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Mamata defends scam-tainted Tapas Pal, claims Modi ‘insulted’ backward classes by naming app BHIM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hitting out at CBI for arresting TMC MP and actor Tapas Pal in connection with a chit fund case, Mamata Banerjee linked his arrest to the note ban protest. She was quoted saying by ANI: “PM promised to bring back black money but couldn’t do so; PM destroyed economy & endangered the country’s external & internal security. I hope the restrictions on cash withdrawal will be withdrawn; Will normalcy of life be restored now?”Linking the demonetization protest to Pal’s arrest, she added: “TMC is protesting against note ban that doesn’t mean we have to be arrested by CBI. TMC protesting against note ban that doesn’t mean they’ve to be arrested by CBI. Anyone can become ambassador for any state. Even Amitabh ji is promoting a state. Many film stars and cricketers promoted Sahara; Was Centre sleeping?”She added: “BJP is connected to Pearl group chit fund scam worth Rs 50,000 crore.” Continuing her tirade, she said: “Modi Babu, arrest all my MPs and MLAs if you want; You don’t need to summon us., we are ready; But we cannot be deterred. A lottery app has been named after Ambedkar by Centre; This is crude mentality and insult to backward classes.”Pal was arrested earlier after questioning. “We have arrested Tapas Pal for his alleged involvement in the Rose Valley Chit Fund scam. We had placed a few questions before him and he could not give any proper reply over the amount of money he had taken and on what basis,” a senior CBI official told PTI.Pal was interrogated for four hours. As he failed to give proper reply to any of the questions on his appointment as director to one of the Rose Valley companies or his involvement in the firm investing in Bengali film industry, the CBI decided to arrest him, the official said.The probe agency is likely to take him to Bhubaneswar for further questioning. CBI had issued summons to Tapas Pal on December 27 in connection with the alleged scam, which is one of the cases of the chit fund scams being probed by the investigating agency. He was asked to appear before the agency at its office in Salt Lake today.

Demonetization | ‘Will pressure Modi to resign if fails to solve problems’: Rahul leads fractured Opposition to attack PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eight Opposition parties under Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, and Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, on Tuesday, joined hands against demonetization and launched an attack on Prime Minister Modi, accusing the party of “corruption.”Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who had steered the Opposition’s unity, had invited 16 political parties, but in the end only eight turned up. Unexpectedly, no joint programme was announced, leaving it for parties to chalk out their own protest programmes on a common minimum agenda against demonetization. The Congress will launch its own nationwide protest from January 5.The press conference was attended by the Trinamool Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the DMK and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, while the JD-U, Samajwadi Party, BSP, CPI (M) and NCP decided to give it a miss. Ahead of the meeting, the leaders held a meeting at the Constitution Club. Sources said that Mrs Gandhi had carefully chosen the venue, so that it didn’t appear to look like a Congress sponsored programme.On the issue of demonetization though, Opposition party members however seemed to slightly differ in their demands. While Mamata demanded the resignation of Modi for “pushing India back by 20 years through demonetization,” Rahul had a different slightly viewpoint. Instead of endorsing Mamata’s call for Modi to resign, the Congress vice-president wanted the PM to explain clearly why he went in for demonetization, “instead of constantly changing the goalposts.”Rahul added, “We (Opposition) would certainly put pressure on him to resign if he neither justifies the move nor solves the problems of the people suffering from his arbitrary financial experiment.”The Congress leader also continuously referred to allegations that Modi had benefitted financially from the Sahara and Birla corporate houses, when he was Gujarat chief minister.In a counter attack on Rahul at a press conference at BJP headquarters in Delhi, union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad described him as “lacking maturity” as he kept making “baseless and shameless comments against the PM.” Prasad also pointed out that none of the Opposition leaders at the joint press conference had repeated Rahul’s allegations.He went on to accuse Rahul of “trying to save the corrupt” by demanding a disclosure in Parliament the names of account holders received from foreign banks.

