Companies & Sectors
2G spectrum case: Delhi court summons Bharti Airtel chief Sunil Mittal, others

Besides Mittal and Ruia, the court issued summons against Asim Ghosh, who was the then managing director of accused firm Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd and former telecom secretary Shyamal Ghosh for 11th April

A Delhi court on Tuesday summoned as accused chairman-cum-managing director of Bharti Airtel Sunil Bharti Mittal, Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia and five others in a case relating to alleged irregularities in allocation of additional spectrum to Airtel and Vodafone during the NDA regime.

 

Besides Mittal and Ruia, the court issued summons against Asim Ghosh, who was the then managing director of accused firm Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd and former telecom secretary Shyamal Ghosh for 11th April.

 

The CBI in its charge-sheet had only named Shyamal Ghosh and three telecom firms Bharti Airtel, Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd (now known as Vodafone India) and Sterling Cellular (now known as Vodafone Mobile Service), but Mittal, Ruia and Asim Ghosh were not arrayed as accused in the case by the agency.

 

Special CBI judge OP Saini issued summons against Mittal, Ruia, who was then a director in Sterling Cellular, and Asim Ghosh saying they were “prima facie in control of affairs of the respective companies”.

 

“I also find that at the relevant time, Sunil Bharti Mittal was chairman-cum-managing director of Bharti Cellular, Asim Ghosh was managing director of Hutchison Max Telecom Pvt Ltd and Ravi Ruia was a Director in Sterling Cellular, who used to chair the meetings of its board. In that capacity they were/are prima facie in control of affairs of the respective companies.

 

“As such they represent the directing mind and will of each company and their state of mind is the state of mind of the companies,” Special CBI judge OP Saini said.

 

“They are/were ‘alter-ego’ of their respective companies. In this fact/situation, the acts of the companies are to be attributed and imputed to them. Consequently, I find enough material on record to proceed against them also,” he said.

 

Ruia is also facing trial in a case arising out of the probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

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UN think tank opening office in Bahrain, with Bahraini government funding

The Gulf kingdom welcomes the International Peace Institute even as it bars some human rights advocates and journalists from the country

As Bahrain enters the third year of a crisis sparked by Arab Spring protests in 2011, the government continues to bar many human rights advocates and  journalists from entering the country.
 

But one non-profit group is not only being welcomed into the tiny Gulf kingdom, it’s opening an office there. And it’s doing so with funding from Bahrain’s ruling monarchy.
 

The International Peace Institute, a New York-based think tank closely associated with the United Nations (UN), announced  last month an agreement to open the office to “promote development, peace and international security.”
 

The announcement comes at a time when Bahrain’s image-conscious government is still under international scrutiny amid continued pro-democracy protests. Human rights groups have criticized the government’s at times violent crackdown on the protests and failure to follow through on promised reforms.
 

Institute President Terje Rød-Larsen, a veteran diplomat in the Mideast who is also a United Nations under-secretary-general, told ProPublica that the new office would be a positive force in Bahrain and the region.
 

He compared the think tank to United Nations programs that operate in or receive funding from countries that are in crisis or face criticism.
 

“Problems related to peace and security are in difficult countries,” Rød-Larsen said.

Bahrain appeals to the institute as a location for an office because “along many dimensions it’s an open society,” he said, citing the status of women and “freedom of religion.”
 

Rød-Larsen said that taking money from Bahrain’s government would not compromise the institute’s work. He declined to say how much money Bahrain is providing.
 

Rød-Larsen has been a frequent visitor to Bahrain in recent years, regularly meeting with government officials both in his capacity as the institute’s president and as a UN official.
 

With New York offices across from the United Nations, the institute counts many former U.N. officials among its staff and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is honorary chair of its board . Rød-Larsen has also traveled with a U.N. staffer on some of his trips to Bahrain, the U.N. news site Inner City Press has noted.
 

