Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Supreme Court on CBI Director

On 20/11/2014 Supreme Court ordered CBI Director Ranjit Sinha not to interfere in the investigation and trial of 2G spectrum cases. The bench consisted of CJI H. L. Dattu and Justices M. B. Lokur and A. K. Sikri.
The order said “We direct Ranjit Sinha not to interfere in the 2G spectrum investigation and trial. The next seniormost officer of the investigation team would take over from Sinha and continue proceedings.” Supreme Court said if we give a detailed order, there will be damage to the reputation of this great institution. The order came after Special Public Prosecutor Anand Grover submitted his report and told the court that Sinha had attempted to file an affidavit that would derail the entire prosecution in the 2G case.
In the morning CBI Joint Director Ashok Tiwari and some CBI officers had come to court. Supreme Court told them to go back and do some work.
Supreme Court can give elaborate reasons for its order. It need not worry about faith in CBI or its Director.
Not many have faith in CBI. CBI’s reputation has been tarnished through various deeds of commission and omission. Cases handed over to CBI have mostly failed in punishing the guilty. There have been cover-ups and acquittals.
Jain hawala case flopped. Aarushi-Hemraj murders case saw twists with change of Directors. Three servants were framed to protect the Talwars. They, the servants, got bail as there was no chargesheet against them. Later under another Director Talwars were charged, found guilty and jailed.
Politicians in power at Centre have used CBI to suit them. CBI has changed its stance in cases against Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Laloo Prasad Yadav according to the wishes of its masters. CBI was used even against Intelligence Bureau in Ishrat Jahan case.
Ranjit Sinha should have been sacked when he said betting should be made legal and when a woman cannot avoid rape she should lie down and enjoy it. It is pathetic that he got away with it.
Government can sack Ranjit Sinha. His last day of service is 2/12/2014. Sacking him will give the message that government will not tolerate corruption and sabotaging of cases. Allowing him to continue because 12 days were left means in future also corrupt officials will plead they should be allowed to retire.
Many times state police do a good job. Cases are handed over to CBI and they flop. In Fake Stamp Papers case names of politicians came out during investigation. They were not interrogated. The amount came down from 37,000 crore rupees to 3,000 crore rupees. In Madhu Koda case the amount came down from 4,000 crore rupees to a few crore rupees. Murders turn into accidents or suicides.
Ranjit Sinha did not know there was visitors’ diary. There were names and car numbers of those who came to meet CBI Director. Supreme Court withdrew its previous order which had directed revealing the name of whistleblower who had handed over the diary to Prashant Bhushan. This is a relief to whistleblower who remains anonymous and others who may wish to become whistleblowers. Vikas Singh who represented Ranjit Sinha had alleged DIG Santosh Rastogi was the whistleblower. CBI lawyer K. K. Venugopal countered him. When judges questioned Vikas Singh he said it appeared an insider was giving information to Prashant Bhushan.
There have been varied reactions to Supreme Court order. Some have said Ranjit Sinha should resign.
Soli Sorabji: As a man of honour, which we assume him to be, he should step down.
R. K. Raghavan: It is an indictment of an individual and not an organization.
TSR Subramaniam: Many times you can do irreparable damage. We do not know the extent. One single meeting can change the course of investigation. It is a matter very high people are involved. If he does not go, government should show him the door.
Subramanian Swamy: He should step down. It will be a disgrace if he continues. Supreme Court has set up a healthy precedent for future. Future directors should be careful.
Bishwajeet Bhattacharya: Government has all the powers. CBI Director should gracefully step down. Be you ever so high, law is above you. Full marks to Supreme Court.
Sanjay Hegde: When you are head of investigating agency you don’t meet the accused.
KTS Tulsi: One person met him 71 times. This is gross misbehavour.
A man of honour does not engage in dishonourable acts. Ranjit Sinha does not want to resign. He said “No personal aspersions have been made against me.” It is for the government to decide on Ranjit Sinha’s continuance.

