Thoughts on economics and liberty

Category: Current Affairs

If you live in the USA join in these rallies against corruption in India

This email that I received today was a bit chaotic but its message is worth disseminating widely. Hence I'm publishing it on this blog.

I'm not sure what mere protesting will achieve (in my view there needs to be clarity regarding next steps – which RTI activists simply don't have), but if you have not yet got involved in FTI – and started preparing for serious change (not just protest),  then at least start getting involved in such basic things.


From: Dharma Sanatana

Date: Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 11:04 PM
Subject: [GHHF & SIFC] Rallies against corruption in India in US cities, DC and NYC on 29th and LA on 30th; Satya Dospati's Video on Corruption
One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. ~ Plato
India now is witnessing not mere corruption, but national plunder.  
–Brahma Challeny, The Hindu, Dec 6, 2010
Dear Friends:
We request all of you to take active part in this monumental movement to free India from the rampant corruption. We your support to participate in rallies being organized in in US, India and around the world on the plunder of India (estimated to be up to 1.3 trillion dollars).  The recent 40 billion dollar 2G scam and 13 billion dollar CVG scam has created uproar in the country with Supreme Court itself calling the ongoing loot as 'plunder'.   What we are talking is not the usual problem of corruption, but the threat to very existence of India as a nation (See Brahma Challaney article in 'The  Hindu' paper as well as other BBC etc articles below).

India Against Corruption ( ) supported by leading activists/experts across the country are holding the massive rallies.  Arvind Kejriwal,  an IIT Alumnus, a winner of Ramon Magsasay award, RTI activist is leading this battle with other activists.   They are withstanding police beatings in their struggle and are fighting for implementation of bills with teeth that will address the issue of corruption effectively.  They are holding rallies around US Cities at about the same time rallies are held in many cities in India.   

VIDEO ON CORRUPTION Prepared by Satya Dosapati

Please spend few minutes on video below and see what is going on: 

Rallies are held at following cities with contact information:

1) Los Angeles Artesia,  
Sunday, Jan 30,  7:30 AM – 10:30 AM,  — Sri Atluri, srihari.a1 AT

2) Washington DC, College Park, University Of Maryland,  
Saturday, Jan 29th,  4 PM – 6PM,  — Somu Kumar, somukumar AT,  703-728-8987

3) New York, Union Square Gandhi Statue,  
Saturday, Jan 29th,  11AM – 1PM,  —  Atul, atultech AT, 1 203 987 4452

What is at stake and why you should participate in the rallies?
While 80% of India's 1.2 billion live in poverty (earning less than 2$ per day) and 10% do not know where they will get next meal on one side,  on the other side it is estimated that 1.5 trillion dollars was stashed away in foreign havens.   If that money brought back to India, every one of 1.2 billion people will get 1 lakh rupees each.   The corruption affects every single person,  it shows in poor infrastructure,  it shows in the money paid for any Government work done, it shows in the lawlessness and Goonda raj.   
It is more worse.  This lack of development is fueling Maoist insurgency that has affected 1/3 rd of the country.   The military purchase kickbacks and shoddy equipment is weakening India's military so much that  India today cannot withstand wars with its neighbors.    Thecountry's mineral wealth worth trillions that belongs to all citizens is looted to the hilt by select few.  Even the donations of devotees (Hindu and Jain) at their worship places is not spared.

All the development being talked about in India is helping only 13-15% of the people, leaving behind a sea of humanity impoverished.  In summary, corruption impoverishing people, stunting development,  causing insurgency and weakening the ability of country to defend itself and eventually will destroy the nation.  

What is the scale of scandals?  Just last few months, the 2G scam worth 1.73 lakh crore rupees (40 billion dollars ) and the CVG (commonwealth games)  scam is 60,000 crore rupees (13 billion dollars).  Every day it is getting more audacious, more ruthless.  According to Transparency International India ranks among worst in corruption, it stands same as impoverished African nations.    

It is time to put a stop to this.  It is time to get the looted funds back.   It is time for India to remove the oppressive barriers to India's genius which until 1700's held 25% of World's GDP.  This genius is suppressed today with a small percentage of ruthlessly corrupt people.    

Satya for Save India From Corruption /
V. V. Prakasa Rao (GHHF) 601-918-7111

BBC Report on India illegal Capital Flow (conservative estimate)

