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Showing posts from April, 2013

Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Sheila Dikshit in most powerful on planet list

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Twelve Indians have found their place in the global magazine Foreign Policy's ambitious list of the '500 most powerful people on the planet', including Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Sheila Dikshit and Baba Ramdev.
Given India's strategic position in the southeast Asian region and its continuous battle against terror, three have been chosen under the 'force' category of the list. They are Defence Minister A K Antony, RAW chief Alok Joshi and National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon. As the leader of the government in the highest decision-making post, Manmohan Singh can also be fitted into this category though he has found himself under 'politics' – making the point clear that he has to give decision-making a boost to lift India out of its present economic stupor. Also under politics are Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Sheil Dikshit, Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj and Mumbai Mayor Sunil Prabhu. Sonia Gandhi is No 3 in The Indian…

Third flag meeting fails, Ladakh incursion row set to escalate

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The India-China stand-off in the Depsang plains of Ladakh is set to blow up into a major diplomatic row after the third flag meeting between the two armies, on which a lot of hopes were pinned, failed to achieve any breakthrough Tuesday.
On the contrary, the Chinese side was even more assertive and this, sources said, has brought the upcoming visit of new Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to India in late-May under a cloud, threatening to derail the positive start made in Durban during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's first meeting with new Chinese President Xi Jinping. Singh had described the incursion as "localised", but efforts to keep it contained received a major setback Tuesday. The flag meeting, which took place some 20 km from Chushul in Ladakh on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control, was set up after lengthy deliberations at the diplomatic level through the joint mechanism on boundary issues led by the MEA's joint secretary (East Asia). At the meeting, sour…

Coalgate: Assistant Solicitor General Harin Rawal resigns over CBI report on coal scam

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The coalgate scam today claimed its first victim as Additional Solicitor General Harin Rawal resigned from the post in the wake of the controversy over his statement in the Supreme Court that the CBI probe report was not shared with anyone.
Rawal, who was replaced as the CBI counsel in the crucial hearing today, handed over his resignation to Law Minister Ashwani Kumar in the evening. "I have submitted my resignation to the Law Minister," he said. Coal Scam: Harin Rawal's letter to Attorney General His resignation came a day after he created a political storm by writing a hard-hitting letter to Attorney General G E Vahanvati in which he accused him of interfering in the preparation of CBI's probe report and was made a scapegoat in the matter. Rawal, who was the ASG since July 4, 2009, said he has no regret in writing the controversial letter in which he claimed that the Attorney General was also present in the meeting on March 6 when the draft status report was shared…

PHC bans Musharraf from contesting polls for life

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PESHAWAR: A larger bench of Peshawar High Court (PHC) on April 30 imposed lifetime ban on former President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf from contesting the elections.
Meanwhile, the Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC) No-1, Rawalpindi, put Musharraf on a 14-day judicial remand till May 14 in the murder case of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
A four-member bench of the PHC, comprising Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, Justice Malik Manzoor Hussain, Justice Syed Afsar Shah and Justice Ikramullah Khan, not only dismissed Musharraf’s appeals against the decision of an Appellate Election Tribunal declaring him as disqualified from contesting election on NA-32 in Chitral of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but also imposed a lifetime ban on him from contesting elections for the seats of national and provincial assemblies and the Senate.
“We are of the considered view that a person (Musharraf), who had got not a little respect from the whole judiciary and just now how he can pass through small campus of…

Musharraf framed by his past

On April 20, 2013, the anti-terrorist court in Islamabad declared that the former dictator and ex-Army Chief, Pervez Musharraf, is to be held on judicial remand for 14 days, after which he is to reappear in court to answer for the illegal detention of judges in 2007. 
Earlier, the former general's legal team was working to secure bail on a number of cases brought against him, such as the killing of Akbar Khan Bugti in 2006 and the murder of Benazir in 2007. 
The writing has been on the wall for Musharraf ever since he returned from self-imposed exile. The cold reception at the airport, the nominal presence of his supporters and his party, the failure to get registered to contest next month's general election, death threats from the Taliban and to cap it all off, the general is embroiled in a number of legal cases. 
Even his closest ally and personal mentor, America, has deserted him in his hour of need. On April 19, 2013, the US Embassy was quick to distance itself from one of Am…

Full disclosure: CBI lists all changes made by Law Min, babus in Coalgate report?

