Saturday, May 30, 2015

Professor, P.O.W. So afraid is the government of this paralysed wheelchair-bound academic that the Maharashtra police had to abduct him for arrest ARUNDHATI ROY

May 9, 2015, marks one year since Dr G.N. Saibaba, lecturer of English at Ramlal Anand College, Delhi University, was abducted by unknown men on his way home from work. When her husband went missing and his cellphone did not respond, Vasantha, Dr Saibaba’s wife, filed a missing person’s complaint in the local police station. Subsequently the unknown men identified themselves as the Maharashtra Police and described the abduction as an arrest.

Why did they abduct him in this way when they could easily have arrested him formally, this professor who happens to be wheelchair-bound and paralysed from his waist downwards since he was five years old? There were two reasons: First, because they knew from their previous visits to his house that if they picked him up from his home on the Delhi University campus they would have to deal with a crowd of angry people—professors, activists and students who loved and admired Professor Saibaba not just because he was a dedicated teacher but also because of his fearless political worldview. Second, because abducting him made it look as though they, armed only with their wit and daring, had tracked down and captured a dangerous terrorist.

The truth is more prosaic. Many of us had known for a long time that Professor Saibaba was likely to be arrested. It had been the subject of open discussion for months. Never in all those months, right up to the day of his abduction, did it ever occur to him or to anybody else that he should do anything else but face up to it fair and square. In fact, during that period, he put in extra hours and finished his PhD on the Politics of the Discipline of Indian English Writing. Why did we think he would be arrested? What was his crime?

In September 2009, the then home minister P. Chidambaram announced a war called Operation Green Hunt in what is known as India’s Red Corridor. It was advertised as a clean-up operation by paramilitary forces against Maoist ‘terrorists’ in the jungles of Central India. In reality it was the official name for what had so far been a scorched-earth battle being waged by state-sponsored vigilante militias (the Salwa Judum in Bastar and unnamed militias in other states). The mandate was to clear the forests of its troublesome residents so that mining and infrastructure-building corporations could move ahead with their stalled projects. The fact that signing over Adivasi homelands to private corporations is illegal and unconstitutional did not bother the UPA government of the time. (The present government’s new Land Acquisition Act proposes to exalt that lawlessness into law.) 

Thousands of paramilitary troops accompanied by vigilante militias invaded the forests, burning villages, murdering villagers and raping women. Tens of thousands of Adivasis were forced to flee from their homes and hide in the jungle for months under the open sky. The backlash against this brutality was that hundreds of local people signed up to join the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) raised by the CPI (Maoist) who former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh famously described as India’s “single-largest internal security threat”. Even now, the whole region remains convulsed by what can only be called a civil war.

As is the case with any protracted war, the situation has become far from simple. While some in the resistance continue to fight the good fight, others have become opportunists, extortionists and ordinary criminals. It is not always easy to tell one group from another, and that makes it easy to tar them all with the same brush. Horrible atrocities have taken place. One set of atrocities is called Terrorism and the other, Progress.

In 2010 and 2011, when Operation Green Hunt was at its most brutal, a campaign against it began to gather speed. Public meetings and rallies took place in several cities. As word of what was happening in the forest spread, the international media began to pay attention. One of the main mobilisers of this public and entirely un-secret campaign against Operation Green Hunt was Dr Saibaba. The campaign was, at least temporarily, successful. The government was shamed into pretending that there was no such thing as Operation Green Hunt, that it was merely a media creation. (Of course, the assault on the Adivasi homelands continues, largely unreported, because now it is an Operation Without a Name. This week, on May 5, 2015, Chhavindra Karma, son of Salwa Judum founder Mahendra Karma, who was killed in a Maoist ambush, ann­ounced the inauguration of Salwa Judum-II. This despite the Supreme Court judgement declaring Salwa Judum-I illegal and unconstitutional and ordering that it be disbanded.)

In Operation No-Name, anybody who criticises or impedes the implementation of state policy is called a Maoist. Thousands of Dalits and Adivasis, thus labelled, are in jail absurdly charged with crimes like sedition and waging war against the state under the Unlawful Activi­ties Prevention Act (UAPA)—a law which would make any intelligent human being bust a gut laughing if only the uses to which it is being put were not so tragic. While villagers languish for years in prison, with no legal help and no hope of justice, often not even sure what crime they have been accused of, the state has turned its attention to what it calls ‘OGWs’—Overground Workers—in the cities.

Determined not to allow a repeat of the situation it found itself in earlier, the Union ministry of home affairs spelled out its intentions clearly in its 2013 affidavit filed in the Supreme Court. It said: “The ideologues and supporters of the CPI (Maoist) in cities and towns have undertaken a concerted and systematic propaganda against the state to project it in a poor is these ideologues who have kept the Maoist movement alive and are in many ways more dangerous than the cadres of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army.”
Enter Dr Saibaba.

We knew he was a marked man when several clearly planted, hyperbolic stories about him began to appear in the papers. (When they don’t have real evidence, their next best option—tried and tested—is to create a climate of suspicion around their quarry.)
On September 12, 2013, his home was raided by 50 policemen armed with a search warrant for stolen property from a magistrate in Aheri, a small town in Maharashtra. They did not find any stolen property. Instead they took away (stole?) his property. His personal laptop, hard disks and pen drives. Two weeks later, Suhas Bawache, the investigating officer for the case, rang Dr Saibaba and asked him for the passwords to access the hard disks. He gave it to them. On January 9, 2014, a team of policemen interrogated him at his home for several hours. And on May 9, they abducted him. That same night they flew him to Nagpur and from there drove him to Aheri and then back to Nagpur with hundreds of policemen escor­ting the convoy of jeeps and mine-proof vehicles. He was incarcerated in the Nagpur central jail in its notorious ‘Anda Cell’, adding his name to the three hundred thousand undertrials who crowd our country’s prisons. In the midst of all the high theatre, his wheelchair was damaged. Dr Saibaba is what is known as “90 per cent disabled”. In order to prevent his physical condition from further deteriorating, he needs constant care, physiotherapy and medication. Despite this, he was thrown into a bare cell (where he still remains) with nobody to assist him even to use the bathroom. He had to crawl around on all fours. None of this would fall under the definition of torture. Of course not. The great advantage the state has over this particular prisoner is that he is not equal among prisoners. He can be cruelly tortured, perhaps even killed, without anybody having to so much as lay a finger on him.

