Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rahul says Congress is ready to sacrifice Govt.

Amethi, July 16, 2008:

It is not often that Rahul Gandhi interacts with the media specially when he is touring his parliamentary constituency. A little restless and contemplative Gandhi scion decided to hold a press conference to back Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's "vision, tenacity and leadership" over the Indo-US nuclear deal this after noon. He went on to say the nuke deal was worth the risk of sacrificing the government, if it came to that.

Rahul's almost desperate statement spilled the beans that the Congress was not ruling out the fall of government when it faces trust vote in the Lok Sabha on July 22. Speculations are rife that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh might step down even before his government seeks trusts vote on the floor of the house.

Coming out fully in support of the deal Rahul on second thoughts expressed confidence that the government would secure the vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha. "The deal is being opposed for political reasons. But in political life, risks have to be taken. The leadership the prime minister is showing...He thinks it is in the interest of the country. If the government falls in the process so be it," he told reporters.
"When you are convinced that it is in the interest of the people of the country, numbers don't matter. This decision that the prime minister has taken, in my view, is the right decision ," he said. In a reference to Left parties, "they" have an ideological position but the Congress has decided it is good for the country.
"There are people in BJP and other parties who are 100 per cent for the deal. I don't understand why there are people opposing the deal. It is not only Rahul Gandhi but every young person in the country who is bound to support the deal because it is going to change the future face of the country," he said.
When it was pointed out that this had led Congress to align with Samajwadi Party, a party it had opposed earlier and the new alignment may hurt Congress in the long run, he said, " we have staked whatever we could."
"I remember during my childhood when my father was doing this (ushering in the computer and it revolution) people used to say it is completely ridiculous. Various arguments were given. Some said how do the farmers gain from it and today almost everyone has a computer. And some have it on their watches," he said.
Once again during his two-day tour Rahul had his dinner in a dalit's house, adding to the growing irrigation of the chief minister Mayawati.

Friday, July 11, 2008

CBI counts Mayawati's Millions

Lucknow July 10, 2008

CBI had to do as little as to retrieve the election-affidavits filed by Mayawati to nail her. The affidavits account for a rise from Rs 1.35 crore to Rs 52 crore in just four years. The astounding jump in Mayawati’s assets, with only flimsy evidence to prove how it was acquired, has become the focus of CBI's affidavit The agency filed this counter-affidavit in the Supreme Court on Thursday to justify its decision to charge sheet the Uttar Pradesh chief minister in a disproportionate assets case.

The charges listed in detail are backed by documents running into over 100 pages. On this very basis the CBI has insisted on prosecuting Mayawati. The affidavit says that in April 2004, Mayawati in her affidavit before the returning officer for Akbarpur LS constituency put her assets at Rs 1.5 lakh in cash, Rs 9.78 lakh in bank deposits and properties worth Rs 1.25 crore in Delhi. This totalled Rs 1.35 crore.

Four years later for the nomination papers filed during 2007 assembly elections in U.P., her affidavit puts the value of her total assets at Rs 52 crore. The sudden increase in wealth has not been explained, says the CBI affidavit. When questioned by CBI, Mayawati came up with the clever explanation that she had collected the money through her supporters contributions ranging from Rs 5 to Rs 10. CBI, however, said no evidence was provided by her towards this explanation.

CBI said in its affidavit that it did a professional job by thoroughly investigating each and every aspect of the DA case. It had painstakingly gathered evidence and came to a conclusion that it was a fit case for filing the charge sheet against her as mandated under Section 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). The affidavit was in response to Mayawati’s petition accusing CBI of harassing her by keeping alive the DA case.

The CBI affidavit claimed that 96 plots, houses and orchards were bought between 1998 and 2003 by Mayawati and her relatives. The affidavit gives graphic details of the properties acquired by the UP chief minister’s father Prabhu Dayal, her brothers Raj Kumar, Siddharth Kumar, Subhash Kumar and Anand Kumar, and cousins Tej Singh and Rajveer Singh. It says that they opened 94 bank accounts to stash away money unaccounted for.

The affidavit said the investigations into the disproportionate assets case against Mayawati were completed as far back as 2006, but the BSP supremo, who was questioned on May 10, 2005 at her residence, sent a fresh representation on July 17, 2006, requesting her re-examination by CBI.

‘‘Mayawati was re-examined at her residence. This was followed by a series of representations submitted by Mayawati and her family members raising new contentions and claims on each occasion, which resulted in continuation of the investigation, which now finally stands concluded,’’ the CBI said. ‘‘Final decision has been taken by the competent authority to file the Final Report (charge sheet) under Section 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” CBI said.

