Team Anna’s funds and funders: An analysis – Krishen Kak

Krishen KakIs it coincidence that, for example, so much money has been given to the Kejriwala NGOs when the Kejriwalas are openly and rabidly anti-democratic? Is it coincidence that the Ford Foundation’s own country, for all its pro-democracy propaganda, has a history of propping up dictators all over the world? Has the Ford Foundation no agenda behind the money it doles out? It has given millions of rupees to Kejriwala NGOs. Do you seriously believe it expects nothing in return from them?” – Krishen Kak

Anna Hazare on fast at Ramlila Maidan.The Ramlila ground that had been spruced up at public cost for a private groups public tamasha, has now been cleaned up again at public cost. However, during the tamasha, while its principal nayak ostensibly fasted, his followers feasted – and questions were and are and continue to be asked about where the money came from, not just for the food and the festivity during the tamasha, but for all the expense to organize it and keep this going.

Inside the historic Maidan, the agitators had their appetite for agitation whetted by loads of puree-sabzi, chole-chawal, kadhi-chawal, cartons of biscuits, truck-loads of bananas, crates of water, soft drinks and nimbu pani. The Ramlila Maidan Bandara!In my two decade long career as reporter, I have not seen such felicitation for the delegates to any public rally of any political party. We repeatedly raised the question of funding of political rallies, I hope we all gather the courage to audit the expenditure incurred on the jamboree recently witnessed at Ramlila Maidan.

When I talk of audit, I just do not mean just auditing the well-kept account books of the organisations run by members of Team Anna, but those organisations which put up the public kitchens etc. It should be explained how come in a nation where crores fail to get two square meals a day, so much money was spent on food to keep an agitation going. Make public the names of these organisations and the names of the people behind them and vouch that the money spent by them was all clean, free of any taint.”[1]

Arvind Kumar Kejriwal“Well-kept account books”?

Earlier analyses established that the accounts for the Arvind Kejriwal-promoted IAC/PCRF omitted much more than they declared – and this from someone who not only has an income-tax background and who still has an intimate connection to the sarkari income-tax service, but who crusades for transparency and accountability in government. Indeed, his PCRF’s accounts that showed nothing after 31/3/09 continued that way till at least 29/8/11.[2]

Would Anna Hazare allow to public servants hauled up before his Jokepal the same excuse of “a mistake” he expects the public to accept for the corruption and illegalities exposed in his own NGOs?

Would Kejriwal allow to public servants hauled up before his Jokepal the same excuse of “oversight” he trotted out for the opacity of the accounts of his own NGOs?

Kiran Bedi fancies the ghunghat as a dramatic prop. Like the ghunghat that coyly conceals, the Kejriwal and Bedi and(Medha) Patkar NGOs hide more than they show. And the earlier analyses showed the interesting connections to foreign and foreign-funded organizations of the Bedi, Patkar and (Prashant) Bhushan NGOs. This essay updates that with the Kejriwal NGOs.[3]

Arundhati RoyKejriwal accuses Indian policy of being dictated to by the World Bank. Arundhati Roy accuses the Kejriwalas of being led by a World Bank agenda, and funded by the Ford Foundation. And that brings us to the foreign hand at which the ruling party officially pointed.

Yes, indisputably there is a foreign hand. The experience of West-funded NGOs instigating so-called Flower/Coloured revolutions is too recent to ignore, especially in the destabilization and break-up of the Soviet Union. The Vigil book gives irrefutable data of Western money flowing into India to promote and support the anti-nation industry of many well-known “civil society activists,” including the ones Dr. N.S. Rajaram calls the “Sonia Gandhians”.

[This has been updated on http://www.vijayvaani.com/ and http://www.vigilonline.com/]

Our Western donor du jour, courtesy Arundhati Roy, is the US-based Ford Foundation (FF).[4] So, let us look at the Ford Foundation’s kripa in India.

Click on http://is.gd/xib9rF. It opens onto http://www.fordfoundation.org/grants/search. Open “Regions” and select “India, Nepal and Sri Lanka”. Continue down (below “Regions”) and tick “Include Non-Initiative Grants”. You’ll get a list of 320 grantees.

Even a cursory look will impress with the rivers of money that the Ford Foundation is pouring into the organizations it favours in our country.

Ford Foundation: The CIA's social and cultural front organisation.

I’ve picked just a few grantees, mainly connected in some way or other with this so-called “civil society war against corruption” and primarily from the FF-funded initiative in “Promoting Transparent, Effective and Accountable Government” and “Strengthening Civil Society”. There are some others too but, really, the entire list merits study, especially the FF interest in tribal communities and areas (where, as it happens, there is a powerful Christian conversion apparatus at work).[5]

1. AMAN Public Charitable Trust $450,000 (2008, 2010) (The same mentioned in Appendix 11 of the Vigil book; it gets influential Indian and foreign support – http://www.amanpanchayat.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=27&Itemid=374).

2. Centre for Budget Governance and Accountability $650,000 (2007, 2010) (Governing Board includes Sandeep Dikshit, MP, who was active in the negotiations to get Hazare back to the dining table – http://www.cbgaindia.org/about_board.php).

3. Centre for Communication and Development Studies $480,000 (2007, 2010) (Headed by John Samuel, with links to National Centre for Advocacy Studies. He has helped to establish more than 10 organisations and networks at the national and international level, including the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability above, Social Watch India, Asia Media Forum and CCDS – http://www.ccds.in/team.htm . He has links to IAC founder-member Devinder Sharma, Binu Thomas formerly of ActionAid, and Kalpana Sharma of The Hindu – http://infochangeindia.org/about-us.html).

4. Centre for Policy Research (CPR) $687,100 (2008, 2009, 2010) (A strong presence of former bureaucrats; president is Prof. Pratap Bhanu Mehta http://www.cprindia.org/page/governing-body).

5. Centre for Study of Society and Secularism $301,000 (2007, 2009) (Headed by Asghar Ali Engineer; other secular worthies include Ram Puniyani, who features in http://www.vigilonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=956&Itemid=1&limit=1&limitstart=10 and is linked to Harsh Mander’s ANHAD – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ram_Puniyani, and Admiral Ramdas who features prominently in the Vigil book – http://www.csss-isla.com/governingbody.htmCSSS’ listed donors are mainly American, German, Dutch – and the notorious ActionAid – http://www.csss-isla.com/ourdonors.htm).

6. Centre for the Study of Developing Societies $599,000 (2008) (Its “faculty” includes Ashish Nandy, Madhu Kishwar, Yogendra Yadav – http://www.csds.in/faculty.htm, and it sponsored a very controversial seminar on J&K at the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, New Delhi).

