Tag: V. P. Singh

CAG and constitution

It is strange that former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) V. K. Shunglu suggested that CAG be made a multi-member body. Narayanasamy, MoS in PMO said the government is actively considering it and later retracted.

V. K. Shunglu had submitted six reports on Commonwealth Games. The government implemented first report which was against B. S. Lalli. Other reports which were against Sheila Dikshit and others were not implemented.

About CAG, V. K. Shunglu had suggested that a three-member body would obtain greater transparency in operation. Was there not enough transparency when Shunglu was CAG?

Former CEC S. Y. Quraishi said CAG will become more powerful if it has more than one member. The fact is additional members are appointed to make Election Commission fall in line with government. One CEC had problem with Navin Kohli who was then Election Commissioner. The CEC did not want Navin Kohli to succeed him as CED but UPA government appointed him as CEC.

The constitution provides for CAG as one person and Election Commission as a body headed by CEC. Articles 148-151 deal with CAG, duties and powers, accounts, and audit reports. Article 148 is clear that CAG is one person. There is no provision for multi-member CAG.

Article 324 deals with Election Commission. It states, among other things, “The Election Commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election Commissioners, if any, as the President may from time to time fix…” CEC is enough. ECs are optional. For a long time India had only CEC. In 1989 Rajiv Gandhi government appointed two ECs. Rajiv Gandhi was unhappy with R. V. S. Peri Sastry. When V. P. Singh government came to power they removed the two ECs. When T. N. Seshan became CEC he took decisions that favoured Congress. Janata Dal wanted his removal. P. V. Narasimha Rao promised that but did not keep his promise. Later T. N. Seshan became a problem for Congress. Then Congress government appointed two ECs. As the governments changed they continued with Election Commission as a three-member body. They promoted ECs as CECs and brought as ECs people who thought were suitable for them. Sometimes the calculations went wrong.

UPA is unhappy with Vinod Rai as CAG. Previous CAGs were quiet. Vinod Rai said the brazenness with which the decisions are taken is appalling. Amending the constitution to curb CAG’s powers is not easy for UPA. CAG is a constitutional functionary. There is no bar on him holding press conferences, giving interviews, blogging, or tweeting.

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.