The next morning’s papers in Nagpur had front-page pictures of the heavily armed team of Maharashtra Police proudly posing with their trophy—the dreaded terrorist, Professor pow, in his damaged wheelchair.
He has been charged under the UAPA, Sections 13 (taking part in/advocating/abetting/inciting the commission of unlawful activity), Section 18 (conspiring/attempting to commit a terrorist act), Section 20 (being a member of a terrorist gang or organisation), Section 38 (associating with a terrorist organisation with intention to further its activities) and Section 39 (inviting support and addressing meetings for the purpose of encouraging support for a terrorist organisation.) He has been accused of giving a computer chip to Hem Mishra, a JNU student, to deliver to Comrade Narmada of the CPI (Maoist). Hem Mishra was arrested at the Ballarshah railway station in August 2013 and is in Nagpur jail along with Dr Saibaba. The three others accused with them in this ‘conspiracy’ are out on bail.

Another of the serious offences listed in the chargesheet is that Dr Saibaba is the joint secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), an organisation that is banned in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh where it is suspected to be a Maoist ‘front’ organisation. It is not banned in Delhi. Or Maharashtra. The president of RDF is the well-known poet Varavara Rao who lives in Hyderabad.
Dr Saibaba’s trial has not begun. When it does, it is likely to take months, if not years. The question is, can a person with a 90 per cent disability survive in those abysmal prison conditions for so long?
In the year he’s been in prison, his physical condition has deteriorated alarmingly. He is in constant, excruciating pain. (The jail authorities have helpfully described this as “quite normal” for polio victims.) His spinal cord has degenerated. It has buckled and is pushing up against his lungs. His left arm has stopped functioning. The cardiologist at the local hospital where the jail authorities took him for a test has asked that he be given an angioplasty urgently. If he does undergo an angioplasty, given his condition and the conditions in prison, the prognosis is dire. If he does not, and remains incarcerated, it is dire too. Time and again the jail authorities have disallowed him medication that is vital not just to his well-being, but to his survival. When they do allow the medicines, they disallow the special diet that is meant to go with it.

Despite the fact that India is party to international covenants on disability rights, and Indian law expressly forbids the incarceration of a person who is disabled as an undertrial for a prolonged period, Dr Saibaba has been denied bail twice by the sessions court. On the second occasion, bail was denied based on the jail authorities demonstrating to the court that they were giving him the specific, special care a person in his condition required. (They did allow his family to replace his wheelchair.) Dr Saibaba, in a letter from prison, said that the day the order denying him bail came, the special care was withdrawn. Driven to despair, he went on a hunger strike. Within a few days, he was taken to hospital unconscious.

For the sake of argument, let’s leave the decision about whether Dr Saibaba is guilty or innocent of the charges levelled against him to the courts. And let’s, for just a moment, turn our attention solely to the question of bail, because for him that is quite literally a question of life and death.
No matter what the charges against him are, should Professor Saibaba get bail? Here’s a list of a few well-known public figures and government servants who have been given bail.

On April 23, 2015, Babu Bajrangi, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre in which 97 people were murdered in broad daylight, was released on bail by the Gujarat High Court for an “urgent eye operation”. This is Babu Bajrangi in his own words speaking about the crime he committed: “We didn’t spare a single Muslim shop, we set everything on fire, we set them on fire and killed them—hacked, burnt, set on fire.... We believe in setting them on fire because these bastards don’t want to be cremated. They’re afraid of it.”—‘After killing them, I felt like Maharana Pratap’ in Tehelka, September 1, 2007
Eye operation, huh? Well maybe on second thoughts it really is urgent that he replace the murderous lenses he seems to view the world through with something less stupid and less dangerous.

On July 30, 2014, Maya Kodnani, a former minister of the Modi government in Gujarat, convicted and serving a 28-year sentence for being the ‘kingpin’ of that same Naroda Patiya massacre, was granted bail by the Gujarat High Court. Kodnani is a medical doctor and says she suffers from intestinal tuberculosis, a heart condition, clinical depression and a spinal problem. Her sentence has been suspended.

Amit Shah, also a former minister in the Modi government in Gujarat, was arrested in July 2010, accused of ordering the extrajudicial killing of three people—Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kausar Bi and Tulsiram Prajapati. The CBI produced phone records showing that Shah was in constant touch with the police officials who held the victims in illegal custody before they were murdered, and that the number of phone calls between him and those police officials spiked sharply during those days. Amit Shah was released on bail three months after his arrest. (Subsequently, after a series of disturbing and mysterious events, he has been let off altogether.) He is currently the president of the BJP, and the right hand man of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On May 22, 1987, 42 Muslim men rounded up in a truck by the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) were shot dead in cold blood on the outskirts of Hashimpura and their bodies were dumped in a canal. Nineteen members of the PAC were accused in the case. All of them were allowed to continue in service, receiving their promotions and bonuses like everybody else. Thirteen years later, in the year 2000, 16 of them surrendered (three had died). They were released on bail immediately. A few weeks ago, in March 2015, all 16 were acquitted for lack of evidence.

Hany Babu, a teacher in Delhi University and a member of the Committee for the Defence and Release of Saibaba, was recently able to meet Dr Saibaba for a few minutes in hospital. At a press conference on April 23, 2015, that went more or less unreported, Hany Babu described the circumstances of the meeting: Dr Saibaba, on a saline drip, sat up in bed and spoke to him. A security guard stood over him with an AK-47 pointed at his head. It was his duty to make sure the prisoner did not run away on his paralysed legs.
Will Dr Saibaba come out of the Nagpur central jail alive? Do they want him to? There is much to suggest they do not.
This is what we put up with, what we vote for, what we agree to.
This is us.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


“Patients’ Day” (Rogi Divas) is celebrated every year on 28th May to commemorate patients’ rights and to bring awareness about medical negligence. 

