IS IT NOT THE TIME FOR THE CONGRESS PARTY TO CHANGE ITS PRIME MINISTER?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

How much misrule will convince the Congress party that it is time for it to change its Prime Minister?

In a country of simpletons and sycophants like India, where majority voters are uninformed and misinformed and where corporate controlled media rules the roost in public information and where the election system is suspected of vitiation by maneuverable Electronic Voting Machines and where the main Opposition is a party of profiteers and communal fanatics, it was not surprising that the Congress could bag majority seats of the Loksabha to lead the alliance styled UPA and to have its own man Dr. Mnmohan Singh as the Prime Minister again.

But, Dr. Singh has given such a rule that, instead of saying him to vacate, the Congress general secretary Dig Vijay Singh has already said that it is time, Rahul Gandhi should take over as PM.

Nobody in the Congress has said that Rahul should not take over as the PM. Rather the party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan has clarified that Rahul may take over as PM whenever he so decides.

This is reflective of the fact that the Congress party is conscious about the reality that Dr. Singh has become a liability.

In fact, his economic policy has ruined the economy of the common man. The official notifications on ever increasing consumer price index and ever increasing doses of Dearness Allowance for salaried officials is strong enough evidence of the fact that his government has no control over profiteers, over exploiters, over market mafia. The priority he has given to transform India into a grazing ground of foreign, specifically American nuke traders, is conspicuous by its absence in stopping exploitation of the common man by the manufactures and traders of consumer goods.

In every sphere of administration, galore are instances of misappropriation and malfeasances.

The constitutional authority, whose duty it is to locate these dangers to democracy through test audits – The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) – is being ignored by administration as in the case of MPLADS or cold-shouldered and criticized by the central ministers including even the Prime Minister himself.

The CAG in its latest report on MPLADS has said that, even though in its earlier reports (1998 and 2001) it had pointed out various lapses in the implementation of the scheme, the government had slept over them for ten and eight years respectively and when Action Taken Notes were finally produced in 2009, it was seen that the same were lackluster notes sans any real address to the issues raised and action against the practitioners of malfeasances shown.

“The current report reveals that many of the shortcomings pointed out in those two Reports still persist”, the CAG has stated.

The current Report has unveiled various types of serious mismanagement of MPLAD funds all over the country. These are such offenses that many MPs should have been taken to task and even censured in the Parliament for having hijacked through masked agents the funds allocated for the scheme in their respective areas. But, instead of that, and without insulating the scheme from MPs’ politico-personal dragnets, the amount of the fund has been enhanced, just to keep majority of them pleased to stay safe in power.

If MPLADS is a sample of how the constitutional authority of audit is being sloughed over or rendered inconsequential in real terms, the 2G spectrum is a matter where even the Prime Minister has not hesitated to embarrass the CAG.

When the apex audit reported a massive loss of about Rs. 1.76 lakh crores to the nation’s exchequer by mishandling of the allocation of the 2G spectrum in 2008, Dr. Singh had came down quite rudely upon its conduct, almost rejecting its report on the 2G spectrum scam without making any mention of it, as inaccurate, imbalanced and unfair. In a CAG conference itself, on the very same day its Report on the scam was tabled in the Parliament, he had told the CAG that it must “ensure that its reports are accurate, balanced and fair”.

He disapproved the way the audits are being conducted.

“We may benefit more if the focus of audit is not so much on minute, individual transactions”, he thundered, because the 2G spectrum audit was minute audit of individual transactions.

As if the CAG in its report on 2G spectrum had indulged in fault finding, made a mere guess of the quantum of loss to the country and therefore had made an unreasonable estimate, he said, “Very often, there is a very thin line between fair criticism and fault finding, between hazarding a guess and making a reasonable estimate, between a bonafide genuine error and a deliberate mistake”. He wanted the CAG “to distinguish between wrong-doing and genuine errors, to appreciate the context and circumstances of decision making process”, as if the CAG’s report on 2G spectrum was a product of lack of its comprehension of “the context and circumstances of decision making process”!

Such Prime Ministerial attempt to demoralize the apex audit body of the country created by the constitution had never been made by any Prime Minister.

Before the seriousness of this vicious assault on CAG is fully grasped by the people, the country is rocked by bomb blasts in Mumbai.

When the central home minister P. Chidambaram has said that, “despite the vast intelligence machinery that is available ………. this one slipped through”, he has also said, “Having no intelligence in this case, however, does not mean that there was a failure on part of the intelligence agencies”. This shows how the central government is running under utter confusion.

Chidambaram’s statement has different ramifications.

On one, it is being assumed that the series of blasts were aimed at derailing Indo-Pak talks. The union home minister also does not differ. This possibility “is not ruled out”, he says.

On another, it may also be assumed that the blasts might have been planned to divert public attention from the growing demands for extinguishment of corruption and retrieval of the monetary wealth of India secreted in black coffers in foreign banks by the traitors in politics, in public service, in trade and industry and their lobbyists.

