• stumble
  • youtube
  • linkedin

Archives for : February2018

Public health activist and a crusader against sex selection passes away #RIP

Anti-foeticide crusader dies
Manmohan Sharma

Chandigarh, February 23

Manmohan Sharma, a public health activist who campaigned against sex seelction , died today after a long illness.

He was 68.

Sharma, who was the executive director of an NGO, Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), had involved religious organisations in the drive against sex selection . He was also instrumental in getting a ‘hukumnama’ issued by the Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib Jathedar against the menace.

Shamsher Rana, a representative of the VHAI, stated that despite failing health in recent years, Sharma had continued to raise issues of social concern, focusing on health.Sharma had also played a key role in the enactment and implementation of the PNDT (Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques) Act as well as the free supply of medicines to HIV/AIDS patients.

Related posts

Where books teach that gods live inside cows: Inside Bengal’s ‘RSS-inspired’ schools

The Mamata Banerjee government has said shutting down of 125 schools for “deviating” from the state’s curriculum and operating without obtaining ‘no-objection certificate’.


Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
The TMC government ordered closure of 125 ‘RSS schools’ for ‘deviating’ from state’s curriculum.
The TMC government ordered closure of 125 ‘RSS schools’ for ‘deviating’ from state’s curriculum.(Snigdhendu Bhattacharya/HT Photo)

Teachers of Saraswati Shishu Mandir at Balibela in Hoogly district, about 100km northwest of Kolkata, are a worried lot. The school’s silver jubilee celebration in December coincided with the biggest survival threat it has faced – chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s crackdown against “RSS-inspired schools”.

After education minister Partha Chatterjee’s announcement in the assembly Tuesday regarding the shutting down of 125 schools for “deviating” from the state’s curriculum and operating without obtaining ‘no-objection certificate’, teachers at the Balibela school are anxious to find out if their school features on the list.

‘Breeding hatred’

Chatterjee had said that the government has received information about 493 schools that are inspired by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the BJP, and had also remarked that “schools are not the places for wielding sticks”.

“At a public meeting two months ago, MLA Manas Majumdar lambasted us for preaching hate and working towards disturbing communal harmony,” said Bijoy Chandra Roy, a swayamsevak and the school’s headmaster since its inception.

The MLA said that the school was a “facade” for the RSS’ main operational centre for its Arambag subdivision. “Senior RSS pracharaks stay at the school while visiting Arambag. It hosts RSS’s training sessions. Why are they using a school as breeding ground for communal hatred?” he said.

Roy claims teachers from government-sponsored primary schools “have been asked to convince parents to get their children enrolled at government schools”.

District school authorities recently informed Roy that 65 of his 427 students have enrolled in government-run schools.

An inside look

Run by Vidya Bharati Akhil Bharatiya Shiksha Sansthan, the educational wing of the RSS, the school started operating in 1992 in a mud hut with 17 students. It now functions from two two-storeyed buildings named after RSS founder KB Hedgewar and his successor MS Golwalkar.

Eighteen teachers (acharyas) and three non-teaching staff look after 427 students in eight classes: pre-primary sections Arun, Uday and Pravaat, and Classes 1 to 5. Vidya Bharati runs 326 schools in the state, where 65,000 students are taught by 3,200 teachers. Most of the schools are for students up to Class 5 while about half-a-dozen have sanction to hold classes until the 10th standard.

In the morning, the school begins with Saraswati vandana, yoga and moral lessons. Students are allowed to have their tiffin only after chanting the ‘bhojanam mantra’.

Curriculum fix

The state government finds the books on India’s history and culture, titled ‘Bodhamala’, most objectionable. The books speak about Hinduism and place RSS ideologues Hedgewar, Golwalkar and Deendayal Upadhyaya among the “great men” of India since the ancient times. Among other things, Maharshi Kanada is mentioned as “world’s first atomic scientist” and that Afghanistan’s name “came from Sanskrit word Upaganasthan”.

Books claim that eating food before taking bath affects health and that cow is mother “because gods live in her body”.

The importance of the ‘Bodhamala’ books is so high that the teachers are also required to take centrally-conducted tests every year. “We stress equally on curricular and co-curricular activities, aiming at the child’s comprehensive development,” said Anil Kanrar, teacher, Sarada Shishu Mandir at Tantiberia.

Partha Ghosh, Vidya Bharati’s north Bengal in-charge, said government authorities carried out inspection twice in last one year.

“School inspectors were accompanied by the police. The headmasters were asked about the curriculum, whether the RSS funds these schools and gets a portion from the earnings,” Ghosh said.

Ten schools in North Dinajpur district took the legal route last year after receiving the closure notice. The HC in February ruled against the district inspector of schools for acting “on a verbal order” from the education department. “..but we are ready to go to Supreme Court,” the education minister has said.

Related posts

#PNBScam : Govt Wilfully Letting go Wilful Defaulters of Bank Scams

Wilfully Letting go Wilful Defaulters of Bank Scams

New Delhi: A public meeting held here today has accused the Modi government of wilfully letting go wilful defaulters of banks scams.

The public meeting, ‘Crisis in the Banking Sector: Who Stole? Who Pays?’ was organised in the wake of recent spate of fraud unearthed at the Punjab National Bank, which again exposed the crisis and challenges being faced by the public sector banks in general, the poor strategies by government to deal with the rising NPA etc.

Speaking on the occasion CPI(M) leader Nilotpal Basu said that the crisis one is witnessing in the banking sector is a part of the larger crisis the country is facing on multiple fronts. “Corruption today is not moral degeneration but is a systemic loot. It results in huge accumulation and inequity”, he added.

