Month: December 2010

Tapes, spy and lobbyist

Now we know Home Secretary of India authorised tapping of Nira Radia’s telephones as she was said to be a spy for a foreign intelligence agency who built a business empire of 300 crore rupees in nine years.

Nira Radia tapes have revealed interesting conversations. Kamal Nath gets 15% of contracts. Praful Patel destroyed the aviation sector. First he worked as minister for Naresh Goyal, then for Vijay Mallya. Murli Deora works for Mukesh Ambani.

Which foreign intelligence agency had employed Nira Radia? Was it CIA, MI6, FSB, Mossad, ISI, SDECE or some other agency? Why was she not arrested?

If Nira Radia built a business empire of 300 crore rupees why did she continue lobbying for others? She could have expanded her business empire.

Did Tarun Das and Nira Radia “educate” Anand Sharma?

Did the tapping reveal anything about tax evasion?

This is the season of leaks. After Wikileaks there is Openleaks. Some call Radia tape leaks Chikileaks meaning Chidambaram is behind the leaks.

There are other lobbyists. Are their phones tapped?

It seems nothing significant was discovered about Nira Radia and if something was found out the officials took bribes and kept quiet.

What about phones of industrialists like Mukesh Ambani, L. N. Mittal, Anil Ambani, Azim Premji, Anil Agarwal, Sunil Mittal, Shashi Ruia, Vijay Mallya and Subrata Roy? Did the Income Tax Department suspect them of tax evasion and tap their phones?

Government has the power to phone taps legally but illegal phone tapping by government officials can take place. Private detective agencies can do illegal phone tapping.

Home Ministry must clarify whether Nira Radia spied or not and whether anything regarding tax evasion was found.

On 15/12/2010 there were CBI raids on residences and offices of Nira Radia and many others. Headlines Today reported that an ex-employee complained to finance ministry Nira Radia being a spy and doing something anti-national. Chidambaram passed on the letter to Director General of Investigations, Income Tax Department, and tapping began. Why was RAW not informed?

There is speculation about what DMK will do. Some say it is unhappy about raids. Others say they knew about raids. Some talk about DMK withdrawing support to Congress and mid-term elections. If DMK offers support to BJP they will jump at the opportunity and A. Raja can be deputy prime minister.

Many CBI raids take place. Convictions are rare. At one time CBI raided Madhu Koda’s properties. The amount of scam was said to be 4,000 crore rupees. After some months it came down to 400 crore rupees. Then it was forgotten. Ramalinga Raju’s case is a fiasco.

Abolition of Rajya Sabha

Shivraj Singh Chouhan suggested abolition of Rajya Sabha and later in face of opposition retracted. It was a good suggestion. Shivraj Singh Chouhan referred to businessmen buying votes to become Rajya Sabha members and mentioned Vijay Mallya. That put BJP in an embarrassing position because BJP had supported Vijay Mallya.

The constitution refers to Council of States which is known as Rajya Sabha. During British times Council of States represented princely states and had a membership of 216 members. There was no need to have Rajya Sabha when India became a republic.

Many times people who fail to win Lok Sabha elections get elected to Rajya Sabha. Twelve members can be nominated for their special knowledge and practical experience literature, art, science and social service. Political affiliation is the main consideration in such nominations. Mani Shankar Aiyar who lost Lok Sabha election was nominated to the Rajya Sabha. The requirement of residence of a state to be a Rajya Sabha member from that state was done away some years back.

Many countries have bicameral legislature. In UK, members of House of Lords are not elected. In USA, Senate has important functions like ratification of treaties and approval of important public appointments. In most countries Upper House has fewer powers than Lower House and can be done away with.

Lok Sabha can have fixed term of five years with election and swearing-in taking place on particular dates. We can have presidential system so that the government does not depend on the confidence of Lok Sabha.

We can also abolish Legislative Councils, Planning Commission, National Advisory Council, Animal Welfare Board and similar organizations. NTR and MGR had abolished Legislative Councils in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. They were revived by Congress and DMK.

The story could have been killed

When Manu Joseph was asked on Last Word why he did not talk to journalists to get their side of the story regarding Nira Radia tapes the answer was the story could have been killed.

The tapes were in circulation for a long time. Headlines Today had telecast some excerpts that had conversations of Kanimozhi and A. Raja. It did not telecast any excerpt that had conversations of Barkha Dutt or Vir Sanghvi. One possibility is that Headlines Today contacted them for their version and the story was killed. Another possibility is that one tape had Prabhu Chawla’s conversation, so they did not want to telecast anything about journalists.

Why other channels did not telecast anything? Why no newspaper or magazine published the transcripts till Outlook and Open published? Possibly, the story was killed.

After Outlook and Open went public about the tapes CNN-IBN discussed it on Last Word. After that the story could not be killed.

Previously Outlook had reported on phone tapping which had exposed crime and corruption. No guilty person was punished. We do not know the names of a bureaucrat who wanted Rs.8 crores bribe, a minister in UP who wanted a bribe from engineer, the wife of an air vice marshal who talked to a beautician about prostitution racket and an industrialist had sent a starlet to Calcutta. The story was killed. It would have been good if Outlook had mentioned the names of guilty persons. Now also Outlook can reveal the names. Better late than never.

In one conversation there was mention of a Delhi High Court judge who was paid nine crore rupees bribe. He became Chief Justice of a High Court. Who was the judge? Who benefitted from his judgment? Who lost? The story has been killed.

Who murdered Arushi and Hemraj? The story has been killed.

How many stories have been killed over the years? Those who own a channel or newspaper or magazine decided the content. Ad revenue is a consideration.

Sucheta Dalal is blacklisted by RBI, SEBI and Finance Ministry. People who expose corruption do not get invited on TV channels. People like Rahul Mehra and Arun Kejriwal are not seen on TV nowadays.

Ratan Tata said the real scam was out of turn allocation of spectrum. Rajeev Chandrasekhar has written that Tata Teleservices received out of turn spectrum that resulted in a loss of 19,074.8 crore rupees to the exchequer.

Supreme Court remarked that something is rotten in Allahabad High Court. The Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court must transfer incorrigible judges. How things came to such a pass? Before the judgment on Babri Mosque came out Harish Salve had hinted that it will not be judgment giving everything to somebody and others getting nothing. Different parties will get different parts. How did he know that? The story has been killed.

The Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court did not take action. All judges of Allahabad High Court decided to appeal to the Supreme Court to delete the remark.

How some reports get leaked and several channels claim they have exclusive excess? If one channel gets a report, that is exclusive. If several channels gets a report, that is not exclusive. Who leaks for what purpose? Every such leak is a story by itself.