Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bravo Congress, Congrats for finding a fellow 'corrupt' traveller in DMK

Congrats Congress leadership. Saint ..... and the virtuous Crown Prince!
and of not forgetting Dr Honest Manmohan Singh....
Compliments for finding a fellow traveller like DMK. In corruption and
holier than thou, u r truly marching ahead.
What else can explain the party's dadagiri to underline a parlaimentary panel.
I am not saying M M Joshi was a sacred cow. But parlaimentary panels do not function --- may be they do in Italy and 24 Akbar Road -- like the manner Congress, DMK did by striking deals with Samajwadi and BSP.
The corruotion cycle has come a full scale cirle.... It is important
how you conduct and the conduct in PAC deliberations on April 29, 2011
does not do India proud.
Unprecedented is too small a shock!
Drama over questioning PM’s men, drama over electing a PAC chairman.

Crown Prince, Vituous Dr Singh and the Saint from Italy, when was the last time PAC chairman elected by votes?

The party-line divisions in the JPC headed by Congress MP P C Chako had practically existed from day one. With PAC also the differences came to the fore on April 15, 2011 first when sharp exchanges among members forced cancellation of sitting and quizzing of the Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister T.K.A. Nair.
How could Congress allow Dr Manmohan Singh’s men to be questioned? Nair and Chandrashekhar cannot be summoned to spill the beans.
The Congress and DMK members of the PAC headed by BJP’s M M Joshi questioned the need for deposition by the cabinet secretary and PMO officials on the technical ground that a Joint Parliamentary Committee had been set up. Aruna Kumar Vandavalli, Naveen Jindal and Satpal Maharaj are Congress members from Lok Sabha and Danapal Venugopal is from DMK.
Only the Law Secretary D.R. Meena, who was made to wait for several hours, did appear briefly the panel. CBI Director A.P. Singh and Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati also could not appear that day.
A stunned and visibly embarrassed PAC, Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi on April 15 also called of his scheduled media briefing as some members even questioned the rationale behind such exercises.
Well, that's a valid point. Dr Joshi should have avoided the media exercises. But that's another point.

On April 21, the PAC held an “internal meeting” apparently to thrash out the differences. However, the differences persisted rather strongly.

Samba Siva Rao, Aruna Kumar Vandavalli, Jitender Singh Alwar, Saifuddin Soz and Naveen Jindal yet again raised objections to the PAC pursuing the probe as JPC was already on work. With differences remaining unresolved, the possibility of a consensus PAC report on 2G scam now looks sealed.
N K Singh (JD-U) and B. Mahtab (BJD) were among the opposition members insisting that PAC, whose term ends on April 30, should continue its work and finalize a report too.
"We have made enormous progress in the case in the past one-and-a-half years. No one should cite the sub-judice argument as the same would apply to the JPC as well," N K Singh is learnt to have said. Mahtab backed chairman Joshi’s stand for finalizing a report saying several people have made elaborate depositions in the past few weeks and all these would have no meaning if PAC does not finalize a report.

Prior to that in the first week of April, the PAC held two-day special sittings where in corporate honchos like Ratan Tata, Anil Ambani, DB Etisalat CEO Atul Jhamb who represented Vivek Goenka, Unitech's Sanjay Chandra and lobbyist Niira Radia were questioned.
Among other matters, it is understood, BJP’s Yashwant Sinha took exceptions on Tata sending a sealed letter to DMK chief Karunanidhi showering praise on A Raja. During questioning, Tata, described as being ‘candid’ by PAC chairman Joshi, confessed that his group had a "chemistry problem" with Raja's predecessor, and DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran, who was telecom minister in UPA I for first few years.
Niira Radia’s contentions that some of the ‘tapes’ were doctored evoked mild warning from chairman Joshi.
To one question, she reportedly told the panel, “Sir, I am too small … to” suggest and influence cabinet formation. She was specifically asked why and how she had launched a campaign to “re-install Raja as telecom minister in May 2009”.
Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) Chairman Anil Ambani was quizzed for an hour the next day on his company's links with Swan Telecom and on the dual technology issue. Members quizzed him why he sold of stake in Swan just before license was granted and asked to share his views on the first come first serve policy, which has now come under serious questioning.
“Anil Ambani was candid mostly but at some places refused to answer as matter was subjudice,” remarked Joshi later.
But now, nothing seems to be more important than scuttling a report which blames A Raja, now in jail and the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh for his so called alleged 'mute spectator behaviour.
After all, he is their 'honest' Prime Minister, who got a pat more than once from US President - from George Bush to Obama.

