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BJP’s Morality Exposed

DESPITE the BJP’s tall claims about coming to power at the centre and installing L K Advani as its prime minister, the just concluded election for the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat have exposed many chinks in the party’s shining armour of ‘morality’ and ‘principles’. The BJP, which for long marketed itself as the party with a difference, this time stood exposed right from the stage of choosing its candidates for the 26 seats in Gujarat.

Foregoing all its acclaimed inhibitions, the BJP happily gave party nominations not only to three bank fraud accused in Panchmahal, Anand and Navsari but also to as many as three turncoats from its arch rival Congress in Patan, Dahod and Surendranagar.

While the bank scamsters Prabhatsinh Chauhan (Panchmahal), Deepak Saathi (Anand) and C R Patil (Navsari) were long time BJP leaders in their own territories, the party could not find any one from its rank and file for constituencies like Patan, Dahod and Surendranagar where the electorate’s caste arithmetic required a backward Thakore, a tribal and a Koli to be chosen.
This compulsion of having to fall back upon defectors from Congress in the tribal and backward dominated seats while finding it easy to choose a new face in urban areas proves the oft-repeated perception that the BJP is indeed a party of urban and upper classes.

When it came to choosing new candidates for the tribal seat of Dahod and the backward dominated seats of Surendranagar and Patan, there were no suitable people available from among the BJP’s rank and file and thus Congress defectors with dubious track records had to be chosen as nominees of the party with ‘principles’.

But the same BJP did not feel any problem of dearth of people from its ranks while searching for replacements in urban, middle class seats like Rajkot, Surat, Panchmahal and Navsari where alternative people were readily available.

This dichotomy of enjoying easy availability of second line leadership in urban, middle class areas but dearth of such people from among its ranks in backward dominated and tribal areas is almost an incontrovertible proof of the BJP’s class and caste bias.

The BJP’s compulsions to give party tickets to tainted leaders and turncoats stemmed from chief minister Narendra Modi’s insistence on new faces, a euphemism for proven psychophants who would remain ever obliged to him for having sent them to Lok Sabha. While choosing the candidates for Gujarat’s 26 seats, the BJP high command actually succumbed to the high-handedness of its rabble-rousing chief minister Narendra Modi who was also keen to settle his scores with the party’s senior MPs who had raised their voices against his autocratic style of functioning.

Thus, in its bid to satisfy the whims of Modi, the BJP dropped former union ministers Kashiram Rana and Dr Vallabh Kathiria in Surat and Rajkot respectively, even if that meant fielding political novices for the two seats reputed to be the party’s fortresses for two decades.
Naturally, both the seats proved to be death traps for the BJP’s new candidates as the party’s rank and file virtually revolted in Surat and Rajkot.

While the new BJP nominee Darshana Zardosh in Surat faced the wrath of laid off diamond workers for whom Modi refused to announce any relief package, the BJP workers in Rajkot remained in mutiny mood with allegations making the rounds that the new nominee Kiran Patel procured the party ticket through his money power generated from the chain of schools his family runs in the city.

Surat and Rajkot are not the only trouble-spots for the BJP as its fortress in Gandhinagar, from where its “prime minister” in waiting is seeking re-election, is also under siege with a massive consolidation of Patel backlash personified in the Congress nominee Suresh Patel.

As the influential Patels are cut up with the BJP ever since their patriarch Keshubhai Patel was unseated as chief minister by Modi, the Congress sought to cash in on the situation arising out of the delimitation exercise making the Lok Sabha constituency a Patel dominated seat. Even as Congress nominee went about transforming Patel resentment against BJP into votes for himself, Advani’s trouble multiplied with the VHP cadres refusing to campaign in his favour in protest against the demolition of illegally built temples in Gandhinagar last year.

Though the VHP declared its last minute support to Advani, the cadres were not amused and remained away from working for the party. The vacuum caused by the VHP cadres staying away was probably filled by the “Mantranaad” programmes organised all over the state by the Art of Living wherein people were clearly asked to vote for the party which would “bring black money back from foreign banks”.

The Election Commission had rightly called the bluff of the Art of Living programmes and slapped notices on them for violation of Model Code of Conduct. In some places, the EC has told the BJP candidates who shared the dais at “Mantranaad” discourses that the function’s expenditures would be added to their election expenses account.