8. Dalit Foundation (DF) $3,510,000 (2007, 2008)

9. Christian Dalit Liberation Movement $400,000 (2008, 2010)

10. Indian Institute of Dalit Studies $450,000 (2007, 2010). (Note that Udit Raj, national chairman, All-India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations, called “the ongoing protest against corruption by Anna Hazare unconstitutional … and a Bahujan Lokpal Bill would soon be presented to the Parliament’s Standing Committee, which will be representative of Dalits, Muslims and other minority communities” – “’Save reservation’ rally”, The Hindu, Delhi, Aug 24, 2011, p.3; http://theindianawaaz.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3618&catid=12&Itemid=63http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/article2391133.ece. Already there are strong demands for caste- and religion-based reservations in the Lokpal system – http://www.dailypioneer.com/city/3083-sharad-yadav-paswan-spar-over-anna-stir.html).

11. Council for Social Development $300,000 (2007) (Headed by former Foreign Secretary Muchkund Dubey; includes R.K. Pachauri, Amit Bhaduri and has influential links to government and government NGOs – http://www.csdindia.org/our-people/management/general-body-gb).

12. Jagori Rural $100,000 (2008) (Kamla Bhasin is a founder and also a trustee of Harsh Mander’s ANHAD. Jagori’s Executive Committee includes Martin Macwan who features in the Vigil book – http://jagori.org/about-jagori/our-team/http://www.anhadin.net/article1.html).

13. Jamia Millia Islamia $150,000 (2009)

14. Jawaharlal Nehru University $400,000 (2010)

15. Kabir $397,000 (2008, 2011) (Has Manish Sisodia as founding-member – http://www.kabir.org.in/indexx.htmand Kejriwal in its Governing Body – http://www.kabir.org.in/indexx.htm. Has received crores from foreign agencies – http://beyondheadlines.in/2011/08/it%E2%80%99s-official-%E2%80%93-us-based-ford-foundation-funding-anna%E2%80%99s-movement ).

16. National Centre for Advocacy Studies $435,000 (2008, 2011)  (http://www.ncasindia.org/ doesn’t tell you who founded it – John Samuel? – and who heads it, but its “partners” include the Aman Trust (above), the Centre for Social Justice whose trustees include Upendra Baxi, Vijay Parmar of Janvikas (also a Ford Foundation grantee – $200,000 in 2007), Syeda Hameed of the Planning Commission, and retired high court judge RA Mehta – http://www.centreforsocialjustice.net/board.html).

17. National Foundation for India $2,500,000 (2007) (This features in Appendix 11 of the Vigil book; its trustees in 2006 included N Ram of The Hindu, Syeda Hameed, Mallika Sarabhai, an FF representative – and Mr. Manmohan Singh! It records that “The Ford Foundation provided pioneering support to set up NFI as an independent Indian Foundation to promote civil society action and public deliberation for social change.” – http://www.nfi.org.in/index.php/about-nfi. Its website includes Ratan Tata and S.P. Godrej amongst its former trustees and there is no longer specific mention of an FF representative – http://www.nfi.org.in/index.php/trustees . Its current trustees include Nirmala Lakshman of The Hindu, former bureaucrat Probir Sen who was also managing director of Air India, Mihir Shah of the Planning Commission, and Ramchandra Guha – http://www.nfi.org.in/index.php/trustees/current ).

18. National Social Watch $200,000 (2010) (http://socialwatchindia.net/about-us/ about-us is flowery prose but no names).

19. OXFAM India $200,000 (2010) (Features in Appendix 11 of the Vigil book; receives huge amounts from the British government as a tool of British foreign policy in India).

20. People’s Education and Rights Trust (PERT) $250,000 (2009) (http://pertindia.org/ ; primary supporter is a Christian “international development agency” called Signpost International http://www.signpost-international.org/cms/frontend/viewpage.php?id=58 ).

21. Sabrang Trust $250,000 (2009) (A Teesta Setalvad enterprise. Google “Sabrang Trust” – you get Sabrang Communications which calls itself Trust at http://www.sabrang.com/museum.htm but then is a private limited company at the same website at http://www.sabrang.com/aboutus.htm. The Trust is claimed to have been founded in 1933 – http://www.sabrang.com/auction/pdf/pg%201%20to%2013.pdf.

The private limited company is also claimed to have been founded in 1933 – http://www.karmayog.org/nonprofits/nposubcatdisplay.asp?r=219&catid=35&loc=mumbai&PageNo=28 which also makes the Trust c/o Sabrang Communications & Publishing Pvt. Ltd.

There’s also http://www.sabrang.com/ which, in its “About Us”, says nothing about a Trust. Setalvad does this kind of one organization fronting for another with her CJP too – http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=305; so does Harsh Mander in fundraising for the US-based Indian Muslim Relief Committee/Indian Muslim Relief and Charities – Appendix 11 of the Vigil book).

22. Society for Participatory Research in Asia $400,000 (2007, 2010) (Headed by Rajesh Tandon who features in Appendix 11 of the Vigil book. Its Governing Board includes Lalita Ramdas and Bibek Debroy – http://pria.org/en/mi-about-pria/4-a-governing-board; has extensive and very influential foreign support – http://www.pria.org/en/c-strategic-partners).

23. South Asia Centre for Policy Studies $153,603 (2010) (Lists partners that include CPR above – http://www.saceps.org/content.php?function=partner_institution; its executive committee includes Muchkund Dubey as co-chair – http://www.saceps.org/content.php?function=executive_committeeAmartya Sen and Gowher Rizvi (former FF head in India) are international advisors – http://www.saceps.org/content.php?function=international_advisors).

And this is just a sample. And this is just one foreign donor.

George & JesusNote the interconnections. It is a hunter’s net cast over our nation. Are we to believe it is out of blessed altruism that all these fortunes from abroad are being poured into Kejriwala and associated coffers? Are we to be so naïve as to forget about the realpolitik of Western foreign policy?

To take just this Ford Foundation, is it sheer coincidence that it gives such vast amounts in tribal areas where there is powerful Christian evangelism? Have we already forgotten the missionary-colonial policy of divide-and-rule to which we were subject? Never heard of the US government-supported Joshua Project?[6]

Ford Foundation LogoIs it coincidence that, for example, so much money has been given to the Kejriwala NGOs when the Kejriwalas are openly and rabidly anti-democratic?[7] Is it coincidence that the Ford Foundation’s own country, for all its pro-democracy propaganda, has a history of propping up dictators all over the world? Has the Ford Foundation no agenda behind the money it doles out? It has given millions of rupees to Kejriwala NGOs. Do you seriously believe it expects nothing in return from them?[8]

Recall the saying: “He who pays the piper calls the tune”. Missionary-neocolonial foreign agencies pay and the Kejriwalas and Sonia Gandhians sing (and dance) to the foreign tune.

