Citizens' Issues
Former AG GE Vahanvati passes away
GE Vahanvati was India's Attorney General between June 2009 and May 2014
 
Goolamhussein Essaji (GE) Vahanvati, India's 13th Attorney General (AG) expired on Tuesday due to massive cardiac arrest.
 
Born on 7 May 1949, Vahanvati's first term as AG began in June 2009. In 2012, his term was extended by two years. Prior to being appointed as AG, Vahanvati, served as Solicitor General of India.
 
In April 2013, Vahanvati's role in government came under scrutiny after allegations of impropriety and coercion emerged from his junior law officer, Harin P Raval, who resigned from the post of Additional Solicitor General as a result.
 
Among several cases, Vahanvati appeared in the nine judges Bench hearing on the Ninth Schedule, Kuldip Nayar’s challenge to the amendment to the Representation of the People’s Act with regard to the Rajya Sabha, the tainted Ministers case, in all matters pertaining to the sealing and the challenge to the Delhi Laws Special Provisions Act, 2007 and challenges to the Master Plan 2021.
 
He also represented Maharashtra state in the public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed in the fake stamp paper scam.

User

CBI director Sinha gets embroiled into 'entry register' controversy
Entry register of Sinha's residence portrays a 'very disturbing' and 'explosive material' coming in the way of administration of justice in 2G spectrum allocation scam, CPIL told the Supreme Court
 
Ranjit Sinha, the director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), on Tuesday was at the centre of a controversy during the hearing of 2G scam in the Supreme Court. A non-governmental organisation (NGO) told the apex court that entry register of Sinha's residence portrays a 'very disturbing' and 'explosive material' coming in the way of administration of justice in 2G spectrum allocation scam.
 
The issue was raised by the NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), one of the PIL petitioners on whose plea 122 licences for 2G spectrum were cancelled by the Supreme Court.
 
The apex court stopped the NGO’s counsel from reading out his note on the issue after CBI counsel raised objections to making the content of the register public in open court and agreed to hear it on Thursday.
 
A bench comprising Justices HL Dattu, SA Bobde and AM Sapre said, “If you can give the copy of the material to us, CBI and Director’s counsel, we can take up the matter day after tomorrow.” 
 
CPIL’s counsel Prashant Bhushan started the submission by stating that after disturbing development of keeping DIG Santosh Rastogi out of the investigation of 2G spectrum, which was rectified on apex court’s intervention and during the pendency of an application seeking recusal of Sinha from the spectrum matter, another “very disturbing” thing has happened.
 
“Last night I came across very disturbing and explosive material. The entry register of Director’s residence,” Bhushan said and referred to a news report, which claimed that top executives of a company indicted in 2G scam met CBI Director at his residence in the last 15 months.
 
While CPIL counsel was reading his note, senior advocate KK Venugopal, appearing for the CBI intervened and asked the bench to pass an order that all materials be placed before the court in a sealed envelope.
 
Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, who was appearing in a 2G related matter for DMK MP Kanimozhi, one of the accused in the scam, came to the defence of CBI director by saying that “he is performing his duty well but all kinds of allegations are being levelled.”
 
Sinha deputed senior advocate Vikas Singh, who said allegations are being made and it appears that attempts are being made to destroy CBI as an institution.
 
Jethmalani said everytime Bhushan comes out with notes, the CPIL should be asked to make its submission through affidavit.
 
The bench asked CPIL to make its submission by way of affidavit and posted the hearing on Thursday when it will also hear the NGO’s application seeking recusal of Sinha from all 2G matters allegedly for trying to protect some influential accused in the scam.
 
The NGO alleged that the “Director has made serious attempts to derail the investigation and prosecution being carried out by the CBI”. 

User

Will the Supreme Court judgement set a precedent?
With such a wide swathe of illegality, can the Supreme Court find a way to either scrap allocations or regularise them without hurting power generation?
 
“Coal is king and paramount Lord of industry is an old saying in the industrial world. Industrial greatness has been built up on coal by many countries. In India, coal is the most important indigenous energy resource and remains the dominant fuel for power generation and many industrial applications.” This is the opening para of a 163-page Supreme Court order, which declared as ‘illegal and unconstitutional’ a massive 195 coal blocks that were given away to private companies between 1993 and 2010. 
 
It sums up the extent of the loot that was initially exposed by the meticulous work of the Comptroller & Auditor General under Vinod Rai (Rs1.64 lakh crore loss to the exchequer due to illegal mining). The unsavoury details came out due to the commendable courage and determination of activist Manohar Lal Sharma, who appears in person and the NGO CommonCause represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan in standing firm against a battery of expensive lawyers representing a wide spectrum of corporate India.
 
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government also contributed through its efforts to extend the investigation to the previous government. In the process, the judgement traces in great detail how the Centre and several state governments gifted away precious national resources as largesse to their corporate cronies through a series of malafide and arbitrary actions, violation of statute, and arbitrary and non-transparent decisions. The court reminded us that, as the law stands, only the central public sector undertakings (PSUs) can develop coal blocks. 
 
The apex court’s landmark judgement stopped short of quashing the allocations and has decided to hold deliberations to find a way forward. The judgement by Justices RM Lodha, Kurian Joseph and Madan B Lokur also did not touch the coal allocations to the ultra mega power projects but disallowed any diversion for commercial use. 
 
The judgement will set a precedent that may check the plunder of other natural resources as well. But what we need to watch out for is how the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) take this forward. The apex court has emphatically clarified that the judgement should not “be construed, in any manner, as touching directly or indirectly upon the investigation being conducted by CBI and ED into the allocation of coal blocks.” 
 
Remember, of the 195 coal blocks that have been declared illegal, only 31 are actually producing coal. Most of the pillage happened under the UPA dispensation between 2006 and 2009 and almost all the allottees have already raised large sums of money from banks or investors not only for exploration but for power and other projects. The sums raised are humongous. The Economic Times reports that the exposure of the banking system to projects connected with the coal allocation is over Rs5 lakh crore. Bankers are already whining about a ‘threat to the banking system’ and how the judgement amounts to a ‘retrospective’ action. 
 
But it is common knowledge that massive corruption greased the path to release thousands of crores of rupees to undeserving projects. Such was the lawlessness under the UPA that nobody imagined that they would be caught. But all bets are off after a string of actions from CBI starting with the arrest of Syndicate Bank chairman SK Jain, Neeraj Singhal, vice chairman of Bhushan Steel, several SEBI officials in two separate cases, arrest of a registrar of companies at Chennai and a former disinvestment secretary, in a case dating back to the 2002-03 during the BJP-led government. 
 
These developments pose a challenge to the Narendra Modi government as well. How the prime minister handles it, will tell us whether he lives up to the faith reposed in him by the people. 

User

COMMENTS

Dayananda Kamath k

2 years ago

coal allocation is a scam even during rajeev gandhi time but upa headed by sonia wants to protect their integrity and justify their action showing that nda also has done the irregularity. even the land allotments to industrialists which is not used and now being used for setting up real estate subsidiaries is also a scam. regularization of irregularities done during election times is also a scam and corruption. using public money to give freebies like tv, grinder, cycle, laptops during election manifesto and garnering votes is also illegal and corruption. why supreme court, election commission not acting on these. entire govt is run in regularizing irregularities.

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)