Monday, December 31, 2012

‘Damini’ wanted all of them hanged

‘Damini’ wanted all of them hanged It was a heart-rendering scene at the Safdarjung Hospital on December 24 when the victim of Delhi’s gang-rape case Damini (Nirbhaya or Amanat) was told that her statement would have to recorded second time. The team of country’s top surgeons attending on her were against it as she was too fragile to speak. Her entire lever and intestine had been removed due to extreme damage caused. But the Police wanted her statement to be recorded immediately as doctors were not sure whether she would survive or not. Her statement was vital to the case as well. But ruckus created by SDM Usha Chaturvedi made the statement of the victim inconsequential. But who will tell the girl to undergo another trauma and record her statement second time.. The doctors attending on her were unwilling and so were the family members. But the girl was made of different mettle. The gritty told the doctors and the police that she would record her statement again if it was needed, come what may as she wanted the accused to be hanged. Insiders in the hospital said that the arrangements were made to seek the presence of another metropolitan magistrate to record her statement again. The brave-heart girl moved everybody present in the Intensive Care Unit of the Hospital when she insisted on giving a piece of paper and pen to write down the names of the accused who had brutally attacked her. She remembered the names of all the persons, entire incident in sequence and said she would like to see them hanged. It is also revealed that immediately after regaining consciousness, she had enquired about her friend who accompanied her on the fateful night. When told that he was fine, she expressed the desire to see him. She talked to her friend for a while and then the family members. Later, she agreed to record her statement and then second time too. Its now that her statement has become a dyeing statement and vital evidence against all 6 accused.


P CHIDAMBARAM ON HIS BECOMING PRIME MINISTER 'I AM NOT FOOLISH" Finance Minister P Chidambaram may have dismissed reports of his becoming the Prime Minister in the wake of DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s statement that he could be the first “dhoti clad PM”. But his two comments – first on a serious note and second in a lighter vein –are set to add more fuel to the fire to the on-going speculations. When asked P Chidambaram said, “I know my limitations and I stay within my limitation.” Then he paused and added, “ That's my serious answer to your question. And on a lighter note I must tell you, I know some of you think I am foolish. But I am not so foolish.” Everybody laughed present at the press conference. But this hardly helped in containing speculation of his rising graph within the Congress and the government. Speculations have been rife for quite sometime that PC could be UPA-III choice for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi has made it clear that he won't like to lead the government without the Congress getting a reasonable majority on its own. The way coalition governments had to function and compromise, it would be better for him to wok for the party. He will rather work hard to strengthen the party in states like UP. It was in this context that PC has emerged as the Congress choice for the UPA-III. Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has signaled that he won’t like to lead the coalition for the third term. Today, was the first occasion when he was put a direct questions and he gave a diplomatic answer rather than a straight No.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

When will Modi cross the Delhi Rubicon ?

Is Narendra Modi set to be projected as the BJP’s candidate for Prime Minister in 2014? The media is looking for clues in everything he’s done or uttered since his expected victory last week in the Gujarat assembly elections. The fact that the first address he delivered after the results was in Hindi, not in Gujarati, is being parsed as a prominent straw in the wind, and so is the fact that he has committed to visit Delhi on December 27, a day after his oath-taking in Gandhinagar as Chief Minister, never mind that it is a pre-scheduled meeting of state chief ministers. Commentators have even counted that Modi used the word 'DESH' 24 times in his 45-minute speech, and so, they have speculated, it is South Bloc that must be looming large within his ken. It is being said that his victory speech is full of lines that are pregnant with meaning, such as, mein khel Dilli se jitna chahta tha, aaj wo khel janta ne mujhe jita diya (the game that I wanted to win from Delhi is the one that the people have made me win today). He also sought apologies if he had done anything wrong. But made no reference to any incident or act leaving his supporters to claim that he had done what was required.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A phony Lobbying probe

The political class in India has become a prisoner of its own histrionics. It says something today and opposes it tomorrow. When it comes to ethics, it does hair-splitting that can shame the Indian smriti jurists of the past if some of its members can benefit from being so demanding with regard to the acts of their rivals. But when charges are directed against them, the moral yardstick gets extraordinarily liberal. It is one thing that FDI was welcomed to the fullest extent in sectors such as civil aviation, defense related industries or pharmaceutical products during the NDA period, and nobody even asked if these relaxations in policy were the result of some lobbying. But now the table has turned, and the BJP, as the main opposition party, is livid because a report has appeared that Wal-mart, in its statutory filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, has declared that it paid US $25 million over four years to lobby American lawmakers to help gain access to foreign markets including India. According to disclosures, there are nine countries where Wal-mart was lobbying. At this rate, it works out to spend of six million dollars per year, and that too in not just India but some other countries too. Wal-mart has said that the expenses are “a compilation of expenses associated with US Federal lobbying contacts and include staffing costs, association dues and payments made to consultants, all in the US”. The opposition is not impressed. It has forced the government into agreeing on a judicial inquiry to be set up to lead an investigation, in the words of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, “pertaining to Wal-mart’s lobbying”.

Monday, December 10, 2012

After FDI, it's Lokpal Bill

Harish Gupta
With the Lokpal Bill set to be the centerpiece of public discourse, I think it is time to wonder why this creature keeps popping back like a squash ball. It is some half a century ago that the venerable Ashoke Kumar Sen, the then Congress law minister, moved the first Lokpal Bill. It failed to go through Parliament. In 1968, it was Shanti Bhushan who took his turn, but it got nixed in the Rajya Sabha. It was followed by a procession of similar last-stage abortions in 1971, 1977, 1985 (it was Ashoke Sen again, as law minister in the Rajiv Gandhi cabinet), 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2008. Its transformation into a Civil Society movement since then, under the (contested) leadership of Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal or Baba Ramdev, the yoga instructor, does not dilute the doubts raised by its serial rejection by the legislators. And if lawmakers have considered it to be a bothersome intrusion, is the Civil Society justified in still demanding it with so much earnestness?