Archive for April, 2009

Black money haunts Congress

Black money haunts Congress

S Gurumurthy

The manner in which a bold initiative to unearth Indian black money lying abroad was aborted by the then Congress Government in the 1980s was suggestive. Then, as now, the party leadership acted as if it had skeletons to hide

Switzerland was accused of giving shelter to black money and there has been a lot of inflow of such wealth from India and other countries of the world.” This is not Mr LK Advani speaking in an election rally but the Swiss Ambassador to India briefing the media in New Delhi last year. The occasion was the 60th anniversary of Indo-Swiss Friendship Treaty. Admitting that Indian black money gets hoarded in his country, he added that the new law in Switzerland would not stop it but control it “up to a certain limit”.

The Swiss diplomat authentically answered the first of the FAQs, that is, whether lots of Indian monies are really stashed away in Swiss banks. Swiss banks are not the only secret destination. There are 37 such shelters in the world, says US Inland Revenue. The secret owners of the monies operate in secrecy — venal businessmen, corrupt politicians and public servants, drug lords, and criminal gangs like the D-company. These slush monies are the financial RDX for terror, besides weapons of mass destruction of national and global finance. That there is secret money is no more a secret. Only the amounts and the owners of that money are secret.

But how large could be such stolen Indian wealth hoarded in Switzerland so far? Specific estimates of this later. Before that, here is a side show, but a relevant one.

An apology would be in order. For, I figure in this show. In late 1980s, at the behest of an English national daily, while investigating a corporate scam, I had attempted to trail the Indian currencies stashed abroad. In the course of the probe, I had contacted Fairfax, a US investigative firm. Impressed by its skills, I persuaded the Government of India to engage the firm for the task. Fairfax agreed to work for a slice of the black wealth uncovered by them as fee. According to the Swiss sources then, the Indian money stashed in Swiss banks was estimated around some $300 billion. That was enough to excite the Fairfax to go for the kill.

But, soon my efforts landed me in jail on March 13, 1987, when the Central Bureau of Investigation arrested me on charges that later turned out to be bogus, but were enough to stop the probe. The whole nation knew then that real reason why rulers struck was their fear that the probe had targeted the Bofors pay-off and secrets monies of the ruling family abroad. Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, moved honest and bold civil servants like Vinod Pandey and Bhure Lal out of the probe and eventually sacked the then Finance Minister VP Singh, who had authorised the efforts.

The chain of events that followed led to corruption emerging as the major issue in the 1989 poll in which Rajiv Gandhi, who had wiped out the Opposition in 1984 election, was defeated, and VP Singh became the Prime Minister. But there is a big lesson in these developments that often goes unnoticed. And that is the way the bold national interest initiative to unearth the Indian black wealth abroad was aborted clearly confirmed that the ruling party was mortally afraid of any probe into secret monies abroad. This fear haunts the Congress even today. That is why the 1987 episode is relevant now.

Now cut to the main story.

Illicit monies are the dirty outcome of modern capitalism. But, after the 9/11 terror attack, the United States realised that not just the buccaneers in business but terrorists like Osama bin Laden could hide their funds in secret havens and use them to bomb the world. Campaigns against dirty money as high security risk commenced with the path-breaking research done by Raymond W Baker, a Harvard MBA and a Brooking scholar. His research was published in a book titled Capitalism’s Achilles Heel: Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free-Market System in 2005.

This set off intense debate in the US as the exposure linked dirty business and black money with terror and national security. Raymond Baker had estimated, using authentic data, tools and reasons, the tainted wealth stashed in banks at $11.5 trillion to which, he found, one more trillion was getting added annually. He added that in the process the West was getting an annual bounty of $500 billion from the developing countries, including India.

Global Financial Integrity, a global watchdog headed by Baker to curtail illicit money flows, has recently brought out detailed estimates of the black money hoarded in secret havens from different countries. GFI research shows that during the period from 2002 to 2006, annually $27.3 billion was stashed away from India, making a total of $137.5 billion for the five-year period (the Executive Report of GFI in http://www.gfip.org on ‘Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries 2002-2006’ Economists’ version). That is, in just five years, Indian wealth amounting to Rs 6.88 lakh crore was smuggled out of India. This gives clue as to how much Indian money would have slipped out of India in the last 62 years, particularly during the Nehruvian socialist regime when the income tax (97.5 per cent) and wealth tax (almost equal to the income earned on investments) together constituted double the income earned!

It is undisputed that the Nehruvian socialist model had forced huge sums of Indian money out of India. So the amount of Indian black money stashed away in the last 60 years — estimated at from $500 billion (Rs 25 lakh crore) to $1400 billion (Rs 70 lakh crore) — do not seem to be wide off the mark. Economists call it flight of capital. This is the Indian people’s money stolen away from them.

See the consequence even if part of it is brought back. A portion of it would make India free from all external debts which is now over $220 billion; India will transform into an economic superpower; some 10 or 15 Indian Rupee could buy a US dollar which today 50 Indian Rupees cannot. A litre of petrol on our roadside would cost some Rs 15 or even less, against today’s 40 plus; the cost of imports in rupee terms would be down to a third or half; India’s entire infrastructure needs can be funded; India will become so energy efficient and cost-competitive that exporters may need no sops at all; India will lend to — presently it borrows from — the world. India’s housing can be funded at affordable cost; rural poverty can be wiped out… The list is endless.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/170858/Black-money-haunts-Congress.html

Getting India’s money back from Tax Havens Congress caught in its own web

Getting India’s money back from Tax Havens Congress caught in its own web

– Dr. Arun Shourie

Stupefied by the strong endorsement all across the country of the demand that the money looted from India must be brought back, the Congress has tied itself in knots. Its spokesmen – led, as will be clear from the arguments they have advanced, by four lawyers – have given five reactions:

Why is Mr. Advani taking up this matter now, on the eve of elections?

The GE-20 meeting was not the proper forum for taking up the issue.

There is doubt about the figures.

Why did the BJP government to replace FERA by FEMA, and thereby make the offences compoundable?

Is Mr. Advani not unwittingly alerting those with illegal money abroad to spirit it away from Switzerland to other tax havens?

What was the NDA doing when it was in office? In any case there is doubt about the figures.

The reactions betray panic as even the littlest reflection would have shown the “arguments” to be indefensible. Let us consider them one by one.

Why is Mr. Advani taking up this matter now, on the eve of elections?

The fact, of course, is that Mr. Advani took up the matter with the Prime Minister in April last year. He wrote to Dr. Manmohan Singh soon after it became known that the Government of Germany had succeeded in obtaining names of persons who had stashed money in the LGT Bank in Lichtenstein. The reply that P. Chidambram, the then Finance Minister, sent him showed that the Government intended to do little except keep going through the pretence of taking some steps. Soon thereafter, we were alarmed to learn that a senior official of the Finance Ministry had written to the then Indian Ambassador in Germany not to press the Germans for release of the names of Indians in the list that they had obtained from Lichtenstein — lest the Germans take offence and conclude that they were being pressurized and their bona fides were being questioned! [This information was later confirmed by report filed by Amitabh Ranjan in The Indian Express of 31 March 2009.] Subsequently, we took up the matter in Parliament also. And yet the evasion, “Why now?”

The GE-20 meeting was not the proper forum for taking up the issue.

This customarily self-serving rationalization was put out by one of the Congress party’s lawyers and spokesmen. At this very time the party was trying to insinuate that, actually speaking, the Prime Minister had taken up the matter at the G-20 Summit. As its spokesmen could not point to any statement he made either at the Summit itself or even at the press meet the PM had held after the Summit, they drew solace from a passing reference to the matter in the speech he had made at the dinner hosted by Gordon Brown.

In any case, if the G-20 Summit was not the right forum for taking up this matter, how is it that in the communiqué that the G-20 leaders issued on 2 April 2009, in paragraph 15, entitled, “Strengthening the Financial System,” they pledged themselves “to take action against non-cooperative jurisdictions, including tax havens. We stand ready to deploy sanctions to protect our public finances and financial systems. The era of banking secrecy is over. We note that the OECD has today published a list of countries assessed by the Global Forum against the international standard for exchange of tax information”?

Were they also, in the view of the Congress party, acting inappropriately when they made such a strong commitment in their communiqué at the Summit?

And recall that no sooner had they issued the threat of imposing sanctions that countries which had been black-listed by the OECD that very day began declaring that they would indeed sign up on the agreement to exchange tax information, and that includes evasion.

