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#ShauryaGate will prove doomsday for Modi Govt

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NSA Ajit Doval, PM Modi and Amit Shah
NSA Ajit Doval, PM Modi and Amit Shah

Few days back the World Bank ranking for ease of doing business came and India’s ranking suddenly jumped from 130th to relatively much better 100. Prime Minister Modi and his cabinet colleagues went gaga over this and media was bombarded with paeans in support of this unique achievement.

The ground reality, however, seems to be just opposite as GDP growth is down to paltry 3.7%, 20 lakh or more people have lost their jobs after demonetisation, private investments have reached its nadir and banks NPAs are making banks go kaput.

The improved ranking in the ease of doing business may not have affected the general business climate positively but at least in two cases this seems to be true. The first beneficiary of improved ease of doing business ranking is Jay Shah, son of BJP President Amit Shah whose temple enterprises turnover increase by whopping 16000% which was unearthed by “The Wire”.

The same news portal “The Wire” has come out with another explosive revelation which claims that an organisation called India foundation owned by the son of Ajit Doval, NSA of Prime Minister has four central ministers as its directors and it is getting pecuniary help from Indian and foreign companies.

According to the report published in “The Wire”, India Foundation was a small time company in the business of graphics preparation against the orthodox Islam and forced conversions of tribals in Kerala. Although this company was established way back in 2009 but the phenomenal growth was observed only since 2014 which raises lot of questions.

India Foundation has now morphed into one of the most powerful think tanks which facilitates a platform for Indian and international business houses where industrialists rub shoulders and discuss govt’s policies with senior ministers and secretary rank officers.

Now the transactions of India Foundation which is not at all transparent and the central minister being directors of this company raises multiple questions since the owner of this company Shaurya Doval runs another company called Gemini Financial Services which executes transactions between other countries.

This is a clear case of conflict of interest and lobbying, two things which Prime Minister promised to end in 2014.He categorically made it apparent that there will not be any middle man in the corridors of power.After this revelation, people of this country are feeling cheated and deceived.

It is interesting to know that Shaurya Doval is son of powerful National Security Advisor Ajit Doval who is considered close to PM Modi. It’s a strange coincidence that Modi won in 2014 on premise of ending the dynastic rule.

Shaurya Doval and Ram Madhav, an ex RSS man and the current General Secretary of BJP run this company but it also has Defence Minister Ms Nirmala Sitharaman,Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha and Minister of state for Foreign Affairs MJ Akbar as its directors.

You can’t think of more potent and effective think tank than this where four important ministers are directors and the owners include an ex RSS leader and son of NSA who has important say in the Govt functioning. Till this date all the programmes which this organisation conducted were run away success because of the presence of all important policy makers and the top Indian and overseas company sponsored these programmes.

The reason behind the success of this outfit is these six important faces which is also its biggest problem since it clearly raises the issue of conflict of interest as these companies can easily manipulate the Governmental policies as per their need and they can also get the inconvenient policies changed as per their requirements.

Since this institution is run by a trust, as per existing laws, it is not mandatory for them to make its balance sheet public and despite the presence of central ministers on the board it refused to answer the queries related to its source of funding and transactions.

“The Wire” further claimed that during the preparation of report they contacted all six people associated with this institution through letter and asked their opinion but it failed to get any reply from the concerned ministers and only Ram Madhav, the General Secretary of BJP responded by saying that he will come out with appropriate answer in due course but that is yet to happen.

However, Shaurya Doval replied that the bulk of income is generated through Conferences, Adverisements and Journals but he failed to name the companies who contribute and he had no answer as how his company, which is registered as a trust, meets its day to day expenses and how is he managing an office in a posh locality like Hailey Road which is part of famous Lutyens zone of New Delhi. He also had no answer as how he manages the salary and other expenses of his staff members.

“The Wire” further claims that one of the programmes which India Foundation conducted was “Smart Border Management” where the name of sponsors of the event was openly displayed and they could also be seen at the stage and other venues. The sponsors included top aviation company like Boeing and Magal, an Israeli company dealing in armaments.

Apart from these companies there were DBS Bank and other leading Private overseas companies but it is not clear as what were the terms and condition for the participation of these companies and how much they contributed towards these mega events. According to “The Wire” India Foundation is an independent Research Center whose job is to study the issues, challenges and the opportunities of Indian politics. But in another interview Shaurya Doval conceded that he works in tandem with the BJP and the Union Govt on important issues.

