|29 Nov 2011|
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Patna, Nov 29 (PTI) BJP leader Uma Bharti today said that Janata Party president Subramanian Swami was prime ministerial material, but clarified that it was her personal opinion. “Swami is prime ministerial material because of his integrity and honesty in the manner that he has pursued the 2G Spectrum scam,” Bharti said. Bharti, however, clarified that it was her personal view and the BJP was at liberty to pick a prime ministerial candidate of its choice. Speaking about the decision by the UPA to open up FDI in retail, she said “jab loktantra mein janata ki awaz nahi suni jati hai to woh thoktantra ka istemal karten hai. (The people will attack if their voices in a democracy is not heard),” she told reporters at a function here. Bharti also criticised the UPA government for delay in declaring the Ganga as a national river and said that it was as emotive to the people as opening of the retail sector to FDI.
Rahul Gandhi promoting FDI to benefit foreigners: Mayawati
NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati on Saturday attacked Rahul Gandhi, saying the Congress general secretary was promoting FDI in the retail sector to benefit foreigners, Times Now reported.
The UP chief minister further said that Rahul Gandhi viewed things only in a foreign perspective.
“The UPA government’s decision to allow FDI in retail is anti-people and the UP government will not give approval for it,” Mayawati said.
The BJP and the Left on Friday slammed the government’s move to allow FDI in multi-brand retail trade, saying it will destroy the livelihood of millions of retailers.
The Union Cabinet on Thursday allowed 51 percent FDI in multi-brand stores and 100 percent FDI in single brand stores in the country. Government has maintained that farmers will get higher remuneration and the FDI will help developing logistics and cold chains in the country.
The Hindu Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati addresses a press conference against central government policy of allowing FDI, in Lucknow on Saturday. Photo: Subir Roy
Mayawati slams Govt move to open retail sector to FDI
Slamming the Centre’s decision to allow FDI in retail, UP Chief Minister Mayawati on Saturday alleged that it was taken to benefit companies of foreign friends of Rahul Gandhi and said that her government would not allow it in the state.
She demanded that the Congress-led UPA government roll back the decision immediately, failing which her party would be forced to take some harsh decision.
“In a bid to benefit the foreign companies and to make the country a slave on the lines of East India Company, the Centre has decided to hand over the economy in the hands of companies like Walmart,” Ms. Mayawati alleged while talking to the reporters.
“The state government is writing a letter to the Centre in this regard,” she said.
Hitting out at Mr. Rahul Gandhi, the UP CM said that as the Congress ‘yuvraj’ was brought up and educated in foreign country, his mindset was that of a foreigner.
“Therefore, whenever he comes to UP he brings along his foreign friends on leisure trip and for entertainment take them to the huts of poor people to make mockery of their poverty,” she alleged.
She further alleged that the decision on FDI was taken to benefit companies of these foreigners and to make them billionaires.
“With UP assembly elections nearing, Congress ‘yuvraj’ in a bid to benefit companies of his foreign friends is indulging into dramatics to bring his party in power,” she alleged.
“The decision to allow FDI was taken by the cabinet despite opposition by a UPA ally,” Ms. Mayawati said.
The decision was taken by the UPA government despite knowing the fact that after the entry of the multinational companies, the economy would “completely go in their hands”, she said.
“The country would become an economic slave. The Congress led UPA government knows that after entry of such companies small shopkeepers and industries will close down and crores of workers will get unemployed,” the UP Chief Minister alleged.
She said that in such a situation, condition of crores of farmers and poor people, who were already forced to commit suicide due to wrong policies of the Centre, would turn worse.
With the entry of these companies, farmers would be forced to sell their produce at a lower rate and they would bring cheaper products from countries like China, she said.
“Despite knowing the fact, the government took the decision because it cannot make Congress ‘yuvraj’ angry at any cost,” she alleged.
She said the decision would impact workers, farmers, poor and middle class section as they would be forced to buy products at a higher cost.
“The decision will be a fatal one…to fulfil the wish of a person, the Centre has permitted foreign companies to enter the retail market,” she alleged.
The CM alleged that their entry would contribute in raising inflation at a time when people were already facing tough times due to high prices.
Ms. Mayawati said that she is confident that people would not let the intentions of Congress get fulfilled.