This day (28th May) is also the death anniversary of Anuradha Saha who died due to gross medical negligence by three senior Kolkata doctors (Sukumar Mukherjee, late Abani Roychowdhury and late Baidyanah Halder) during a social visit to Kolkata in 1998.

We urge all patients, doctors and conscientious citizens to observe “Patients’ Day” to empower the vulnerable patients and to promote ethical practice of medicine. 

On this auspicious day, we also call upon the government to wake up and take stringent action against the rampant healthcare corruption across India. In particular, we call upon our Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, to act on our repeated appeals to the health ministry for exemplary disciplinary action against disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, and all his medical cronies who are still sitting at helm of MCI. 

Like the previous years, PBT will host an open forum to celebrate “Patients’ Day” at 5 PM on 28th May (Thursday) at the Calcutta Press Club near the Maidan in Kolkata. All are welcome.

Who is Dr. Ketan Desai and what is his history? He was the President of MCI until he was arrested.

The MCI was dissolved by the President of India on 15 May 2010 following the arrest of MCI's president Ketan Desai by the CBI on 22 April 2010. Desai, alleged middle-man J. P. Singh and doctors Sukhwinder Singh and Kanwaljit Singh have been booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act. 
The CBI recovered 1.5kgs of gold and 80kgs of silver from Desai's premises. Further, gold worth ₨ 35 lakhs were recovered from Desai's bank lockers in Ahmedabad. CBI told that he had more than 35 lockers which were then yet to be opened and contents noted. He also was reported to own more than 400 properties across the country. But surprisingly Mr. Gulam Nabi Azad the then Union Minister of Health commented that the Government had no control over MCI and cannot take any action.

 The chief vigilance officer (CVO) who complained about the "unethical" action of three ethics committee members of the Medical Council of India (MCI) has been sent back to his parent cadre while no action has been taken against the accused members, who have been defended by the president of MCI, Dr Jayshree Mehta as revealed by the file notings made public. 

CVO HK Jethi had stated that Dr Ajay Kumar, a member of the MCI ethics committee had committed an "unethical" act of telling the World Medical Association (WMA) that CBI charges against Dr Ketan Desai had been dropped, when two CBI cases are still pending against him. Jethi had recommended that the matter be referred to the health ministry to take action against ethics committee members, Dr Ajay Kumar, Dr Vinay Aggarwal and Dr Sudipto Roy who had accompanied Dr Desai to the WMA general assembly. 

Last year beginning, the CBI had received a complaint from Dr Kunal Saha, founder president of People for Better Treatment (PBT), an organization fighting against medical malpractice, which stated that the ethics committee members had misled the WMA to help Dr Desai become WMA president. The CBI forwarded the complaint to the vigilance section of MCI in June 2014. 

When the matter was put up before the MCI president, she sought a reply from Dr Ajay Kumar. Dr Kumar claimed that WMA was a private body of doctors with no linkage with the MCI and that Dr Desai was made WMA president by virtue of him fulfilling the conditions for membership including being a member of the Indian Medical Association (IMA). Dr Mehta concluded that Dr Kumar's reply was satisfactory and that the matter did not need to be pursued any further. 

However, Jethi differed with the MCI president and insisted that Dr Kumar had committed an unethical act in misleading the WMA regarding the status of the CBI cases against Dr Desai and hence action ought to be taken against him and the two other ethics committee members who accompanied Dr Desai to the WMA general assembly. The CVO had also recommended that the WMA be informed that there are two CBI cases pending against Dr Desai and that he was currently "out on bail in the CBI main trap case dated April 22, 2010". 

This led to a war of words between Dr Mehta and the CVO with the Jethi accusing Dr Mehta of trying to force him to send a letter to the CBI drafted by her instead of letting Jethi send the letter he had drafted which asked for information about all cases registered against Dr Desai. Dr Saha, while making public the entire file along with the notings, has accused Dr Mehta of deliberately trying to shield Dr. Kumar, a known associate of Dr Desai, and of threatening the CVO to stop investigating Dr. Desai's cronies who were helping him "to regain control of MCI and IMA". 

Though the CBI wrote back stating that these were two cases pending against Dr Desai and that charges had been framed in one, the MCI did not forward this information to the WMA as recommended by Jethi. In November last year, Jethi was repatriated to his parent cadre as he had requested the same when the health ministry did not respond to his request for protection and he had complained that he was "a victim of harassment" due to his drive against corruption in MCI

Friday, May 22, 2015

Two headed snakes?

What are the best Achievements by BJP after forming the Government?
Then: Modi government plans 660 Centres for women violence
Now: Modi govt to build just 36 of the 660 promised rape crisis

Then: Aadhaar not approved by Parliament, says BJP
Nandan Nilekani's Aadhaar project a political gimmick with
no vision Not afraid of Nilekani Aadhaar a national threat:
BJP's Ananth Kumar ‘Will Scrap Aadhaar, Revive National
Population Registry’
Now: PM Modi sees advantage for BJP government from UID
scheme. Modi govt to give legal backing to Aadhaar -

