High Court in Apparent Error in Pratyusha Case, as Naveen Patnaik is not Asked to Explain Why He Found Her the Most Suitable

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The ruling BJD is de facto owned by Naveen Patnaik, whom all the members thereof know as their supreme master (‘the supremo’) and obey, exactly as my German Shepherd Dog knows me as its master and obeys my orders.

Patnaik decides who should contest from which constituency, provides funds for electioneering, projecting them as party candidates under the pretense of democratic practice.

He appoints his sycophants in any post available in Government, Public Sector and his party and even uses his personal factotum to take action against any of them as and when he wants.

He treats Orissa as his fee simple and squanders away Orissa’s natural resources like his father’s property in interest of any private – even foreign – industry and education mafia as he likes.

All his offenses are supported by his stooges, as they know, thereby is generated the election funds. Their participation in elections begin with nomination of candidates by him.

He or his authorized agent issues party tickets and inform the Returning Officer of this, basing on which, his party symbol is allotted to his candidates.

So, Naveen Patnaik is basically and entirely responsible for the nomination papers, which the BJD candidates file before the ROs.

The RO is guided by Naveen Patnaik as the issuer of party tickets pursuant to which election symbol of BJD gets allotted.

Laws prohibit a non-Indian to contest election.

So, the party boss that issues party tickets to a non-Indian is responsible for acceptance of a non-Indian by the RO/Election Commission as a legitimate candidate.

Kandhamal MP Ms. Pratyusha Rajeswari is alleged to be not of Indian nationality. She is alleged to be a lady of Nepal, staying in India as a widow of an Indian.

On this allegation, the High Court of Orissa has asked Pratyusha to explain as to why her election to Lok Sabha should not be nullified on nationality ground and has issued notices to the RO and the EC to explain their positions.

But Naveen Patnaik, the so-called supremo of BJD, being basically responsible for misguiding the RO/EC into accepting Pratyusha as a legitimate candidate to the extent of throwing the entire electoral process in to the feared fiasco, has not been asked by the HC to say as to why he set as his/his party’s candidate a non-Indian.

I think, this is an error that needs to be removed and Naveen Patnaik needs to be be asked by the High Court to explain as to why he shall not be responsible for crime against the country if his Kandhamal MP for whom he had actively campaigned along with his ministerial colleagues, is not of Indian Nationality.

If the allegation is found correct, Naveen is bound to be punished. But for this, it is essential that he be called for to explain as to why he had found Pratyusha the most suitable to be set up as his party candidate.

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Drum-beating of imagined dreams stupefies Orissa, as the Country has failed to punish Biju Patnaik for his treason during Chinese Aggression

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

There is a Government in Orissa that is in power for twelve years as the people are stupefied under deafening drum-beating of imagined dreams of the incumbent Chief Minister’s father, late Biju Patnaik.

The opponents of the Chief Minister in the ruling party have formed a front of their own called Jan Morcha. And, this Morcha also beats the drum of dreams of Biju Patnaik!

If anything, this is an act of vested interest political acrobats to keep the people stupefied, so that vote catching can be easier for them.

I have tried to locate if Biju had really any dreams for the people of Orissa. I have found none. I have not found any dream that Biju Patnaik had for the people of Orissa. The man, who did not make his son learn even a single alphabet in Oriya language, cannot be taken as a man, who had dreams for Orissa. If he had any dream, that was only for occupying power to misuse power for his personal benefit. But yet, drum-beating of Biju dreams has been stupefying the political conscience in Orissa. Goebbels prevails when people are too gullible to go for the truth.

The truth is that Biju was a profit fetcher from politics. He had entered into politics to drag in funds and profits for his industries and eventually had left the industrial life as politics appeared to him to be the easiest way to fetch fabulous wealth without any botheration for cultivating and repaying loans, organizing markets and paying salaries.

So, politics for Biju was a profession for personal profit. And, in pursuit of profit, he was always trying to fetch and stay in power. His sycophants are trying to hide this reality under torrents of cooked up Biju dreams.

We have heard the deafening drumbeats of Biju dreams by both the quarreling fractions of the ruling party named after him on October 19, as the Chief Minister’s mega meeting at Berhampur militated against the dissidents’ press meet at Bhubaneswar on the same day. Therefore it would be proper to recall a particular episode of Biju’s life that had occurred 50 years ago when October 19 had metamorphosed into October 20, 1962, to get a glimpse of his dreams in pursuit of which he was using political power.

On that day, China had attacked India. And in that war, India had to suffer the most ignominious defeat after independence, because persons like Biju Patnaik had their dreams to fulfill.

