Posts Tagged 'UPA government'

DMK Minister Dayanidhi Maran steals a telephone exchange, loots BSNL

Minister steals a telephone exchange, loots BSNL

S Gurumurthy
Express News Service
Last Updated : 02 Jun 2011 09:49:50 AM IST

CHENNAI: Indeed a shocking, daring robbery. A telecom central minister from Tamil Nadu got the BSNL to connect 323 telephone lines to his home, not in Delhi where he had work, but in Chennai where he had none. He got all the 323 home lines listed not in his name but in the name of the Chief General Manager BSNL Chennai. These lines virtually constituted a telephone exchange in the minister’s home. It was exclusively used for his family business by laying 3.4 km long secret cable along public roads to connect the lines to the business premises. This had caused huge loss to BSNL. Who was that enterprising minister? The infamous A Raja? No. It is the famous Dayanidhi Maran; Raja’s predecessor, now the central Textile Minister. The CBI, which probed the fraud, wrote to the Secretary Telecom on 10.9.2007 recommending action against Maran for the fraud.

Dayanidhi Maran was obviously not playing marbles with 323 telephones. He got the BSNL to lay separate and exclusive underground cable from his Boat Club home to the SUN TV office at Anna Arivalayam in Anna Salai and fraudulently linked the 323 home lines to his brother Kalanidhi’s SUN TV network. The first 23 of the 323 lines bore numbers ‘243722 11’ to ‘24372301’ and the next 300 lines bore numbers ‘24371500’ to ‘24371799’. Since the first four digits ‘2437’ were common for all 323 lines, the lines constituted a home telephone exchange. The Dayanidhi home exchange was operational in the SUN TV establishment for at least months from January 2007 through the fraudulent cable connection from Dayanidhi’s Boat Club home. They were no ordinary telephone lines, but costly ISDN lines, which could carry tons and tons of TV news and programmes faster than satellites to any part of the world. These lines, the CBI says in its report, are “normally used by medium to large commercial enterprises to meet special needs such as video conferencing, transmission of huge volume of digital data of audio and video” – precisely the facility that SUN TV would need for its telecasting operations. For this, the SUN TV would have paid huge cost. But it got it all free, at government’s cost.

The Maran home exchange, says the CBI, was “programmed in such a way that no one other than the authorised BSNL staff were aware of the existence of such an Exchange created for his [minister’s] exclusive use”. It added that by linking the minister’s home and SUN TV office by the stealthy cables, “it would appear as if the lines were used in the residence of the former minister, but actually the cables laid facilitated SUN TV network to utilise the services of BSNL provided at his residence”. Google map shows the distance to SUN TV as 3.4 kms along the main artery roads of the area, which were dug up to bury the illegal underground cables from Maran home to SUN TV office! It was not one of those secret White Collar frauds, but a crime committed in the open roads.

What could be the probable loss to the exchequer by this fraud? On “a sample study”, the CBI says, “it is learnt that 48,72,027 units of calls have emanated from [just] one Telephone No 24371515 in the month of March 2007 alone, which is indicative of the massive multimedia transfer in the underlying connections”. Just one of the 323 lines accounted for over 48 lakh call units in March 2007 alone – Yes almost 49 lakh call units in one month, through one of the 323 phones! Assume that each of the 323 connections was put to use as efficiently as Marans had operated the Number 24371515; the total number of call units SUN TV would have unlawfully robbed the BSNL during January 2007 to April 2007 [Maran resigned on May 13] could be as high as 629.5 crore call units. With the prevailing rate of 70 paise per call unit could the loss to BSNL be as high as `440 crore? Only a thorough investigation can reveal the true loot. But, the story does not end here. SUN TV’s print cousin ‘Dinakaran’, too has got its share of the loot. Says the CBI: “It is also learnt that similar service connections with ISDN facilities have been provided at the office of Dinakaran, a Tamil Daily, belonging to the group of SUN TV Network at Madurai, though specific phone numbers are not available”. But how did the CBI get to investigate the fraud and where is its report now? It calls for a brief flash back.