The meeting, which was presided over by Gautam Modi, General Secretary, New Trade Union Initiative and was also addressed by Nilotpal Basu CPI(M); Anupam, Swaraj India; M K Venu, The Wire; Mohan Guruswamy, Policy Analyst; Meera Nangia; Delhi University; and Moumita, AIBOC, among others.

“There are a number of Nirav Modis ad Mallyas committed wilful default but the government is not taking action on them”, M.K. Venu, senior journalist said. “Why do the big corporations who owe 80% of NPAs go scot-free, he added.

While this is the first scam of this scale unearthed so far, it is definitely not the only one. There have been even in the recent past a few such cases, most of which involving big companies with political clout. According to a recent government data, between 2014 and 2017 1,146 cases of fraud cases in PSBs were registered where employees where involved and 568 in private sector banks. The same data also shows that considering that 70 percent of market share is held by the public sector banks, fraud cases are more in the private sector banks compared to their public counterpart.

The public meeting was jointly organised by Act Now for Harmony & Democracy (ANHAD), All India Bank Officer¹s Confederation (AIBOC), Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG), National Alliance of People¹s Movements (NAPM), and New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI).

“India is becoming a nation of defaulters! Why do defaulters get to buy new companies and new deals?” policy analyst Mohan Guruswamy asked. By their overt and covert support to these defaulters, the governments in power send a message to the banks not to act against these defaulters, he added.

Looking at only the scams would be myopic if we do not consider the ‘legal’ loot of public money – the write-offs. Just in 2016 -17 alone public sector banks have written-off Rs.81,683 crore worth of bad loans of which PNB alone had written-off Rs. 9,205 crore. Recent reviews of the banks show huge losses after keeping provisions for bad loans, if this increases further, many public sector banks will plunge into severe loss.

Further so far the recovery rates of the loans in IBC have not been encouraging, in some cases the banks only got six percent of the total loan. At the core of the problem lies in the fact that the larger the loan, lesser the security and collateral. Hence it is easier for the big borrowers to get large loans from the banks, without much risk to them. This cavalier attitude to big business has today plummeted the banking sector into a crisis that it has no way to recover without burdening its depositors.

Instead of letting this slide as yet another scam, what is required is stringent actions on not just the bankers involved but also the borrowers who have caused huge loss of public money. But so far, the attitude and the steps taken by the government and the RBI do not seem to be a step in the right direction.

The government, in its frenzy to implement ease of doing business has been pushing the banks through RBI to take the companies to NCLT and start bankruptcy proceeding.  Just to give one example – Bhushan Power and Steel ltd defaulted on Rs. 37,248 crore and now under IBC Tata Power and JSW Steel ltd have bid Rs. 17,000 crore and Rs. 11,000 crore to buy the Bhushan steel respectively. The Banks will lose over Rs. 20,000 crores of public money and the companies will just shake off their debt without any repercussion. Hence the more companies are taken to NCLT, the more loss for the banks, especially smaller banks unable to provide provisions will go bust, making bank resolution (read FRDI Bill) an inevitable last resort.

Since the government seems unbothered by the loss of public money and in their dire need for capital, the banks have been burdening the public in terms of fine for not keeping minimum balance or charges on bank transactions and withdrawals. When poor farmers and students have been forced and intimidated to take their own life for a few lakhs, we see the likes of Nirav Modi go scot-free.

The meeting demanded that not just the officers who have committed fraud should be punished but also the wilful defaulters. It also urged to change the lending policy of the banks to have more checks and balances when it comes to large scale lending and more importantly end crony capitalism.


Gautam Modi, NTUI – +91-7838383758

Madhuresh Kumar, NAPM – +91-9818905316

Ovais Sultan Khan, ANHAD – +91-9911016957

Sanjeev Kumar, DSG – +91-9958797409

Priya Darshini, CFA: +91 96546 80488

Related posts

Jignesh Mevani – Cops discussing my encounter in Whatsapp chat #WTFnews

Jignesh Mevani said,“This is a serious matter. Two top police people are indicating that I can be killed in an encounter. I am going to file a complaint to the DGP, the home minister and home secretary.”

Jignesh Mevani fears for safety after Whatsapp chat of senior cops goes viralI

In the video, Mevani is seen saying “tara baap ni jagi chey,” (Is it your fathers property) and ‘Lakhota’ to the plain clothed policemen who are trying to detain him. (Source: Express photo by Renuka Puri/File)Vadgam MLA and Dalit activist J


My life is under threat” — this is what Gujarat’s Vadgam Member of Legislative Assembly and Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani has expressed after a conversation on a WhatsApp group called ‘ADR Police and Media’ went viral. Group members constitute many senior police officers from Gujarat and professionals from media. After posting on the ADR group, the two videos are doing rounds on the internet. In the first video, a man looking like a politician was seen being thrashed by the police and in the other video, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath can be clearly seen justifying his government’s stand on recent police encounters in the state.

Ahmedabad’s Rural DSP RB Devdha, who is also a member of the ADR Police and Media Whatsapp group has sent a message which said, “Those who call the police as lakhota and want to be the baap of the police and those who take videos of police should remember that the police will be like this with people like you. We will settle scores. Gujarat Police.” But the DSP Devdha, while talking to a national daily, Indian Express, has denied the charge of wrongdoing and said the message has been misinterpreted because he had only copied and pasted a forwarded message.