India has lost more than $460bn since Independence because of companies and the rich illegally funnelling their wealth overseas, a new report says.
The illegal flight of capital through tax evasion, crime and corruption had widened inequality in India, it said.
According to the report from US-based group Global Financial Integrity, the illicit outflows of money increased after economic reforms began in 1991.
Many also accuse governments and politicians of corruption in India.
Shadow economy
Global Financial Integrity, which is based in Washington, studies and campaigns against the cross-border flow of illegal money around the world.
It said that the "poor state of governance" had been reflected in a growing underground economy in India since Independence in 1947.
Global Financial Integrity director Raymond Baker said the report "puts into stark terms the financial cost of tax evasion, corruption, and other illicit financial practices in India".
Some the main findings of the report are:
  • India lost a total of $462bn in illegal capital flows between 1948, a year after Independence, and 2008.
  • The flows are more than twice India's external debt of $230bn.
  • Total capital flight out of India represents some 16.6% of its GDP.
  • Some 68% of India's capital loss has happened since the economy opened up in 1991.
  • "High net-worth individuals" and private companies were found to be primary drivers of illegal capital flows.
  • The share of money Indian companies moved from developed country banks to "offshore financial centres" (OFCs) increased from 36.4% in 1995 to 54.2% in 2009.
The report's author, Dev Kar, a former International Monetary Fund economist, said that almost three quarters of the illegal money that comprises India's underground economy ends up outside the country.
India's underground economy has been estimated to account for 50% of the country's GDP – $640bn at the end of 2008.
Mr Kar used a World Bank model to calculate India's missing billions.
He compared India's recorded sources of funds, such as foreign direct investment and borrowing, and its recorded use of funds, like foreign currency reserves and deficit financing.
Illegal outflows are considered to exist when funds recorded exceed those used. India's exports and imports over the past six decades were also taken into account.
Adjusted for inflation, that all added up to $213bn missing since 1948. Taking estimated investment returns into account, Mr Kar calculated that was worth $462bn in today's money.
The figure could be much more, he warned, as it did not include smuggling and cash transfers outside the financial system.
Indo Asian News Service,  1.76 Lakh crores (40 billions dollars) loss in recent 2G scam
  • Raja ignored PM advice on 2G, cost Rs.1.76 lakh crore: Auditor
posted 2 mnths ago – by sulekha news | 24 Views | View Source: Indo Asian News Service
New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) In the most serious indictment on the 2G-spectrum scam, India's official auditor Tuesday said former communications minister A. Raja even ignored Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's advice and allotted radio frequency to new telecom players at low prices, resulting in a huge revenue loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore (nearly $40 billion). 
In a 96-page report, including annexures tabled in parliament, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said the presumptive loss to the exchequer through spectrum allocation to 122 licencees and 35 dual technology licences in 2007-08 was Rs.1,76,645 crore.
'The entire process of spectrum allocation was undertaken in an arbitrary manner,' said the report, adding the loss was arrived at on the basis of the 3G auction earlier this year that fetched the government Rs.67,500 crore (around $15 billion).
The report was tabled in the Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Finance S.S. Palanimanickam, who belongs to Raja's party DMK. In the Rajya Sabha, it was tabled by his colleague Minister of State for Finance Namo Narayan Meena.
The audit report, also sought to give a clean chit to the ministries of finance and law and justice — as also the Prime Minister's Office — saying the telecom minister had brushed aside their advice as well.
'The entire process of allocation of unified access service licences lacked transparency and was undertaken in an arbitrary, unfair and inequitable manner,' said the damning report that was brushed aside later by Raja, who continued to say he had done no wrong.
'The prime minister had stressed on the need for a fair and transparent allocation of spectrum, and the ministry of finance had sought for the decision regarding spectrum pricing to be considered by an empowered group of ministers,' said the report.
'Brushing aside their concerns and advices, the Department of Telecommunications in 2008 proceeded to issue 122 new licences for 2G spectrum at 2001 prices, by flouting every cannon of financial propriety, rules and procedures.'
At a press conference later, when Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General Lekha Gupta was asked on what basis the various ministries, the prime minister and the federal cabinet as a whole were absolved, she said there was no such attempt.
'We have not given a clean chit to anybody. We have only based our report on the basis of documents at our disposal,' Gupta said, adding even the cut-off date for receipt of applications was advanced arbitrarily.
Raja, who resigned Sunday in the wake of the controversy, said the government's stand was spelt out in an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, which was hearing the matter, and that he could not comment any further as the case was sub judice.
'Let the law take its course. I have put up my defence before the Supreme Court. My conscience is clear,' he said, adding: 'I did everything according to the recommendations by the telecom regulator.'
After adamantly refusing to resign, Raja quit the cabinet late Sunday night over the 2G spectrum controversy, ending an opposition-Congress standoff that, however, continues to paralyse parliament.
Even two days after Raja's resignation, the opposition continued to demand a probe by a joint parliamentary committee, resulting in the adjournment of both houses of parliament Monday and on several occassions a day later.
The government, so far, has rejected the opposition demand.
Perils of becoming a republic of scandals
India now is witnessing not mere corruption but national plunder.
Brahma Chellaney
The Hindu India’s situation is best explained by an ancient proverb, “A fish rots from the head down.” When the head is putrid, the body politic cannot be healthy. And when those at the helm remain wedded to grand corruption, clerks or traffic police cannot be singled out for taking small bribes.
Corruption, No. 1 national security threat, is eating into the vitals of the state, enfeebling internal security and crimping foreign policy.
India confronts several pressing national security threats. But only one of them – political corruption – poses an existential threat to the state, which in reality has degenerated into a republic of mega-scandals. The pervasive misuse of public office for private gain is an evil, eating into the vitals of the state, sapping India’s strength. When important decisions, from arms procurement to policy changes, are often tainted by corrupt considerations, it is inevitable that national security will get compromised. If India today is widely seen as a soft state, much of the blame must be pinned on the corrupt and the compromised that lead it. Such ‘softening’ of India has made the country a tempting target for those seeking to undermine its security.
India’s situation is best explained by an ancient proverb, “A fish rots from the head down.” When the head is putrid, the body politic cannot be healthy. And when those at the helm remain wedded to grand corruption, clerks or traffic police cannot be singled out for taking small bribes. In fact, it is the self-perpetuating cycle of corruption at all government levels – federal, State and local – that has turned internal security into India’s Achilles heel. As the then Chief Justice of India pointed out last year, the plastic explosives employed in the deadly 1993 Mumbai bombings had been smuggled into the country due to local corrupt practices.
But it is the institutionalised corruption in high office that is eviscerating the republic. When domestic policy is seriously stained by corruption, foreign policy can hardly be dynamic and proactive.
Such is the weakening of the state that India did a better job warding off regional security threats when it was economically weak – like during Indira Gandhi’s reign – than it is able to do today, despite nearly two decades of impressive GDP growth. Economic liberalisation, paradoxically, has whetted personal greed and brought in an era of big-bucks corruption, even as a system of arbitrary environmental stoppages and clearances has taken the place of the old “licence-permit raj.”
India now is witnessing not mere corruption but national plunder. The consequence is that it is getting feebler institutionally. Yet scandals remain so recurrent that public ire over any malfeasance is short-lived.
Indeed, one strategy often employed to ease public anger over revelations of a new mega-scandal is to start targeting second-tier corruption selectively. The misuse of government agencies remains rampant.
Corruption scandals now actually resemble television soaps, with engrossing but diversionary plots. To deflect public attention, the focus in the immediate aftermath is always on government processes related to probing a scandal, not on opening judicial paths to identify the real beneficiaries and quickly recover the loot. The latest scandal over the government’s allotment of second-generation telecom spectrum in 2008 falls in the same category, although the putative loss to the national treasury has been estimated at $39 billion, or 14.3 per cent of India’s total current external debt. The sheer scale of this kickback scandal indicates that multiple political interests must have had a hand in the till. If there is any good news, it is the belated appointment of a clean professional as Telecom Minister.
Make no mistake: The spiriting away of billions of dollars to international financial safe havens constitutes more than criminal wrongdoing. When economic contracts are signed or policy decisions taken so as to net handsome kickbacks, it constitutes a flagrant assault on the national interest. India ranks among the top countries whose stolen national wealth is stashed away in Swiss bank accounts. Yet no Indian politician has ever been convicted and hanged for waging such war on the state.
Let’s be clear: Corruption stalls development, undermines social progress, undercuts the confidence of citizens in the fairness and impartiality of public administration, impedes good governance, erodes the rule of law, distorts competitive conditions in business transactions, discourages domestic and foreign investment, fosters a black market economy, and raises new security threats. In sum, corruption obstructs a country from realising its goals and undercuts national security.
The cancer of corruption in India has alarmingly spread to elements within the two institutions that are central to the country’s future – the judiciary and the armed forces. Recent revelations have highlighted the deep corporate penetration of the major political parties and the manner big business influences policymaking and media coverage. The rot in the media – the nation’s supposed watchdog – stands exposed. In fact, even the integrity of the national Padma awards has been badly vitiated.
But nothing illustrates the corrosive effects of the culture of corruption better than the palpable decay of state capacity. India’s economic dynamism is rooted in its private sector-led growth. But in stark contrast to China, India does poorly wherever the state is involved. The deterioration of the state is the principal constraint on India’s ability to secure its interests. That underscores the national-security costs of widespread corruption.
Today, a self-advertised “incredible India” has no articulated national security strategy, or a defined defence policy, or a declared counterterrorism doctrine, yet it is the only large country dependent on other powers to meet basic defence needs. Instead of seeking to build a first-rate military with strategic reach and an independent deterrent, India has allowed itself to become a money-spinning dumping ground for weapons it can do without. As a result, India has emerged as the world’s top arms importer in the past decade, even as its capacity to decisively win a war erodes.
