Friday, January 13, 2017

NATIONAL CONSUMER COURT IMPOSES RS. 1 LAKH PENALTY AGAINST NEUROSURGEON FOR DELAYING COURT PROCEEDINGS: PBT PRESIDENT ARGUES ON BEHALF OF NEGLIGENCE VICTIM

In a historic and unprecedented order passed against Dr. Alok Khan, an neurosurgeon from Kolkata accused of causing death of a patient from a botched brain surgery, division bench presided by Justice D.K. Jain, president of the National Consumer Forum (NCDRC), has directed Dr. Khan and the nursing home (owned by Dr. Khan) to pay a penalty of Rs. 1 lakh “for their absence before the State Commission as well as for the delay in the complaint attaining finality” (see the NCDRC Judgment below).
Shamali Sikdar, widow of the alleged victim, came to PBT in 2012 seeking help in her quest for justice after her husband died following a botched surgery for a non-malignant brain tumor. Dr. Kunal Saha, PBT president, argued before the State Commission in West Bengal on behalf of the victim while the accused doctor delayed the proceedings for years by not accepting legal notice from the court. The State Commission eventually delivered an ex perte verdict last year awarding Rs. 25.5 lakh (including Rs. 50,000 as legal cost) against Dr. Khan against which the doctor moved the NCDRC. While remanding the case back to the State Commission to give an opportunity to the accused doctor to put up his defense, NCDRC has also directed that the matter must be completed within a period of 6 months. Further, considering PBT’s benevolent attempt to pro bono help for the victim and Dr. Saha’s situation, NCDRC has also directed that the State Commission should consider the fact that Dr. Saha is generally a resident of USA while fixing the hearing dates.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Six Indian States Have Not Convicted Anyone for Corruption in 15 Years, Says Report

India ranks 76th among 168 countries surveyed by Transparency International, which studies how corrupt people think their governments are. The 2015 study used data collected on corruption in the country, which, however, remains poor and unreliable and dependent greatly on the state’s willingness to both maintain and share records.