This tune is called the destabilizing and break-up of our nation.

Recall the insistence of the Kejriwalas on giving foreigners a veto power in the selection of our country’s Lokpal. That their Jan Lokpal be called the Jan Fordpal is therefore a comment not far off the mark![9] 

Vinod RaiCaveat – certainly corruption must be battled. But, if we believe in democracy, then it must be fought by strengthening the institutions of our democracy, not undermining them. “There are three very public figures who are fighting corruption at three different levels and in three different ways. One does it as head of the administration he heads. The second does it by arousing mass awareness against (particularly, black money) corruption [janajagruti – till regrettably he over-reached himself]. The third does it by using the judicial route to enforce the anti-corruption law. All three are doing it from within a parliamentary democracy – and doing it effectively. I support that initiative” – my post dt. 23/4/11 at  http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=1743.

Arun DasTailpiece

♦ For all his many, much-touted virtues, Anna Hazare (and Team Anna) had little time and compassion for those who took the threatened fast-unto-death seriously. In village Janapanka, Patna, a young and emotional Arun Das died fasting on 24 August. Team Anna expressed no regret. He hailed from Kamira village, district Boudh, Odisha. Worse, as youthful enthusiasts following the Anna fast noted, no formal notice was taken of his death and the report quickly vanished from the IAC update, though the IAC page on Facebook and @Janlokpal on Twitter had both announced the death.

Arun Das was actually a follower of Baba Ramdev, and it was the Yoga Guru who first announced his death from Ramlila Maidan. Baba’s organisation also made a formal announcement. IAC followed on Facebook and Twitter, and then lapsed into inexplicable silence.

See http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=1943.

See http://aamjanata.com/arun-das-dies-at-janapanka-village-while-fasting-for-jan-lokpal/.

Dinesh Yadan♦ A similar amnesia occurred in the case of Dinesh Yadav who, shouting pro-Hazare slogans, burnt himself alive at Kisan Ghat, Delhi – http://in.news.yahoo.com/disbelief-praise-fear-dinesh-yadavs-village-120413198.html.

He was survived by his wife and five children.

Team Anna expressed no regret. Team Anna, for all its foreign resources, is not known to have offered any support to the families of Arun Das and Dinesh Yadav.

Rajbala Malik♦ Contrast this with the case of Rajbala Malik, a victim of police brutality at Ramlila Maidan in the wee hours of June 4, 2011. As soon as his externment order from Delhi ended, Baba Ramdev visited Rajbala in hospital and offered all assistance by his Delhi Mahila Patanjali Yoga Samiti. “All medical expenses of Rajbala and other people injured during police action at Ramila Maidan will be borne by the Patanjali,” said Ramdev – http://expressbuzz.com/topnews/pm-politically-dishonest-baba-ramdev/281995.html .

Notes

1. More than 144 metric tonnes of waste daily – http://in.news.yahoo.com/much-garbage-remove-ramlila-ground-little-time-120123301.html. During both fasts, at night Hazare always retired from the public gaze, and government doctors, notwithstanding a Supreme Court direction, were not allowed by Team Anna to examine him – http://www.scoopnews.in/det.aspx?  12430;  http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=1940. Siddharth Mishra, http://www.dailypioneer.com/364266/Living-in-times-of-national-disorder.html .

2. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/article2412658.ece?homepage=true. “It’s also part of the reason why the discourse has had almost no shades of grey. Where it’s turned into an “either you are with us or against us” space and the room for anyone to manoeuvre has been increasingly difficult… this team has become less and less tolerant of dissent. You cannot ask questions like — what about the right of Parliamentarians who represent the country, to choose whether they want this version of the Bill or not?… is the right to say “No, we disagree”, no longer available?….. if no political party is willing to support the Jan Lokpal Bill outright, does that mean the Parliament must be cast aside … Parliament and the rest of India be damned” – Revati Laul, http://www.tehelka.com/story_main50.asp?filename=Ne030911coverstory3.asp . Note the characteristically abrahamist attitude of Team Anna – Luke 11.23, Matt 12.30.

The earlier analyses are in Jai ho, Jan Jokepal, http://www.vigilonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1513&Itmid=1 (this appeared on June 15, 2011 and seems to have introduced “Jokepal” to the public vocabulary); “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion”, http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=1743; The ox calling the donkey horned : Il bue che dà del cornuto all’asino, http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=1750; “A Frankenstein’s monster that will devour all of us”, http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=1774; “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it”, http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=1816

3. http://www.vigilonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1513&Itemid=1;

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/article2412658.ece?homepage=true; http://www.indianexpress.com/news/half-of-our-mps-anpadh-ganwaar-some-gems-from-very-civil-society/837886/ and Rakesh Ranjan/Vikash Lata, “Parliament, MPs mocked, berated at Ramlila Maidan” (The Pioneer, Aug 27, 2011, p.1, the print edition – the web edition omits most of the colourful details, but you can get their flavour from http://www.dailypioneer.com/363717/Hysterical-histrionics.html).

4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tqaLMOgPH0&feature=share; http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2412518.ece?homepage=true; http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/article2379704.ece; http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-08-17/india/29896225_1_anna-hazare-exercise-appropriate-democratic-restraint-anti-graft-movement.

The Vigil book is Radha Rajan and Krishen Kak, eds., “NGOs, Activists and Foreign Funds: Anti-Nation Industry” (Chennai: Vigil Public Opinion Forum, 2nd edn, 2007), excerpts at http://www.vigilonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=843&Itemid=109.

Of course, it is neither here nor there that Roy herself is a financial beneficiary of profits of the UK-based Booker Prize Trading Ltd and of the US-based Lannan Foundation that is funded from the ITT Corporation earnings of the late J. Patrick Lannan, Sr – http://www.themanbookerprize.com/legal; http://www.nytimes.com/1983/09/27/obituaries/j-patrick-lannan-ex-director-of-itt-and-backer-of-arts.html.

5. http://www.fordfoundation.org/about-us/grant-makers#. There are other grantees too but, really, the entire list merits study, especially the FF interest in tribal communities and areas (where, as it happens, there is a powerful Christian conversion apparatus at work).

6. Mark 13.10; Luke 12.51-52; Rev 10.15, 15.4; Luke 19.27 – see http://www.vigilonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22&Itemid=55 read with V K Shashikumar, http://www.tehelka.com/story_main.asp?filename=ts013004shashi.asp.