“I want to assure the people that till the time I am the CM no foreign company will be allowed to make investment in retail market and do business in the state,” she said.
“The party will strongly protest the move in Parliament and across the country,” she said.
On a question whether BSP would withdraw support from UPA, Ms. Mayawati said the issue was still pending in Parliament.
then they call UP people bhikari – is this an election campaign or a hate and violence campaign?
For UP youths it has become very difficult to digest the remarks of Rahul Gandhi
LUCKNOW: Internal fighting in the party took much of the sheen off Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s first address at Bahraich on Wednesday.
On day two of Rahul’s Jan Sampark Yatra (public contact journey), a scuffle broke out outside the Gend Ghar grounds, between workers, allegedly, supporters of district President Jitendra Prasad Singh ‘Jitu’ and the supporters of local party candidate Chandra Shekhar Singh Azad.
Party leaders alleged Jitu’s supporters, his brother Twinkle Singh and others, prevented the crowds from entering the rally grounds, to protest Congress’ candidature to Azad, regarded as an “outsider” in the party.
With barely a few hundred in attendance at the grounds when Rahul was to commence his rally, the general secretary’s address was delayed by nearly two hours. Meanwhile, senior Congress leaders intervened to placate Jitu’s supporters, who, in turn, allowed the crowds to enter the ground. A senior party functionary said, “It was some minor local level politics at play. A party member’s brother began to protest because his supporter was not given a ticket. It was nothing serious.”
Rahul also met at least five disgruntled party workers late on Tuesday night. According to party insiders, several “freshers” were given tickets after union minister Beni Prasad Verma recommended their names. This, leaders said, had lead to a sense of resentment within the party loyalists who have been denied a ticket.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi party workers also protested Rahul’s rally saying it was the Congress that destroyed India’s infrastructure. “We are protesting because Rahul has once again called us beggars. We work hard to earn a living in other states and Rahul comes and calls us beggars. He has forgotten that scores of Indians leave India to settle abroad. Why doesn’t he focus on that migration instead?” asked Anwar Khan Warsi, an SP supporter in Matera Bazaar block of Bahraich.
Published: November 15, 2011 15:52 IST | Updated: November 16, 2011 01:28 IST
B. Muralidhar Reddy
In a staunch defence of the calculation of Rs. 1.76-lakh crore presumptive loss to the exchequer on account of the award of 2G spectrum in 2008 at the prices of 2001, the Comptroller and Auditor-General on Tuesday argued that a strong case for revision of prices was made by the Union Finance Ministry and concurred with by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
In a PowerPoint presentation to the Joint Parliamentary Committee, which is examining the telecom policy from 1998 to 2009, CAG Vinod Rai dwelt at length on the criteria adopted by his office in calculating the presumptive loss. He pointed out that the Finance Ministry and the PMO, in their separate communications in 2007, recommended revision of the methodology adopted by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
The nearly six-hour presentation, followed by a question and answer session, came a day after the then Director-General (Post &Telegraph) in the CAG, R.P. Singh, explained the basis on which he had pegged the ‘actual loss’ at Rs. 2,645 crore.
Mr. Rai said Mr. Singh, in the same note in which he calculated the loss at Rs. 2645 crore, also gave some estimations of loss for further consideration such as Rs.10,2000 crore and Rs.65,000 crore. In his May 31, 2010 letter addressed to the CAG, Mr. Singh suggested that further audit be carried out if required.
The presumptive loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore, in the final report in 2010, has been a subject of intense debate for several months with senior leaders of the ruling UPA contending that the CAG has overstepped its mandate by getting into a policy matter while its role is restricted to audit.
Quoting from the noting in the Finance Ministry files, Mr. Rai told the JPC that if spectrum were to be priced, the option before the DoT was auction or charging a market-determined price. “While the MoF [Ministry of Finance] gave two parameters for calculating the value of spectrum, neither was conclusively suggested. If so, how can the government itself thereafter orchestrate a “no loss” hypothesis?”
Communications Minister Kapil Sibal asserted, days after he took charge of the Ministry following the resignation of A. Raja, that there was ‘zero loss’ to the exchequer. In one of the notings in 2007, the Finance Ministry had maintained that economically there would be a case for increasing the entry fee for technology crossover and said the entry fee could be calculated on the base of the 2001 auction price weighed with the improvement in technology, and demand in terms of subscribers as well as per subscriber traffic.