Moreover, the Supreme Court’s ruling to start investigation into the role of Modi in the 2002 anti-Muslim riots also could not be turned into BJP’s advantage as the chief minister got only a day to launch his tirade against the centre. All that Modi could do was to try and fool his audience by declaring that he is ready to be hanged, not just jailed.

Source: pd.cpim.org

Cop recruitment scam: Three more arrested

The CBI arrested three more people in the alleged irregularities in recruitment of constables in CRPF. They include DIG, CRPF,
Muzaffarpur, P S Bakhala, a commandant from Bihar and Jharkhand B S Sidhu and a tout from New Delhi. Sidhu was posted at Daltonganj as commandant of the 134th Battalion. The investigating agency has so far arrested 11 persons in this connection.

Confirming the arrest of these three people, a CBI official said that they were produced before the special CBI court on Thursday itself. DIG Bakhala and commandant Sidhu were taken on police remand for further interrogation in the matter, he said.

A CBI official confided that a well organized racket had been clandestinely going on in the recruitment of constables in the CRPF. Prima facie it appeared that some senior CRPF officials were allegedly involved in the recruitment scam. Everything would come to light after a thorough probe into the matter, he said.

According to CBI sources, the CBI sleuths raided the house of DIG located in Ranchi and recovered several incriminating papers. Similarly, Sidhu's house in Chandigarh too was searched and several incriminating papers and 10 live cartridges were also recovered during a raid by the CBI team, sources said.

Incidentally, CRPF IG Pushkar Singh and several other persons, including middlemen, who were involved in the scam, are among those already arrested by the CBI team from different places across the country.

The investigating agency had seized about Rs 1.15 crore cash and documents relating to fixed deposits during search operation carried out at the IG's office and residential premises, sources said.

Source: TOI

Three Indians accused of running UK visa 'fraud factory'

Three illegal immigrants from India have been accused of running a 'fraud factory' by submitting hundreds of bogus visa applications to the Home Office and allowing foreign nationals to enter Britain.

The scale of the fraud was such that one of them boasted how easy it was to cheat the Home Office and obtain visas for people who did not have the necessary documents for legal entry into Britain.

A case on the visa fraud is currently being heard in the Isleworth Crown Court in west London.

The three Indians are Jatinder Sharma, 44, Neelam Sharma, 39 and Rakhi Shahi, 32, both of whom are reported to be married to Sharma. All three allegedly entered Britain using false documents. Francis Sheridan, prosecuting lawyer, said, "the fraud focused on abusing the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme which was designed to enable well qualified individuals with useful skills to work in Britain."

Between October 2006 and May last year, their company UniVisa, which posed as a company helping immigrants with paperwork, submitted 980 applications to the Home Office. In the process, the three earned hundreds of thousands of pounds. Sharma had pleaded guilty to immigration offences when his company provided customers with fake degree papers, references and CVs to help them enter Britain illegally.

Neelam Sharma and Rakhi Shahi are facing a similar range of charges at trial. They are also both accused of entering and remaining in Britain illegally.

Sheridan said, "Between them they submitted the largest number of fraudulent visa applications ever received by the Home Office from one source, making this the biggest immigration scam ever seen in this country."

He said that applicants with humble backgrounds were given false degrees, masters degrees, post-graduate qualifications and diplomas within a matter of months. "Shahi was so confident of her ability to cheat the system, she even started offering her services on a no win, no fee basis," he said.

Sheridan said when police raided their house in Southall, they discovered some 90,000 pages of documents, including 980 visa application files.

"They have made a fortune, there are no bones about that.

They were acting on behalf of clients to cheat the Home Office, to cheat the Home Office wholesale," added Sheridan.

Source: The Hindu

Raju trial on 32 counts; Mynampati in dock too: Sources

The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) in its report on the Satyam scam has recommended that its erstwhile chairman and perpetrator of the fraud Ramalinga Raju be charged for 32 offences under the Indian Penal Code and The Companies Act. It says that Satyam made its first losses in 2007-08, and that promoter shareholding was corporatised in order to avoid short-term capital gains tax.

our investigative team also learns that Satyam's promoters pledged 3.61 crore shares of Maytas Infra, in an attempt to cover margin calls in December 2007. Pranshu Sikka reports.