Demonetization: Rahul and Mamata slam Modi, BJP calls opposition meet a ‘flop show’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Unfazed by the absence of leaders of the Left, JD(U), SP and BSP, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee along with some regional parties sought to put up a united face on Tuesday, raising the pitch against demonetization by demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.After the eight-party meeting, the leaders also sought a probe into the issue of “personal corruption” of Modi with Gandhi insisting that a “free and fair” inquiry was needed to maintain the credibility of the Prime Minister’s post. Banerjee, whose presence rescued the Congress’ plan of replicating the opposition unity witnessed in Parliament recently on the note ban issue, virtually stole the show by placing the resignation demand, a position subsequently echoed by Gandhi.Both Gandhi and Banerjee spoke of a “common minimum agenda” being evolved to take the opposition unity forward even as he downplayed the absence of several other parties, including the Left, from Tuesday’s meet which preceded the press conference.
ALSO READ Sonia Gandhi’s attempts to revive Oppn unity coming a cropperEscalating the attack on Modi, Gandhi described the note ban as a “single arbitrary financial experiment in the history of the world that affected 1.3 billion people” and asked him to explain the “real” reason for implementing it and take responsibility for giving pain to people. He also raised the demand that Modi answer the charges of “personal corruption” made against him in the wake of his name allegedly figuring in the “Sahara and Birla diaries”. “Will you take responsibility over demonetization and resign. Will you resign from Prime Ministership,” Banerjee asked, as she termed demonetization as a “mega scam” in the name of “achhe din” (good days). The West Bengal Chief Minister said that 47 days are over and only three days are left in the 50-day period sought by Modi for return of normalcy post the note ban.
ALSO READ Incumbent upon Rahul to substantiate corruption charge against PM: NCP”He is not a magician to perform magic. No miracle will happen. You promised to bring ‘achhe din’. Are these ‘achhe din’? In the name of cashless, Modi government has become faceless and baseless. “Demonetization is not a small issue. If government becomes weak, the country is weakened,” she said.Asked what if the PM did not resign, Gandhi said, “If he does not resign, we will put pressure on him to resign.” The Congress leader said, “It was on the Prime Minister’s personal initiative that this arbitrary financial experiment was carried out for the first time in the world history that affected 1.3 billion people. Such an experiment was never done even during Mao’s reign in China.”
ALSO READ Demonetization: Problems will not end after December 30, says Rahul GandhiGandhi also claimed that demonetization has made no impact on black money and dubbed it as “an attack on financial independence” and poor people of the country. “PM should come out with the real aim of demonetization and answer who is responsible for the suffering of the poor and what is he doing for those who have been hit. The aim of demonetization has failed.””The Prime Minister says he is fighting corruption but he is not answering the questions raised about him. The Prime Minister should be the first person to say that since there are charges against him there should be a free and fair probe,” the Congress leader said.Asked about former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s name figuring in the same documents, Gandhi replied, “Sheilaji herself is saying that she has no problem with an inquiry. Why Narendra Modiji is not saying that. While there are many names in ‘Sahara diaries’, his name appears clearly in the e-mail of Vice President of Aditya Birla group.”The parties whose representatives were present at Tuesday’s meeting were RJD, DMK, JD-S, JMM, IUML and AIUDF, besides the Congress and Trinamool Congress. In the just-concluded Parliament session, Gandhi brought together a total of 16 opposition parties on the note ban issue, some of which distanced themselves after his meeting with the Prime Minister on December 16 on farmers’ issues.Gandhi claimed that demonetization has “failed” on fronts like countering terrorism, counterfeit currency, black money and corruption – all stated objectives of the Prime Minister. With the Prime Minister alleging that only the corrupt are opposing the note ban, the Congress vice president said that Modi can take whatever action he wants against the leaders.At the same time, he said that the opposition would be one with government in any legislation to tackle corruption, including the one on Benami properties. He said he should make public the names of all those who have accounts abroad and bring back absconding businessmen Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi.On the ‘Sahara-Birla’ matter, Gandhi sought to dismiss BJP’s claims that the Supreme Court has not found any merit in the allegations. Some observations might have come but the judgement is yet to come, he said. Singling out Modi, Banerjee said that the country was witnessing a “super emergency” under his rule without its formal declaration. All sections of society are being frightened by saying “Gabbar is coming, Gabbar is coming”, the West Bengal Chief Minister said suggesting that the country cannot be run through such threats and accused the PM of taking away people’s rights.She also accused the Centre of playing politics with non-BJP ruled states wondering as to why her state should not get what Assam gets. She also hit out at the Prime Minister “for not taking Parliament into confidence” on such a big decision as demonetization. “Not even a single line statement was laid on the table of the House. This is not only unethical, it is illegal and unconstitutional,” she said.Alleging that demonetization has wreaked havoc, she said that it has seen growth in unemployment and a collapse of the banking system. Making fun of the digital push by the Modi government in the wake of demonetization, Banerjee said that it was strange “given the fact that in 92% of the villages in the country, there are no bank branches”.She claimed that even in advanced countries like the US and Germany, the transactions are to the tune of 40%. RJD’s Jai Prakash Narain Yadav said note ban is an “anti-people” and “very painful” decision in which 130 people lost their lives.He held the Prime Minister responsible for it and said the rich had been benefited and the poor ‘looted’ and termed the situation as “very serious”. DMK’s Tiruchi Siva said “the country is facing a financial crisis” due to demonetization and people have been made to suffer as its implementation has been “ill conceived”. He said the initiative has turned out to be an “utter failure. Heroism is different from realty”. Banerjee said people have become “landless, cashless and voiceless” and “we have come together to lend voice to people, who have been suffering”.Meanwhile, CPI leader D Raja, whose party did not attend the opposition meet, said the December 30 deadline on demonetization has led to “a financial chaos and turmoil in the country, causing unimaginable misery and hardship to people. “The economy as a whole is affected which has led to loss of jobs. It has ruined the livelihood of common people. The Prime Minister should own up responsibility and tell the people what forced him to take such a decision,” Raja said, asking how could so many people be caught with huge amounts of new currency.BJP’s reactionMocking the Congress-led meet of eight parties against demonetization, BJP said it was Rahul Gandhi’s “flop show” and that the bubble of opposition unity had burst before it could even take off. Noting that only eight of the 16 parties which had joined hands in Parliament against the Modi government over note ban were present, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad took potshots at Rahul, saying it was increasingly becoming clear that he lacked “maturity and gravitas” and that he would soon be left alone to “hurl abuses without substance”.Prasad told a press conference that the opposition’s exercise was “laughable” as, he said, those who were behind scams like 2G spectrum, Saradha chit fund and coal block allocations had come together to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “We all saw Rahul Gandhi’s flop show today. Those who claimed about opposition unity could merely bring together eight of the 16 parties. Soon they will be reduced to four. Then Rahul Gandhi will be left on his own…to hurl abuses without substance. The bubble of opposition unity has burst before it could take off,” he said.The senior BJP leader kept Congress and Rahul Gandhi in his line of fire and skipped any mention of TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been a staunch critic of the government’s demonetization move and again attacked Modi.Noting that earlier parties would work together to put up a joint front against Congress, he said the opposition’s press conference was a victory for BJP and loss for Congress as it showed that as the saffron party has emerged as the centre of polity now.Rahul and his party have been the biggest patron of corruption, Prasad alleged, saying that he kept quiet during the UPA government when several scams happened. Attacking the Congress vice president over his charges against Modi, Prasad said these were “baseless and shameful comments”.”Everyday we get this indication that Rahul Gandhi lacks maturity. It is increasingly evident that his utterances are lacking in maturity and gravitas. Even today we saw that he made some baseless and shameful allegations against the Prime Minister which the leaders sitting beside him did not repeat. It itself makes clear how serious are his comments,” he said.The demonetization exercise, Prasad said, is aimed at turning the country honest and that the people have backed Modi. “The opposition’s press conference makes it clear that who have been the worst hit by this. Such parties were sitting together who are linked with biggest scams in independent India… We all know that severe action is being taken by the government daily. Why is Rahul Gandhi troubled?” he asked.The Law Minister also alleged that Gandhi wants to help those with suspect accounts in Swiss banks by demanding that the government disclose their names. Prasad said disclosing those names before these account holders were charge-sheeted will go against bilateral treaties with different countries and the Supreme Court has “appreciated” this stand.Asked about Gandhi’s demand for a probe into Birla and Sahara diaries details which, he has alleged, showed Modi’s “personal corruption”, Prasad hit back demanding his response to scams during the UPA government Gandhi played a role in scuttling the “honest probe” into the 2G scam by JPC, he alleged. Prasad also attacked AAP for “evading” questions on its donors and said it was doing so even after its “godfather and guru” Anna Hazare wrote a letter to party chief Arvin Kejriwal in this regard.

‘Sahara-Birla’ papers: Why is PM shying away from independent probe, asks Sheila Dikshit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Toeing the party line, Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi wondering why he was shying away from an independent probe into the ‘Sahara-Birla’ papers relating to pay-offs, days after her comments questioning autheticity of the documents put Congress on the backfoot.The Congress’ CM candidate in Uttar Pradesh also debunked speculation that she was distancing herself from the campaigning in the poll-bound state in the wake of the controversy.”Why is @PMOIndia shying from an independent and a thorough probe into the #BirlaSaharaPapers?,” Dikshit tweeted.Dikshit, whose name allegedly figured in the ‘Sahara diaries’ along with many other politicians, had trashed it, putting party Vice President Rahul Gandhi in a tight spot as he had charged Modi with taking money from corporate houses based on the document.”I have said what I had to. The ball is in the court of the @PMOIndia & others now. Will he respond and come out clean? #SaharaBirlaDiaries (sic),” Dikshit said in another tweet.With BJP targeting it following Dikshit’s comments, Congress maintained that it wanted an independent and thorough probe into the “Sahara diaries” corruption issue.There was speculation that Dikshit may not remain Congress’ chief ministerial face in Uttar Pradesh following the controversy.Rejecting the speculations, Dikshit also junked reports that she has suspended her scheduled programmes in Aligarh.”I am amused to see ‘Sheila distances herself from UP’ speculation in media. Aligarh was not on my schedule. I will be in Barabanki tomorrow,” she said.The former Delhi Chief Minister’s name purportedly figured in the list that Congress had put out in a tweet two days back as proof of its allegations against Modi which upset her.On Sunday reacting strongly to the allegations, Dikshit had vehemently denied any wrongdoings calling the charges “all hearsay”. He had said the Supreme Court had already made observations on the diaries, comments that appeared similar to BJP’s argument in defending Modi.

