated with Nalini in Saradha Scam is facing the music now. She is in jail and chargesheeted. The scamster Chit Fund owner Sudipto Sen had clearly written in his confession letter about how around ₹40 crores ($6 million) were siphoned by Nalini and Manoranjana. Both CBI and ED had questioned Nalini. But yet no action!

In June 2015, Sunday Guardian had exposed the money trails of Nalini with Hasan Ali’s associate Kashinath Tapuria. Nalini’s air tickets were funded by Tapuria in 2009 and 2010 in as many as 16 trips. Chidambaram was the Home Minister then. Is it ethical for a Home Minister’s wife to give legal advice to the biggest money launderer? At the very least ED and CBI should ask this question. These air tickets were found by ED and IT during raids. How small officers can act against Nalini is a different question.

Apart from all these cases, the controversial purchase of more than 40 aircraft for Air India was approved by Chidambaram. He also approved the resale of some of these new airplanes at throwaway prices to Etihad. Till date CBI has not moved an inch on this deal.

It is really intriguing as to why the Modi government is not taking action against their sworn rival Chidambaram. It is a known fact that a coterie including Chidambaram worked overtime against Modi and BJP President Amit Shah to fix them in Gujarat related encounter cases. Then why show leniency to Chidambaram when in power? What compulsions are preventing the Modi Government from letting the law do its job? Are there Trojan horses in Modi government protecting the Chidambaram family? The nation wants to know! – PerformanceGurus, 13 April 2016

» Team PerformanceGurus: We are a team of focused individuals with expertise in at least one of the following fields viz. Journalism, Technology, Economics, Politics, Sports & Business. We are factual, accurate and unbiased.

Arun Jaitley & P. Chidambaram

Has the media missed the AgustaWestland chopper rip-off? – T. S. V. Hari

AgustaWestland 101 VVIP Helicopter

T. S. V. HariThe Westland human waste hits the fan!

In a nutshell is a huge scandal built on utter meaninglessness with one motive – stealing from the people of India. If someone as simple as the poor old author of this blog can suss this out, everyone else in the government and the highly paid media surely have. – T.S.V. Hari

All members of India’s “highly paid members of the investigative media,” without any exception, have either missed the obvious part of the AgustaWestland choppergate or deserve to be given Oscar awards for wonderful acting before the idiot box cameras and/or are bloody fools who cannot see beyond their silly noses.

India that is Bharat has lost Rs. 1000 crores already in the shameful AgustaWestland deal.

This icludes bribes amounting to € 24.3 million [Rs. 187 crores], that allegedly changed hands — and such included those of the scribe-tribe too. This splurge was for buying virtually a dozen pieces of high-priced, completely useless AW101 VVIP helicopters.

Why did an Italian company pay such a huge bribe?

Reasons:

The deal is worth Rs. 3,900 crores for 12 choppers at today’s prices.

a. The simple arithmetic: Rs. 325 crores [US$50 million] is the price for a single AW101 helicopter meant to ferry top most VVIPs of India.

b. The capacity of such persons’ retinue, at best, could be 12. AW101 is capable of carrying up to 45 standing combat troops, 16 stretchers and allied cargo pallets during military missions. It is operated by a pilot, an observer, and a crewman/operator.

The obvious implication is that Orsi had unbelievably jacked up the price.

Indicative inferences:

An Italian court sentenced the former head of Finmeccanica, Giuseppe Orsi, to two years in prison for false bookkeeping.

Finmeccanica ex-boss Giuseppe Orsi was convicted in 2014 for alleged tax-evasion, said Richard L Cassin in the FCPA Blog.

Compare it with the price of a 737-ER Boeing series today.

The price range starts from $51.5 million which can carry up to 140 passengers comfortably seated. And one can bargain because of the ongoing global recession.

Bottom-lines:

Of the Rs.1000 crores lost by India, Rs.187 crores have disappeared into several decision-makers’ pockets as bribes during UPA I & II.

Such choppers are available in the international market for as low as Rs. 20 crores each. Roughly, that is the price – inclusive of profits – that Finmeccanica ought to have been paid.

In other words, India ought to have paid only Rs. 240 crores!

Instead, the taxpayers of India have shelled out Rs. 1000 crores – that may never return.

Finmeccanica has recovered its cost, made a profit and probably, its bosses are laughing at India!

No wonder the firm paid such bribes!

Back home, in India that is Bharat, the buck-passing obfuscation is going merrily.

The bribe-takers in India are obfuscating the issue by citing asinine details that have no bearing on the matter.

One of them is the height, crows a media report.

In August 1999, IAF felt the need for the replacement of Mi-8 VIP helicopters as they were completing their total technical life. Also, they were unable to operate safely at night and in places with elevation beyond 2000 meters. IAF made a strong plea for a high altitude flying helicopter for areas like Siachen and the Tiger Hill. The key requirement for the helicopter was how high it could fly. Agusta Westland’s A-101 failed to make the list after flight evaluation.