Brig. John Delvi in his book ‘Himalayan Blunder’ has pointed out that India lost more than 11000 square kilometers of her land to China in the 1962 war because of lack of basic essentials like warm clothing, snow boots, and glasses.

Why the Indian Army had not got these essential supplies? This is because; Biju Patnaik had played the treachery.

He had fetched a contract to airdrop essential supplies to our soldiers in the NEFA front. But, instead of delivering the essentials to our soldiers, he had sold away the same in black-markets (Lok Sabha Debates (V) (1967) 7980-7990). Because of this treason, our soldiers had lost their stamina to fight and we were in the worst of debacles after our independence.

This particular debate was generated in the environment of availability of Lt. General B. M. Kaul’s accounts on our war debacle in his book ‘The Untold Story’, published on January 01, 1967.

In this book, he had attributed the defeat partly to inadequate supply of essential necessities too.

Biju Patnaik had obtained the contract for supply of essential necessities through his Kalinga Airways in the border to our forces engaged in defense of our land. But, instead of delivering the supply to the soldiers, he had sold them in the black-market at Calcutta, at Dibrugarh, at Jorhat and other places. In the Lok Sabha debate mentioned above, when Hem Barua had rued over this, S. M. Banerjee had pointed out that when in the snow-clad battlefield on the border our soldiers were in dire need of basic essentials like warm clothing, and some of the countries like West Germany had rushed profuse amount of top quality woolens like blankets, pullovers, shocks and snow-shoes etc for use of our fighting forces, that never reached them, as the rich people grabbed them for their own comfort through the black-market fed by Kalinga Airwayss of Biju Patnaik.

Despite having sold the essential defense supplies in the black-market, Biju Patnaik had bagged Rs. 1, 78, 33, 416.00 from the exchequer towards charges of their delivery in the border (Prime Minister Nehru’s reply to Surendranath Dwivedi in the Lok Sabha on 25 January 1963)

General Kaul had tried to hush up Biju’s offenses by attempts to divert public attention from Biju to Krishna Menon for India’s debacle. He has tried to convince us that Kalinga Airways could not carry out the supply, because Krishna Menon refused to grant Biju the necessary financial assistance for procuring more aircraft to use in transportation of essentials for the soldiers. He has written,

“Bijoo Patnaik, whom I had known for many years, and who had not yet become the Chief Minister, Orissa, came to see me in my office one day. …….. He told me, a fact which I knew, that owing to the limited resources of the Air Force, the External Affairs Ministry were maintaining the far-flung Assam Rifles military posts by air-drops in NEFA through the Kalinga Airways which was one of his concerns. Due to shortage of planes – which was, in turn, due to shortage of foreign exchange – the Kalinga Airways were unable to carry out this commitment fully. He, therefore, asked me if I could persuade my Defense Minister, Krishna Menon, to help in this matter by getting him the necessary foreign exchange for purchase of the additional aircraft. ………. I approached the Defense Minister ……… Krishna Menon told me that on no account was he prepared to help Kalinga Airways as it would indirectly mean that the Air Force, one of the Services under him, was incapable of carrying out this commitment. ……… No amount of argument on my part, however, was of any avail. The result was that the Assam Rifles posts remained inadequately supplied and in fact we were prevented at times from establishing more such posts, due to logistical reasons, which was operationally necessary”.

From Kaul’s accounts it is clear that the Assam Rifles military posts were being maintained by air-drops in NEFA through Biju Patnaik, much before China attacked us. And, more significantly, the Defense Minister, who was averse to his department’s contract with Biju Patnaik for the air-drops of essentials in the NEFA border, was not able to undo the contract. Obviously Biju’s patron was more powerful than the Defense Minister in deciding whether or not Biju was to continue with the contract. This most powerful man was Prime Minister Nehru. Because of Nehru, Krishna Menon was not able to discard Biju Patnaik.

Why did Menon reject Kaul’s pleadings for for Biju? It is because, he was aware of Biju’s profit motive and the illegalities Kalinga airways was involved with under his avarice. He was not willing to equip Biju with further opportunity to expand his business of treachery.

Biju had committed many offenses against the country even before the Chinese attack. One of these offenses was unauthorized use of an aircraft of his company- known to defense intelligence as a plane under contract with their department – on 26 October 1959 in secret service of a group of unidentified persons that had traveled to and fro between Calcutta and Bombay.

Questionable conduct of Biju’s airways, specifically as the defense of the country was involved, was inquired into through a committee headed by Katju. The findings of this Committee were devastating.