Incumbent upon Rahul to substantiate corruption charge against PM: NCP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has said it is incumbent upon Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to substantiate his corruption claims against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”It’s a political strategy adopted by Congress. In fact, the Congress is supported by several opposition parties, including the JD (U), SP, Left and CPM and TMC. In the last session the opposition was completely united and in that context Rahul has some names, evidences about the involvement of Prime Minister personally. He will have to substantiate it now,” NCP leader Majeed Memon said.He was speaking ahead of a united opposition meeting to devise a strategy against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on demonetization.
ALSO READ Ball in PMO’s court, will PM Modi come clean? Sheila Dikshit on ‘Sahara diaries’Memon also said that this meeting assumes significance as the Prime Minister’s 50 days deadline to ease the cash crunch is coming to an end.”This meeting by the opposition is now to draw a strategy because 50 days are closing now. Now that 50 days are coming to close, the Prime Minister is changing his goal posts. Now, he is saying that the trouble of the poor people is gradually starting to diminish. That would mean that it will continue indefinitely for some longer time, so, his comment has been blighted,” he added.
ALSO READ PM Modi pure as Ganga, no one takes Rahul seriously: BJP on Sahara-Birla bribe allegationsThe meeting, called by Congress, will be followed by a joint press conference by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders. Congress president Sonia Gandhi is also expected to join.However, its attempt to unite opposition parties against demonetisation has suffered a severe jolt with the Left, Janata Dal United JD (U) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) expressing their inability to attend.Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has arrived in New Delhi to take part in the meeting. The DMK, RJD and others are scheduled to participate.

Ball in PMO’s court, will PM Modi come clean? Sheila Dikshit on ‘Sahara diaries’

With Dikshit’s name figuring in the “Sahara diaries” bribery case, stoking a controversy, there could be uncertainty over her continuation as party’s chief ministerial face in Uttar Pradesh, party insiders feel. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Congress leader Sheila Dikshit has denied reports of withdrawing her name as Congress chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Earlier, it was reported that the former Delhi chief minister may withdraw her candidature after her name appeared on Sahara list. The report said that Dikshit is unhappy with her name being surfaced in the recent Sahara diary leaks, and Twitter fiasco following the same. She also said: “I have said what I had to. The ball is in court of PMO & others now. Will he respond & come out clean?”With the Congress vice-president targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over ‘ Sahara diaries’ bribery issue, a controversy erupted after the grand old party put out a list linked to it on Twitter in which a reference to Dikshit also allegedly figured. Dikshit, who is the Congress’ chief ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh, strongly denied the charges and trashed the documents, saying the Supreme Court has already made its observations on them.

Rahul’s attack on PM Modi loses edge as Sheila Dixit junks Sahara documents

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Rahul Gandhi targeting the Prime Minister over ‘Sahara diaries’ bribery issue, a controversy erupted after Congress put out a list linked to it on Twitter in which a reference to its leader Sheila Dikshit also allegedly figured, prompting her to junk the documents. BJP immediately latched onto the issue, saying there cannot be double standards and that Rahul was “whipping a dead horse” as the apex court has already cleared the matter while parties like JD(U), RJD and NCP demanded that everyone mentioned in the diaries should be probed.Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who is also Congress’ chief ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh, strongly denied the charges and trashed the documents, saying the Supreme Court has already made its observations on them.”There is no iota of truth in the allegations. I totally reject these allegations,” she said. Asked about Congress putting out the “list” publicly on its twitter handle, she told PTI, “It surprised me”. She, however, said she has nothing to do with the issue and refused to speak further saying the matter is sub-judice. Sources close to her said she may take up the matter with the party.”The list has so many names. Then why are you focusing on Sheila Dikshit. I don’t even remember anything like this. There are names of other chief ministers. Why don’t you talk about them? Why only Sheila Dikshit?” she said. BJP national Secretary Siddharth Nath Singh said, “There cannot be double standards but Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and their spokespersons are making stupid mistakes time and again. A horse has died and his death has been certified by the Supreme Court.”Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi, he said the Congress leader “should have gained wisdom by now, he is no more a child”.JD(U) leader K C Tyagi said, “I want that the Sahara diaries should now be made public and all the people named in it should be questioned.””There are accusations against Sheila Dikshit, Raman Singh and Shivraj (Singh Chouhan) and some other leaders that they have received money from Sahara and that is why we demand that the entire list should be made public,” he alleged.RJD leader Manoj Kumar said irrespective of who has been named in the list, immediate action should be taken and a probe by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court ordered.”Because we don’t want to target an individual, rather we don’t want the Prime Minister’s position losing its credibility in front of the entire world and this is our priority,” he said.Majeed Memon of NCP said, “It does not matter if the person is from Congress or BJP or is a PM or a former CM. “If someone has committed a crime and he/she is being accused, then he/she should be dealt with in accordance with the law.” Just days earlier, Rahul Gandhi had alleged that Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had taken money from Sahara and Birla groups and demanded an independent inquiry into it, a charge rejected by BJP.The ruling party had said that the “baseless, false, shameful and mala fide” allegations were an attempt to divert attention from the AgustaWestland probe as names of Congress leaders and the “family” are coming up.

Prime Minister Modi has given a befitting reply to Rahul Gandhi: BJP

“With no document, no substantial evidence, Rahul is claiming that Modi has been paid Rs 40 crores by the Sahara group in 2012-13,” BJP leader S Prakash said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a befitting reply to Rahul Gandhi’s baseless allegations.”The Prime Minister has rightly ridiculed Rahul Gandhi’s charges, as with no document, no substantial evidence and just based on Prashant Bhushan’s applications, he is claiming that Modi has been paid Rs 40 crores by the Sahara group in 2012-13,” BJP leader S Prakash said.He said that UPA was at the helm of affairs in the country at the time and could have enquired at that time. “Unfortunately, he expects a very high response from the Prime Minister which he does not deserve and Supreme Court has already given a verdict about it,” he said.He said that repeatedly making charge that don’t hold water seemed to be an exercise in frivolity. Prakash said Rahul Gandhi should realise his agenda is not working with the masses.