The CBI says former air chief Tyagi’s letter dated March 8, 2005 gave approval to a flying height of 15000 feet for the Westland helicopters. Until then, the air force had been insisting that the helicopters should be able to fly at 18000 feet.

On March 14, 2013, a report in NDTV had stated thus:

The FIR quotes two letters from the air force in January 2004 and November 2004 to the Prime Minister’s Office and the defence ministry.

This is contrary to earlier reports suggesting that Brajesh Mishra, national security advisor in the BJP-led NDA government, had asked for changes in the altitude requirements so that a single vendor situation wouldn’t arise. However, the only other contender was Eurocopter, which met all the specifications but was rejected by the Special Protection Group, which looks after the security of VVIPs like the Prime Minister.

So, why are these utterly meaningless exercises at this stage?

The top VVIPs of India are the President and the Prime Minister.

The only Prime Minister to visit high altitude forward areas is Narendra Damodardas Modi – who spent the Diwali Day with soldiers in Kargil in 2014. The place’s elevation: 2,676 m (8,780 ft)!

Rarely do heads of state visit mountain passes over 12,000 feet above mean sea level [MSL].

Are there helipads in Rashtrapathi Bhavan and/or 7 RCR – the official residences of the top VVIPs of India that is Bharat?

The answer is NO!

So, does India that is Bharat, whose 60% is facing drought and 10% facing floods, whose 30% population is below the poverty-line and whose most airports are ill-equipped to handle traffic when compared with Singapore or London, need these high-priced machines?

The answer surely is NO!

The empirically ironical data:

The people of India have lost Rs. 1000 crores in the deal.

Of this Rs. 187 crores have disappeared into the pockets as bribes.

The bribe-givers have been arrested in Italy.

The bribe-takers in India are obfuscating the issue by citing asinine details that have no bearing on the matter.

The top 13 passes within the land area of the Indian Union where choppers can arguably land are:

  1. The Dungri la or Mana Pass is the high altitude mountain pass and the highest motorable road with an elevation of 5,608 m (18,399 feet) linking India and Tibet.
  2. The great Khardung La pass is located near the Leh in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir at an elevation of 5,602 m (18,380 feet).
  3. The Borasu Pass connects Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh states at an elevation of 5,450 m (17,881 feet). It is located near the Chinese border.
  4. The Chang La pass of Ladakh is at an altitude of 5,360 m (17,590 feet) located on the route to Pangong Lake from Leh.
  5. The Debsa Pass [5,360-metre/17,590 feet] in the Himalayas and connects the Kullu and Spiti valley of Himachal Pradesh.
  6. The Lipulekh pass connects the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand to Purang in Tibet at elevation of 5,334 m (17,500 feet).
  7. The Karakoram Pass is situated at an elevation of 4,693 m (15,397 feet) between India and China in the Karakoram Range.
  8. The Rupin Pass located at an elevation of 4650 m (15,250 feet) in the great Himalayan ranges. It consists of deep dark valleys, icy slopes and snow fields. It is mostly uninhabited.
  9. The major Nathu La pass connects Sikkim to Tibet region at an altitude of 4,310 m (14,140 feet) in the Himalayas mountain ranges.
  10. Jelep La Pass is situated in the East Sikkim District at an elevation of 4,270 m (14,009 feet).
  11. The frozen Sela Pass is situated at an elevation of 4,170 m (13,680 feet) in Tawang District of Arunachal Pradesh.
  12. Rohtang Pass connects Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys at an altitude of 3,978 m (13,051 feet) on Manali-Leh Highway. Rohtang Pass open from May to November only and rest of time it is very difficult to cross due to snowstorms and avalanches.
  13. The Chanshal Pass in Himachal Pradesh is at an elevation of 4,520 m (14,830 feet).

Indian Prime Ministers rarely do such visits. Even if they do, the existing choppers are enough as all of them can go up to the maximum height to which the PM or President need to reach, which is below 9,000 feet above MSL.

In a nutshell is a huge scandal built on utter meaninglessness with one motive – stealing from the people of India. If someone as simple as the poor old author of this blog can suss this out, everyone else in the government and the highly paid media surely have.

The opening gambit of this article once again:

All members of India’s “highly paid members of the investigative media,” without any exception, have either missed the obvious part of the AgustaWestland choppergate or deserve to be given Oscar awards for wonderful acting before the idiot box cameras and/or are bloody fools who cannot see beyond their silly noses.Incubation, 1 May 2016

» T.S.V. Hari is an independent senior journalist in Mumbai who blogs at Incubation.

Christian Michel, the British ‘consultant’ who allegedly played a vital role in fixing the VVIP chopper deal for AgustaWestland, is alleged to have told officials of the company to “target” the closest advisers of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to win the contract.

Christian Michel, the British ‘consultant’ who allegedly played a vital role in fixing the VVIP chopper deal for AgustaWestland, is alleged to have told officials of the company to “target” the closest advisers of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to win the contract. 
Sonia Gandhi

See also