Maran, a grand nephew of Karunanidhi, was the central telecom minister from June 2004 to May 2007. Perhaps the only Hindi knowing family member, Maran was Karunanidhi’s eyes and ears in Delhi and his connect to Sonia Gandhi. The ‘young’ and ‘dynamic’ minister was amongst the most powerful in the UPA government of which the DMK was the most critical partner.

Telecom Ministry sitting on CBI report for over 44 months

Need an illustration for Maran’s reach then? Not only could he threaten Ratan Tata to part with a third of Tata DTH shares, but he also could threaten him not to reveal that he had threatened him! But suddenly, Maran fell from the cliff into the pit, thanks to a costly slip by Dinakaran, a Tamil daily owned by Dayanidhi’s brother Kalanidhi Maran. On 9.5.2007, Dinakaran carried an opinion poll that had trashed Karunanidhi’s son Alagiri as non-entity in Tamil Nadu politics. Alagiri’s angry supporters burnt down the Madurai establishment of Dinakaran on the same day, snuffing out the lives of three innocent staff. Karunanidhi sided with his son Alagiri against his grand nephews, the Marans. Result, Dayanidhi was instantly out of the DMK and the central ministry. It was then that the CBI probed the daring fraud. And now back to the main story.

The CBI had recommended action against Maran as early as in September 2007.

But the CBI letter is obviously sleeping somewhere since then, and for the last 44 months. The CBI letter had specifically asked the Telecom Secretary to bring the matter “to the notice of” Raja. So the case against Maran of DMK was to be approved by Raja also of DMK.

With the 2009 elections approaching, as was expected, warring nephews and sons of Karunanidhi patched up on December 1, 2008, with Karunanidhi saying, “my eyes grew moist and heart was content.” The CBI letter was perhaps used to make Marans fork out generous terms for peace. After the 2009 elections, Dayanidhi, who got elected, attempted again to make it to the Telecom Ministry, but could not.

He became the Textile Minister instead; and he is so even now.

With the family feud subsiding, the CBI letter against Maran began gathering dust somewhere in Telecom Ministry.

Haunted by the 2-G scam, Raja resigned in November 2010 and Kapil Sibal took over. Sibal is sitting on the CBI report since then.

And Maran, as Textile Minister, is sitting in cabinet meetings along with Sibal.

And despite the CBI advice for action against Maran sleeping for over 44 months, now Prime Minister promises to Baba Ramdev that he would tackle corruption with “seriousness” and “without delay”, while he himself is still sitting with Maran in cabinet meetings. It seems as much a comedy as it is a tragedy.

More privileged than others

More privileged than others

A Surya Prakash, Tuesday, March 9, 2010 , Pioneer

On March 13, 2009, I had drawn the attention of the Election Commission of India to the unfair advantage accruing to the Congress because of the naming of Central and State Government schemes and programmes after icons of that party. Since a majority of the schemes of the Union Government are named after just three members of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, I had said that there could never be a level playing field for all political parties unless this process was reversed. I had urged the commission to issue a direction to the Government to ensure that the nomenclature of public schemes and programmes remained politically neutral.

The main points made in this letter to the Chief Election Commissioner and the legal issues involved were discussed in articles published by this newspaper at that time. On the first anniversary of this complaint, I am constrained to inform readers that I have not received any communication from the commission until now. Although hundreds of crores of rupees are spent to run this key constitutional body, the Election Commission obviously lacks discipline, the democratic temper and basic manners to write back to citizens who raise substantive issues.

The main points made in that letter to the CEC were as follows:

Over the last 18 years there has been a sustained effort by the Congress to name all major Government programmes, projects and institutions in the country after three members of the Nehru-Gandhi family — Jawaharlal Nehru, Mrs Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Roughly about 450 Central and State Government programmes, projects and national and State-level institutions involving public expenditure of hundreds of thousands of crores of rupees have been named after these three individuals. All the social sector schemes, barring one, are named after these them.