Hours after being party to the Congress-DMK coup, senior Samajwadi Party MP Mr Revati Raman Singh, who supported the UPA dispensation in today's crucial PAC meeting, defended his move saying he was against the report in the present form as he had very less time to study the report.
"It would have been better if the meeting was postponed and even if
the term of the PAC was to expire the next committee could have taken up the draft report," he said.
The excuse is too simplistic to stomach. Hazmolla cannot do it.
Dr Honest Manmohan Singh, please recommend Kaushik Basu for Bharat Ratna for his prophecy to make bribery legal! You are already implementing the
philosophy ....... one way or the other.

(ends)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Congress U turn on Lok Pal Panel puts Digvijay, Amar Singh on mat

Only Congress is capable of making these u turns, sometime
even shamelessly!
First, Digvijay Singh and his gang comprising Amar Singh (a relative of his) were let loose to attack Anna Hazare's associates Shanti Bhushan, his son Prashant and also Justice Santosh Hegde.
Fearing backlash over constant attack by some Congress leaders against civil society members of the Lok Pal drafting panel, the Congress leadership is understood to have advised partymen not to
express their "personal" views.
The decision to 'gag' the party leaders come close on the heels of
heated exchange of words between senior leader Digvijay Singh
and one Lok Pal drafting committee member Justice Santosh Hegde.
Miffed by personal attack from Mr Digvijay Singh, Mr Hegde had
threatened to quit the panel. Moreover, the CD controversy on Bhushans
- raked up basically by Mr Amar Singh is also
seen as Congress instigation.
Apparently asked to restrain himself, former Madhya Pradesh
CM and party general secretary Mr Digvijay Singh, in the thick of a
controversy over remarks on the Bhushans and Justice Hegde, first made a modest climb down in his pitch and said
the Congress and the government were in no way connected with the
alleged smear campaign against civil society representatives.
Maintaining that he had at "no time" attacked Justice Hegde,
Mr Singh said he had only stated that despite Lokayukta in Karnataka there was "rampant corruption" under the BJP regime.
"As far as Congress and government of India is concerned, we are
absolutely clear that we would not hamper the proceedings of the
drafting committee," said Mr Singh, known for enjoying good rapport with
Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul.

In the end, the core committee got into action.
After ticking off party leaders for making
constant attack on Lok Pal drafting
panel members, the Congress core committee on April 22 sought to end the
mudslinging on the civil society
representatives and came out openly "in full support of the panel".

Speaking after the Congress's core group meeting, party veteran and
Finance Minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee said the party was in no way connected with the alleged smear campaign against the civil society representatives especially against former union law minister Mr Shanti Bhushan and his son Prashant.
"The party has not and will not hamper the work of the joint committee
to draft the Lok Pal Bill. The government members will work with Anna Hazare and colleagues to draft a strong Lok Pal bill", he said
also clarifying that "working of Lok Pal Bill drafting panel won't be
affected by controversies over some members".
"The contrversiies have been raised about members of the joint
committee on the Lok Pal Bill. I would like to make it clear that
the view of government as also the view of party, the Congress, the working of
Lokpal Bill drafting panel won't be affected by these controversies,"
he said after a 90-minute meeting of the core group.

The euphoria over the Anna Hazare's seminal campaign against
corruption finally taking off, has been muted all of last week, after
questions were raised first over a CD controversy pertaining to Mr
Shanti Bhushan and then he and his son getting prized land in Noida
and alleged evasion of stamp duty in Allahabad.

Karnataka Lokayukta, Justice Santosh Hegde, a member of the joint
committee, was also not spared after senior Congress leader Mr
Digvijay Singh yesterday maintained that as Lokayukta Justice Hegde
had failed to fight corruption in Karnataka.
A miffed Justice Hegde has threatened to quit the panel saying he
would not be party to such a fight.

It may be mentioned here that last week, Anna Hazare had written to
Congress president Sonia Gandhi urging her to rein in party leaders
from the smear campaign against the panel members.
Replying to which, Ms Gandhi had said her party did not support any
kind of smear campaign and
was committed to root out corruption.
The core group's decision and Mr Mukherjee's statement also come a day
after the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said that
the government hopes to introduce the Lok Pal Bill during the monsoon
session of Parliament.

The Congress party's move seems is directed at averting any further
controversy. The episode, party insiders feel could boomerang
on the government in the event Justice Santosh Hegde - as threatened -
quits the panel.
Hegde has said that he would announce his final decision only tomorrow.
Mr Hegde had said that he was "very very hurt" by Mr Singh's criticism
of his track record as Karnataka's Lokayukta.

The Lok Pal Bill is aimed at combating corruption including at high
places. The committee in charge of writing it was set up earlier this
month after a hunger strike by 72-year-old Gandhian Anna Hazare. He
became the unifying factor in an unprecedented movement that demanded
the government prove its intent to introduce a radical and tough new
law, which is pending over the last four-five decades.
The Lok Pal Bill Committee pairs five ministers with five activists Mr
Hazare, Mr Santosh Hegde, Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, and
former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan, who was declared the co-chair of
the committee, at par with the Finance Minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee.