7. This has been noted in the earlier analyses. See also “Anna is not India nor India Anna” (editorial, http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/article2374669.ece) which quotes Kiran Bedi as claiming, “Anna is India and India is Anna”; “The Government has to either pass the Jan Lokpal Bill or go. There is no alternative” – Anna Hazare, http://www.dailypioneer.com/362548/Pass-Jan-Lokpal-Bill-or-face-music-Anna.html; “I have made the decision of my life. It is up to the government to pass the (Jan Lokpal) bill. If it is not passed in this session, I will continue my fast till my last breath.” – Anna Hazare, http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-08-20/india/29908807_1_team-anna-lokpal-bill-anna-hazare.

Recall MK Gandhi’s bold declaration that he would allow Partition only over his dead body. He then broke his word. Likewise, the current media-manufactured mahatma, after a like bold declaration, broke his word. There was at least one Indian who took Gandhi’s threatened fasts-unto-death seriously – and himself fasting too, died – B Punj, “Remember Jatindra Nath Das?” The Pioneer, Sept 10, 2004 and at  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/roots/message/2647. Gandhi expressed no regret.

8. Recall the classic analysis by Marcel Mauss of the gift – the giving, the receiving, and the obligation to reciprocate.

9. s.5(d), (f) and (i) read with the proviso to s.7(i) http://www.annahazare.org/pdf/Jan%20lokpal%20bill%20by%20Expert%20(Eng).pdf – “Indian origin” does not exclude foreign citizens, and one Bharat Ratna awardee is a foreign citizen: just three of these foreigners need to gang up to exercise their veto ; post dt.2/9/11 by Ranjit at http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=1943 . – Vijayvaani, New Delhi, 5 Sept. 2011

» The author is a retired civil servant and co-editor of “NGOs, Activists & Foreign Funds: Anti-Nation Industry” (Chennai: Vigil Public Opinion Forum, 2007)

Time for Sonia to quit politics, if not country! – B.R. Haran

Journalist LogoThis nation has suffered immensely under this Gandhi family. While maladministration and corruption ruled the roost from the beginning, national security has been in peril with the advent of Sonia. Separatism and secessionism are on the rise. There has been an alarming increase in Islamic terrorism, Maoism and Christian Evangelisation. All these evils clubbed with the monstrous menace of corruption are the gravest threat to India.” – B.R. Haran

Sonia GandhiOn the 20 May 2011 rally in Varanasi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said, “No government has acted so sternly against corruption like the UPA government. Those who attack us over corruption, can’t they see corruption within?” (1) Exactly a month previously, on April 19, in a letter to Anna Hazare, she wrote, “I believe there is an urgent necessity to combat graft and corruption. You should have no doubt of my commitment in the fight for probity in public life.” (2) And four months prior to that, on 18 December 2010, at the Congress Plenary session, she insisted, “There should be no tolerance to corruption. There is no doubt that corruption at all levels has become a disease. The nation is paying a heavy price for it.” (3)

Sonia uttered these words even as she was heading, de facto, India’s most corrupt regime, for which the nation has been paying a heavy price. She claimed she had realised the urgent necessity to combat graft and corruption and was committed to probity in public life.

Is it so? Has she really realized the urgent need to combat graft and corruption, or shown commitment for probity in public life? The answer is obvious. But the words and deeds of this foreign woman who is controlling the Government of India as an Extra Constitutional Authority deserve scrutiny. Only then can one understand the latest developments in the nation’s fight against Corruption.

Talk about huge ill-gotten money stashed in tax havens abroad is not new, but acquired focus in the run-up to the 2009 parliament elections. BJP constituted a task force, comprising reputed professionals and intellectuals, which released its First Interim Report on 17 April 2009. BJP leader L.K. Advani and others emphasized the issue of black money during the campaign, and made it the singular issue of their election strategy.

This forced the Congress to respond in its campaign. Manmohan Singh gave a commitment that his government, if voted back to power, would take steps within 100 days to bring back the black money stashed in foreign tax havens. After forming the government, he assured the nation through the President’s address to parliament that his government would act fast on this issue.

While scam after scam has rocked UPA-II, like the occurrence of terror act after terror act in UPA-I, the BJP appointed task force silently gathered facts, evidences, and other relevant materials and meticulously compiled a magnificent dossier on illegal wealth stashed in foreign banks and tax havens. Any sincere and patriotic government would rise to the occasion, request Opposition cooperation and lead a broad consultation on the dossier, and evolve a strategy to bring back the loot.

Manmohan SinghUPA was keen only to hide the facts, probably for the sake of “Saints and Innocents” at the highest echelons of power! But bombarded by scams and opposition parties, the “honest” PM was forced to sack then Telecom Minister Andimuthu Raja. And that’s it. After that, until his well-rehearsed meet with selected “equally honest” editors of TV channels, he kept silent, probably anticipating the orders from his high command.

During this time, the opposition continued to berate the government about the scams, scandals and Swiss Banks, and a section of the media wrote copious edits and columns on the subject. TV channels aired debates by experts, including members of the Task Force. One debate mentioned the alleged Swiss bank account of late Indira Gandhi, in the 1970s. Signora Sonia and Signor Rahul preferred to keep mum.

After the release of the dossier titled “Indian Black Money Abroad in Secret Banks and Tax Havens” by the BJP-appointed Task force, Sonia Gandhi wrote to Advani that report contains “reckless and baseless allegations against her and her family including her late husband and mother”. She said, “These lies, energetically disseminated from time to time by sections of the media and interested parties have so far been treated by me with the contempt they deserve.” (4) Actually that was not true, and recent events showed she had not treated such reports with contempt.

When former RSS Sarsangachalak Sudarshan spoke about the same old “allegations”, which have been in the public domain for over a decade and which Sonia claims she had been treating with contempt, Congress goons descended on RSS offices across the country and indulged in violence even after the RSS distanced itself from Sudarshan ji’s remarks. The RSS suggested she take legal action against Sudarshan, but she refrained, possibly due to some unknown compulsions. May be her experience in the US influenced her decision! (5)

Indian National Overseas CongressIn October 2007, some American citizens of Indian origin issued a full-page advertisement in The New York Times questioning her credibility to address the UN on Gandhiji’s birth anniversary, celebrated as International Non-Violence Day. She did not treat this slight with contempt, but allowed the Indian National Overseas Congress to file a $100 million law suit in a New York court against those who released the advertisement. INOC filed another law suit in a New Jersey court. (6)

Unfortunately for her, the New Jersey court promptly dismissed the suit saying INOC had no locus standi, so INOC also withdrew the suit filed in New York Court. But it filed a $20 million law suit in Middlesex County saying that parent party Indian National Congress was defamed in the advertisement. This Court too ruled that INOC was not the proper party and “dismissed” the case “with prejudice,” meaning the matter could not be tried again, citing a Supreme Court judgment that “libel or slander is an injury to a person rather than a party”. (7)

Sonia, thus, did not treat “allegations” with contempt if she felt she could browbeat her opponents using the party and cadres. She only stopped on realizing that prolonged litigation would take her to the witness-box in a court of law!