The defence of India indeed has turned into an unending scandal. Even indictments by the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) have made little difference to the manner arms continue to be procured from overseas. Such imports, often clinched without transparency or open bidding, are a major source of political corruption. India shows that the more corrupt a system, the greater will be will be its corrupting power. A corrupt system quickly corrupts those who enter it, fixating them on the lure of kickbacks and on amassing pelf. Such metastasising corruption cannot be controlled simply by public funding of political parties. After all, much of the big-bucks corruption is designed to line one’s pocket, with no seeming limit to personal greed. In fact, the series of scandals during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government – from bribery-influenced arms imports and $1-billion urea contract with Oman to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to the state in allowing private mobile telephone operators to shift from fixed licence fees to revenue sharing – served as a reminder of the growing concentration of powers in a few hands and the consequent disdain for integrated, holistic policymaking.
As in other national security challenges, the principal causes of rampant corruption are leadership deficit and governance deficit. The only way corruption can be contained is through integrity of leadership; improved governance; measures to ensure fiscal transparency; strengthened anti-bribery enforcement; government accountability; and active public involvement. The independence of investigating agencies is a prerequisite for developing an anti-corruption culture in politics and business. Yet in India, these agencies are controlled by those whom they are supposed to keep in check or investigate when a scandal unfolds. Even the vigilance system lacks autonomy and is open to manipulation. With corruption, nepotism and cronyism now endemic, Indian politics has become the safe, fast track to wealth. India freed itself from British colonialism only to come in the grip of an indigenous political class ruling the country on colonial-style principles and still functioning from colonial-era structures. It may take a second war of independence for India to gain true freedom from exploitation and pillage.
(Brahma Chellaney is the author, most recently, of Asian Juggernaut – HarperCollins USA, 2010.)
'Swiss black money can take India to the top'
March 31, 2009 19:41 IST
Indian money stashed in the Swiss Bank has become a focal point of debate, especially after the Leader of Opposition and the Bharatiya Janata Party's [ Images ] prime ministerial candidate L K Advani [ Images ] raised the issue on Sunday. If elected, the BJP has vowed to bring the black money back home. Though the Congress dismissed the idea, the Swiss bank issue is slowly becoming a hot election issue.   
In fact the BJP also plans to carry out a mock election across the country on April 6 where people will have to cast their vote indicating whether India [ Images ]n money in Swiss banks should be brought back to India or not.
During his address, Advani said the BJP will form a task force comprising experts to prepare a strategic document for India to recommend ways to get back the national wealth stashed away illegally by corrupt politicians, businessmen and criminal overlords.
One of the names he mentioned in the task force is Professor R Vaidyanathan, Professor of Finance at the Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru [ Images ].
In this exclusive interview to's Vicky NanjappaVaidyanathan explains in detail the importance of bringing back the ill-gotten wealth and how the money got there in the first place.
Firstly how much Indian money do you think is stashed away in the Swiss Banks?
In 2006, the most recent Global Financial Integrity study, developing countries lost an estimated $858.6 billion (about Rs 43 lakh crore) to $1.06 trillion (abot Rs 51 lakh crore) in illicit financial outflows. Even at the lower end of the range of estimates, the volume of illicit financial flows coming out of developing countries increased at a compound rate of 18.2 percent over the five-year period analysed for the study. On average, for the five-year period of this study, Asia accounts for  approximately 50 percent of overall illicit financial flows from all developing countries.
This report shows that the average amount stashed away from India annually during 2002-06 is $27.3 billion (about 136,466 crore). It means that during the five-year period the amount stashed away is 27.3×5=136.5 billion (about 692,328 crore). It is not that all these amounts went to Swiss banks. It has gone to different tax and secret shelters. The share of Swiss banks in dirty money being a third of the global aggregate, some $45 billion out of the 136.5 billion stashed away from India would have been hoarded in these years in Swiss banks.
The important point is that this is only for five years. More amounts were stashed away during the Nehruvian regime. So the loot for 55 years will be several times higher. In fact, in those days the rupee commanded a better value per dollar. So fewer rupee could get more dollars. So the estimation that the Indian money stashed away may be of the order of $1.4 trillion (about Rs 71 lakh crore).
On what basis have you come to this conclusion?
There is a lot of literature available as to how to estimate the illicit financial flow from developing countries. We find out what the nature of the flow is. I have also relied upon the study Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2002-2006 Global Finanacial Intergrity authored by Dev Kar and Devon-Cartwright Smith, a project of the Ford [ Images ] Foundation. Financial flows in the context of this report includes the proceeds from both illicit activities such as corruption (bribery and embezzlement of national wealth), criminal activity, and the proceeds of ilicit business that become illicit when transported across borders in contravention of applicable laws and regulatory frameworks (most commonly in order to evade taxes).
Which are the various tax havens, where the ill-gotten wealth of Indian businessmen and politicians are stashed?
There are presumably more than 70 tax havens in the world. Indian wealth could be more in Switzerland [ Images ] and various British /US islands. At least 40 countries market themselves aggressively as tax havens [Source: Internal Revenue Service USA on Abusive Off-shore Tax Avoidance schemes Talking Points Jan 2008]. The well-known tax havens are Switzerland/ Liechtenstein/Luxemburg/ Channel Islands etc.
Could you elaborate and tell us how the money got there in the first place?
There are several methods/reasons. Under invoicing/over invoicing of exports and imports and getting the balance stored abroad. Kickbacks from major defense/civilian contracts. Not bringing the earnings abroad. In the old days smuggling of gold and illegal money. Transactions done abroad and not reported here. Hawala funds. Funds earned by artists/ entertainment industry /sports people and stashed abroad. When you want to indulge in adharma, hundreds of ways are open!
We would like to know the terror connection. Do you think even terrorists are stashing away cash and using the tax haven route to send across money all over the world, to finance their activities?
M K Narayanan, our National Security Advisor, has spoken about it in Berlin recently.
Advani says that it is important to bring this money back. How can the government go about it and what are the various ways in which India can get its money back?
Put it on the Global Agenda. Put it in G-20. Put it in the International Monetary Fund. Put it in Egmont Group. Also take a lead among all developing countries. Support US /German/French efforts.
If India decides to take the initiative, will the Swiss authorities cooperate?
It is not due to our pressure but that of US which will make them co-operate. When a family is in deep financial crisis then it tries to look at the small amount saved under the sugar jar by grandma. Same way developed economies are desperate for every dollar. Even if we do not act due to their efforts the list of crooks may be out, then we will be in a dangerous social situation since the who's who of India will be there. Instead we should get it and get the funds and decide on the steps to sterilise it. Otherwise, the world will laugh at us.
Politicians sure must be having a lot of money in Swiss Banks. Do you think this factor will deter the government from acting?
Public pressure will make them do it. Plus, the evolving global situation against tax havens. The money belongs to the poor farmers and unorganised workers of India. Also, Indian businessmen have a lot of their ill-gotten gains in these banks. The world situation is such that Indian businessman will want to bring it back now given the attractive returns in India.
Do you think that the Indian government should demand all the Indian black money in Swiss banks?
Of course. India should and must act. We are not a banana republic.
You wrote in your column that the German foreign intelligence agency BND got names of 1,400 clients of the Liechtenstein-based LTG bank who were supposed to be suspected tax evaders. Of the 1,400, 600 were supposed to be Germans. Do you think of the remaining there will be Indians as well? Has the Indian government approached the German government for the list?
Indian names will be there. Our tax evaders and crooks are like the omnipresent Maha Vishnu [ Images] — present in all continents and all tax havens. But our government has been lukewarm in this issue. It should have despatched immediately senior officials to get the names.
Isn't it important to tackle the issue of domestic black money?
It is definitely important. At least the domestic black money is used in our economy and to that extent it is productive. But the money kept in Swiss banks is neither useful to India nor does it benefit Indians.
What role should the media play?
The media has a very important role to play. At the moment it seems like most part of the media is more interested in the diet of an actress. Pressure by the media needs to be built up on this issue and remember that a lot of Indians don't just go to Switzerland to ski.
What about the names of these persons?
India must try and get the names. But more importantly should get the money back. It should be top on the agenda and India ought to take a moral lead in this issue.
Will the Indian economy improve if the money is brought back?
It will do phenomenally. India will be in the top five league if all the ill-gotten money is brought back. It will change the Indian scenario and I have been saying this since 1993.
Do you think that these people will now try and pull out the money since this issue has become a hot topic?
I don't think so. If they do then India should create an instrument and regulate frameworks to bring the money back.
What kind of punishment do you suggest for these persons?
Punishment is not the issue now. There is a need to create fear in them and follow what the international community does on this issue.
Lastly do you think this is becoming just another election issue?
The US and Germany [ Images ] took the lead and there is no election there. We should not treat this as an election issue. We have to take up this matter and if we don't then we will become a laughing stock of the entire world.
Vicky Nanjappa 
India, Republic Of Scams
The latest issue of India Today (January 3, 2010) carries an interesting cartoon by Ravi Shankar with an amount boldly inscribed at the top : Rs.176, followed by eleven zeroes. The main cartoon shows Dr. Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi declaring “We have ZERO tolerance for corruption!” and some minions of theirs declaring “We can tolerate many more zeros….”
The total scam money lost by the Bhaaratiya government treasury is approximate 73 Lakh Crore and could be more during the last two decades. Here is glimpse of some major scams of this period.
Republic Of Scams
Total Scam Money (approx) Since 1992:  
Rs. 73000000000000 Cr.  (73 Lakh Crore)
Hard to digest ? 
Just check the below given details
1992 –Harshad Mehta securities scam Rs 5,000 cr