In any case, there is doubt about the figures.

As is its custom, the Congress is trying to cover up the basic question of the money which has been looted from India and is lying in tax havens, by raising questions about the precision of figures and estimates. This is exactly the kind of legalisms with which persons like Mr P. Chidambaram and other legitimizers were fielded to cover up the loot from Bofors. In its paper, “Overview of the OECD’s Work on International Tax Evasion,” the OECD itself lists studies that state that there are $1.7 trillion to $11.5 trillion which are today parked in tax havens. This paper of the OECD has been widely reported in the Indian press. The basic point is: even if the amounts are just a few scores of billion dollars and not one and a half trillion dollars, why should they not be brought back to India? And the fact is that other countries, much smaller countries with none of the pretensions of being a “super power, have succeeded in getting their money back. Even as of October last year, when the OECD released its paper, little Ireland had succeeded in recovering almost a billion Euros through an investigation into offshore banks.

Given that even small countries like Ireland have got money back, is it not a shame, is it not an outrage that, as of yesterday, 18 April, 2009, The Times of India, should be quoting the Swiss Ambassador to India as stating on record that till now, the Swiss Government has received no request – not even a request – from the Indian Government?

The real question is different: can the money looted from India be brought back to the country when the attitude of the government continues to be as determinedly inactive as that of the present Government?

Can the Government which allowed Ottavio Quattrochi to take his money out of banks – where it was lying frozen on court orders – be trusted to bring back the loot that is lying in Swiss banks and other tax havens? Can the Government which prostituted the CBI so that he may get away from Argentina be trusted to bring the loot back?

Why did the BJP government to replace FERA by FEMA, and thereby make the offences compoundable?

Again, the Congress is relying on the short memory of its audience. The fact of the matter is that no one had been pressing more for the replacement of the harsh provisions of FERA than the Congress itself. The changes were being contemplated since 1996. The demand for doing away with the harsh provisions came to a crescendo during the Government of Mr. VP Singh when FERA came to be used for interrogating captains of industry – like Mr. S.L. Kirloskar – under harsh circumstances. As news reports of that period themselves indicate, FEMA which was approved by the Government in July 1998, was on the lines of a draft which had been prepared under the leadership of the preceding finance minister, Mr P. Chidambaram. Even today, you can go to the website of Rediff-on-the-net, go to their dispatch of 25 July, 1998, on “FEMA, Money Bills: Cabinet nods, Parliament’s turn next,” and you will read, “The Bills were broadly on the lines of a draft prepared under the leadership of then Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambram.”

In any event, there is no mystery about the reasons on account of which the law was changed. They are well set out in the following passage:

“Until recently, we had a law known as the Foreign Exchange (Regulation) Act. Its object was to conserve and augment the forex reserves of the country. The way to hell, it is said, is paved with good intentions. Like many well-intentioned laws, FERA paved the way to disaster. FERA created a flourishing black market in foreign exchange. It brought into the economic lexicon the word ‘Hawala’. Illegal forex transactions became the fuel for the growth of crime syndicates with trans-border connections.

“FERA also became a tool of oppression. Successive governments persisted with FERA and added COFFEPOSA and SAFEMA. International markets do not respect draconian laws that run counter to common sense. India’s reserves, far from being augmented, dwindled at an alarming rate… Mercifully, FERA was buried finally on May 31, 2000.”

When and where was this written? In an article that appeared The Indian Express on 25 August 2002. Who wrote the article? None other than P. Chidambaram!

Is Mr Advani not unwittingly alerting those with illegal money abroad to spirit it away from Switzerland to other tax havens?

Another clever little statement by yet another clever lawyer of the Congress party! Would the looters who have stashed away money in tax havens from India still need to be alerted after Germany got the names from Lichtenstein as long ago as last year? Would they still need to be alerted after Germany offered to furnish the names to governments that asked for the names? Would they still need to be alerted after the United States got the names from the leading bank of Switzerland, UBS in February this year, and got it to submit to paying a fine of $ 800 million to boot? Would they still need to be alerted after the G-20 leaders, including Dr. Man Mohan Singh as the Congress would like to remind us, declared their determination to get the tax havens to disgorge the names? But such is the confusion in the Congress party and such the brilliance of its lawyers that all it can do is to seek to deflect the nation-wide demand for getting the loot back from tax havens by such witticisms!

What was the NDA doing when it was in office? In any case there is doubt about the figures.

Leaders of the Congress party would be better advised to ask, “During that very period, what was the Congress party doing, what were its lawyers and leaders doing, to thwart the efforts of the NDA Government to uncover the names of persons who had looted the country even on defence deals like Bofors?” But even if the NDA had done nothing – whether on terrorism or money abroad – is that any reason for not hurrying to avail of the unique opportunity that has arisen now?

Even while replacing FERA by FEMA, the NDA Government made sure that it would have an additional two years to file prosecutions under FERA. And it filed as many as 2000 cases against those who were under investigation before FERA lapsed. The reason for doing so, a reason that is well known to lawyers in the Congress party, was that, when a prosecution is filed it is adjudicated according to the law which prevailed at the time at which the case was filed. These are the very cases which the Congress later on did not pursue.

The fact of the matter is that it is now that the unique opportunity has arisen to get the loot back: Germany has succeeded in getting the names; the US has succeeded in getting the names; the G-20 leaders have pledged themselves to ensure the end of bank secrecy; countries that had hitherto refused to share the requisite information are pledging to do so – within a week of their names being published by OECD in the list of countries that were dragging their feet on the question, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Philippines and Uruguay pledged to enter into the relevant agreements.

Conclusion

There is a real fight ahead: a fight in the national interest, a fight that will have to be waged doggedly to get the names from the tax havens and to get the amounts back to India – as tax havens will not easily part with their route to lucre. And not all countries will be eager to wage the fight – so many rulers in Africa, in Latin America, to say nothing of the prince lings of China – will be loath to see the fight succeed. So, determination and leadership will be required of India, and persistence, and forging alliances with civil society in Europe and elsewhere.

Nor are bilateral agreements any substitute to multilateral pressure. With close to seventy tax havens, decades will pass before agreements are concluded with each haven, even as money is spirited from the haven that has signed up to the one that is holding out.

As has been correctly emphasized, a consensus is already emerging across the country. Leaders outside the political realm, parties such as the CPI(M), SP, BSP, JD(U), AIADMK have all demanded that the Government act energetically to get the names from the tax havens and to get back the amounts. Instead of quibbling, the Congress would be well-advised to endorse the consensus, and act on it. Not joining secular forces on even so secular an issue?!

I am not a PM candidate – says Modi

http://paramnews.com/
In an exclusive interview with ParamNews.Com, Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi shares his view about current economic crisis and how to tackle against terrorism.

Q: What are your views on Global economic slowdown?

Narendra Modi:It is a financial tsunami which has originated in the US and Europe and has started impacting India also. Wherever there is inflation, the Centre blames international scenario but when it comes to economic slowdown, they try to outrun it by claiming that India is safe. The central Government needs to be proactive in handling the crisis. The industries, finance companies and insurance sector have been impacted due to the global economic turmoil. A vacuum has been created. Terrorist groups and drug mafias are waiting for this opportunity to enter into the Indian market to pump in their ‘dirty money’. If it’s so happens, they can gain command on the Indian economy

Q: What are your views on UPA Government underplaying current economic crisis?
Narendra Modi: “UPA Government has failed completely in handling economic crisis in the country. Issues of price rise, economic policies, corruptions and scams (satyam fraud), mismanagement of fund, and to tackle Bangladeshi infiltration. Congress had been surviving by creating problems in the country and insecurity and fear in people’s mind.” Congress has not only become weak and old but a burden for the people, I appeal to the voters “to reject the old party and choose BJP which can solve all their problems, including terrorism and unemployment.”An old Congress can not change the fate of the youth,” he said and pleaded for a young BJP government committed to peaceful and steady development of the country.

Congress in its manifesto before the last election had promised to provide 1.5 crore employment. But unfortunately, about 5 lakh people have lost their jobs recently due to faulty policies and mismanagement. While UPA had been crippled after several of its constituents quit the alliance, “people are virtually sitting in a sinking boat”.

Q: Where do you see Gujarat in five to ten years down the line?