Subramanian SwamyWhat is more, Sonia has been selective in dealing with her opponents. Dr. Subramanian Swamy has placed on his party’s website a section titled “Know your Sonia” where he has given credible evidences, which have prima facie qualified for admission in a court of law. (8) Other reputed columnists have also written essays in the book, “Issue of Foreign Origin – Sonia under scrutiny”, edited by A. Surya Prakash, columnist. A number of foreign journalists like John Maclithon and Francois Gautier have also been critical of Sonia.

Maclithon in The New Indian Express dealt severely with Sonia’s corruption in his column, “An empress of India in new clothes”. Gautier was more scathing in his column, “Sonia’s presence in Delhi is costing India dearly” (2008). Both have written scathing criticisms of Sonia on the Baba Ramdev issue.

Reports in the reputed Swiss magazine, Schweitzer Illustrate about her alleged Swiss bank accounts, and disclosures by noted Russian scholar and journalist Dr. Yevgenia Albats in her book, “The State Within a State: The KGB in the Soviet Union”, has been in the public domain for many years now. A writ petition filed by Dr. Swamy in December 2001 in the Delhi High Court demanding a CBI investigation into her KGB connections is still pending. (9) Another case in Delhi HC filed by Dr. Swamy, pertaining to her alleged smuggling of antiques and artifacts, may come up for hearing as the movement against corruption and black money builds up. (10)

Sonia has chosen to remain silent against strong opponents with evidence against her. She has abused her extra constitutional authority through pliable persons holding responsible positions in government and autonomous institutions like CBI and the judiciary, etc., to either quell the cases or delay the proceedings.

She is not overly worried about corruption, as she can always find scapegoats like Natwar Singh for Oil for Food scam, Quattrocchi for Bofors scam, Kalmadi for CWG scam, entire DMK for 2G scam…. What she does fear terribly is real investigation into the “ill-gotten wealth” which she and her family have allegedly stashed in foreign tax havens.

Of course, she did try to act smart. When BJP took up black money as an electoral issue, she got Manmohan Singh to announce that UPA would take steps within 100 days of forming the government. But on coming to power, the government continued its corrupt practices. When black money returned to the pulpit with the release of the final report by the BJP appointed Task Force in February 2011, she wrote a letter of “distress” to Advani, who immediately apologized with a letter of “regret”, a brazen and unilateral act that undermined the meticulous work of his own task force. (11)

Swami RamdevOnly the issue didn’t subside as she hoped, and where BJP failed, Baba Ramdev proved successful due to sheer hard work, traversing the length and breadth of the country and creating huge awareness on the twin issues of corruption and black money.

Baba Ramdev’s continuous public meetings and swelling crowds truly rattled Sonia. On one side Baba Ramdev was creating a national revolt and on the other Dr. Swamy was creating a sort of revolution in the courts of law. As her government got caught between Baba and Swamy, reports from intelligence agencies added to her misery. As Baba Ramdev was making preparations for a massive rally in Ramlila Maidan on 27 February 2011, where Dr. Swamy had planned to share the dais with him, Sonia took refuge in Gandhism. She sent trusted aides from the NGO industry in the name of “civil society” to bring in the “Gandhian” Anna Hazare to curtail Baba’s movement. She partially succeeded with the help of a sycophant media, which hyped Anna’s drama at Jantar Mantar and created a wedge by terming Anna as “secular” and Baba as “communal”.

But Dr. Swamy delivered a punch on 15 April by submitting a 206-page petition seeking the Prime Minister’s sanction to prosecute Sonia Gandhi under Sections 11 & 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (necessary as she holds cabinet rank as NAC chairperson). Dr. Swamy listed all her corrupt dealings and nefarious activities in his petition, and considering its size of 206 pages, one can imagine its magnitude. (12)

The petition, largely ignored by the mainstream media, places all facts and evidences with regard to Sonia’s shenanigans since 1974, which include the following:

1. Abuse of PM’s official residence: Sonia functioned as Benami Insurance Agent of Public Sector Insurance Companies in the 1970s giving then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s official residence as her own address. When Dr. Swamy brought this to the attention of the Rajya Sabha on 19 November 1974, Indira Gandhi made Sonia to resign.

2. FERA Violation: Sonia functioned as Managing Director of Maruti Technical Services between 25 January 1973 and 21 January 1975 on a salary despite it being an offence under FERA, and become Managing Director of Maruti Heavy Vehicles Pvt Ltd with an even bigger remuneration. Dr. Swamy notes she lacked the necessary qualifications for both posts, having never passed even High School, and cites Justice A.C. Gupta Commission (1977) which found her guilty of multiple offences under FERA and IPC.

3. Citizen of Italy, Voter in India: Sonia committed an offence under Section 31 of the Representation of the People’s Act read with Form 4 of the Registration of Electors Rules (1960) by enrolling herself as a ‘voter’ in New Delhi constituency in 1980 and 1983 while remaining an Italian Citizen, and despite having been struck off the list in 1982 after a complaint from a citizen.

4. Sonia’s Indian citizenship, acquired in record speed in April 1983, is vitiated by her incomplete answers to mandatory questions in the citizenship forms. Dr. Swamy says she did not submit documents from the Italian government of relinquishing her Italian citizenship, but stated it was ‘Not Applicable’. The Italian Embassy in New Delhi simply affirmed what she told them and that cannot be taken as a valid document of relinquishment for the purposes of citizenship; she retrieved her Italian passport in 1992 after citizenship laws in Italy were amended, which under Section 10 of the Citizenship Act (1955) means cancellation of her Indian citizenship.

5. Bofors scam: Sonia’s connection with Ottavio Quattrocchi; how she colluded with him; how Quattrocchi and his wife Maria had free access to Sonia and her family; how she influenced Rajiv Gandhi through her brother-in-law Walter Vinci during Rajiv’s visit to Switzerland; how she abused CBI in course of the Bofors investigations and facilitated the escape of Quattrocchi. Annexing evidences such as Outlook magazine’s interview of Mr. Sten Lindstorm, Chief of the Investigation Division of Swedish National Bureau of Investigation and Special Prosecutor of the Swedish Government into the Bofors payoffs; Headlines Today’s report on the written statement of then IB officer Naresh Chandra Gosain made before CBI Inspector Ghanshyam Rai on 29 March 1997; how the ITAT Report corroborates the fact that Quattrocchi was a direct beneficiary of the Bofors scam; testimony of Sasi Dharan, driver in Snam Progetti, an Italian public sector giant represented in India by Ottavio Quattrocchi.