Then: Ceasefire violations should not be politicised, says PM Modi
Now: Opinion: Where's The Pakistan Tough Talk Now, Modiji?
Narendra Modi on Twitter
Congress targets PM over his ceasefire violations remarks
Then: Full statehood for Delhi is top BJP priority | The Asian Age
BJP demands full statehood for Delhi, Congress sees politics
Dikshit failed to get full statehood for Delhi: Harsh Vardhan
BJP releases 'Delhi-specific' manifesto ahead of Lok Sabha polls
Now: Modi may not grant Delhi full statehood
Then: Pics: Land Acquisition Bill passed; gets majority support from BJP
No ordinance to amend land acquisition law, law min Gowda says
Sushma Swaraj's pro-farmer stand on Land Acquisition Bill
Now: Govt approves ordinance to ease Land Acquisition Act for reforms
Stringent Land Acq. law to be amended without Opposition’s support
Then: Will Modi's 'swacch bharat' spell acche din for Indian hygiene?
Cabinet approves 5-year-long 'Swachh Bharat' mission
Now: Modi has just washed his hands off Swacch Bharat in budget
Modi's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is nothing but a UPA scheme
2007: We will re-negotiate nuclear deal: BJP
2014: Ahead of Modi’s US trip, IAEA pact ratified .
AEA to get more access to India’s nuclear programme.
Then: 1962 Indo-China war secret report 'blames' Nehru;
BJP demands the document be made public
Now: In U-turn, Modi govt rules out release of Henderson Brooks report
Jaitley Wanted China War Report Declassified, Changes Opinion
Then: No talks till Dawood and Saeed are handed over, demands BJP
Now : Pakistan PM to attend inauguration of India's Narendra Modi
Then: BJP warns against removal of AFSPA - The Times of India
Now: After Article 370, BJP does a U-turn on AFSPA in J&K
Then: BJP wanted files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose made public
Now: U-turn: BJP govt won't make Netaji files public
BJP following Congress path in suppressing facts on Netaji
Then: BJP to oppose land boundary agreement with Bangladesh
Now: PM Narendra Modi endorses UPA’s land swap deal with Bangladesh
Then: BJP against hiking FDI cap to 49 per cent in insurance sector
Now: Determined BJP seeks to table insurance, GST Bills
Insurance bill: The reasons behind BJP's puzzling about-turn
Then: Congress opposed to being covered by RTI; BJP sees no wrong
Now: BJP reverses stand on bringing parties under RTI
Then: Uma Bharti promises clean Ganga in 3 years
Now: Cleaning Ganga will take 18 yrs massive investment, Centre tells SC
Then: BJP, Left hit out at interim budget
Now: Jaitley's maiden budget is like Chidambaram's with a saffron lipstick
BJP at pains to explain why Budget is not an extension of UPA's
Then: We'll bring back black money in 150 days: BJP president
Will bring back black money in 100 days: BJP chief Rajnath Singh
Now: Never talked about bringing black money in 100 days: Govt
Black money: Back to square one, list same as last June, says SIT
BJP falling into black money ditch: SIT report will embarrass Modi
Black money case: Most accounts cleared or closed
Have BJP's white lies on black money been nailed?
Then: Nirmala says no to FDI in multi-brand retail
BJP not to support more FDI in insurance, pension sectors
Now: Govt departs from BJP to let FDI stay in multi-brand retail
Modi signals BJP rethink on multi-brand retail FDI
BJP may consider higher FDI in insurance, but not in retail
BJP not against FDI in pension, insurance, wants to see fine print
'Guj will be among the 1st to implement FDI in retail' - Opinion
BJP To Welcome FDI In Defence
How vibrant is the Gujarat growth story?
Gujarat, the gateway to India: fact or farce?
Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summit
Then: Narendra Modi opposes GST
Now: Modi’s GST U-turn set to make India single market for first time
Then: BJP not in favour of privatisation of railways: Rajnath Singh
Now: Govt outlines areas open for FDI in railways
Then: PM Modi Hints at Private Involvement to Modernise Railway Stations
Now: PM Narendra Modi rules out privatisation of Railways
Then: Raise I-T slab to Rs 5 lakh, demands Arun Jaitley
Now: Tax Exemption Limit Raised to Rs 2.5 Lakh
Then: BJP dubs loan waiver as fraudulent propaganda by UPA
Now: Chandrababu Naidu to waive off farm loans totalling Rs 54,000 crore
Then: BJP calls for direct transfer of subsidies
Now: Modi's Jan Dhan Yojana a free loan Mela without cash transfers
Jan Dhan Yojana has all the characteristics of bad old loan melas
Then: BJP hails PM Modi's Jan Dhan Yojana
Now: NDA copying UPA's financial inclusion plan: Congress
It's an UPA scheme: Congress on Jan Dhan Yojna's launch today
Then: Train fare hike unacceptable, says BJP
DMK opposes railway fare hike, BJP wants rollback
Now: BJP defends railway fare hike, puts blame on UPA
Then: We condemn the decision to deregulate diesel prices, says BJP
Now: Govt raises diesel price, puts limit on LPG subsidy
BJP allies want diesel subsidy to continue
Then: People won't spare congress for fixing LPG cap:BJP
LPG cylinder cap will be increased to 24 if BJP voted to power
Now: Eye trained on deficit, FinMin pushes for lowering LPG cap
Raising LPG cap was UPA mistake, oil minister to tell Modi govt
Center to deregulate diesel prices, reduce LPG cap
Then: BJP slams price hike of non subsidized LPG cylinders
LPG cylinder price hiked, cylinder to now cost Rs.921
LPG price hike: BJP slams govt, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi
Now: LPG price hiked by Rs 16.50 per cylinder
LPG price hike to affect only 1% of consumers: Government
Non-subsidised LPG price hiked by Rs 16.50 per cylinder on
Then: Government's 'pink revolution' destroying cattle, says Modi
Now: ABP investigation: Modi govt’s biggest U-turn on ‘Pink Revolution
Then: Haryana: bjp's manifesto released, promise 24 hrs electricity supply
Haryana polls: BJP promises to develop the state capital
Now: Can't assure 24x7 power in this term: CM - The Times of India
Then: Irony: Rape accused PJ Kurien heads for global meet on women
Now: Sexual assault case:No question of minister's resignation, BJP says
Then: BJP attacks Robert Vadra over ‘inappropriate’ behaviour
Now: Robert Vadra continue to enjoy security check exemptions at airports
Then: BJP looking for clean candidates
BJP wants Chidambaram, Sibal dropped
Now: Half of Modi's new ministers face criminal cases, majority crorepatis
Then: BJP accuses Trinamool of using Saradha money to fund terror
Now: Govt contradicts Amit Shah's claim Saradha money used for terror
Then: BJP to strengthen institutions like CVC, CAG
BJP vows to oppose any government attempt to dilute CAG authority
Now: BJP pulls up Narayanasamy for questioning CAG's mandate
Then: Judges' verdicts are influenced by post-retirement jobs: Arun Jaitley
Now: Former Chief Justice P Sathasivam Appointed Governor of Kerala
Then: Immediately withdraw railway freight hike before budget: CM to PM
Now: Govt hikes railway fares by 14.2%,freight charges increased by 6.5%
Then: Lashing out at Cong Modi says under UPA, Governors were unilaterally dismissed in 2004
Now: Modi raj marks the end of road for Congress governors, Governors in the firing line
Then: Goa minister says centres to be set up to 'cure' LGBT youths
Now: Goa minister takes U-turn after facing flak for LGBT remarks
Then: Congress undermining CAG authority on coalgate, BJP tells Pranab
BJP accuses Govt of flouting rules amd for attacking national auditor
Now: Stop sensationalising reports, Arun Jaitley tells CAG, after BJP milked 2G spectrum allocation, coal scam figures
Then: Modi sarkar breaks from UPA, to rethink Section 66A
Section 66A: Nightmare for citizens who dare to dissent
Now: Modi government does flip-flop: this time it defends net censorship
Internet needs stricter curbs than print, TV: Centre to SC
U-turn as Government Prepares to Defend Controversial IT Rule
Then: Declaration of assets of the Ministers of the UPA Union Cabinet
Now: PMO under Modi blocks access to information on ministers’ assets
Then: BJP accuses UPA Govt. of providing shelter to the corrupt
Govt protecting 'corrupt' ministers: Advani
Now: Coal ordinance by BJP gives blanket protection to ministers
Then: Congress draws criticism from BJP as Khemka transferred again
BJP, IAC demand probe into Ashok Khemka's transfer
Now: Ashok Khemka transfer: Bharatiya Janata Party justifies action
BJP downplays Khemka’s transfer
Haryana CM Khattar defends Ashok Khemka's transfer
Ashok Khemka, whistleblower IAS officer, transferred again