Narendra Modi:Gujarat will be different from other states because our development focus is not Ahmedabad-centric. Ahmedabad is good for marketing Gujarat. It may get the right branding in the next couple of years. But we want uniform development of Gujarat. We want to make Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and other cities strong pillars on which Gujarat will stand. Plus, we are building new cities, like the financial city. Then there will be a nano-city exclusively for units researching or using nano-technology. We are planning a knowledge city, on the lines of Nalanda or Taxila, as an education hub. We are also planning a health city with modern medical infrastructure. We need to create satellite cities around major cities to speed up the expansion of the mother city. Another new concept I am working on presently is called ‘rurban’. It is a big village with a rural soul and an urban feel, having all the amenities that a city can strive for. But the soul would remain that of a village.

Q: How far is Terrorism seen as a threat in realizing the dream of Vibrant Gujarat?

Narendra Modi: Terrorism is not Gujarat’s problem alone. It is a problem for entire humanity. The need is for the right thinking world to isolate terrorism and unite to fight it. There should be a joint strategy to combat terror. In India, all governments, people, media and intelligentsia should come together. It’s like war. Nobody talks about intelligence failure in a war situation. There should be one voice against terror. We need zero tolerance on terror.

Q: Most of the people have started seeing you as the ideal prime minister of the future?

Narendra Modi: There are two ways to harm a person. One, you can give that person less work than what is he is capable of doing. Second, you can show him big dreams which he is not capable of achieving. You fire his ambition so that he ventures out and gets finished. In my past, many CMs were shown dreams of becoming PM. I pray to all my well wishers not to make me a sacrificial lamb. I am happy doing what I am doing.

Rupee mail – an interesting one!



NGOs, Teesta spiced up Gujarat riot incidents: SIT

NGOs, Teesta spiced up Gujarat riot incidents: SIT

14 Apr 2009, 0413 hrs IST, Dhananjay

Mahapatra, TNN

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/NGOs-spiced-up-Gujarat-riot-cases/articleshow/4396986.cms

New Delhi: The Special Investigation Team responsibile for the arrests of those accused in Gujarat riots has severely censured NGOs and social activist Teesta Setalvad who campaigned for the riot victims.

In a significant development, the SIT led by former CBI director R K Raghavan told the Supreme Court on Monday that the celebrated rights activist cooked up macabre tales of wanton killings.

Many incidents of killings and violence were cooked up, false charges were levelled against then police chief P C Pandey and false witnesses were tutored to give evidence about imaginary incidents, the SIT said in a report submitted before a Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam.

* A pregnant Muslim woman Kausar Banu was gangraped by a mob, who then gouged out the foetus with sharp weapons

* Dumping of dead bodies into a well by rioteers at Naroda Patiya

* Police botching up investigation into the killing of British nationals, who were on a visit to Gujarat and unfortunately got caught in the riots

Rohtagi said: “On a reading of the report, it is clear that horrendous allegations made by the NGOs were false. Stereotyped affidavits were supplied by a social activist and the allegations made in them were found untrue.”

Obviously happy with the fresh findings of the SIT which was responsible for the recent arrests of former Gujarat minister Maya Kodanani and VHP leader Jaideep Patel, Rohtagi tried to spruce up the image of the Modi administration, which was castigated in the Best Bakery case by the apex court as “modern day Neros”. He was swiftly told by the Bench that but for the SIT, many more accused, who are freshly added, would not have been brought to book .

The Bench said there was no room for allegations and counter-allegations at this late stage. “In riot cases, the more the delay, there is likelihood of falsity creeping in. So, there should be a designated court to fast track the trials. Riot cases should be given priority because feelings run high having a cascading effect,” it said and asked for suggestions from the Gujarat government, Centre, NGOs and amicus curiae Harish Salve, who said the time had come for the apex court to lift the stay on trials into several post-Godhra riot cases.

While additional solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam agreed with the court that public prosecutors should be selected in consultation with Raghavan, counsel Indira Jaising said there should be a complete regime for protection of witnesses as the same government, which was accused of engineering the riots, was in power now.

Salve said that he would consult Raghavan and let the court know about a witness protection system for post-Godhra riot cases. The court asked the parties to submit their suggestions within a week.

India and Israel: Common Allies; Common Targets – By Dr. Richard L. Benkin

India and Israel: Common Allies; Common Targets

By Dr. Richard L. Benkin

Along with the United States, India and Israel are the nations most prominently in the crosshairs of Islamists everywhere. Superficially, the two countries could not differ more: population, area, poverty levels, urbanization, and so forth. Their more essential commonalities, however, make them natural allies against the same enemies: genocidal Islamists from the outside; and a politically ascendant moral weakness from the inside.

They came into being within a year of each other shortly after World War II. Both waged a protracted resistance against European occupiers, which along with the post war collapse of the British Empire won both peoples independence on their ancient soils. Neither birth was without trauma, however. Both nations faced partition demands from South Asian Middle Eastern Muslims who refused to live under Hindu or Jewish leadership. Though it was a blatantly racist demand, the international community capitulated and offered to partition the new countries. While it did not even debate the legitimacy of these Muslim demands, we can only imagine how it would have reacted if the situations were reversed and Jews and Hindus refused to live in Muslim countries. Quite differently if history is any guide. Ancient Jewish communities in newly created Syria and Iraq were in immediate danger, yet found no protection or even support for autonomous status.

In South Asia, Muslims accepted the partition, and the largest and most rapid migration of people in history that accompanied it; while exact figures have been elusive, estimates of at least 30 million people are considered reliable with an additional 500,000 killed. Thus were born the nations of Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan, part of which later became Bangladesh. Yet, Muslim leaders to this day do not recognize India’s legitimacy as a Hindu country. They argue that since there were periodic Muslim leaders in the pre-British era, the entire nation is Muslim in accordance with Muslim law.

Whether out of pique, overconfidence, or religious hatred, Middle Eastern Muslims rejected partition. They vowed to destroy the Jewish state and carry out a massive genocide. Several Arab nations jointly tried just that, but newborn State of Israel prevailed against all odds and with the hostility of that same international community. The Muslim Arabs miscalculated badly, something they would do again and again. Several subsequent Arab attempts at genocide were equally disastrous, despite international passivity (save the United States in 1973). Instead, Muslim race hatred was rewarded with massive amounts of aid and an attempt to re-write some sort of historical legitimacy for the Arabs. The Muslims of the Middle East, like their South Asian brethren, still refuse to recognize this non-Muslim state’s right to exist.

As a result, both nations face the danger of a potential fifth column. Indian Muslims hold clearly identified “Muslim” political positions, often at odds with “Hindu” ones; and a large part of the Israeli Arab community has made clear its loyalty to Arab positions that undermine the Jewish state. Moreover, both Israeli Jews and Indian Hindus need to wake up to the fact that, no matter how just their cause or how defensive their actions, they cannot expect anything but opposition to their fight against radical Islam from all but an oppressed minority of Muslims. The goal of Islamists and their clients remains the same for India and Israel: their total eradication and replacement by an Islamic State. For decades, Arab states made no secret of their intention to destroy Israel; some still do. Europe’s always lurking Antisemitism made marginalizing the world’s only Jewish state easy; India is just too big. The Muslim states tried aggressive warfare against both nations, but failing at it time and again changed tactics so that Israel and India face terrorist attacks by their surrogates. Israel has had to deal with terrorism longer, and many Indians believe that the success of Israeli counterterrorism makes it a model for them. But the most curious and significant fact is that both nations have the power to destroy their enemies; yet, both nations refrain from doing so.

Neither country needs to suspend the rule of law or otherwise become like their enemies to succeed; they are better than that and need to remain so. Their enemies make it clear that they can’t wait to get their hands on some weapons of mass destruction so they can use them against these two great democracies. On the other hand, both India and Israel have had them for decades and have never used them. Alone they can achieve success, but together they could be an indomitable force against Islamist terror and the nations that support it. Moreover, they both have to cast out the same demons and follow the same strategy for it to happen.

First, stop pandering to the enemy, both inside and outside of the country. Indians call it pseudo secularism. Israelis just call it appeasement. Both democracies bend over backwards to show the world that they are sensitive to their Muslim minorities; but let’s remember that they are minorities in both countries. While free governments have no moral right to deprive them of basic rights or of social or legal equality. But that same system of morality does not require the majorities—Hindus in India, Jews in Israel—to show their compassion by giving into every alleged slight, merited or not.