This message is followed by a thumbs up emoji by the SP of Ahmedabad rural. “I just copy pasted the messages that were forwarded in another group. It has been wrongly interpreted. It was not a personal message and neither is it a threat. It was just shared from one group to the other,” said RB Devdha, DySP of Ahmedabad rural.

Reacting to viral whatsapp conversation Jignesh Mevani tweeted, “Jignesh Mevani’s encounter? Here is the link to a web portal which exposes a Whatsapp communication where two top cops are discussing how I could be killed in an encounter. Can you believe this?” .

In a telephonic conversation with an The Indian Express reporter, Mevani said,“This is a serious matter. Two top police people are indicating that I can be killed in an encounter. I am going to file a complaint to the DGP, the home minister and home secretary.”

On February 18, a video went viral in which Mevani is seen arguing with the police as he was detained just before he was to start Ahmedabad bandh. The bandh was called in protest of the death of Dalit activist Bhanu Vankar. In the video, Mevani is seen saying “tara baap ni jagichey,” (Is it your fathers property) and ‘Lakhota’ to the plain clothed policemen who are trying to detain him.

Related posts

India – Aruna Reddy creates history to win bronze at Gymnastics World Cup


  1. Reddy scored 13.649
  2. Reddy is a former black belt and Karate trainer
  3. In 2005, Reddy won her first National medal which convinced her to take up the sport

(Image credit: Indian Gymnastics Twitter page)(Image credit: Indian Gymnastics Twitter page)

NEW DELHI: Aruna Budda Reddy became the first Indian gymnast to clinch an individual medal at the Gymnastics World Cup in Melbourne by securing bronze in the women’s vault. Reddy, 22, scored 13.649 to finish behind gold medallist Tjasa Kysslef of Slovania and Emily Whitehead of Australia who took silver. The other Indian woman in contention, Pranati Nayak finished sixth with a score of 13.416.

Reddy is a former black belt and Karate trainer. In 2005, Reddy won her first National medal which convinced her to take up the sport. Reddy finished 14th at the qualification round of the Vault apparatus at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and went one up with a ninth-place finish at the Asian Games. Also, at the 2017 Asian Championships, Aruna finished on 6th position on Vault.

Indian gymnastics was put on the map when Ashish Kumar gave the country its first-ever gymnastics medal by winning a bronze at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Then six years later at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Dipa Karmakar became the first Indian gymnast to qualify for Olympics in 52 years, where she narrolky missed out on a bronze medal.

Related posts

The Talwar Amendment

by- Narayanan Vaghul

R.K. Talwar was a highly respected banker who was the Chairman of State Bank of India from 1959 to 1974. He was removed from his office for his principled stand against an unjust and unethical interference by the Government in the functioning of the Bank.. The government had to amend the laws in the parliament in order to get rid of Talwar, which became well known in banking circles as the “Talwar Amendment.” In this article, a close confidant of Talwar describes the episode, which can be an inspiring example of professional courage to young people.

There was no doubt whatsoever that the Amendment was introduced with a single purpose of removing Talwar from the office of the Chairman, even though the bill was clothed in general terms and included several other provisions which were not quite significant. What did Talwar do to merit this extreme measure?

The problem in one sense was relatively simple and possibly an everyday occurrence in a banker’s life. One of the borrowers of the Bank, a cement company, became sick with mounting losses and approached the Bank for restructuring assistance. The economy was undoubtedly passing through a difficult phase at that time. The 1971 war with Pakistan on the issue of Bangladesh had left many scars and several marginal companies were facing considerable difficulties. The State Bank of India, being the largest Bank was involved with most such enterprises and was always ready and willing to give a helping hand to rescue these companies. What made the problem difficult with respect to this specific company was the strong assessment by the Bank that much of the difficulties of the company were brought about due to gross mismanagement, and given this assessment, the Bank insisted that as a condition precedent to implementing the restructuring package, the Chairman of the company who was also the CEO should step down from the management and a professional management should take over the Company’s management.

This was a standard prescription by the Bank in similar circumstances, and it was invariably resisted by the promoters till they reached a stage when it was difficult for them to carry on without the Bank’s help. In this specific case also the promoter strongly resisted any attempt to dislodge him from the management position but the Bank held its ground.

But then this promoter turned out to be different. He was a friend of Sanjay Gandhi, son of then Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi and decided to take his case directly to him. To Sanjay Gandhi who was grappling with more serious affairs of the country, this turned out to be a minor irritant. He called the Finance Minister and asked him to direct the Bank to waive this requirement. As far as he was concerned he had given his decision and that should have seen the end of the matter. But the problem was the Government was dealing with a different person, Talwar who was not used to taking orders from the Government.

The Finance Minister telephoned Talwar and asked him not to insist on a change in management as a condition precedent to restructuring. Talwar called for the details from the department and having satisfied himself with the merits of the case, informed the Finance Minister that it would be difficult for the Bank to waive the requirement of change in management. The Finance Minister sent for Talwar and told him that he had received instructions from “the highest authority” in the country who expected him to carry out the orders without demur. Talwar stood his ground and told the Finance Minister in no uncertain terms that there was no way for him to waive this requirement and the Bank’s position would remain unchanged. When this was communicated to Sanjay Gandhi, he must have been quite amused. During the period of about a little more than a year since the Emergency was declared, he had never met anybody who either disagreed with him or refused to carry out his orders. He decided to send for Talwar to personally talk to him and was shocked to hear from his intermediaries that Talwar refused to come and see him on the ground that he held no constitutional authority and he was accountable only to the Finance Minister. Sanjay Gandhi’s response was swift and clear. He told the Finance Minister to sack Talwar

But the Finance Minister faced two sets of problems. Talwar, during the seven years he was the Chairman of the Bank, had achieved a high sense of personal reputation and his removal from the office for what could be called a trivial issue would send shock waves in the industry.