Cabinet expansion

Narendra Modi expanded his Council of Ministers on 9/11/2014. He added 21 ministers; four of cabinet rank, three of Minister of State with independent charge rank and 14 of Minister of State rank.
Manohar Parrikar was the first to take oath. He is not an MP. He was Chief Minister of Goa. He became Defence Minister. Arun Jaitley had held Defence as additional portfolio. Francis D’Souza was Deputy Chief Minister of Goa. He wanted to be Chief Minister. That did not happen. Laxmikant Parsekar became Chief Minister and was present for swearing-in of Manohar Parrikar.
Suresh Prabhu was next. He is not an MP. He was member of Shiv Sena. Uddhav Thackeray did not want him as minister. Suresh Prabhu quit Shiv Sena, joined BJP and became Railways Minister. He was Power Minister in Atal Behari Vajpayee’s cabinet. He had plans to reform power sector. Bal Thackeray wanted him to think about elections and had him replaced.
Jagat Prakash Nadda was a contender for the post of President of BJP. He is an MP. He got Health. This was held by Harsh Vardhan. The controversy regarding corruption in Medical Council of India and harassment of whistleblower could be the reason why Harsh Vardhan lost Health. AAP issued a statement against Nadda’s induction which said, “It is shocking that despite written evidence being available with the Prime Minister’s Office about the role of Nadda in getting whistleblower officer Sanjeev Chaturvedi removed as Chief Vigilance Officer of AIIMS, he had been made a Cabinet minister.”
Birender Singh was in Congress till some months back. Before Lok Sabha elections he joined BJP. He is not an MP. He got Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Water & Sanitation.
Bandaru Dattatreya got Labour.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy is a familiar figure on TV channels. He got Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.
Mahesh Sharma got Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi got Minority Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs.
Ram Kripal Yadav was in RJD till some months back. He joined BJP and won from Pataliputra. He got Drinking Water.
Haribhai Chaudhary got Home.
Sanwar Lal Jat got Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
Mohanbhai Kundariya got Agriculture.
Giriraj Singh got Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
Hansraj Ahir got Chemicals & Fertilisers.
Ramshankar Katheria got HRD.
Yalamanchili Satyanarayana Chowdary got Science and Technology and Earth Sciences.
Jayant Sinha got Finance. He is son of former minister Yashwant Sinha. Some said his appointment shows dynastic rule in BJP. Congress claimed his appointment was violation of Model Code of Conduct in Jharkhand which has state elections. Ajai Rai said “Our Pradesh general secretary has written to the Election Commission of India, pointing out that the elevation gives an undue advantage to one political party ahead of the elections.”
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore got Information & Broadcasting.
Babul Supriyo Baral got Urban Development, Urban Poverty Alleviation and Housing. He is Asansol MP. He is the first playback singer to become a member in Union Cabinet.
Niranjan Jyoti got Food Processing.
Vijay Sampla got Social Justice and Empowerment.
For some ministers there were changes in portfolios.
Arun Jaitley lost Defence, got Information & Broadcasting.
Harsh Vardhan lost Health, got Science & Technology and Earth Sciences.
Prakash Javadekar lost Information & Broadcasting.
Nitin Gadkari lost Rural Development. He held it as additional charge after Gopinath Munde’s death.
D. V. Sadananda Gowda lost Railways, got Law and Justice. Railways is considered fifth in importance. Home, Finance, Defence and External Affairs are considered more important. There was controversy about Sadananda Gowda’s son’s marriage to an actress.
Harsh Vardhan lost Health, got Science and Technology and Earth Sciences.
Ravi Shankar Prasad lost Law and Justice. Status of the Constitutional Amendment on appointment of Supreme Court and High Court Judges is not known. Half of the states had to ratify it.
Vijay Kumar Singh lost North East Region.
Shripad Naik lost Culture.
I am not in favour of non-MPs becoming union ministers. It is strange that three ministers of cabinet rank and not MPs. It is strange that Narendra Modi did not find any MP suitable to become Defence Minister. Vijay Kumar Singh was army chief. He could have been made Defence Minister. What was the need to give I&B to Arun Jaitley? He was I&B Minister and banned adult films on TV. It will be nice if he reverses ban on adult films and allows telecast of adult films on free-to-air channels between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and on pay channels any time. Finance Minister’s job is a full-time job. Twice he fell sick and spent time in hospital, once up to one month. Prakash Javadekar was doing a good job as I&B Minister. Perhaps he lost I&B because he did not oblige people who wanted ban on Rang Rasiya.
Smriti Irani continues to be HRD Minister. There was speculation that she will be shifted to I&B.
Names like Anurag Thakur, Chandan Mitra, Ramdas Athavale and S. S. Ahluwalia did rounds.
Except for Y. S. Chowdary new ministers are BJP members.
There was suspense about Shiv Sena member Anil Desai’s swearing-in. He had left Bombay. He landed in Delhi. He was told to return. It seems Uddhav Thackeray wanted Anil Desai be made cabinet minister. Modi offered MoS rank. It is said on Friday and Saturday Anant Geete went to 7 RCR. Modi did not meet him. Modi did not take Uddhav’s calls. Uddhav held a press conference at 7.15 p.m. and said if BJP takes NCP support directly or indirectly Shiv Sena will sit in the opposition. Soon Devendra Fadnavis said BJP will no longer hold discussions with Shiv Sena on ministers and portfolios.
Some talk of state and community representation. A minister is for the whole country. Talk of representing state or community is improper.
Some had admired Modi’s small or compact cabinet. Now it has 66 members. It remains to be seen whether more ministers will result in better governance. Meanwhile Modi’s Clean India Campaign has become a farce in some places. People do it for TV cameras. Satish Upadhyay and Shazia Ilmi did it in Delhi outside India Islamic Cultural Centre. In Mathura Hema Malini said she will not clean. She held broom for photographs.
Modi has shown it is his choice of ministers, ranks and portfolios. He will not allow allies to dictate terms to him.