Whatever be the ramifications, the reality is that, “despite the vast intelligence machinery that is available”, so many persons have been killed and injured in the series of blasts in the same city of Mumbai that was brutalized by Pak terrorists on November 26, 2008. Had the surviving culprit of that attack Ajmal Kasab been hanged in honoring the court order, in time and in the spirit of the verdict, the July 13 attack might have not taken place. But Dr. Singh’s government has, by not helping diligently the President to reject his mercy petition, created a situation for the Supreme Court to save his life. This has emboldened the enemies to terror attack again.

The Supreme Court has made it clear that if mercy petitions are not disposed off within three months of receipt of the applications, the Court would be constrained to commute death sentences to life imprisonments if moved by the culprit.

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Triveniben vs State of Gujarat had refused on February 7, 1989 to place a time cap on disposal of mercy petitions. Yet, on September 18, 2009, in Jagdish v State of Haryana it has said, “A self-imposed rule should be followed by the executive authorities rigorously, that every such petition shall be disposed of within a period of three months from the date on which it is received. Long and interminable delays in the disposal of these petitions are a serious hurdle in the dispensation of justice and such delays tend to shake the confidence of the people in the very system of justice” and, thus has justified commutation of death sentences to life imprisonment in various instances, in one instance, even saying, “These delays are gradually creating social problems by driving the courts to reduce death sentences even in those rarest of rare cases in which, on the most careful, dispassionate and humane considerations death sentence was found to be the only sentence called for”.

The government of Dr. Singh, by delaying the execution of death sentence “found to be the only sentence called for” in Mumbai 26/11 offense, is foiling the sentence inasmuch as Kasab, the guilty Pak-terrorist, because of the tremendous delay in disposal of his mercy petition, is likely to use the Apex Court orders quoted supra to judicially escape the gallows.

Meretricious sympathy of Dr. Singh with the victims of the 13th July blasts is not going to show that he is not responsible for the climate of Pak-terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

Because of self-defeating politics in Parliament, the country could not know the real role Dr. Singh had played as Reserve Bank Governor and Finance Minister in the matter of the notorious Pakistani Bank of terror funding, the BCCI, which had, despite warning from RAW, been allowed to operate in and from Mumbai.

But if the 13th July blasts in Mumbai took place “despite the vast intelligence machinery that is available” as the Union Home Minister has said, it was because of lack of appropriate monitoring and coordination amongst the intelligence agencies. To make the intelligence agencies accountable, the Home Minister has submitted a proposal to create a National Counterterrorism Centre (NCTC); but Dr. Singh has not cleared it as yet.

Both the Prime Minister and Home Minister are confusing the country by using the term ‘terrorism’ against both the enemies and patriots of the country – against the terrorists from beyond the border and against the Indian progressive radicals – leading to common man’s failure in differentiating between the two types. Therefore, the intelligence agencies have been failing in spotting the cross border terrorist though the common man.

If the difference is not distinguished in the Home Minister’s proposal, the envisaged NCTC will be of no utility for betterment of India, as and when the PM clears the proposal and the central government constitutes it.

But, at the moment, relevant it is that Dr. Singh is sleeping over the proposal of the home minister to create NCTC for ensuring accountability of the country’s intelligence agencies, which might have made them alert enough to catch the culprits before the blasting took place.

No further proof of misrule is necessary. Look at any area, people are in ruins. But the people had never given majority mandate to the Congress party to ruin them. Hence, is it not the time for the Congress party to replace Dr. Singh with anybody that can try to change the scenario and retrieve the country’s dignity?

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The Spectrum Scam: Blacklist the Beneficiary Companies; Constitute Special Final Court to Recover the Loss

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

“The fact that there has been loss to the national exchequer in the allocation of 2G spectrum cannot be denied”, has said the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in his ‘performance audit report’ that has shown how corrupt is the government run by Dr. Manmohan Singh.

“There is an imperative need to fix responsibility and enforce accountability for the lapses highlighted in the Audit Report” in order to ensure that “such lapses do not occur in any Ministry or Department of the Government” in future, the CAG has stressed.

The Prime Minister whose policy of globalization has pushed India into all such sorts of treachery and corruption has not done anything in this regard so far except cultivating the resignation of the minister concerned, who hailed from his ally DMK, under assurance given to the supremo thereof that any of his loyal dogs, as he would prefer, shall be included in the cabinet.

But resignation of the minister is not enough.

Prime Minister Singh must reveal as to what extent he himself is involved with the offence unveiled by the CAG. Handing over India’s spectrums to foreign players through ghost corridors and handing over the key to Tatas and Ambanis to loot the exchequer in telecom sector is such a crime against the country that it would never be natural to believe that it happened without knowledge/involvement of the PM.

In fact, the CAG has found that the PMO was well aware of the injurious transaction. THE CAG has noted that concerned minister had in a communication dated 2nd November 2007, confirmed to the Prime Minister that “the processing of applications was to be on the First Come First Served basis. However, audit found that DoT deviated even from the FCFS policy in letter and spirit”. This revelation confirms that Dr. Singh is in know of what was happening in the spectrum allocation matter. He therefore is required to explain his position.

