Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: General

Return of Bofors

Bofors returned to news on 25/4/2012. TV channels reported former Swedish police chief Sten Lindstrom’s interview to Chitra Subramaniam on thehoot.org.

In April 1987 Swedish Radio reported that kickbacks were paid in Bofors deal. After that some newspapers had reported on it. Chitra Subramaniam worked for Indian Express. Sten Lindstrom had leaked many documents to her. Sten Lindstrom revealed himself as the source.

Why did Sten Lindstrom go public now? Perhaps he thinks he will not live long. He reminds me of W. Mark Felt who was informant in Watergate scandal.

Sten Lindstrom said there was no evidence that Rajiv Gandhi received any bribe but he watched the massive cover-up in India and Sweden and did nothing. The evidence against Ottavio Quattrocchi was conclusive. Martin Ardbo, Managing Director of Bofors, had written in his notes that at no cost could the identity of Q be revealed because his closeness to R.

I remember reading something different many years back. H said he did not care if Q is hurt. H did not care even if N is hurt. But G must be protected at all costs. Q is Ottavio Quattrocchi. H is Hinduja, one of Hinduja brothers. N is Arun Nehru. R or G is Rajiv Gandhi.

The reports do not mention Win Chadda and Hindujas who received kickbacks. Why Sten Lindstrom did not mention them?

Sten Lindstrom said in early 1990 an investigating team met him and gave him a list of name including that of Amitabh Bachchan. The team did not trust Chitra Subramaniam because she refused to link the Bachchans to Bofors kickbacks. The Indian investigators planted story of Bachchan angle in Dagens Nyhetter. The Bachchans took Dagens Nyhetter to court in UK and won.

In early 1990 Vishwanath Pratap Singh was Prime Minister. Arun Nehru was a minister then. He told no one planted Amitabh Bachchan’s name.

Sten Lindstrom said after the Letter Rogatory was lodged with Switzerland he and public prosecutor Hans Ekblom waited for Indians to contact them but no one did. He saw the extent to which everyone was compromised.

V. P. Singh’s government fell in November 1990. Chandra Shekhar who followed him had Rajiv Gandhi’s support and did not last long. P. V. Narasimha Rao was a Congress member. During his time Madhavsinh Solanki lost his job because he gave a letter given by a lawyer to Swiss court hearing Bofors case. Deve Gowda and Inder Kumar Gujral headed United Front government supported by Congress. Atal Behari Vajpayee headed NDA government and BJP was the main constituent. CBI filed chargesheet in Bofors case. Ottavio Quattrocchi was out of India. Attempt of extradite him failed. Hindujas went to Delhi High Court and got a favourable judgment. Win Chadda remained safe. In 2004 UPA came to power. Bofors case was closed.

The interview conceals more than it reveals. We do not know why Ottavio Quattrocchi is target and Hindujas and Win Chadda are not targets.

Tuesday the 11th Terrorist strikes

There are people who oppose death penalty to a terrorist even when the terrorist does not challenge his conviction and does not file a mercy petition. The jailor refuses to execute court’s order to hang him. The state government files a mercy petition.

Imagine a situation. A terrorist enters the studio of NDTV when We the people is telecast live. He shoots Barkha Dutt, Colin Gonsalves, K. C. Singh, Praveen Swami, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Ram Jethmalani, Majeed Memon, Naresh Gujral and so on. The terrorist goes to Kashmir, kills Governor, MLAs and High Court judges. The terrorist goes to Assam, kills Governor, MLAs and High Court judges. The terrorist goes to Tamil Nadu, kills Governor, MLAs and High Court judges. The terrorist goes to Punjab, kills Governor, MLAs and High Court judges. When MLAs are killed chief minister and other ministers are killed.