Despite there being both collusive and coercive corruption at all levels, the data available with the National Crime Records Bureau from 2001 to 2015 shows that the number of cases registered for heinous crimes like murder, robbery and kidnapping actually exceeded the registered cases of corruption.
At a meet on ‘Fact and Fiction: Government’s Efforts to Combat Corruption’ organised by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) in New Delhi, several RTI activists spoke about how despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s repeated assertions of fighting corruption, few serious attempts appear to have been made to root out graft through basic benchmarking and implementation of legislations.
As Venkatesh Nayak of CHRI put it, “The data available with NHRC [National Human Rights Commission] over the years does not indicate the popular perception about corruption.” He said there is neither “certainty of punishment at the end of the process” nor do people feel confident about filing the complaints as a consequence of which “sunvai nahin hote” (there is no proper hearing).
Nayak pointed out that during the last 15 years “corruption cases did not even constitute 1 % of the total number of crimes registered in the country”. He said, “While the Indian Penal Code 1860 lists offences of bribery involving public servants and the offence of bribing voters during elections with prison terms of between three months and three years and, the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 also covers all levels of government across the country except Jammu and Kashmir – which has its own special law against graft in Ranbir Penal code – very little information about the impact of these was available in the public domain in a consolidated manner.”
He said much of the information available now was thanks to the Centre’s initiative of 2012, formulating the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy. The Open Government Data Team of the National Informatics Centre created a digital platform for making these datasets widely available. CHRI was able to analyse to see how the states were penalising individuals who commit corruption-related offences and that they were able to compare incidences of corruption with major offences likes murder, kidnapping and robbery.
However, the analyses threw up several questions about the inadequacy of the data. It was revealed that in the 15 year period, a total of 54,139 cases of corruption were registered in the 29 states and seven union territories. But fewer cases were registered in bigger states like Uttar Pradesh (968) and Bihar (1,179) as against smaller ones like Kerala (2,464), Haryana (2,446) and Himachal Pradesh (1,080). Also, states with a higher population of tribals, despite their tribal-wealth related issues, posted fewer complaints. So while Chhattisgarh reported just 560 cases, Jharkhand was even lower at 509.
Among the northeastern states, Meghalaya reported just 15 cases, Tripura 28 and Manipur 32. But the big surprise was West Bengal which reported only 39 cases of corruption in 15 years. Surely the state which witnessed the Saradha chit fund scam would have had more?
With the number of cases of kidnapping being 11 times more than that of corruption cases and, the cases of murder being ten times more, while robbery was six times more –  it was quite evident that there was gross underreporting of corruption cases. “This comparison seems to indicate a severe lack of public confidence in the ability of the anti-corruption agencies to investigate a complaint of corruption, collect evidence and put the case up for trial,” said Nayak.
The analyses also revealed that trials were completed in only 55.26 % of the registered cases. Haryana topped the list with 86.10%. Meghalaya again lagged behind, not managing to complete trials for any of the 15 cases it had registered. Similarly, none of the 66 cases registered in Arunachal Pradesh had completed trials. Bihar, which registered very few cases, also lagged behind with just 8.82% when it came to completed trials.
When it came to conviction, the national average stood at 35.33% for the cases put up for trial and 18.94% of those in which complaints were registered.
But as former chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah put it, the low conviction rate should not be used to “place too much relevance on the proportion of corruption” for as he put it, “while corruption is endemic in our system, often made up charges are levelled to settle political or bureaucratic vendetta”.
Speaking from personal experience as an IAS officer from Jammu and Kashmir, he said, “There were so many cases in the state which were just used to victimise honest officers.” Incidentally, the data also showed that 90% of those accused were acquitted in Jammu and Kashmir.
But as Nayak said, the malaise runs deep and this was reflected in the fact that despite several cases going to trial, no convictions were reported from West Bengal, Goa, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Meghalaya –and only one case resulted in a conviction in Manipur in the 15 year period.
Anjali Bharadwaj of the Satark Nagrik Sangathan and the National Campaign For People’s Right to Information spoke about how convictions can be secured in cases of corruption. The amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act, which is pending in parliament, is of grave importance. In its absence, she said the whole notion of accountability is being turned on its head. “We do not see any action to bring in any amendment or to operationalise existing legislations to fight graft,” she said.
Even when it came to the Act, she cautioned that those who give bribes should not be victimised as the amended law seeks to punish people for giving bribe. “So if someone gives a bribe to gets his child treated, he or she would become liable for punishment. It is being proposed that if the person voluntarily deposes that he had paid a bribe within a week of doing so, action would not be initiated. But who would actually be able to do so? There is no distinction in the new law between collusive and coercive bribe-giving”.
Her colleague Amrita Johri said Modi has only recently begun urging people to inform the government about black money. But, she said, the government has not acted on implementing the Whistleblowers Protection Act, which was legislated to provide protection to whistleblowers. “Nearly 50-60 people connected to the Vyapam scam died mysteriously and we have not operationalised the Act. Two new amendments were brought to it – through the Whistleblowers Protection (Amendment) Bill – but no one knows the status. The minister [of state in the prime minister’s office, Jitendra Singh] has stated that it was referred to a parliamentary committee, RTI has revealed that it was not true.”
Similarly, the Prevention of Corruption Amendment Bill is pending while the Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Servants Bill, Grievance Redress Bill and National Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, all of which have lapses, need to be revived.
The RTI activists have demanded that key pieces of legislation be restored, operationalised or amended – as the need may be – to ensure that whistleblowers are protected so that the fight against corruption can be strengthened.
Article Courtesy: The Wire
The above is from the mails I receive from "I Paid a Bribe"

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

MEDICAL CORRUPTION: NEW PIL FILED IN APEX COURT FOR REMOVAL OF KETAN DESAI FROM THE POST OF WORLD MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WMA) PRESIDENT

A new writ petition (PIL) is filed in the Supreme Court of India seeking direction to the Medical Council of India (MCI) and Indian government to take steps for immediate removal of disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, from the post of World Medical Association (WMA) president. 