Second, be unyielding in goals and principles. Leaders in both Israel and India (as well as many in the United States) have a basic misunderstanding how our enemies and their potential allies—who also are out potential allies—understand our actions. Too often, they confuse “understanding” with moral relativism. For instance, neither they nor their cohorts in Europe spoke of “the white man’s burden” to bring civilization to the rest of the world. Yet, how different is that discredited concept from an Imam’s call to bring the rest of the world under Islam or peoples of all faiths under Sharia law? And they have never publicly condemned that imperialistic and racist policy. For decades, democracies have prided themselves on inclusion and lowering barriers that previously limited interaction among ethnic and religious groups. Yet, in India, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere, Muslims are given free reign to apply Sharia law in various matters even if it conflicts with natio
nal principles of freedom and decency. Those leaders who believe they are showing their compassion are showing nothing more than weakness. For if we are willing to look the other way when our enemies routinely violate our principles we claim to hold dear, we appear to have no principles at all—something that Islamists claim in order to seduce converts to their cause.

Third, characterize the enemy with the inflammatory rhetoric that accurately reflects what they are. Imagine even one Jewish Sabbath service at which the Rabbi exhorts the congregation to seek out all Muslims and slaughter them; even imagine an Israeli Rabbi saying the same thing about all Arabs. You can’t; it doesn’t happen. And we know that because if it did, there would be world wide outrage, newspaper condemnations, cries or outrage from every human rights NGO, and maybe even a UN investigation. Rabbis and the Israeli government would be even quicker to condemn it. Yet, the converse occurs every Friday at mosques throughout Israel—that’s every Friday—official PA and other Muslim radio stations even carry those racist and murder-inciting statements. But the Israeli government does not issue equally loud condemnations or apply laws against incitement to religious hatred (which it surely would apply to Jews). It does not protest to the United Nations or to the various
Arab governments that claim to be “peace partners.” Why not? Every time a Muslim leader—secular or religious—uses the language of hate, Israeli, Indian, and US leaders must loudly condemn it as such. Call on Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the UN to investigate it. Plaster every airwave with our outrage and the indecent statements of imams and tyrants. Remain strong together and others will join. Make those who would rather skulk away in silence stand in front of television cameras and justify hatred again and again and again until their duplicity and moral cowardice force a change.

Recently, I was part of a US Congressional briefing about minority oppression in Bangladesh. When I rose to spoke, I expressed my own outrage that I was the first speaker to call the action against Bangladeshi Hindus what it really is: ethnic cleansing. I also asked if there could be any doubt that Bangladesh’s Vested Property Act is racist? Yet, no one calls it what it is. Every time that hated law is mentioned, it should be described as the “racist” Vested Property Act. Every time the plight of Bangladesh’s Hindus is noted, it must be called ethnic cleansing. Our enemies use hyperbole all the time to paint themselves as victims, and the world buys it. How much more important is it that we use the same language to describe events that actually fit it!

Fourth, reject outdated perspectives and the self-interest of governments in trouble. Indian and Israeli governments both seek approval from Europe like it is some sort of moral arbiter in this world. Yet, Europe’s one consistent response to evil has been silence; appeasement. Indian leaders especially need to drop their Euro-centric bias. For Europe has never modeled moral behavior in the face of immorality. All of Europe either participated or was complicit in the Nazi holocaust of the Jews; it did nothing to stop genocide in its former African colonies of Nigeria (Biafra), Rwanda, the Sudan, and in countless other places where the body counts have been ignored. Can we really expect Europe to do anything but express regret after Israel’s 6 million Jews are murdered; or after there are no more Hindus in Pakistan or Bangladesh?

Moreover, we have seen weak governments in both countries choose the course of appeasement in the false hope of strengthening their own position. In India, the left-center Congress Party has entered into agreements with Indian communists upon whom they are now dependent. In Israel, a Prime Minister facing imminent indictment has just concluded a deal that broke Israeli pledges never to release terrorists who had Israeli blood on their hands. Indians and Israelis must let them know that in an effort to save their own skins, they are willing to sell out their children. And they must do so with profound outrage.

Fifth, use the military power at your disposal to dispatch those who are killing your own children—and generally calling those who do heroes!

One final bit of perspective. Some years back, my mother, wife, and daughter were enjoying a meal in a Jerusalem pizza parlor. Several weeks later, an Arab terrorist walked into that same pizza parlor and exploded a bomb, murdering 15 people including seven children. I realized that if my mother, wife, and daughter were there that day, the people who dispatched the murdered would have rejoiced in their deaths; and further that anyone who would rejoice in the death of my mother, wife, and daughter, is an enemy with whom peace is impossible.

And the time to act on that realization is now; tomorrow might be too late.

Why no outrage over persecuted Hindus?

Why no outrage over persecuted Hindus?
By Richard L. Benkin

Hindu women celebrate a religious festival inside a tent set up for the occasion in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The number of Hindus has radically decreased in the predominantly Muslim country, with many fleeing to India to escape persecution. (Photo/Kamrul Hasan)

Chicago, IL, United States, — There have been several attempts at genocide since the middle of the last century. European Nazis murdered 6 million Jews in the 1940s. In the1960s Fulani-led Nigerians slaughtered around 1 million ethnic Ibos who formed the Republic of Biafra. Three decades later, majority Hutus murdered almost 1 million Tutsis in Rwanda, and Serbs did the same to about 10,000 ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Ethnic Arabs are still killing non-Arab Sudanese; so far over half a million.
These crimes grabbed the world’s attention – albeit too late and only after the bodies were piled too high to ignore. The United Nations issued proclamations and sent aid through its human rights and refugee organizations. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and others loudly condemned the perpetrators, documenting the atrocities and raising money for their aid programs. Several international celebrities took on highly visible roles and massive protests worldwide gave vent to peoples’ outrage.
Yet there is another case of ethnic cleansing in numbers that dwarf these crimes, a-genocide-in-the-making, that has been proceeding for decades with little more than the occasional whimper. When Bangladesh won its independence from Pakistan in 1971, Hindus made up almost one in five of its citizens. Today, they are less than one in ten. Demographers and others estimate that approximately 20 million Bangladeshi Hindus have disappeared.
Twenty million people are missing, and many more are at risk – but no George Clooney or Angelina Jolie has stood up; no declaration has come from the United Nations, despite its mandate to stop such atrocities. Even the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has done nothing to help the victims, though several organizations have documented their suffering.
The international human rights industry, too, has been silent. Amnesty International has devoted pages upon Web pages to the United States and Guantanamo and spends a high percentage of its resources criticizing Israeli democracy. Its current cover story is about Shia Muslims being “treated like second class citizens.” But to date it has shown no stomach to oppose what could be the worst case of ethnic cleansing in our time. The last time AI or Human Rights Watch gave the Bangladeshi Hindus even passing mention was in 2006.
This is not the first time the world has ignored mass murder in South Asia. Toward the end of the Bangladeshi war of independence, Pakistani troops and their Islamist allies slaughtered between 2 and 3 million mostly Hindu Bangladeshis – noncombatants, women, children and the elderly. All manner of brutality from mutilation to ritualized gang rape accompanied the carnage, but the world still remains silent even when the victims’ descendants cry out for justice.
NATO sent troops into Kosovo when thousands were at risk but did nothing to save millions in East Bengal. Hindu refugees flood West Bengal, India, and live in semi-legal squalor, but the UNHCR refuses to recognize them as refugees. Earlier this year I visited almost two dozen extra-legal camps in West Bengal and saw these people’s need for help.
Several refugees and others attribute this disparity to religious bias. Fear of terrorist reprisals, the lure of petrodollars, and a rigid political correctness prevent many from taking a stand against Islamists, according to one Indian activist. But he and others blame “our own nature” that mitigates against activism and tolerates corruption.
As I told Indian journalists, “Everyone in India seems to know about the Bangladeshi Hindus, but no one is doing anything about it.” The actions of Bangladeshi Islamists, while atrocious, are not unexpected. However, their treatment by Indian Hindus is surprising.
Imagine refugees barely escaping with their lives, leaving murdered loved ones behind. They described crossing into the largest Hindu nation in the world, but found no welcome in the arms of their co-religionists. Instead, they were “treated like trespassers,” and given no aid or shelter. They reported being forced into camps, where their captors took advantage of then no less than did their Islamist tormentors.
In West Bengal, refugees testified that locals let them squat on the land, but in exchange they were forced to attend communist rallies. They received voter’s cards only to be told that officials of the Communist Party of India/Marxist would fill them in for them. But if anyone else desired the land, the refugees would be ejected; something I observed firsthand.
Today an economic and military powerhouse, India has yet to advocate for the thousands of victims streaming across its borders. It has never pressed the case of the Bangladeshi Hindus before any international body. If it has protested the ethnic cleansing to Bangladesh, it has done so meekly.
Moreover, this great nation seems content to cede the integrity of its borders. Several refugees testified that even now Islamists from surrounding villages and from Bangladesh attack them with the knowledge of West Bengal officials.
Once the CPIM got wind of my visits to the camps, we would alter our itinerary to arrive before the local commissar intimidated refugees into silence about anything that might embarrass the communist government. In one camp their tactic appeared to work. We were about to leave when one elderly woman stood up, with a commissar looking on, and said, “I’m not afraid of anybody,” and began to talk about the ongoing attacks.
Is the Indian government’s silence little more than a ploy to keep votes, a reflection of its pseudo-secularist policy? If it is, that does not explain the silence of those parties that have no chance of gaining significant numbers of Muslim or communist votes, such as the Bharatiya Janata Party and other rightwing parties. Why are they not championing the Bangladeshi Hindus, and using this as a rallying point for all Indians who recognize the immorality of remaining silent while others are oppressed?
In my travels in West Bengal, when I offered to act with others to protest what is happening there, the response was almost always, “People are afraid.” That made sense when we were speaking with refugees who have known nothing in the way of protection or the law. But this was the answer of Indian citizens, often people whose organizations claim to be working for the refugees.
In my advocacy for the refugees in the West, I encounter skepticism from those who question India’s silence if things are so dire; who question why there are few public protests; who ask, after hearing about attacks inside India, why none of the 800 million Indian Hindus have traveled to these camps to defend the victims against Islamist aggression.