Swiss magazine Schweizer Illustrierte Nov. 19916. Sonia’s black money: The monies under her control in Switzerland as a legatee of the corrupt money banked in the name of her late husband or deposited by her of funds obtained from the erstwhile KGB, or by sale of illegally exported antiques in the country; violation of FEMA and FCRA in transactions in connection with this Swiss account. Annexing evidences such as Election Affidavits of Sonia and Rahul in which the details of this wealth were not reported; the report of Swiss Magazine Schweitzer Illustrierte; reports of “The Hindu” and “Times of India” on KGB payments to Rajiv Gandhi Family; the writings of Dr. Yevgenia Albats, a member of the official Commission on KGB Operations set up by President Yeltsin, in her book ‘The State within State’; the recent deposition of Hasan Ali, alleged to have siphoned money to Switzerland secret accounts admits to close association with her and Mr. Ahmed Patel MP and political adviser to Sonia Gandhi.

7. The Oil for Food scam: The United Nation’s Independent Inquiry Committee under Dr. F. Volcker found Sonia’s Congress Party as beneficiary. Swamy mentions the role played by one Marc Rich in selling the benefits, acquired by the beneficiary through the scam, at market price. Marc Rich is a notorious swindler convicted by a US Court for 350 years and several million dollars as fine, pardoned by US President Clinton in 2000 on Israeli Prime Minister’s intervention; now living in Switzerland now. ‘Scapegoat’ Natwar Singh is mentioned citing Volcker Report.

8. Defamation Suit against PIOs: Citing documentary evidences Dr. Swamy mentions the $200 million defamation suit filed by the Overseas branch of the Congress Party (INOC) against Mr. N. Kataria and others, who released an advertisement in New York Times stating all the above-said facts. Citing dismissal of the suit by Justice Emily Goodman of the New York State Supreme Court on grounds that defamation suits in law have to be filed by the person claiming to be defamed, and therefore cannot be assigned to others, Dr Swamy asks, “If Ms. Sonia Gandhi had a case to rebut these facts, then why she failed to turn up in court?”

Dr. Subramanian SwamyDr. Swamy has mentioned in his press statements and media interviews that Sonia’s sisters Anushka and Nadia were beneficiaries of 60% of the 2G scam money. Ultimately he wrote a letter to the Prime Minister dated 24 November 2010, wherein he said, “According to my information two sisters, Anushka and Nadia, of Ms Sonia Gandhi had received sixty percent of the kickbacks in this deal i.e. Rs.18,000 crores each. The frequent travel of Sonia Gandhi and her immediate family to Malaysia, Hongkong, Dubai and parts of Europe including London requires to be probed under the law. What requires your special attention is the mode of the travel, not by commercial airliners, but by jets provided by the corporate sector which itself is illegal under the DGCA Rules. I find that often Ms. Sonia Gandhi and family have travelled to Dubai and then travelled onwards on private jets provided by dubious Arab business interests to Europe. It is not clear on what passport they have traveled. In Dubai they were felicitated by agencies of countries which are hostile to India including that of Pakistan.” (13)

Rahul & VeroniqueThe Sonia family may be involved in CWG as well. In his press statement dated 11 August 2010, reported in the media, Dr. Swamy mentioned, “While abroad recently I was informed by my reliable sources that of the Rs. 40000 crores spent to date on Commonwealth Games preparations, about Rs. 15000 crores have gone as bribes under cover of payments to consultants and contractors. The recipient of the largest share of the bribe delivered in London is Rahul Gandhi, a Congress MP and son of Sonia Gandhi. In London Mr. Gandhi is known under an alias as Raul Vinci. The Indian High Commission employee in London who has denied his letter of recommendation now, acts as a valet for Mr. Gandhi whenever he visits London, which is at least once a month. Mr. Gandhi is accompanied by his undeclared wife, Colombian girl Veronique.” (14)

Dr. Swamy has been a relentless crusader against corruption in the highest echelons of power. His tireless efforts have seen powerful people like A. Raja, Kanimozhi et al, behind bars. He has mentioned Karunanidhi in his petition. He has also written to the Prime Minister on P. Chidambaram’s role in the 2G scam as Finance Minister; he wrote two letters to CBI, one on 10 May 2011 to A.P. Singh, Director, CBI and another on 13 May 2011 to Hitesh C. Awasthy, Joint Director, CBI, requesting them to question P. Chidambaram as he was deemed culpable in fixing the price for spectrum along with A. Raja. Earlier on 11 March 2011, in his press statement, Dr. Swamy demanded the resignation of Pranab Mukherjee in the issue concerning notorious money launderer Hassan Ali, alleging that Pranab acted as a conduit for Sonia Gandhi. (15)

Police secure Ramlila Maidan.Meanwhile, ignoring attempts at a “communal-secular” divide, Baba Ramdev continued his campaign and finally announced a “Fast unto Death” Satyagraha at Ramlila Maidan starting 4 June 2011. Sonia was rattled by the information from intelligence sources and wanted to thwart the movement. But Manmohan acted on his own (a rarity) and sent four ministers to receive Baba at the airport and hold negotiations at a 5-star hotel. This didn’t go down well with Sonia and she reportedly called for a meeting late in the evening, where she is believed to have ordered police action. Home Minister P. Chidambaram carried out the instructions and the police swooped on sleeping unarmed innocent Satyagrahis including women and children, at midnight, unprecedented in the history of independent India. Manmohan said “it was unfortunate but unavoidable!” (16)

The 24X7 channels, which totally blacked out Baba Ramdev’s rallies in general and the 27 February rally in Ramlila Maidan in particular, went overboard in giving coverage to him on 3rd and 4th June. That there was more to media’s interests than what met the eye was proved by the subsequent mudslinging on Ramdev by the very same media.

