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Archives for : September2017

Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra’s Foul Play With Shell Companies


Rajya Sabha MP and chairman of Essel Group (parent company of Zee Media Ltd) Subhash Chandra is facing serious allegations of defrauding banks of crores of rupees through shell companies.

The Managing Director of Playschool chain ‘Tree House Education’, Rajesh Bhatia has filed an FIR against Subhash Chandra and four others at Mumbai’s Khar Police Station. Bhatia alleges that Subhash Chandra and his associates, using shell companies, took bank loans and transferred the public money to foster Chandra’s personal businesses.

News World India has accessed a copy of the FIR. The FIR alleges that Subhash Chandra’s company ZEE Learn has committed fraud with the government and the share markets to acquire the playschool chain Tree House.

According to Rajesh Bhatia’s legal counsel Rizwan Merchant, Zee Learn expressed interest in buying 40,000 shares in Tree House and offered to conduct business together. At the same time they illegally used 5 shell companies and tried to take control of the company.

Merchant alleges that Subhash Chandra and his associates have registered several shell companies in Kolkata with fake people as directors. These companies trend circulars in the share market and take large amount of bank loans by showing high turnovers. These companies then transfer the taxpayer’s money granted from banks into other arms of Zee group.


It is alleged in the FIR that Subhash Chandra’s company Zee Limited committed a well-thought-out conspiracy against the Playschool chain Tree House. Zee group officials allegedly registered several shell companies and enlisted them into share market. These shell companies, in order to acquire Tree House Limited, bought their shares on high prices and sold them to others on lower prices. They continued this process over and over to eventually drop the company’s high price shares in the market. After successfully dropping the share price of Tree House in the market, Zee Learn Limited demanded a fresh deal based on new share value and refused to go with the pre decided business deal.

According to the lawyer, Zee Learn had initially showed interest in buying the shares for Rs 84 crores, but used shell companies to devaluate the share price of Tree House. When Tree House MD Rajesh Bhatia objected to these wrongdoings, he was allegedly kidnapped and taken to Marathon Building in Mumbai’s Lower Parel, where he was thrashed by goons.

When Rajesh Bhatia went to complaint against the fraud committed with him, the police allegedly denied registering his case. Rajesh then went to the Magistrate and after the Magistrate’s order a case was registered against Subhash Chandra and 4 of his associated under section 156/3 of Indian Penal Code.

According to Rajesh Bhatia’s legal counsel, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) is also probing the case and several shell companies connected to Subhash Chandra have been identified. Merchant says that Subhash Chandra’s Zee Group is using around 200 shell companies to turn their black money into white.

Subhash Chandra had recently filed a petition in Bombay High Court to annul Rajesh Bhatia’s FIR. Rizwan Merchant claims that this petition is a ploy to hide Subhash Chandra’s real game. He even claims that SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) has all the information on Chandra’s wrongdoings but is not taking any action given his position in the upper house of the Parliament.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is running a nation-wide campaign against black money and corruption. Numerous shell companies turning black money into white are on the Finance Ministry’s radar. Merchant claims that the government has identified over 80,000 shell companies, which also includes some of Subhash Chandra’s companies.

Disclaimer –

As a responsible news media organisation, News World India, has sought response from Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra and Zee Learn on Rajesh Bhatia’s allegations but have not received any response as of now. The responses shall be incorporated if and when they are received.

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What was the real purpose of the Army action inside PoK?

Strikes as odd

Pravin Sawhney

Strikes as odd
The Gamble: There was concern that the strikes may evoke massive retaliation.

Pravin Sawhney

ON September 29 last year, following the unprecedented admission by India that its Special Forces (SF) had conducted “surgical strikes” inside PoK, I had three immediate observations on the operation. One, it was extraordinary to admit operations by the SF and to announce that there “were no plans for further continuation”.


These operations — which are meant to influence the political and war-fighting levels — are never admitted, leaving the enemy guessing about more. Two, SF action is rarely done at tactical level because influencing a battle does not alter war. And three, if the action had indeed been done, retaliation, perhaps a massive one whose escalation could not be controlled, was inevitable.


Given that the Indian military, especially the Army, was not prepared for war, the political leadership appeared to have gambled.When Pakistan denied India’s surgical strikes, I was befuddled. This was completely out of sync with its tit-for-tat strategy to maintain military balance with India.


For example, Pakistan did its nuclear tests to demonstrate “strategic balance” with India; it test-fired its ballistic missiles in the 1990s each time India tested its own; it brought tactical nuclear weapons in the war narrative to counter the Indian Army’s Cold Start doctrine, and so on.My unease about Pakistan’s unexplained reticence was quieted soon. Speaking with the Parliament Committee on External Affairs within weeks of the strikes, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said the strikes were “target specific, limited calibre, counter-terrorist operations across the LoC which the Army had done in the past too, but this is the first time the government has gone public about it”.