Rahul’s allegation against PM Modi lowers political discourse: BJP leader

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal on Thursday said that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s allegation against Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lowered the level of political discourse.”The speech given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has nothing to do with Rahul Gandhi. It was only his statement that if he speaks, then an earthquake will occur, and what Modiji has said is that Rahul Gandhi has said what he wanted to say, so, there is no possibility of any earthquake,” he said.”Rahul Gandhi has touched upon that aspect which the Supreme Court has already rejected. This only lowers the level of politics,” he added.
ALSO READ Rahul Gandhi is now trying to be new Kejriwal: BJPThe Congress vice-president on Thursday accused Prime Minister Modi of having taken money from the Sahara and Birla business groups when he was chief minister of Gujarat and demanded an independent inquiry into the matter.Gandhi made this assertion in Prime Minister Modi’s native district of Mehsana in Gujarat just days after he said that he had proof of “personal corruption” against the latter.
ALSO READ Lalu Yadav backs Rahul Gandhi, demands SC-monitored probe against PM ModiGandhi alleged that the Sahara Group had paid Rs 40 crore, while the Birla Group had paid Rs 12 crore to Prime Minister Modi, claiming his charges were based on documents recovered during raids on the companies by the income tax department.

Mock me but reply my questions: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Some 400 km away from Varanasi, in Bahraich, a combative Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi asked the PM to mock him, but reply his questions as well. At a ‘jan aakrosh rally’ in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, he told Modi that he could make fun of him as much as he can but should answer the questions raised by him.“The charges have not been levelled by me alone but by the youth of India who feel cheated as you had promised them jobs,” an aggressive Rahul said. Sticking to his guns, he alleged Modi, as Gujarat chief minister, had taken Rs 40 crore from the Sahara group in nine instalments over six months between 2013 and 2014. Coming down hard against the note ban, he insisted that the prime minister came out with the surprise decision not to help the poor but the ‘super rich 50 families of India’. “I will repeat the same question to the PM…Congress wants to eradicate corruption and if the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) initiates any step in this direction, it will be extended full support but this note ban decision is not against corruption or black money,” he said.“Modiji said those standing in bank queues are thieves. Today, I saw people standing in front of banks. Modiji, they are not thieves but honest poor,” he said, adding that there was not a single rich or ‘suited, booted’ person who is seen on the Prime Minister’s aircraft when he goes abroad, standing in the lines. ‘Modiji, first tell us what was contained in the 10 packets from Sahara,” he later tweeted.

After PM Modi mocks Rahul’s ‘earthquake’, Congress VP says ‘answer me’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A combative Rahul Gandhi hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for mocking his speech wherein the Congress vice president had accused him of having taken money from corporate groups, saying he could make fun of him but needed to answer the charges of personal corruption levelled against him. At a ‘jan aakrosh rally’ in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, the Congress vice president told the Prime Minister that he could make fun of him as much as he can but should answer the questions raised by him. “The charges have not been levelled by me alone but by the youth of India who feel cheated as you had promised them jobs,” an aggressive Rahul said.Waving sheets of paper which purportedly contained details of charges against Modi having allegedly accepted money from Sahara and Birla groups when he was Gujarat Chief Minister, the Congress vice president asked the Prime Minister to tell whether the documents were correct or not. Sticking to his guns, he alleged Modi as the Gujarat Chief Minister had taken Rs 40 crore from the Sahara group in nine instalments spread over six months in 2013 and 2014.Coming down hard against note ban, he insisted that the Prime Minister came out with the surprise decision not to help the poor but the “super rich 50 families of India”.Taking a dig at the Prime Minister, Rahul dubbed him as a “super event planner” who had made “perfect planning” to take the money from the poor to help the rich who owe as much as Rs 8 lakh crore to the banks.”Suck the money from the poor and feed the rich. Take the money from 99 per cent and give it to one per cent,” he said adding that this was the essence of the note ban and not to weed out black money and help the poor as claimed by Modi.”I will repeat the same question to the PM…Congress wants to eradicate corruption and if the NDA initiates any step in this direction it will be extended full support but this note ban decision is not against corruption or black money.”Modiji said those standing in bank queues are thieves.Today, I saw people standing in front of the banks. Modiji they are not thieves but honest poor,” he said, adding that there was not a single rich or “suited, booted” person who is seen on the Prime Minister’s aircraft when he goes abroad, standing in the lines.Earlier, Rahul took to Twitter to attack the Prime Minister. “Modiji first tell us what was contained in the ten packets from Sahara,” the Congress Vice President tweeted in Hindi.Along with the tweet was posted a document purportedly with the Income Tax Department of nine entries from October 2013 to February 14 detailing “cash payments made to Modiji”.His comments came close on the heels of the Prime Minister, at a function in Varanasi, ridiculing Rahul’s remarks about creating an “earthquake” with accusations of corruption against him.Modi ridicules Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan SinghRidiculing Rahul Gandhi’s remarks about bringing an “earthquake” with accusations of corruption against him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said he is happiest since the Congress leader has “learnt” to speak as he has unwittingly admitted the “failure” of his party’s reign.”They have a young leader who is just learning to give speeches. Since the time he has learnt to speak, there is no limit to my happiness. In 2009, you couldn’t even tell what is inside this packet and what is not. Now we are finding out,” Modi said without naming Gandhi.”He had been going around threatening that when he will speak, there will be an earthquake. If he hadn’t spoken, there could have been an earthquake. It would have been an earthquake that people would have had to deal with for 10 years.”There is no chance of an earthquake now that he has spoken. We can be rest assured that there is no danger of the natural calamity in sight,” the PM said, a day after Gandhi’s accusation against Modi of taking money from Sahara and Birla groups when he was Gujarat Chief Minister.BJP had rejected the Congress leader’s allegations as “baseless, shameful, and mala fide”.Accusing the Government of not allowing his to speak in Parliament, Gandhi had earlier said that “an earthquake will come” if he speaks and had gone on to claim that he had knowledge of “personal corruption” by Modi.The Prime Minister, who was on his first tour of his Lok Sabha constituency after Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes were demonetized on November 8, was speaking today at a function organised inside the Banaras Hindu University campus.He also took potshots at Gandhi’s assertion that payments through cards, online transfers etc. would face hurdles in the country due to low literacy levels, saying, “I hope he does not say that I had indulged in some sort of black magic to make illiterate those who knew how to read and write.”He never thinks before he speaks and he may not have realized that he has admitted the failure of the long reign of his own party,” the PM said adding his detractors have been forced “to admit, even if unwittingly, their failures”.He said a cleanliness campaign has been launched and the “stink” raised during cleaning of garbage which is scattered everywhere is the same that the country is feeling now.Modi said he is happy that note ban has “exposed the ‘kala dhan’ (black money) as well as ‘kale mann’ (ill-intentions) of many”.Taking a jibe a former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said poverty is his legacy adding Singh’s image is clean but a number of major scams had taken place during his tenure.Reacting to his predecessor’s assertion in Parliament that a cashless economy was not feasible for the country where nearly 50 per cent of people were poor, the Prime Minister said, “I wonder whether he (Singh) was giving his own report card by admitting the dismal situation.”After all, he has not just been the Prime Minister for two terms and a Finance Minister previously. Since the 1970s he has been holding key positions.”

