Police Man:A Diligent Cop


      FOR RAGURAJ Singh, a police sub-inspector who collated the initial information that led to the busting of the Rs 100-crore global kidney racket, last Saturday was a very special day

       That day, friends and wellwishers thronged the Mudha Pandey police station to congratulate him: he had been made “in-charge” of the police station, his first posting in that capacity Singh was an active member of the team that busted the racket and won praise for the Moradabad Police by uncovering people linked to the racket whose roots were traced overseas.

         The young officer applied his wits to develop the case information along with other team members. “We worked hard to expose the entire gang,” said Singh. Singh gave credit to senior officials, senior superintendent of police (SSP) Prem Prakash and team leader Manjil Saini, who he said backed them all along in exposing the racket.

       “We worked under their guidance and were successful in busting the racket,” said Singh. Delighted over the success of the team, SSP Prem Prakash rewarded Singh on Saturday by making him sta- tion officer of Mudha Pandey police station. Singh, who entered the police service in 2000, was chowki (outpost) in-charge in Budh Bazar when he was elevated as station officer.

       Father of two children, he feels his hard work had brought honour to his family “My elder son, too, wants to join the police,” he said proudly Singh’s father, presently posted in J.E Nagar as second officer in the fire service, and his two brothers are also in the police.

        For Singh, khaki occupies an important place in his life, which he says “gives him the strength to protect the poor”.

srajumrt@gmail.com

Police Man: A Brave One


new-picture-2.png      THERE WERE over 50 passengers in the Meerut-Delhi DTC bus in which the robbery took place.

      Only two people chose to take on the armed robbers. While bus conductor Preetam Singh was shot at and killed on the spot, constable Ramesh Chand Verma is being treated at hospital.

     According to the eyewitnesses, Verma not only raised his voice but also held one of the robbers by his waist. Finding his partner in crime in distress, the other robber shot at Verma. The bullet entered his body just below the waist, made its way through the left kidney and stopped just below the heart.

     Posted at Civil Lines police station in Meerut, Verma was coming back to his Nand Gram residence in Ghaziabad after doing double shift.

     “He is one of the honest policemen in service. Verma has the habit of doing his level best to help out people in distress. That is why he took on the robbers to help the jeweller,” said Krishna Kumar Tyagi, his colleague.

      According to doctors at Yashoda Hospital, Verma has already been operated upon and has been kept under 48hour observation. “We have removed his left kidney and spleen.

      He has been kept under observation,” said a doctor attending on him. atulmathur@hindustantimes.com

RTI: Harassment of Activists


RTI activism lands 2 villagers in jail : Another shameful episode   

Cops File Forgery Case As Society Formed By Them Was Unregistered  

Abhinav Garg | TNN  New Delhi: A bid by two villagers to bring about accountability in their local administration through RTI has resulted in their arrest on forgery charges by the Azamgarh police. Their crime? The society formed by them for the purpose is not registered.
   And, worse still, a local court refused to grant bail to the two who have been behind bars since their arrest on December 26 last year and who have now moved Allahabad High Court for relief.
   According to RTI activist Vimal Kumar, who has approached the National Human Rights Commission on behalf of the arrested duo, the villagers of Dehduar Kathauli decided to keep track of the funds allotted to their ‘gram sabha’ through the RTI Act and formed a society called Vikas Gram Sabha for the purpose. They soon filed a plea seeking information from the BDO and district panchayat officer over allocation of funds.
   This organised quest for transparency apparently caught the local block level officials by surprise, who quickly had Indrasen Singh and Asudhar Singh arrested on forgery charges. Seeing it as an act of defiance, panchayat officials also lodged a complaint against them, claiming the two were working for an unregistered organisation and ‘‘creating obstacles in the
development of the panchayat.’’
   Predictably, the police promptly obliged by foisting a case under non bailable sections and took their signed statements that the newly-formed society was not yet registered. Using that as an excuse, the police then alleged that Indrasen and Asudhar were running a fake society.
   The duo’s hopes of getting quick relief were dashed when the local sessions court refused to grant them bail. Despite repeated entreaties by their lawyer that his clients were being framed, the sessions judge turned a deaf ear.
   While dismissing the bail plea, the ASJ also termed the alleged crime as a ‘‘serious offence’’ and agreed with the police that evidence supported the charge that the duo created ‘‘obstacles in development work.’’
   The stunned villagers now hope to be set free by the Allahabad High Court where their bail plea is pending, while Kumar has moved the NHRC demanding action against the concerned local officials.

