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Electoral bonds are legitimate, transparent: Jaitley



Arun Jaitley

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) Terming electoral bonds a legitimate and transparent method of political funding, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said it masks the link between the party and the donor in the same way the electoral trusts brought by the UPA did.

NGOs have tendency to either exaggerate or misrepresent and were spreading misinformation about the bonds, he said in a Facebook post.

“Those dealing with elections and electoral reforms have come out with two categories of reports. The first one says that since in its balance sheet, the BJP declares much larger income, it should be assumed that it gets more donations than other parties.

“The second report says that BJP gets the lion’s share of the electoral bonds. Both display a lack of understanding of how parties function,” he said

Jaitley said the BJP preferred legitimate methods like crowd sourcing, cheque and electoral bonds over “the old obsolete style” of collecting only black money by some parties.

“It (BJP) declares a larger income and gullible friends in the NGOs believe that they get more,” he said, asking the NGOs if they “honestly” believe the balance sheets of the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Samajwadi Party, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) or several others.

“They (parties) obviously do not disclose the income that they get because most of these donations are in cash. This has significantly reduced the credibility of the reports of these NGOs.”

Highlighting his association with political funding reforms, Jaitley said he, as Law Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, moved a Bill legitimising donations through a cheque provided it is declared to Income Tax Department and the Election Commission.

Later, Pranab Mukherjee, as a Finance Minister during UPA-II, brought out “a second reform” in the year 2010 as he realised cheque donations would not bring a change, he said.

“Donors fear the consequences of their revealed identities being linked to a political party to whom they donated. He very wisely masked the identity by creating a pass-through electoral trust in 2010.

“This practice legislated by UPA-II, is still in progress and utilised by some.”

Jaitley said the NDA government similarly created the instrument of electoral bonds in 2017 based on the principle of masking the link between the party and the donor, to encourage the latter to donate white money without fear of consequences.

He said there was improved transparency in the electoral bonds as against the original system of cash, and the State Bank of India has a record of the donors.

“The link between the donor and the identity of the party is masked in the same way as is done in the case of electoral trust.

“Surprisingly the attack is against the bonds and not the electoral trusts because the earlier was brought by the NDA and the latter was by UPA,” he alleged.

Jaitley claimed that donors will have no option but to donate only by cash after siphoning monies from their businesses if the bonds do not exist.

He cited the recent Election Commission and IT raids in states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh, where taxpayers’ money “is being siphoned out and round-tripping into politics”.

“Is that a better option or the reformed system of all white money and improved, if not a perfect transparency? NGOs and commentators must look beyond their nose,” he asked.


‘Operation’ Lotus to bloom in Rajasthan too?

Gehlot, sources said, has also spoken to Sonia Gandhi, Rajasthan in-charge Avinash Pandey and party General Secretary, Organisation, K.C. Venugopal to apprise them of the developments taking place in the state.




Gehlot, Pilot

Jaipur, July 11 🙂 Will “Operation Lotus” be successful in Rajasthan and will the desert state reprise the Madhya Pradesh story? This was the most asked question in political corridors here soon after Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday called a press meet, where he termed the BJP as a “shameless party which was trying to topple the Congress government when it was busy tackling the Covid-19 crisis in the state”.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot reached Delhi on Saturday, triggering more speculations.

There were reports that around 15 MLAs are camping in Delhi to show his support to Pilot, who is also the state unit chief. According to sources, MLA P.R. Meena, considered a member of the Pilot team, wanted to meet interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi to apprise her of the step-motherly treatment being given to them by the Gehlot government.

Meanwhile, Gehlot called a meeting of ministers at his official residence late on Saturday and asked all the party MLAs to write a letter of support for him.

Senior ministers have been roped in to make Congress MLAs to write a letter showing their solidarity with Gehlot. However, ministers from Pilot camp did not attend this meeting.

Gehlot, sources said, has also spoken to Sonia Gandhi, Rajasthan in-charge Avinash Pandey and party General Secretary, Organisation, K.C. Venugopal to apprise them of the developments taking place in the state.

In fact, the state government has also sealed the borders in the name of Covid-19 spread. Earlier, the borders were sealed in the run-up to the Rajya Sabha polls soon after the Chief Minister hit out at the BJP over its alleged plans of ”horse-trading”.

Earlier, the day saw a buzz of political activity as Gehlot openly accused the BJP of indulging in ”horse-trading” and trying to topple his government while the BJP dismissed the allegations, saying that the Congress has been unable to keep its own house in order.

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Critics blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone jail term

The move – sparing Stone from jail but not a pardon – came just after a court denied Stone’s request to delay the start date of his 40-month prison term.




Roger Stone

Washington, July 12 : Leading Democrats have condemned US President Donald Trump’s decision to commute the prison sentence of his former adviser and friend Roger Stone.

