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Have we forgotten Manjunath?:: Bhamy V Shenoy

Posted by ekavi on October 15, 2006

Have we forgotten Manjunath?

It was less than a year back on November 19th, Manjunath Shanmugam,
an IIM graduate gave his life to the country while trying to expose
the corruption in petroleum marketing. For a month or so, his heroic
efforts to expose corruption caught the attention of the nation.
During the same time the nation remembered the sacrifice of
Satyendranath Dubey, an IIT graduate. Dubey was murdered two years
earlier for a similar noble cause of exposing corruption in highway
construction. The nation applauded their heroic deeds though there
were some cynics who wondered about their naïve attempts to fight
corruption.

Fighting corruption in petroleum sector was put on the national agenda
only for few days. It was ironical that within few days of the murder
of Manjunath the corruption charges against Satish Sharma the new
avatar of petroleum corruption were dropped. It was not because there
was not enough proof. It was just that the ministry did not want to
press charges! Is this the way to honor the memory of an idealist like
Manjunath?

The political class which is the beneficiaries of the highly
subsidized kerosene does not like to change the system. However the
murder of Manjunath changed that. At least that is what some of use
diehard optimists thought. First our Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh
assured the nation that he would ask the petroleum ministry to
streamline the pricing system to reduce incentives to defraud. It was
followed by a solemn assurance by the then Petroleum Minister Mani
Shankar Iyer. Every one believed that as a result of supreme sacrifice
of Manjunath, pricing anomaly of selling kerosene at highly subsidized
prices will be removed finally.

Time has proven us wrong. It has only worsened. The difference between
kerosene price and competitive products of petrol and diesel has only
widened over the year and so also the adulteration. Last July, there
was a national level seminar on curbing oil adulteration. Petroleum
Minister Murali Deora took part in that seminar. I made a detailed
presentation during the seminar quantifying the level of corruption in
petroleum sector.

I estimated it to be more than Rs. 40000 crores per year. My
presentation was dedicated to the memory of Manjunath, a gesture which
was well received. But the same participants failed to connect the
corruption that I was discussing with the reason for Manjunath’s
murder. I was pleading with the minister that there are better
foolproof ways of helping the poor with supplying kerosene. But the
minister was adamant that he would not touch kerosene price. I
challenged him by stating that any thing else he does will not solve
the root cause of corruption for which Manjunath had sacrificed his
life. Not one news paper carried this news item. Are we waiting for
some more sacrifices from upright officers like Manjunath?

Every one knows the real beneficiaries of kerosene subsidies. It is
the political class. Umpteen reports have proven the fact that poor
are not the beneficiaries. But no political party dare question the
petroleum pricing system since it is their members and financiers who
are minting money to the extent of Rs. 40000 crores per year. It is
that rotten system Manjunath had the idealism and courage to challenge.

If we want to show our appreciation for the noble deed of Manjunath,
as his death anniversary nears we as a nation need to do far more than
what we have done so far. His sacrifice will not amount to much unless
we uphold the principles for which he gave his life.

His last alma mater IIM Lucknow, his employer Indian Oil Company, and
SJCE at Mysore where he spent his formative years getting his
engineering degree have tried in their own ways to pay respects to his
memory. The trust started in his name has been able to collect less
than 50% of its target of Rs. 50 lakhs.

It is not clear why the trust has to pay the bills of lawyers fighting
the case on behalf of Manjnath’s family. His employer IOC should take
up the legal and moral responsibility of punishing the guilty. The
case is moving at snail’s speed despite it being an open and shut
case. IOC has instituted an award in the name of Manjunath for
honoring the best quality team. What an irony! It should have fought
in the first place to remove the pricing anomaly. There is no one to
champion such a dramatic reform.

A web based petition drive demanding for a full inquiry and justice in
the murder of Manjuanth has just got a total signature of 14200 till
the first week of Oct, 2006. Many who signed have suggested that to
honor Manjunath in real sense of the word, we need to get rid of the
current rotten pricing system. Otherwise his sacrifice would have been
in vain.