Charges against Narendra Modi deserve proper response, impartial inquiry: Sitaram Yechury

New Delhi: Hitting out at Narendra Modi over his remarks against opposition on note ban, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury on Thursday said such utterances are best “abandoned” after one becomes Prime Minister and demanded an impartial inquiry into the “serious allegations” against him.

Sitaram Yechury. AFPSitaram Yechury. AFP

Sitaram Yechury. AFP

Without making direct mention of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi‘s allegation against Modi that he took money from Sahara and Birla groups when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat, Yechury said that the charges deserve a proper response.

“Serious allegations deserve impartial inquiry and a proper response. This language is best abandoned after becoming PM,” Yechury tweeted.

Speaking at a function in Banaras Hindu University today, Modi attacked opposition for allegedly stalling Parliament over demonetisation, saying they were trying to rescue the corrupt like Pakistan gives cover fire to terrorists.

Addressing a rally in the Prime Minister’s home state Gujarat on Wednesday, Gandhi had alleged that in the Income Tax records there are notings of Sahara officials’ claims that they had paid nine times to Modi between October, 2013 and February, 2014.

Similarly, as per documents with Income Tax department, the Birla group also paid Rs 12 crore to Modi when he was Chief Minister, Gandhi had alleged. BJP had rejected the charges as “baseless, shameful, and mala fide“.

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 16:49 IST

Dear Rahul Gandhi, it’s time for you to stop taking Indian democracy for granted

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shakespearean Fool can get away with saying anything as he is not held to the same standards of probity as other characters. However, the Fool is unlikely to be the main plot point in any story because he’s there to provide the laughs. And sadly, for a lot of Indians, Rahul has become a meme rather than a leader who can be trusted to lead the nation. And this was evident, when speaking in Mehsana, Gujarat he claimed the PM had bribes from the Sahara and Birla groups when he was CM of Gujarat. The allegations stem from what has come to be known as the Sahara-Birla Diaries. Frankly, when Rahul promised an ‘earthquake’ and proof of PM Modi’s ‘personal corruption’ one had hoped for something better than allegations that were first hinted at by Arvind Kejriwal in the aftermath of the surgical strike and one that was repeated in the Delhi assembly on November 16.Now it’s true that in a post-truth world, elections can be won by casting aspersions and mud-slinging, hoping some of it sticks, but for that you need a solid ground to begin from and Rahul Gandhi’s earth-shattering revelations were based on documents that had already been dismissed by the SC as ‘zero, fictitious and not authentic’. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the NGO Common Cause had demanded an investigation into these allegations. The SC bench consisting of Justice Khehar and Justice Mishra had pointed out that Sahara never had ‘genuine documents’ and the Birla computer entries were flaky because any kid with a computer and printer could type things on a piece of paper and demand a probe. At the next hearing, things spiralled out of control when Bhusan alleged that Khehar might be compromised since his ‘file for elevation as Chief Justice of India was pending with the government’. This led to a sharp reprimand from Khehar who pointed out that Bhushan hadn’t brought this up earlier during the hearing. He said: “It is very unfair of you to have appeared before us earlier and not pointed this out then, and bring it up now.” Justice Mishra rebuked Bhushan saying, “So, you think we can succumb to any force? You doubt the highest Constitutional court?”, while AG Rohtagi called it a ‘cheap tactic’.That Rahul Gandhi should give credence to these rumours, shows the lack of imagination and political ineptitude emanating from the Congress leader’s team. Not only can they not define themselves beyond criticising PM Modi, they are clutching at straws by borrowing wild allegations.It seems that the Congress, just doesn’t know how to crack the Modi code because the BJP has successfully managed to place him as an icon synonymous with India. In a simplified binary world, if you’re against the Prime Minister, you are deemed to be against the nation.Indian democracy has been waiting with bated breath since 2004 for Rahul to get his act together, but while the spirit has been willing from time to time, the voters have shown all the enthusiasm of a snail returning home from a funeral. Since the BJP came to power with its ginormous verdict in 2014, one could count the meaningful Rahul Gandhi moments on our fingers.There were some moments of Vipassana-enthused ‘Suit-Boot’ Sarkar jibes, some support for students of HCU and JNU and a ham-handed attempt to join the intolerance debate. There was the ill-advised ‘khoon ka dalali’ remark against the surgical strikes and finally the opposition to demonetization.Perhaps demonetization was a strong case to bolster one’s dissenting credentials but Rahul Gandhi failed to make a mark with contradictory remarks which have swung from claiming the BJP knew about demonetization beforehand to the allegations that the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was unaware, and that the entire move is an attack on the poor. He even claimed in Modi’s cashless India, 5-6% from every transaction would go to the rich! The real problem for Rahul, is that his family legacy is a poisoned chalice. Whatever crime he accuses the Modi govt of perpetuating, the Congress has been there and done that.Corruption? Coalgate, Commonwealth Games, Bofors, 2G scam. Intolerance? Hi Grandma. Riots against a particular religion? Sorry Dad. While argumentum ad hominem is a logical fallacy, in politics, like life, those who live in glass houses find it harder to cast stones. And when they accuse Modi of something, the accusation always comes back like a boomerang because it has been the Congress that has been in power for so long since independence. Rahul’s position as a serious campaigner has also taken a hit as his Khat Pe Charcha in UP, saw more enthusiasm for the khats than the charcha. Even master strategist Prashant Kishore seems to have given up on his product as an alliance with SP looms large on the horizon which is bad news for Congress’ UP CM face Sheila Dixit.The hallmark of a democracy is a strong opposition but the Congress seems ill-equipped to provide one as the BJP juggernaut rolls on. The strongest voices of the Opposition at this moment comes from non-Congress leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Nitish Kumar and Arvind Kejriwal, who are the complete antithesis of the Congress VP. While the former three have fought their way to the top, quite like PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi still bears the appearance of a man who doesn’t know what to do with his inheritance.And it’s harming the Congress party as well, because the focus on the first family, is preventing the rise of any charismatic leaders who could lead the party out of their moment of darkness. Perhaps it’s time for Rahul Gandhi to stop playing the role of a dilettante politician and move on, so that India’s Grand Old Party can rebuild itself before it gets consigned to the dustbin of history. Because the electorate, a brave and new impatient India, is making it abundantly clear, election after election, that it has no respect for a man or a family who can’t get their house in order. Or as PM Modi put it while speaking in Varanasi: “They have a youth leader; he is learning how to speak. Since the time he has learnt how to speak, I am the happiest. In 2009, you couldn’t even tell what is inside this packet. Now we are finding out. If he hadn’t spoken, there could have been an earthquake. It would have been an earthquake that people would have had to deal with for 10 years. Good he has started speaking… there is no chance of an earthquake now.”