1994 –Sugar import scam Rs 650 cr

1995 –Preferential allotment scam Rs 5,000 cr
Yugoslav Dinar scam Rs 400 cr
Meghalaya Forest scam Rs 300 cr

1996: –Fertiliser import scam Rs 1,300 cr
Urea scam Rs 133 cr
Bihar fodder scam Rs 950 cr

1997 –Sukh Ram telecom scam Rs 1,500 cr
SNC Lavalin power project scam Rs 374 cr
Bihar land scandal Rs 400 cr
C.R. Bhansali stock scam Rs 1,200 cr

1998 –
Teak plantation swindle Rs 8,000 cr

2001 –UTI scam Rs 4,800 cr
Dinesh Dalmia stock scam Rs 595 cr
Ketan Parekh securities scam Rs 1,250 cr

2002 –Sanjay Agarwal Home Trade scam Rs 600 cr

2003 –
Telgi stamp paper scam Rs 172 cr

2005 –
IPO-Demat scam Rs 146 cr
Bihar flood relief scam Rs 17 cr
Scorpene submarine scam Rs 18,978 cr
2006 –Punjab's City Centre project scam Rs 1,500 cr,
Taj Corridor scam Rs 175 cr

2008 –Pune billionaire Hassan Ali Khan tax default Rs 50,000 cr
The Satyam scam Rs 10,000 cr
Army ration pilferage scam Rs 5,000 cr
The 2-G spectrum swindle Rs 60,000 cr
State Bank of Saurashtra scam Rs 95 cr
Illegal monies in Swiss banks, as estimated in 2008 Rs 71,00,000 cr

2009: –The Jharkhand medical equipment scam Rs 130 cr
Rice export scam Rs 2,500 cr
Orissa mine scam Rs 7,000 cr
Madhu Koda mining scam Rs 4,000 cr"

SC refuses to quash PIL against Mayawati in Taj corridor scam
Orissa mine scam could be worth more than Rs 14k cr 

CORRUPTION, MONEY LAUNDERING SCAM, Koda discharged from hospital, arrest imminent

'A Cover-Up Operation': 
"It's a scam involving close to Rs 60,000 crores"
Spectrum scam: How govt lost Rs 60,000 crore

 India's biggest scams 1, Ramalinga Raju, Rs. 50.4 billion
India's biggest scams 2, Harshad Mehta, Rs. 40 billion
India's biggest scams 3, Ketan Parekh, Rs. 10 billion
India's biggest scams 4, C R Bhansali, Rs. 12 billion
India's biggest scams 5, Cobbler scam
India's biggest scams 6, IPO Scam
India's biggest scams 7, Dinesh Dalmia, Rs. 5.95 billion
India's biggest scams 8, Abdul Karim Telgi, Rs. 1.71 billion
India's biggest scams 9, Virendra Rastogi, Rs. 430 million
India's biggest scams 10, The UTI Scam, Rs. 320 million
India's biggest scams 11, Uday Goyal, Rs. 2.1 billion
India's biggest scams 12, Sanjay Agarwal, Rs. 6 billion
India's biggest scams 13, Dinesh Singhania, Rs. 1.2 billion
1, Jeep Purchase (1948) :– Free India's corruption graph begins. V. K. Krishna Menon, then the Indian high commissioner to Britain, bypassed protocol to sign a deal worth Rs 80 lakh with a foreign firm for the purchase of army jeeps. The case was closed in 1955 and soon after Menon joined the Nehru cabinet.