(Dr. Richard L. Benkin is vice president of Gallagher Bassett Services in Chicago, Illinois. He is also U.S. correspondent for the “Weekly Blitz,” published in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and special advisor on Bangladeshi affairs to the Washington D.C.-based Intelligence Summit. He has written numerous essays and commentaries on the Middle East, Bangladesh and South Asia. He can be contacted at drrbenkin@comcast.net. ©Copyright Richard L. Benkin)

Good article on muslim invasion and resistance in india

http://islam-watch.org/HistoryOfJihad/Jihad-against-Hindus-of-India-Pakistan-Bangladesh.htm

Unquestioned loot – by S Gurumurthy

Unquestioned loot
S Gurumurthy

First Published : 13 Apr 2009 03:04:00 AM IST
Last Updated :
All that the BJP leader L K Advani had perhaps intended to do — when he took up the issue of Indian black wealth stashed away in Swiss and other secret shelters — was to put the Congress party on the back foot at the time of the elections. But he would never have imagined that the Congress would go so far back as to hit its own wicket.
This is how the play opened. L K Advani told the media: the Swiss ambassador to India has himself admitted that lots of Indian black money gets secretly lodged in Swiss banks; estimates of Indian black money abroad vary from $500 billion to $1400 billion; forced by the economic crisis, the West, that is Germany, France, US and UK, which had winked at the illicit monies in the past, have begun a crusade against Swiss banks and other secret tax shelters to flush out the money; India must join the Western effort to bring back the Indian black wealth from abroad. With elections round the corner, Advani did turn the issue into a political one. He charged that the Congress was not keen to get back the Indian monies lodged abroad. He cited two instances to support the charge. First, despite his writing to the Dr Manmohan Singh in April last year to ask for the names of Indians reportedly mentioned in the secret record of LGT bank — which the German authorities had offered to open free of cost to give to all who asked for it — the government would not press for the Indian names from Germany. Second, he said that in the G20 preparatory meet in Berlin where Germany and France had called for blacklisting of Swiss and other tax havens, the Indian representatives at that meeting never opened their mouth on the issue.

Advani rounded off asking the prime minister to take up the issue of Indian monies stashed away in secret Swiss banks and in other tax havens at the G20 meet at London slated for April 2, 2009. Yet, at the London meet, Dr Manmohan Singh would not utter a word. Had he just said that India would join the G20 efforts, the Advani googly would have gone for a six. But, the Congress party went on the back-foot and hit its own wicket instead. But, why did the Congress hit its own wicket instead of a six? Read on.

“Why this now, at the time of the elections?” asked the Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari, not knowing that Advani had written to the prime minister long before, in April 2008 itself, on the LGT bank issue. Then entered Abhishek Singhvi, the more articulate spokesman of the party. He asked what did Advani do when NDA was in power. Obviously he has not even read Advani’s statement. Advani has only questioned why the Manmohan government is not acting now [in March 2008] in tandem with the West which has begun crusading against secret banking. Only now the West has turned against secret bank funds. So the question why did the BJP, or even the Congress, not act in the past does not arise. More. Singhvi said that “G20 is not the forum for the issue” of Indian black wealth in Swiss banks. Obviously, running between courtrooms and newsrooms, he had no time to follow the media abroad which were full of news about how the main agenda of G20 was about secret banking. He was all at sea. With the first two failing, entered Jairam Ramesh, the campaign manager of the party.

Like Sehwag deploying offence for defence, he wrote a harsh letter to L K Advani saying, “to tell bluntly — Mr Advani, you are lying”. Advani, he charged, was lying on his maths about the estimate of the Indian black wealth at between $500 billion and $1400 billion. These numbers, he said, were drawn from questionable Internet sources! All his shouts meant only this: “Mr Advani, the loot from India is not as big as you make it out to be”. But, when the Swiss Ambassador himself has admitted that ‘lot’ of Indian black wealth was flowing into Swiss banks, where is the need to quarrel over how big the loot from India is — as big as Advani says or as small as Jairam Ramesh thinks? The question is where does the Congress stand on the issue of bringing the hoarded Indian wealth from abroad. The three who shout at Advani are deafeningly silent on that.

The Congress campaign manager cites a well-known economist Bibek Debroy who has questioned Advani’s estimate of Indian black wealth at a minimum of $500 billion. Debroy, usually an agile and meticulous analyst, has erred in this case. He has looked at the wrong version of the right report and reached incorrect conclusions. Both Advani and Debroy have relied on the Global Financial Integrity (GFI) study that has estimated the global black wealth stashed away in tax havens including India’s. There are two versions of the GFI study — one a layman’s version and the other, the economists’ version. Debroy, an economist, seems to have relied on the layman’s version. And L K Advani, not an economist, has relied on the economists’ version. The economists’ version of the GFI study (at pages 29 and 30 supported by charts, specifically chart 18) estimates, in specific numbers the amount of black wealth stashed away from India between 2002-06 at $137.5 billion. If, in five years, the amount could be $137.5 billion (Rs 6.88 lakh crore), the Advani estimate of $500 billion (Rs 25 lakh crore) to $1400 billion (Rs 70 lakh crore) for six decades since 1947 is not wide off the mark. Bibek Debroy who seems to have looked at only the layman’s version of the GFI study, appears to have missed the specific estimate of the annual loot from India at $27.3 billion which only the economists’ version of the GFI report mentions. This is the cause of the dispute on maths. But even otherwise all maths of monies held in secrecy can only be estimates. There can be nothing final about it.

That lots of Indian black wealth is lodged in secret Swiss banks and elsewhere is undisputed. The dispute is no more about the loot from India. But only about how big that loot is. The Congress masks the undisputed fact of the loot by questioning the maths of it. Obviously the party seems frightened about the Indian black wealth abroad becoming an issue once again after 1987 when the Bofors bribe scam broke out. The Congress spokesmen do not seem to be defending their party. They are actually exposing their leader whose connections with her Italian friend Quattrocchi who got bribes from Bofors out of the defence budget of India are well known. They seem to confirm the cynical ones who ask: “Do we expect those who assisted Quattrocchi to run away with the money caught stolen from India to bring back the Indian black wealth from Swiss banks?”