MCD Vs Delhi Govt: Pot Calling the Kettle Black


MCD Vs Delhi Govt: Pot Calling the Kettle Black

MCD to file FIR against Delhi govt  

       TIMES NEWS NETWORK  New Delhi: Standing committee chairman Vijender Gupta said on Monday that he was going to file an FIR against chief minister Sheila Dikshit and DPCC president Jai Prakash Aggarwal for ‘misleading the people of Delhi’ through the de-sealing notification. Gupta, along with mayor Arti Mehra and Leader of House Subhash Arya also met Union Urban development minister Jaipal Reddy to ask him to extend the desealing notification to the entire city. 

          ‘‘The notification has only created confusion. All properties cannot be desealed under it. Moreover, it has not touched upon the issue of sealing of unauthorised structures in the Capital. The notification is a political move in the wake of the Assembly elections and I will be lodging an FIR against the CM and the DPCC president tomorrow,’’ said Gupta.

        He further added that the Central government’s decision directing the local authorities to stop demolition or sealing of encroachment or unauthorised development on private land and in unauthorised colonies is a farce.

    Meanwhile, the Supreme Court appointed monitoring committee will be meeting officials from the Delhi government, Delhi Police, DDA, MCD, NDMC and Union Development ministry on Tuesday to figure out which areas would be provided relief through the desealing notification issued by the Central government recently.

       According to sources, the main aim of the meeting would be to discuss which areas are being covered by the notification and what kind of relief is being provided to them.

Mayawati: Love and Affection turns in to wealth


      Aided by the Income tax Department, and the Congress Maya’s annual income jumps to Rs 60 crore  

Rs 15 Crore Advance Tax Till Dec 

 Pradeep Thakur | TNN  New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati is growing richer by the year. During the last financial year, her income was estimated at an impressive Rs 52 crore. This financial year, her income is on course to crossing Rs 60 crore.
   Till the quarter ended December 31, the Dalit czarina had paid Rs 15 crore as advance tax. At 33% income tax slab, this works out to an income of about Rs 45 crore. If the trend continues between December 15, when the last instalment of advance tax was paid, and March 31, 2008, she could end the year with an income of over Rs 60 crore.
   Indeed, if the turnout at her January 15 birthday bash is any indication, she could close the year with a much higher income. The BSP chief has attributed her remarkable financial rise to “gifts” from her generous supporters.
   Based on her Rs 9.7 crore payout on December 15, Mayawati was already ranked 18th in the all-India individual taxpayers category, a remarkable rise for the former government schoolteacher. And based on her payments till December, which amounted to Rs 15 crore, she was placed 19th.
   She is ranked a few notches below Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan in the advance tax list. Not only is Mayawati’s income more than that of any politician, she ranks higher than the Ambani brothers, Birlas, Bachchans, Ratan Tata and Infosys’s Nandan Nilekani.
         Kumaramangalam Birla trails the the Dalit leader way behind, at 57th place, while the richest cricketer, Master Blaster Tendulkar is a distant 85th. Aamir Khan is placed even farther, at a not-so-impresive 123rd.
         Mayawati’s explanation of a turaround in her fortunes may appear a fairy tale to many, but was accepted last year by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, which legitimized her claim.

       The script is likely to remain the same this year as well. More so, as she is in power. Though the finance ministry usually does not get into proving the source of income of individuals, it has in Mayawati’s case, as in many other instances earlier, shown its readiness to examine the veracity of her claim.
   Mayawati in her statements before the taxmen and to CBI, which is investigating her in a disproportionate assets case, had claimed that her supporters had given her large amounts of cash and pledged their personal properties out of “love and affection” and for the welfare of the downtrodden and the Dalits.