BJP wins in Haryana and Maharashtra

BJP won in Legislative Assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra.  In Haryana it was clear victory as BJP won in 47 seats out of 90.  In Maharashtra BJP emerged as the single largest party winning 123 seats out of 288.  NCP which has 41 seats declared unconditional outside support to BJP.

During by-elections that followed Lok Sabha elections BJP had done badly.  It had lost seats it had previously held.  These victories are a morale booster to BJP.

For Lok Sabha elections News24-Chanakya prediction was close.  This time India TV-C Voter was close for Haryana and India Today-Cicero was close for Maharashtra.  India TV-C Voter predicted BJP 45, INLD 23, Congress 15.  It was BJP 47, INLD 20, Congress 15.  India Today-Cicero predicted BJP 124. SS 71, Congress 35, NCP 29.  It was BJP 123, SS 63, Congress 42, NCP 41.

In Haryana BJP has come to power on its own for the first time.  Previously it was a junior partner in coalitions.  Families of Bansi Lal, Bhajan Lal and Devi Lal had dominated Haryana politics.  Then came Bhupinder Singh Hooda.  He promoted his family.  INLD dominated by Devi Lal’s descendants is second with 20 seats.  Congress is third with 15 seats.  HJC headed by Bhajan Lal’s son Kuldeep Bishnoi got two seats.  Kuldeep and his wife won the two seats.  Sushma Swaraj’s sister Vandana Sharma lost.  Many BJP members were opposed to Vandana Sharma’s candidature as they viewed it as dynasty nomination.

In Maharashtra BJP won 123, Shiv Sena 63, Congress 42, NCP 41.  MNS was reduced to one seat.  MIM won two seats, first time outside Hyderabad.  BJP’s allies Swabhimani Paksha, RPI (A), Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and Shiv Sangram contested 27 seats and lost in 26. RSP won the lone seat.  SP got one seat.  Six independents won.  Breaking the alliance with Shiv Sena proved beneficial to BJP.  Since NCP has declared support to BJP there is not much Shiv Sena can bargain for.  Amit Shah said chief minister will be of BJP.  BJP has seats almost double to that of Shiv Sena.  Shiv Sena needs BJP more than BJP needs Shiv Sena.  Shiv Sena is in no position to dominate BJP and dictate terms to it.

Amit Shah said they are two steps closer to Congress-Free India.  In both states Congress has come third.  He made it clear it will be BJP chief minister in Maharashtra.  No chance for Uddhav Thackeray to become CM.

It is wrong to speak of 10 years of anti-incumbency in Haryana and 15 years of anti-incumbency in Maharashtra.  Elections are held every five years.  When a party in power wins an election there is no anti-incumbency for the preceding period.  If at all there is anti-incumbency it is of five years.  It is not anti-incumbency that causes defeat but failure to perform as per expectations.  Corruption, misrule, nepotism are some of the reasons why parties lose elections.

Modi did not campaign during by-elections.  He campaigned during Legislative Assembly elections.  That made a difference to BJP.  In both states BJP did not have chief ministerial candidates.

AAP did not contest elections.  Being Delhi-centric is not good for AAP.  In Maharashtra many have left AAP.

Was there any secret understanding between BJP and NCP?  Does Modi want to make Sharad Pawar defence minister?  Is that the reason why Arun Jaitley holds additional charge of defence minister?  It will be political suicide for Modi if he makes Sharad Pawar defence minister.

Modi spoke against dynastic rule.  There are dynasties in BJP.  Modi’s message was to all dynasties.

Whether there was Modi wave in Maharashtra is immaterial.  BJP emerged as the largest party.  It has NCP’s outside support.  It is in a position to form the government.  That is what matters.

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