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Besides accepting that Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and two senior bureaucrats had perused and made changes to the status report on investigations into the coal block allocation scandal, the CBI has also reportedly told the apex court exactly what changes were made in the original report. Along with its second status report on investigations in the case, the CBI has given a detailed listing of every change made by the Law Minister and the two bureaucrats to the original status report and has submitted copies of the original status report and the final one submitted to the court, The Indian Express on April 29. “If you look at the two drafts, maybe 15-20 per cent changes were effected at the behest of the minister and the bureaucrats,” an unnamed law officer is quoted as saying in the report. Will the CBI’s report and the CBI director Ranjit Sinha’s (above)  affidavit spell more trouble for the Law Minister? PTI The second status report along with the modified first status report of the …

Coal scam report: CBI submitted original, changed report to Supreme Court

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The CBI is believed to have submitted in its status report contents of its original investigation details along with the changes made in them before the Supreme Court which will hear the case tomorrow.
The investigating agency, looking into alleged irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks, has submitted an affidavit along with relevant annexures explaining the changes made in its status report to the apex court on Friday, the CBI spokesperson said. She, however, declined to divulge details of the second status report filed by the CBI. The agency has filed its first status report on March 8. CBI Director Ranjit Sinha has admitted before the SC that its status report on the coal blocks probe was shared with Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and joint secretary level officers in Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and Coal Ministry. The admission triggered an opposition attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and demands for Law Minister's resignation. The demand was, however, rejected…

The honesty and integrity myth: Will the real Manmohan Singh please stand up?

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“The only non-depreciating asset a person can have is his image,” said a Delhi-based PR and image-guru several years ago. “Image – build it and protect it,” added another image-entrepreneur from Chennai almost at the same time. Both these aphorisms together would have made a perfect tag-line for Manmohan Singh who became the Prime Minister of India much later. By strange coincidence, they also justify the irony that the man who heads a government steeped in the biggest known scams in independence India is credited with impeccable honesty and integrity. For Singh’s crafty honesty-campaigners, it didn’t matter that he headed a government that has seen scams that could have drowned many small countries – the cash-for-votes, the 2G, the CWG and the coalgate – and many minor ones. By repeating it a million times, the Congress and even his opponents, including Anna Hazare and Ramdev, made him India’s most honest man. Is honesty an abstract philosophical attribute in the real world of polit…

The Supreme Court has observed that the UPA government’s decision to vet the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report on the coal blocks scam is a massive “breach of trust”. It has asked the government to explain why it was kept in the dark about how and why the report was shared. If this is not reason enough for the PM to resign, it is at least reason enough to question the Honest Sam credentials of Manmohan Singh. Till recently, the Prime Minister has always benefited from the Law of First Impressions. Human beings tend to make up their minds quickly on people they see – even in a few seconds – and despite mounting evidence to the contrary, they will disbelieve their own eyes. Manmohan Singh. AFP. This is why we refuse to believe that Manmohan Singh can be anything but the decent guy we thought he was when he first came to public notice in 1991. We saw a simple person, who was self-effacing to fault. We liked what we saw, and then refused to change our minds whatever the evidence. The Law of First Impressions tends to be so strong that even the Supreme Court – which is supposed to go by cold, hard evidence – fell for it in 2011. In its judgment on the case filed by Subramanian Swamy, who had sought the PM’s sanction for prosecuting A Raja in the 2G scam, the Supreme Court gave Manmohan Singh the benefit of doubt and said the one-year delay was not the PM’s fault. The judgment, instead, blamed the PM’s advisors. “Unfortunately those who were expected to give proper advice to Respondent No 1 (the PM) and place the full facts and legal position before him failed to do so. We have no doubt that if Respondent No 1 had been apprised of the true factual and legal position regarding the representation made by the appellant (i.e. Subramanian Swamy), he would surely have taken appropriate decision and would not have allowed the matter to linger for a period of more than one year.” Instead of merely rapping the PM on the knuckles for not allowing Raja to be prosecuted, the court went by its own version of first impressions. How can this saint do any wrong, was its logic! Unfortunately, the time has come to recondition our minds. The mask has fallen. The Prime Minister, whose personal honesty everyone vouches for even without knowing anything about him, is now defending the indefensible. A few days ago, he defended Law Minister Ashwani Kumar for vetting the CBI’s report on the coal blocks allocation scam (Coalgate) and making changes in it – when the court had explicitly asked the CBI not to. The CBI – luckily for the truth – has refused to play ball, and has filed two versions of its coal report – one without the changes suggested by the law ministry and other officials, and one with the changes, reports the The Indian Express. The line linking Kumar’s actions to the PM are clear: the coal ministry was directly under Manmohan Singh during the years when coal blocks were allocated free to many dubious parties. If the Law Minister was trying to shield anybody, it was probably the PM and his government. So it is not surprising that the PM has rejected out of hand the demand for the resignation of Ashwani Kumar. If anyone had to benefit from the changes made in the CBI draft, it was the PM’s reputation for probity. It is now clear that at least two law ministry officials – Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati, and the Additional Solicitor Harin Rawal, had misled the Supreme Court earlier, when they said that the CBI report had not be shared with the political executive. This is why the court has talked about “breach of trust”. Once again, the question to ask is why did so many government officials have to lie: to save the reputation of the government and its “honest” Prime Minister? In the case of A Raja, we wanted to believe the Prime Minister because he tried to change the way spectrum was sold. At best, despite Raja’s claims, it appears that the PM did not press his point on spectrum auctions and allowed air waves to be gifted away at prices determined in 2001. It’s a sin of omission. But the coal scam happened right in the PM’s own ministry. He has no Raja to blame for hijacking the agenda. There was no coalition dharma to allude to for the mischief. The coal ministry has always been with the Congress and the PM. The tragedy is that so many people are being forced to utter falsehoods in this quest to protect the reputation of the government (already in tatters) and its head. Sorry, Dr Singh, this time it is different. We can’t give you the benefit of doubt.