The Finance Minister could, however, manage this, because this was a period of emergency and what could have caused a stir in the normal times, would pass off as not unusual in the extraordinary circumstances prevailing in the country. The second problem was much more intractable. When the matter was referred to the Legal department, the Legal department pointed out to the specific provision in the State Bank of India Act which guaranteed the Chairman the special protection against removal without sufficient cause. The Finance Minister, therefore, felt that a better course of action would be to offer Talwar a different assignment or seek his resignation. He sent for Talwar again and told him that the Government was planning to set up a Banking Commission to make recommendations with regard to the restructuring of the functioning of the banking system and whether he would be willing to accept the Chairmanship of the Commission.

Without batting an eyelid, Talwar told the Finance Minister that he would indeed be happy to head the Commission and he could carry out this job simultaneous with his existing assignment as Chairman of State Bank. When the Finance Minister looked somewhat uncomfortable with this suggestion, Talwar very calmly looked the Finance Minister in his eyes and told him “Mr. Minister you seem to be very particular that I should not continue as the Chairman of the State Bank of India, is that correct?” The Finance Minister replied. “Yes Mr. Talwar, you know what the problem is. We all have the highest regard for your abilities but unfortunately you do not seem to be very flexible on this one issue which is of great importance to the highest authority in the country. If you do not want to accept any other position, I may have no option but to seek your resignation or in the alternative, to dismiss you from service. This would be extremely painful to me but I would be left with no other option.” Talwar replied, “Mr. Minister I have no intention of resigning from my position. It is entirely up to you to decide whether you want to dismiss me. In any case, I have just about a little more than a year left in my second term and I see no reason why you should not allow me to complete it.” The Finance Minister looked pained and miserable.

He terminated the interview and hoped that some solution would be found. He reported the matter to Sanjay Gandhi who was infuriated and asked the CBI to investigate Talwar to find out whether there were any grounds on which he could be dismissed in terms of Talwar’s personal reputation for honesty and integrity was quite well known and in the normal course it would have been virtually impossible for any investigating agency to charge him with any misconduct. He, however, had two chinks in his armour. One was his almost monthly visits to Pondicherry which attracted widespread attention both within the Bank and in the political circles. His attachment to the Mother and the Aurobindo Ashram was well known and he made it clear to the Government when this issue once came up for discussion that he needed these visits for what he called “recharging his batteries” and that if as a condition of his employment he were to stop these visits, he would as well step down from the Bank. In any case, this could not be construed as a sufficient cause for his dismissal in terms of the Act. The second one was a little more serious. Talwar had sent appeals on behalf of the Ashram to a large number of industrialists, many of whom were clients of the Bank, seeking donations for the Auroville project. Those of us who were close to him, feared that the Central Investigative Agency could focus on this issue and charge him with abuse of authority. While Talwar himself was completely unperturbed by the reported investigation, we came to know from several sources that the Agency was meeting several industrialists who had given donation to the project with a view to taking from them a statement that they were coerced into giving this donation at the instance of Talwar.

At the end of the investigation, two things became very clear to the Agency. One was that not a single industrialist was willing to say that Talwar either spoke to them or in any way tried to persuade them to make the donation. The second was what all Talwar did was to forward to these clients an appeal signed by Prime Minister, Ms. Gandhi and the Secretary General of the United Nations, U Thant commending the Auroville project for support.

The Agency found that under these circumstances, there was no way in which they could charge Talwar with abuse of his position. While the CBI closed the case, as far as the Finance Minister was concerned, it was back to square one and he faced the unpleasant task of reporting back to his political master his failure to carry out his diktat. Sanjay Gandhi lost his patience. He directed the Finance Minister to amend the State Bank of India Act to provide for a summary dismissal of the Chairman.

The Legislation amending the State Bank of India Act was passed in record time and received the assent of the President without any delay. Armed with the new provision in the Act, the finance Minister summoned Talwar once again and told him that if he did not resign from the service, there was no alternative but to remove him in terms of the new provision. But, Talwar was defiant. He told the Finance Minister that he had no intention of resigning and the Finance Minister could take whatever action he deemed appropriate. On the evening of the 4th of August, 1976 Talwar received a fax message from the Finance Minister sanctioning him 13 months leave and asking him to hand over charge to the Managing Director. It is amazing that with all the powers in their hands, the Government could not summon up enough courage to dismiss Talwar, but instead gave him leave preparatory to retirement for as long as 13 months, which he did not ask for!! This was the respect he commanded in the industry.

Talwar left the Bank promptly ‪at 5.30 p.m.‬ which was his usual time of departure. There was hardly anybody to see him off. Everyone was scared even to be seen to be associated with him. I had by then left the Bank service and joined the National Institute of Bank Management.

The residence of the Chairman of the State Bank was just across the road and as soon as I received intimation that he had reached his home, I walked across to meet him. I found him smiling and cheerful. Extending his hand to greet me on my birthday (which by a curious coincidence happened to be 4th August) he said, “Vaghul, look at the Divine will. What a pleasure it is to be gifted with His blessings.