Clearly, in connivance with the Army leadership, the Modi government had taken the nation for a ride. It had deliberately confused SF action with counter-terror operations. The two are as different as day and night. While SF action is always done against legitimate military targets (in this case, the Pakistan army) to minimise collateral damages; counter-terror operations are meant to kill the terrorists, who are faceless, nameless, dispensable, and do not influence Pakistan army’s strategy to continue the proxy war.If anything, the counter-terror action — where India undermined its SF by employing them in a specialised commando role — reinforced the General Headquarters, Rawalpindi’s resolve to continue with gusto. This is borne out by government statistics: While 36 Army personnel were killed between January and September last year (this includes the 19 charred in the Uri attack), 69 have died so far since the surgical strikes.This besides, a bigger damage has been done by the Indian Army to itself. In a recently published book (the foreword has been written by Gen Bipin Rawat), the Army has confirmed what ideally should have been the best-kept secret.


According to a chapter in the book, India’s entire leadership was deeply involved in what were a series of tactical operations meant to be executed without fanfare by local brigade commanders with the 15 Corps Commander in Srinagar being in the loop. This included the Prime Minister, Defence Minister, National Security Adviser, the Army Chief and the Vice-Chief. Clearly, the low-level operation was only meant to showcase PM Modi as the macho man.What’s more, according to the book, “a total of 38-40 terrorists and two Pakistan army personnel were killed at the four targets. The three separate teams (each with 19 men) had simultaneously struck four launch pads (temporary camps where terrorists are given final instructions before infiltration) across the LoC.” These details contradict Lt Gen Ranbir Singh’s media briefing of September 29, 2016, that “at least seven launch pads were targeted… And significant casualties have been caused to the terrorists and those who are trying to support them.” Now, killing two Pakistan army personnel cannot be “significant casualties” for the 13-lakh strong Indian Army pitted against the six-lakh Pakistan army!This is not all.

The book tells us why Lt Gen Ranbir Singh betrayed extreme anxiousness at his media briefing by saying that he had informed his Pakistani counterpart (within hours of the operations) about the details of the operations. The worry clearly was about Pakistan army’s scale and scope of retaliation and India’s inability to cope with it should it enlarge into the nightmarish two-front war in whatever fashion.So, the book unintentionally reveals what the Army intended to hide. Instead, it conceals the details of the Indian SF team’s action inside PoK. The Indian Army is chary about dishing out this information without realising that, post-event, the Pakistan army knows it. What it does not know, and always seeks to find out is the state of morale and preparedness of India’s military. The book, by mentioning how the entire Army leadership was nervous about escalation, gives away its level of preparedness.Were any lessons learnt by the Indian Army? None, if the then Northern Army Commander, Lt Gen DS Hooda’s (retd) recent interaction with the media is anything to go by. The surgical strikes, according to him have, “in some ways, shattered the glass ceiling.

The Special Forces have gained tremendous confidence in their ability to execute a complex operation in very hostile territory.” To recall, in the 90s, well before the Indian Army erected the Maginot Line (which represents defensive mindset) in the form of the fence on the LoC in July 2004, regular Army commandos rather than Special Forces, used to regularly breach the so-called glass ceiling. Raids on Pakistani posts, killing of its personnel and vice-versa by surprise attacks and artillery fire were so commonplace that long silence by one side was reason for the other to worry. 


The lessons that we should learn are that only war preparedness and disallowing the political leadership to use military for its own partisan, rather than national objectives, will deter Pakistan and boost the morale of our soldiers.

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Why handling of BHU violence is evocative of Nazi Germany

Sophie Scholl, her brother, Hans, and another close friend of theirs from Munich university were executed for resisting the atrocities


On February 22, 1943, a young petite girl, found her neck on the guillotine in Nazi Germany. All of 21 years of age, Sophie Scholl, her brother, Hans Scholl, and another close friend of theirs from Munich university were executed for resisting the atrocities of the Nazi regime.

They were a part of the non violent and secret White Rose movement that endeavoured to embolden citizens and encourage them to find their voice to overcome fascist forces. They could kill the youngsters but they could not silence their voices that demanded freedom, liberty and peace.

All that the members of the White Rose movement did was print and distribute leaflets imploring the German youth to resist the Nazi government. They appealed to the conscience of the average citizen. The pamphlets didn’t call for citizens to take up arms against the regime and only vaguely asked the youth to stand-up to the government, without planning any concrete conspiracies to oust the Nazi government. It was largely a tiny underground movement led by a small group of idealistic youngsters. In fact, Sophie Scholl, a deeply religious girl, had previously taken part in the League of German Girls, a pseudo-Nazi organization.

