Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tatra scam: 'Govt imposed deal on the Army'

Source: Pradip R Sagar & Saikat Datta  
New Delhi: Union Defence Minister AK Antony is either unaware of the defence audit wing’s warnings against the outdated and overpriced Tatra trucks or he is feigning ignorance.
In fact, the audit wing, which comes under the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG), found in 2006 that orders for Tatra trucks were placed after considerable manipulation “to keep the production line of BEML alive”.
If Antony was to go through the files, he would have noticed the several audit findings that point out Tatra trucks were imposed on the Army many a time.
Of course, it would be unfair to pin the entire blame on Antony. Several army officers, too, ensured that the racket kept rolling ever since the first truck was purchased in 1986. Some of them or maybe all those involved will have to answer the CBI in the coming days.
Of the various audit findings, DNA found one buried in the files of the Master General of Ordnance (MGO) and the War Establishment (WE) — the two directorates in the army headquarters responsible for all procurements.
In 2006, the defence audit wing audited the performance of the army’s vehicle management. S Kalyanraman, a senior audit officer in the wing, chanced upon a transaction with several anomalies in connection with the purchase of Tatra trucks. In a query note, accessed by DNA, to the army headquarters, he pointed out these discrepancies.
The infantry — the largest and most potent combat arm of the Indian Army — Kalyanraman noted in his query, needed high-mobility vehicles to rush troops to the front during war.
Based on its experience in the Kargil war in 1999 and during Operation Parakram in 2002, the army issued a fresh set of parameters for buying trucks (six-wheel drive trucks under GSQR 486). And three firms, BEML with its Tatra trucks, Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland, were shortlisted.
Strangely, BEML made it to the list with the Tatra T-815, a four-wheel drive truck. Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland were running six-wheel drive trucks on trial when the list was prepared.
"Subsequently the LPTA 1621 truck of Tata Motors qualified for induction in the army because the firm had carried out the suggested modifications successfully and it was approved by VRDE", Kalyanraman said in his note.
But inexplicable changes followed and an order for 490 trucks were placed with BEML in March 2006 at an estimated cost of Rs254.54. Kalyanraman's audit investigation revealed that the order went to BEML after "secretary (defence production) strongly recommended" the public sector unit to the then defence secretary and the then vice-chief of the army.
Shekhar Dutt was the defence secretary then. He is now the governor of Chhatisgarh. Considered close to the senior Congress leadership, Dutt received several assignments after retirement.
The defence ministry justified the switch by changing the parameters. It used a GSQR meant for some other truck to push the deal in favour of BEML. All this was done "to keep the production line of BEML alive".
Last year, too, the CAG reported negatively against BEML and Tatra. The CBI, a source said, will use these reports as evidence in its investigation into the Tatra scam.
The audit report (No. 24 of 2011-12) on defence services noted: "The increase of Rs352 crore under heavy and medium vehicles was mainly due to… additional requirement of funds for the new scheme (HMV Tatra Quantity 788)".
At least Rs314.85 crore was paid as advance for contracts that were hastily pushed through in March 2010 "for Tatra vehicles". But "no benefit could be achieved" and there was a case of "over-booking".
Once General VK Singh took over as the army chief, he refused to authorise a purchase of Tatra trucks, following a "bribe offer of Rs 14 crore". The general has accused Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh of making the bribe offer. The CBI is investigating the matter.
But the fact is Kalyanraman's audit findings were buried under files and a scam was allowed to flourish for several years.
Tatra row grounds PC chopper plan  by NISHIT DHOLABHAI

Air India lies and gives lame excuses in US

Fined by US for sloppy website, AI defence: our employee died
Smita Aggarwal : New Delhi, Sat May 05 2012, 02:16 hrs

Air India has become the first airline to be penalised under new US rules enhancing protection for air travel consumers. By its own admission, that’s because it couldn’t update its website as the employee managing the site had died.
The US Transportation Department’s order dated May 3, imposing a $80,000 penalty on Air India, says the airline had failed to post contingency plans for lengthy tarmac delays and customer service plans, including fees for optional services, on its website on the date under consideration (August 23, 2011).
AI argued that it had uploaded its tarmac delay and customer service plans, but “these apparently did not properly appear due to a technical problem”.
The delay in “fixing” this was due to the “unfortunate and unexpected death of the employee responsible for making the changes”, AI argued during the mitigation proceedings.
The defence cut no ice with the US Transporation Department, which has directed the carrier to pay half of its $80,000 fine within a month.
Foreign carriers operating to the US with at least one aircraft of 30 or more seats are required to adopt contingency plans for lengthy tarmac delays as well as customer service plans, and to post these on their websites.
Ironically, AI has one of the world’s highest aircraft to manpower ratios of 1:230, against the norm of 1:115. It has also been grappling with problems of “rationalising” its staff that numbers over 38,000.
AI said it would seek “corrective” action by paying half the penalty and seeking a waiver on the rest. AI has 10 days to file a review petition.
Comment: Air India ought to have been fined in our own country. Shame other nations have to do our job. Cheaters can never be winners!

Can the Indian Army win a battle with toothless leaders heading it?