The CAG has given details of loss committed to the country which being presumptive may also be much more than what the audit has calculated. There is no surprise in it. Mega scams have crippled India ever since Dr. Singh has desecrated the country with his economic policies. And the economic offenders are so united that Dr. Singh has so far succeeded in escaping law for all the harms done to India. This time also he may escape. Stonewalling of the Parliament by BJP over the issue is just an eye washing drama. History has witnessed how this party has enacted many such dramas in the Parliament in the past that ultimately has ended in protecting Manmohan Singh and the economic offenders.

As for instance, one may recall the motion it’s heavyweight in the 10th Lok Sabha Jaswant Singh had moved on illegalities centering the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in its first session.

Debates had exposed the dirty patronization given to this bank of terror funding and drug trafficking in which Singh’s role as Governor of the Reserve Bank as well as the Finance Minister of India was coming to light like never before. Singh had not been able to defend himself and the motion had put him to the worst of predicament. But, its mover, the BJP member, dramatically withdrew the motion, at the last moment. While withdrawing the motion Jaswant had said,

“In the chamber of the Speaker, …… the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and others and indeed the hon. Speaker said: why do you not concede to the fact that you would withdraw your motion at the end of the debate? So, I am bound by my word, and I seek the leave of the House to withdraw my motion”.

Obviously, behind back of the Lok Sabha, where the debate over his motion was going on, Jaswant had given word to the government to withdraw it at the end of the debate to render the entire debate inconsequential. BJP was a party to this drama. Therefore, the present protests of BJP over the spectrum issue cannot be taken seriously.

In the circumstances, people who love to see India free from plutocracy and its democracy revived, must demand for immediate resignation of Manmohan Singh and must not rest till he gets out.

People must demand for instant start of prosecution against all the IAS and Techno officers involved with the spectrum scam unveiled by CAG.

The CAG has clearly mentioned that the official functionaries have done everything to facilitate the scam.

“From a scrutiny of the records and information made available it appears that the High Powered Telecom Commission which also includes part time members from the Ministry of Finance, Industry, IT and Planning Commission was not apprised of the TRAI recommendations of August 2007 and hence, was not afforded an opportunity to deliberate on the merits of the TRAI recommendations. It is also seen that the High Powered Telecom Commission was not even consulted at the time of grant of 122 UAS licenses in 2008”.

The CAG further exposed how the functionaries have resorted to treachery against the country in executing the scam. The report notes,

It has also been revealed in the course of audit that the Ministry of Finance, in “November 2007, had questioned the sanctity of continuing with the price determined way back in 2001 without any indexation or current valuation. The Ministry had sought a review of the matter. This advice of the Ministry of Finance was overlooked by the DoT ostensibly on the basis of a four-year old Cabinet decision (October 2003) on the premise that it was authorized to calculate the entry fee for licenses as per the recommendations of TRAI in 2003. DoT maintained that ‘spectrum pricing was within the normal work carried out by them.’

Not only this, but also the advice of Ministry of Law and Justice were ignored. The report goes on to say,

“In October 2007 at its own initiative, the DoT requested the Ministry of Law and Justice to obtain and communicate the opinion of the Attorney General/Solicitor General of India to enable the DoT to handle an unprecedented rush of applications in a fair and equitable manner, which would be legally tenable. The Ministry of Law, at the level of the Hon’ble Minister, opined that in view of the importance of the case and the various options, which seem to have emerged, it was necessary that the whole issue be first considered by an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) and in that process legal opinion of the Attorney General can be obtained. Surprisingly, this opinion, which the DoT had sought on its own volition, was felt to be ‘out of context’ at the level of the Hon’ble MoC&IT and hence the benefit of a discussion in the EGoM was also forgone. Thus, such important decisions seem to have been taken in DoT without the issues being deliberated and discussed at an inter-ministerial forum”.

All these instances and many more in the report unambiguously show that the top bureaucracy and technocracy under the DoT did not allow inter-ministerial forum to use collective wisdom in transaction of the spectrum, which has caused so massive financial loss to India.

Action against these functionaries is essentially urgent.

We know, Manmohan Singh shall try to save his skin by using the BJP as he had done in the past. But if he claims to be innocent, let him first blacklist the companies that have benefited from the scam. Let him disclose the names and position of the officers that have facilitated the scam. Let him initiate time bound criminal cases against them including the then Minister for the crime committed against the country and let him appoint a special court to recover the loss from the companies that have looted the exchequer. If the BJP and the other opposition parties that are harping on creation of a JPC to go through the scam are serious in their concern for the country, let them have the Parliament pass an instant law to constitute a special court with more than one judge to act as the final court for recovery of the loss of the exchequer from the spectrum beneficiaries.

The country is more important than the buccaneers in power.