I did not know what to say. I mumbled something to the effect that the Divine always tested His true bhaktasand every such test would only serve to reinforce the faith. He looked me at my eyes and said “How can you call this a test? As far as I am concerned, I am only an instrument of the Divine and His Will is the only thing that is important to me. If you see this as a suffering, it only shows your ignorance. We cannot sit in judgment over the Divine will.” I then said, “I agree, Sir that we have to accept the Divine Will with humility.” But he was not finished with his lesson. “Where is the question of accepting or not accepting? You have to learn to enjoy all the time the Divine play. The work in the Bank is over. What the Divine has in store for me I do not know. Whatever it is, I will serve the Divine with devotion and always enjoy being His instrument.” I could only think of one example when I looked at him – the picture of Rama when he was told by Kaikeyi that he was not to be crowned as the King but had to go to the forest for 14 years. The Tamil poet Kamban says that when he heard this pronouncement from Kaikeyi, Rama’s face resembled that of a lotus with a full bloom. He was happy to carry out the behest of his father. In the case of Talwar, it was the behest of the Divine. That was the only difference.

_The author is the Former Chairman of ICICI Bank Limited. He is widely recognized in India for his role in pioneering the concept of the Universal Banking Model that laid the foundation for a new era in Indian Banking. He was mentored by Late Mr.. R.K. Talwar during his tenure at State Bank of India and one of the few whom Shri Talwar confided in._

Related posts

Gitanjali Gems was a partner for Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2017

Congress accuses Gujarat police of inaction when Nirav Modi and Choksi duped people of Rs 50 billion

pnb, punjab national bank

The Congress party on Friday alleged the bank fraud involving jewellers and not only syphoned Rs 213 billion from public sector banks, but also cheated India‘s middle class of Rs 50 billion.

Gujarat Congress leader and national spokesperson said owned Limited had floated three jewellery investment schemes — Shagun, Swarna Mangal Labh (SML) and Swarna Mangal Kalash (SMK).

He said under these schemes people seeking to buy jewellery were given an attractive option to earn a return on investment. People needed to pay 11 instalments, while the Gitanjali Group promised to pay the 12th as free. Tenures of these instalments ranged from 12, 24, or 36 months. At the end of this tenure, the accumulated money could be redeemed for jewellery with the added bonus of up to 50 per cent, Gohil said.

“But people were duped into these schemes. In a large number of cases, neither the instalment was paid nor jewellery given or invested amount returned,” Gohil said. A large number of police complaints were filed in Gujarat by way of affidavits in September 2015. The Congress released some of these affidavits.

Another set of complaints were filed against the Gitanjali Group in October 2017. Gohil alleged the Gujarat police didn’t act on the complaints. “The interesting fact here is that the complaints were filed on October 10, 2017.

But the Gujarat police waited until January 25, 2018, by when and Choksi had fled the country along with their families,” Gohil said. The Congress leader said there are several cases across Gujarat against and Choksi, but the state police didn’t act. He termed it “jan dhan loot yojana”.

Gohil said despite these cases against the Gitanjali Group, the Vijay Rupani government of Gujarat projected Gitanjali Group as a “collaborator” for the 2017 Vibrant Gujarat summit of 2017, which was held between January 10 to 13, 2017. The Congress furnished evidence of this.

“Why is the BJP silent on the connections between and Choksi with their leadership. Isn’t it true that Choksi was one of the select few invited at the PM’s inauguration of the gold monetization scheme in 2015?” Gohil asked.

The Congress had earlier released a video clip where the PM can be heard acknowledging Choksi’s presence at the event and addressing him with “great affection” as “hamare Mehul bhai (our brother Mehul)” in his address to the gathering.

was photographed with the PM in Davos. Why is the PM shy of admitting his connections with Choksi and Neerav Modi?” Gohil asked. The Congress leader alleged that Aparna Chudasama, sister-in-law of BJP’s Maharashtra leader and spokesperson Shaina NC, was the head of sales in Nirav Modi’s company.

Gohil said Choksi and Geetanjali Group had showcased designs by at an exhibition in August 2015, where Amruta Fadnavis, wife of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, and Anar Patel, daughter of the then Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel, were present as guests of honour. He said Choksi had advertised the event in newspapers.

Related posts

An Unnamed IAS Officer Levels Serious Allegations Of Corruption Against Big-Four Firm KPMG India

An anonymous letter written by a civil servant, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has levelled serious allegations against the multinational consulting firm KPMG’s India operations. In the letter, which is dated 5 December, a senior bureaucrat—who claims to be a member of the elite Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and holds the post of a director in the union government—accuses the group of exercising influence over key government officials by, among other means, recruiting their children and relatives. It alleges that there is a pattern of influence among senior officers in the central and state governments and top executives in KPMG India. Other allegations stated in the letter include the purported offer of a bribe to a bureaucrat, and the awarding of crucial government contracts to international firms, to the detriment of  domestic industry.

A KPMG spokesperson strongly denied the imputations of impropriety but did not refute particular claims made in the letter.

The unnamed director writes that the letter was intended to bring to the prime minister’s notice “rampant corruption … in collusion with private sector MNC consultants.” The author states that they have withheld their identity “on fear of persecution by fellow bureaucrats.” Reliable sources have confirmed to these reporters the authenticity of the letter, which has been doing the rounds in government circles in recent weeks.

Headquartered in the Netherlands, KPMG is one of the “big four” accounting and financial consultancy networks across the world, along with Ernst & Young, PwC (earlier PricewaterhouseCoopers) and Deloitte, all of which have significant operations in India.