Interestingly, this particular interview is available on the website of Gemini Financial Services which proves that transparency is bunkum. Shaurya was previously running a company called G Yes Capital which was later merged into the Gemini Financial Services. The Chairman of Gemini Financial Services is Prince Mishal Bin Abdullah Bin Turki Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud who is son of late king Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

“The Wire” reports that when they asked about the conflict of interest angle, Shaurya replied that the question doesn’t arise since India Foundation is not in the business of transaction on their own or on behalf of others and moreover lobbying or any related activities are strictly prohibited in the charter of company.”The Wire” also raised query from the PMO but no reply came from there.

 

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

 

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Arun Jaitley blames Auditors, Management for failing to detect PNB scam

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PM Modi in UAE

After five days,Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was quick to blame the PNB management and auditors for the Nirav Modi’s Rs. 11,300 crore fraud.It is pertinent to remind Jaitley that Dr Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister was charged for being responsible for the 1992 Harshad Mehta scam , therefore in the present context Finance Minister Jaitley cannot acquit himself of the eroding credibility of India’s banking system that has a direct cost on the country and the taxpayer and an indirect cost on borrowings and development as well.

Finance Minister and Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot absolve their constitutional and democratic responsibility for the enormous scale of the scam which has many dimensions including fake bank guarantees or letters of Understanding.

Firms associated with Nirav Modi got fake LoUs from the Punjab National Bank (PNB), which is distributed to other banks stationed overseas seeking credit.The fraudulent transactions worth Rs 11,400 crore by Nirav Modi and his maternal uncle Mehul Choksi has embarrassed the government that claims to provide scam-free governance.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot afford to campaign in 2018 and 2019 elections on giving corrupt free government as massive scams are coming to light and government is assisting capitalists to run away with taxpayers’ money.

PM Modi’s silence is amazingly stunning as he is not at all worried about India’s economy,one of the country’s biggest bank frauds, security and other problems of the common man but is rather living in his own false world and brags of giving good governance , acche din and Mann ki Baat where he continues on giving one sided communication.

Modi has fielded Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Education Minister Prakash Javadekar  to defend the government and clean the blot that could not have taken place without “top leadership involvement”.

Modi should step down for the financial fraud as 293 letters of undertaking (LoU), many letters of credit (LC),
were issued during March, April and May 2017. Trying to hide failures of NDA government, the centre has sought the aid of seven agencies (Enforcement Directorate,Interpol,Central Bureau of Investigation,Income Tax department,
Central Vigilance Commission,Ministry of Corporate Affairs) both at home and abroad to investigate the entire scam
and investigators are conducting t searches at PNB branches and Nirav Modi’s properties.

Modi even claimed that his government had deregistered over 3 lakh dormant and shell companies listed with
the Registrar of Companies but How is it possible that the ministry of Corporate affairs failed to identify
the 200 shell companies of Nirav Modi and Choksi which the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement
Directorate found to have been used to invest the Rs 11,400 crore of fraudulently obtained money.

The Indian banking sector is already struggling under the weight of bad loansor the NPAs valued as high as $150bn.
and the government recently announced it would inject $32bn into the sector to help banks clean up their books,
but analysts have questioned whether the money is enough without reforming the banks themselves.The Bharatiya Janata Party is also diverting the attention by saying that the Nirav Modi scam occurred during UPA regime and trying to accuse the Opposition for their failure to detect scams.

 

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By: Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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India’s Sri Lanka challenge

From all accounts, India’s encirclement has begun with ruthless efficiency. Pakistan is gone. Maldives is about to fall. Nepal is almost there.

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70th Independence Day celebrations in Colombo

My wife and I recently visited Sri Lanka on a holiday with friends. For both of us, it was the first visit after almost 15 years. At that time, the idyllic island country was caught up in a deadly civil war that claimed countless lives and devastated the economy. When Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed power as the Sri Lankan President, he made the elimination of the Tamil Tigers his foremost objective. After 30 months of relentless assaults, the 26-year-old civil war finally ended in 2009, with the killing of Tamil Tigers (LTTE) leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and the ruthless decimation of his supporters.

It is argued that widespread human rights excesses occurred and that the Tamils were openly discriminated against. This is true. Yet, what is also true is that the island country finally saw peace for the very first time after decades of unrest, uncertainty and terrorism. The Sri Lanka we visited was in complete contrast with the one I had grown accustomed to, with gun-toting security personnel everywhere. Now there was a sense of calm. Even impatience, at being held back for so many years. It is as if it was time to claim the life that had been long denied.

For India, the end of the civil war and of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was good news. It had already declared the LTTE as a terrorist organisation, but domestic compulsions — with its allies in Tamil Nadu openly aligning with Prabhakaran — forced New Delhi to opt for covert support for the anti-LTTE military operations. Tragically, with the end of the civil war, history repeated itself and India, once again, lost its momentum. Today, we are on the brink of losing Sri Lanka to Beijing.