RICHER AND RICHER
      BSP chief paid Rs 15cr advance tax till December, indicating total income of around Rs 45cr till then
      Her income, estimated at Rs 52cr during 2006-07, is likely to cross Rs 60cr
      Maya ranks 19th, going by her advance payment, behind Shah Rukh Khan but far ahead of the Ambani brothers, Tatas, Birlas, Bachchans and Infosys’s Nandan Nilekani


Maya paid Rs 12 cr tax in ’06-07 on gifts

       New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati’s contentions that her supporters had given her large amounts of cash and pledged their personal properties out of “love and affection” was validated by the Income Tax Appelate Tribunal (ITAT) in a recent ruling finding nothing wrong in a mass leader like Mayawati receiving “gifts”.
         “These gifts are made out of natural love and affection by the donors thus remains unquestioned and uncontroversial,” the ITAT ruling had said, ridiculing the motive of the I-T assessing officer in questioning the colour of the money. The Dalit leader had paid more than Rs 12 crore in the previous year on income coming from other sources, such as gifts. Though the quantum of gifts she declared before the I-T department in previous years was negligible, in 2003-04, she even claimed standard deduction on them.
   The wealth creation of the Dalit czarina in the account books took a gigantic proportion after the CBI started breathing down her neck in the disproportionate assets case, asking her to explain the yawning gulf between her known sources of income and her wealth.
   The CBI, during its investigation against the Bahujan Samaj Party chief a few years ago, had found more than 70 properties and over 300 donations valued at Rs 13 crore in her name and in the names of her family members. Subsquently, the agency froze over 50 bank accounts having more than Rs 7 crore in them.
   After the law relating to gifts from a non-relative was amended in 2004 where a gift of more than Rs 50,000 from a non-relative in one year could be considered as income of the assessee, Mayawati started filing returns showing gifts as her income and paid taxes on them, sources said.
   Surprised by the manner in which the ITAT had legitimized her gifts and the uproar it generated from a cross-section of the society, the government has said it would appeal against the tribunal judgment in the Delhi High Court and seek a reversal of the order as otherwise it will set a precedent.

Sania Mirza: Decision not to play in India


       Indians are allowing bullies and cranks to hijack our way of life.

        Systems in place to preserve democracy and freedom are being misused to blackmail the powerless, the weak and the innocent. Criminals are given police protection , protected by security guards and NSG. Vulnerable citizens are harassed with false cases registered against them. It is shameful when women are victimised.

     It is time for good people to get together and raise their voices against bullies.

       Sania Mirza, India’s biggest tennis star, says she won’t play tournaments in her motherland. Issues other than the sport have forced her to take the decision.
Mired in controversies, ever since she emerged on the world’s tennis scene, she has been attacked for playing tennis in skirts and even posing for commercials.

     Speaking to MAIL TODAY from her home town, Hyderabad, she said: “Playing for India is more important to me than playing in India. I have never shirked my responsibility to represent my country, even if it has meant going against my doctor’s advice.”
Sania’s shocker came on a day when reigning Wimbledon champion Venus Williams confirmed participation in the $ 6,000,000 Bangalore Open tennis tournament starting March 9.
     Now, if the tennis ace sticks to her decision of opting out of tournaments in India, the Bangalore fixture would lose much of its sheen. Thousands of fans will be deprived of eeing her in action.
       Sania’s decision left greats of Indian tennis speechless. Vijay Amritraj said: “I am dumbfounded. Sania does not want to play in India. This is all new to me. She is such a fine player. She is the best not just at home but in the whole of Asia. In my times, to play in India was such a big thing. The crowds were always behind us. Even now, when my son Prakash plays Davis Cup matches the crowd cheers lustily.”
     The 21-year-old has thus far soldiered bravely for the country. Only last week, her dedication to the national cause was on display in Bangkok. Fresh from a hamstring injury at the Australian Open, she ignored medical advice and teamed up with Sunitha Rao to play the Fed Cup doubles rubber against Hong Kong.
        “I am still recovering from the hamstring injury. But I insist I want to represent India. I am very eager to play for my country in the Beijing Olympics,” said the World No 29 whose career earnings exceed one million dollars.
       “Pulling out of the Bangalore Open is not an extreme reaction,” she explained.         