Had its report been placed before the Parliament in its entirety, Prime Minister Nehru’s short-sighted patronization to Biju and the felonies perpetrated through Kalinga Airways could have come to public knowledge. Therefore, Nehru’s government claimed privilege over the report and denied even the MPs to go through it, though on December 01, 1960, the Lok Sabha was fed with a vetted synopsis thereof after a lot of ruckus.

Biju was so much under the Prime Minister’s protection that the government had come out with a written statement that even though the Katju Committee had found massive irregularities committed by Kalinga airways, the government was not to terminate the contract with him.

However, the government would keep watchful eyes on Kalinga Airways so that no further irregularities it can commit, the minister had promised to the House.

But despite the promise given to the Parliament, the government failed to keep eyes on Biju, as a result of which, the defense supplies did not reach the soldiers in the battle field, but fetched profit for Biju from the black-market in places like Calcutta, Dibrugarh and Jorhat.

Minister of State (Home)Vidya Charan Shukla, as he then was, had told Atal Behari Vajpayee in reply to his star question bearing No. 785 on 28 June 1962, that the Public Accounts Committee had found many specific illegalities and forgeries,which the Kalinga Airways of Biju Patnaik had committed. He had informed that on the basis of the report, a committee of inquiry had been appointed to go into the details of the offenses and to recommend specific action to be taken. But no action was taken against him.

When the war was going on, Kalinga Airways had at least 1600 unauthorized flights on the war front. This was a serious offense. The PAC had located this offense. Who had funded these 1600 unauthorized flights over the border where the war was going on, and in the most sensitive time, has not been determined. But, surprisingly, after conclusion of the PAC report, the number of the suspicious and unauthorized flights was tampered with and in place of 1600, the figure was projected as 200. As Mr. G. G. Swell queried on who tampered with the figure of the unauthorized flights, Minister Shukla had declared, that the committee investigating into the specific offenses of Kalinga Airways, would also look into this mischief.

But, Biju never got the punishment he deserved for these offenses and treachery against the country when India was engaged in the war. Evidently though we lost 12000 square kilometers in the war, as our soldiers did not get the life-saving essentials, as Biju’s airways fed the black-markets with the same instead of air-dropping them in our military posts, the country has not yet punished him for the treason he committed. He escaped, because any action against him could also have brought to limelight the wrongful patronization Nehru had given to Biju oblivious of harms that was causing to the country.

The whereabouts of Kalinga Airways was not kept track of. The loss the nation suffered was not determined. The pilots of the airways without whose collaboration Biju could not have committed the illegalities were never interrogated. But reports were in print media that some of the aircraft had faced accidents that extinguished also the pilots whom the nation should have once interrogated to know the truth.

The drum-beaters of Biju-dreams are befooling the people by taking advantage of the country’s failure to punish him for his treason during the Chinese aggression. The Opposition Congress is not in a position to expose Biju’s treacheries; because thereby the bungling that Nehru had made, would also be exposed.

In such circumstances, use your conscience.

Democracy in Decadence: Motion to Impeach Justice Sen Dies in the Lower House of Indian Parliament

In the upper chamber of Indian Parliament, Justice Soumitra Sen of Kolkata High Court was found guilty of misappropriation of Rs.33.23 lakhs when he was appointed receiver by the High Court in 1883.

Upper House Chairman (Vice-President of India) had appointed a three-member committee to find out if the allegation of financial irregularities was correct and on receipt of its affirmative report, had admitted the motion of impeachment against Sen. On August 18, the motion was adopted by the Upper house with 189 members voting for impeachment as against only 16 dissenting.

The legitimate course of the motion thereafter was its adoption or rejection in the Lower House of the Parliament and therefore the Loksabha had listed it for discussion and decision on September 5.

Surprisingly, the legitimate step of the Lower House was preempted by the President when she did not reject the resignation letter of Justice Sen sent to her not in handwritten form but by fax and ultimately accepted, even though that was meant to make the Loksabha abort the Constitutional task that the sovereign House was occupied with.

The preceding article on this subject was written in this context.

But, the sovereign House has magnanimously or mistakenly allowed the motion of impeachment die in its lap under assumption that the object of impeachment no more exists as a Judge to be removed.

The President’s wrongful action has given birth to this assumption. And the constitution’s only provision against the Judges of misconduct has been thrown into the labyrinth of unfathomable peculiarities of Indian Parliament.