The Chinese presence in Sri Lanka is not covert. Far from it. You see them everywhere and the pace of the activity is hectic. Chinese dredging ships can be openly seen working at a furious pace. Work on the Hanbantota port has started. Chinese workers are everywhere, from shopping malls to pubs. Many are learning to speak Sinhalese. Hotels, roads and infrastructure, performing arts theatres, a swanky cricket stadium are not simply projects on the drawing board. People can see them. The importance of the visual should never be underestimated. And given the speed with which the Chinese execute projects, a real estate transformation is credibly under way.

Over a period of 12 years (2005–17), Beijing has poured in $15 billion into projects in Sri Lanka. The Chinese Ambassador conveyed an unambiguous message to India, which sees Chinese presence in Sri Lanka as an intrusion in its immediate sphere of influence, when he said, “No negative force can undermine the cooperation between Sri Lanka and China.”

For India, this is a disturbing development. Indian foreign policy has relied heavily on “time-tested civilisational links”. While this is undoubtedly appealing, there is an aspirational impatience among Sri Lankans that India failed to see and respond to with the scale, speed and imagination that only Beijing appears capable of.

It is common enough to hear Sri Lankans say how disgruntled and unhappy they are with the intrusive presence of the Chinese, who are loud and arrogant. It is like a deadly embrace but one that they find lucrative, if they wish to fast-track to a prosperous future. Artists impressions of future Colombo tell Sri Lankans that it will rival Singapore. It will bring in investments, tourism, employment and economic well-being. This can be seriously tempting.

From all accounts, India’s encirclement has begun with ruthless efficiency. Pakistan is gone. Maldives is about to fall. Nepal is almost there. And Sri Lanka is under an understandable hypnotic trance. India genuinely faces its most serious security challenge.

If India is to get its act together, it needs not only imagination but the speed and efficiency to deliver on its promises to offer Sri Lankans a future that the civil war denied them. For Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, India’s neighbourhood will be a disturbing challenge. The problem he would face is convincing the political, bureaucratic and corporate partners that India faces its greatest-ever security threat and one that we are on the brink of losing.

As the legendary chess player Bobby Fisher once remarked, “If you are playing the game, you play to win. But if you’ve lost the game, it’s because you took your eyes off the pieces and then, you deserve to lose.”

By : Amit Dasgupta

(Amit Dasgupta is a former Indian diplomat. The article is in special arrangement with www.southasiamonitor.org)

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Netanyahu threatens ‘to act’ against Iran

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Benjamin Netanyahu-wefornews-min

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has warned  Iran saying he was ready to go to war if Tehran continued to entrench itself in Syria. Netanyahu addressed the Munich Security Conference which was attended by International leaders.

Directly addressing Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif and holding a piece of an Iranian drone shot down by Israel last week after it infiltrated its territory, Netanyahu during his speech said: “Do you recognize this? You should. It’s yours. You can take back with you a message to the tyrants of Tehran: Do not test Israel’s resolve.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif dismissed Israeli premier’s remarks and called them ‘a cartoonish circus.’

Equating Iran with Nazi Germany, Israeli PM drew many comparisons. “Let me be clear, Iran is not Nazi Germany,” he said. “There are many differences between the two,” he said, but, he noted, “there are also some striking similarities.”

He drew a parallel between the 1938 Munich Agreement, seen as a failed attempt to appease Nazi Germany, and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that has “unleashed a dangerous Iranian tiger in our region and beyond.”

The tensions between Israel and Syria escalated after an Iranian drone that crossed into Israeli airspace was shot down by the Israel Air Force on February 10.

Bolstered by the support US President Donald Trump, the prime minister reiterated he does not support a full Palestinian state, but a “state minus.” Netanyahu said the Palestinians should have self-rule, but not the “freedom to threaten our security.” Netanyahu indicated that he has been discussing legislation with the United States that would effectively annex settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Condemning the remarks, Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation termed it as “land theft” with US complicity.While Israeli police recommended the indictment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Accusing Tehran of seeking a permanent military foothold in Syria by supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in civil war entering its eighth year, Netanyahu said Israel could act against Iran itself — not just its allies — after border incidents in Syria brought the Middle East foes closer to direct confrontation.

Worried over the increase of Iranian influence in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, Netanyahu stated that Israel would not allow Iran to establish military bases in Syria.

At a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of a major security conference in Munich, Netanyahu declared that the Golan Heights would “remain in Israel’s hands forever.”

The Syrian Golan Heights has been under Israeli occupation since 1967.

 

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By: Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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