It learnt from sources that the SFIO report has a number of major findings. The reports, sources say, recommends prosecution for Ram Mynampati, the Satyam employee who had taken Satyam’s charge as CEO intermediately post the Satyam scam. This prosecution has been recommended under Sections 201 sub-clause 1A, Section 211 sub-clause 7 and 8 and Section 209 sub-clause 5 of the Company’s Act. A then whole-time director, Ram Mynampati’s explanation in the scam involvement, SFIO says, is not “tenable” and therefore it recommends prosecution.

The Maytas connection

The SFIO has told the Ministry of Corporate Affairs that 3.6 crore shares of Maytas Infra were pledged by the promoters of Satyam Computers Services Ltd to meet the margin calls on December 18 2007.

There is another one very glaring connection: the report says Maytas Infra issued a public offer, a Mauitian firm acquired 38% equity share in the realty company. SFIO says these deals look suspicious and has forwarded the details of these deals to the Directorate of Enforcement for further investigation as it suspects that the money for this deal was routed through accounts of Satyam Computers Services Ltd.

Auditors’ role

About the role of Price Waterhouse, Satyam’s auditors during the scam, the SFIO has suggested their “connivance” with the then management of Satyam to carry out the fraud.

The SFIO is pretty damning in its report: it says the auditors did not understand complexities of electronic book keeping, which is a glaring accusation and added that the auditors did not even check 1% of the invoices submitted by the then management of Satyam, which again shows their whole callousness towards verifying the accounts.

The report has also recommended that the non-executive directors should refund the commission, which they have been paid to the tune of Rs 72 lakh odd over the past one year.

The fraud deconstructed

Sources say that, over the last ten years, the Raju brother had run over 374 companies. Out of these, about 158 odd ones, are directly under the scanner. 150 of these companies were involved in purchase of land whereas eight companies were involved in investments.

SFIO sources say that according to its findings, the Rajus were also selling their shares through four out of these eight companies. They did not want to sell the shares directly in the market because they thought that would impact the sentiment negatively and therefore they were selling their shares through these four investment companies.

As far as the companies involved in purchase of land are concerned, the money that was required was again being routed through these eight investment companies.

Another name which has emerged according to sources in the report is that Surya Narayana Raju, Ramalinga Raju’s brother. The SFIO report says he helped and abetted to the crime.

Source: CNBC-TV18

Rs 70 trillion stashed away in Swiss Banks, Govt tells SC

The union government Saturday told the Supreme Court that it was doing everything on the issue of retrieving over Rs.70 trillion ($1.4 trillion) in black money believed to be stashed away in foreign banks by rich Indians.

The government said this in an affidavit filed in the apex court in response to a lawsuit by former union law minister Ram Jethmalani, former Lok Sabha general secretary Subhash C. Kashyap and former Punjab Police chief K.P.S. Gill, which had sought the court's direction to the government to retrieve the unaccounted money.

In its affidavit, the government termed the lawsuit as "politically motivated" and questioned the timing of its filing, in the midst of the general elections, and sought its dismissal.

So...what next? any guess?

Bofors storm rages again, Congress under fire

The Bofors gun payoff scandal flared up again Tuesday with the election-wrapped Congress coming under all round attack over the CBI decision to remove Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, the lone surviving suspect in the case, from its list of wanted persons.

The 12-year Interpol Red Corner Notice, or lookout notice, against Quattrocchi, who has till date evaded interrogation, was taken off from the "wanted" section of the agency's website, reportedly on the legal advice of Attorney General Milon Banerjee in October last year. As the CBI's move was scooped by the Indian Express newspaper Tuesday, two days before the third round of India's five-phase general elections, it provided readymade ammunition to political parties seeking to end five years of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused the Congress of turning the CBI into a "Congress Bureau of Investigation" and branded the decision a "farewell gift" from the government to a "close friend" of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.BJP leader L.K. Advani, campaigning in Gujarat, said the decision proved that the Congress was not confident of returning to power after the staggered Lok Sabha elections ending next month.

"Manmohan Singh's party wanted to remove his name from the list. The decision indicates they think their party will not come back to power," he said. "I condemn the decision."

Under flak, CBI spokesperson Harsh Behl said the agency would inform the special judge of a Delhi court, trying the 1987 case of the Rs.640 million payoff for the Swedish howitzer guns, of the decision during the next hearing on April 30."The case has been under trial in the courts since 1999. The CBI has taken action on basis of legal advice of the highest order. We will inform the competent court," said Behl.

