Sahara and Birla

Rahul Gandhi on 21/12/2016 at Mehsana said Narendra Modi when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat had received 40 crore rupees from Sahara and 12 crore rupees from Birla. That set off reactions. Rahul Gandhi had not said anything new. Arvind Kejriwal had said this. Prashant Bhushan represents Common Cause in a PIL regarding Sahara and Birla payments to Modi. TMC leaders said they had raised the issue two years back.
Ravi Shankar Prasad said the allegations against Modi were baseless, false, shameful, and mala fide and reflected Rahul Gandhi’s frustration in leading his party to disastrous defeats in state after state. He has been disturbed over the AgustaWestland probe. Congressmen and the family have been named in the AgustaWestland investigations. Rahul Gandhi is on bail in the National Herald case, a case of serious cheating and fraud. Narendra Modi is an epitome of honesty and pure like Ganga.
Ganga is not pure. It is dirty and polluted. It has been that way for more than 30 years. Ravi Shankar Prasad should have known that.
Some wondered is this the earthquake Rahul Gandhi had promised. He had said he has evidence of personal corruption against Modi and if he speaks in Parliament there will be an earthquake. BJP was not allowing him to talk in Parliament. MPs have immunity for what they say in Parliament. The guess was that he wanted immunity.
Where was the earthquake? Gaurav Gogoi said the earthquake was in BJP office. Chandan Mitra said people were laughing in BJP office. One journalist said according to sources in Congress the purpose was served. On TV channels people are discussing what Rahul Gandhi said.
It is not only politicians who receive favours from companies. Journalists also receive. One Essar employee had revealed names of politicians and journalists who had received favours from Essar. Not much happened.
Radia tapes had revealed the relationship between industrialists, corporates, journalists, politicians and bureaucrats.
Companies mostly pay to politicians in cash. They want the payments to remain secret. Few companies pay in cheque to political parties.
No Indian English news channel has reported Directorate of Revenue Intelligence investigations into five Adani companies. There is charge of fake invoices of import of coal from Indonesia mentioning inflated prices. Adani has accounts in Cayman Islands.
Sahara file has names of more than 100 politicians belonging to 18 or more parties. It has name of Sheila Dikshit who was CM of Delhi for 15 years and is Congress UP CM candidate. When asked about her Congress members said let there be investigation about her. There are other BJP leaders like Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the list. Congress is not bothered about them. Their target is Narendra Modi. In the political chess game between Congress and BJP, for Congress Narendra Modi is the BJP king who has to be captured. Sheila Dikshit is a pawn. If she goes, so be it. It is a small price to pay.

69 years of black money

BJP members speak of 70 years of black money. It is 69 years since independence. Narendra Modi became Prime Minister on 26/5/2014. It means there was black money generation under Modi government and also under Vajpayee government in 1998-2004. BJP has been in power in many states. In Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttarakhand, BJP ruled alone and in Bihar, Maharashtra, Punjab and in some other states in was in ruling alliance. In Uttar Pradesh it was once ruling party and other times in was in ruling alliance. BJP has been in power in District Councils, municipalities and panchayats.
Corruption has been all pervasive. When people pay bribes to become police officers and judges there is no hope of justice from them. Contractors pay bribes to get their work done.
Robbing rich to pay to poor is bad. Robbing poor to pay to rich is perverse. That has happened under Modi with writing off of loans of thousands of crores of rupees borrowed by corporates. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in reply to Sitaram Yechury in Rajya Sabha said one should not go by literal meaning of written-off, the loans can be pursued and recovered. The reality that once loans are written off they are not recovered.
Many corporates borrowed money from banks and bought properties abroad. No action is taken against them. Now corporates are happy that with deposits going up interest rates will come down. Deposits are up because withdrawals are limited and difficult.
Modi government had announced an amnesty scheme for black money holders with 30/9/2016 as last date. Around 65,000 crore rupees were declared. Then Modi came up with invalidation of high denomination notes.
Modi said people with black money are taking sleeping pills and poor people are sleeping soundly. I do not know how many are taking sleeping pills but many ordinary people are unable to get their white money from banks. Exchange amount changed from 4,000 rupees to 4,500 rupees to 2,000 rupees and now stopped. One can officially withdraw 24,000 rupees in a week but banks on many days have no money and people go back. When there is money it is 2,000 rupees per person. Most ATMs have no cash.
If BJP is serious about ending black money it should make its accounts public including list of donors and the amounts donated. It should be ready to come under RTI and bring a law to bring political parties under RTI. Making promises and breaking them has become a habit for Modi. He promised to bring black money from abroad and put 15 lakh rupees in every Indian’s account in 100 days of coming to power. That was broken. On 8/11/2016 he promised invalid 1,000 rupee and 500 rupee note can be exchanged till 30/12/2016. Exchange ended on 24/11/2016.

Operation Crackpot

Fools rush where angels fear to tread.
Modi government’s move to replace 500 and 1,000 rupee notes with new 500 and 2,000 rupee and later 1,000 notes has been a disaster. The inconvenience for people was supposed to last three days. People with old notes can deposit them up to 31 December 2016. Banks were shut for a day. ATMs were to be shut for two days. Petrol pumps and government hospitals could take old notes for three days. Afterwards everything was supposed to be smooth.
What followed was nightmare for people with white money. Bank customers who had done business for years had to show proof of identity to deposit money. Exchange of old notes to valid notes was limited to 4,000 rupees. ATM withdrawal was limited to 2,000 rupees. After two days most ATMs did not open. Those who opened quickly ran out of money. ATMs had to be recalibrated for 2,000 rupee notes. Out of 2,20,000 ATMs as of 17/11/2016 20,000 ATMs were ready. People had to stand in queue for hours to deposit, withdraw or exchange money. Some slept outside ATMs.
Marriages had to be postponed. Some schools did not accept cheques and students were sent back home. People took leave to stand in queues.
The amounts of withdrawal and exchange were modified. Payment of electricity, gas and water bills by old notes was permitted. For marriage a person could withdraw 2,50,000 rupees. Farmers could withdraw 25,000 rupees against loan per week and traders could withdraw 50,000 rupees per week.
TV coverage was rigged. If two people talked of inconvenience, two people said it was a good move against black money. Short term pain for long term gain, was the statement. In TV studios many journalists were on government side and questioned the patriotism of people who opposed remonetisation or the hardship it caused.
Bank employees had to work long hours. Banks were kept open on second Saturday and Sunday. Use of indelible ink made the process of exchange longer.
Many daily wage earners had no work and no income. Factories reduced work or shut down. Film production suffered. Queues outside theatres vanished.
Modi said rich people were taking sleeping pills, poor were sleeping peacefully. Reality was vastly different. People with black money, except for a few, found ways to whiten their black money. Poor people struggled day after day. Some died standing in queue. Some children died because private hospitals did not accept old notes.
Janardhana Reddy held his daughter’s wedding. Some TV channels claimed the expenditure was 500 crore rupees. Reddy family claimed the expenditure was 30 crore rupees.
Arun Shourie said cash ban was as radical as suicide. Some compared Modi to Tughlaq or Nero or Marie Antoinette.
People with black money are less than one per cent. More than 99% are put to inconvenience due to remonetisation. Taking out 86% of currency from circulation will cripple and damage economy. Some said it was surgical strike against black money. Supreme Court said it was carpet bombing. People with black money will switch to new high denomination notes. It will be black to square one.