Category: Indian Politics

Foreign Observers Arriving in Bilaspur for Binayak Sen Hearing

IANS | Yahoo News | 24/01/2011

An-eight member delegation of the European Union (EU) is expected to arrive in Bilaspur town Monday to attend a bail plea of rights activist Binayak Sen that is to be heard by the Chhattisgarh High Court. The EU delegation members who landed Sunday night in state capital Raipur amid protests of ‘Go Back’ by somebinayak-sen local groups left for Bilaspur town Monday by car to attend the hearing. The high court is based in Bilaspur town, 110 km from here.

Sen, 60, who is a People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) leader, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a district and sessions court in Raipur Dec 24 on sedition charges and his links with Maoist ideologue Narayan Sanyal. The court verdict has been widely slammed by human right activists in India and abroad who say he was victimised by the Chhattisgarh government for highlighting human right abuses.

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India’s Apex Court Takes on Political Corruption

Article first published as India’s Apex Court Takes on Political Corruption on Blogcritics.

India’s apex court, the Supreme Court has been on collision course with the country’s top politicians and powerful bureaucrats. The apex court is furious at federal Human Resources Minister Mr Kapil Cibal, who is also dealing the Telecommunications ministry, for trying to downplay what is said to be the biggest fraud of the country ever since it achieved independence in 1947. Mr Kapil Cibal criticized the statutory and independent auditing body, theindian corruption CAG (Comptroller and Auditor Genera) for concluding that the nation might have lost $39 billion in revenue because of irregularities in awarding 2G spectrum licenses in 2008. He said the government did not lose single rupee in awarding 2G spectrum licenses adding that there was no ground for alleging that the nation had lost billions.

Indian left parties asked the minister why the previous minister resigned from his job if there was no fraud. The Supreme Court took a serious note of ministers’ comments and told the government counsel that the minister’s comments were unfortunate adding that the ministers had certain statutory responsibilities of respecting statutory bodies. It wondered how the minister could find wrong with the CAG’s report when it is based on government sources. The court observed the minister’s comments should not influence the investigation process looking in the matter. The CAG also responded to the minister’s comments saying that it was committed to its report.

Other Issues

The Supreme Court is also hearing some other politically sensitive issue of similar nature. The former justice minister and a renowned lawyer Mr Jethmalani appealed the apex court to order the government for initiating steps to bring back billions of dollars of Indian money hidden in offshore accounts of tax havens by the rich Indian politicians, bureaucrats and corporate owners. The Supreme Court yesterday said that the issue was not a routine one but about a big plunder of nation’s money. The court has asked the government to reveal the names of the people who hid the nation’s money illegally to escape from paying taxes. The court is worried that the black money was the source of financing terror groups operating against India.

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2G Scam: SC ticks off CBI for not questioning Raja

PTI | Yahoo News | 25/11/2010

The Supreme Court today came down heavily on the CBI for failing to question former Telecom Minster A Raja and Telecom Secretary in the 2G Spectrum scandal, saying it was "beating around the bush". A bench of justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly wondered why the premier investigating agency failed to question the duo despite the CVC and CAG report sharply indicting them for their involvement.

"We are on the limited point. The CAG under the constitution has a very important position. It is an authority set up under the constitution. "Any responsible person will question the involvement of the Minister and the Secretary and you (CBI) say that 8,000 documents have been examined. You are beating around the bush. It was (questioning) minimum expected of the CBI. What do you take this court for," the bench observed during the argument.

Explaining the delay, senior counsel K K Venugopal submitted that the CBI has its own methods of investigations.

India’s Bihar leader Nitish Kumar in landslide victory

BBC News | 24/11/2010

The chief minister of India’s northern Bihar state has won a landslide victory in assembly elections. Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) party-led alliance won at least 200 of the 243 seats in the Bihar assembly. Mr Kumar described it as "a victory for the people of Bihar" and "a vote for development". Jubilant supporters danced in the streets and lit firecrackers in the state capital, Patna. Mr Kumar’s main rival, former federal Railways Minister and Bihar ex-chief minister Laloo Prasad Yadav, conceded defeat and congratulated Mr Kumar on his win. Bihar is one of India’s poorest and most corrupt states but many say it has turned the corner under Mr Kumar.

‘Move forward’

The election to the assembly was held in six stages staggered over a month. Mr Kumar has an alliance with India’s main opposition Hindu nationalist BJP. The win represented a huge jump from the 143 seats the alliance controlled in the last assembly.

"I thank the voters and people of Bihar for the massive win," Mr Kumar told reporters in Patna. "The people were faced with a question – will they move forward or will Bihar will return to the darkness of earlier times? People chose to move forward and that is why it is their victory," he said.

Mr Kumar said he had worked hard for the past five years and would "work harder" over the next five "to serve the people of Bihar". For decades, Bihar has been known as India’s most backward and lawless state. But after Mr Kumar took over, many say the state has seen development rise and crime rates fall.