Quattrocchi, accused by the CBI of receiving millions of dollars in commissions for helping to fix the $1.4 billion gun deal in the mid-1980s, was detained in February 2007 in Argentina where he was holidaying with his wife on the basis of an Interpol warrant.

But the CBI took time in translating documents that were to be presented in the designated court there and put up a half-hearted effort towards his extradition. It lost the case for his extradition four months later.

The BJP's prime ministerial candidate Advani reminded voters that though the Congress led by Rajiv Gandhi won a thumping majority in the 1984 elections, it lost power five years later due to the Bofors controversy.In New Delhi, BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley was at his sarcastic best."The CBI has become an embarrassment for the entire country. Quattrochi has been a close friend of the Congress leadership. Therefore, at the time of the departure (of the UPA government), it is a gift to the citizen of a privileged country. It is a gift to a nation in law," he said.

The Congress tried to downplay the embarrassment, saying the Bofors row was "a dead horse"."Bofors has been a dead horse which the BJP has tried to flog in several elections, and it has not succeeded," said Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj argued that the government had nothing to do with the development."The government had no role in the removal of the red corner notice," he said. "The CBI acted solely on the advice of the attorney general. It is a politically motivated allegation."But the opposition was not satisfied.

While Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati alleged that the government was misusing the CBI, the Left parties described the move as a subversion of justice."The CBI decision to remove Ottavio Quattrocchi from its list of wanted persons has again unmasked the Congress," said Mayawati.

The case against Quattrocchi, known to be close to the late Rajiv Gandhi, who was prime minister in 1987 when the scandal broke, and his wife Sonia, has taken tortuous twists and turns after being named in a CBI chargesheet as the conduit for the Bofors bribes in 1999.

Source: Express Buzz

Mall owner arrested in DDA fraud case

The owner of a shopping mall, who allegedly played a key role in the DDA flat allotment fraud by pumping in Rs 15 lakh for cornering dwellings, has been arrested in the national capital, police said today.

Jeet Ram, who was on the run since the case came to light, was caught by the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police's Crime Branch yesterday from Mam Mam Majesty Mall in Pitampura. He was one of the owners of the mall.

"We have caught Jeet Ram who was absconding. We are also trying to arrest other financiers who are involved in the case," Joint Commissioner of Police Amulya Patnaik told PTI.

This is the seventh arrest in the case of a group ofproperty dealers who entered into a conspiracy to corner DDA flats reserved for SC/STs by fraudulently applying in the name of people belonging to these communities.Jeet Ram's name cropped up during interrogation of Gautam, who allegedly managed to corner 40 flats in the draw of lots under various names.

According to Patnaik, the financier allegedly provided Rs 15 lakh to Gautam for committing the fraud. Gautam also issued post-dated cheques as a security in favour of Jeet Ram. Patnaik said police tried to catch the financier but was not successful till yesterday. "We managed to catch him after one of our teams kept a close watch on the mall," he said.

Source: Indian Express

Key financer held in DDA scam

Police Tuesday said they have arrested one of the key accused financers in the multi-million Delhi Development Authority (DDA) housing scam.

'We arrested Jeetram Monday. We were looking for him for some time for his role in financing the scam,' Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Amulya Patnaik told IANS.

'He is among those who provided money to former DDA official M.L. Gautam. There are more financiers involved in the case and we hope they will also be arrested soon,' Patnaik added.

Over 500,000 people applied for 5,238 flats under the DDA housing scheme 2008. But the housing scheme got mired in controversies amid allegations of fake applications. The scam came to light earlier this year.

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police, started investigations after a man who was allotted a flat in the draw of lots told the police that he had not even applied for a flat.

Investigations revealed that a group of people conspired to buy several flats in the names of those from reserved categories like the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes who were eligible for the flats but could not afford them. The conspirators meant to sell off these flats later for huge profits.

So far the EOW has arrested Deepak Kumar, who allegedly blew the lid off the scam after he fell out with some fellow real estate agents, retired DDA employee M.L. Gautam, real estate agents - Raju Ram, Laxmi Narayan Meena and Vijay Pal.

Satbir Singh and Dinesh Dral were arrested for forging the documents to open bank accounts in fictitious names. And the last one arrested March 19 was Suresh Kumar Meena, a Delhi based real estate agent.

The EOW has been probing the roots of the scam in various states.

Earlier this month, the agency filed its charge sheet in the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Amit Bansal slapping several charges against the accused, including cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence.