The PIL has also sought stringent disciplinary action against three long-term Desai supporters and senior MCI/IMA members (Dr. Ajay Kumar, Dr. Vinay Aggarwal and Dr. Sudipto Roy) for their blatant lie before the WMA that all charges against Dr. Desai have been withdrawn by the Indian authority that recently prompted the world medical body to reinstate Dr. Desai as WMA president. 

Dr. Desai is still waiting for his criminal trial to begin in the CBI ‘trap” case after he was caught red-handed for taking 2 crore rupees from a private medical college in exchange of granting MCI recognition to admit MBBS students when Desai was still the MCI president in 2010. 

PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, has traveled to India to further this and other medico-legal cases and to promote PBT’s continued battle against medical negligence and healthcare corruption. The new PIL is likely to be listed for hearing after the Supreme Court reopens on January 3.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Online scam: Several duped by cancer-cure 'wonder seed'

HYDERABAD: Cyber crime sleuths of Hyderabad have stumbled upon a new racket of fraudsters luring denizens into buying fake cancer-curing `wonder seed' against money .

Police said cyber criminals are operating from the United Kingdom and some local pharma companies have also fallen prey to the fake suppliers of the magic remedy .

In the latest fraud recorded by sleuths at the Hyderabad cyber crime station on November 15, a manager in private company (victim) lost Rs 25 lakh to fraudsters. At least four such cases have been recorded in the city in recent months, police said. The process starts with either a friend request on facebook or through an email, followed by a call from a woman using a United Kingdom (UK) number, a police official said.

The woman would explain the business in detail and also help with contacts of dealers in Delhi, who can be contacted for finally supplying the wonder seed to them for a cut, little realising that there is nothing wonderful hidden in the seeds.

“These are usually seeds of stray plants which do not have any medicinal value. Seeds of stray plants, that look like almond have been used in most cases, Md. Riyazuddin, cyber crime inspectorCyberabad told TOI.

Afew members of the organized fraudster gangs have dedicated bank accounts for receiving the money from victims.The money once received is distributed among the gang members. “The victims are lured into it by saying that pharma companies in UK purchase the product for 400 dollars per kg, whereas the dealer would offer to the victim for as little as Rs5,000 per kg. It is the newest trick used by organized groups having members across locations. We suspect Nigerian fraudsters are kingpins in this new technique of cyber fraud,“ said P Ravi Kiran, Inspector, cyber crime, Hyderabad.

In another case recorded last month, fraudsters vanis hed with Rs 3cr from a businessman in Tarnaka. The victim committed suicide following the fraud. The case came to light when his son lodged a complaint with the law and order police station. Police warned that there might also be innocent victims buying these `wonder seeds' online for their personal consumption, especially people who have cancer patients at their homes.
Who is a BHAKT?
The Ten Commandments for a Bhakt.

1. Thou shall not criticize the BJP or Modi or the Government.
    Anyone criticizing shall be called "Anti-National" and  be asked to "Go To Pakistan"

2. Thou shalt divert anyone questioning the BJP, Modi or Government to the 60 years of Congress Rule.

3.Thou shalt repeat "Modi!, Modi!, Modi!, anywhere and everywhere like the Pigs in  George Orwell's "Animal Farm" bleating "Four Legs Good - Two legs Bad"

4. Thou shalt praise Demonitization in spite of all the adverse reports in the National and International media and hundreds of people dying all over India.

5. Thou shalt watch only the Modi channels like "India TV", "Zee News", "Aaj Tak" and "ABP News". More channels will be added to the list when they too start praising Modi.

6. Thou shalt not watch Anti-National channels like "NDTV"

7. Thou shalt praise Digital, Less Cash because Modi does so even though Cell connectivity is poor and Internet is either slow or not available.

8. Thou shall forward all social media messages initiated by the Modi Dirty Tricks Department to show carnage done by the minorities to create disharmony and win elections.