During his visits Rød-Larsen has repeatedly been cited in Bahrain’s state media praising the government, though he disputes the accounts .
 

“Larsen lauded [the] return of calm to Bahrain which indicates the kingdom’s success in overcoming the crisis,” the official Bahrain News Agency reported in April 2011, just two months after the protests began.
 

“The U.N. official lauded the climate of freedom, democracy and institutional development in Bahrain,” said another November 2011 report on a meeting between Rød-Larsen and the foreign minister.
 

Rød -Larsen said that media outlets often attribute inaccurate statements to him on his diplomatic travels.
 

“If I should dispute all stories like this, it would be full time work,” he said.

Rød-Larsen said that, in reality, he believes Bahrain’s government has made mistakes.
 

As for what the International Peace Institute’s new office in Bahrain will do when it opens, Rød-Larsen on a recent trip discussed “plans for a renewed national dialogue in Bahrain,” according to the institute.
 

Khalil Almarzooq, a spokesman for the main opposition group al-Wefaq, told ProPublica that the group had not heard from Rød-Larsen anytime recently. Almarzooq said whether the institute will be a positive force in Bahrain all depends on how it uses the money the government is providing.
 

Organized as a nonprofit charity in New York, the institute had a budget of nearly $11 million in 2011 and Rød-Larsen received about $495,000 in compensation.
 

According to the group’s 2011 annual report, its major donors that year included the United States, several governments in Europe, as well as Bahraini regional allies Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The institute’s international advisory council includes Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the former head of Saudi intelligence. Saudi Arabia sent troops to help put down the protests in Bahrain in 2011.
 

Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to requests for comment.

Courtesy: http://www.propublica.org/

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RTI Judgement Series: The missing reports of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots

Despite spending considerable money from the exchequer nobody from the government knew the whereabouts of some of the reports on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. This is the 59th in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application

The Central Information Commission (CIC), while allowing an appeal under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, expressed anguish over missing reports of number of Commissions on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

 

While issuing a show-cause notice to the Public Information Officer (PIO) and directing the home secretary of the Delhi government on 17 September 2010, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “...the PIO could not locate the reports which must have been produced at considerable cost to the public exchequer. It appears that a number of Commissions have made hay on the anti-Sikh riots and given reports which have not delivered any justice to the victims and yet these reports cannot be located.”

 

New Delhi resident Suroor Mander, on 27 January 2010, sought information from the PIO of Lok Sabha who transferred the application to home (Police-II) department of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD). Here is the information she sought...

  1. Certified photocopy of the Jain-Aggarwal Committee Report, Banerjee, Misra & Marwah Commission Report on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots with its annexures as well as all other documents related to the Commission of inquiry.
  2. Certified copy of the Action Taken Report submitted to the parliament on the Jain - Agarwal, Banerjee, Misra & Marwah Commission Committee.
  3. Certified photocopy of the Bhatt and Singh Commission Report on the 1989 Bhagalpur anti-Muslim riots with its annexures as well as all other documents to the Commission.
  4. Certified copy of the Action Taken Report submitted to the Bihar Legislative Assembly on the Bhatt and Singh Commission of inquiry.
  5. Certified photocopy of the Narula Committee Report on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots with its annexures as well as all other documents related to the Commission of inquiry.
  6. Certified copy of the Action Taken Report submitted to the parliament on the Narula Committee.
  7. Certified photocopy of the Mahapatra Commission’s interim report on the 2007 Kandhamal riots with its annexures as well as all other documents related to the Commission.
  8. Certified copy of the Action Taken Report submitted to the Orissa Legislative Assembly on the Mahapatra Commission of inquiry.
  9. Certified photocopy of the Kapur-Mittal Commission Report on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots with its annexures as well as all other documents related to the Commission of Inquiry.
  10. Certified copy of the Action Taken Report submitted to the parliament on the Kapur-Mittal Commission of Inquiry.
  11. Certified photocopy of the Nanavati Commission Report on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots with its annexures as well as all other documents related to the Commission of Inquiry
  12. Certified copy of the Action Taken Report submitted to the parliament on the Nanavati Commission of Inquiry.