As the death anniversary nears, the government should seriously
consider implementing recommendations made by the planning commission
to streamline the pricing and remove all incentives to adulterate
petroleum products. They should also get rid of multi tier pricing of
LPG (LPG is sold at three different prices in residential, commercial
and automotive markets). LPG marketing is another activity where
corruption is rampant. The only lasting way we can honor Manjunath is
to start the process of unwinding kerosene subsidies and reduce
corruption.

Bhamy V Shenoy <bhamysuman@hotmail.com>

Posted in WB Manjunath | 12 Comments »

Babus : ACR : RTI Act Implementation

Posted by ekavi on October 6, 2006

  • Dhirendra Krishna Says:
    September 3rd, 2006 at 6:14 am e
    The code for civil servants should also make it obligatory for them to take all possible measures (within their sphere of duty)to promote the RTI Active.

    Pro-active measures to implement RTI Act should be mentioned in their Annual Confidential Report, as it is indicative of their positive approach towards democratic governance and also their desire to improve the administrative processes to make governance responsive to the citizens. RTI calls for systemic reforms to enhance public accountability and for removing the abberations; officials need encouragement in their efforts in this direction.

    Any negative measures taken by them to stall RTI Act should result in an adverse comment in the ACR. Any one who retains colonial attitude of bossing over the public instead of working like “civil servant” deserves to be eased out from his job.

    DOPT should issue instructions in this regard, which may be given wide publicity, including mention in their web site. At present, there is no indication from the Government which encourages pro-RTI sentiment amongst the Government servants. On the contrary and unfortunately, DOPT is seen as adversory to RTI implementation,in view of the stumbling blocks created by them by proposed changes in RTI Act and deliberate mistake in their web site {excluding file notings from the definition of “information”.}

    Not enough is being done to encourage atitudinal changes in the official machinery, who regards RTI activist as an adversory.

  • Posted in Govt. of India | 1 Comment »

    SC seeks CVC status report on ‘whistle-blowers’

    Posted by ekavi on October 6, 2006

    SC seeks CVC status report on ‘whistle-blowers’

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/2100453.cms

    NEW DELHI: More than two years ago, a direction from the Supreme Court on a PIL had forced the Centre to come out with an ordinance making the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) the ears for whistle-blowers, in the wake of the murder of Satyendra Dubey.

    And now, a Supreme Court Bench, comprising Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal and Justice C K Thakker, hearing the same PIL filed jointly by NGO Parivartan and Dubey’s father, has asked for the balance sheet from the ‘watch dog’ on the complaints received against corrupt officials.

    In April 2004, the court as an interim measure, had agreed to the Centre bringing an ordinance to protect those raising their voice against corruption.

    The ministry of personnel came out with the Public Interest Disclosures and Protection of Informers Resolution, 2004, under which CVC was the designated authority to look into complaints on corruption.

    After hearing petitioner’s counsel Prashant Bhushan, the Bench asked CVC to prepare a report on the number of complaints it has received from whistle-blowers till date, and the action taken on them.

    Bhushan then shifted focus on the CBI probe into the murder of Dubey, an IITian who was working as deputy general manager in National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), and supervising the Aurangabad-Barachatti sector of the Golden Quadrilateral project.

    The NGO had alleged that he was shot dead in broad daylight in Gaya because he had written a confidential communication to PMO on November 11, 2002, alleging that trans-national companies bagged the highway projects at high costs and then sub-leased them to local contractors at low prices.

    Counsel said the CBI chargesheet terming Dubey’s murder as a case of simple robbery draws suspicion of the common man, as to whether the reputed investigating agency conducted a shoddy probe, or is trying to hush up the matter.

    After hearing his arguments, the Bench asked CBI to conduct an independent verification of the contractors who were engaged in National Highway Authority of India work on the Aurangabad-Barachatti sector, at the time of Dubey’s tenure.

    Posted in CVC, Uncategorized | 22 Comments »

    SC seeks report from CVC on complaints by whistle-blowers

    Posted by ekavi on October 1, 2006

     SC seeks report from CVC on complaints by whistle-blowers

    Press Trust of India

    New Delhi, September 29, 2006

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1809486,0008.htm
    The Supreme Court on Friday sought to know from the Central Vigilance
    Commission (CVC) about the action taken by it on the complaints
    received about corruption from whistle-blowers.