(ends)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Casualty for 2G scam probe again: Drama over questioning PM’s men

The party-line divisions in JPC had practically existed from day one. With another parliamentary panel, the PAC, also the differences came to the fore on April 15, 2011 when sharp exchanges among members forced cancellation of sitting and quizzing of the Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister T.K.A. Nair – both known for enjoying Dr Manmohan Singh’s trust for quite sometime now.
The Congress and DMK members of the PAC headed by BJP’s M M Joshi questioned the need for deposition by the cabinet secretary and PMO officials on the technical ground that a Joint Parliamentary Committee had been set up. Aruna Kumar Vandavalli, Naveen Jindal and Satpal Maharaj are Congress members from Lok Sabha and Danapal Venugopal is from DMK.
Only the Law Secretary D.R. Meena, who was made to wait for several hours, did appear briefly the panel. CBI Director A.P. Singh and Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati also could not appear that day.
A stunned and visibly embarrassed PAC, Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi on April 15 also called of his scheduled media briefing as some members even questioned the rationale behind such exercises.
On April 21, the PAC held an “internal meeting” apparently to thrash out the differences.
But the efforts yielded no results as Congress and DMK members again opposed PAC probe - something opposed by the opposition party members.
Prior to that in the first week of April, the PAC held two-day special sittings where in corporate honchos like Ratan Tata, Anil Ambani, DB Etisalat CEO Atul Jhamb who represented Vivek Goenka, Unitech's Sanjay Chandra and lobbyist Niira Radia.
Among other matters, it is understood, BJP’s Yashwant Sinha took exceptions on Tata sending a sealed letter to Karunanidhi showering praise on A Raja. During questioning, Tata, described as being ‘candid’ by PAC chairman Joshi, confessed that his group had a "chemistry problem" with Raja's predecessor, and DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran, who was telecom minister in UPA I for first few years.
Niira Radia’s contentions that some of the ‘tapes’ were doctored evoked mild warning from chairman Joshi.
To one question, she reportedly told the panel, “Sir, I am too small … to” suggest and influence cabinet formation. She was specifically asked why and how she had launched a campaign to “re-install Raja as telecom minister in May 2009”.
Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) Chairman Anil Ambani was quizzed for an hour the next day on his company's links with Swan Telecom and on the dual technology issue. Members quizzed him why he sold of stake in Swan just before license was granted and asked to share his views on the first come first serve policy, which has now come under serious questioning.
“Anil Ambani was candid mostly but at some places refused to answer as matter was subjudice,” remarked Joshi later.

The fiery war of words in Parliament and outside preceded the formation of Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the 2G scam. But no sooner the scene of yet another round of confrontation between the law makers, and crucially the JPC chairman P C Chacko and his counterpart heading the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Murli Manohar Joshi have surfaced. Chacko, a Congressman, has raised the bogey of ‘parallel probe’, something dismissed by the BJP veteran – who also insists that no one can give orders to PAC to close its shop.
When a journalist quizzed P C Chacko, the nonchalant chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) set up to probe the 2G scam about the “real priorities” of the panel, the underlining message was in the question itself.
On his part, Chacko, a Congress MP from Kerala, asserted that his panel is certain about its goal; but it’s functioning so far – the initial days and only one formal sitting – suggest that somewhere the JPC is going off-track.
In the eye of the public, the image of Congress-led coalition vis-à-vis handling the vexed corruption menace has gone all-time low. The Anna Hazare-led stir over the demand for an anti-graft Lok Pal legislation was only a pointer.
In such a challenging time, Congress should be cautious about pursuing its role in the running of the parliamentary panels. The initial impression set by Chacko-led JPC does not inspire confidence at all, one is afraid.

If the panel report in a slight way appears to be an eye-wash, the government’s problems would only increase manifold.

Earlier too, the JPC probe on corruption cases – like that on Bofors and the latest 2008 ‘cash-for-vote’ scandal did not convince the country nor opposition parties. The Wikileaks episode lately has only proved that the separate notes of dissent to the 2008 cash-for-vote scam by CPI-M member Mohammad Salim and Vijay Malhotra (BJP) carried some merits. Therefore, the onus is on the ruling party and of course the two parliamentary panels meant to dig out the truth. The Hazare stir has also proved for once that parliamentary lapses could lead the countrymen to the streets. Dr Manmohan Singh’s regime should take the message pretty well!
The moot question is , what is more important, nailing the wrong doers of 2G spectrum or fight it out on whether PAC and JPC should do that.
Congress is yet again on a new game -- instead of working on the draft for Lok Pal bill, Digvijay Singhs have been let loose to defame Shanti Bhushan and his lawyer son Prashant. Are you on the right track, dear UPA regime?