The allegations described in the letter are serious. The director alleges that a senior executive in KPMG India’s government advisory services offered a joint secretary posted in their department a “substantial bribe” in exchange for the award of a large consulting project. The director states that the joint secretary declined the bribe. However, the director adds, the joint secretary chose not to report the matter, allegedly in fear of KPMG’s clout among senior officers of the IAS and the Indian Police Service (IPS) in the central and state governments.

The director details the manner in which such clout in the corridors of power is allegedly achieved. They list a number of jobs held in KPMG by relatives of senior bureaucrats, purportedly in order to curry the officials’ favour. Such jobs are well remunerated—earning close to Rs 40 crore over the course of a professional career, according to the letter—and are akin to a “bribe” of a similar amount, the director states.

The officer has listed the names of nine senior officers whose close relatives hold jobs with KPMG—their names are deliberately being withheld in this report. These include relatives of several former and current top officers in the Ministry of Urban Development, including the son of a former secretary in the ministry who is currently posted in the Ministry of Home Affairs, and who earlier served in a key position in Jharkhand. The nephew of an additional secretary in the same ministry and the son of a former joint secretary are listed as well. Importantly, one of these civil servants currently holds a crucial position in Modi’s flagship Smart Cities mission.

Other relatives named in the letter include the daughter of an IAS officer from the Gujarat cadre who served as a secretary in the home ministry and the sons of: a senior IAS officer belonging to the Rajasthan cadre, a former joint secretary in the home ministry who was formerly the chairman of the Airports Authority of India, a former senior IAS officer from the Andhra Pradesh cadre, a former chief secretary of Telangana, and a former finance secretary to the government of India.

The letter alleges that each of these officers were in key positions when their relatives were hired by KPMG, and that the firm was subsequently awarded large consulting projects by the concerned departments. The urban-development ministry features prominently in the letter—KPMG is executing the ministry’s Swachh Bharat and Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) projects. Other flagship government projects with which KPMG is associated and which are mentioned in the letter include Make in India, the Smart Cities mission, the Startup India initiative, the Bharatmala project for roads and highways, the Sagarmala project for ports and maritime development, and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). The letter alleges that consulting firm is associated with government projects involving a total outlay of over Rs 5,000 crore.

Featuring prominently in the letter are also allegations against the India head of KPMG, Arun Kumar. Prior to his appointment to KPMG, Kumar served as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets and the Director General of the US and Foreign Commercial Service during US president Barack Obama’s second term. The director claims that in his role as the chairman and CEO of KPMG India, Kumar has favoured American firms for contracts in government missions. The letter claims that American firms such as Cisco, IBM, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Honeywell, United Technologies and Otis have bagged equipment contracts under the prime minister’s flagship Smart Cities programme, to the disadvantage of Indian firms and costing India “lacs of jobs.” This, the director alleges, is linked to KPMG India’s involvement with the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), the arm of the US government that works to advance the country’s business and economic interests globally. The USTDA, the director states, has hired KPMG India to work with the US government to “push US firms into the Smart Cities program.” “Hence tenders are coming out with Cisco equipment specifications, making it impossible for competent Indian firms … to compete.”

The director alleges that “[s]uch ability to deeply influence Indian government functioning arises from the fact that many of our senior bureaucrats are compromised as their children work for the US MNC consulting firms.” Further, the letter alleges that the malaise is spread across “the Big Four consulting firms, who have practically infested all our governments.” “A quick investigation will reveal that government projects worth over Rs 300,000 crores are being handled by US consulting firms and that atleast 100 top bureaucrats have their children or relatives working in these consulting firms,” the director alleges.

We reached out to KPMG India regarding the allegations contained in the letter. A spokesperson for the firm rejected the accusations and questioned the motivations of the director, terming the letter “instigated and written with malicious competitive intent.” Though the spokesperson said that the letter is “replete with factual errors,” these were not pointed out. Further, the spokesperson did not deny specific claims contained in the letter—such as the employment of the individuals concerned, or the involvement of KPMG India in the projects mentioned, and the alleged roping-in of US firms into Indian government projects. The full statement sent by the spokesperson reads:

The accusations made in this anonymous letter alleging wrong doing in KPMG’s work for the Government of India are totally baseless. KPMG has worked with the Union and various State Governments over the past years with many diverse stakeholders, and has always conducted its business with utmost transparency and the highest standards of integrity and ethics. KPMG is a best-in-class organization that has been operating for over 25 years in India with a solid, irrefutable track record.

Talent at KPMG is recruited solely on the basis of merit and the organization has robust processes to ensure objectivity and fairness in selection and promotions. To suggest that KPMG associates have been hired on account of their parentage and linking its government work to such hires is an affront to the qualifications and expertise of the employees and to the organisation’s world class credentials. We have examined the insinuations in the letter and find them replete with factual errors apart from being slanderous.

It is unfortunate that the writer has stooped to insinuate motives to the KPMG India Chairman who returned to India after a distinguished career in the US, where he played an important and constructive role in the advancement of India-US relations. His work at KPMG India has no relation, whatsoever, with his prior role in the US Government. His work in India only demonstrates his professional and personal commitment to the growth and development of India, the country of his birth.

KPMG notes these allegations are mischievous and emphatically rejects them. Our guess is that the letter is instigated and written with malicious competitive intent.

