Ashok Chavan to depose before Adarsh panel on 30 June

Chavan filed a fresh application clarifying that in his earlier letter he did not intend to suggest that he would not be available to the commission

Mumbai: In a U-turn, Maharashtra's former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Thursday told the two-member inquiry commission probing the Adarsh housing society scam he is ready to appear before it on 30th June, reports PTI.

Chavan, an accused in the Adarsh case, also being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), had on 22nd May sought exemption from appearance before the judicial panel, saying his evidence would have been relevant only on issues of ownership of the land on which the 31-storey building stands and whether it was reserved for Kargil widows and war heroes.

The two issues have already been decided by the panel.

"As the commission has already submitted its report to the government on these issues I (Chavan) may be exempted," the former Chief Minister had said in his application.

However, Chavan filed a fresh application today clarifying that he did not intend to suggest that he would not be available to the commission.

"The applicant's (Chavan) only request is that he be called for deposition on or after June 30. The applicant has been named by CBI in their FIR and in view of his requirement in Delhi in a pending proceeding, his deposition before the commission may be deferred," today's application says.

The commission headed by Justice (retd) J A Patil accepted Chavan's application and directed him to appear before it on 30th June, while disposing of his previous petition seeking exemption.

Chavan, who was earlier directed to appear on 23rd May, will now give his deposition after the commission completes recording the evidence of Union Ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushil Kumar Shinde.

The commission had yesterday summoned Deshmukh and Shinde, both former Chief Ministers of Maharashtra, on 21-22 June and 25-26 June, respectively.

The panel, in its interim report, had said the land belonged to the state government, contrary to the claim of Ministry of Defence that it was defence land.

Chavan is alleged to have recommended allotment of 40% flats in the Adarsh Housing Society, said to be originally meant for Kargil widows and war heroes, to civilians.

His relatives were alleged to have got flats in the building as quid-pro-quo for extending favours to the society.

Chavan was the Revenue Minister from 1999 to 2003 when the land was allotted to the housing society and Deshmukh the Chief Minister.


High Court refuses to ask government to withdraw Army press release

While disposing off a petition by Tejinder Singh seeking withdrawal of the alleged defamatory press release, the HC said taking disciplinary action is part and parcel of the disciplinary authority

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to direct the Centre to take back a press release of the Army alleging that Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh offered a bribe to the Army Chief in connection with a defence deal, reports PTI.

"The Union of India cannot be directed to disown or retract the aforesaid press release," Justice Mukta Gupta said while disposing off a petition by Tejinder Singh seeking withdrawal of the alleged defamatory press release.

The court also considered the reply of the Ministry of Defence that it had no role in the issuance of 5th March press release as it was given out by the Army Headquarters.

The court, however, said that Tejinder Singh could make a representation before the authorities concerned seeking initiation of disciplinary proceedings against five Army officials including Chief of Army Staff Gen VK Singh.

"Taking disciplinary action is part and parcel of the disciplinary authority. In case a representation is made for taking the action, the same would be considered by the authorities concerned," Justice Gupta said.

Former Army officer Tejinder Singh had approached the high court seeking withdrawal of the press release of the Army on the ground that it had violated his fundamental right to reputation.

However, the court did not agree with the plea after the Centre made it clear that it was not responsible for the actions of some Army officials.

"It is a service matter and such kind of petition against the government is not maintainable," Additional Solicitor General AS Chandhiok said during the arguments.


Public Interest Exclusive
Petrol price hike: 7 Things You Can Do

Fuel price hikes are inevitable. There is not much else we can do - and wasting time on bandhs is not going to solve anything either. What should you be doing? Here are 7 things including filling up your tanks and tyres in the morning!