Paper General Singh spoke with claims PM and next Chief are kin
Express news service : New Delhi, Sat May 05 2012, 02:29 hrs

The Prime Minister’s Office today denied a report in Hindi weekly Chauthi Duniya that there is a relationship between the Prime Minister or his family members and the next Army chief Lt General Bikram Singh or his wife.
The denial came in response to a news report in the weekly, “Senadhyaksha Umra Vivad: Pradhanmantri Unki Patni Unki Saali” (General’s Age Row: PM, his Wife and Sister-in-Law), alleging that Army Chief General V K Singh got a raw deal in his date-of-birth controversy because the wife of next Army Chief Lt General Bikram Singh is the sister-in-law of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“The allegation that General Bikram Singh or his wife is related to the Prime Minister or any member of his family is completely untrue. This is a scurrilous, irresponsible and mischievous statement,” said a communique issued by the PMO today.
Incidentally, it was in an interview to Chauthi Duniya editor Santosh Bhartiya that General V K Singh had alleged that he was offered a bribe by an officer (Lt Gen Tejinder Singh) via an “indirect method.”
Bhartiya, when asked about the PMO’s denial, said: “I have not seen the denial. We will speak through the paper, Chauthi Duniya.”
The Chauthi Duniya report alleged: “Manmohan Singh ki patni Gursharan Kaur aur Bikram Singh ki patni Surjeet Kaur mauseri behnein hain. Is natey Bikram Singh ki patni Surjeet Kaur Pradhanmantri Manmohan Singh ki saali huin. General VK Singh se juda yeh saara prapanch Pradhanmantri ki saali ko khush karne ke liye hua.” (Manmohan Singh’s wife and Bikram Singh’s wife are cousins. This makes Bikram Singh’s wife the PM’s sister-in-law. The plot against General V K Singh was hatched to favour the PM’s sister-in-law.”
This is the second consecutive denial by the government to the Chauthi Duniya in as many days. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) yesterday denied its report where it had alleged that the MHA was tapping the phones of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, A K Antony, and Pranab Mukherjee among others with the help of top officials of IB and Defence Intelligence.
“The allegations that telephones were bugged at the instance of the Home Minister or the Ministry of Home Affairs is an outrageous lie,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a press communique on Thursday. “The Government reserves its right to take appropriate action against the offending newspaper,” the MHA communique added.
With less than a month to go before General Singh retires, Chauthi Duniya alleged that Home Minister P Chidambaram and HRD Minister Kapil Sibal — on behalf of the PM — approached Chief Justice of India Justice S H Kapadia ahead of the court’s verdict on General V K Singh’s age-row case to caution that a verdict against the government would create a Constitutional crisis.
“P Chidambaram and Sibal as an envoy to the PM met (CJI) Kapadia and said if the government’s stand goes wrong and General wins, then a Constitutional crisis will be created...On the day of verdict, February 10, people were expecting the victory of General but things turned upside down. The apex court rather providing with the judgment acted as an advisor,” the report said.
Comment: Truth will prevail ultimately. Ulterior motives to defraud the Military by Politicians will  corrode the patriotic forces faith in the MOD. The coveted chief reduced to the will of dynastic rule.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Defence Scams: MOD, MHA and MEA gang up

'Need Jan Lokpal': Team Anna 'exposes' defence scams
Last updated on: April 27, 2012 01:35 IST

In its first press meet ever since the second phase of the budget session began in the Parliament a few days ago, Team Anna on Thursday laid out how it plans to exert pressure for a strong and independent Jan Lokpal Bill.
 Team Anna claims to have been contacted by C Edmond Allen, a US citizen and a former business partner of Abhishek Verma, who is also the main accused in the Navy war room leak case and was jailed in Tihar for two years.
The team claims that Edmond sent them bundles of documents, also adding that they cannot fully verify the authenticity of them.
"The documents point out that there have been kickbacks and huge money laundering in several defence deals," Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal said. "And if one looks at these documents, it appears that the allegations made by Army General V K Singh were not just true, but an understatement of what's been happening," he added.
"These documents are evidence that there are unofficially-declared government agents, and anybody who wants to get work a deal with the government goes through them," Kejriwal accused.
Specifically, the documents first talks about a $100 million anti-dumping duty imposed on Israel-based ECI Telecom by the Union commerce ministry in December, 2010. A PTI report confirming the action was published on December 26, 2010.
By an agreement signed in February 2011, ECI Telecom hired Ganton Ltd, Edmond being its global head, and Ganton India [ Images ], a 100 percent subsidiary of Ganton Ltd. headed by Abhishek Verma to remove the custom duties fine levied by the government. The agreement promised to pay Ganton Ltd. $1 million if it succeeded in the deletion of the fine.
The documents further reveal an email dated December 17 2011, sent out by Abhishek Verma to Zeev, an ECI Telecom official, boasting that the prime minister and the foreign minister had been 'consulted'.
The mail says that Foreign Minister S M Krishna would be visiting Israel to review bi-lateral ties between the two countries. And as the email puts it, "Krishna will submit the report in favour of stronger ties with Israel and he will also recommend anti-dumping duty roll back."
Highlighting the incident, Kejriwal asked, "Are our prime minister and foreign minister fixed?"
"It seems that there are middlemen, who carry out the work for money," he said.
Team Anna claims that Edmond had been writing to the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate with all these documents they have now in possession; but there was no action against Abhishek Verma by these authorities.
"The CBI and ED who should have jumped on these documents, and investigated them, are busy saving and protecting him," he said. "And hence, we demand for a strong Jan Lokpal bill."
"This would have been thoroughly investigated had there been a strong Jan Lokpal Bill that would have allowed the CBI to work independently," Kejriwal said.
In another example of glaring money laundering in defence deals, the team targeted Abhishek Verma yet again and alleged that he took kickbacks and a had a role to play in the withdrawal of an order blacklisting Zurich-based Rheinmetall Air Defense AG.
In a show-cause notice dated February 4, 2011, Rheinmetall Air Defense was blacklisted over its involvement in the multi-crore ordnance factory scam, were it was alleged that the company had paid huge kickbacks to the employees.
And even though Rheinmetall denied any involvement, Team Anna and Kejriwal released documents saying that $530,000 worth consultancy services were paid to Ganton Ltd in January 2011, to have its name removed from the blacklist.
There is however enough skepticism about the credibility of Edmond himself, since he was a former business partner of Abhishek Verma, and still owes him money.
On the credibility of the documents, senior lawyer and Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan said, "Some of these documents are clearly authentic."
Team Anna is also considering taking the legal way and going to the court with the documents.
"After the Bofors scam, the government had pledged that no middleman will be allowed in defence dealings," Bhushan cited.
"He (Abhishek Verma) is a known crook, and if the government cannot take action against him, then we are seriously considering going to the court," Bhushan said.