    A Bench headed by Chief Justice YK Sabharwal granted six weeks to the
    CVC to give a detail report in this regard.

    The order to this effect was passed during the hearing of a petition
    filed by an NGO, Parivartan, which has sought special investigation
    into the murder of Satyendra Dubey, an engineer of National Highway
    Authority of India (NHAI), who was associated with the Golden
    Quadrilateral project in Bihar.

    After hearing the NGO’s counsel Prashant Bhushan, the Court also asked
    the CBI to see whether verification of contractors involved in the
    project during Dubey’s tenure can be done or not.

    The NGO had not only sought investigation into Dubey’s murder but also
    into the allegations of corruption.

    Posted in CVC, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    Notes for India’s Proposed Whistleblower Protection and Public Disclosure Act [http://2democracies.blogspot.com/]

    Posted by ekavi on September 17, 2006

    Notes for India’s Proposed Whistleblower Protection and Public Disclosure Act

    Written by Sanjay D

    http://2democracies.blogspot.com/

    Encouraging public disclosures and protecting the whistleblowers–those who take the courageous and sometimes self-harming step of disclosing wrongdoings–are important for a healthy and well-functioning democracy. India lacks any such law that would mandate an investigation when a qualifying disclosure is made and give protection to the whistleblower.

    http://2democracies.blogspot.com/
    http://2democracies.blogspot.com/
    
    

    Posted in Whistleblower Points | Leave a Comment »

    To ringfence babus from netas, a bold new civil service law in the making

    Posted by ekavi on September 2, 2006

    To ringfence babus from netas,


    a bold new civil service law in the making

     

    G. Ananthakrishnan

     

    Posted online: Tuesday, August 29, 2006 at 0000 hrs IST

    NEW DELHI, AUGust 28
    A strict, enforceable code of conduct that measures efficiency in tangible terms, rewards and punishes, a transparent system of transfers, the power to stand up and say no to a superior if his order violates the code, insulating the officer from political interference and protecting whistleblowers. These are among the sweeping reforms suggested in what could be the first attempt to ensure, legally at least, a merit-based and an apolitical bureaucracy.

    The Department of Personnel and Training has drawn up a draft Public Services Bill, 2006, and sent it to the Administrative Reforms Commission for its suggestions. The new law, when passed, will be applicable to the IAS, IPS, IFS and all Central services.

    According to the draft, obtained by The Indian Express, a “Public Service Code” will be drawn up by the Government in consultation with a Central authority within a year of the law coming into effect.

    This code will specify, in concrete terms, the dos and don’ts for public servants to work “with due regard to diversity…without discrimination of caste, community, religion, gender or class.” It will establish a mechanism to monitor performance and efficiency.

    “The interface between the political executive and public service will be clearly established (by the Code) based on the principles of political neutrality, professional excellence and integrity,” says the draft.

    Any breach would incur punishment ranging from a reprimand, a reduction in classification or salary to termination of service.

    The author of the code, the Central Authority, which will play a pivotal role under the Act, will remain free of political interference.

    Chairperson and members of the Authority shall be appointed by the President on the recommendations of a Committee comprising of the Prime Minister, a Supreme Court judge and the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

    The Chairperson and members will, however, not be MPs or MLAs or hold any office with any political party.

    Another major feature of the law is the stress on a merit-based public service. To achieve this, according to the draft, a Performance Management System will be drawn up for all employees under which there will be performance indicators and measurement of the outcome and impact with regard to development priorities.

    Grades under this will be taken into account in matters of budget allocation to the departments and other entitlements.

    There is also a provision to address the civil servants’ concern about the stability of service. For this, the bill calls on the Central Authority to ensure that “transfers and postings of public servants are undertaken in a fair and objective manner and that the tenure of the Public Servant in a post is appropriately determined and is maintained consistent with the need to maintain continuity and the requirements of good governance.”

    It even goes to the extent of giving a public servant the freedom to decide whether he or she should or not carry out an order of a superior, if such an order is against the Code.

    In such case, the Central Authority will give the officer the opportunity to raise the issue at an appropriate forum without fear of victimisation.

    The draft Bill also calls on the government to put in place a scheme to protect whistleblower public servants in the system, who report suspected improper governance and actions in their workplace.