Police raid Ramlila MaidanAs the government’s barbaric action invited widespread condemnation across the country and Baba Ramdev continued his fast at Haridwar, Sonia again feared a national uprising against black money. Dr. Swamy dropped another bombshell saying that Sonia and her sisters have bought some huge properties from the Aga Khan. In a press statement dated 8 June 2011, Swamy stated, “Ms. Sonia Gandhi and her two divorced sisters, Anushka and Nadia, have recently purchased huge properties in Sardinia in Italy from the Aga Khan. From my preliminary money trail investigations, it appears to be paid from the 2G Spectrum Scam loot (about $8 billion) paid to them by A. Raja. Under the Code of Conduct for Ministers, the PM must ask Ms. Sonia Gandhi to declare these assets, or deny the said purchase. In any case a prima facie case is made out under Prevention of Money Laundering Act.” (17)

Sonia & Rahul GandhiStrangely, Sonia and Rahul left for Italy the very next day, on 9 June. As Baba Ramdev broke his fast the mother-son duo were in Switzerland. Was it to fix the accounts in tax havens? Nobody knows. (18)

But what had happened after her return from Europe? The Lokpal circus is continuing with Anna Hazare repeatedly exhibiting aversion to Hindu organizations, while simultaneously showing his liking for Sonia. He consulted major political parties and all of them joined the circus. Finally he met Sonia and came out like an obedient servant. The all party meeting failed to arrive at a consensus, but the government announced it would introduce an ‘effective’ Lokpal Bill in parliament during the monsoon session and talked of continuing the debate on Lokpal in the winter session! (19)

Scams from 1948 to 2010.Unfortunately for the government, its joy didn’t last long. The Supreme Court gave a slap on its face by appointing a Special Investigation Team for tracking black money. The court was already monitoring corruption cases. (20)

So what will happen to the anti-corruption movement; to the investigations and legal proceedings of various scams including 2G, CWG, etc.? Will CBI be allowed a free hand? What will happen to the SIT constituted for tracking black money? Will the next Chief Justice of India be as good as the present one or as pliable as the previous one? Will Manmohan have the courage to permit Dr. Swamy to prosecute Sonia? Will the courts take serious note of Dr. Swamy’s petition against Sonia? Indeed, we need a Special Court to try Sonia on Dr. Swamy’s petition. Will that happen? It must!

This nation has suffered immensely under this one family. While maladministration and corruption ruled the roost from the beginning, national security has been in peril with the advent of Sonia. Separatism and secessionism are on the rise. There has been an alarming increase in Islamic terrorism, Maoism and Christian Evangelisation. All these evils clubbed with the monstrous menace of corruption are the gravest threat to India.

It is time to end this family’s hegemony over India, to show Sonia the door. Let us do it. – Vijayvaani, New Delhi, 10 July 2011

References:

1. http://www.defence.pk/forums/world-affairs/109370-eye-up-sonia-takes-mayawati.html

2. http://www.newkerala.com/news/world/fullnews-193671.html

3. http://ibnlive.in.com/news/sonia-gandhi-hits-out-at-bjp-on-corruption/137892-37-64.html

4. http://www.rediff.com/news/report/sonias-letter-that-made-advani-apologise/20110219.htm

5. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-11-13/india/28272245_1_rss-leader-k-sudarshan-baburao-vaidya

6. http://www.nritoday.net/national-briefs/536-100-million-lawsuit-filed-in-new-york-against-65000-ad-criticizing-sonia-gandhi

7. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/US-court-dismisses-20m-lawsuit-against-anti-Sonia-ad/articleshow/3987452.cms

8. http://janataparty.org/sonia.html

9. http://janataparty.org/kgb_sonia.html

10. http://janataparty.org/soniaisthemodern.html

11. http://www.rediff.com/news/report/text-of-advanis-regret-letter-to-sonia-gandhi/20110218.htm

12. http://janataparty.org/pressdetail.asp?rowid=60

13. http://janataparty.org/pressdetail.asp?rowid=59

14, 15, 17. http://janataparty.org/pressdetail.asp?rowid=60

16. http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/action-against-ramdev-unavoidable-pm/438145/

18. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-06-11/kolkata/29646789_1_clp-leader-pcc-chief-whip

19. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Happy-Centre-to-bring-lokpal-bill-in-next-session/Article1-716979.aspx

20. http://www.legallyindia.com/201107052193/Bar-Bench-Litigation/sc-appoints-special-investigation-team-to-follow-the-money-while-hearing-jethmalanis-writ 

» B.R. Haran is a senior journalist

Ramlila Maidan: Sonia Maino Gandhi’s Gestapo project – Sandhya Jain

Sandhya Jain“No matter how irked persons in authority may feel about peaceful protestors, a civilized society claiming to be a democracy cannot allow its citizens to be hounded and assaulted like animals selected for culling in a jungle. There is no legitimate reason why the police did not ask citizens to leave the venue in the daytime, or why it could not wait for them to vacate as per schedule on June 6.” – Sandhya Jain

Baba RamdevThe Congress-led UPA government lost both honour and legitimacy when, in the dead of night of 4–5 June, it sent armed policemen to invade and assault unarmed, sleeping, anti-corruption protestors at Ramlila Maidan in the capital, led by the celebrated Yogi, Swami Ramdev.

The action is reminiscent of the manner in which the Communist Party of India–Marxist lost its reputation when goons raped two women protesting against State land grab for a crony capitalist in Singur, West Bengal. Hindu tradition looks poorly upon those who assault unarmed citizenry, something the Italian-born Roman Catholic does not understand.

Petticoat politicians like Digvijay Singh may exult in the false empowerment wrought by misuse of power, but there should be no doubt that there will be a severe public backlash, with no quarter or mercy for supremo Sonia Maino Gandhi, widely perceived as the architect and beneficiary of this Nazi Gestapo–Sicilian style operation.

Sonia GandhiTasks before the nation

There is an immediate need to disband the National Advisory Council and its illegal role in law-making and setting the national agenda, overriding Parliament and Government. This body of intellectual charlatans has been created only to give the Congress president a Cabinet rank at public expense, and to host a bunch of unelectable cronies who help her undermine and destabilize the Prime Minister and the Government.

Under Sonia Gandhi, the UPA has been forced to outsource all thinking and law-making to these darbaris. As Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta argued, the “idea of putting a non-governmental watch over your own government undermines the very idea of elected, constitutional democracy.” So it is time to dismantle the NAC. And with this will end Sonia Gandhi’s illegitimate status as super-PM, thus restoring power and authority to the legitimate constitutional position-holders and institutions. Indeed, the Congress party may be privately amenable to such a move as it realises that neither Sonia Gandhi nor Rahul Gandhi are credible vote-catchers and that new leaders will have to be built at all levels.

The Supreme Court, whose judges surely witnessed the atrocity on their television screens along with the rest of the nation, is morally on trial at this critical juncture. To uphold its prestige, the Hon’ble judges must suo moto take notice of the unprovoked violence unleashed upon the citizenry and order an immediate ban on the political culture of surreptitious and illegal midnight arrests/ detention of unarmed persons, without warrant, and particularly the bashing up of sleeping men, women and children in the darkness of night.