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The Supreme Court has observed that the UPA government’s decision to vet the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report on the coal blocks scam is a massive “breach of trust”. It has asked the government to explain why it was kept in the dark about how and why the report was shared. If this is not reason enough for the PM to resign, it is at least reason enough to question the Honest Sam credentials of Manmohan Singh. Till recently, the Prime Minister has always benefited from the Law of First Impressions. Human beings tend to make up their minds quickly on people they see – even in a few seconds – and despite mounting evidence to the contrary, they will disbelieve their own eyes.
Manmohan Singh. AFP. This is why we refuse to believe that Manmohan Singh can be anything but the decent guy we thought he was when he first came to public notice in 1991. We saw a simple person, who was self-effacing to fault. We liked what we saw, and then refused to change our minds whatever the eviden…

Karnataka Assembly polls 2013: AIADMK makes its debut in the state

Bangalore: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's party, The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), will be for the first time field candidates in the old Mysore region in the upcoming Karnataka Assembly polls. 
The party has ironically been accused of voiding the farmers of the region with water from the Cauvery river. 

The AIADMK is fielding candidates in Chamarajanagar district's Hanur constituency and Narasimharaja constituency of Mysore, apart from three more candidates in the upcoming Karnataka assembly poll. 

Hanur has a significant number of Tamil base that the party is looking to tap. 

The AIADMK candidate from the seat was however unwilling to differentiate among voters on linguistic basis and told a newspaper that the party has plans to field candidates in all upcoming elections. 

AIADMK's candidate, M Ravi, a Tamilian settled in Hanur, told the newspaper, “Our party chief, Jayalalithaa has assigned me a specific job and I am doing it. I want to carry…

Congress should reveal their CM candidate in Karnataka: Narendra Modi

Bangalore: Addressing the much awaited poll rally here on Sunday, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi hit out at the Congress party for failing on all fronts and urged the people of Karnataka to vote the BJP back to power in the state. 

Lashing out at the Congress Modi said that the country knows too well as to what the grand old part was capable of and so the voters would not make the mistake of handing over the reins of Karnataka to them. 

Urging the voters not to trust the Congress he said, “Can anyone make the mistake of liking the Congress? People gave Delhi to them and faced the consequences.” 

“I want voters to ask the Congress - every form of government is in Delhi and CBI is also in Delhi. However, is Delhi safe and secure? So how can anyone have faith in the Congress? If they cannot manage Delhi, how can they manage Karnataka,” he asked. 

“We have to save the state. Karnataka should not go into the hands of the Congress party,” he added. 

Attacking the Congress further Modi said…

Sajjan Kumar acquitted in 1984 riots case; shoe thrown at judge

New Delhi: In a big relief to Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, a special CBI court in Karkardoma on April 30 acquitted him of all charges leveled against him in a case related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi. 

The case pertains to violence in the Delhi Cantonment area. The Congress leader was charged with murder, robbery, rioting, inciting violence, and damaging public property in that case. 

The verdict left various Sikh groups in a state of anguish and anger and triggered sharp protests outside the district court. 

So deep was the resentment over Kumar's acquittal that a shoe was thrown at District Judge JR Aryan after he pronounced his verdict. 

Judge Aryan, however, convicted all the five accused in the case. 

District Judge JR Aryan had reserved the verdict on the case on April 16, after counsels for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the six accused concluded their final arguments in the case. 

This is one of the three cases registered against the former Congress MP f…