A top executive employed in one of the Big Four multinational consultancy firms, reacting to the letter on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the prevalence of corrupt practices in the business of consultancy. He said that “in continuation of the policy of privatization of public resources, it appears that a new cosy relationship has evolved between crony capitalists, government officers and consulting firms.” “Given the fire from the CAG (the Comptroller and Auditor General) faced by government officers in earlier cases of alleged attempts to privatize public resources such as the 2G (second-generation telecommunications spectrum) scam, Coalgate, etc, a convenient mechanism has got formulated, wherein decisions of government officers are now based on ‘neutral’ third party consulting firms, reducing the accountability of the officers and the decisions leading to profiteering by crony capitalists,” the executive said.“The crony capitalists gain, the government officers gain as their children get lucrative employment in the consulting firms and the consulting firms gain as they receive hefty fees from public coffers.”

KPMG is not the only firm that has recently been accused of such impropriety—in early February 2018, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the regulator for the securities market in India, banned the Indian arm of PwC from auditing any firms listed in the country, for the forthcoming two years. SEBI took this action against PwC based on its alleged role in the Satyam scam, in which the computer-services company inflated its earnings by close to $1 billion. SEBI stated in its order that the consulting firm, which was auditing Satyam, failed to “independently check the veracity of the monthly bank statements.” The board said that it felt compelled to take a “stern view of … fraudulent practices, particularly when persons tasked with protecting the interest of investors are themselves hand-in-glove with the main perpetrators of the fraud.”

In the wake of the 2008 global economic crisis, the discourse around wealth inequality and the “revolving door” relationships between major multinational corporations and governments, which foster the maintenance of such inequality, have gained significant prominence. These allegations add to this conversation, and point to a growing familial and caste-community nexus in India that appears to control major levers of governance, public investment and policy, in concert with powerhouse multinationals.

While such a claim—of exercising influence by forming “alliances” with senior government functionaries through the employment of their relatives—may be difficult to prove in court, it is precisely through such ambiguity and the plausible deniability it offers to the concerned officers that the informal networks of power that constitute familial and clan relations can come to capture many of India’s formal institutions of governance.

In conclusion, the anonymous director writes that they are confident that the prime minister will take “swift action” to prevent more “damage” to the country’s interests. The director adds that they are “proud” of Modi, and takes a “pledge” to support his “war against corruption, both from within the government and from private sector.” “I completely believe in your war cry – ‘Na Khayengey, Na Khaneydeyngey’ – ‘I will not be compromised and I will not let others be compromised,’” the director wrote.

The Caravan wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office, enquiring whether any action has been taken on the director’s complaint. At the time this article was published, the PMO was yet to respond. The article shall be updated when a response is received.

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Abir Dasgupta are independent journalists.

An Unnamed IAS Officer Levels Serious Allegations of Corruption Against Big-Four Firm KPMG India

Related posts

NAPM salutes the life and relentless work of Neelabh Mishra for journalistic justice and human rights #RIP

National Alliance of People’s Movements is deeply saddened to know of the untimely demise of our dear friend, veteran journalist and human rights activist, Neelabh Mishra, today in Chennai, after a prolonged battle with liver failure. In so many ways, Neelabh reflected the true spirit of an Indian citizen who believed in, lived and breathed the constitutional values and constantly challenged, through his words, work and wisdom, the narrow confines of ‘nationalistic’, divisive and unjust politics.

As the Chief Editor of National Herald and Navjeevan and subsequently as the Editor of Outlook (Hindi) from 2005, Neelabh worked relentlessly and meticulously to bring forth numerable stories that mattered to the masses and marginalized people of the country. With over three decades of commendable work on a wide range of issues, he groomed and guided an entire generation of journalist-activists. A true feminist and partner of multiple people’s platforms, he was deeply committed to truth, fairness and secular values. A widely-read and well-informed person, with command over many languages and also an equally abiding interest in literature, culture and politics, he carried his wisdom very lightly, with immense humility and responsibility.

With the passing away of Neelabh, the world of journalism and conscientious citizenry has lost a brave, self-effacing comrade who had an unflinching faith in the values of constitutional democracy, justice and equality of all beings.  In the times that we are living in, where sections of the media shrill-mouth only the interests and prejudices of corporates and fascist political forces, Neelabh stood out like a rock and never for once drifted away from the spirit of progressive politics and journalistic ethics of pro-people, secular values.

On behalf of all saathis in NAPM, we extend our most sincere condolences to human rights activist and long time co-traveller, Kavita Srivastava, who has constantly been by Neelabh in the past many months, as he fought bravely against his illness. We will sorely miss him and his brilliance, but re-commit ourselves to the values he cherished and lived, all his life. His work has been and would be a guiding spirit to a generation of young journalists and activists who we know and hope would carry and keep the torch aglow.



Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)

Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), National Campaign for People’s Right to Information and NAPM

Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan, and NAPM, Odisha

P.Chennaiah, Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union-APVVU and National Centre For Labour and NAPM (Andhra Pradesh)

Binayak Sen and Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)

Gabriele Dietrich, Penn UrimayIyakkam, Madurai and NAPM (Tamilnadu)

Geetha Ramakrishnan, Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, (Tamilnadu)

Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party and NAPM, Uttar Pradesh

Sister Celia, Domestic Workers Union, and NAPM, Karnataka

Maj Gen (Retd)S.G.Vombatkere, Mysuru, NAPM, Karnataka

Arundhati Dhuru, Manesh Gupta, NAPM, Uttar Pradesh

Vilayodi Venugopal, CR Neelakandan and Prof.Kusumam NAPM, Kerala

Anand Mazgaonkar andKrishnakant, ParyavaranSuraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat

Ramakrishnam Raju, United Forum for RTI and NAPM (Andhra Pradesh)