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Division bench presiding by Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court passed an unequivocal judgment on 5th May, 2015 declaring that WBMC must act in accordance to the order from Medical Council of India (MCI) for suspension of medical registrations of 8 negligent doctors who snatched away four precious lives in hospitals across West Bengal. After the victims’ families came to PBT seeking help in finding justice, they were guided to move MCI under sections 8.7 or 8.8 of “Code of Ethics & Regulations, 2002″ since the devious state medical council was working only to shield the guilty doctors. But even after MCI held the doctors guilty for medical negligence and directed WBMC to suspend their medical licenses for a period between 1 and 5 years vide a final order last January, WBMC, which is under control of doctors belonging to the Trinomul-Congress party, continued their deep slumber and took no action for suspension of licenses of the 8 doctors who also moved Calcutta High Court seeking to quash the MCI order.

As mentioned above, division bench of Calcutta High Court dismissed the doctors’ petition and directed WBMC to take necessary action for suspension of registrations of the negligent doctors as ordered by the MCI. The deliberate inaction by WBMC to suspend the licenses of all 8 errant physicians not only violates the specific order of the High Court, it also encourages negligent practice of medicine by doctors across West Bengal. PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, has submitted an urgent appeal with WBMC today urging them for immediate suspension of licenses of all 8 doctors. Dr. Saha has also issued a stern warning to WBMC Registrar, Mr. D.K. Ghosh, that unless they take action for suspension of medical registrations of all the delinquent doctors within two weeks, PBT may move the court seeking “contempt of court” action against the devious WBMC members (see PBT’s appeal below).

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A plant in your garden that eats mosquitoes?

, TNN | May 14, 2015, 12.00AM IST
Having a moneyplant or a cactus in your verandah is so predictable. More and more Mumbaikars are waking up to a more exciting — if bizarre — gardening option. Welcome to the world of carnivorous plants, which you've probably read about in school. Now, nurseries in the city are selling them by the dozen to enthusiastic gardeners. They need little care, have to be watered from time to time and can catch their own prey for food. So, how's that for a hassle-free pet?

Non-boring plants:
City-based MBA student Riddhi Purohit was never much into plants that her mother keeps. When she travels, Riddhi has to look after them. It's a chore she used to hate till her mother finally got a pitcher plant. "I have kept it in my living room, and my cousins and friends spend hours looking at the plant devouring mosquitoes. It's a lot of fun!" she exclaims.

Shaan Lalwani, who breeds and sells these plants out of his nursery, says he has seen a spurt in the number of people looking for these exotic plants. "I've been keeping these plants for years. But in the past few years, because of social media platforms, a lot of young people are being drawn into gardening. And they want cool plants like the Venus flytrap, pitcher plant and Dutchman's pipe that look cool. And for a beginner, what could be better than a plant that you can see catching its prey?" continued on page

They prefer a humid environment, hence an indoor space with shade and mild sunlight is ideal

Hunting mechanism: They secrete mucus on their leaves and trap small insects

Cost: `800 to `1,500

Pitcher Plant
Hardy plants, they need to be watered regularly and kept out of very harsh sunlight

Hunting mechanism: They have a trapping mechanism with which they lure insects inside the pitcher, which contains digestive enzymes to consume the prey

Cost: `800 to `1,500

Venus Flytrap
Care: Minimum. Just place it in a tray of water and water it additionally every day.

Hunting mechanism: Whenever a fly triggers the tiny hairs, the wide fleshy leaves snap shut, trapping the fly.

Cost: `800 to `1,500

Another reason for the popularity of these plants is the fact that they tend to attract bugs and mosquitoes and as result, keep your home naturally pest-free. Dr Rushabh Parikh, who owns six of these plants, remembers that he first got one out of curiosity — he had read about these plants in his biology class. "I never thought I could get one of these, but when I was buying some plants and inquired at the nursery about interesting plants, they offered me the beautiful Venus flytrap and pitcher plant," he says about the plants that now adorn his window sill.

Caring for carnivorous plants is easy. Eshan Bhardwaj, who runs a nursery and sends plants by mail order, says these are robust plants and even when he sends them via mail to customers in different cities, they last for at least five days. Lalwani feels the same. "While these plants may seem delicate, all they need is adequate water and light, and they will thrive." He cites the example of the Dutchman's pipe. "If you have a bungalow, you can just plant them around the lawns and walls. They will climb like a vine and reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home."

Care: Needs a humid environment as it is found in coastal regions.