Source: sify.com

Columnists sans sense of restraint

In an excess of excitement, Vir Sanghvi, former editor of Hindustan Times, called Narendra Modi a “mass murderer”. According to data tabled in Parliament the 2002 toll in Gujarat was 790 dead Muslims, 254 dead Hindus and 223 people missing. Writing in The Times of India (January 6, 2008) one of its columnists, Swaminathan Anklesaria Aiyar made this interesting statement. He wrote: “Many critics call (Narendra) Modi a fascist who carried out pogroms. They do not apply the same label to the Congress. Yet the 1984 data are more suggestive of a pogrom than the 2002 data. The Hindu casualties in 2002 were a quarter of the total, suggesting two-way violence. But no Hindus died in Delhi... In 1984 there was no police firing at all on Hindu mobs, so it looks much more like a pogrom. On virtually every parameter you can measure, 1984 was worse than 2002...” (emphasis added).

And how many Sikhs were murdered in Delhi alone in November 1984? Writes The Hindu (April 13, 2009): “A sloppy and non-serious process of investigation and prosecution meant that the perpetrators of the genocidal violence against thousands of innocent Sikhs... have gone scot-free. The killing spree by Congress activists and supporters, allegedly orchestrated and led by some party leaders, left 2,733 people dead in Delhi alone. But after two Commissions of Inquiry and eight committees set up to probe various aspects of the horrific violence and prolonged trials, only 13 people have been convicted…”

Several of the committees indicted Congress leader HKL Bhagat and Messrs Tytler and Sajjan Kumar. In Gujarat, 254 Hindus were killed in police firings. In Delhi not a single Hindu was killed. In Delhi just one leader—sure, she was Prime Minister—was killed. In Godhra 58 innocent women and children were first choked by heavy smoke and then roasted alive. Fancy the suffering they went through. This is never discussed. The women and children were just ‘killed’. The viciousness of the English media is sickening. Messrs Tytler and Sajjan Kumar are still around and the former has now been denied a Congress ticket. Big show!

The hate-Hindu, hate-BJP tendency among our English media overlords has to be seen to be believed. For saying any Muslim who raises his arm against Hindus should have his arm cut off, Varun Gandhi has been jailed—and now forgotten. Lalu Prasad said that he would like to run a road-roller over Varun—and he goes scot-free. Lalu specialises in hate-speeches. That is taken as a joke. A Congress leader in Karnataka makes a ‘hate speech’ on March 31 excelling even what Varun Gandhi said, but only a case has been registered against him, while Varun went to jail. This is justice.

The Hindu in its April 13 editorial castigated the CBI saying that the CBI’s “clumsy efforts to help the ruling party (Congress) to “wriggle out of messy situations have further eroded the agency’s credibility”. Rightly said. Indeed, two years ago, on June 7, 2007, The Hindu castigated “the compulsions of politics” indulged in by the Congress in the Taj Corridor Scam case in which Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati was involved. She should then have been immediately prosecuted. Wrote The Hindu: “That the UP Governor (TM Rajeshwar) could have refused sanction for a prosecution that arose from the monitoring by the highest court in the land (The Supreme Court) is inexplicable. It has raised suspicions that the decision was part of a political deal struck in the context of the presidential elections...”

Undoubtedly the Congress is a sick party. Varun Gandhi’s speech was made in a place called Pilibhit. It is a tiny town in Uttar Pradesh. If Varun has not made his speech there, like many other such speeches it would have remained unheard of. But is there anything special about Pilibhit? Yes, there is, and The Indian Express (April 5) devoted two whole pages to it. It would seem that Pilibhit has for decades, if not longer, been known for “making music”. As The Express noted, by one estimate roughly 95 per cent of India’s flutes are made in Pilibhit. It seems that the bamboo for the flute would come to Pilibhit all the way from Silchar on the banks of the Barak river near the Bangladesh border in southern Assam by a meter-gauge line. Once the bamboo arrived, flute-makers, invariably Muslims, working in small family businesses, would carefully sort out the bamboo bales, identifying each piece as first, second and third grade. Only the right kind of bamboo, with the right length and diameter, would produce the right tune.