According to the affidavit following are the details of bank accounts in the name of UP chief minister Mayawati, her relatives and associates, and properties bought by them from 1998 to 2003. It says 74 properties, including 41 agricultural plots, 18 residential plots, 5 forest plots, 7 shops, business and commercial properties, 2 shops-cum-residences, 3 gardens/orchards are valued at Rs 7.78 crore. Besides there are 22 other properties acquired by Mayawati in own name or that of family members, relatives and associates include 4 residential buildings at Inderpuri, Delhi. According to the affidavit 54 bank accounts and deposits totalling Rs 7.36 crore were seized in Mayawati's and her relatives' names. Forty more bank accounts with a deposit of Rs 5.29 crore were frozen.

These were allegedly used to channel funds into her and her relatives' accounts. Mayawati's sister-in-law purchased 60% share in Hotel Shilton, Mussoorie, for Rs 90 lakh, 307 donations/gifts worth Rs 13.18 crore were shown to have been received by Mayawati, her family members and relatives from more than 130 donors. The CBI traced 30 donors, who said they do not have the means to donate the said huge amounts .

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mayawati has Mulayam on a sticky wicket

Lucknow, July 2, 2008

Chief minister Mayawati's clever twist by calling nuclear deal anti-Muslim has Samajwadi Party (SP) and its chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on a sticky wickets. As a result Mulayam's younger brother and senior SP functionary Shivpal Singh Yadav convened a media conference today to call Mayawati's statement "mischievous and politically angled". But a group of important Sunni and Shia Muslim religious leaders called on Mayawati this afternoon and openly came out in support of her views.

Mayawati had in a press conference yesterday lambasted the Samajwadi Party for joining hands with the Congress and by doing so supporting the nuke deal. Terming Yadav as a great ‘opportunist,’ Mayawati said that he had decided to back the Congress on the issue of nuclear deal in spite of the fact that it had been widely opposed in the country and enraged Muslims in particular. “The cause for this is that the deal has been done at the cost of cheap gas from Iran,” she said.

Shivpal Singh today had to come out in defence of his party's position. He also charged," Mayawati has always joined hands with communal forces and the Muslims are too familiar with her real character." As he did the explaining, a parallel press conference was held by a Muslim SP MP and some former SP leaders to criticise the likely tie-up with Congress. Said SP MP from Muzzaffarnagar Munnawar Hasan in presence of former SP minister Gauri Shanker, "The party's interest is being traded away by Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh, who has struck a deal with US."

Meanwhile an influential group of Muslim religious leaders met the CM Mayawati today. They included Maulana Dr. Kalbe Sadiq, Maulana Hamidul Hasan, Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangimahali Nayab Imam Idgah, Maulana Fazlurrehman, Imam Tile wali Masjid, Maulana Naimurrehman, Maulana Aleem Faruqui, Sayyed Aijaz Ahmed, Siraj Mehdi, Wasim Rizvi, Sayyed Zaheerul Hasan and Amirul Hasan. According to official release of the government, these religious clerics of Shia and Sunni Community jointly said that the Chief Minister should use her influence to prevent the anti-national atomic deal with America.

The move is certainly rattling for the Samajwadi Party which is the self-proclaimed custodians of the Muslims.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Talking through your hat for a record

Lucknow July 1, 2008

Can talking through your hat get you recognition? Yes if you are Pawan Kumar Srivastava. Srivastava has created a world record in talking continuously on the phone. Taking 1,150 odd calls, the Lucknow based record freak spent 72 hours blabbering non-stop on the phone. He entered the Limca Book of Records today.

Observers from the Limca Book of Records kept a close watch on Pawan throughout his feat. They later confirmed that he completed 72 hours of talking on phone at 4.10 pm on June 30. Srivastava already has four entries in Limca book of records and has got himself registered in the Guinness world record book as well. He has the record for longest basketball dribbling for 55 hours 28 minutes.

The event was supervised by Venkat JC Kasibatla as the observer from the Limca book of records. Pawan did show signs of fatigue on Monday morning but his chats with celebrities like Daler Mehendi and stand-up comedians Raju Srivastava and Naveen Prabhakar proved very refreshing, he said later. The most memorable was a caller who clocked a time of 12 hours talking to him on phone, said Pawan after accomplishing his feat.

The calls came from various countries but the maximum international calls came from the Gulf countries. Allowed a 10-minute break after every hour, Pawan took his halt on Sunday after 31 hours of continuous talking. He, however, took two more breaks before Monday evening, when he finally completed his record.