Army chief hints at one-rank-one-pension

 Scheme to cost Rs 3,000 cr, but is less from the point of soldiers' welfare, says Gen V K Singh 
Press Trust of India / Ballia Apr 23, 2012, 14:48 IST

Chief of Army Staff General V K Singh today hinted at implementation of one-rank-one-pension and said all information regarding ex-army men would be collected and their problems would be sorted out.
Addressing a conference of ex-army men Gen Singh said that all efforts were being made to implement one-rank-one-pension from the last two years.
Stating efforts were also being made to remove disparity in the family pension scheme, the COAS said it may take time, but there would certainly be one or the other good outcome.
Implementation of the one-rank-one-pension scheme would involve an expenditure of Rs 3,000 crore, but it was less from the point of the welfare of the soldiers, Singh said.
He was here to unveil the statue of former Prime Minister Chadrashekhar at Devsthali.
Assuring soldiers after becoming pensioners they would not be forgotten, the General said both unit and headquarters have been directed to speedily redress pension related and other complaints of ex-army men.mHe said that all details of ex-army men, including that of their families, were being gathered and they would include whether any family member of an ex-army man was aggrieved and what his problem was.
Though the media was kept away from his programme some reporters managed to enter the venue and enquired Gen Singh whether he would hand over documents related to the bribery case to the CBI.
Gen Singh refused to comment and said that media should gather information from the CBI in this regard.
At a public function later, Singh emphasised on setting up of better educational institutions in rural areas and said they should focus on all round development of students.
"It is the responsibility of the younger generation to take the country forward," he added.
Chandrashekhar's son and MP Neeraj Shekhar and MLC Ravishanker Pappu were also present at the event.

Who is the Godfather of BEML Chief?

India Today
Neck-deep in corruption charges, BEML chief now accused of fraud
BEML chairman and managing director V R S Natarajan, who is facing a plethora of corruption charges, has another problem on hands.
Natarajan allegedly committed a fraud by providing different addresses and mentioning his wrong age while registering residential plots in Bangalore and Mysore through the BEML Employees' Cooperative Society (BECS). Disgruntled members of the BECS now plan to approach the Registrar of Cooperative Societies with their complaint.
The plots were allotted to Natarajan by BEML allegedly in violation of cooperative sector rules. According to disgruntled members of the BECS, Natarajan allegedly pressurised the BECS office-bearers to allot him two plots, measuring 6000 square feet combined, in BEML Layout 6th Stage, Bangalore, during January 2005, for a sum of Rs.10 lakh.
The Bangalore plots, number 795 and 796, are valued at more than Rs.1 crore as per current market price. At the time of registering the plots, Natarajan had reportedly provided his residential address in Bangalore, which is his official quarter provided by BEML. He had also mentioned his age as 53 years.
 During March 2005, the BECS allotted another plot (No 91) at BEML Layout in Mysore. In the registration papers, he has given a Mysore residence address and mentioned his age as 52 years.
"The allotments were made hastily, resulting in a number of discrepancies. The rules are clear about possessing multiple residential plots. Besides, he has mentioned his age wrong. We will lodge a complaint against him with the Registrar of Cooperative Societies," sources in the BECS said.
The acquisition of the three plots by Natarajan is in direct violation of the rules laid down by the Karnataka government. Section 10 (a) of the model bye-laws for the house building cooperative societies, implemented by the Karnataka government in 1993, clearly states that any member of a housing co-operative society is eligible for a site only if "he/she does not already own a plot or house/flat/apartment in his/her own name, or in the name of any other member of his/her family in the corporation limits/development authority limits/municipal limits in whose limit the society is situated".
In addition, Natarajan had not completed the mandatory 5 years of service in BEML to become eligible for allotment of the plots. Natarajan had joined BEML in 2002, and by 2005, within a span of three years, the BECS allotted the three plots to him.
In addition to the alleged out-of-turn allotment of plots to Natarajan, another 60 plots were allotted in violation of rules by BECS. Three BEML employees -- C Umesh, Martin Luther and S Vishwanatha -- alleged that they were transferred from Bangalore to Kolar Gold Fields office after they formally complained to the Registrar of Co-operative Societies against the unauthorized allotments. Subsequently, the three employees approached the high court seeking relief.
However, BECS office-bearers defended the allotments to Natarajan, saying there was nothing illegal in the process. In a statement, the BECS said, "Top officials of BEML in the management and Board have been given sites under the five per cent discretionary quota. Associate members too have been given sites as associate membership is allowed under the law. We have allotted 8,000 sites in Bangalore so far and that includes sites to directors, and chairmen from 1972 onwards."
But people, who own plots in Bangalore, cannot acquire more even under the discretionary quota. Former Supreme Court judge, Justice Shivaraj Patil, had to quit as the Lokayukta of Karnataka after it was found that he was in possession of multiple residential plots in Bangalore.
Read more at:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