Understand why the Congress chose to hit its own wicket instead of hitting the Advani googly for a six?.

http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/print.aspx?artid=rYnAPNoGwgw=

What has UPA Govt. achieved? – A mail from a friend

Dear Friends,

Please take 5 minutes and read it.
General Elections are coming..
And its our right and duty to know what has been achieved and what has happened in last 5 years. Please read and do circulate it…
A) Is this Government really protecting us ??
Nov 7 2006: Mumbai Train Blasts. 209 Killed.
Aug 25 2007: Hyderbad Blasts: 42 Killed
Oct 11 2007: Ajmer Blasts : 2 Killed
May 13 2008: Jaipur Blasts : 68 Killed
July 16 2008: Ahmedabad Blasts : 57 Killed
July 25 2008: Banglaore Blasts: 1 killed
Sept 13 2008: Delhi Blasts: 26 Killed
Sept 27 2008: Delhi Blasts: 2 Killed
Sept 29 2008 : Gujarat Blasts : 1 killed
Oct 21 2008: Imphal Blasts : 17 Killed
Oct 30 2008: Assam Blasts : 40 Killed
Nov 26 2008: Mumbai Attack: 180 killed
Every major city in India has been attacked consistently over the last two years. Since 2004, 3850 Indians have died in Terror attacks in over 3000 incidents. Is the common Indian on the streets really safe ?
Did you know that on the day of the Mumbai train blasts, the Government gave Rs 150 crores for earthquake relief in Pakistan ? Last year our Govt. has given Rs 3,000 crores (600 Million Dollars) to Afghanistan ? This, when victims of terror in India have not yet got aid ? What’s going on ?
B) Is this Government really secular ?
1. When Madrasas are being shut down in Pakistan, the Indian Government is giving them CBSE status !! It is depriving Muslim children in getting secular education. A Madrasa educated person can get a job in any government office without going through the secular education system. Can India afford to have fundamentalists in government departments? Why cannot the government shut down Madrassas and let Muslim children study with the rest ?
2. Our Government has given 25 lakh scholarships ONLY to minority students.
What sin have the majority done not to deserve these ? Why cannot poor students of all communities be given scholarships instead of only Muslim children ?
3. Thanks to the Congress led Government, out of 36000 temples in Andhra Pradesh, 28000 have closed down in the last five years. Do you want the same trend to continue in other parts of the country ? Do you want a Nagaland type of situation in the whole of India ? While government controls most of the Hindu temples, the minority community has had full freedom to organize their religious bodies. The minority communities now have the first right over resources. Is this not a blatant violation of fundamental rights of the majority community ?
4. Why have the minorities in Nagaland, Mizoram & Kashmir not got the similar privileges like the minorities in other states ? Why is the Govt following different rules for different religions ?
C) Is this government really making friends or enemies for India ?
Thanks to a weak and visionless foreign policy, India has created enemies all around. By the Home Minister’s own admission : “India is surrounded by a circle of fire”. Rajiv Gandhi’s vision of a powerful “SAARC” is now defunct.
1. Today, India commands little respect from all its neighbours, despite being the largest democracy in the world.
2. Terrorism has engulfed the country from inside and outside. Of course Pakistan,the motherland of international terrorism continues to be a big threat.
3. China has territorial ambitions on India.
4. Nepal, is now being headed by a Maoist government and is ideologically more aligned to China. While India helped to dismantle the dynastic rule in Nepal our own Government surreptitiously supports dynastic rule within its own party.
5. Myanmar is increasingly aligning with Chinese forces with huge Chinese investments in that region.
6. Indian Policies in Srilanka have made Tamil Nadu burn. Will Tamils ever forgive India for encouraging military assault rather than facilitating peaceful dialogue on their north and north east regions.
7. Bangladesh continues to repeatedly aid and abet terrorism.
D) Is this Government really pro-poor ?
The number of people living below the poverty line has increased by a horrifying 20 per cent. India had some 270 million people below the poverty line in 2004-2005, when the present Government took office. That number has gone up by 55 million, or 20 per cent!
E) Does this Government really care about the nation ?
The Pakistani flag is now being hoisted in five districts of states like Assam where the Muslim population has gone up significantly. 92,000 Hindu and 6,000 Christians are now languishing in refugee camps. The government has turned a blind eye to this.
In the name of security, innocent people have been put in jails, whereas people like Yaasin Malik who has 23 murder charges on him, are moving Scot free and gathering their own strength. Is it acceptable to any patriotic Indian ?
Can the Congress led UPA promise a non-muslim CM in J&K ? Reservation for a Hindu student in Nagaland ? If so, we wholeheartedly support them. Otherwise they should sit at home the next few years and rethink their policies.
Can our politicians stop stooping down to any lengths just for money and power ? Like Mr.Sharad Pawar, who first ditched the Congress and then ditched the people and aligned back with the Congress, just to be in power.
Don’t be deceived. What appears to be communal is not communal, and what appears to be secular is not secular. It is time we change our thinking.
Having said all this even BJP has not proved to be any better. But for now we need a change. Let us choose the lesser of the two evils. The same party brought to power again and again means encouraging unabated corruption.
Stand up for this most tolerant and ancient civilization and prevent this great nation from becoming a communal battleground. As citizens of India we must vote for change.
“And as per the CAG website (Controller Audit General of India) more than 50,000 crores rupees has gone missing from the Govt. Treasury”
WAKE UP INDIANS. LET US VOTE FOR CHANGE.

Vinayachandra B K

‘Indian money in Swiss & other banks is over Rs 70 lakh crore’

‘Indian money in Swiss & other banks is over Rs 70 lakh crore’
Vivek Kaul
Wednesday, April 1, 2009 2:41 IST
Mumbai: It is no secret that black money has been flowing out of the country into Swiss banks and other tax havens worldwide for years now. While there is no official estimate to quote yet, LK Advani, the prime ministerial candidate of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, recently said it might be in the range of Rs 25,000 crore to Rs 75,000 crore. R Vaidyanathan, professor of finance at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and a regular columnist for DNA, feels the real figure is many times that number.
At around $1.4 trillion (over Rs 70 lakh crore), it is way over India’s gross domestic product of Rs 43 lakh crore for 2007-08, Vaidyanathan, who was on Tuesday named the head of a taskforce by Advani for preparing a strategic document to get back the national wealth, told DNA. Excerpts:

Which are the various tax havens where the ill-gotten wealth of Indian businessmen and politicians is stored?
There are presumably more than 70 tax havens in the world. Indian wealth could be more in Switzerland and various British/ US islands.

How much Indian money do you think would be locked away in Swiss banks? What is the basis for the estimate you make?
I make this estimate on the basis of a report titled “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2002–2006, Global Financial Integrity,” written by Dev Kar and Devon-Cartwright Smith. It was a project sponsored by the Ford Foundation and the final report was released sometime back in December 2008.
Financial flows in the context of this report include proceeds from both illicit activities such as corruption (bribery and embezzlement of national wealth), criminal activity, and the proceeds of licit business that become illicit when transported across borders in contravention of applicable laws and regulatory frameworks (most commonly in order to evade payment of taxes).
In 2006, the most recent year of the Global Financial Integrity (GFI) study, developing countries lost an estimated $858.6 billion to $1.06 trillion in illicit financial outflows. Even at the lower end of the range of estimates, the volume of illicit financial flows coming out of developing countries increased at a compound rate of 18.2% over the five-year period analysed for the study.

How much of this was siphoned out of India?
On an average, for the five-year period of this study, Asia accounts for approximately 50% of overall illicit financial flows from all developing countries. This report shows that the average amount moved from India annually during 2002-06 is $27.3 billion. This means, during the five-year period, the amount taken away is $27.3 billion x 5 = $136.5 billion.
It is not that all these amounts went to Swiss banks; it has gone to different tax and secret shelters. The share of Swiss banks in this dirty money is a third of the global aggregate; some $45 billion out of the 136.5 billion stashed away from India would have been hoarded in these years in Swiss banks. This appears in page 30 of the report mentioned above.
The important point is that this is only for five years. More amounts were stashed away during the Nehruvian socialist regime. So the loot for 55 years would be several times the amount. In fact, in those days, the Indian rupee commanded a better value per US dollar, so fewer rupees could get a dollar. Hence the estimation that Indian money stashed away may be of the order of $1.4 trillion.

How did the money get out?
There are several methods/ reasons — under-invoicing/ over-invoicing of exports and imports and getting the balance stored abroad; kickbacks from major defence/ civilian contracts; in the olden days, smuggling of gold and illegal money; transactions done abroad and not reported here; hawala funds; funds earned by artists/ entertainment industry/ sports people and stashed away abroad, etc. When you want to indulge in adharma, hundred ways are open.

Do you feel international terrorist organisations use the tax-haven route to send across money to finance their nefarious activities?
Even our national security advisor, M K Narayanan, has spoken about it in Berlin.
You recently wrote, “Under pressure from federal authorities, Swiss bank UBS is closing the hidden offshore accounts of its well-heeled American clients, potentially allowing their secrets to spill into the open.”

Do you feel the government of India should also demand all the Indian black money in Swiss banks back?
Of course, India should and must act. We are not a banana republic.