Rahul Gandhi is now trying to be new Kejriwal: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday took a jibe at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi over his allegations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he is now competing with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal just to be relevant in the media.BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli also took potshots at Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav for backing Gandhi. “Look at the jungle raj earlier in Lalu Yadav’s regime and its return now. If he supports Rahul Gandhi then Rahul should think about it. Whether this is the kind of support he relishes because his politics has also undertaken a turn,” Kohli said.”He is now trying to be the new Kejriwal, any kind of allegation, nothing to do with evidence, no substantiation. Just make an allegation and be relevant in the media. His competition with Kejriwal is as who will occupy the top spot of this kind of politics. He is happy with Lalu Yadav’s support on his issues then it is good for him,” he said.Another BJP leader Sambit Patra also mocked Gandhi, saying the latter is making desperate attempts to become the supreme power within the Congress Party. “One has to remember that the Supreme Court is supreme and Rahul Gandhi is smaller than that. Rahul Gandhi is maybe trying to become the supreme power within the Congress Party (and) even in that he has not succeeded,” Patra said.”The Supreme Court has categorically observed that the papers provided by him are not authentic. The people of this country are intelligent, they know the Supreme Court is to be respected and not Rahul Gandhi,” he added.Earlier in the day, the RJD chief backed Gandhi’s assertion that corporates paid crores as bribes to Prime Minister Modi in 2013-14 and demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the same.Lalu said that Prime Minister Modi, who is now completely trapped, owes an explanation to the nation. “Rahul Gandhi has alleged Aditya Birla and Sahara Group had given Rs 40 crores to Narendra Modi. The Prime Minister is completely trapped and now he will have to give an explanation. If any BJP spokesperson comes up with justification on his behalf then that would be unfair,” he added.The RJD chief further stated that the Congress vice-president wouldn’t have made such allegations against the Prime Minister without any proof. “Without proof, Rahul Gandhi won’t say this…or any leader won’t accuse the Prime Minister of this. It proves that the Prime Minister was involved in corruption. I demand a Supreme Court-monitored probe in this regard,” he added.Speaking in Gujarat’s Mehsana on Wednesday, Gandhi alleged that in the records with the Income Tax, there were notings of Sahara officials’ claims that they paid Prime Minister Modi nine times between October 2013 and February 2014 and that the total amount was Rs 40 crore.He also alleged that according to documents with the IT department, the Birla Group too paid Rs 12 crore to the Prime Minister.Seeking an independent inquiry, Gandhi said that he was raising the issue “on behalf of the country”.

Rahul’s info on ‘PM’s corruption’ turns out to be old I-T diary notings

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi chose a public rally in Mehsana, Gujarat to reveal the information he had claimed would trigger ‘an earthquake’ in Delhi.Gandhi’s charges of corruption against Prime Minister Narendra Modi have sent the ruling BJP seething. The party has described the allegations as “baseless, irresponsible and shameful” and an attempt to divert attention from the AgustaWestland scam.The information on Prime Minister Modi’s “personal corruption” which Gandhi finally let out after days of suspense related to the account books of Sahara and Birlas seized by the Income Tax Departments. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told a press conference here that Gandhi had brought out nothing new as he had tabled the Income Tax Department’s appraisal reports of both Sahara and Aditya Birla Groups in the Assembly showing the bribes allegedly paid to Modi in 2013 during his tenure as the Gujarat Chief Minister. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader, Derek O’Brien, was also quick to claim credit that it was his party that had first held demonstrations in the Parliament House Complex on December 2, 2014 with the red diary of Sahara, exposing Modi’s corruption.Gandhi, who was originally told by his aides to raise the issue on the floor of the House, so he could not be hauled in any court of law, finally threw the ‘bombshell’ at Modi in his home state of Gujarat. He also challenged the government to set up an independent inquiry while reeling out details of the money paid to Modi during his tenure as the Chief Minister. He accused the government of sitting on the Income Tax Department’s plea for a probe into the documents seized. Gandhi had earlier accused the BJP of preventing him from revealing these details in the Lok Sabha, and claimed that Modi was already “terrified”.The Congress Vice-President referred to a diary seized during a raid on the Sahara company on November 22, 2014 that allegedly showed Rs 40.5 crore being paid in nine instalments from October 30, 2013 to February 22, 2014. He also referred to the records of a Birla company with the Income Tax Department that allegedly show Rs 25 crore meant for the (then) Gujarat CM, Rs 12 crore of which was “given” and a question mark on the balance. The date-wise payments as claimed by Rahul in the Sahara diary were: Rs 3 crore on October 30, 2013, Rs 5 crore on November 12, 2.5 crore on Nov 27, Rs 5 crore on Nov 29, Rs 5 crore on Dec 6, Rs 5 crore on Dec 19, Rs 5 crore on January 13, 2014, Rs 5 crore on Jan 28 and Rs 5 crore on February 22. The Supreme Court last month had refused to order an investigation into the entries made in this diary. “We cannot initiate an investigation just because a big man has been named by someone. He is a high public functionary and we cannot proceed on materials like this. We need better material,” Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar told senior advocate Shanti BhushanThe BJP was quick to accuse Rahul of fighting for his political existence taking recourse to lies, expressing pity that he were suffering from “Modi phobia.” Party spokesman Srikant Sharma said Rahul is a “part time and non-serious politician” belonging to a party that has the habit of levelling baseless charges on PM Modi. Hitting back at Gandhi, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the allegations reflected the Congress leader’s frustration and were an attempt to divert attention from the AgustaWestland probe in which the names of Congress leaders and the “family” were coming up. He said thePrime Minister was as “pure” as the Ganga. “The allegations levelled against the PrimeMinister are baseless, false, shameful and mala fide and they reflected Rahul Gandhi’s frustration in leading his party to disastrous defeats in state after state,” he said.

The Sahara case is an X-ray to the Supreme Court’s working, says Rajeev Dhavan

                                                                                                 I

It is customary to add the words “with respect” or “deepest respect” when addressing judges. Some lawyers say, “we bow to your Lordship” some even pronounce: “bow” as in “bow and arrow”. I must confess that I have entertained colleagues in the back row in court with a dog size “bow-wow-wow-wow”. All this is truly colonial along with the costume drama of black coat junior and band-master costume for senior or lawyers. But lawyers and judges have acquired a vested interest in the costume drama. So, while I campaign for the abolition of these colonial absurdities, I start the article: “with respect”.

II

On 23 September the Supreme Court cancelled Sahara and two others’ parole because of what I said in court. The simple story of that incident in the Sahara case can be summarized as follows:

Me: Can you extend the Sahara parole till 30th September.

Sahara chief Subrata Roy. PTISahara chief Subrata Roy. PTI

Sahara chief Subrata Roy. PTI

Chief Justice: (after hesitation) No, let him go to jail since you are seeking an adjournment.