Growth rate questions

The Janata Dal-BJP alliance is opposed by a number of other regional parties and the Congress party, which governs nationally. Despite widespread campaigning,

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Indian Government Mired in Corruption Scandals

Article first published as Indian Government Mired in Corruption Scandals on Blogcritics.

Indian Parliament’s winter session is facing a deadlock with the opposition parties demanding setting up of a Joint Parliament Committee (JPC) for probing into the Rs. 1.76 lakh crore ($39 billion) worth corruption scandal of the former Telecom minister A Raja. The government has been mired in series of scandals this year such as corruption in CWG arrangements because of which three top officials have already been suspended.

CAG Report

Telecom scandal has occupied headlines with the revelation of the government watchdog Comptroller and Auditor General in its report that the licenses for 2G spectrum were allotted at cheapest costs for a chosen set of companies. CAG has implicated the former Telecom minister A Raja, who resigned a week back for deliberately avoiding established procedures in sale of 2G spectrum to private companies.

CAG report said the government has lost $39 billion because of not auctioning 2G spectrumParliament licenses. Instead of going for auctions, the minister has sold the spectrum licenses on first-come-first basis. CAG alleged that the minister took interest in particular companies. He did not give much time to other companies to place their applications, CAG said. The minister did not even listen to the Prime Minister’s suggestion that he should go for auctioning spectrum licenses as per the CAG report.

Reprimanding Prime Minister

As if that is not enough, the Supreme Court has reprimanded the Prime Minister for keeping calm for 16 months on permission sought after by a lawyer through a Public Interest Litigation to prosecute the minister. The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is considered Mr Clean among Indian politicians. The bureaucrat turned politician, Manmohan worked as finance minister in the Congress government during 1991-96 period and introduced globalization policies for Indian economy. He is the most sought politician by the western countries that have been pushing India to open up its economy for foreign multinational companies.

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Nirmohi Akhara Finds Common Ground with Sangh Parivar

The RSS has achieved it. It is able to convince Nirmohi Akhara, one of the litigants in the title suit for the disputed landbabri_masjid to cooperate with its co-litigant Ramlala Viraajman for construction of the temple. The Allahabad High Court has awarded 1/3rd of disputed land to each of the litigants Ramlala, SCWB and Nirmohi Akhara on September 30. As the two parties of the Hindu groups have decided to co-operate, the site available for construction of Ram temple is doubled to 2/3rd of the disputed land.

Mahant of Nirmohi Akhara Bhaskar Das was quoted by PTI as telling that for mutual consent and cooperation for construction of the temple, a senior member of Ram Jahmbhoomi Nyas Ram Vilas Vedanti met him on Tuesday. He added they had a detailed discussion over the issue. He also said that the Akhara would cooperate provided it got prominence in whatever arrangements were made for the construction of the temple.

Mahant Bhaskar Das expressed his open opposition to the building of mosque anywhere on the disputed land. He opined the Sunni Central Wakf Board should not have been given a share in the disputed land as the court had rejected the suit filed by the Sunni Wakf Board.

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Ayodhya Verdict, If SCWB Accepts, a Blow to BJP’s Future

If Sunny Central Wakf Board accepts the Ayodhya verdict delivered by the Allahabad High Court, it will become a deathblow to the so-called Hindu nationalist political party, “Bharatiya Janata Party.” The BJP increased its Parliament seats from two to eighty by inciting communal hatred between the Hindu religion followers and the Muslim religion followers in India, stating that the 450-year-old Babri mosque was constructed demolishing Ram temple.

Radha Yatra (Chariot Journey)

The then vice-president of the BJP Mr. L K Advani took out a journey on a Chariot, inciting communal violence along his path of journey, after which his party could raise its tally of seats from two to eighty in the parliament. The party continued its communal inciting and attacks on minorities with a single agenda of constructing Ram temple.

Hindu mob demolishing the mosque The BJP’s communal agenda culminated into the demolition of the 450 years old Babri Masque on 6 December 1992. The top brass of the party organized the demolition with a solid plan of bombing and blasting. It came to power with the slogan of building Ram temple for Ram Lalla (infant Rama) that were said to be found under the central dome of the Babri mosque.

The Myth

The BJP’s tag line of “Hindu nationalist party” is itself a misguided nomenclature. There is only a Hindu religion in this world but not any nation named “Hindu.” The Hindu religion followers worship many number of gods among whom Ram is only an Avatar. The BJP was able to symbolize the diet Rama as the representative of the Hindu religion to an extent of period for which the people believed what they said.

But the people of India have many problems other than religious faith, primarily the food and shelter. The BJP never bothered about the original problems of the people except the problem that it created for its own sake of coming to power.

Economic Agenda

Interestingly, the party did not hurry or worry to build temple after coming to power in 1998 and 1999. It limited itself to the continuation of the globalization agenda laid by the financial minister Mr. Mahmohan Singh, in its predecessor government. They rather increased the pace of implementing LPG (liberalization, privatization and globalization policies).

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