Hunting mechanism: It has a translucent overleaf and the edge of the pitcher produces nectar to lure prey. It also has fine hairs that form the trap for the insect.

Cost: `800 to `1,500

Dutchman's Pipe

Care: They are a vine and require minimal care.

Hunting mechanism:

Its huge flowers resemble pitcher plants and attract prey that it uses to pollinate and prey on.

Cost: `800 to `1,500

The above is from "The Times of India"

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Retired Person's Perspective

1. I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people.  I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem work itself out.

2. I changed my car horn to gunshot sounds.  People move out of the way much faster now.

3. You can tell a lot about a woman's mood just by her hands.  If they are holding a gun, she's probably pissed.

4. Gone are the days when girls cooked like their mothers.  Now they drink like their fathers.

5. You know that tingly little feeling you get when you really like someone you've just met?  That's common sense leaving your body.

6. I don't like making plans for the day.  Because then the word "premeditated" gets thrown around in the courtroom.

7. I didn't make it to the gym today. That makes 1,500 days in a row.

8. I decided to change calling the bathroom the John and renamed it the Jim.  I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.

9. Dear paranoid people who check behind shower curtains for murderers.  If you find one, what's your plan?

10. Everyone has a right to be stupid.  Politicians just abuse the privilege.

 "Guess I'm just getting old and cranky"

"Old age is no place for sissies." ~ Bette Davis

Sent by Prakash Bhartia

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Jayalalithaa DA Case Verdict: Indian Judiciary At Its Lowest Ebb

In the recent past PM  claimed that there was not even a single allegation of corruption against his government in the last one year tenure of the  led government at the Centre. It may be recalled that  rode to power highlighting corruption in the UPA government’s 10 year stint under former prime minister Manmohan Singh. But the irony now is that two big cases – that of  superstar  and AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa – have come to haunt the NDA government’s tall claims. This put a veritable question mark on the Modi government and the judicial system of the country. Some sort of explanation is required to justify the verdicts.
The rot in the judicial system peeved CPM Kerala state leader M V Jayarajan so much that he dared to call the judges of Kerala ‘idiots’. The court took note of it and serious action followed in regard to the outburst. MV Jayarajan was handed a 30-day imprisonment sentence.
The case is quite interesting. HC judgement was against the hartal and protest meeting terming it an anti social and anti india campaign. If an individual or a group of individuals protest at any corner of the city, how can a judge term it as anti social or anti India campaign? The  it appears is going on the same lines as  in the country and the bureaucracy, raising questions on its integrity.
Former chief justice VN Khare has stated that more than 15% of judges are corrupt. After reprieve for , followed by acquittal of Jayalalitha in the disproportionate assets case, the system is set to face the repercussions as voices have begun echoing on social media attacking the judicial system in India. The court was unable to see what was common knowledge. If the property and farm house in Secunderabad, a tea garden in Nilgiri, huge amount of jewellery and assets in Tamil Nadu were not enough to implicate Jayalalithaa, then one fails to fathom what possibly could.
Hereon, every judgement is going to be watched closely. The judgement day for the judges who are supposed to uphold the values of the constitution of the nation is imminent.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

How Salman Khan Hit And Run Case Ruined Bodyguard Ravindra Patil’s Life

Ravindra Patil, a young boy from Satara district joined the Mumbai Police as a constable and later trained as a commando to join the Special Operations Squad (SOS) which has a primary duty of guarding VIPs. He was later assigned as ’s unarmed bodyguard after the actor complained to Mumbai Police about threats from the underworld.
A Mumbai court has sentenced  to 5 years in prison in the infamous hit-and-run case. It was in 2002 that the incident happened and Patil, as a law abiding policeman, stood as prime witness of the incident stating that it was in fact  who was driving when the accident occurred.
Life of Ravindra Patil after giving his testimony
After giving his statement that  was under the influence of alcohol and he (Salman) was behind the wheel at the time of the incident, it was claimed that Patil received a lot of pressure to withdraw his statement.
Patil was later locked in Arthur road jail because he failed to appear for five consecutive court dates. He lost his job as policeman and was kept in jail with hardened criminals for his absence from the court. He was reportedly ill-treated and tortured inside the jail.
After five years in 2007, he was found on the streets of Mumbai as a beggar, and was suffering from TB for over 2 years. During the hard time of Patil, police, media and family had forgotten him.
He passed away on October 4, 2007 of TB. Shockingly, his family had already cut him out of their life and they didn’t even claim or collect his body. It was around his death that  actor  started his “Being Human” initiative. Being Human was founded on July 28, 2007 for helping the cause of healthcare and education.
Patil, who was with  on the night of the accident where one man was killed and four other injured, had maintained till his death, that the actor was behind the wheel.
What happened at that night? (according to the statement of Ravindra Patil)
Ravindra Patil said the court, “It was 9:30 pm on September 27, 2002, the accused and Kamal Khan came out of a room at their residence and told me they were going to Rain Bar, Juhu. The accused had a Toyota Land Cruiser car with the registration number MH 01 DA 32. The accused was driving the car.”
“They asked me to wait outside, while the accused and Kamal went inside the hotel. The bodyguard of Sohail Khan also met me there. After a few hours, the accused and Kamal came out. The accused sat in the driver’s seat and I was sitting next to him. Kamal was sitting in the rear,” he had said.
Witness inside the Rain Bar
Moloy Baug, a bartender said the actor’s group had ordered liquor. Rizwan Rakhanngi, manager, said he saw Khan hold a glass full with a colourless liquid like water.
After Salman stepped out of Rain Bar
Patil said  came out of Rain Bar at 2.15 am and they went to JW Marriott, where he was made to wait outside again. Patil then warned accused Salman to drive slow when Salman was driving at a speed of 90-100 km/hr.
 “They came out at 2.15am. When the accused sat behind the wheel, I asked him whether he would be driving the car. He ignored me. The accused was driving the car at a speed of 90-100 km/hour. Before reaching the Hill Road junction, I told the accused to slow down as a right turn was coming up. He ignored me again. The accused lost control of the car while taking a turn and drove right on to the footpath,” Patil had said.
Accident site
After a while, the car crashed into American Express bakery and broke its shutter. “There was a lot of shouting and people had gathered around us. I showed my identity card and told the crowd I was a policeman, which pacified them. The accused and Kamal ran away from the spot. I went to the car to check and saw that one person was seriously injured. There were four others who were stuck under the car,” Patil told the court.
After the incident and as the accused  and Kamal fled away from the spot leaving the injured victims crying under his car wheel, it was Patil who called the Police Control Room for help and then lodged a complaint with Bandra Police.
“The incident took place because the car was in speed and the accused, in a drunken state, could not control the car while taking the turn,” he had said in the court.
May 6, 2015
 superstar  was sentenced to five years in jail in the infamous 2002 hit-and-run case.
The above is from The Tehelka, Daily
By: Shovon Chowdhury
What are the lessons we learn from the Salman Khan case? One thing we don’t learn is how they got the case postponed from 2003 to 2013. This is a massive media failure. This information would have been very useful, but no one is telling us.