    Meanwhile, the Administrative Reforms Commission has shot off queries to the representatives of society and civil servants on the draft Bill. Going a step ahead, the ARC wants to answer questions like whether only career-based civil servants were always best suited to occupy top governmental positions or whether there could be lateral entry.

    Carrying forward the question of merit, it has also sought to know if system of weeding out as existing in the armed forces could be extended to civil services too. Though the ARC was to give its report by August end, sources said this was unlikely as many states had not yet responded.

    http://www.indianexpress.com/printerFriendly/11612.html

    Posted in WB Act Draft and Discussions | 4 Comments »

    Contractor mafia not involved in Dubey’s murder: CBI report

    Posted by ekavi on August 13, 2006

    Contractor mafia not involved in Dubey’s murder: CBI report

    http://www.indianexpress.com/story/10407.html

    Express News Service

    Posted online: Saturday, August 12, 2006 at 0000 hrs

    NEW DELHI, AUGUST 11:The CBI has reiterated before the Supreme Court that there is no invlovement of any contractor mafia in the murder of NHAI engineer Satyendra Kumar Dubey. Instead, investigations had established that Larsen and Toubro, which was the main contractor for the road works, had violated contract conditions in sub-letting the work, it said.

    ‘‘During the investigation of Satyendra Kumar Dubey’s murder case, involvement of any contractor/mafia was not found. Investigations named four accused — Mantu Kumar, Udai Kumar, Pinku Ravidas and Shravan Kumar, all residents of Katari village in Gaya, Bihar. They were arrested and the CBI also recovered Dubey’s personal belongings and the weapon used in the crime on the disclosure statements of the accused,’’ the status report filed by CBI in court said.The report has been filed in response to a PIL seeking an independent Supreme Court-monitored probe into the murder.‘‘Accused Shravan Kumar gave full and voluntary disclosure about the incident and he has been made an approver and given pardon by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Gaya,’’ the report said.The agency, however, claimed that it had found to be correct charges of sub-contracting as mentioned in the letter of Dubey to the PMO.

    It said a case had been registered against S.K. Soni, former project director of NHAI, Koderma, and others on allegation of criminal misconduct for causing undue pecuniary advantage for the contractor, who sub-contracted the road construction work to unapproved and incompetent agencies against contract provisions.

    Meanwhile, petitioner — Parivartan, an NGO — today opposed the report and said there was a total lack of progress in the probe and apparent lack of will to unearth the truth.

    ‘‘The CBI has deliberately let off the rickshaw-puller who was the sole independent eyewitness to the crime,’’ the NGO said in an affidavit. ‘‘CBI has concluded this was a robbery, when it has been clearly stated by the local police that robbery-related murders are almost nil in that region… The CBI has also ignored the statement by the SP that the evidences indicate very clearly that this was not a robbery,’’ it added.

    editor@expressindia.com

    Posted in Uncategorized, WB SKD | 1 Comment »

    Power of RTI – Special Audit of Jalgaon Municipal Corporation (JMC)

    Posted by ekavi on July 18, 2006

    Power of RTI – Special Audit of Jalgaon Municipal Corporation (JMC)

     

    http://right2information.wordpress.com/2006/07/18/power-of-rti-special-audit-of-jalgaon-municipal-corporation-jmc/

    Due to several ongoing protests, PILs in court & finally the below RTI app (final nail in the coffin !), govt. has agreed to conduct a special audit of the JMC for the Gharkul scam. You may recall that this scam was blown by whistleblower, Shri Praveen Gedam (IAS officer) who registered an FIR against more than 90 corporators who are accused in this scam. Not surprisingly, he was transferred within 9 months from the post of Commissioner, JMC and posted as CEO, ZP, Latur.

    The reply to this RTI app dated 11th July, 2006 is awaited, but action has been taken !

    Kudos to RTI !

    Relevant extract of RTI :

    (iii) Description of information required :

    Certified copies of information required, as stated below, including file notings, if any.

    1) Whether the government has received any letter from the Municipal Commissioner, Jalgaon, requesting it to conduct “special audit” of JMC, as per the BLFA Act and section 108 of the BPMC Act?

    2) If yes, what action has been taken by the government with respect to the above mentioned letter?