How can the government go about doing this?
By putting it on the global agenda. Put it in G20. Put it in IMF. Put it in Egmont Group. Also take a lead among all developing countries. Support US/ German/ French efforts.

Do you feel Swiss authorities and other tax havens will cooperate with us on this issue if we take the initiative?
It is not our pressure but that of the US, which will make them cooperate. When a family is in deep financial crisis, it tries to look at the small amount saved under the sugar jar by grandma. In the same way, developed economies are desperate for every dollar.
Even if we do not act due to their efforts, the list of crooks may be out. Then, we will be in a dangerous social situation since the who’s who of India will be there. Instead, we should get the list and get the funds and decide on the steps to sterilise it and the punishment to be given out, etc. Otherwise the world will laugh at us. We will be worse than a Nigeria (Sani Abacha) or Phillipines (Markose).

Do you feel the government will do this, given that a lot of the black money belongs to politicians?
Public pressure will make them do it. Plus, the evolving global situation against tax havens also might act in our favour. The money belongs to the poor farmers and unorganised workers.

Do you see businessmen applying pressure on the government to thwart any attempt to get back this money?
The world situation is such that Indian businessmen will want to bring it back now, given the attractive returns in India. The entire proprietary notes route to invest in the stock market was conceived for that.

You wrote in one of your columns that the German foreign intelligence agency BND got the names of 1,400 clients of the Liechtenstein- based LTG Bank who were suspected tax evaders. Of the 1,400, only 600 were supposed to be Germans. Do you think the rest would include Indians? Has the Indian government approached the
German government for the list?
Indian names will be there. Our tax evaders and crooks are like Maha Vishnu, present in all continents and all tax havens, in the sea, on the earth, in the air. But our government has been lukewarm in its response to this issue. It should have immediately dispatched senior officials and the finance minister to get the names.

Secret wealth abroad

Secret wealth abroad

Switzerland has been accused of giving shelter to black money and there has been a lot of inflow of such wealth from India and other countries of the world.” This is not L K Advani, on election mode, speaking last Sunday, but the Swiss ambassador to India briefing the media in Delhi last year.
The occasion was the 60th anniversary of Indo-Swiss Friendship Treaty. Admitting that Indian black money gets hoarded in his country, he added that the new law in Switzerland would, not stop it, but control it “up to a certain limit”.
The Swiss diplomat authentically answers the first of the FAQs, that is, whether a lot of Indian money is really stashed away in Swiss banks. Swiss banks are not the only secret destination. There are 37 such shelters in the world, says US Inland Revenue. The secret owners of the secreted monies operate in secrecy — venal businessmen, corrupt politicians, public servants, drug lords, and criminal gangs like the D-company. The slush monies are the financial RDX for terror, besides weapons of mass destruction of national and global finance. That there is secret money is no more a secret. Only the amounts and persons are secret. But how much of India’s stolen wealth could be stashed in Switzerland? Specific estimates of this later. Before that, here is a sideshow, but a relevant one.
In the late 1980s, at the behest of The Indian Express, while investigating the Reliance scam, I had attempted to trail the Indian monies secreted abroad. In the course of the probe, I had contacted Fairfax, a US investigative firm, to uncover the Indian wealth stashed abroad. Impressed by their skills, I persuaded the Government of India to engage the firm for the task. Fairfax agreed to work for a slice of the black wealth uncovered by them as fee.
According to Swiss sources then, the Indian money secreted in Swiss banks was some $300 billion. That was enough to excite Fairfax to go for the kill. But, soon my efforts landed me in jail on March 13, 1987, when the CBI arrested me on charges that later turned out to be bogus, but were enough to stop the probe. The whole nation knew then that the real reason why rulers struck was their fear that the probe had targeted the Bofors payoff and secret money of the ruling family abroad. Rajiv Gandhi, who was the prime minister then, moved honest and bold civil servants like Vinod Pandey and Bhure Lal out of the probe and eventually sacked V P Singh who, as finance minister then, had authorised the efforts.
The chain of events that followed led to corruption emerging as the major issue in the 1989 polls in which Rajiv Gandhi, who had wiped out the opposition in 1984 elections, was defeated, and V P Singh became the prime minister. But there is a great lesson in these developments that often goes unnoticed. And that is, the way the bold national interest initiative to unearth the Indian black wealth abroad was aborted clearly confirmed that the ruling family was mortally afraid of any probe into secret money abroad. This fear haunts the family-led Congress party even today. That is why the 1987 episode is relevant now.
Now back to the main story.
Illicit money is the dirty outcome of modern capitalism. But, after 9/11, the US realised that not just the buccaneers in business, but Osama bin Laden could also hide his funds in secret havens and use them to bomb the world. Campaigns against dirty money as high security risk commenced with the path-breaking research done by Raymond W Baker, a Harvard MBA and a Brookings scholar. He published his research as a book Capitalism’s Achilles Heel: Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free- Market System. The book was published in 2005. This set off intense debate in the US as the exposure linked dirty business and dirty money with terror and national security.
Raymond Baker had estimated, using authentic data, tools and reasons, the dirty wealth secreted in banks at $11.5 trillion to which, he found, one more trillion was being added annually. He added that in the process the West was getting an annual bounty of $500 billion from the developing countries, India included.
Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a global watchdog headed by Baker to curtail illicit money flows, has recently brought out detailed estimates of the black wealth hoarded in secret havens from different countries. GFI research shows that during the period 2002 to 2006, annually $27.3 billion was stashed away from India, making a total of $137.5 billion for the five-year period. That is, in just five years, Indian wealth amounting to Rs 6.88 lakh crore has been smuggled out of India. This gives a clue as to how much Indian money would have slipped out of India in the last 62 years, particularly during the Nehruvian socialist regime when the income tax (97.5 per cent) and wealth tax (almost equal to the income earned on investments) together constituted double the income earned.
It is undisputed that the Nehruvian socialist model forced huge sums out of India. So the amount of Indian black wealth secreted away in the last 60 years — estimated at from $500 billion (Rs 25 lakh crore) to $1400 billion (Rs 70 lakh crore) — does not seem to be wide off the mark. Economists call it flight of capital. This is the people’s money stolen from them.
See the consequence even if part of it is brought back. A portion of it would make India free from all external debts which is now over $220 billion; India will transform into an economic superpower; some 10 or 15 Indian rupees could buy a US dollar which today 50 Indian rupees cannot; a litre of petrol on our roadside would cost Rs 15 or even less, against today’s 50 plus; the cost of imports in rupee terms would be down to a third or half; India’s entire infrastructure needs can be funded; India will become so energy efficient and costcompetitive that exporters may need no sops at all; India will lend to — not, as it does now, borrow from — the world; Indian housing can be funded at affordable cost; rural poverty can be wiped out… The list is endless. But, then, is it possible to bring back the secreted monies? What are the roadblocks to such efforts?

http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=Secret+wealth+abroad&artid=|35JpDfHVas=
http://www.gurumurthy.net/

Ganesha and diabetics

I have received this mail from someone. Looks interesting.
——————————————————-

Let us see the dhyaana sloka of Sri Ganesh

gajAnanam bhUta gaNAdi sEvitam
kapithhajam bUphala sAra bhakshitam
umAsutam SOka vinASakAraNam
namAmi vighnESwara pAda pankjam

The normal meaning of this SlOka, I trust, no need to explain. But let us see this in another context..

gajAnanam means = very big, very much, very high, plenty, sufficient
bhUta means = having bitter taste (example, the taste of bitter guard [KarEla] )
gaNAdi means = in total, or in totality, from top to bottom, from bottom to top etc
sEvitam means = if consumed, if drunk, or if eaten

kapithha means = the stem of Lotus (lotus flower)
jambhU phala means = fruit of jAmbun or jAmun (one kind of fruit, very famous and having medicinal values)
sAra means = every, all, juice
bhAkshitam = if consumed, if eaten, if drunk etc

uma means = sweet
sutam means = which takes birth, taken birth from, taken birth of
SOka means = du:kh, disease, illness
vinASa kAraNam means = becomes the destroying factor, becomes the destroying element

pAda pankajam means = both the legs
veghnESwara means = to take immense care, take extra ordinary care (yourself to remove all odds)
namAmi means = be serious to wash, keep clean, keep neat (bow downward towards your legs and see that it is free of dirt)

Now let us see how it is to be combined and studied –

Take the complete plant of bitter guard (including roots, stems, flowers, and bitter guard), take the stem of lotus flower, take the jAmun fruit, all these things in equal quantity, make the juice of it and consume it. The word gaNAdi gives us the meaning for taking these items in ‘equal quantity’ [ gaNa + aAdi ] gaNa means Number, aAdi means total ] means, all these items should in equal.