Police secure Ramila Maidan.No matter how irked persons in authority may feel about peaceful protestors, a civilized society claiming to be a democracy cannot allow its citizens to be hounded and assaulted like animals selected for culling in a jungle. There is no legitimate reason why the police did not ask citizens to leave the venue in the daytime, or why it could not wait for them to vacate as per schedule on June 6.

The Supreme Court must make the Government apologise for this atrocity and pay punitive damages for the physical violence and loss of human dignity suffered by Swami Ramdev and the thousands of men, women, and children, whose peaceful gathering was illegally disrupted with police brutalities.

Baba Ramdev at Ramila Maidan. Swami Ramdev and the public should give a wide berth to the National Human Rights Commission headed by Sonia acolyte K.G. Balakrishnan, who remained a mute spectator to this scandal and failed to take cognizance of this massive outrage enacted in the capital itself. In fact, we should demand disbanding this useless and motivated body, which is merely a perch for cronies of the powers-that-be.

The National Commission for Women is another useless organisation could be shut down. As expected, it was missing throughout the action, though eye witnesses appeared national television to say that policemen stepped on the bellies of unarmed women and tore off their clothes; female constables were deployed much later. NCW is a drain on the national exchequer and a sinecure for unemployed retainers of the regime. Naturally, it is notorious for selective concerns regarding women’s rights.

P. ChidambaramTo their credit, Anna Hazare and his colleagues have realized that the police atrocity – which Government ministers like Kapil Sibal and Subodh Kant Sahay are shamelessly defending (while Pranab Mukherjee has slipped away, surfacing only to call it a ‘sad event’, while Home Minister P. Chidambaram claims he was away and did not give permission for action!) – has made their position in the Joint Drafting Committee for the Lokpal Bill invidious.

This writer is among the early critics of the Joint Drafting Committee and Lokpal Bill, and it would be worthwhile for the ‘civil society’ representatives to resign and facilitate the early demise of the committee (which anyway is going nowhere). The writer opposes the Lokpal Bill because it usurps the powers of the legislature, executive, judiciary and police, CBI, et al, and assumes excessive powers for itself.

While the ‘civil society’ representatives on the Committee were savvy enough to support Baba Ramdev in his fast at Ramlila Maidan, and to condemn the barbarous attack sponsored by the State, they surely realize that if they continue on the Committee, they will be perceived as ‘poodles’ of Sonia Gandhi by the general public. As such, their work, if it does conclude to their satisfaction, will lack credibility. Wisdom demands a retreat from the Committee. Maybe they will choose this course during their public fast on June 8.

Baba Ramdev & Anna HazareNeed to rethink Civil Society methods of agitation

Both Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev would do well to ponder over the methods they used to force Government action against corruption, and to admit that these were counter-productive. While raising public awareness about the scandalous proportions assumed by corruption in the political class is one thing, neither was authorised or capable (in the end) of forcing the Government to submit to their demands. Both were manipulated by other forces, which is why the goalposts shifted in their respective agitations.

During the build up to the Anna Hazare fast in Jantar Mantar, RSS think tank Vivekananda International Foundation organised a two-day seminar to galvanise cadres for the Jantar Mantar movement, probably without understanding the issues associated with it. Swami Ramdev came for the valedictory function and stated that an organisation to lead the anti-corruption battle would be formed by RSS thinker K.N. Govindacharya, who would also lead it. Swami Ramdev made it clear that the Bharat Swabhiman Trust would remain separate and continue public awareness work.

Obviously, the sudden decision for Swami Ramdev to lead a fast-unto-death at Ramlila Maidan and issue ultimatums to the Government on the issue of return of black money from abroad (and assorted other demands, some laughable) was the result of manipulation of a decent man. Throughout the day of June 4, Govindacharya had a prominent role at Ramlila Maidan.

The question legitimately arises why he was missing at night – when everyone in the city knew that the Government was planning some action that night, and messages to this effect had started going out from 2 p.m. onwards. Officially, the talks collapsed only around 7 p.m., but clearly Government was preparing the crackdown prior to the breakdown. Where were all the cadres of the BJP and the RSS, which had clearly used the Baba for a proxy political fight with ruling party?

Nitin GadkariWhy politics behind purdah?

It bears recalling that the first major scandal involving political leadership in our times was the Bofors payoff scam which engulfed the reputation of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, all on account of his wife, Sonia Maino Gandhi, and her personal associations.

This scandal was opposed politically by all the non-Congress opposition parties, individually and collectively, and there was no culture of proxy wars using non-political eminent persons to shadow-box on behalf of some party or other. I particularly recall an all-party rally (perhaps Jantar Mantar) attended, among others, by National Conference MP Akbar Jehan (mother of Dr Farooq Abdullah), Akali Dal MPs, and MPs of the then new Telugu Desam Party who flaunted bright yellow scarves.

The point is why did BJP not fight ruling party corruption openly? And once it was known that Baba Ramdev would fast on June 4, why did the BJP President call a national executive meeting and take party stalwarts away from Delhi at the very same time?

Worse is the wimpish approach of satyagraha at Rajghat (give me a break), rather than confronting the regime frontally, and helping battered citizens. The party uses Baba Ramdev to lure innocent villagers into an inhospitable environment, and leaves them to fend for themselves while its leaders sleep in the comfort of 5-star hotels (no more tents, mind you).

L.K. Advani & Sonia Gandhi: Secret deals?This brings us to the most pertinent question – why did Advani and Co sneakily join hands with the Government and agree to covertly pass the Budget without discussion in April, on the very day Parliament was to break for the one month recess in which the Budget would be studied by MPs, before being passed in May? Given the huge corruption, crushing price rise, and excessive favours to the corporate sector, why did BJP not consider a cut motion to bring the Government down or wrest some tax concessions for the middle class?

And why did Advani promise to pass the Lokpal Bill (still not drafted) without it being brought to Parliament and seen by the party? Is a political party supposed to give blind support to laws introduced by Government at the instance of an extra-constitutional body?

Banana RepublicLast words

– The UPA government instead of cracking down on crooks, hawala operators, and illegal foreign bank account holders, has instead swooped on an unarmed Swamiji and world renowned Yoga teacher who had wanted effective action against the corruption, making India look like a tin pot dictatorship in a Banana Republic – Dr Subramanian Swami

– Supreme Court must order a probe as justice cannot be expected from the Centre – Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati

» Sandhya Jain is the editor of www.vijayvaani.com

See also ‘Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011’