President Pratiba and MEA sing the same tune

The disastrous presidency of Pratibha Devisingh Patil
Apr 28, 2012by Abhay Vaidya

At a time when issues relating to land grab by politicians and politically-connected builders have been hitting the headlines day in and day out, the 12th president of India, Patibha Devisingh Patil, and her advisors should have picked up the first signs of trouble over her post-retirement home in Pune.
Patil is technically right when she says that she cannot be accused of “land grab” in Pune. Her defence is that the 2.61 lakh sq ft land being developed for her bungalow premises under the Khadki cantonment Board in Pune would continue to remain with the defence ministry. The land ownership had not changed hands and so, she has not “grabbed” any land.
Where Patil erred was in being insensitive to the issues raised by ex-servicemen in Pune such as retired colonel Suresh Patil and his NGO, Justice for Jawans. An infuriated Patil asked why so much land was being allotted to president Patil and a 4,500 sq ft bungalow constructed afresh when there was an acute paucity of accommodation for soldiers posted in Pune.
Pratibha Patil will be remembered for setting new standards in lowering the dignity of the president's office. Adrian Streun/Reuters
They pointed out that the land for Patil’s bungalow was meant for military use. Patil and his fellow crusader and RTI activist Anup Awasthi also used the Right to Information Act, 2005 to get the facts on the president’s post-retirement entitlements for housing. The reply they got from the president’s office further intensified their agitation: Under the rules, a retired president was entitled to 2,000 sq ft of “living area” to be taken on lease in case suitable government residence was not available. In the case of a government residence being allotted to the ex-president, the size of the bungalow could go up to 5,498 sq.ft – the highest entitlement for a union minister.
Patil’s mistake was to get 2.61 lakh sq ft land allotted to her and authorise the construction of a new, 4,500 sq ft bungalow on it.
Was the president taking her lavish lifestyle at Rashtrapati Bhavan a bit too far? Given the honour, prestige and dignity associated with the president’s office, her senior staff should also have done some background checks and intelligence gathering on the ramifications of the controversy brewing in Pune. At the end of it, it is the president who has cut a sorry face, despite her protestations.
Although this president is from Maharashtra — the northern Jalgaon district to be precise — she has no emotional connect with the people of Pune. Just as her foreign trips sparked a controversy because of the Rs 200 crore expenditure and the large family entourage, domestically, her many trips to Pune also became a talking point. Her trips to Pune were far more frequent than those of her predecessor, president APJ Abdul Kalam, who had a hectic tour schedule. In Patil’s case, however, questions were asked whether her trips and extended halts in Pune had anything to do with family visits as her daughter’s family resides in Pune.
Given this background, her decision to settle in Pune after retirement did not come as a surprise. The family connection made headlines in 2010 when the Maharashtra government allotted commercially attractive plots of land to trusts headed by her Pune-based daughter Jyoti Rathore and Maharashtra rural development minister Jayant Patil.
The two plots with high commercial potential were allotted in village Jambhe in Mulshi taluka, within five km off the Mumbai-Pune expressway and the IT park at Hinjewadi. Rathore’s Maharashtra Mahila Udyam Trust had to pay just Rs 6.72 lakh to the government for the 7.93 hectare plot with an estimated market value of Rs 19 crore. The plan included 27,300 sq metre of land for a residential school, 20,000 sq metres for a college and 32,000 sq metres for a playground. Rathore had then told the media that the trust paid the money as per government procedure and ready-reckoner norms, and did not get the land at a “throwaway price”.
In February, president Patil’s son and Congress MLA Raosaheb Shekhawat was interrogated by the Amravati police in connection with the seizure of Rs 1 crore in hard currency from a car coming from Nagpur. The money was hidden in the luggage compartment of the car and the Maharashtra Congress and Shekhawat explained it as “party funds” meant for distribution to poor Congress candidates ahead of the civic polls on 16 February. Many found this explanation laughable and wondered whether the cash was meant to buy votes.
A career politician from Jalgaon known for her loyalty to the Nehru-Gandhi family, Patil gave the Congress led by Sonia Gandhi the historic opportunity of nominating India’s first woman president. This decision to give preference to loyalty and gender over merit while selecting the presidential nominee, proved disastrous as Patil was already enveloped by many controversies.
She had already been accused of mismanagement at the Sant Muktabai Cooperative Sugar Factory controlled by her and the alleged involvement of her brother GN Patil in the VG Patil murder case in Jalgaon in 2004. These were among the controversies that resurfaced the moment Patil was nominated by the UPA for presidentship in 2007.
Among all the 12 presidents of India, it is President Patil’s term that began and is now ending on a low note. The previous low point that the office of the president witnessed was when the seventh president of India, Giani Zail Singh, clashed with then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. He had also famously said that he was willing to become a sweeper but was asked by his leader (Indira Gandhi) to become the president of India.
It is now Patil, more than Singh, who will be remembered for setting new standards in lowering the dignity of the president’s office.
Comments: All her foreign visits were planned by MEA headed by a tainted Foreign Minister- both were lavish in denuding the exchequer... no accountibilty at all... victims are the citizens of the Nation. The tax payers taken for a joy ride.