Me: I am not seeking an adjournment but a rescheduling because your Lordships (note!) did not sit on the 16th September.

Chief Justice: “Extend the parole till 3rd October”.
[Meanwhile, there is discussion on Sebi’s sale of Sahara properties – especially 3 of them.]

Me: (On instructions from and prodding from Gautama Awasthy my instructing counsel). May we see the papers and file a response.

Chief Justice: If that is your attitude, we will send your clients back to jail.

Me: That would be unfair.

Chief Justice orders: Cancel the interim bail. Sahara and others can go to jail (dictating an order to that effect).

Me: Please do not pass an order in a temper.

Chief Justice: It is passed.

Me: Please don’t do this. It’s not fair.

Then Sibal apologised for my behaviour later in the day. I refused to apologise in my message and on TV. Justice TS Thakur then made observations about me which would be defamatory except that it came from a privileged judicial pulpit.

III

Threatening a lawyer that an adverse order will be passed against him because he has made a legitimate request is asking them to argue in terrorem. Such a phrase was used by the legendary Ashok Sen to the no less legendary JS Verma who relented and apologised to Ashok Sen. I am not Ashok Sen and Thakur is certainly not JS Verma.

Unfortunately, Justice Thakur has used this threat several times before, even telling other contemnors in that case that if they do not comply they will join Sahara in jail (as if it was a joke). The court laughed. Thakur smiled.

IV

The Sahara case is a thorn in the sides of justice. Justice Thakur inherited this case from Justices Kehar and Radhakrishnan who had peremptorily sent Sahara and two colleagues to jail until they paid Rs 5,000 crore in cash (cheques) and Rs 5,000 by way of bank guarantee. In a fancy judgment by Kehar (for Radhakrishnan as well, who later personally told me, he distances himself from Kehar’s acerbic comments), he tore into lawyers and used a species of coercive contempt to condemn Sahara and others to stay in prison until his payments and bank guarantee were fulfilled. Such a contempt if used against trade unionists makes them martyrs. Used against others, it lacks proportionality. Of course, all this is in excess of what the Contempt of Court Act 1971 permits (i.e. six months and fine). The other aspect of the case is that the order of 31 August 2012, inter alia requires Sebi to examine the documents Sahara has offered as proof of payment to investors. Forty trucks of documents were sent to Sebi which it first refused to accept, then got them digitalized at Sahara’s expense. However, they refused to examine these documents even though ordered by the 31 August order to do so. The Thakur court agrees with Sebi that they should not discharge their obligations to examine the documents in the absence of cheque transactions, though the full paper trail of small investments in cash (e.g. a few hundreds or thousands) and payments back are available. The court ordered Sebi to examine them. How can the Thakur court not enforce these orders against Sebi?

Justices Thakur, Dave and Sikri take the view that the order by Kehar–Radhakrishnan incarcerating Sahara and others cannot be altered in favour of those in jail because they are not sitting on appeal over the latter. This is both legally incorrect and contradictory. A three-judge (or even a two-judge) bench sitting in continuation of a two-judge bench can always “modify” an order of the earlier two-judge bench. The contradiction is that the order for Sebi to examine the documents is not to be enforced, that of sending parties to jail has to be. This inclination to give Sebi all the rope it asks for, and being super-critical of every request and argument for Sahara defies justice. My experience with this case reminded me of (Justice) Oliver Wendell Holmes’ concept of the “Bad Man”– a concept revisited by jurists. Once the court is convinced of a person as a ‘bad’ man, justice is compromised which I believe has been compromised in this case.

V

Why was Sahara not able to pay? In May 2014, I asked the Thakur bench for permission to sell 71 properties – each sale being overseen by an independent auditor, “No”, said the Thakur bench. “Choose only 9.” Good grief, Why? Further, a ‘harbor rule’ prohibiting a distress sale below 5 percent of the valuation was invented by the court to further jettison Sahara’s redemption. The ‘harbor rule’ was an off-the-cuff invention of Sebi’s counsel Datar. Each sale to be confirmed by the court. Had the court not passed such an ill-conceived order the controversies would have been over. There were three foreign properties in the fray: Grosvenor House in London and two hotels in New York. At one point, the Chief Justice even observed that the historic Grosvenor House remain in Indian hands! All hotels were encumbered and many financial vultures duped Sahara. Thakur’s observation: if you value property over civil liberties, stay in jail. At several stages, special facilities were granted to Sahara and others and then taken away. It was an uphill chore to argue restoration of even facilities. Anyway, since Sahara’s properties were up for grabs, some Indian bidders were allowed to stake claims and treated lightly by the Thakur bench when they backed out.

The court’s permitting Sahara to sell 9 + 7 properties is now being expanded to other properties. Each will be scrutinized by Sebi’s lawyers and an obstructive amicus, Shekhar Naphade. Why not in the first place? Why not in 2014 with strict auditing? I am not privy to Sahara’s choices but I believe that their sale endeavours were bonafide in the face of vultures taking advantage of a distress situation. The Thakur bench has not handled this well – jettisoning Sahara, at every juncture. Justice has been a casualty.

VI

For the public, these hearings have become a news tamasha. As in the Colosseum in ancient Rome, the public wants to know if the Supreme Court’s thumb went up (Sahara is out of jail) or whether it went down (Sahara is back in jail). If it went up, the lawyers were congratulated. If it went down, the lawyers failed. For some, this long incarceration was justified even though there is no offence or criminality. For most, such a contempt order is unjust even absurd. The gladiatorial interest will continue but not on merits. Messages to me blame the Chief. Some blame me. But this is not about me, but justice and the Supreme Court’s capacity to uphold it. I had resiled the Sahara brief earlier, and have done so again before they sack me.

VII

I am proud of the Supreme Court and high courts. If politicians are custodians of the political texts of the Constitution, judges are custodians of the justice texts. Justice without democracy is a chimera. Democracy without justice is autocracy. The Sahara case, amongst many, is an x-ray of the Supreme Court. What it reveals, read with the pathology of the working of the court, is that the Supreme Court is overwhelmed by the volume of cases, overworked and over-stressed. This may certainly be true of the Chief Justice who performs many duties including going, if possible, every weekend out of Delhi to give lectures or attend meetings.

The courts and its corridors are crowded with lawyers jostling for places to sit. It is mayhem. Some judges are ready, many with pre-conceived or concurrent biases or both. In terms of appointment, many should not have been appointed. In that, the Supreme Court has fallen. At times, the court dismisses good cases because of the workload and admits bad cases because of inattention. Thus admitting and even hearing cases is a roulette wheel. A court under this kind of pressure is not able to guarantee justice. Many have suggested remedies. Each Chief Justice has their own angst in defining and addressing problems. I admire many judges. But the institution is in peril.

The author is a senior advocate.

