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isuse of Public Funds: DELHI, UP TOP SHOTS CHARGED, By Insaf, 23 May, 2013 Print E-mail

Round The States

New Delhi, 23 May 2013

Misuse of Public Funds


By Insaf


Three cheers to the lokayuktas—this time Delhi’s and Uttar Pradesh. With their recent indictment of powers-that-be, the two have not only sought to get back crores of ‘misused’ public money, but may have opened a Pandora’s Box. In the run up to the Assembly elections, it’s been better late than never for Delhi’s Justice Manmohan Sarin. On Monday last, he hauled up Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for abusing her position and running a Government advertisement campaign with a “political purpose” ahead of the last Assembly poll in 2008. Sarin has thus recommended to President Pranab Mukherjee: one, caution Dikshit for the alleged misuse of public funds; two, advice her to reimburse a sum of Rs 11 crore (half the cost of the ads) either herself or through her party; and three, any other amount he finds adequate. This follows a probe into former Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta’s complaint that Government machinery, particularly Information and Publicity dept was asked to project the CM in a positive light during elections and overcome the anti-incumbency factor. The fact that the pattern of ads by the Government and Congress clearly establishes “an inextricable nexus between the two,” the Lokayukta has suggested framing of guidelines for publication of Government ads. The UPA-II had better watch out. Its mega advertisement blitz may find many complainants.    


Likewise, the UP Lokayukta N K Mehrotra has bad news for former CM and BSP chief Mayawati. In his report into the dalit memorial scam in Lucknow and Noida, he stated public money worth Rs 1,400 crore, from a total of Rs 5919 crores, was siphoned off by ministers and bureaucrats during her regime. Of the 199 people indicted, two prominent ministers Naseemuddi Siddiqui and Babu Singh Kushwaha were “at the centre of the scam” and have been asked to compensate the losses. While Mayawati has been spared, Mehrotra has recommended FIRs against the two among 19, a detailed probe by special force, CBI, or ED and setting up of a special court for trial. The probe, started last May reveals the crass absurdity of misuse of funds--from trees to construction. Sandstone for the memorials was shown as double the cost, carving of the 200 elephant statues was stated at Rs 48 lakh each whereas Rs 5 lakh was paid, 37,000 palm trees were imported from the Middle East at a cost of Rs 25,000 each instead of Rs 5,000, bulbs and lights for electrification were ‘bought from Belgium and Denmark’ whereas these were duplicates from Noida and Gurgaon! Guess, many more memorials using public funds should come under the scanner.

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Andhra Cong In tizzy

The burning issue of Telangana and tainted ministers have sent the Congress into a tizzy in Andhra Pradesh yet again. With Congress spokesperson P C Chacko putting his foot in the mouth the other day, saying Telangana was not on the UPA-II’s national agenda, three of its MPs have gone into proactive mode. 10 Janpath has been issued an ultimatum--take a decision by month-end or else they would take up TRS President K Chandrasekhar Rao’s offer to join him. While the Party has to find a way out, it had little option but to bite the bullet. On Monday it sought the resignation of its Home Minister P Sabitha Indra Reddy and Roads and Buildings Minister Dharmana Prasada. The two were Cabinet ministers (mining and revenue) in the Late YS Rajasekhara Reddy government and have been charged in the Jaganmohan Reddy disproportionate assets case. While Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy had been trying hard to stave off the bad publicity following the CBI chargesheets against the two, the party High Command seemed to have said enough is enough. Guess, it wants to save itself further embarrassment in the backdrop of Bansal and Kumar being shown the door in Delhi. How many more are to follow is worth a watch.

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Thumbs Up For SAD-BJP

It’s balle balle for the ruling SAD-BJP combine in Punjab. It registered an emphatic victory in the Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti elections, winning nearly 90 per cent of the seats. Of the 331 seats for the Zila Parishad, the combine won 269 seats leaving the Congress way behind with just 23 seats and other parties winning the remaining 5. In the contest for 2,732 seats in the Panchayat Samiti, the ruling alliance bagged 2,096 seats, the Congress a mere 442 seats and others including independents 152 seats. While the SAD-BJP had won the polls last time too, the victory is sweetened by the fact that the Congress efforts to regain lost ground has simply not worked. Recall that the party High Command had in a sudden move removed former Chief Minister and PCC chief Amarinder Singh by its MP, Partap Singh Bajwa this March. Clearly, the change has made no impact. Bajwa has failed miserably to cut into the SAD-BJP rural base. With an elated Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal terming the victory as a referendum on his Government’s performance, the Congress needs to put its house in order. Bajwa’s dismissal of the results as “mischievous” won’t lead it anywhere. 

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Delhi-Mumbai IPL Turf War

If sordid details about IPL’s Spot-fixing scandal were not bad enough, the Delhi-Mumbai turf war has made thinks murkier. Both are jostling to take credit for unearthing the scam. The first shot was fired by Delhi who accused its counterpart for failing to detect the scandal right under its nose. Mumbai hit back fast by refusing to share one of the three disgraced cricketer Sreesanth’s laptop, iPad, phones etc seized from a hotel.  Dubbing these at “leftovers” Delhi trashed Mumbai. Till Mumbaikars arrested ‘big fish’ TV and reality star Vindoo Dara Singh for betting following his phone intercepts to one of the nabbed bookies. It  as also called BCCI Chief and Chennai Super Kings owner Srininvasan’s son-in-law and CSK CEO Meiyappan for questioning. This followed call records retrieved from Vindoo’s phone. Clearly, Mumbai has got a leg-up in the territory battle. Either which way, between the warring policemen perhaps we can look forward to them getting to the end of this cricketing googly. The last word is still to be heard!

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MLAs: High Income Job?

Our legislatures from nine States can give tips on get-rich-quick. Shockingly, in less than five years, the MLAs from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Punjab, Kerala, Maharashtra, UP, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Bengal have become wealthier by Rs.10 to 100 crores. In Tamil Nadu, a Railway employee became a Union Minister and clocked Rs.70 crores in two years. In Karnataka, his counterpart resides in a 35000 sq.ft white house with 12 bedrooms. In Punjab, a Congress MLA used bottling beverages to add fizz to his life. In Red States Kerala and West Bengal, business and politics goes hand in hand for five State legislatures. In Maharashtra, a Shiv Sena’s Anda-wala sits in a Porsche seat. A Congress MLA one of the richest in Madhya Pradesh does not know how much his worth. And What to say of garib Jharkhand amir netas who are high-fliers in the corporate world. So much for asli Bharat’s rich reality! ---INFA


(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)


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