(Actually no need to explain like this. Those who are learned, only an indication is enough to understand but for others this will also be insufficient)

Then what will happen –

umAsutam SOka vinaSam, means the illness, the disease, the sickness which takes birth from umA, that is, from sweet, will be vinASa kAraNam, means it will vanish

Now, which is SOka, which is the rOga, which is the disease we get from sweet ..? No doubt, it is Diabetics.

Then, those who are having Diabetic, they are warned to be very seriously careful to protect their legs, keep it very neat, clean and without dust, mud.

(remember, the doctors advice the Diabetic patients to be careful towards their legs, keep it neat and clear etc)

Chanting of this mantra keeping the divine spirit of GaNeSa in mind, no doubt, it will do away all hurdles in life.

But if one chants this mantra with the thinking explained above, it will result into destroying the Diabetic problems.

Thus, the DhyAAna Sloka is not only to praise Lord GaNESa but if one is chanting this mantra the Diabetic disease will also get vanished.

The people of Indus

The People of Indus

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Columnists/Tarun-Vijay-The-People-of-Indus/articleshow/4302358.cms

23 Mar 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Tarun Vijay

Perverz Musharraf came to India and went back with bouquets, but not before he had collected a few inconvenient questions he couldn’t answer, thanks
to a brave Kashmiri Hindu lady. She asked him at a conclave why it had not been possible for her to go back to her home in Srinagar? He fumbled and looked funny.

Now, this question needs an Indian reply too.

There are five lakh of them. Even if there was just one, the Indian state was supposed to be as active as it was to reserve seats for Muslims in educational institutions and earmark Rs 3,780 crore for a multi-sectoral development plan for each of the 90 minority-concentration districts.

Jammu & Kashmir, an Indian state, under the secular dispensation is fast getting Islamized through state apparatus. More than 172 temples have been razed and Hindu properties have been illegally taken over by neighbours. After a gruesome pogrom and forced exodus of Hindus, villages and towns are being given Islamic names. Now, a bill has been introduced in the J&K assembly by the PDP MLA Peerzada Manzoor Hussain proposing to change the name of the historic Anantnag town to Islamabad. Local Muslim leaders are already using it and even in some state government press releases Islamabad is used in place of Anantnag.

There is a conscious attempt to erode Indian presence in Kashmir. Few would know that officers of the Indian Administrative Service and even those belonging to the Indian Police Service are seldom given charge of a district. They are at best kept at the secretariat for file work. The reason is, politicians decided that the local administration must remain under local Kashmiri Muslims.

But none in Delhi is perturbed by it.

Why is the Indian state in no hurry to create an atmosphere that allows a Hindu lady to return to her home?

Why this hatred for Hindus among people who belong to the same race and have a shared ancestry?

If the jihad in Kashmir is the creation of Pakistan, Pakistan is the creation of a precipitated hatred for Hindus.

Sixty-two years ago there was no Pakistan. The people of this part of the world were known as Indians. And one of the Indians said in March 1881, “No Mohammedan can say that the English are not ‘people of the Book’. No Mohammedan can deny this: that God has said that no people of other religions can be friends of Mohammedans except the Christians. He who had read the Koran and believes it can know that our nation cannot expect friendship and affection from any other people. (‘Thou shalt surely find the most violent of all men in enmity against the true believers to be the Jews and the idolaters: and thou shalt surely find those among them to be the most inclinable to entertain friendship for the true believers, who say we are Christians’. Koran, Chap. V.)

“Now God has made them rulers over us. Therefore we should cultivate friendship with them, and should adopt that method by which their rule may remain permanent and firm in India, and may not pass into the hands of the Bengalis. This is our true friendship with our Christian rulers, and we should not join those people who wish to see us thrown into a ditch. If we join the political movement of the Bengalis our nation will reap loss, for we do not want to become subjects of the Hindus instead of the subjects of the people of the Book.” (Great Speeches of Modern India. Pp 30-31)

The man who spoke these words was Syed Ahmad Khan, whom the British knighted. He is better known as the founder of Aligarh Muslim University. As vote bank politics gains in strength, he may one day get Bharat Ratna.

It’s another matter that his speech didn’t see even a hundred years of British consolidation and while 1947 saw a separate country carved out of Hindustan on religious lines, 1971 witnessed the superiority of culture over religion as the sole binding force with Bangladesh emerging on the map, dissociating with its Islamic other half and getting freedom on cultural lines that reflected more the colours of a Hindu India.

And the Muslim world revolted against the Christendom, whom Sir Syed had so affectionately called the people of the Book, and Osama bin Laden became famous for organizing terror attacks on the United States and Britain. If Sir Syed quoted the Koran to advocate the continuation of the British rule in India, Osama’s people quote the same holy book to bomb the US and India.

Breaking all such divisive barriers a Pakistani scholar-politician Aitzaz Ahsan has come out with his thesis of the “Indus people”. He refuses to accept that Islam is Arabization and says Pakistan can’t have an Arab or central Asian identity. The only identity that befits Pakistan is an Indus identity. So he names the entire region of the present-day Pakistan as Indus.

He says, “The Pakistani may not be an Indian, but neither is he an Arab, a Persian or a Central Asian. The commonality of religion with the Arabs, Persians and Central Asians is obvious, but commonality of religion makes the Pakistani neither Arab nor Persian nor Central Asian. On the reverse side of the same coin his so-called ‘un-Indianness’ cannot make anyone oblivious to the several aspects in which the Indians and Pakistanis share a common history, culture, language and racial stock. As I journeyed into the distant past, it dawned upon me that ‘Pakistan’ had existed for almost five and a half of the last six thousand years. Indus had seldom been a part of India. (Preface)

‘Indus (Pakistan) has a rich and glorious cultural heritage of its own. This is a distinct heritage, of a distinct and separate nation. If the Pakistani were really reassured of this he would be confident that there is no fear of any other country devouring or destroying his state. And he would thus come out of the present-day ‘bunker-mentality’. (Pp- 11)

Does Aitzaz represent the reverse of Sir Syed?

Can he make the people of Pakistan think what makes them so hateful towards India? I just read a review of the book “Stranger to History” by Atish Taseer, and he is quoted as being wounded by reflexive anti-Indianism, which he encounters widely in Pakistan, and particularly among the young. He laments the rejection he finds everywhere of a pluralist subcontinental past, and is dismayed by the growing spread of a narrow version of Islam.

Shouldn’t someone in Pakistan and in parts of India where Islamic jihad against Hindus is getting support be thinking what creates this acid?

Without getting into addressing some of the notions in Aitzaz’s book that are not correct, I must say let’s build bridges on the Indus theory. If a Pakistani feels so great about his heritage and ancestry, it must be taken forward and shouldn’t be wasted. That may make Pakistanis and Indian Kashmiri politicians understand that Hindus and Muslims of this region are both Indus people. Insulting Hindus or driving them out of their territory means insulting the common heritage, ancestry and blood. After all, three generations ago Sheikh Abdullah’s family were Kauls.

An Indus region, comprising the present Pakistan, India and Bangladesh and bound with cultural threads and a commonality of ancestry alone can remove distrust and animosity. This Indus region will be the strongest bulwark against a unipolar world order and will be so self-reliant and powerful that it will work as a great force of peace and harmony. Bloodshed that we see in Talibanism and Kashmiri jihad begins with distrust, alienation and hate. Cultural affinities remove such potholes. Basant celebrations, songs, language, marriage customs, caste affinities, ancestry, geography, history, everything is already there. Remember that Prophet Muhammad converted people in Arabia to Islam but never asked them to change their names or costumes. Parvez, Omar, Rustam, Usman, Ali are all pre-Islamic names drawn from Persia. So why should Islamists insist on Arabic names for the those converted from this region? A Muslim with a Sanskrit name, adhering to the Islamic path must also be allowed to enter heaven as much as one bearing an Arabic name.

Islam has seldom been a uniting force between countries that profess the faith as a state policy. No two Islamic countries are friends or have ever helped each other in times of crises. Pakistan-Afghanistan, Afghanistan-Iran, Iran-Iraq, the list goes on. On the other hand, culture unites across borders.

Let Indus magic prevail.

(Tarun Vijay is director of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation)