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Posts Tagged ‘Politics

The recent judgement of the Supreme Court in the K K Mishra case is a blow to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. It may haunt the ruling BJP, particularly the Chief Minister, through the Assembly elections due in November this year. The apex court judgement is also a sad reflection on the session judge of Bhopal who had tried the case initially.

The case in nutshell is like this. K K Mishra, who is the chief spokesperson of the State Congress, had made the following observations at a press conference he had convened at the PCC office in June 2014: as many as 19 among the transport inspectors appointed by the State government were from Gondia (in Maharashtra) which is Chouhan’s sasural; Chouhan’s cousin Sanjay Singh had been talking on mobile to the accused in the mega-scam now known as Vyapam; and Chouhan’s wife, Sadhna Singh, had made 139 calls from the CM’s residence to the top Vyapam operators, Nitin Mahendra, Pankaj Trivedi and Laxmikant Sharma.

Chouhan took offence and filed, as Chief Minister, a defamation case against Mishra in the court of the Special Judge, Prevention of Corruption Act, Bhopal. After the sessions trial, the Judge, by its order of November 17, 2017, sentenced K K Mishra to undergo a simple imprisonment for two years with fine of Rs 25,000. Having failed to get a relief from the High Court, Mishra went in an appeal before the Supreme Court where the case was heard by a division bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi, R Banumathi and Mohan M Shantanagoudar.

The bench, in its judgement delivered on April 13, observed that ‘none of the said statements, even if admitted to have been made by the appellant (Mishra), can be said to have any reasonable connection with the discharge of public duties by or the office of the Hon’ble Chief Minister. The appointment of persons from the area/place to which the wife of the Hon’ble Chief Minister belongs and the making of phone calls by the relatives of the Hon’ble Chief Minister have no reasonable nexus with the discharge of public duties by or the office of the Hon’ble Chief Minister’.

The bench pointed out that such statements may be defamatory but in the absence of nexus between the same and the discharge of public duties of the office, the remedy provided for public servants under provisions of the Cr.P.C. would not be available. Chouhan, as individual, and not as Chief Minister, should have gone before the ordinary court (the court of the magistrate).

The bench said: The press meet was convened by the appellant (Mishra) on June 21, 2014.  The government accorded sanction to the public prosecutor to file complaint under Section 500 IPC against the appellant on June 24, 2014. The complaint was filed by the public prosecutor against the appellant on the very same day, i.e. June 24, 2014. The haste with which the complaint was filed prima facie indicates that the public prosecutor may not have applied his mind to the materials placed before him. ‘We, therefore, take the view that the complaint is not maintainable on the very face of it and would deserve our interference.’

The apex court allowed Mishra’s appeal and quashed all proceedings in the trial court. Desperate State BJP has been trying to argue that the trial court order has been quashed by the Supreme Court only on technical grounds and that nothing has changed substantially. This is an utterly erroneous assertion. After the Supreme Court judgement, the situation now is the same as it was before Chouhan had filed the complaint against Mishra in the special court. If he still feels defamed by Mishra’s allegations, he will have to file a fresh complaint like an ordinary person in the court of judicial magistrate. 

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Lal Krishna Advani was the BJP’s declared prime ministerial candidate. Rahul Gandhi is being groomed by her mother Sonia Gandhi (who is The Congress) to become Prime Minister, though not immediately. Both Advani and Rahul Gandhi share at least one trait: both consider the people of this country as dolts and treat them as such.

When Rahul Gandhi said at Balaghat that not even five paise of the one rupee allocated by the Centre for the welfare of the poor reached the beneficiaries, he was only censuring the ten years of the Congress governments at the Centre — five years of P.V.Narasimha Rao and another five years of Manmohan Singh — as well as the ten years of the Digvijay Singh regime in Madhya Pradesh.

Rahul’s father Rajiv Gandhi had stated in the late eighties that when the Centre spent one rupee on the welfare of the poor, only 15 paise were reaching the beneficiaries and the rest was pocketed by the intermediaries. Forget the V.P.Singhs and the Devegowdas. What has the Congress governments, in power at the Centre for two full terms during this period, have done to arrest this nefarious trend?

It’s not that those who held the strings were not made aware of the plight of the poor. The Centrally-sponsored National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in Madhya Pradesh is in a mess. When it was started in Badwani district, those entitled and deserving were denied enrolment and the relatively well-off people recommended by influential leaders of both the BJP and the Congress were given the benefits. The NGO working among the poor in Badwani district approached the officials concerned and sent detailed memoranda listing the instances of the bungling to union minister of rural development Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, among others. The minister announced that he would order an inquiry. What happened to that? The Central ministers, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh included, have, instead, been issuing certificates of good implementation of the Central schemes to the State government.

Vicious circle

It is a vicious circle. The schemes are implemented through bureaucrats who are the real plunderers in all the welfare schemes. The bureaucrats have their own well-knit network, immune to the hue of the political party in power. The Central ministers form their opinion only on the reports of the bureaucrats. If Shivraj Singh Chauhan is citing the good performance certificates given by the Central ministers today, Digvijay Singh was also citing such certificates even though his government was as insensitive to the plight of the poor as Chauhan’s government is today.

If Rahul Gandhi is being callow, Advani is a consummate demagogue. When did he learn that the Indians are keeping lakhs of crores of rupees in foreign banks clandestinely? That the idea is noble does not mean that it should be practicable also. The foreign banks have their own laws and it will not be easy, even with the best of intentions, to force them to reveal the particulars of the deposits. Advani’s promise to start bringing back the money from foreign banks within 100 days of coming to power (if the BJP does come to power) is humbug. Had not he and the others in his party joined V.P.Singh’s chorus in 1989 to expose and punish the culprits of the Bofors pay-off within a month? The Bofors case was virtually brushed aside a decade later when Advani was the Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. Incidentally, it would be interesting to find out if Advani, as Home Minister of the country, had taken even a single initiative in the interest of the people and the country. He had completely forgotten his pet subjects like the electoral reforms and amendment of the Police Act, about which he had been talking ad nauseam while in the Opposition.
Advani is talking of the Indians’ money in the foreign banks which is not easy to get back. He is not talking of the lakhs of crores of rupees which the industrialists of the country have borrowed from the public sector banks and financial institutions and have refused to repay. That huge amount is now treated as the bad debt. Recovering that money, with the firm support of the government, is POSSIBLE. Maybe, Advani is deliberately avoiding this subject because he is himself a beneficiary of this loot. Advani has not so far made public the source of the Rs 250 crore he is reportedly spending on his personal publicity and the huge amounts his party is spending on chartered planes for him and other party leaders.


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