 

OP Wadhwa, officer on special duty (OSD) to the chief secretary and PIO, Delhi, transferred the RTI application to PIO of ADM (HQ) at divisional commissioner, who on 22 January 2010 forwarded it to the PIO of the home department.

 

In his reply, the PIO of home department, said, “The records pertaining to 1984 riots are almost 25 years old and the same are not readily available with the home department, Govt of NCT of Delhi. Efforts are being made to trace the records from our record room, and it may take some time to trace the record in respect of the information asked by you. This may be treated only as an interim reply and as soon as we are able to trace the relevant records, the same would be dealt/ provided as per the provisions of RTI Act, 2005”.

 

Due to non-receipt of the required information, Ms Mander filed her first appeal. While re-iterating the PIO's statement, the First Appellate Authority (FAA) in his order again directed the PIO to provide a copy of the letter dated 25 February 2010 sent to her and provide the information immediately after checking the record.

 

Ms Mander then filed her second appeal before the Commission citing incomplete information provided by the PIO.

 

During a hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, observed that the RTI application was transferred from the Union government to the state government and it was even transferred twice before reaching the home department of GNCTD. He said, “After that the PIO at the home department Delhi said that he could not locate the reports which must have been produced at considerable cost to the public exchequer. In bits and pieces they have managed to give some reports and yet the following reports are missing completely:

1. Marwah Commission on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, 2. Dhillon Committee on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, and 3. Narula Committee on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.”

 

“It appears that a number of Commissions have made hay on the anti-Sikh riots and given reports which have not delivered any justice to the victims and yet these reports cannot be located. The appellant naively believes that the government would have acted on these reports, whereas it appears nobody is even aware of what these reports said,” the Commission said.

 

In a letter on 29 March 2010, one PIO MA Ashref refused to provide the Kapur-Mittal report  on the anti-Sikh riots stating that, “the report of KapurMittal Committee has been marked as secret and therefore cannot be disclosed under the provisions of Official Secrets Act 1923”.

 

Mr Gandhi said nearly four and half years after the RTI Act, 2005, had been implemented a PIO must realize that refusal to give information can only be based on the exemptions of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. “No exemptions of Section-8(1) of the RTI Act have been quoted by the PIO nor has he given any reasons to explain how the information is exempt. Thus the action of the PIO is without any basis in law,” he said.

 

The Commission, while allowing the appeal issued a show-cause notice to the PIO and directed Mr Ashref to give reasons as to why penalty should not be levied on him.

 

Regarding the reports of the Marwah Commission, Dhillon Committee and Narula Committee, the CIC directed GS Patnaik, home secretary of GNCTD to file an affidavit to Ms Mander before 10 October certifying that these reports are not with the Delhi government.

 

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION

 

Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2010/002098/9399

http://www.rti.india.gov.in/cic_decisions/CIC_SG_A_2010_002098_9399_M_42352.pdf

Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2010/002098

 

                                                                       

Appellant                                                         : Suroor Mander

                                                                          New Delhi-110017

 

Respondent                                                     : MA Ashref

                                                                          PIO & Joint Secretary (Home-II)

                                                                          Govt. of NCT of Delhi

                                                                          Home (Police-II) Deptt.,

                                                                          5th Level 'C' Wing, Delhi Secretariat,

                                                                          New Delhi-110002

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COMMENTS

hasmukh

4 years ago

The so called "secular leaders" and the media always point fingers at the Guj CM Narendra Modi for Gujarat 2002 riots but never look into /analyse findings of 1984 Delhi riots. Those found guilty ought to be proceeded against without any political or other bias.

MK Gupta

4 years ago

Nanavati Commission inter alia had mentioned names of many people engaged in the pogrom against the Sikhs. Have all of them been proceeded against? One wonders.

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