Does Lt Gen Tejinder Singh have a Godfather in MHA?

CBI may go through phone calls made by Tejinder Singh
Published: Monday, Apr 23, 2012, 21:09 IST | Updated: Monday, Apr 23, 2012, 21:11 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Probing Gen VK Singh's complaint of alleged bribery offer made to him, the CBI will go through call records of retired Lt Gen Tejinder Singh to find out whether he was in touch with Vectra Chairman Ravinder Rishi or his associates before or after meeting the army chief.
CBI sources said the Army chief in his recent meeting with sleuths has assured them that he would provide some "clinching" evidence to buttress his complaint that Tejinder Singh had allegedly offered him a bribe of Rs 14 crore to clear supply of a tranche of all-terrain vehicles to the Army.
The CBI has met Army Chief on Friday last week to seek clarifications on his complaint but it is yet to meet Lt Gen (Retd) Tejinder Singh.
The agency, which has registered a preliminary enquiry in connection with complaint submitted by the Army Chief, is relying on three documents -- visitor's register, Record of Discussion of Army and documents related to Tatra, they said.
The sources said analysis of call records would give a clear picture about the allegations levelled by Gen Singh in his complaint. Tejinder Singh had refuted the allegations against him and even filed a defamation case against the Army Chief and other senior officers.
They claimed entries in the visitor's register show that Tejinder Singh did visit Gen Singh at his office on September 22, 2010 while the former had said that meeting was for personal reasons.
The Record of Discussion is an official document in which senior officials like Army Chief document communications, instructions, deliberations and decisions taken during a meeting, they said.

Anti Corruption Activists unite the MP's

Now, Ramdev draws ire of MPs PTI New Delhi, May 3, 2012
After social activist Anna Hazare and his team, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev has stoked a controversy calling MPs “dacoits and murderers,” evoking strong condemnation from parliamentarians who asserted that such “insults” are unacceptable.
Addressing the media while launching his month-long yatra in Chhattisgarh's Durg on Tuesday, Baba Ramdev said there were good people among the parliamentarians and he respected them. “But there are dacoits, murderers, illiterates among them. We have to save Parliament. We have to remove corrupt people.”
He accused the MPs of not caring for farmers and labourers.
“They are friends and slaves of money. They are illiterate, dacoits and murderers. They are devils in the form of humans, who we have elected to those posts. They are not worth it,” he said.
The issue was raised in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday with Speaker Meira Kumar and several MPs, including senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, not mincing words in deprecating the Yoga guru's utterances and asked people to show respect to Parliament.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad was also unsparing in his criticism saying the yoga guru was a frustrated man and a “mental case.”
“Ramdev is frustrated, whoever speaks like this is frustrated. He is a mental case,” Mr. Prasad told reporters.
Samajwadi Party member Shailendra Kumar sought action under the rules of parliamentary privilege against people making such “derogatory” references against MPs. Such derogatory remarks made openly on public platforms amounted to breach of privilege of Parliament, he said.
The Speaker said, “The Constitution is supreme. It has granted a certain position to Parliament. We all should take care of this first.”
Lashing out at Baba Ramdev, Mr. Sinha said insult of Parliament and lawmakers and indeed that of Constitution had become a norm now. “And who insults the more is a bigger hero now. This is absolutely wrong. Nobody has the authority, no matter how big the individual is, .... it insults the democratic institutions.”
BJP MP Kirti Azad said, “It has come to such a situation that in this country, nowadays anybody can speak anything and get away with it. No one seems to be in any control. However, I am surprised that Ramdev made such remarks.”
Union Minister Harish Rawat said Ramdev was raising a question mark on the whole democratic set-up.
Congress MP Jagadambika Pal said character assassination of Parliament and parliamentarians was not acceptable.
As his comments enraged parliamentarians, the Yoga guru on Wednesday sought to defend his remarks saying he had repeatedly noted that there were many “good” politicians in different parties.
“But there are certain people who are corrupt, have allegations of being characterless, have criminal charges and socially have a bad name. I have not said anything new. I have been saying it for long. That is why, the honest, good politicians do not have any objection to what I have said. But those who are corrupt, and have criminal records, they will obviously object to what I have said,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Hazare came to the defence of the Yoga guru saying whatever he had said “is not wrong.”
“There is one thing that whatever Ramdev has said is not wrong. If it is wrong, there is proof against so many people today. When parties give tickets, why they give it to tainted people,” Mr. Hazare asked.
MP's react to truth
Comment: Sad to say many of the MP's come to serve themselves and also their families found to dabble in launder money. Most of them live a life of comfort on the tax payers money. There is no accountabilty for most of them... the citizens are left high and dry. Every election is repeat performance... it easy for crimnals to get elected rather than those who can serve the Nation.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Judicial Commision tries to Make Monkey of the Military