The coverage of The Indian Express of Pilibhit is an excellent example of journalism. The business of manufacturing flutes is apparently dying slowly for a variety of reasons. These have been discussed. The paper’s editorial staff needs to be congratulated for a good job well done. There is another matter concerning the media that needs attention. Newspapers like The Hindu, The Times of India, The Indian Express have many regional editions which is commendable. But too often they are very poor replicas of the main editions and miss out a great deal of news and comment. The Bangalore edition of The Indian Express, for example, is not a patch on the Mumbai edition. Much the same can be said of the Bangalore edition of The Times of India. The Bombay city edition of the Express, for example, runs an excellent op ed page devoting it to articles appearing in the likes of The Economist of London, which are highly educative.

Considering that hardly any major newspaper these days employs foreign correspondents, as once they did, especially in the sixties, seventies and even earlier in the fifties, the reader is deprived of a lot of background material to events not just in Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States, but also in Africa, the Middle East, Russia, Central Asia, Australia and even China. It is a pity. The argument for withdrawing foreign correspondents is that television channels are first to break news and cannot be beaten at the game. That may be true, but TV channels don’t provide background information or even an Indian point of view to what is happening. Of course, maintaining a correspondent in Washington or Beijing is getting to be extremely costly. One supposes that the alternative is to subscribe to foreign newspapers, not necessarily a wise step but then there aren’t any meaningful options. Time was when The Times of India used to subscribe to The New York Times. No longer. The net result is that the Indian reader is poorly informed.

Source: organiser.org

Perfidy, Thy Name Is BJP

THE BJP seems to be making a habit of issuing its “vision” in instalments. Maybe, this is their way of keeping in tune with the global economic recession when payments are being deferred or at best paid in instalments. Or, maybe, it is the lack of any clarity of vision that is making them take recourse to such steps. Or, yet again, maybe, this is a convenient methodology that can allow them to completely contradict themselves and renege from their earlier promises to the people.

Following their electronic “vision” to empower all Indians to be cyber savvy came the BJP's manifesto, which as the name suggests, should have detailed their proposals if they, by any chance, form the government, post elections. However, now has come their `vision' on infrastructure development with promises of more bombardments of such `visions' in the future. This is not merely the unfolding of the lack of clarity in instalments but more like a distress sale under recession: `buy one, take two free'.

Promising to adopt a hundred projects of national importance, this document has virtually nothing that has not been said earlier by everyone including the BJP. However, there are two aspects that merit a comment. The first is the brazen negation of their attitude to India's public sector when they were leading the government between 1998 and 2004. They had established a separate ministry for disinvestment and proceeded to try and decimate the public sector systematically. Recollect the scams involved in the sale of public sector units and properties during that period. Under pressure from the Left, the first decision that the UPA government took was to disband this ministry in 2004.

Look at what they say now in this `vision' document: “India's public sector, which has amassed tremendous experience in infrastructure project implementation over the decades, is our national pride (sic). The NDA government will strengthen the public sector, and enable it to make its fullest contribution to infrastructure expansion in India. At the same time, we will also fully encourage participation by India's private sector, which has grown enormously both in size and project implementation capability. The government will fully leverage the private sector's resources and capabilities by aggressively expanding the scope of Public-Private Partnership.” Indeed, as noted above, a very convenient methodology to renege from its past position! More importantly, this is a crass cynical attempt to woo the votes of a vast section of Indians that support and depend upon the public sector.

This brings us to the second aspect, that is, Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Both the Congress and the BJP continue to emphasise this concept. However, what has been our experience of the past. Take the instance of the PPP model adopted for airport modernisation. Because the private party is currently incurring losses due to their own miscalculations and decrease in the volumes of passenger traffic due to global recession, they have been permitted to levy a hefty user development fee per passenger at the airports in Bangalore and Hyderabad. It is the public that has to pay for the business miscalculations of the private parties. This is the logic of PPP. Note that the government-run airports, even if they are making losses, are not allowed to do so since these are public utilities. Clearly, this BJP 'vision' is one of imposing greater burdens on the people.

Such a methodology of double-speak was also evident when the BJP's prime ministerial hopeful L K Advani while releasing this document turned turtle on `BJP's stand on the India-US nuclear deal'. On November 28, 2007, the following were Advani's last words in the debate on the India-US nuclear deal in the Lok Sabha. “I shall conclude my remarks by saying that the 123 Agreement, as it stands, is unacceptable to the nation because it is deeply detrimental to India's vital and long-term interests. Let me say that hereafter if NDA gets a mandate, we will renegotiate this deal to see that all the adverse provisions in it are either deleted or this treaty is rejected completely.”