The Indian Penal Code is full of sections, and all of us are in constant danger of breaking the law. Very often, these things happen inadvertently. Sentiments get hurt. Curfews get violated. You insult Marathi cuisine. They find beef in your tiffin carrier. Your scooter breaks down and you obstruct a VIP. Not that you would be riding a scooter (you read ET).

The point is, there are so many pitfalls, legally speaking. It’s only a matter of time before pretty much all of us get arrested. This was the original intention of the Indian Penal Code of 1861: to ensure long-lasting suppression of the natives, after their unfortunate and rebellious behaviour in 1857. Through our behaviour, we established an indisputable fact. Each and every one of us has criminal tendencies. We need strong laws, and lots of them.

When they do come to take you away, you will curse the media for their inefficiency. “How did Salman do it?” you will wonder, “And how come ET never told me anything, even though I spend my hard-earned money on them on a daily basis?”

We never learnt from this case who convinced Salman’s driver to commit perjury. And since no one is investigating this, we never will. We will never learn the circumstances behind the mysterious death of a witness. This is because it was God’s will. When it’s time for a witness to go, he just has to go.
The risks of being human: The late Ravindra Patil, Khan’s police bodyguard
In this case, the witness, Constable Ravindra Patil, went slowly. First he was listed as ‘missing’. Then he was listed as ‘absconding’. After this’ he was put in jail, sacked and reduced to begging on the streets. Throughout, he refused to change his statement.

Eventually, he died of what appears to have been starvation. Or tuberculosis, depending on your source of news, not to mention opinions. His last words were, reportedly, “I want to meet the police commissioner once.” Why would he want to do this? This is yet another mystery to which we will never know the answer.

We also never learnt who was responsible for all the files mysteriously disappearing from the police station. This is because the culprits were possibly policemen, who are too busy investigating us to investigate themselves, and no one else is allowed to investigate them.
Even when they do, their strike rate is poor. Delhi Police has been investigating itself for corruption, for example. On the basis of calls to a helpline in the last four months, seven cases have been filed, at an average rate of 1.75 policemen per month. From this, we can conclude that such an investigation is not really required.

We did learn how much money was riding on Salman Khan, though. It was somewhere between .`200 crore and .`600 crore. Thinking that he might be going to jail, well-muscled middle-aged men across the country felt the sharp pang of hope, and started practising their dance moves.
But while we do not want to jeopardise the income of hardworking dance instructors, they should probably give up. That money will keep riding on him until the case reaches the Supreme Court, in another couple of decades. By which time, he would have finally turned 50.
Meanwhile, we have learnt that the possibility that you may have run over five people is good for your career. We have loved this man, despite the blood on his wheels, and the unpleasant fate of Constable Ravindra Patil. His colleagues loved him too, which is why so many of them have blamed the poor people for sleeping on the road, instead of in penthouses, like normal people.

But the main thing we don’t know is the identity of the victims. Their pictures were not tweeted. We did not light candles. No human interest stories were done on TV. Maybe Salman was right, in the end. There’s one simple thing we need to do, one giant step for mankind, one ring to rule us all. We need to learn about being human.

The above was published in ET

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Rule of Law? Really?