Land belongs to army: Gen VK Singh

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times Mumbai, May 01, 2012
General VK Singh, the Chief of Army Staff, was categorical when he said that the land, on which the infamous Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society stands, belongs to the army.

General Singh was in Mumbai to attend a book release function at Mulla Auditorium in Colaba.
General Singh’s statement is in stark contrast to the interim report submitted by the judicial commission to the Maharashtra government.
“The land belongs to the Army,” said General Singh when questioned about the ownership of the land.
The Maharashtra state-appointed judicial commission had concluded that the plot of land in Mumbai belonged to the state government and was not meant for families of Kargil war martyrs, as claimed by the army. The report had stated that the defence establishment could not give sufficient documentary evidence to prove its claim over the land.
But General Singh said, “It was a commission created by the state. We have given documents which has a lot of depth and truth. But whatever documents we had given to the commission, they were not stressed upon.”
When questioned about demolishing the structure, General Singh said: “The order is already there. The onus is on you (media) to ensure it is done.” General Singh further added that corrective measures are being taken to ensure such land scams do not happen in the future.
“During my tenure in the army, whenever an irregularity has been brought to my notice, whether it is Adarsh or Sukhna land scam, action has been taken.” Army chief also pointed out the lack of accountability of the Defence Estate Office to the armed forces.
“At some point the defence estate office used to report to the armed forces,” he said.
“But it was discontinued. And from then there have been instances of additions and subtractions,” he added.
Comment: The Adarsh Scam was the brain child of former Army Chief's who are having the last laugh. A Ponzi scheme to make a fortune in real estate by roping in corrupt bureaucrats and Politicians who made the scheme feasible and ACR's of pliable Officers tweaked at AHQ. The real Military Culprits are now retired and gleaming over their scheme. Few are now cooling their heals in prison comfort. The Land belongs to the Military was never the question... but a twist was given to delay and confuse the real issues. Culprits should be tried for treason.

Adarsh scam: ED to summon flat holders to identify proxies

Manish Pachouly , Hindustan Times
Mumbai, May 02, 2012
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will soon start summoning flat holders in the tainted Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society to gather evidence that would help them attach the properties in the cases found to have violated the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED had on Monday informed the Bombay high court that it would start attaching the properties once the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) files the charge sheet.
The ED had also informed the court that it has already registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) against all the 14 persons booked by the CBI. Sources said that to attach properties, the agency would have to gather concrete evidence, for which flat owners suspected to have violated the money laundering law need to be summoned.
The first set of summons would go to the relatives, friends and acquaintances of the accused, named in the first information report (FIR) by the CBI, and who hold flats in Adarsh.
During investigation, the CBI has come across instances where one person holds more than one flat and where flats have been booked in the names of drivers or those with very meagre incomes.
In a recent remand, the CBI had said that former member of legislative council and one of the promoters of the society, Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, had revealed that out of four flats (suspected to be benami, i.e. in proxy names) he holds, two are reserved in proxy names to oblige some high and mighty persons in the government of Maharashtra who dealt with the file during the relevant period and two others for a similar purpose.
The payments for the above flats have been made by Gidwani through his bank accounts.
Sources said that there are many such cases where actual owners of the flats are different from the people in whose names the flats are registered.
The ED will record statements to find out the actual source of payments made for the flats in question.
For this, the ED plans to go into the entire trail of money -- from its origin till the payment was made for the flats.
Sources said the ED would wait before summoning the accused named in the CBI’s FIR, with 9 out of 14 accused behind bars.
Sources said since these accused are in judicial custody, the court's permission would be required to record their statements, and it would also be difficult to take bulk of the documents to the jail.
The ED would therefore summon them once they are out on bail.
Sources said recording statements of family members, friends and acquaintances on whose names the flats are booked would be valuable at this stage.
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Comment: The former chief's who had booked houses in the Adarsh Housing Scam and subsequently withdrawn need to be investigated for money laundering and black money generated by accepting bribes from munition dealers.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

BEML Chief Cons and Cheats: Is he conduit for Money Laundering

BEML chief cites ‘non-existing' provision to justify plot allotment Sudipto Mondal The Hindu 01 May 2012
V.R.S. Natarajan, Chairman and Managing Director of BEML, has contested the April 29 report in these columns on the alleged irregular allotments of housing sites to the niece and a friend of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Adviser T.K.A. Nair. Speaking to reporters here on Monday, Mr. Natarajan said the by-laws of the BEML Employee's Cooperative Society had a provision to allot sites to non-employees, such as Mr. Nair's niece, A. Preethy Prabha and family friend Uma Devi Nambiar.