The terrorist is arrested. He says “My mission is incomplete. Next time I will succeed. I will kill President, Vice President, MPs, Supreme Court judges, Governors, High Court judges, MLAs and MLCs wherever they are. When MPs are killed prime minister and other ministers are killed.” The terrorist is prosecuted. He says he did not commit any crime. He killed evil people and their collaborators. Some deaths were collateral damage. He is found guilty by Sessions Court. He does not file any appeal. Someone files a PIL in High Court. High Court convicts him. Another person files a PIL in Supreme Court. From Sessions Court to High Court to Supreme Court he is sentenced to death. The terrorist does not file a mercy petition. Someone files a mercy petition. President rejects it. Date is set for hanging. Then someone goes to High Court challenging the rejection. He says the President took one year to decide on the mercy petition. Before that the terrorist was in prison for four years. Five years is too long a time to wait for hanging. The High Court stays the execution. The terrorist escapes from prison.

It is Tuesday the 11th. The terrorist is sitting in a bunker. Parliament, Legislative Assemblies and Legislative Councils are in session. The terrorist gives a command on his computer. Missiles carrying neutron bombs fly. Delhi and state capitals are hit. Those bombs kill people but leave buildings intact. People in Rashtrapati Bhavan, Parliament House, Supreme Court, Governors’ Houses, Legislative Buildings, High Courts and many other buildings are dead. There are discussions on TV channels. Someone says “It was intelligence failure, not operational failure.” Another person says “The terrorist had told he will kill those people. Why was it not taken seriously?” Someone says “What do we do now? There is no president, prime minister, ministers and Supreme Court judges. There are no governors, chief ministers, ministers and high court judges. There are no MPs and MLAs and MLCs.” One panelist says to another “You went to High Court against his hanging. If he had been hanged my uncle would have been alive today. Shame on you.”

The anchor says “We have Breaking News. The terrorist is addressing the nation.” The channel switches to the speech.

“Friends, Indians, Countrymen,

Lend me your ears. I am your leader, Chief Executive.

Do not cry for the people who are dead. They were dishonourable people.

The choice was between country and democracy. What we called democracy was bad for the country. I have uploaded a new constitution on the government web site.

Politicians followed the policy of divide and rule. They made some Indians like SCs, STs, OBCs, women more equal others. India had become like George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Now all are equal. A few people benefitted at the expense of 121 crore people. They borrowed thousands of crores of rupees from banks and did not repay them while 121 crore people had to pay more taxes. Never in the history of the world so few people benefitted at the cost of so many people.

There was no justice. People went to court and got dates. Cases dragged on for years. Victims cried. Criminals laughed. They got stay orders and went in appeals. Prosecution lawyers joined together with defence lawyers. Some managed judges. Witnesses turned hostile. Evidence disappeared. When they were convicted they went to hospitals or got parole. CBI did the farce of searching for an absconder and in Supreme Court said they knew about her whereabouts and did not intend to arrest her.

Those who commit violent crimes will be drawn, hung, disemboweled, entrails burnt, beheaded and quartered. There will be caning or flogging for minor crimes. For some crimes there will be imprisonment or fine.

Farmers are free to export cotton, garlic, onion, potatoes, sugar, tomatoes and make profits. Industrialists should not benefit at the cost of farmers.

If any panchayat kills people all members of that panchayat will be buried alive and the village will be flattened and made a dumping ground.

Government will do its job in education. Private unaided and minority institutions will not be compelled to reserve 25% seats.

Taxes will come down by 1% per year. A time will come when no Indian will have to pay any tax. Anti-dumping duty may be there for imports less than cost price.

I will root out corruption. Any public servant who demands or accepts bribe will be buried alive. All public servants who took bribes up to now and all people who gave them bribes have 90 days to give declarations and they will have imprisonment or fine and will not be buried alive.

If any Indian anywhere or a foreigner in India is taken hostage we will begin rescue operation immediately and the hostage will be freed alive or dead. Hostage takers will be killed. Their bodies will be dumped into the sea or river or left on land to be eaten by beasts and birds. There should be no criticism of this policy on any TV channel and if I hear any criticism I will send a missile and destroy that channel.”