      “Controversy keeps following me and this has been going on for far too long. It is not easy to deal with such stuff. I have gone through great lows in the past few weeks. It has been difficult to remain focused.”
             Sania’s niggling worries are understandable. Recently, when she was representing the country in the Hopman Cup at Perth, a photographer had clicked her with her feet on a table next to an Indian flag.
       The photograph was actually a smart piece of photography from an unusual angle. “I have never shown disrespect to the flag and that incident caused a lot of problems,” a pained Sania said. People got so upset seeing that picture splashed in the papers that a man in Bhopal went to court seeking action against her.
       That explains why there was no Indian tricolour near the Indian bench at the Bangkok event last week. “I was dragged into a controversy for no fault of mine,” she pleaded.
       Only weeks before that in December, Sania had to apologise to the Hyderabad police commissioner for shooting a commercial in the courtyard of the city’s Mecca Masjid.
Ever since Sania hit the big league, every action of hers has been questioned, especially by clerics.

       First, it was her comment on pre-marital sex in 2005 that landed her in trouble. A year later, when she was playing at the Sunfeast Open in Kolkata, she turned out in shorts because the clergy had hauled her up for playing in short skirts.
       Sania’s father, Imran Mirza, sounded concerned. “If she had to play in Bangalore, by now she should have submitted her entry. At this stage she doesn’t seem inclined.”
        But would she change her mind if the tournament organisers and the Karnataka government promised her there won’t be problems?

      “We have been advised by Sania’s agents not to play in Bangalore now. If at all, she changes her mind, she will need a wild card to play in the tournament,” Imran Mirza said.
      If Sania sticks to her decision, the biggest losers would be the country’s sports lovers.

RTI:Department of Personnel abets denial of info


Officials suppress file notings from RTI applicants

     Babus derive their power from the ability to deny even  lawful rights to a citizen. It can be a ration card, a passport, a certificate, an I card, an noc, aan approval; a million things that are necessary for survival. They also derive power from the fact that they are never held accountable.

     The RTI act was supposed to help a citizen unravel some of the mysteries in the labyrinthian corridors. Unfortunately the babus have ganged up together at all levels to ensure that  information is denied to a citizen as a matter of course.

     Some organs of the government have even managed to successfly stay out of the ambit of RTI. The fact that the judiciary which delivers homilies to one and all has kept itself out of the purview of the RTI act has not helped the matters.

     In the meantime a fight is on between the citizens and the beauracracy.  

An extract from mail today 

      IT HAS been more than two years since the Right to information (RTI) Act came into effect. But the bureaucracy, it seems, is still trying to resist parting with information — the crucial instance being ‘file-noting’.

     The Central Information Commission (CIC) has repeatedly said ‘file-noting’ — correspondence in files — are ‘information’ and not exempt from disclosure. But the department of personnel and training (DoPT) has been opposing this.
In the latest instance, the department has not complied CIC’s directions to make public the file notings in the case of S.S. Bhambra, an assistant in the President’s secretariat, who sought details regarding his promotion.

      But Instead of complying with CIC’s directions, the President’s secretariat approached DoPT for advice, drawing a contempt notice from CIC DoPT, which coordinates the RTI Act, has actually stated in its website that ‘file notings’ are excluded under the definition of ‘information’ under the Act. In the past, the railways ministry refused to part with information, citing this.

      The Delhi Development Authority and the Telecommunication Consultants India have also refused to reveal file notings to RTI applicants on the same grounds.
Chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said: “The difficulty is that the department has not removed the erroneous information about file notings from its website, although we have recommended it on several occasions. Several public authorities have refused information on this ground.”

     Since 2006, CIC has repeatedly said file notings are to be disclosed under RTI. It has constantly urged DoPT, (at least once every month since January 2006), to “remove the misleading information from its website” and inform other ministries and departments.

     There was a full bench hearing to clear doubts on the issue. It was clarified that a ‘file’ was a ‘record’ and contained both the part containing correspondence and the part containing opinions and advice, i.e. notings. Under the Act, all such records have to be disclosed to bring transparency.   

      Only classified information, like official secrets, are exempt from being disclosed, according to Section 8 of the Act. CIC directed the misleading information to be “immediately” removed as it affected even the office of the President.
kavita.chowdhury@mailtoday.in