2, Cycle Imports (1951) :- S.A. Venkataraman, then the secretary, ministry of commerce and industry, was jailed for accepting a bribe in lieuof granting a cycle import quota to a company.

3, BHU Funds (1956) :- In one of the first instances of corruption in educational institutions, Benaras Hindu University officials were accusedof misappropriation of funds worth Rs 50 lakh.

4, MUNDHRA SCANDAL (1957):- It was the media that first hinted there might be a scam involving the sale of shares to LIC, Feroz Gandhi sources the confidential correspondence between the then Finance Minister T.T. Krishnamachari and his principal finance secretary, and raised a question in Parliament on the sale of 'fraudulent' shares to LIC by a Calcutta-based Marwari businessman named Haridas Mundhra. The then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, set up a one-man commission headed by Justice M.C.Chagla to investigate the matter when it becomes evident that there was a prima facie case. Chagla concluded that Mundhra had sold fictitious shares to LIC, thereby defrauding the insurance behemoth to the tune of Rs. 1.25 crore. Mundhra was sentenced to 22 years in prison. The scam also forced the resignation ofT.T.Krishnamachari.

6, Teja Loans (1960):- Shipping magnate Jayant Dharma Teja took loans worth Rs 22 crore to establish the Jayanti Shipping Company. In 1960, the authorities discovered that he was actually siphoning off money to his own account, after which Teja fled the country.

7, Kairon Scam (1963):- Pratap Singh Kairon became the first Indian chief minister to be accused of abusing his power for his own benefit and that of his sons and relatives. He quit a year later.

8, Patnaik's Own Goal (1965) :- Orissa Chief Minister Biju Patnaik was forced to resign after it was discovered that he had favoured his privately-held company Kalinga Tubes in awarding a government contract.

9, Maruti Scandal (1974) :- Well before the company was set up, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's name came up in the first Maruti scandal, where her son Sanjay Gandhi was favoured with a license to make passenger cars.

10, Solanki Exposé (1992) :- At the World Economic Forum, Madhavsinh Solanki, then the external affairs minister, slipped a letter to his Swiss counterpart asking their government to stop the probe into the Bofors kickbacks. Solanki resigned when India Today broke the story.

11, Kuo Oil Deal (1976):- The Indian Oil Corporation signed an Rs 2.2-crore oil contract with a non-existent firm in Hong Kong and a kickback was given. The petroleum and chemicals minister was directed to make the purchase.

12, Antulay Trust (1981) :- With the exposure of this scandal concerning A.R. Antulay, then the chief minister of Maharashtra, The Indian Express was reborn. Antulay had garnered Rs 30 crore from businesses dependent on state resources like cement and kept the money in a private trust.

13, HDW Commissions (1987) :- HDW, the German submarine maker, was blacklisted after allegations that commissions worth Rs 20 crore had been paid. In 2005, the case was finally closed, in HDW's favour.

14, Bofors Pay-Off (1987) :- A Swedish firm was accused of paying Rs 64 crore to Indian bigwigs, including Rajiv Gandhi, then the prime minister, to secure the purchase of the Bofors gun.

15, St Kitts Forgery (1989) :- An attempt was made to sully V.P. Singh's Mr Clean image by forging documents to allege that he was a beneficiaryof his son Ajeya Singh's account in the First Trust Corp. at St Kitts, with a deposit of $21 million.

16, Airbus Scandal (1990) :- Indian Airlines's (IA) signing of the Rs 2,000-crore deal with Airbus instead of Boeing caused a furore following the crash of an A-320. New planes were grounded, causing IA a weekly lossof Rs 2.5 crore.

17, Securities Scam (1992) :- Harshad Mehta manipulated banks to siphon off money and invested the funds in the stock market, leading to a crash. The loss: Rs 5,000 crore.

18, Indian Bank Rip-off (1992) :- Aided by M. Gopalakrishnan, then the chairman of the Indian Bank, borrowers-mostly small corporates and exporters from the south-were lent a total of over Rs 1,300 crore, which they never paid back.

19, Sugar Import (1994) :- As food minister, Kalpnath Rai presided over the import of sugar at a price higher than that of the market, causing a lossof Rs 650 crore to the exchequer. He resigned following the allegations.

20, MS SHOES SCAM (1994) :- Anyone who war old enough in 1994 to read will remember the advertisements- tens of them intriguingly headlined: 'Who is Pawan Sachdeva?' For the record, it was the peak of the public issued-led advertising boom and the ads were created by the Delhi branchof Rediffusion. Sachdeva, the promoter of MS Shoes, allegedly used company funds to buy shares (of his own company) and rig prices, prior to a public issue. He is alleged to have colluded with officials in the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and SBI Caps, which lead-managed the issue, to dupe the public into investing in his Rs. 699-crore public-***-rights issue. Sachdeva was later acquitted

21, JMM Bribes (1995) :- Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Shailendra Mahato testified that he and three party members received bribes of Rs 30 lakh to bail out the P.V. Narasimha Rao government in the 1993 no-confidence motion.

22, In a Pickle (1996) :- Pickle baron Lakhubhai Pathak raised a stink when he accused former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and godman Chandraswami of accepting a bribe of Rs 10 lakh from him for securing a paper pulp contract.

23, Telecom Scam (1996) :- Former minister of state for communication Sukh Ram was accused of causing a loss of Rs 1.6 crore to the exchequer by favouring a Hyderabad- based private firm in the purchaseof telecom equipment. He, along with two others, was convicted in 2002.

24, Fodder Scam (1996) :- The accountant general's concerns about the withdrawal of excess funds by Bihar's animal husbandry department unveiled a Rs 950-crore scam involving Lalu Prasad Yadav, then the state chief minister. He resigned a year later.