However, documents available with The Hindu show that in 2006, the BEML society made an unsuccessful attempt to amend its by-laws and facilitate allotments of plots to non-employees. The Registrar of Cooperative Societies thwarted this move, refusing to ratify the amendment. Mr. Natarajan was quoted by PTI as saying: “There is a provision under the Karnataka Cooperative Societies Act that five per cent of the sites can be given to people who have been nominated by farmers.” He claimed that the public sector defence undertaking's management had no control over the decisions taken by the elected board of the cooperative society. He termed “absolutely unfair and against the facts” the allegation that the allotments were made to secure the Prime Minister's Office's silence on the Tatra truck scam. He also said the plots might have been returned at the behest of Mr. Nair.

Documents show that on March 19, 2006, the BEML Employee's Cooperative Society passed a resolution to amend its by-laws. The resolution read: “The society can allot three per cent of the total sites in future layouts under its discretionary quota on [a] merit basis of each case in each layout to such persons who have rendered yeoman service to the development of the society and to the landlords, BEML company directors, executives, very senior executives, sports, fine arts, handicapped, trade union leaders of BEML, legal advisors and other people who are helping in one way or the other for the development of the society after enrolling them as associate members of our society.”

This resolution was sent to the Registrar of Cooperative Societies on April 5, 2006, for approval. On May 5 that year, the Registrar ruled that the amendments could not be ratified as they went against the provisions of the Karnataka Cooperative Societies Act, 1959, as well as the model by-laws laid down by the State government for house-building cooperative societies.
BEML in Chief in Land Scam: Allots Land to PMO to rest Money Laundering Cases

Sunday, April 29, 2012

BEML Chief in Land Scam: PMO Linked

Now, BEML in trouble for land scam by Arun Dev & Prashanth GN, TNN Apr 28, 2012, 05.44AM IST BANGALORE: BEML, whose supply of Tatra trucks to the Army is being investigated by the CBI, has landed in a fresh controversy as its top officials and their kin have been accused of benefiting from an out-of-turn allotment of 63 sites by the BEML Employees Co-operative Society. The beneficiaries allegedly include a former PMO official's relative.
Three BEML employees - Martin Luther, C Umesh and S Vishwanatha - have moved the Karnataka HC, alleging they were transferred from Bangalore to Kolar Gold Fields as they formally complained to the registrar of co-operative societies against the BEML society's out-of-turn allotment of 63 sites in the city.
A top BEML official, currently facing CBI heat, was allegedly allotted two sites, No. 795 and 796, in Thubarahalli, Varthur, Bangalore South taluk for a sum of Rs 8,58,000. The out-of-turn allottees include 32 non-applicant members, three non-applicant top officials, four non-applicant society directors and 24 outsiders/non-members.
The petitioners have alleged that the allotment of sites to outsiders/non-members or non-applicants was in violation of the society's bye-laws. Only functional directors are eligible to get sites, while directors who are part of the board are not considered to be employees.They said owing to this out-of-turn allotment, many applicants including the petitioners, all genuine members, who had paid the entire sale consideration, were deprived of sites.
The allotments violated bye-law No10 (Clause b) which states that a BEML employee who has put in five years of service would become eligible for allotment of sites.The high court is expected to hear the petition after the summer vacation. Lawyer for the petitioners Subramanya Bhat told TOI: "While the case in the high court is about their arbitrary transfer, we have also noted in the petition that there is a land allotment issue that was the cause of the transfer. The order in this case will have a bearing on the land allotments too and this includes some of the top-most officials of BEML."
Meanwhile, BEML management said they have nothing to do with the society and that the petitioners' claims could be placed before the registrar of co-operative societies that is a quasi-judicial body empowered to deal with co-operative society matters.
BEML Employees Co-operative Society president N Munnagappa said: "Since the society's formation in 1972, not a single site has been given to anyone illegally. Top officials of BEML in the management and board have been given sites under 5% discretionary quota, under which they are eligible. Associate members too have been given sites as associate membership is allowed under the law. We have allotted 8,000 sites in Bangalore so far and that includes sites to directors, and chairmen from 1972 onwards. Some top officials have got sites of 50 ft x 80 ft dimension. We are only continuing a tradition that has been in place."
BEML Chief in Land Scam

Will the Government Kill the RTI Act?