Mr. Rai told the committee that different loss figures were projected in the three-stage audit process of the CAG. The Field Audit Report carried figures of Rs.48,000 crore and Rs.26,000 crore.
It was redrafted by the office of DG (P&T) and figures of Rs. 2,645 crore, Rs. 2,651crore and Rs.36,000 crore were incorporated in the report. The office also mentioned figures of Rs.1,02,000 crore and Rs. 65,000 crore.
In stage III of the audit done by the CAG headquarters after examination of ‘records not available earlier’, a range of figures from Rs. 58,000 crore to Rs.1, 76,000 crore emerged.
Elaborating on the term ‘presumptive,’ Mr. Rai said it was a term which was part of the Direct Tax Code, and the Income Tax Code recognised and used the terms ‘presumptive income’ and ‘presumptive tax’. Further, it was the normal practice of the office of the CAG to cite figures on the basis of presumptive losses.
On the criticism that the CAG had overstepped its mandate in preparation of the 2G spectrum report, Mr. Rai said the report only sought to examine implementation of the policy. “The entire implementation process does not withstand the test of scrutiny, and hence, the widely held belief that it has benefited a few operators and has not been able to maximise generation of revenue from allocation of such a scarce resource.”
The CAG said an adversarial role between Audit and the Executive was inherent in the structure of polity. There was a difference in the oaths of a Cabinet Minister and the CAG: A Cabinet Minister takes the oath to conscientiously discharge his duties as Minster for the Union and to do right to all manner of people in accordance with the Constitution and the law. The CAG takes the oath that he will, duly and faithfully and to the best of his ability, knowledge and judgment, perform the duties of his office and uphold the Constitution and the laws.
The documents also show that they discussed spectrum usage charge and also the pricing for 3G bandwidth. The new 2G licences were distributed in January, 2008 by Raja who is facing prosecution.
“I am releasing these documents to demolish any argument that meeting between Chidambaram and Raja did not take place. There is no ambiguity (that they met),” said Swamy, a petitioner in the case on the multi-crore scam, who has sought making Chidambaram a co-accused.
“It has been agreed that the base price of 2G spectrum shall be determined by taking the entry fee of Rs 1,650 crore determined in 2003-04 for pan-India operation of UASL licensees as a price of spectrum for 6.2 mhz of bandwidth for GSM operators”, the document said.
This was the 2001 rate adopted by NDA government, Swamy said.
“The document shows it (pricing) was an agreement. It comes clear,” he said and claimed the two had met four times.
Swamy said he will file these documents before the court in Delhi on December 3 when the case comes up for hearing.
Asked if Chidambaram should resign, he replied in the affirmative.
Next order of the judge would be to the cooks (who are now experts in making idly and Dosa) in Tihar to be trained in making Pizza and Pasta (guess why?)!
New Delhi: All those accused in the 2G spectrum scam and their lawyers were in for a surprise as the Delhi High Court issued a notification saying the 2G trial will be transferred to the Tihar jail court complex.
Special CBI Judge O P Saini announced that the trial venue of the case is to be shifted as per a Delhi High Court notification, received by him today.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by section 9 (6) of the CrPC 1973, the acting Chief Justice and judges of this court (Delhi High Court) have been pleased to order that the trial of the 2G spectrum cases shall be held in Tihar court complex, New Delhi, according to law,” read the notification issued by the high court.
The announcement by the judge triggered protests by former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and other accused, who contended that the move was bereft of valid reasons.
Raja said, “I do not know what is happening in this country.”
The defence counsel opposed the notification, saying if the trial is shifted to the Tihar jail, it would create a lot of inconvenience as everybody will have to get an entry pass to Tihar Jail made before attending the proceedings.
“This is a completely illegal order. It has to be with the consent of the prosecution and the accused. Nobody has been consulted,” said Sushil Kumar, former telecom minister A Raja’s lawyer.
Protesting lawyers say they will raise the matter with the acting Chief Justice and seek a stay against the administrative order tomorrow morning.
Mr Raja was arrested in February this year; the CBI is handling the case against him and 13 others accused of criminal conspiracy. The Supreme Court is monitoring the CBI’s investigation; a special court headed by Judge OP Saini is handling the trial.