Presidential contender Joe Biden’s spokesman accused Trump of abuse of power and “laying waste” to US values, the BBC reported.

The move – sparing Stone from jail but not a pardon – came just after a court denied Stone’s request to delay the start date of his 40-month prison term.

He was convicted of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

Stone was the sixth Trump aide found guilty on charges linked to a justice department probe that alleged Russia tried to boost the Trump 2016 campaign.

The 67-year-old had been due to report to a federal prison in Jesup, Georgia, next Tuesday.

The White House said Stone was the victim of an attempt by opponents to undermine the presidency.

The president has been accused by political critics of undermining the justice system by criticising criminal cases against Stone and other former aides.

Trump has also publicly complained about the prosecutions of onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Biden’s spokesman Bill Russo said Trump could not be shamed and could only be stopped at the ballot box.

“President Trump has once again abused his power, releasing this commutation on a Friday night, hoping to yet again avoid scrutiny as he lays waste to the norms and the values that make our country a shining beacon to the rest of the world,” he said.

House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff condemned Trump”s clemency.

“With this commutation,” said the top Democratic lawmaker, “Trump makes clear that there are two systems of justice in America: one for his criminal friends, and one for everyone else.”

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said it showed Donald Trump was the most corrupt president in history.

But the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, welcomed the news, saying Roger Stone’s sentence was draconian.

Stone himself told reporters that under the terms of the commutation he could now appeal against his sentence, and was confident that he could expose “an enormous amount of corruption” at his trial.

The White House said in a statement: “Roger Stone is a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency.”

It said that Department of Justice prosecutors under special counsel Robert Mueller only charged Stone out of frustration after failing to prove the “fantasy” that the Trump campaign had colluded with the Kremlin.

The White House also suggested that the FBI had tipped off CNN about their pre-dawn raid on Stone”s house, noting that a camera crew for the cable network was on the scene to record the arrest.

“Roger Stone has already suffered greatly,” the statement said. “He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man!”

Trump had been hinting about a reprieve for Stone for months, including on Thursday night in an interview with a Fox News host.

The president”s commutation does not void a criminal conviction as a pardon does.

Stone was found guilty of lying to the House Intelligence Committee about his attempts to contact Wikileaks, the website that released damaging emails about Trump”s 2016 Democratic election rival Hillary Clinton.

US intelligence officials have concluded the messages were stolen by Russian hackers.

Stone had acknowledged during the 2016 campaign that he was in contact with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

He also intimated that he knew the website would disclose more than 19,000 emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee servers.

Stone”s sentence fell short of an initial seven-to-nine-year recommendation from prosecutors.

In a remarkable move, US Attorney General William Barr had overruled that sentencing guideline following a Trump tweet, and instead recommended a more lenient punishment.

That intervention led to the entire Stone prosecution team resigning from the case.

Stone has worked with Republicans since the 1970s and has a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back.

In the 1990s, Stone worked as a lobbyist for Trump’s casino business, and later helped Trump’s unsuccessful White House run in 2000.

According to the Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone, the strategist reportedly encouraged Trump to run for the presidency again.

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Youth Congress workers send handcuffs to UP CM Yogi Adityanath after Vikas Dubey’s encounter

On Friday morning, Dubey was shot dead when he reportedly tried to flee after a road accident in which the vehicle he was travelling in overturned near Kanpur.




Indian Youth Congress Handcuff ot Yogi

New Delhi, July 11 : A day after encounter death of gangster Vikas Dubey at the hands of UP Police STF, the Indian Youth Congress (IYC) workers, here on Saturday, sent handcuffs to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to indicate growing gundaraj in the state.

IYC leader Varun Pandey said it was evident the UP police didn”t handcuff high-risk criminal. Dubey tried to flee from the UP police custody after having surrendered a day before to the Madhya Pradesh Police in Ujjain.

In a similar case, an aide of Dubey also tried to flee from the police custody and was killed in the encounter.

“It shows the Police don”t have sufficient means to restrain criminals, particularly handcuffs. Hence, the IYC has decided to send handcuffs to the UP Chief Minister as a symbolic protest,” he said.

IYC General Secretary Bhaiya Pawar said with several questions surrounding Dubey”s encounter, like attempts to stop the media from covering the STF cavalcade, changing of vehicle from Safari to SUV, and encounter of other Dubey aides, one thing was clear there was gundaraj in UP.

He said the chain of events given by the police also raised several questions. “If they are not able to hold a single criminal, what”s their utility,” he added..

On Friday morning, Dubey was shot dead when he reportedly tried to flee after a road accident in which the vehicle he was travelling in overturned near Kanpur.

Five Dubey gang members have been killed in the encounters over the past seven days.

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