STYMIEING OF NUKE DEAL A VICTORY OF THE LEFT; LET PARLIAMENT HAVE THE VICTORY TOO

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In a principled battle against pushing India into the hegemony of USA under the cover of the controversial 123 Agreement, the Left parties have succeeded in stymieing the nuclear deal, which, according to Senator Joe Lieberman “is so clearly in the interests of the United States” and in estimation of Reuters, is a “bonanza for U.S. Firms”; but according to Prme Minister of India, Dr. Man Mohan Singh is “signed, sealed and is non-negotiable”.

That the Indian National Congress has agreed with the Left that the Agreement should be reviewed and vetted by a joint committee is enough indication of the fact that good sense prevailing the Congress has refused to accept the Prime Minister’s version that the nuke deal with USA has been “signed, sealed and is non-negotiable”. It has also shown that it has distanced itself from the Prime Minister’s assertions that it is “not possible to renegotiate the deal” and the Left may “do whatever they want to do, if they want to withdraw support, so be it”.

After tormenting the entire country and using electronic media to pop up stage-managed ‘opinion polls’ speculating more resolute victory for Congress and defeat for the denigrators of the nuke deal, the Left and the BJP in the elections if withdrawal of support by the Left results in resignation of the Government necessitating a mid-term poll, Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh has now agreed to act according to the “finding” of the joint party committee. Accordingly a statement has been issued yesterday by the Central Government that says, “The operationalisation of the nuclear deal will take into account the committee’s findings”.

So, it is a victory for the left. And the Left deserves gratitude of the nation for having blocked a fraud that was all set to be played on our people.

But this victory is not the victory of the people of India. Victory of our people lies in the victory of our Parliament. We have a Prime Minister that denies this victory to our Parliament. In the entire matter of nuclear deal, he has left our Parliament with only one option; i.e. to acquiesce into the agreement he has “signed and sealed”. In other words, he wants our Parliament to be a passive partner in running of our democracy in autocratic manners. So, even if the deal fetches support of the Left after being vetted by the joint committee, the Parliament would stand defeated if it will not be allowed to decide the fate of the said deal through votes.

It would be a blatant wrong to accept that executive powers vested in a Government grant it a carte blanche to make the Parliament a passive witness to its acts. Democracy entails that the Government must be answerable to Parliament. If any deal entered to upon by the Government under executive powers remains above controlling powers of the Parliament, democracy would be defeated. So, in the instant case, the Parliament should first disapprove the Prime Minister’s assertions that the nuke deal is “signed, sealed and is non-negotiable”. This assertion reveals a disposition that is anti-democracy in nature and it would be a defeat of our Parliament if this statement of the Prime Minister is not condemned.

Will the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, who is exploiting the situation to convince USA that neither he nor his party appreciate anti-Americanism, now act as the conscience-keeper of this country – as a Leader of Opposition in a democracy is supposed to be – and goad the issue into a deliberation on answerability of the Government to the Parliament, so that a principled decision of the House could be arrived at to ensure that no decision having global impact on future generations of India, as is the present nuclear deal, could be taken by any Government without prior approval of the Parliament?

If such a decision could be taken, that would be the victory of our people, our Parliament.

Otherwise, despite the instant Left victory, we, as a democracy, will stand defeated.

ORISSA MAKES THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT A FARCE

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Freedom from bureaucratic machiavellianism was the sole purpose behind enactment of the Right to Information Act, 2005. But Orissa Government has made it a farce by recommending only two persons to form the first Information Commission of the State in which the corrupt bureaucracy shall see its rampart well protected.

A committee constituted under Sub-Section 3 of Section 15 of the Act, comprising Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Leader of Opposition J.B.Pattanaik and Damodar Raut, a member of the Cabinet nominated by the Chief Minister, has recommended the names of D.N.Padhi and Radhamohan for the post of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioner (IC) respectively. Padhi is currently working as the Union Power Secretary when Radhamohan has retired from Orissa Education Service. When the former has spent almost entire span of his career in Orissa administration, the later, whose recruitment was meant for teaching economics in Colleges, has spent almost all the years of his career not in any College, but in the State Secretariat as a scientist!

If these two fellows did not commit any corruption during their tenure in Orissa then it must be assumed that there is no corruption in Orissa.

But everybody knows Orissa administration is full of corruption. And, the bureaucrats know where and when who of them committed or commits what sort of corruption.

Corruption is a vicious game played by bureaucrats under the canopy of their mutual cooperation. So there must be many people in Orissa bureaucracy, starting from clerks to Secretaries, who must be knowing what were the corruptions committed by Padhi and Radhamohan during their long tenure in Orissa. How these fellows constituting the only two-member-Commission can come up against the same persons who must know their questionable conducts, if any, in course of their career, is a question to which no answer is known to anybody.