And yet, the mighty Nazi government was in jitters. It concluded the trial in four days – they were caught distributing leaflets on February 18, 1943 – and sentenced them to death. The capital punishment was carried out on the same day. It is a trait of authoritarian regimes of any degree that they lack courage and are deeply insecure. It is perhaps to mask their incompetence that they resort to brutally stubbing out any dissenting voices and create a smokescreen by raking up nationalism. Any dissent is not tolerated and immediately dubbed anti-national.

While the situation in India today is nowhere near what it was in Germany, the authoritarian streak of this government cannot be missed. There have been numerous instances where it has acted without compassion. The latest case being its handling of the protests in Banaras Hindu University.

bhu690_093017050400.jpgGirls beaten up in Prime Minister’s constituency may appear feeble, but are the embodiment of Nari Shakti.

Girls, mostly the age of Sophie Scholl, only sought justice from the university authorities which they were denied. Ideally, the university should have taken cognisance of the students’ complaint, investigated the alleged case of harassment and allowed the law to take its own course. However, the authorities shockingly indulged in victim shaming. When the protests escalated, the students, mostly girls were brutally beaten by the police late in the night. Vice-chancellor GC Tripathi brazened out the flak he drew for mishandling the case and even implied that it is a conspiracy by “anti-social” elements to defame the university.

The Prime Minister, who normally is quick to tweet on tragedies across the world, and even wish global leaders when it’s not their birthday, (as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani found out in February 2016), kept mum on the issue, which has become his wont. The chief minister of the state is known to make misogynistic remarks at regular intervals. He not only opposed the women’s reservation bill earlier but also called the discussion on it a waste of time.

The irony is that all this happened during the Navaratri days, when most rightist leaders gave speeches about Nari Shakti, ad nauseam. People questioning the government over the matter were harassed on the social media with the trite allegations of being anti nationals, traitors, anti-Hindu etc. Such insensitivity and insecurity of the ruling government doesn’t augur well for our society.

It displays many traits of an authoritarian regime, where dissent is not tolerated and silenced. There is rampant sexism and a misplaced sense of nationalism. If we keep quiet for too long, the malaise will get deeper and severely cripple our progress as a society. The girls may be young and petite. But they are by no means fickle or feeble. They are the embodiment of Nari Shakti and the government will do well to address their concerns and deliver justice. If the government continues to live in denial, the simmering anger in the youth might become a cause for worry, given that the economy is in shambles due to the myopic policies of the government.

No authoritarian government has ever withstood the test of time. Somewhere in India too, there will rise a Sophie Scholl and a Hans Scholl. The words of the White Rose movement’s first leaflet are worth recalling as they hold true for today’s India too:

Nothing is so unworthy of a civilised nation as allowing itself to be governed without opposition by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to base instinct. It is certain that today every honest German is ashamed of his government. Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes – crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure – reach the light of day?

The Indian citizenry, especially the youth will do well to remember.

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India – Digging into Adani


Digging into Adani: The dubious dealings of India‘s corporate colossus.

“Why would the crime branch want to see us?” Stephen Long, reporter

When Four Corners travelled to India to investigate the activities of the giant Adani group, they soon discovered the power of the company.

While attempting to film and gather information about Adani’s operations, the Four Corners team had their cameras shut down, their footage deleted and were questioned for hours by police.

The team were left in no doubt that their investigations into the Indian company triggered the police action.

For months, Four Corners has been digging into the business practices of the Adani Group. This is the corporate colossus that plans to build Australia‘s biggest mine site.

“I do know about Adani and that means thousands of jobs for regional Queenslanders …” Annastacia Palaszczuk, Qld Premier

The polarising debate around the proposed mine site in Queensland’s Galilee Basin is often pitted as a simplistic jobs versus greenies argument.

But there are influential figures in India who warn that Australians need to know much more about the Adani Group.

“You know, the Australian politicians are obviously not properly briefed by their offices.” Former senior energy official

On Monday Four Corners examines the troubled corporate history of the Adani group in India revealing the findings of government investigations into financial and environment crimes.

“The report found not accidental violations, the report found deliberate violations, wilful violations.” Former Government Minister

The program analyses the Adani Group’s opaque financial operations and investigates the ramifications for their Australian operations.

“What this tells you is that here is a business group that will not stop at anything to maximise its profits.”Economist

This investigation examines whether, in the rush to secure jobs and shore up the mining industry, Australian politicians have failed to properly scrutinise the company that’s now hoping to receive a taxpayer funded loan of up to $1 billion for its project.

“I think the Australian Government ought to do environmental due diligence, which it seems not to have done. It certainly has to do financial due diligence. Both due diligences are required, both for the financial side and from the environmental side.” Indian politician

Digging into Adani, reported by Stephen Long and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 2nd October at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 3rd October at 1.00pm and Wednesday 4th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at

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