RTI applications now expensive and difficult; will the move kill the act? Reported by Sidharth Pandey Updated: April 29, 2012 16:00 IST
New Delhi: It was hailed as the UPA's big achievement when the Right to Information Act was passed in 2005. Now it seems like state governments and public authorities across the country are making it increasingly expensive and at times a virtually impossible task for people to seek information.
In states like Chhattisgarh, the Vidhan Sabha or state assembly has recently hiked the fees for information to Rs500 for each query. This means, that anyone asking questions like details of how many days their elected representatives have attended the assembly, or the expenditure on their foreign trips, will have to shell out 500 rupees each time. That's 50 times the price as envisaged under the original 2005 RTI Act. The Uttar Pradesh assembly has been asking 500 rupees for years now.
It doesn't stop there; in fact citizens should avoid asking for any photocopied documents from the Chattisgarh assembly unless they are ready to pay 15 rupees per page as charges to the assembly. That's 15 times the market rate for photocopying.
Will the move to make RTI applications expensive kill the act?
RTI applications now expensive and difficult
So while in some states the cost of applying for information has become expensive, other states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh have set a word limit to just 150 words.
It now seems that Madhya Pradesh too is about to set a word limit and also double the fees for seeking information from Rs. 10 to Rs. 20.
The justification to hiking fees and limiting queries given by various authorities is that the move is aimed at curbing frivolous applications that end up over burdening government officers with answering frivolous applications. But these changes in the rules have not gone too well with activists who have been fighting to strengthen it.
Shekhar Singh, the coordinator for the non profit organisation, National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI), says the present and proposed changes may be ok in the letter but not in the spirit of the law. Singh, who was a key player in drafting the 2005 landmark information act, says that citizens should challenge the change in rules.
"Even if we agree to the Rs. 28 income a day, as the line that divides the poor according to the planning commission that means a person will have to save his entire months income just to file one RTI. It in effect takes away a person's fundamental right indirectly" explained Singh.
But changing rules is one thing, changing the act is another.
"More and more exemption provisions are being made than what are there are in the original law and this is not acceptable," said Satyanand Mishra, India's Central Information Commissioner (CIC).
As the CIC, it's Mishra's job to ensure that the RTI is implemented across the country. He also plays the role of chief referee between information seekers and public authorities, often ruling on appeals filed by citizens who have been denied information by officers.
But increasingly he's had to pass orders asking public authorities to not only give information to citizens but also re-look at the changes made by them which have altered the nature of the law.
The RTI is heralded as one of the most important laws since independence, by civil rights campaigners. It's allowed ordinary citizens get a host of basic services from water connections to passports. But now with many states and authorities making this process difficult and expensive, the RTI could soon be a mere act in government books.
Government intent to kill the RTI Act

Money Laundering Cycle of Tatra and 2G Scam

The Central Bureau of Investigation is inquiring into the irregularities, if any, in the purchase of the all-terrain Tatra vehicles by the Indian Army from the Bharat Earth Movers Limited.

The serious charge of corruption in purchase of Tatra vehicles was made by Army Chief General V K Singh in a recent interview. Since 1986, the Indian Army has bought over 7,000 Tatra trucks. on the basis of first hand information accessed from the multiple sources tries to give answers to the frequently asked questions about the tainted deal.
What are the allegations of corruption regarding the purchase of Tatra trucks?
The allegation is about the very high cost of the Tatra trucks to the Indian army. Tatra AS is a Czech company who manufactured the world-class trucks. Tatra AS has undergone a change of ownership. (Those details a little later).
The alleged dubious route though which trucks reached the Indian Army is the focus of the investigation by the CBI. If, what the sources in the army claim are true, then it is a serious allegation involving corruption worth crores of rupees.
The allegation is that the deal worked like this:
1. The Czech company sold the trucks to Venus Projects of Hong Kong, the trading arm of Vectra Worldwide, at a 35 per cent discount. (This is the first stage of loss to the Indian Army. The discount would have come to the purchaser, that is Indian Army, if a direct deal was struck with the manufacturer or a part of the discount could have been passed on to the Indian Army by the dealer/seller.)
2. Venus Projects sells the trucks to Tatra Sipox (United Kingdom) Ltd. This UK-based company is the holding company of Vectra Worldwide, owned by controversial businessman Ravi Rishi. He need not pay tax on the deal because there is a no taxation treaty between the two countries. But the price of the Tatra trucks goes up by 30 per cent.
3. Tatra Sipox then sells the inflated-priced trucks to BEML, the government owned company, after adding its profit of around 15 to 20 per cent.
4. BEML sells these trucks to the Indian Army after adding 25 to 35 per cent.
So, if you take into account the addition of transaction cost, commission, profit whatever you say at the four stages quoted above the Indian Army was getting the Tatra trucks paying 100 to 120 per cent higher than the factory price. This is what General Singh was complaining about. The CBI is, also, focusing on these dubious dealmakers at every stage.
How does the Indian Army get spare parts?
That is, probably, another scam. The Indian Army places orders through BEML for the spares. Tatra Sipox gets the intimation and forwards it to a company called Jupiter Slovakia, which is a holding company of Vectra Worldwide.
Jupiter contacts the suppliers of the Tatra spare parts but it does not go to the original Czech company. Thus, the pricing of the spare parts is arbitrary and mostly exorbitant. The Indian Army ends up paying 200 to 300 percent more than the actual cost. Since, the spare parts are not acquired from Tatra AS one is not even sure of the quality. Is there any other such dubious deal?
Yes. Brahmos, the Indian-Russian missile joint venture, needs cranes. BEML procures Atlas Cranes from Tatra Sipox. The same modus operandi is used by the Ravi Rishi. He gets it at around 35 per cent discount from Atlas Machinen GMBH, the German company that makes the cranes.
Tatra hikes the cost by some 25 per cent or more and sells to BEML who in turn gives it to the Brahmos after adding its own margin. India pays some 75 per cent plus higher cost by not buying straight from the Germans.
Ravi Rishi Money Laundering cycle
Govt denies money laundering cycle of 2G Scam: P Chidambaram and his son Kartik being protected- A Tango Duo


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