Its fashionable to begin articles these days with a disclaimer (it makes one appear more profound), so let me confess too. I am no law graduate, never having enrolled myself in the ” La Fucklety” of Delhi University, as the Law Faculty was lovingly called in my days. My knowledge of law is also limited: I cannot tell a habeas from a corpus and don’t even know the difference between a solicitor and a procurer. But I have of late been getting the feeling that you don’t need to know law to realise that all is not well with our juridical ecology, that the pedestal on which we have ensconced our judiciary has far too many bird droppings on it- in short, it is impossible to make sense of either some of our laws or even some of the judgements of our higher courts.
I am not talking here of the Courts’ refusal to decriminalise homesexuality or to disallow euthanasia in terminal cases, both important facets of a progressive value system which more and more countries are increasingly adopting but we seem to be shying away from because of an ossified mind set. I am not talking either of a government( both past and present) that prefers to flounder in legislations of the last two centuries rather than devise laws for the 21st century. These are serious crevasses in our legal system into which thousands have fallen, but they will have to wait for another day.
I am addressing today the more immediate issue of how we treat different classes of accused, even though we are fed, ad nauseum, the lie that the law is the same for everyone. I am increasingly beginning to feel that the law is putty in the hands of skilled and expensive lawyers and that there is no consistency in the judgements handed down from those lofty heights.
How else does one explain that in this country a convicted and sentenced felon can get bail while a person who is not even convicted is denied bail? Both Mr. Lalu Yadav and Ms. Jayalalitha have been convicted and sentenced but have been released on bail, simply because they have/ are appealing their convictions. Why then have the Talwars not been released, whose circumstances are exactly similar? I am no apologist for Tarun Tejpal but I am one for equality before the law, and therefore I am compelled to wonder why he has been locked up since one year even though he has not been convicted and his trial has a long way to go? Because one set relates to corruption( not heinous) and the other to violent crimes? Then why were Kanimozhi and A Raja imprisoned for a year( their charge was also of corruption)? Because they could influence witnesses? Really? It stretches one’s credulity to believe that the latter two could threaten/bribe witnesses and Lalu and Jayalalitha cannot.
As I said earlier, try as you might it will be impossible to locate any thread of consistency in the law applied in these cases. We are told that each case is different-yes, indeed, but isn’t the law supposed to be the same? I do discern, however, a faint and nebulous thread running through these cases, and perhaps you do too- if you are a politician the law will treat you with kid gloves, and if your case is picked up by Arnab Goswami and Karan Thapar for prime time panel discussions then you are damned! This is a constantly emerging pattern and cannot be a coincidence. The Talwars and Tejpal (and Mr. Pandher-let us not forget this gentleman who has been acquitted in almost all the cases against him but has been reduced to a cadaver after seven years in jail)-they were dead meat the day the prime time mob got after them, and the law obliged.
The grant of parole is another mystery I cannot fathom. Tens of thousands of under-trials cannot even think of getting parole but the privileged have no problem, even though they are convicted and sentenced. A Chautala gets the reprieve on medical grounds and then goes on to campaign for elections: our judicial conscience is assuaged by sending him back to jail AFTER the campaigning period is over! A Manu Sharma (sentenced to life for murder, no less) repeatedly obtains parole for attending funerals, weddings and taking exams. A Sanjay Dutt benefits likewise because his wife is supposed to be ill, though she is otherwise seen partying. Two Italian marines are given a vacation to celebrate Christmas with their families in Italy- if bilateral relations make this imperative, then why charge them in the first place: why not simply accept the crores offered by Italy as compensation and give the two a Presidential pardon? Why first bring them into the legal system and then twist this system and make a mockery of it?
Something else that addles my jurisprudence challenged brain is the constant interventions by higher courts in the proceedings of trial courts, somewhat similar to what Arnab Goswami does to his panelists. With more than 30 million cases pending in various courts as of 2013, should trials be stayed on the flimsiest of applications? A case which immediately comes to mind is the National Herald case against the Gandhi clan. Taking cognizance of a complaint the trial court issued summons to the accused for appearance almost three months ago. The accused immediately approached a higher court (no surprises here!) and got a stay-and added another number to the pendency. The case has not moved forward an inch-which suits the Gandhis just fine. Consider another odd case: Salman Khan was CONVICTED by a trial court in the black buck poaching case two years ago but the sentence was suspended by the Rajasthan High Court without even deciding his appeal. The Rajasthan govt. has challenged this in the Supreme Court. The main appeal is yet to be heard. Years have been unnecessarily added to the final disposal of this case enabling our dabang hero to add a few dozen more crores to his kitty. And this is in addition to the dozens he has already added because his hit-and-run case in Bombay has already taken 12 years and reached nowhere, because mid-way the honourable judge decided to add fresh charges against the thespian, and the whole trial had to be started de nouveau. Why can our courts not realise that delays benefit only the rich and powerful, and then do something about it?
It has become almost the norm, if your pockets are deep enough and your connections extensive enough, to challenge every interim order of a trial court at a higher forum. Appeals are filed against charge-sheets, summons and warrants, framing of charges, summoning of witnesses, nature of evidences, and just about every excuse the fecund mind of a well paid lawyer can conjure up. I am unable to understand why these appeals are entertained at all-why not simply let the trial go on and let these issues become the causus belli in appeal when the trial court passes its final order? I have no difficulty in understanding why the lawyers do so- after all, if you are paid a few lakhs for every appearance( in court) your mind will be as fertile as a vermicomposting pit. But why do the courts allow this to happen?
How is it that politicians who work 16 hours a day while in office and corporates who party for just as long, invariably develop heart/ blood pressure conditions the moment they are sent to jail? And why are our courts so accommodating as to send them to the nearest five star hospital ( in the comfort of which they can plan their next interlocutory appeal)? Why can they not be treated, if treatment is required at all, in the jail hospital or the nearest govt. hospital? After all, govt. hospitals are where law abiding and unconvicted( as yet) citizens like you and I go to-why not these hot shots? If the courts sent them there instead of molly coddling them I can guarantee that, given the conditions of our govt. hospitals, these worthies would be screaming to be sent back to their VIP cells in Tihar and such requests would end once and for all.
And finally, about our laws and law makers. About 150000 Indians die in traffic accidents every year, victims of over speeding, drunk driving, unlicensed drivers, rash driving and other similar conscious acts. And yet the perpetrators of these deaths obtain bail within a few hours and, if convicted at all, can get a maximum sentence of two years only. In other words if you kill somebody with a six inch pistol or a nine inch knife weighing 500 grammes you will get life or death, but if you know your law you would be better advised to kill someone with a four meter projectile weighing two tonnes; chances are you would go scot free or spend just a year or two in jail, even less if you develop high blood pressure or an enlarged prostate or decide to take your bar council exams at this propitious moment. Why cannot the law be amended to make such a deliberate act( it IS deliberate if you drive while drunk or break the speed limit or do not have a driving license) culpable homicide at least?
In the USA such offences come under a separate category termed vehicular homicide, an eminently sensible formulation. What prevents the government from bringing in a similar law, or the Supreme Court from ordering the govt. to do so?
Civilisations cannot exist for long without a system for imparting justice that is fair, equitable, affordable, accessible; a system that is not hijacked by the rich or powerful few. In India our much vaunted justice or judicial system sadly lacks all these attributes. Furthermore, it is not merely laws that ensure the rule of law: its guarantee lies in the intellectual integrity of its practitioners-the plaintiffs, lawyers, the judges; here again there is much that is found wanting.
The time has come for us to tackle this creeping malaise. Otherwise there are Alternative Dispute Redressal Mechanisms( ADRMs) waiting in the wings to take over. These comprise a range of mediums or agencies, none of them compatible with a progressive society: the Taliban, The Khap Panchayat, the D-company, the Vigilante, the Encounter Specialist, the Dirty Harry cop. Their prototypes have already arrived. Its time for us to wake up.
The above is written Ajay Shukla for 
Avay Shukla retired from the Indian Administrative Service in December 2010. He is a keen environmentalist and loves the mountains.....he has made them his home.