9. Thou shalt forward all inflammatory messages of poisonous speeches by the various  political leaders of the BJP.

I have left one of the Commandments blank. 
This will be filled in from inputs sent by our readers.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Modi's Notebandi Drive Hits You Hard. But It DOES NOT Impact This Privileged Group

Political parties are getting away with it.

I am not talking thousands of rupees...

I am talking hundreds of crores...year after year...in anonymous donations.

Much of it in cash, which the parties can deposit in a bank account without scrutiny.

Meanwhile, you and I must give detailed explanations for every deposit we make. Either now, or when the Income Tax officials come calling.

Something is not right. In fact, it's disgusting, the state of affairs.

Here, dear reader, is the full story...

India is in chaos.

Our lives are in chaos.

The future of our once resilient nation is uncertain. Growth and progress can no longer be taken for granted.

Every day brings new announcements about how you and all honest, tax-paying Indians must adhere to draconian new rules and regulations regarding YOUR own money. For the record, a time of writing this, the Reserve Bank of India has come up with 59 orders since November 10, 2016.

Money you worked hard for.

Money you have saved for years.

Money you have set aside for your kids and retirement.

The purpose?

To bleed so-called ‘black money' out of the system.

To your credit, you have borne it all with admirable patience.

You stood in queues for hours every day.

You felt awful as you dipped into your kids' piggy banks to meet contingencies.

You took it on the chin...for ‘nation building'.

That's because Mr Modi's fight against black money, call it demonetization or notebandi, is to catch the big crooks. It's a good fight...and you were just doing your part. After all, the goal is to quash the black economy once and for all.

Right?

Think again...

In the fight against black money, a key beneficiary has been left out...the 1,866 political parties.

Yes, the fight against black money has conveniently side stepped the political parties. They enjoy privileges you and I don't. It's a biased war...and we're fighting it on behalf of often corrupt political entities.

Here's proof...


If it is a deposit in the account of a political party, they are exempt. But if it is deposited in individual’s account, then that information will come into our radar.
- Hasmukh Adhia, Revenue Secretary, Government of India


Yes, this is official policy for the 1,866 political parties...and they don't even try to sugarcoat it.

Why should they? This is the law of the land...Section 13A of the Income Tax Act, 1961, to be precise.

You have to stand in a queue...and prove you are legitimate by showing a PAN Card or some other identification. And if and when the Income Tax sleuths show up, you need to explain every deposit you make in great detail.

The political parties, on the other hand, get a free pass.

After all, they are special...the masters of this country with the power to frame laws such as this...

Political parties are currently not required to publicly disclose contributions of up to Rs 20,000. This means that any political party that receives individual donations of up to Rs 20,000 in cash can deposit it in bank accounts. This money will not be investigated simply because these donations need not be publicly disclosed.

And if you thought that was it...here's a shocking statistic from the report Analysis of Income & Expenditure of National Political Parties for FY- 2014-2015 : 

The BSP claims it hasn't received any donations above Rs 20,000. That's why we can't find any BSP donation details in the public domain. And this has been the party line, so to speak, for ten years now. 

Yet...they get crores year after year.

But it's not just the BSP.

No public information is available on where the BJP got Rs 434.7 crores in 2014-2015, which represents about 50% of the party's total donations.

We also have no idea where the Congress gets 32% of its funding.

We are talking about hundreds of unaccounted crores every year.

No wonder respected people are starting to speak out...


Many political parties are set up with the sole intention of laundering black money.
- Former Chief Election Commissioner, TS Krishna Murthy 


The malaise runs deep.

Yet no one is doing anything about it.

Except for the Election Commission.

The Election Commission of India has proposed that the limit for anonymous donations be reduced from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2,000. 

This is laudable. But it's unlikely to ever be implemented... And even if it is implemented, what stops political parties from showing donations of less than Rs 2,000 and getting away with it, like they currently are.

We need to take matters in our own hands. And do something to set this right...NOW.

I am Vivek Kaul, editor of Vivek Kaul's Diary.

I have dedicated my life to taking up the issues that matter most to you and your future. Even if the issues involve the powers to be.

