Citizens' Issues
An acid test to spot the graft-prone

A person who always tells the truth will always be honest but a person who tells lies or is deceitful in important matters will always be dishonest and will be fertile ground for giving and taking bribes

What is truth, asked jesting Pilate and would not stay for an answer.—Sir Francis Bacon (circa Shakespeare) “Essay on Truth”

“White Man speak with forked tongue”. A classic sentence, one I always loved, in the fiction genre called “Westerns” which documented the Americans’ savage conquest of their Wild West. The “forked tongue” is a metaphor for the white man’s perennial habit of saying one thing to the Red Indians and meaning exactly the opposite. The credulous Red Indians believed what the white man said and were destroyed by the while man’s deceit, dishonesty and treachery.

Come to India, there are lakhs of people who “speak with forked tongue”—mostly the politicians, the bureaucrats, the petty babus in the taluka offices, businessmen and their “corporate communications” people, traders, etc. I will give two examples of “forked tongues” and go on to show that truth and honesty are indivisible and the obverse that lying and deceit are inseparable from dishonesty and crimes like graft, bribery, under-the-table payments, etc.

I do not know the technical aspects of the philosophical logic that proves these statements. But these are observable facts which the philosophers will confirm in their own way. 

In sum, a person who always (or 99% of the time, for perfection is impossible) tells the truth will always be honest. He will be incorruptible and blow the whistle when he comes across bribery or graft. A person who tells lies or is deceitful in important matters will always be dishonest and will be fertile ground for giving and taking bribes.

Now, the examples. Many months ago, Salman Khurshid told the world with utmost conviction that Loop Telecom had no connection with the Essar group of the Ruias, though the whole world knew otherwise. Mr Khurshid was proved wrong the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which has filed a case that establishes that Loop Telecom is a creation of the Ruias. (Please see, a website that has been around since the news of the scam first broke and gives us the “A to Z’ of the scam).

Why did Salman Khurshid say something which he knew was patently a lie? Who knows? But whatever the reason, his statement raises suspicions.

Now, we come to Kapil Sibal. A second lead report in the Times of India of about three weeks ago reads thus:

“Mumbai: A telecom company can be penalized anything between nil (sic) and Rs50 crore for violating rules. But bureaucrats are so worried of being accused of corruption that they are levying the maximum amount, almost as a rule. Nor is there any chance of the fine being lowered by the minister, who is equally reluctant to invite charges of graft.”

“The pervasive fear of being persecuted for decisions, even those intended in the right spirit, is preventing many top officials and Ministers from taking much-needed steps, said Mr Sibal, Union minister for communications and human resource development. He was speaking at the discussion on the “Agenda for Reform” at the Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence.”

Not only is Mr Sibal deceitful and intellectually dishonest, he is excruciatingly and outrageously funny, like something out of “Monty Python”, the great satire on British TV.  And it is a short step, as we have shown, from dishonesty to something far more damaging to the country and the people.

I am not saying that Mr Khurshid and Mr Sibal are crooks. I am saying that lies and dishonesty are the basis for all the scams—2G (second generation), illegal iron ore mining, the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) system of settlements to let off proven offenders, even criminals, with a financial rap on the knuckles, etc.

To be fair to Mr Khurshid and Mr Sibal, one could say that, as lawyers, they are so habituated to defending the indefensible that they are unable to keep that compulsion out of public life.

So, here is a tip for the Lokpal-to-be, the Lokayuktas and the crime busters like the CBI: if you find that a guy is lying, be sure that he is basically dishonest and his psyche definitely tends towards crime.





5 years ago

Kapil Sibal especially has developed the art of magic which PC. Sarkar would be willing to learn from him. 2G money as per his calculations is Zero.
Chidambaram deserves Bharat Ratna for his HR practices. Indian Cyberspace will accomodate only praises on the Gandhi family.


nagesh kini

In Reply to RNandakumar 5 years ago

Last line needs to be suitably modified to read - "Indian cyberspace will automatically eliminate all anti-G stuff without exception."


5 years ago

Not that the two (dis)Hon. Union Ministers are crooks any way, why is the third distinguished member of their tribe of Senior lawyers PC the HM left out. Right from the lathi charge on sleeping protestors to closing a former client's case amounts to not a single but double forked tongue. Yet is accused of 'intellectual arrogance.

The Opposition has wrongly wasted public money over this trifling issue. They ought not be paid their remuneration.

surajit som

5 years ago

All good motives …,whatever exalted names we may give them, have grown up from the same roots as those we suppose are poisoned, between good and evil actions there is no difference of kind ,but at the most of degree. Good actions are sublimated evil ones; evil actions are coarsened and brutalized good ones. The individual’s sole desire is for self-satisfaction, and it is this which asserts itself under all circumstances …..

Nietzsche-Human, all Too Human,1878

Moral of the lesson: …………


nagesh kini

In Reply to surajit som 5 years ago

"Only God save you from such characters you" !

RIL KG-D6 output falls to two-year low of 39.80 mmscmd

Gas production from the Dhirubhai-1 and 3 gas fields and the MA oilfield in the KG-DWN-98/3, or KG-D6, block in the Bay of Bengal stood at 39.80 mmscmd in the week ended 4th December, RIL said in its weekly status report to the oil ministry

New Delhi: Reliance Industries (RIL) has reported a decline in natural gas output from its eastern offshore KG-D6 fields to a two-year low of 39.80 million metric standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd), reports PTI.