Angry Supreme Court terminates Subrata Roy’s parole

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Angered by Sahara chief Subrata Roy’s counsel, the Supreme Court, which ordered for cancellation of the parole granted to him and two directors of his company and directed them to surrender within a week time.Even, his unconditional apology for his counsel’s behaviour gave him a little relief with the court, which initially passed the order to send them to jail immediately, extended the relief till September 28.Besides, Roy, directors Ashok Roy Choudhary and Ravi Shankar Dubey were directed to surrender before the jail.The whole court drama started with the special bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) T S Thakur taking up Roy’s plea for extension of parole, which was granted in July to perform the last rites of his mother.Appearing for him, senior advocate Rajiv Dhavan began his argument saying former Union minister Kapil Sibal was to appear in the case due to his illness, the case should be deferred and in the meantime, the parole also should be extended. Roy has already paid more than Rs 350 crore as per the court order.Chief Justice bench has expressed its positive nod but suddenly, the lawyer for SEBI, told the court that 58 Sahara properties were put on auction and they had sold eight of them raising Rs 137 crore.He also said that five of the properties were provisionally attached by IT department and three of them are free.To, this submission, CJI told Dhavan, “You gave a list of properties which are already attached and you are not cooperating. It’s better you go to jail. If you want to be heard, you go to jail.”In a knee-jerk reaction, Dhavan said, “It was not a fair statement that they should be sent back to jail…We have not been involved in selling of the properties by SEBI.”The angry CJI passed the order saying, “Don’t tell us what to do. All interim arrangements stand cancelled. Contemnors are directed to be taken into custody,” the bench said.However, later, Roy’s another counsel Kapil Sibal, who was rushed to the court for damage control, tendered an apology before CJI saying “the counsel (Dhavan) went beyond the brief and will not appear in this case in future and he tendered apology for his behavior and remarks to the court.”Deploring the manner in which Dhvan addressed the court earlier, the bench said, “It is painful for us. It is most unfortunate. One may be stronger but can’t go on throwing some weight..There is a limit and threshold to our tolerance.””At the end of the day, we also do some introspection. We also think of what we are speaking in the court. We also think that our words don’t show any disrespect to anyone,” the CJI said.After modifying its earlier order, the bench granted a week’s time to them for surrender and fixed September 28 for hearing.The apex court had granted parole to Roy on May 6 for four weeks on humanitarian ground following the death of his mother Chhabi Roy in Lucknow after prolonged illness. Besides Roy, the court had also granted parole to the jailed Sahara directors Roy Choudhary and Dubey. It had said they were free to meet prospective buyers of properties and move within the country under police escort. Roy has been lodged in Tihar jail since March 4, 2014 on the orders of the apex court in relation with a long running dispute with market regulator SEBI.

Sebi to auction Sahara group’s 13 more land parcels

New Delhi: Moving ahead with sale of Sahara assets to recover money, regulator Sebi lined up 13 land parcels of the beleaguered group for an e-auction next month at a total reserve price of about Rs 1,400 crore. This is in addition to 58 properties of the group that were scheduled to be auctioned in July and their combined reserve price was nearly Rs 5,000 crore.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

In separate notices today, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) said HDFC Realty will auction seven
properties on October 27 at a reserve price of more than Rs 710 crore, while SBI Caps will auction six properties on October 25 at a reserve price of over Rs 672 crore.

Following directions from the Supreme Court for sale of certain Sahara assets to recover money, Sebi has mandated SBI Capital Markets (SBI Caps) and HDFC Realty for auctioning a total of 61 land parcels.

HDFC Realty has been roped in to auction 31 land parcels at a reserve price of Rs 2,400 crore, while SBI Caps has been asked to auction 30 land properties with an estimated market value of about Rs 4,100 crore.

These properties are spread across the country and mostly include land parcels. As per the court directions, they cannot be sold at less than 90 percent of the circle rates.

After spending two years in jail, Sahara chief Subrata is currently out on parole. He was sent to jail on the
orders of the Supreme Court in a long-running dispute with Sebi.

After bonhomie with Lalu Prasad, Ramdev meets Mulayam Singh, Akhilesh Yadav

Yoga guru Ramdev on Sunday met ruling Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav here days after meeting RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
ALSO READ Lalu models for Ramdev’s Patanjali cream, says people are jealous of yoga guru’s success Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was also present during the meeting, SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said, adding that the Yoga guru lauded the work undertaken by the state government. He appreciated certain welfare and development schemes being undertaken in the state, Chaudhary claimed, describing the meeting as a courtesy call. Ramdev was in the state capital to meet Sahara chief Subrata Roy, who lost his mother recently.

Sebi ropes in HDFC Realty, SBI Cap for sale of Sahara assets

New Delhi: Tasked with a massive job of selling certain unencumbered properties of beleaguered Sahara group, markets regulator Sebi is believed to have roped in HDFC Realty and SBI Capital to help in the sale process.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

Sources said that HDFC Realty and SBI Capital would help the markets regulator in valuation as well as the sale process for the selected properties as per the directions of the Supreme Court.

While there was no official word on the mandate, the Sebi-Sahara case was scheduled to come up for further hearing in the Supreme Court tomorrow.

Last month, the apex court had asked Sebi to initiate the process of selling those properties the title deeds whereof have already been deposited with it by Saharas.

Sebi was asked to devise a suitable mechanism for the sale in consultation and under the supervision of Justice B N Agrawal, former Supreme Court Judge, and also seek help of “experts or expert agencies”, if required in the process. Justice Agrawal is currently overseeing the process of refund of money to investors of Sahara, which has already submitted the title deeds of 86 properties to Sebi. These do not include Sahara’s three overseas hotels, the famous Aamby Valley resort town and the Sahara Star hotel in Mumbai.

The regulator was also asked to keep Saharas “duly informed about the steps taken by it in which event Sahara shall be free to provide such inputs as may be considered necessary so that the properties fetch a fair price towards sale consideration”.

Sebi was also asked not to sell any property owned by Saharas for a price less than 90 per cent of the circle rates for the area in question without the permission of the court, the Supreme Court had ordered on March 29 while listing the matter for further hearing on April 27.

The sale was ordered by the court to generate the bail money for release of Sahara chief Subrata Roy who has been in jail for over two years now.

The order came when senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Roy, submitted that the group was finding it increasingly difficult to sell its properties in the current market environment.

Earlier this month, Sebi’s lawyer Arvind Datar had said that selling properties of Sahara group will be a “herculean task” and he cited the example of the recent no-show by bidders at an auction for Vijay Mallya‘s Kingfisher House building.

“What I am worried is that there are several properties worth approximately Rs 40,000 crore. Now we have to go for title scrutiny, we have to get all that done and that is a herculean task,” said Datar, who has been Sebi’s counsel in the long-drawn legal battle with Sahara group.

Congress v/s Congress: Party Gen Secy Narayanasamy slams Jairam Ramesh for his comments against Jallikattu

The decision to allow Jallikattu days before the traditional harvest festival begins, and also bullock cart races in other parts of the country came through a government notification despite strong objections by animal rights groups.

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