My only commitment is to you. Period.

That's why I have decided to call on you urgently:

Please add your support to my mission to bring in equality between the politicians and you and me, by demanding an immediate repealing of Section 13A of the Income Tax Act 1961.

We must sound a great cry across India to ensure that every concerned citizen gets behind this move.

It's not complicated. And we can do it very quickly if we create a huge ‘buzz' on the internet with the petition.

All we need is the President of India to set this in motion.

I firmly believe that, with your help, it is possible. Please forward this message to all your friends and ask them to also pass it on. This message – and our petition – could spread like wildfire.

But we must act immediately; it is very important.

This law not only allows anonymous funding of political parties. It is also, at least partially, the cause of many of this country's ails.

But a clean funding process guarantees a better polity.

So please sign this petition to request the President of India to instruct the Government of India to immediately initiate steps to repeal 13A of the Income Tax Act, 1961. 

Then pass this message on to inform your relatives and friends of the mess we are in and encourage them to support the movement.

I will personally send the signed petition to the President of India.

I need 25,000 signatures before the 6th of January to get this moving. Help me make this happen...and thereby bring in much needed change in the way political parties are being funded, and the privileged treatment they enjoy.

Sign this petition now...

Thanks in advance,

Vivek Kaul

Editor, Vivek Kaul 's Diary 


PS: The petition is on the site https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?hl=en&tab=wm#inbox/1592b4aa48905189

As per latest report, Rajnath Singh, the Home Minister in the BJP government, too, has a political party operating from his home address and through whom he is happily taking donations.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Cash chaos as Venezuela stuck in currency limbo



Venezuelans lined up today to deposit 100-unit banknotes before they turned worthless, but replacement bills had yet to arrive, increasing the cash chaos in the country with the world’s highest inflation.
Some frustrated customers received expiring 100-bolivar notes when they withdrew money at ATMs, then immediately had to line up again to re-deposit them.
Venezuelans are stuck in currency limbo after President Nicolas Maduro ordered the 100-bolivar note — the largest denomination, currently worth about three US cents — removed from circulation in 72 hours.
The government announced today that Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and Brazil — closed to fight “mafias” allegedly hoarding the notes — will stay shut three more days.
The deadline was supposed to coincide with the launch of a 500-bolivar bill, the first in a new series of banknotes that will eventually be issued in denominations of up to 20,000 bolivars.
But with the new bills yet to arrive in the capital Caracas by midday, people were left facing economic chaos.
“I don’t get the joke,” office worker Yarelis Carrero said. “When you withdraw cash at the ATMs, they give you 100-bolivar bills. And you can’t get the new ones inside the bank, either.”
She woke up early to get rid of her expiring banknotes only to discover that the bills meant to replace them were nowhere to be found.
Venezuelans will now be able to exchange 100-bolivar bills only at one of the central bank’s two headquarters buildings.
Maduro, who has presided over an unraveling of Venezuela’s oil-rich economy, said the 100-bolivar note had to be killed because “mafias” were hoarding it abroad in what he called a US-backed plot to destabilize Venezuela.
In response, he sealed the borders with Colombia and Brazil, where he says much of the hoarding is happening. Now those frontiers will stay shut until Sunday.
That led to pandemonium on the border, as foreigners rushed home and Venezuelans found themselves cut off from precious supplies of food, medicine and basic goods that are in desperately short supply in Venezuela.
Central bank chief Nelson Merentes promised last week that “millions and millions” of new bank notes were on their way.
The new bills — which are being printed abroad — were originally meant to circulate alongside the old ones during a transition period.
But Maduro axed that plan when he issued his decree against the 100-bolivar note on Sunday.
It accounted for 77 percent of the cash in circulation in Venezuela, according to official figures.
Venezuelans had grown used to carrying around huge stacks of them for even the smallest purchases.
Now they are stuck with even bigger piles of 10-, 20- and 50-bolivar notes just as the Christmas shopping season is at its height. Some companies have stopped dealing in cash altogether.