At this point one panelist says “My goodness, this is too terrible. I am leaving.” Soon other panelists follow. Then the anchor follows. The cameraman leaves and the channel is blacked out.

Stop corporate debt restructuring

There is a conspiracy of silence about money lost to the people of India due to corporate debt restructuring (CDR). TV channels don’t talk about CDR. Companies borrow crores of rupees from banks and financial institutions and when they say they are unable to pay the loan they are referred to CDR cell. Over the years more and more companies have defaulted on payments.

In F. Y. 2009-10, 256 companies defaulted on payment of 1,15,990 crores rupees, 215 of them got CDR for 1,04,299 crores rupees. In F. Y. 2010-11, 305 companies defaulted on payment of 1,41,158 crores rupees, 242 of them got CDR for 1,10,914 crores rupees. In F. Y. 2011-12, 389 companies defaulted on payment of 2,05,692 crores rupees, 286 of them got CDR for 1,50,286 crores rupees. CDR cell rejected requests of 56 companies for CDR of 19,589 crores rupees and decisions on requests of 47 companies for CDR of 35,878 crores rupees are pending. For three years CDR amount is 3,65,438 crore rupees which may go up to 4,01,316 crores rupees.

If a man borrows a few lakh rupees as housing loan or car loan and defaults on payment he will lose his flat or car. Companies that borrow crores of rupees and default do not lose anything. On the contrary, under CDR they get extension of time for payment and cut in interest rates. It is profitable to default on payment and ask for CDR then to pay as per schedule. GTL Group wants CDR for 17,000 crore rupees. Hindustan Construction Company wants CDR for 8,300 crore rupees. Bharati Shipyard wants CDR for 5,600 crore rupees. Hotel Leela wants CDR for 4,300 crore rupees. No wonder the number of defaulters is increasing.

India’s economy is said to be booming while EU economy is faltering. We hear reports of India’s growth rate. How is that Indian companies are making losses?

CDR cell decides cases when many banks and FIs are involved and the amount is not less than 10 crore rupees. When 75% banks/FIs by value and 60% by number approve CDR is granted and the decision is binding on the 25% banks/FIs by value and 40% by number which is unfair.

Many times under CDR, loan is converted to shares for more than market value. Later the value of shares goes down further. Kingfisher’s loan from SBI was converted into shares at Rs.64.48 per share when the market value was Rs.48 per share or less and now the value is around Rs.16 per share.

What IAC members have to say about CDR? CDR is robbing the poor and paying to the rich. Many banks/FIs belong to the people of India. India’s 121 crore people are robbed so that those who can borrow 10 crore rupees or above become more rich.

What Left Front MPs have to say about CDR? Congress, BJP, BSP, SP, TMC, DMK, JD (U) and MPs belonging to many other parties may have corporate connections and may not raise the issue of CDR but Left Front MPs are not supposed to have any corporate connection. Left Front MPs have not opposed CDR.

Many industrialists have become MPs. Some of them got elected to Lok Sabha but many of them have become Rajya Sabha members. Recently Election Commission countermanded a Rajya Sabha election because 2.15 crore rupees were found in a car. That amount was supposed to be for MLAs to vote for an independent candidate. What about industrialists who pay money to party presidents and become party candidates and Rajya Sabha members? Will Election Commission countermand a Rajya Sabha election if it comes to know that an industrialist got a party ticket by paying 2 crore rupees to a party president?

What Baba Ramdev has to say about CDR? He wants to bring black money stashed away outside India but what about the loot within the country?

CDR cell should be disbanded. Defaulters should approach banks/FIs individually and each bank/FI should decide for itself. If extension is granted it should be for a short period not exceeding six months and interest rate should go up. After that there should be no extension. Property of defaulters should be confiscated.

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