25, Urea Deal (1996) :- C.S. Ramakrishnan, MD, National Fertiliser, and a group of businessmen close to the P.V. Narasimha Rao regime fleeced the government and took Rs 133 crore from the import of two lakh tonneof urea, which was never delivered.

26, Hawala Diaries (1996) :- The scandal surfaced following CBI raids on hawala operators in Delhi in 1991. But it was S.K. Jain's diaries that had heads rolling.

27, CRB SCAM (1997) :- Another scam forged by greed and discovered through accident. Chain Roop Bhansali, a smart-talking entrepreneur, created a pyramid financial empire based on high-cost financing. At its peak, his Rs. 1,000-crore financial conglomerate had in its ranks a mutual fund, a financial services company into fixed deposits, and a merchant bank. That Bhansali knew how to work the system became evident when he also managed to secure a provisional banking license. Then his luck ran out. An executive in the State Bank of India Inadvertently discovered that some interest warrants issued by Bhansali were not backed by cash. The bubble finally burst in May 1997, but by that time investors had lost over Rs. 1,000 crore. This was among the first retail scams in India and it was played out, in smaller avatars, across the country-especially in the South where financial services companies promised returns in excess of 20 per cent and decamped with the principal. Bhansali was arrested for a few weeks and released later on bail.

28, MEHTA'S SECOND COMING (1998) :- The Big Bull returned to the bourses. This time, he allegedly colluded with the promoters of BPL, Videocon International, and Sterile Industries to rig the share prices ofthese companies. The inevitable collapse happened sooner than planned, Harshad Mehta orchestrated a cover-up operation that included a high=jinks effort by officials of Bombay Stock Exchange to (illegally ) open the trading system in the middle of the night to set things right, but the damage had been done. SEBI finally passed its ruling on the scam in 2001, banning the three companies concerned from tapping the market-BPL, for two years. Mehta was debarred for life form dealing in Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) in October 2001

29, VANISHING COMPANIES SCAM (1998) :- A passing remark heard by then Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram resulted in a furore over what was badly-kept secret on Dalal street. Chidambaram was told that hundreds of companies had disappeared after raising moneys form the public. An informal scrutiny revealed that perhaps over 600 companies were missing. Chidambaram ordered a probe by SEBI. The SEBI probe conducted in May 1998 revealed that while many companies are not traded on the bourses at least 80 companies that had rises Rs.330.78 crore were simply missing. Later that year, the Department of Company Affairs (DCA) was asked to probe and penalize these companies. DCA still investigating. Investigations continue to this day.

30, PLANTATION COMPANIES SCAM (1999) :- It was as innovative a swindle as any effected in the world. Savvy entrepreneurs convinced gullible investors that given the right irrigation and fertilizer inputs, teak, strawberries, and anything else that could be grown, would grow anywhere in the country. The promoters could afford to collect money from investors and not worry about retribution (or returns, for that matter). For, plantation companies fell under the purview of neither SEBI nor Reserve Bank ofIndia. Indeed, they didn't even come under the scope of the Department decided to change things in 1999, enough investors had been gulled: 653 companies, between them, had raised Rs. 2,563 crore from investors. To date, not many investors have got their principals back, just another affirmation of the old saying about money not growing on trees.

31, Match Fixing (2000) :- Mohammed Azharuddin, till then India's cricket captain, was accused of match-fixing. He and Ajay Sharma were banned from playing, while Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar were suspended for five years.

32, KETAN PAREKH SCAM (2001) :- Ketan Parekh's modus operandi wasn't very different from Harshad Mehta's. If Mehta used banker's receipts, then Parekh used pay orders to ramp up the prices of his favourite scrips (the K-10). Apart from money form the banking system Parekh also rerouted money from corporated like HFCL (Rs. 425 crore), and Zee (Rs. 340 crore) to good effect. He was caught when pay-orders issued by Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank bounced. Although the total amount involved in the scam was just Rs. 137 crore, the impact was far greater.

Apparently, when a bear cartel sensed Parekh was in trouble, it stepped in and leveraged a dip in the NASDAQ to bear down stock prices. The resultant slump in the markets happened soon after Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha presented what he considered his best budget ever. Under pressure from the government, SEBI investigated the scam and heads began to roll. Among them: the entire management team of BSE, including its president Anand Rathi, CSFB, First Global, and, in an indirect connection, P.S.Subramanyam, the Chairman of UTL Evidently, for the 18 months that PSS was Chairman of UTI, the Trust had mirrored the actionsof the bull cartel. The result? When the market tanked, so did the NAV ofits holy cow, the US-64.

33, Tehelka Sting (2001) :- Tehelka, an online news portal, used spycams to catch army officers and politicians accepting bribes, in their sting operation called Operation Westend. Investigative journalism turned another corner in the country.

34, Stockmarket Scam (2001) :- The mayhem that wiped off over Rs 1,15,000 crore in the markets in March 2001 was masterminded by the Pentafour bull Ketan Parekh. He was arrested in December 2002 and banned from acccessing the capital market for 14 years.

35, Home Trade Scam (2002) :- Under the pretext of gilt trading, Rs 600 crore was swindled from over 25 cooperative banks in Maharashtra and Gujarat by a Navi Mumbai-based brokerage firm Home Trade. Sanjay Agarwal, CEO of the firm, was arrested in May 2002.

36, Stamp Paper Scam (2003) :- The sheer magnitude of the racket was shocking-it caused a loss of Rs 30,000 crore to the exchequer. Disclosures of the mastermind behind it, Abdul Karim Telgi, implicated top police officers and bureaucrats.

37, Oil-for-Food Scandal (2005) :- K. Natwar Singh was unceremoniously dropped from the Cabinet when his name surfaced in the Volcker Report on the Iraq oil-for-food scam. 

What India Could Do With Rs 73 Lakh Crore?
Build: 2.4 crore primary healthcare centres. Thats at least 3 for every village, at a cost of Rs 30 lakh each.

Build: 24.1 lakh Kendriya Vidyalayas at a cost of Rs 3.02 crore each, with two sections from Class VI to XII.

Construct: 14.6 crore low-cost houses assuming a cost of Rs 5 lakh a unit.
Set up: 2,703 coal-based power plants of 600 MW each. Each costs Rs 2,700 crore.

12 lakh CFL bulbs. Thats enough light for each of Indias 6 lakh villages

Construct: 14.6 lakh km of two-lane highways. Thats a road around Indias perimeter 97 times over.

Clean up:
 50 major rivers for the next 121 years, at Rs 1,200 crore a river every year.