On Wednesday, the oil marketing companies hiked petrol prices by Rs6.28 per litre, excluding local sales tax or VAT, which translates into a hike of Rs7.50 per litre in Delhi. Fuel price hikes are inevitable, given the multiple issues surrounding them, and the earlier we try to take individual as well as joint steps to address the issue - the better. Here are some suggestions:-

1) Obviously, shift to more fuel efficient motor vehicles, the smaller the better. That aside, more importantly, knowing a bit about engine technology and how to maintain them was never more useful - accessing and cleaning the air filter with a reverse flush using compressed air, for example. But then, what do you do if the manufacturer has made it close to impossible for the vehicle owner/operator to even access the air filter? There was never a better time to read the owner's manual than now.

2) Fill up the fuel and press up the air pressure in tyres as early in the morning as possible. Fuel which has cooled down in the underground tanks overnight is denser, and you simply get more bang for your buck. Air pressure checked in the morning also takes you through the hotter parts of the day with higher pressure, which slight difference can make all the difference between a car that rolls freely as against one that rolls sluggishly.

3) If you use a two-wheeler for local short distance commuting, then consider shifting to battery operated two-wheelers, and if your town/city/state does not support them by providing the kind of subsidies that are available to us in cities like Delhi. This is straight 33% subsidy by Delhi Government (existing), 20% central Government (proposed), no road tax, no registration for smaller scooters, no driving licence and most of all - no harassment. Get together and start lobbying for them in your own states. You can now even charge some of them by onboard solar cells.

4) One political formation hikes the prices, other political formation organises bandhs, and big noise is made by our elected leaders. This is nonsense, do they think we are idiots, this is an insult to our basic intelligence, who are the politicians fooling anymore, time to tell them directly to their face. Tell them to follow Gujarat: give us more renewable energy options, and tell them not to go back to their old wasteful ways - since we know that they are paid/reimbursed by litre, regardless of cost. Better to start getting organised and then letting them know that their individual future depends on how they show that they are reducing wastage of fuel on government expense.

5) Start demanding that cycle parking as well as cycle tracks is provided in your towns and cities as part of electoral promises. And that the prime parking slots in government buildings be assigned to people who come on cycles. Eventually, along with public transport, this will have to be the solution for multiple issues so the sooner we try to make life better for cyclists, the better - another electoral issue. People in Bangalore are way ahead of many others in this context already.

6) Cooking gas is a major expense head already, whether purchased legit or through the grey market, as many have to do. A viable option for fairly good savings is to use induction cookers. Without being brand specific, we have found that in our home kitchen (a) the energy cost has come down by a factor of almost 3:1 and (b) the kitchen is not such a hot and sweaty place anymore either. Plus, these electricity operated induction cookers come with timers and automatic functions, unlike cooking gas or oil, and can be pre-programmed to work without you having to be on top of them all the time.

7) Public transport is the one solution everybody talks about - but do we know how the local, state and central government's tax and make life difficult for buses, autos and taxis? The reality is hopeless - making public transport costlier flies in the face of any common sense attempt to reduce fuel expenses, but that is what is done, shamelessly, by our government bodies. Please take the trouble to find out how the system conspires against good public transport in your town by levying all sorts of tolls, taxes, permit fees, seat fees and more, in addition to all sorts of illegal pressures and problems faced - and let the elected representatives know that these shall be electoral issues in the near future.

These are just a few suggestions across a wide spectrum of choices available - but most are driven by the need to let your elected representative know that good public transport will decide his future. The example of how the Delhi Government boasts about the Delhi Metro as its major most important achievement is a good example. We have no other way to save money - and retain mobility at the same time.

Go for these and many other ideas. There is not much else we can do - and wasting time on bandhs is not going to solve anything either.



Ratanlal Purohit

5 years ago

Dear Veereshji
I am amazed that you have unmatched veesatility on TECHNICAL MATTERS. But I have some agreement and some difference of opinion.
I am not in ageement using electricity against gas. It is wasteful. Electricity is getting costly too. Power cuts is prevalent except in our SoBo. Solar cooking technologists like Deepak Gadhia and other agencies can help.