A suspicion is still nagging in the minds of many that Padhi, had he not been a senior IAS officer, could not have been free from the blemish that had soiled his cloths in the matter of official purchases following the 1999 killer cyclone. If somebody now invokes the Act to dig out what really had happened and if the concerned Office refuses him access, what would be inferred? Similarly, when some one will want to know if using his Secretariat position, Radhamohan had provided benefits to the NGO called Sambhav with which he is associated, what would be its impact?

Therefore, a lot of precaution should have been taken in selecting the CIC or IC. I do not know if the selection flew from free choice or from a guided choice. But there is reason to apprehend that information blockers against whom the Act has stringent provisions may bargain for leniency through blackmail, if these two persons are appointed.

This apprehension would never have arisen had the legislative intention behind the Act been properly understood before the selection. Meant to grant access to the citizens to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority the Act was from the beginning considered to be an instrument against bureaucracy. Hence bureaucracy as a whole had heightened its lobby against the Act and politicians who benefit from collaboration with bureaucracy were opposing it. Many concerns and questions were raised during discussion on the Bill in the Parliament.

Putting forth the legislative intention, the Prime Minister had to call upon the civil servants to see the Bill in a positive spirit; not as a draconian law for paralysing Government, but as an instrument for improving Government-citizen interface resulting in a friendly, caring and effective Government functioning for the good of our people.

So saying, the P.M. had further said, “I appeal all civil servants to see this Bill in the right spirit and hope they will only be spurred towards better performance”. The Prime Minister’s emphasis on the very words “civil Servants” eventually proceeded to specification when he stressed that “the passage of this Bill will see the dawn of a new era in our processes of governance, an era of performance and efficiency, an era which will ensure that benefits of growth flow to all sections of our people, an era which will eliminate the scourge of corruption, an era which will bring the common man’s concern to the heart of all processes of governance, an era which will truly fulfil the hopes of the founding fathers of our Republic”. (Lok Sabha debates, 11 May 2005)

Hence it is clear that the right to information given by the Act to the citizens of India is meant for curbing corruption in bureaucracy.

It is therefore shocking that in Orissa an incumbent bureaucrat, whose integrity in public perception is still shrouded by nagging suspicions and a retired economic teacher who deceived the State for many years donning the attire of a ‘scientist’, have been chosen as the Chief Commissioner and Commissioner of the State’s first Information Commission. What a mockery!

The three-member committee of power-politicians, by selection of these two fellows, have individually as well as collectively played a fraud upon the people of Orissa.

Governor Rameswar Thakur would do a wrong if he accepts this selection. Before proceeding to accept the recommendation of the committee it would be better for him to peruse Sub-Section 5 of Section 15 of the Act. It says: THE STATE CHIEF INFORMATION COMMISSIONER AND THE STATE INFORMATION COMMISSIONERS SHALL BE PERSONS OF EMINENCE IN PUBLIC LIFE WITH WIDE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE IN LAW, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, SOCIAL SERVICE, MANAGEMENT, JOURNALISM, MASS MEDIA OR ADMINISTRATION AND GOVERNANCE.

So the Committee should have selected PERSONS OF EMINENCE IN PUBLIC LIFE, which necessarily means PERSONS OF UNQUESTIONABLE INTEGRITY WHO HAVE EARNED RESPECTABLE PLACE IN THE LIFE OF THE PUBLIC and in whom the public have grown and shown confidence. Such people of eminence in public life, the Act stipulates, should have wide knowledge and experience in Law, Science & Technology, Social service, management, Journalism, Mass media, or Administration and governance.

But the Committee of three politicians that made the selection did not want to make a choice from all these segments even though Orissa has many eminent persons of impeachable place in public life having wide knowledge and experience in all these segments.

Misled by officialdom it has erred in accepting official employment as ‘Administration and governance’ and equated government service with public life.

The Act has never equated official employment with administration and governance. Had by ‘administration and governance’ official employment was to be meant, then instead of these three words, the Act would have noted a single word ‘bureaucracy’. So the words ‘administration and governance’ must be construed as Company, Banking, Industrial, University or NGO management, or can be taken as erstwhile Ministers who are no more with any political party or outfit. But by no stretch of imagination, these words can be accepted as employment in any government office.

Under these interpretations, Padhi and Radhamohan are not eligible to hold the offices of CIC and IC respectively and hence selection and recommendation of their names for the said posts by the Committee of three politicians is devoid of legality.

It would be proper therefore for the Governor of Orissa to turn down the recommendation and to refuse to appoint them.

The farce that is being enacted in Orissa in the name of Right to Information Act must not be allowed to proceed.