 90 NREGA-style schemes, each worth roughly Rs 81,111 crore.
Announce: 121 more loan waiver schemes. All of them worth Rs 60,000 crore.

Give: Rs 56,000 to every Indian. Even better, give Rs 1.82 lakh to 40 crore Indians living BPL.

Hand out: 60.8 crore Tata Nanos to 60.8 crore people. Or four times as many laptops.

Grow the GDP:
 The scam money is 27% more than our GDP of Rs 53 lakh crore."

The Statesman,  Friday May 7, 2010

Government, Opposition & Corruption
by Rajinder Puri

Hassan Ali and the billions 

The most damaging weakness of India’s political class is its lack of credibility. Regardless of the truth, people at large are convinced that the entire political class is corrupt. The government covers up corruption cases. The opposition dares not pursue them even when those in the government are involved. The Scorpene deal, the Koda mining scam, the Raja Spectrum scam, the IPL scam – the list of unresolved cases that do, or will, gather dust seems endless. The highest leadership in both the government and the opposition lacks public credibility. This is because of the curious inertia displayed by these leaders even after circumstances cloud their reputations. The biggest scam currently on the radar is of course the Hassan Ali Khan Hawala scam.
Corruption has become so widespread and brazen that it is destroying the foundations of the Indian Republic. India can stand on the roof and watch its neighbour’s house in flames. Why doesn't it look below its feet to realize that its own house is burning?
Readers will recall this scribe had earlier drawn attention to the Hassan Ali scamand the government’s brazen cover up to bury the truth. Hassan Al is the owner of a Pune stud farm. He has 10 known illegal Swiss bank accounts, probably more in other tax havens. His money stashed abroad is astronomical. According to the government's statement he owed Rs 50,345 crore to the tax department as on 31 March 2009. According to accountants that sum would have escalated to approximately Rs 100,000 crore by when Budget 2010 was presented. On October 20, 2009 this scribe pointed out how according to Swiss authorities while the Indian government publicly sought help in probing Hassan Ali’s Swiss account, privately it sabotaged the probe by submitting “forged” documents asked for by Switzerland’s Federal Office of Justice. Swiss authorities wanted to help, but Indian authorities withheld proper documentation. Since April 2007 the Indian government has kept mum on the Swiss request for proper documents. 

On March 18 2010 this scribe drew attention to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s statement to the media that the government had recovered the tax dues from Hassan Ali. But the revised estimates for 2009-10 did not accommodate the Rs 100,000 crore due from Hassan Ali in the Budget figures. Further, the existing Income Tax Act was amended to waive impediments for tax defaulters like Hassan Ali to approach the Settlement Commission for resolving tax disputes. If Hassan Ali Khan approaches the Commission it would enable the government to evade sharing information about Hassan Ali’s undisclosed foreign assets with foreign governments as required by the international tax treaties entered into by the government.

Clearly, Finance Minister Mukherjee is covering up the Hassan Ali probe. Why? The answer may have been given in the Maharashtra Assembly. On April 13th a CD showing Hassan Ali was laid on the table of the House by BJP MLA Devendra Phadnavis. The CD contained Ali's statement to police in which he mentioned names of former Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil and Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, Ahmed Patel. In the CD Ali claimed a meeting involving RR Patil and Ahmed Patel at Juhu Centaur Hotel on 11 August 2008 to approve Hasan Gafoor’s name as Mumbai’s police commissioner. Home Minister Patil vehemently denied any association with Ali. "I have never met Ahmed Patel and never spoken to him face to face. The CID will probe if the motive of the CD was to harm Gafoor, me, Ahmed Patel or anybody else", Patil told the assembly.

 The government ordered an inquiry conducted by Additional Director General, Crime Investigative Department (CID) and SP, S. Yadav. The CD was prepared by the use of spy cam by Deputy Police Commissioner Ashok Deshbhratar. Predictably, the politicians named have not been questioned. Their denials have been accepted at face value. Instead the CID charged IPS officer Ashok Deshbhratar who produced the CD with trying to extort money from Hasan Ali! In its 15 page report the CID stated that Hasan Ali’s confession has been selectively edited. The CID had sent the CD to the forensic lab at Chandigarh. Its report said the audio-visual pieces of interrogation were not inter-linked, but joined together in sequence to appear as if they are part of continuous interrogation. Inter-linked or not, the forensic report does not deny that it was Hassan Ali himself speaking the “disjointed” narrative. CID investigations confirmed that one meeting did take place involving Vilasrao Deshmukh and Ahmed Patel at Juhu Centaur on March 15, 2008. But CID comforted itself with the fact it could not have discussed Gafoor’s appointment because by then Gafoor had already been appointed Mumbai Commissioner of Police. Never mind the Police Commissioner’s appointment, how is Hassan Ali’s proximity to Congress politicians including the political secretary of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel, to be explained?

Circumstantial evidence reveals therefore that Hassan Ali, the nation’s biggest money launderer, is protected by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. And Hassan Ali has links with senior Congress politicians including Sonia Gandhi’s trusted political secretary, Ahmed Patel. During his interaction with Ali was Ahmed Patel representing himself or his boss, Sonia Gandhi? If he was representing himself why has Sonia Gandhi not sacked him? If he was representing the Congress President how does Sonia Gandhi explain her party’s links with the nation’s biggest money launderer who is being protected by the Finance Minister? Connect the dots and the picture that emerges is not pretty. Either the Congress is so stupid that it deserves to be removed from power, or it is so corrupt that it deserves to be removed from power. Wittingly or otherwise the BJP until now has served only Hassan Ali’s interests. Publicizing the CD will act as a powerful disincentive for the government to act against Hasan Ali. By not pursuing the matter at the national level the BJP has failed to serve its own interests. Therefore the BJP is either so corrupt that it deserves to perpetually remain out of power. Or it is so stupid that it deserves to perpetually remain out of power.

Corruption has become so widespread and brazen that it is destroying the foundations of the Indian Republic. India can stand on the roof and watch its neighbour’s house in flames. Why doesn't it look below its feet to realize that its own house is burning?

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Wikileaks will not make the world a better or safer place

I get to read The Economist a bit late, about 3-4 weeks after its date of publication, so you'll notice that my comments on some of its articles are delayed. This editorial on Wikileaks (4 December 2010 issue) caught my attention today. It shows why Wikileaks is not a good idea (in its current reckless form and shape). I'm gratified that the The Economist made similar observations to mine. [See my blog posts here, here, and here.] 

Before reproducing the Economist article below – for it is really worth reading – let me re-iterate the fine line involved in relation to Wikileaks: I'm all for whistleblowing. Therefore, so long as Wikileaks sticks to disclosure of crime, corruption or such things, I'm all for it. 