    3) With respect to the above, kindly furnish copies of the file notings alongwith the dates, and the names and designations of the persons who have made these notings.

    4) With whom (name and designation) is the file pending right now and since when?

    5) If the file has been pending with any authority for more than seven days, what disciplinary action has been taken against them according to the government circular No Sankirna/1005/34/Pra. Kra. 38/2005/18 (Ra & Ka), Dated 17-04-2005

    6) Kindly furnish the copies of audit paras from the audit report of JMC conducted by the AG, Mumbai between November, 2005 and January, 2006.

    Rajesh Darak

    Mera Bharat Mahaan…Nahi Hai,
    Per Yeh Dosh Mera Hai

    Posted in Uncategorized, WB Praveen Gedam | 1 Comment »

    [INDIA_WBA] REVELATIONS from Dir. of Vigilance, Customs & Central Excise, Delhi

    Posted by ekavi on July 13, 2006

    Friends,

    Some of us had filed RTI applications on 5/4/2006 and we received the replies on 6/5/2006. Please find attached herewith scanned copies of the same.

    The CVC norms have been thrown in the winds. Most of the officers are continuing in violation of the guidelines for sensitive postings, beyondt he stipulated three year period. Perhaps this explains why the Vigilance Dept. has become a hotbed of corruption.

    Please note that the Directorate General of Vigilance, Customs & Central Excise has furnished part information only. They have avoided straight answers for two of the very pertinent questions, viz.

     

    a)     Has there been a violation of the circular stated in 3 (i) above in case of such officers?

     

    b)     In case there has been a violation of the said circular, the names and designations of the persons responsible and punishable for the same.

    To know the answers please read thru’ the attached reply.

    Do give your comments if any. Media should highlight this state of affairs.

    RD

    Rajesh Darak

    Mera Bharat Mahaan…Nahi Hai,
    Per Yeh Dosh Mera Hai.

    Posted in Whsitleblowers INDIA, Mumbai | 11 Comments »

    WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE….IF WE CARE! Can you please send similar letters as below

    Posted by ekavi on July 13, 2006

    Can you please send similar letters as below (you may simply change the letterhead, name and address and remove the line ‘Reference:……….’) to all the authorities mentioned therein? Only a mass support can create an impact. You just need to make sundry changes and click the mouse!

    WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE….IF WE CARE!

    Scanned copy of hand delivered letters attached herewith for your reference.

    I EXHORT ALL TO SUPPORT THIS CAUSE AND MARK ME A BCC. IF POSSIBLE SEND HARD COPIES BY REGD./SPEED POST OR COURIER. ALL SUCH COMMUNICATIONS CAN COME HANDY IF NO ACTION IS INITIATED.

    WHENEVER I SEND A BCC / FORWARD AN EMAIL OR LETTER TO YOU PLEASE ASSUME IT IS FOR FURTHER ACTION ON YOUR SIDE AND I EXPECT YOU TO SEND SIMILAR COMMUNICATIONS. NO PENALTIES FOR NOT SENDING! 

    RD

    attached : as above

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: rajesh darak <darak786@gmail.com>
    Date: May 15, 2006 4:42 PM
    Subject: Jalgaon Municipal Corporation – No Investigation, No Arrests, Impugned Order, Airport Scam, Mala fide Transfer, etc.
    To: CG_President_Abdul_Kalam < presidentofindia@rb.nic.in>, CG_CPP_Sonia_Gandhi <soniagandhi@sansad.nic.in>, CG_CPP_Sonia_Gandhi <10janpath@vsnl.net>, CG_PM_Manmohan_Singh < manmohan@sansad.nic.in>, CG_PM_Manmohan_Singh <pmosb@pmo.nic.in>, SG_MAH_GOV <gsecmah@vsnl.net >, SG_MAH_GOV <rajbhavan@maharashtra.gov.in>, SG_MAH_CM <chiefminister@maharashtra.gov.in>, SG_MAH_DyCM < DeputyChiefMinister@maharashtra.gov.in>, SG_MAH_CS <chiefsecretary@maharashtra.gov.in>, SG_MAH_CS < DKSANKARAN@maharashtra.gov.in>, SG_MAH_UDD_PrSecy1 <sec_ud1@maharashtra.gov.in>, SG_MAH_UDD_PrSecy1 < RamanandTiwari@maharashtra.gov.in>, SG_MAH_UDD_PrSecy2 <sec_ud2@maharashtra.gov.in>, SG_MAH_UDD_PrSecy2 <NBPatil@maharashtra.gov.in >