Separately, oil minister S Jaipal Reddy told Parliament that as many as six wells in the Krishna-Godavari basin KG-D6 block have ceased gas production due to water-loading and sand ingress.

Gas production from the Dhirubhai-1 and 3 gas fields and the MA oilfield in the KG-DWN-98/3, or KG-D6, block in the Bay of Bengal stood at 39.80 mmscmd in the week ended 4th December, RIL said in its weekly status report to the oil ministry here.

The output, which comprised 32.94 mmscmd from the D1 and D3 gas fields and 6.86 mmscmd from the MA oilfield, is lower than the 40 mmscmd that RIL achieved within 90 days of the commencement of production on 2 April 2009.

KG-D6 production touched 61.5 mmscmd in March last year before a drop in pressure in the wells and water-loading/sand ingress led to a fall in per-well gas output.

“The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) has reported that the reasons for the decline in gas production from D1 and D3 is due to drilling of only 22 wells, as against the 31 producing wells approved for drilling up to March, 2012, as per the field development plan (FDP),” Mr Reddy said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

Of the 22 wells drilled, four wells have not been put on production, he said, adding that the DGH has not agreed with RIL’s argument that geological complexities prevented it from drilling more wells.

The DGH, the technical advisor to the oil ministry, has asked RIL to “comply with the approved FDP by drilling more number of gas-producing wells in the D1 and D3 gas fields and achieve the FDP-approved gas production profile,” Mr Reddy said.

The output from KG-D6 is short of the 70.39 mmscmd-level (61.88 mmscmd from D1& D3 and 8.5 mmscmd from the MA field) envisaged by now as per the FDP approved in 2006. D1 and D3 output was to touch a peak of 80 mmscmd by March 2012.

“The contractor (RIL) has neither drilled the remaining nine producing wells nor taken any alternative action such as revisions of the FDP for approval of the Management Committee (MC) as per the provisions of the Production Sharing Contract,” he said.

The Management Committee is an oversight body comprising representatives of the contractor, the DGH and oil ministry.

“In addition, five out of total 18 gas producing wells in D1&D3 fields have ceased to produce gas due to water-loading/sand ingress in the wells. One oil/gas producing well in the MA field out of six oil/gas producing wells has ceased to produce oil/gas due to water-logging in the well,” Mr Reddy added.

In the status report, RIL projected an output of 39.50 mmscmd of gas during December.

The RIL report said of the 18 wells drilled, completed and put on production in the D1 and D3 fields, four wells—A2, B1, B2 and B13—had to be shut or closed due to high water cut/sanding issues.

While RIL holds 60% interest in KG-D6, UK’s BP Plc holds 30% and Niko Resources of Canada the remaining 10%.

RIL started natural gas production from the KG-D6 fields in April 2009, with an output of 30 mmscmd from eight wells. This quickly rose to 40 mmscmd within 90 days.

By the October-December quarter, production had reached 60 mmscmd and RIL successfully tested the design capacity of the production facilities for handling 80 mmscmd of gas.

The MA oilfield currently produces about 12,715 barrels of crude oil per day. In addition, 1,831 barrels of condensate are produced from the field every day.

The report said 14.89 mmscmd of the gas output is being sold to fertiliser plants and 22.02 mmscmd to power plants.

The remaining 2.89 mmscmd is consumed by other sectors, including those fed by the East-West pipeline that transports gas from the East Coast to consumption centres in the West.

As per the status report, out of the 22 wells planned in Phase-I of D1 and D3 field development, 18 wells have been drilled and completed so far. Of these, 14 wells were put on production, while four wells were kept closed due to high water cut and sanding issues.



Stable Investor

5 years ago

Though outputs are not as was envisaged by RIL or DGH, it makes sense for long term investors to start accumulating RIL at current levels.

Govt not to roll back decontrol regime for P&K fertilisers

As per the NBS policy of April 2010, the maximum retail price of phosphatic and potassium fertilisers has been left open to be fixed by the manufacturers or importers and the amount of subsidy is fixed by the government for each nutrient

New Delhi: Amid sharp jump in prices of diammonium phosphate (DAP) and potash fertilisers, the government today said it is not considering rolling back the decontrol price regime in phosphatic and potassium crop nutrients, reports PTI.

The fertiliser ministry in April 2010 had removed the government controls on pricing of phosphatic (P) and potassium (K) fertilisers by introducing the Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) policy.

“The NBS policy for P and K fertilisers is still in operation. Withdrawal of this policy is not under consideration in the government,” minister of state for fertiliser Srikant Kumar Jena said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

The minister said that several representations have been received in respect of rise in the retail price of P and K fertilisers in the market.

In addition, he said, the Department of Fertilisers has also received a copy of the resolution passed in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha for rolling back the price rise of fertilisers.

As per the NBS policy, the maximum retail price (MRP) of P and K fertilisers has been left open to be fixed by the manufacturers or importers and the amount of subsidy is fixed by the government for each nutrient.

The subsidy for diammonium phosphate (DAP) and potash is fixed at Rs19,763 per tonne and Rs16,054 per tonne for the 2011-12 fiscal.

Despite the subsidy given on these fertilisers, retail prices are ruling higher by more than 80%-100% from last year’s level.

Even after introduction of NBS, Mr Jena said farmers have to pay about 50% of the actual cost of the fertilisers.


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