But going beyond that is inappropriate – for then it impinges adversely on the world's security against the enemies of freedom. 

(Cartoon from The Economist, 4 Dec 2010, p.10 – copyright with The Economist)

Read cables and red faces

You don’t have to be Julian Assange, the man behind WikiLeaks, to think that governments have a nasty habit of abusing their powers of secrecy. Or that, whether governments are corrupt and malign or merely negligent and incompetent, then sunlight is often the best disinfectant. One of the jobs of journalism is to make a grubby nuisance of itself by ferreting out the establishment’s half-truths and embarrassments. And one of the jobs of the courts is to police the press by protecting whistle-blowers while also punishing libel and treachery.

But the most recent WikiLeaks dump of diplomatic cables has overturned that order in two ways. First by its sheer volume. When you have not just a handful of documents to release, but more than 250,000 e-mails seemingly touching on every file in the State Department, however dusty, you discredit not just one government official or one policy, but an entire way of going about diplomacy.

It is too soon to know what effect the leak’s revelations will have. The newspapers have so far published the e-mails piecemeal, and a lot more are to come. Foreign-policy experts are right when say they have learned little that is radically new. Revelations about the tireless nightlife of Italy’s ageing prime minister will surprise no one. Given that hundreds of thousands of people had access to the cables, the sensitive stuff will already be in the hands of many a spy service.

But the experts also miss a larger point: they themselves are part of the elite inner-circle that WikiLeaks wants to break open so that Everyman can judge for himself. Perhaps shattering all those taboos might do some good. The public airing of Arab leaders’ fears of an Iranian bomb might shake others’ complacency about the issue.

But any gains will come at a high cost. In a world of WikiLeaks, diplomacy would no longer be possible. The secrecy that WikiLeaks despises is vital to all organisations, including government—and especially in the realm of international relations. Those who pass information to American diplomats, out of self-interest, conviction or goodwill, will be less open now. Some of them, like the Iranian businessman fingered as a friend of America, could face reprisals.

In the past, the rights and wrongs of all this could have been determined by public debate, the passage of some legislation and the courts. Not any longer. The second way in which WikiLeaks has overturned the old order is by being beyond any jurisdiction. America can and will try to use its laws to protect its secrets. But even if it locks up Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old serviceman thought to be behind the leaks, and even if it captures Mr Assange, the information is out, on a network of computers somewhere in cyberspace.

Back to Chinese whispers

In any case, there will be other Mannings and other Assanges. You cannot uninvent the technology for copying a State Department’s worth of cables and carting them pretty much anywhere. The only remedy is to manage secrets better. The damage that America’s diplomatic service has suffered is partly the result of sloppy practices. It has now tightened access to the e-mails and the scope to copy them. Sensitive information will have to receive a higher classification.

On reading diplomats’ dissembling, people may be tempted to sneer. In fact diplomacy’s never-ending private conversation ultimately helps see off war and strife. That conversation will continue. Too many people have too much to gain for it to stop. But it will be less rich, less clear and therefore probably less useful. WikiLeaks claims to want to make the world a better place. It will probably do the reverse.


It would be an exaggeration to say that diplomacy will never be the same again. Self-interest means that countries will still send and receive private messages. Butcommunication will be more difficult. The trading of opinions, insights and favours necessarily requires shadow, not light. Unofficial contacts such as businessmen, journalists, campaigners and other citizens who talk to American diplomats, out of goodwill or self-interest, will think twice about doing so. Being tarred as an American crony can be lethal.

Addendum: WikiLeaks damages free expression by choking private talks

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Kevin Andrews comes out clean in the Haneef case

Kevin Andrews happens to be my representative in the Australian Parliament. I note (details here) that he has come out unharmed by the quasi-legal processes on matters arising from Dr. Muhamed Haneef's abortive arrest in 2007 – an incident that caused significant harm to Australia-India relations at that time. (These relations then worsened further some years later after totally exaggerated reporting in the Indian media about violence against a few Indian students in Melbourne.)

The Haneef case has now been settled. Dr. Haneef now plans return to Australia as a respectable member of the community and practice medicine. I wish him the very best in his career. [read on!]

According to the news report, "The mediation, under former Queensland corruption inquiry chief Tony Fitzgerald QC, resolves all legal matters against the government and its agencies.

"This includes a proposed action against former Howard government minister Kevin Andrews, who cancelled Dr Haneef's work visa, ensuring the Indian-trained doctor's detention continued after a magistrate allowed his release from jail on bail.

"Mr Andrews yesterday issued a statement in which he said: "I have been advised that Dr Haneef has withdrawn his action for defamation against me. I have made no apology. Nor has any compensation been paid in relation to the defamation action.""

The proceedings must have persuaded  Dr. Haneef that Kevin Andrews acted within the bounds of law. Such matters can be quite challenging, and I'm pleased that the matter has been settled amicably. The rule of law does prevail in Australia. There is no place for whimsical action in the governance of this country.

I trust Dr. Haneef will, in his spare moments, become an active ambassador for Australia-India relations.

The stakes against terrorism are high. We must understand that accidents can happen. So long as the accident is rectified, the event must be closed and we must move on to live our lives in quiet enjoyment.


We live not to debate legal niceties and fight over trivialities, but to achieve a peaceful and productive life.

It would be best for this matter to now brought to a close  through enhanced social discourse.

I am happy to host a private dinner in an Indian restaurant in Melbourne (only the dinner, not air fares!) for Muhamed Haneef and Kevin Andrews to bring normalcy to the unfortunate events of the past few years in this case.

It is crucial that India and Australia work together as closely as possible in the coming decades and iron out any misunderstandings that may arise in the long journey ahead.

Such small social gestures can make a BIG difference.

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Google’s Ngram Viewer: The new story teller of history

Two blog posts guided me to this brilliant innovation (this and this). 

I'm picking the diagram below as the clearest depiction so far that socialism is DYING.

The ngram tool is found here. It is essentially a moving history of the proportion of the selected word – out of the total words written in books in the past few hundred years – calculated using Google's massive database of Google Books.

While one would be foolish to imagine that this data represents serious research, since words mean different  things over the course of time to different people – the results below are very promising, nevertheless. The results might be taken to mean that (1) SOCIALISM IS DEAD (or dying!), and (2) LIBERALISM is on the ascendant.

However, this interpretation is perhaps premature. I would suggest that a lot of work lies ahead to fully demolish and bury socialism, particularly when a billion Indians keep voting for socialists every year.


A broadly similar trend on comparing John Locke and Karl Marx:


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