Now what does he say? “I take cognisance of the fact that the government is a continuing matter. Treaty signed by an earlier government cannot be easily disregarded”. Leave alone rejecting the treaty “completely”, there is no mention of even an effort to “renegotiate” the treaty. Likewise, the word `renegotiate' does not appear in the voluminous manifesto that the BJP had issued earlier.

Clearly, the BJP was misleading the nation on the India-US nuclear deal, in an effort to mask its real pro-US imperialist stand. After all, it was the BJP-led NDA government that initiated the process of developing a strategic alliance of India with US imperialism. It was they who further strengthened relations with Israel. The UPA government under Dr Manmohan Singh's leadership has ably carried forward this process of subservience to US imperialism. Advani is now promising that if ever the BJP comes to power, it shall carry forward this process further and make India a junior subordinate ally of US imperialism.

Such are the perfidious games that the BJP plays. What they say for public consumption is entirely different and, at times, the complete opposite of their real agenda and intentions. The most blatant expression of this is their so-called acceptance of the secular democratic foundations of the modern Indian Republic. Functioning as the political arm of the RSS, they want to convert this Republic into a rabidly intolerant fascistic “Hindu Rashtra”. It is for this precise reason that they must be prevented from holding the reins of State power. Indian people must, for the sake of a better India and a better future of its people, ensure that a non-Congress, non-BJP secular alternative forms the government post 2009 general elections.

Source: pd.cpim.org

Probe likely into NCC fund scam

The Meghalaya Police is considering seeking the help of either CID or CBI to probe the alleged embezzlement of Central funds worth
several lakhs by a few NCC officials. The funds were meant for promoting NCC activities in the North-East.

East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police Last Born Rapthap told reporters here that the cops alone would not be able to investigate the case and that he had written to the headquarters seeking to hand over the case to CID or CBI.

"Since the case is related to embezzlement of Central funds, we feel that investigating agencies like CID or CBI would be more appropriate to take up this case," Rapthap said. An FIR had been lodged by NCC deputy director general Brigadier P R Sharma with the Cantonment Police Beat House here alleging that two officials of the Shillong-based Directorate of National Cadet Corps (NCC) had misused demand drafts meant for various NCC group headquarters in the North-East amounting to Rs 43 lakh.

The SP said the preliminary findings of the state police indicated that over Rs 66 lakh of Central funds were misappropriated. However, neither NCC officials involved in the scam were arrested nor could the passbooks used for depositing the money be seized, Rapthap added.

Police had earlier stated that the investigation would take some time, as a special investigation team (SIT) had to crosscheck the records at the Central Bank here. A separate court of inquiry has also been ordered by the NCC headquarters and three senior officials are already in the city to conduct the court of inquiry.

Brigadier Sharma, in the FIR, said demand drafts worth Rs 43 lakh had been "misused". Sources said the amount was only the "tip of an iceberg" and further investigations would reveal the real magnitude of the scandal involving senior NCC officials.

According to the FIR, the amount that was siphoned off was on demand draft payable to various group headquarters in the region. They include the demand draft of the Central Bank of India dated December 22, 2008 payable at Kohima NCC Group headquarter amounting to Rs 3,24,788, a de-mand draft dated June 24, 2008 worth Rs 2 lakh payable at Guwahati, NCC Group headquarter, another dated July 12, 2008 amounting to Rs 3 lakh payable at Guwahati and a demand draft dated December 22, 2008 amounting to Rs 6 lakh payable at Guwahati. The disappearance of funds came to light after the NCC's Dibrugarh group headquarters informed the Shillong Directorate in March that it had not received any demand draft worth Rs 9 lakh. The NCC Silchar group headquarters also lodged a similar complaint.

On receiving such complaints, accounts officer of NCC's Shillong office VW Lahkar crosschecked with the banks concerned about the status of the demand drafts and found that the drafts were cancelled and the signatures were forged.

According to the FIR, a clerk of the NCC directorate, D C Borah from Sivasagar district, Assam was involved in the scam in connivance with a few staff of the Shillong Cantonment Branch of the Central Bank of India. Sources revealed that Brigadier Sharma in a confidential report sent to the NCC authorities in the first week of April intimated the finding of the preliminary inquiry, which named NCC Director Colonel A K Barua as one of the officials involved in the scam. Both Colonel Barua and Borah had retired from service on January 31 this year.

Source: TOI