While there are hundreds of Government schemes and programmes, some of the programmes that involve huge outgo of funds are the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana, with an allocation of Rs 28,000 crore during the Eleventh Plan period; the Rajiv Gandhi Drinking Water Mission with a budgetary allocation of Rs 21,000 crore over three years; the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission with Rs 50,000 crore over seven years; the Indira Awas Yojana with an annual allocation of approximately Rs 8,000 crore; and, the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme with an annual budgetary provision of over Rs 3,400 crore.

However, the greed of the Congress, when it comes to appropriating public schemes for party advantage, knows no bounds. The allocation for the national crèche scheme is just Rs 90 crore a year whereas that for the Udyami Mitra Yojana, a programme to help promote micro and small entrepreneurship is a meagre Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore a year. Yet, even these programmes are named after Rajiv Gandhi.

State Governments too have been vying with each other to name programmes after these three members of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. For example, children in Pondicherry are expected to remember Rajiv Gandhi whenever they have breakfast, the poor in Andhra Pradesh must remember him whenever they use their health insurance card and farmers in that State who are into calf-rearing must remember his mother. In Haryana, poor women must remember Mrs Indira Gandhi at the time of marriage because the shagun paid out of the public exchequer to them comes in her name.

There are hundreds of such schemes and simply no space to list them all. The entire list of 450 schemes, programmes, scholarships, institutions and sports trophies named after these three members of the Nehru-Gandhi family is on my website

I requested the Election Commission to issue directions to the Union Government and to all the Governments in the States to remove the names of individuals, who are seen by the people as icons of specific political parties, from all programmes and schemes funded by the public exchequer.

I said such a direction would also ensure enforcement of the model code of conduct in letter and spirit. The code prohibits even minor misdemeanours like misuse of Government vehicles and personnel by the ruling party during an election, yet it allows the Congress to hijack almost every Government scheme and name schemes worth over Rs 1 lakh crore after just three members of a single family who are icons of the party!

I also drew the attention of the commission to many of its own orders, in which it seemed to be keen to ensure fair play in the electoral arena. In one such direction issued in 2006 it restrained Central and State Ministers from making statements which could affect the conduct of free and fair elections and disturb “the level playing field among political parties in the election arena”. If mere statements of Ministers can disturb the “level playing field”, how is it that the commission allows a single political party to go on a naming spree and derive electoral advantage for perpetuity over all other political parties?

Though the commission has been silent on my complaint, there have been some developments over the past year. I had said a year ago that while Union Government programmes involving annual expenditure of lakhs of crores of rupees were named after members of the Nehru-Gandhi family, no major Government programme was named after Mahatma Gandhi. Anxious to hide its bias, the Union Government has now named the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme after Mahatma Gandhi!

However, after this show of tokenism, it has once again lapsed into its old ways and named the Worli-Bandra sea link after Rajiv Gandhi. Since this bridge is an engineering marvel, it ought to have been named after one of India’s greatest engineers — someone like the engineer-statesman Sir M Visveswaraya — but it seems we are asking for too much when we insist that the Congress and the Nehru-Gandhis honour the true builders of modern India.

What do you make of the Election Commission’s silence on the issues raised a year ago? Is this indeed a public institution that is still competent to fulfill its constitutional mandate and is it capable of taking independent decisions? I would leave it to the readers to determine what implication the commission’s silence has in regard to its impartiality and commitment to the conduct of free and fair elections in the country.

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”

Vinayachandra B K

And, we say that Hindus in this country are majority

Height of minority appeasement – only 2 compulsory holidays for Hindu festivals and 4 for muslim festivals ! This is another sample of minority appeasement. What a pity! Shame on Hindus of this country! 80 % Hindus get only 5 holidays fr their festivals and 15% muslims get 4 holidays for their festivals. It is lucky to born as a  muslim in this country!