Govind Shanbhag

5 years ago

Dear Veeresh Jee - I am not an economist but some of the issues ailing Indian economy from political/ economical/ general conditions are as under and if not some decision is not taken I am afriad we will follow the countries like Greece, Spain, Italy and some of european countries.
1. There are too many political parties, which are Regional, who are dictating terns in national level even indirect blackmailing.
2. Deficit financing at State level and central is too alarming.
3. For getting political mileage, some hard decision need to be taken for getting subsidy.
4. Government expenditure at all levels including Minsters is very heavy.
5. Use of petrol diesel by vehicles by Govt. departments at all levels need to be sincerely effectively controlled.
6. Dignitaries visits to various places including overseas (President with her full family members, Hon speaker of the house have reportedly visited almost all important countries in the world) need to be controlled.
7. There are too many taxes such as Professional Tax,Sales Tax, Income Tax, Service Tax, Corporation tax, road tax etc. who is doing end use study?
8. We know ours is agrarian economy but we are pumping years after years huge amount in farmers welfare and due to vested interests these farmers have almost stopped repaying loans taken from banks which banks write off.
9. Every state Govts. local bodies borrow heavily from outside (GoM have reported to have loans in excess of Rs.2 lac crores without matching income.
10. We are one of the highly corrupted country leading into leakage of govt income.
11. Elected reps. do not allow Parliament to run, Govt, can not take any decision on number of bills which are stalled. I am told Parliament do not function for more than 60% of working days,
12. Legal system is less said is better, once the suit is filed it takes decades for the outcome right from junior most cours to bench in Parliament. I am told Govt., banks and various bodies account for more than 45% of such suits. Why not arbitration by interse Govt.department functioning.
13. Standard of education is falling and post graduate student can not even speak few words in English.
14. Voting percentage fails to cover 59% turnout mark , we use the holidays for enjoyment.
15. Huge amount is spent on fighting election and once the persons gets from local body upwards, within next election he generates that much income so that his next 2-3 generation can live comfortably.
16. We spend lot of money once the dignitary demits office and thanks to you President's Pune palatial fight, this was scuttled. But there are more such dignitaries enjoying the moola.

Looking at the overall scenario I get dejected at times loose sleep and out tribe i.e. senior citizen is growing.

Anil Agashe

5 years ago

Dear Yogesh, I think the system is not sufficient for all flats and hence the problem or the isulation is not correct. Please hv it checked. You will get a solution. I have seen such systems working fine and providing hot water through out the day. Hope tt you will find a solution.

Rajive Chawla

5 years ago

Very well written and very valid points. Thanks for sharing.

Anil Agashe

5 years ago

Use solar cookers where possible. give them free to deserving under NAREGA budget, pay people to fabricate them. Use solar water heaters. Make it compulsory.



In Reply to Anil Agashe 5 years ago

We had installed Solar Water Heating System on our CHS. The builder took Rs25,000 from all 44 members. However, the system is so pathetic. I mean, we get hot water only for half an hour and only people staying at lower floors get it. Those staying on and above 5th floor hardly get few drops of hot water. It is now over 3 years old. All members from the CHS are pissed off with the system and want to get rid of it at whatever cost. We may sell it off and install gas based geysers in each flat.


5 years ago

the real transformation would only be feasible with real public transport - i still consider auto/taxi as semi-private option.
the biggest problem across most of india is that the last mile (or even 100 m) has to be done on foot & this is where it is almost un-walkable for most of the commuters or visitors. unless this improves, people will keep expecting others to use buses, but drive their own cars...


5 years ago

The comment about Bangalore is not correct. Bicyclists are as prone to traffic dangers here as in any other city in India, perhaps more. This is my personal experience.

I rode my bicycle to office one day. Distance was not a problem as I cycle longer distance every day, early morning, in the suburbs. However, I was absolutely terrified by the traffic and the potential danger. It was as if I was invisible to motorists (particularly motor bikes). All it needed was one swipe from someone and me and my bicycle would have been history!

Sadly, my bicycle ride to office experiment has since been abandoned.

On a funny note, since the main reason for increasing fuel price is the loss suffered by oil marketing companies, why not make our well known "zero-loss" minister as petroleum minister? Then, we can say goodbye to all further fuel price hikes :)

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