Robert Vadra deal records ‘confidential’: Is PMO protecting him?

vadraThe prime minister’s office has refused to share information under the guise of ‘confidentiality’ on its affidavit in response to a petition seeking a probe into Robert Vadra’s land deals. Vadra is Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son in-law.

Lucknow-based RTI activist Nutan Thakur sent a letter to the PMO seeking a probe in Vadra’s deals after Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal and lawyer Prashant Bhushan alleged that he was involved in shady and irregular land deals.

She also sought the Allahabad high court’s intervention in the case. The PMO contended in an affidavit that there was no merit in Thakur’s case as it was based on media reports and hearsay. The court dismissed the case on March 7.

In February, Thakur also filed a request under the Right to Information Act asking the PMO what action it had taken on her letter seeking a probe against Vadra. She also sought information on the PMO’s affidavit in the Allahabad high court. She told dna that she just wanted to know the ‘file notings’ related to action taken by the PMO. On March 1, the PMO refused to share the information, and said that the information cannot be provided to her since the matter was “sub-judice”.

Thakur sent a second RTI request to the PMO, seeking the same information in May. With the matter now being out of court, the PMO was in a position to respond to the RTI request. However, on June 6, the PMO again refused to furnish the information. “The office, keeping in view the Supreme Court ruling, has sought exemption as the matter
has been treated as confidential,” the PMO said.

The PMO was referring to an apex court ruling which states that “the exemption under section 8(1) (e), of the RTI Act, is available not only in regard to information that is held by a public authority in a fiduciary capacity, but also to any information that is given or made available by a public authority to anyone else for being held in a fiduciary capacity.”

“In other words, anything given and taken in confidence expecting confidentiality to be maintained will be information available to a person in fiduciary relationship,” the PMO said quoting the Supreme Court ruling.

However, Thakur is not convinced with the PMO’s argument. “The PMO claims that all the representations coming to its office are forwarded to appropriate agency. I only wanted to know the action taken on my representation. I still don’t know that,” Thakur told dna.

“This shows that the PMO is not in favour of transparency.”


Originally Posted in DNA news.


How Congress destroys democratic institutions….

To the eternal discredit of India’s oldest party, continued subversion of constitutional bodies has exposed its designs, writes Sutanu Guru

SUTANU GURU | Issue Dated: December 15, 2012, New Delhi

I met a lady in a very quiet and selective party hosted by my friend and colleague Ranjit and we started discussing the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the contention that the CAG has deliberately inflated the scam figures in the 2G case. She is highly educated and a citizen that India can be proud of. I was shocked to see her almost in tears as she described how she might be compelled to quit India if Narendra Modi becomes Prime Minister. I was shocked by the depth of her emotions. Like a fool, I tried pointing out that Modi is perhaps a result of all that the Congress has done over the years to democracy and institutions in India. I was a fool. I became a pariah in that select party.

But I persist in being a fool, just to ask a few uncomfortable questions to fellow citizens who display secularism as a badge the way George Bush did the American flag in 2003 when he claimed victory in Iraq. And I, like a lot of internet Hindus, will keep asking uncomfortable questions, hopefully without being abusive.

Let’s look at history and facts to see how Congress has systematically destroyed institutions that matter in a democracy. Allow me to roam (since roaming will be free soon!) in a random process.  Way back in the 1950s when I was not even born, the Commies won elections in Kerala and formed a government. Now, we know it was Jawaharlal Nehru who is responsible for democracy succeeding in India. In fact, historians like Ramchandra Guha insist it is only because of him. Yet, Nehru used Article 356 to dismiss an elected government. And Guha does reluctantly admit it was a Nehruvian flaw. Cut to the 1980s when the daughter Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister. The democratically elected government of NT Rama Rao was dismissed using Article 356. By that time, the average non-secular Indian was aware of how the Congress was using the post of the Governor to subvert democracy. Cut to 2005, when the voters of Bihar finally realised that Lalu Yadav was more a secular Buffon than a leader of backward castes. The President of India was APJ Kalam and the then government was led de facto by Sonia mam. Rahul baba in those days was probably figuring out how to reclaim Uttar Pradesh for the Congress. The government of Nitish Kumar was dismissed and Kalam sent his approval from Russia for the same. No shame for our secular friends.

Let’s come to another fact. Lawyers like Kapil Sibal, Manish Tiwari et al keep saying that the judiciary is sacrosanct. But look at this. We had a Chief Justice of India called Ranganath Mishra who also headed an enquiry into the 1984 riots when Congress leaders allegedly provoked mobs to kill Sikhs. By the way, do notice that not a single secular journalist calls that a “POGROM”- the way they describe the 2002 anti Muslim riots. Coming back to to the late Honorable Mishra, he became a Congress MP. Imagine a Chief Justice of India becoming a Congress MP. I guess my secular friends have no problem with such small things. And how does it matter that the same retired judge headed yet another commission that specifically asked for reservations based on religion?

And then I almost forgot about that Thomas thing. Despite objections from opposition parties, the UPA government appointed a CVC. It took the Supreme Court to rebuke the government before it reluctantly decided that the CVC appointment was indeed a mistake. But even then, my secular friends were crying about Narendra Modi and how he is destroying democracy. Way to go.

Do you folks remember T.N Seshan? He was allegedly close to Rajiv Gandhi and eventually became the Chief Election Commissioner. I still recall thought pieces written by secular media types saying he is a monster turned loose. Perhaps he was, and thanks to him, we now have a three-member panel called CEC. And what did the Congress do? It made a former CEC MS Gill the Union minister of sports. Of course, my secular friends by then were raving about how Narendra Modi is targeting an honest, professional and objective IPS officer like Sanjeev Bhatt. Who cares if his wife is now the Congress candidate against Modi in elections? There are many more tales to share, but then…

Just imagine. A Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and a Chief Election Commissioner becoming formal members of the Congress. And my secular media friends don’t raise a voice. So the posts of the Governor, the CJ of Supreme Court and the CEC are something that the Congress can play around with.

I almost wanted to tell that lady in Ranjit’s party to go take a break. Almost… Because it is my secular friends who can organise a job or a project for themselves. Please don’t mind Ranjit!!!

The hounding of Zee

The UPA government on the tenterhooks has decided to hit back against the media. It got its chance with ZEE TV when two of its senior editors Samir Ahluwalia and Sudhir Chaudhary were deliberately entrapped in a ‘sting’ made by Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL), which claimed that the editors have been ‘caught’ on tape demanding Rs 100 crore as favour from Congress MP and JSPL chief Naveen Jindal for ‘suppressing’ news reports on the coal scam.

Since then, the owner of ZEE TV, Subhash Chandra, has been under police pressure to take a lie detector test, which he has had no option but to agree. Is this an act to muzzle the press or bring in suitable legislation to put curbs on the media?

The Congress has had a history of getting tough with the media when the chips are down. During the Emergency and after it, the Indian Express group was hounded for many years through a series of raids on its offices and harassment for its owners and top editors. In the Rajiv Gandhi era, the government actually contemplated introducing severe curbs on the media through legislation but had to bow down to public and parliamentary pressure.


(The views expressed in the blog are that of the author, SUTANU GURU, and originally posted in The Sunday Indian)