Vimal Bhai, MatuJansangathan, NAPM, Uttarakhand

Dayamani Barla, Aadivasi-MoolnivasiAstivtva Raksha Samiti, NAPM Jharkhand

Dr.Sunilam and Adv. Aradhna Bhargava,KisanSangharsh Samiti, and NAPM, Madhya Pradesh

Samar Bagchi andAmitavaMitra, NAPM West Bengal

Suniti SR, SuhasKolhekar, and Prasad Bagwe, NAPM Maharashtra

Basant Kumar Hetamsaria and Ashok Verma, NAPM Jharkhand

Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan

Gautam Bandopadhyay, NAPM, Chhattisgarh

Anjali Bharadwaj, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information and NAPM

KaladasDahariya, RELAA, Chhatisgarh

Meera Sanghamitra, NAPM Telangana-Andhra Pradesh

Bhupender Singh Rawat, Jan SangharshVahini, NAPM, Delhi

Faisal Khan, KhudaiKhidmatgar, NAPM Haryana

J S Walia, NAPM Haryana

Lingraj Azad, Samajwadi Jan Parishad,Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, and NAPM, Odisha

Guruwant Singh, NAPM Punjab

Richa Singh, SangatinKisan Mazdoor Sangathan, NAPM Uttar Pradesh

Arul Doss, NAPM (Tamilnadu)

Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand

Sister Dorothy, NAPM Bihar

Kamayani Swami and Ashish Ranjan, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan, and NAPM Bihar

Mahendra Yadav, Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar

Bilal Khan, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Mumbai and NAPM

Rajendra Ravi, Nanhu Prasad, Madhuresh Kumar, Sunita Rani, Amit Kumar, Himshi Singh, Uma, NAPM, Delhi

Aaquib Zabed Mazumder, Rajesh Serupally, NAPM, Telangana – Andhra Pradesh

Related posts

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights issues notice to Papon

Bollywood celebrities including Raveena Tandon, Gauahar Khan, Farah Khan, Shaan and Sona Mohapatra have reacted to the Papon controversy.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: February 24, 2018 2:40 pm

papon controversy Papon also apologised in a statement which he published on his Facebook account on Friday.

After a video emerged of singer Papon kissing a minor girl inappropriately, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on Friday issued a notice to both singer Papon and the TV channel. “We have seen the video and have gone through the written complaint which came to us from Supreme Court lawyer Runa Bhuyan. We felt this is a provocative case. Necessary legal action will be taken,” the NCPCR official said.

“We are following the legal procedure. We will ask for their version as well and accordingly further action will be taken. We have guidelines on our website which clearly mentions rules for channels using children in their show,” added the official.

Meanwhile, Bollywood celebrities like Raveena Tandon, Gauahar Khan, Farah Khan, Shaan and Sona Mohapatra have reacted to the controversy. Filmmaker and reality TV show judge, Farah said, “I know Papon, he is a good guy. But there is no doubt that when I saw the video, it made me uncomfortable. I don’t think he meant to do it, but if it was my daughter I wouldn’t like it. I think people should not touch other people’s children and should just show affection to their own children.”

Adding to it, the Mai Hoon Na director said, “I think, if you see the girl’s face after it happened, you’ll realise how uncomfortable she was. But like I said, he is not a mad person to do it while the camera was rolling. He must have genuinely not meant it, but it didn’t give me a good feeling.”

Actor Raveena Tandon, last seen in Maatr also expressed her displeasure at the incident. Raveena herself has been a judge of a popular kids reality show. She tweeted, “Disgusting! Shameful!Perverse! This man Papon should be arrested! The girls parents succumbing to pressure! The explanations given are ridiculous! Haven’t felt such anger and shame to see this happen and some on tv debates actually defending the act!”

Disgusting! Shameful!Perverse! This man Papon should be arrested ! The girls parents succumbing to pressure ! The explanations given are ridiculous! Haven’t felt such anger and shame to see this happen and some on tv debates actually defending the act !

Echoing Raveena’s thought came Gauahar Khan’s tweet which read, “Wasn’t smothering a child’s face with your palm rubbing colour all over it for 4 secs enough as fatherly love, that u had to pull the child’s face then to strategically peck her on the lip??? There was no wrong camera angle or the child moving her face mistakenly BTW 🙄😡#papon👎”

Wasn’t smothering a child’s face with your palm rubbing color all over it for 4 secs enough as fatherly love, that u had to pull the child’s face then to strategically peck her on the lip??? There was no wrong camera angle or the child moving her face mistakenly BTW 🙄😡👎

Singer Shaan tweeted in favour of Papon but later deleted his tweet. He wrote, “My stand is on assumption that it was actually a wrong angle and the kiss was not on the lips…” Sona Mohapatra, said she believes Papon was innocent in his intent but the video is not in good taste. “Papon possibly should have been more aware of how this looks to a layman,” she said. “A formality and distance in such a space would have been better…maybe boundaries should be maintained. Still, I think the man is innocent — he just needs to be wiser.”

However, the girl’s father said that Papon is a mentor and a father-figure to his daughter. “What you saw in the video is not intentional. It was just a moment of affection that is being portrayed otherwise. I would request and urge the media to not pursue this further,” he said.

Singer Papon also apologised in a statement which he published on his Facebook account. “I am very painfully conscious of the accusations that have been made against me in the last few days. Anyone who knows me would be aware that I am an extremely affectionate and expressive person. That is the way I have been brought up and that’s how I have always been with people close to me or people I care for. To show affection for an 11-year-old child whom I have been mentoring for a while now is not an alien concept for me,” he wrote.

(with inputs from IANS)

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights issues notice to Papon, Bollywood reacts

Related posts