    WHISTLEBLOWERS INDIA

     

    (An action group for whistleblowers in India )

    ___________________________________________________________________________

    15th May 2006

    The President of India,

    Rashtrapati Bhawan,

    New Delhi

     

    Ms. Sonia Gandhi, Congress Party President,

    10, Janpath,

    New Delhi – 110 001

     

    Dr. Manmohan Singh,

    Prime Minister,

    New Delhi

     

    Mr. S.M. Krishna, Governor, Maharashtra ,

    Raj Bhawan, Malabar Hill,

    Mumbai – 400 035

    Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh, Chief Minister, Maharashtra ,

    Mantralaya,

    Mumbai – 400 032

    Mr. R.R.Patil, Deputy Chief Minister, Maharashtra ,
    Mantralaya,

    Mumbai – 400 032

    Mr. D.K. Sankaran, Chief Secretary, Maharashtra ,
    Mantralaya,

    Mumbai – 400 032

    Secretary, Urban Development Department, Maharashtra State,
    Mantralaya,

    Mumbai – 400 032

    Respected Sirs / Madam,
    Subject:

    1)       FIR registered against 90 former and serving corporators based on complaint filed by a whistleblower, Jalgaon Municipal Commissioner, Shri Praveen Gedam – Apprehension of miscarriage of justice; appeal for personal intervention.

    2)       Malafide transfer of Shri Praveen Gedam.

    Reference: Our earlier letter dated 16/2/2006 on subject no.1.

    Apprehension of miscarriage of justice has come true. It is evident from the following facts:

    1)       Delay of one week in registration of the FIR for the Gharkul scam.

    2)       None of the accused have been arrested so far, even though anticipatory bail applications of some of them have been rejected.

    3)       The accused had sent defamation notices to Shri Praveen Gedam.

    4)       Charge sheet has not been filed. Investigation is at a virtual standstill. A PIL has been filed in the Aurangabad bench of the Mumbai High Court, praying for a CBI inquiry.

    5)       Shri Praveen Gedam has used his statutory powers and issued disqualification notices to the accused corporators.

    6)       On the very next day, the Urban Development Department (UDD) which is under the Chief Minister (CM), issued a mala fide order which not only stayed these notices but also barred Shri Praveen Gedam from taking action in other cases of corruption. A PIL has been filed in the Aurangabad bench of the Mumbai High Court, challenging the impugned order.

    7)       Jalgaon police has not registered FIR in another corruption case relating to airport project. A PIL has been filed in the Aurangabad bench of the Mumbai High Court, challenging the refusal of police to register FIR for the Airport scam.

    8)       Shri Praveen Gedam, who took charge in October, 2005, has been mala fidely transferred by UDD / CM within 8 months by calling it a routine transfer.

       

    Kindly ensure the following immediately:  

    1)      Handing over of the investigation of the Gharkul scam to the CBI.

    2)      Registration of FIR for the Airport scam & handing over to the CBI.

    3)      Reinstatement of Shri Praveen Gedam and withdrawal of the impugned order restraining him from using his statutory powers.  

     

    Yours truly,

     

     

    ——————————-

    Rajesh Darak, (Secretary)

    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Address for Correspondence :

    8, Varsha, North South Road No. 5, Vile Parle(W), Mumbai – 400 056.

    Tel. : +91- (0)22 – 2614 0519   /  2614 0957


    P.S. Hardcopies hand-delivered to CM, DyCM, CS & Secy (UDD) and sent by speed post to Prez, Sonia, PM & Gov.

    Rajesh Darak

    Mera Bharat Mahaan…Nahi Hai,
    Per Yeh Dosh Mera Hai.


    Rajesh Darak

    Mera Bharat Mahaan…Nahi Hai,
    Per Yeh Dosh Mera Hai.

    Posted in Whsitleblowers INDIA, Mumbai | 1 Comment »