The former SC judge says Team Anna had no intention of taking the government head-on over the Lokpal issue, but it was compelled to do so because of its stubborn claim of ‘parliamentary supremacy’. Justice Hegde who was a key member of the joint drafting committee, has urged people to continue the fight for the proper use of the country’s wealth and resources
For some reason the three sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act which Parliament was set to dilute in terms of going soft on prosecution of government officers, who indulged in corruption and illegal commercial transactions, did not go to the Rajya Sabha. Otherwise, this amendment (along with the 17 bills that were passed in 12 minutes on a single day in September 2010), would have showed that the political class sitting in Parliament, which pompously boasts about 'parliamentary supremacy', was not interested in removing corruption, but was in fact keen to condone it, says Santosh Hegde, member of the joint drafting committee of the Lokpal Bill.
Justice Hegde made these remarks during a public lecture he delivered at the Nehru Memorial Hall in Pune on Monday, at the invitation of the chartered accountants fraternity, a day after Anna Hazare broke his 13-day fast for a strong anti-corruption law.
He referred to a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, saying, "According to the 2008-09 CAG report, in one single year Rs54,000 crore, which was to be spent on eight rural development schemes like midday meal, water supply and so on, are not accounted for. Where has the money been siphoned off that would have enhanced the quality of life of thousands of villages? Isn't it time to bring in a strong legislation against such large-scale corruption?''Mr Hegde asked.
The former judge of the Supreme Court also made a pointed reference to the Reliance KG Basin oil deal as likely to become larger than the 2G scam, to make a strong legislation against corruption the topmost priority.
He said, "The first administrative reforms were made in 1962, when Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was prime minister. Only 14 years after Independence, the need was felt to control decay in the administration. We chose the Scandinavian system of having an ombudsman and it was at that time that it was recommended to have an institution called the Lokpal at the centre and Lokayukta at the state level. But the proposal gathered dust, until in 1984, Ramkrishna Hegde became chief minister of Karnataka and promised value-based governance, and he fulfilled the promise by instituting the Lokayukta at the state level and it became an Act in 1986. However, the government at the centre slept over the issue for 48 years.''
In the context of the scams that were busted in 2010, Justice Hegde said, "Some members in civil society decided to draft a bill and have a discussion with the government. However, the government was unwilling. Anna Hazare sent a letter in February 2011, but there was no reply. It is only when he began his fast in April that the law ministry said the letter sent to the prime minister was misplaced and that we should send another copy. On the third day, an emissary was sent, but Anna insisted that a notification be issued and thus was born the joint drafting committee.''
Justice Hegde, who completed his term as Lokayukta of Karnataka earlier this month, mentioned how all the nine meetings of the joint drafting committee for a strong Lokpal Bill failed, as the government representatives on the committee said a singular "no" or "keep it in brackets" (meaning, "we will see"). Due to this stubborn attitude of the government to stall a strong legislation, that Anna Hazare was compelled to go on a fast a second time. Thereafter, Justice Hegde said, some government representatives even started questioning the credibility of Team Anna, with statements like 'Who are you-the unelectable and the unelected-to tell us how to have a law?' Look at the audacity of these parliamentarians who have changed the meaning of democracy, which in the right essence is by the people, for the people and of the people!''
Urging the people to undertake a mass education campaign on the Jan Lokpal Bill, Justice Hegde said people should not forget the humiliation meted out to the people of India by politicians, and if they meet any of them they should ask them, "Do you know who I am? I am a citizen of India and so I hold the highest office."
Justice Hegde concluded by saying that he felt nostalgic when Anna broke his fast on 28th August. "I was seven years old when my parents took me to a public ground when India attained freedom on 15 August 1947. I felt the same sense of pride and patriotism when Anna broke his fast.''
Asked about his disagreement with Team Anna over Mr Hazare's fast, Justice Hegde said, "I was worried about Anna's health".
The accused had sought bail on the grounds that the trial in the Satyam scam was not completed within the Supreme Court-stipulated timeline of 31st July and all the prosecution witnesses were examined
Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday dismissed the bail petitions of B Ramalinga Raju and seven other accused in the multi-crore Satyam Computer accounting fraud, reports PTI.
Justice Samudrala Govindarajulu, who completed the arguments on the bail petitions on 27th August, said all the bail applications were dismissed.
Of the ten accused in the case, B Suryanarayana Raju, who is Raju's brother, and T Srinivas, a former auditor of PricewaterhouseCoopers, had been granted bail by different courts earlier.
Besides Mr Raju, Satyam's former MD B Rama Raju, ex-CFO Vadlamani Srinivas, former employees G Ramakrishna, D Venkatpathi Raju and Ch Srisailam, former PWC auditor Subramani Gopalakrishnan and Satyam's former internal chief auditor VS Prabhakar Gupta, are currently lodged in Chanchalguda Central Prison in Hyderabad.
The accused had sought bail on the grounds that the trial in the Satyam scam was not completed within the Supreme Court-stipulated timeline of 31st July and all the prosecution witnesses were examined.
Earlier, cancelling Mr Raju's bail in October last year, the Supreme Court had stated that the accused could file another bail application only after 31 July 2011, if the trial in the case was not completed in the local court.
Sources close to Mr Raju said he and the other accused may approach the Supreme Court for bail. They, however, did not confirm when they are going to file the petition in the apex court.
Mr Raju, the former chairman and founder of Satyam Computer, surrendered on 10th November before the local court adjudicating the nation's biggest corporate fraud, which is allegedly to the tune of Rs14,000 crore.
While the company claimed the crackdown was against labourers after quality issues attributed to sabotage came to light last week, the workers said the management was taking these steps in 'revenge' for their 13-day strike in June demanding the recognition of a new union
New Delhi: India's biggest passenger carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) today said it has suspended 16 more permanent workers and discontinued the services of 12 trainees as the stand-off between the management and workers at its Manesar plant intensified, completely affecting production for the second day, reports PTI.
"Production has not started yet, but there are indications that it will resume today with alternate arrangements like contract workers and hiring technicians," a MSI spokesperson said.
After suspending 10 workers, dismissing five and discontinuing with the services of six trainees yesterday, the company is continuing with its aggressive crackdown against labourers after quality issues attributed to sabotage came to light last week.
"We have suspended 16 more permanent employees today and also terminated the services of 12 more technician trainees," the spokesperson said.
Those who have been suspended and dismissed are being charged with sabotage and causing quality problem in cars produced last week.
The workers, however, said the management was taking these steps in 'revenge' for their 13-day strike in June demanding the recognition of a new union-the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU)-at the plant located in Haryana.
Production at the plant came to a complete halt yesterday, with the company preventing workers from entering the factory without signing a 'good conduct bond' following the alleged 'sabotage'.
"The management is taking revenge on us and forcing us to sign an undertaking following rejection of our application to form a union at the plant by the Haryana government," MSEU general secretary Shiv Kumar, who led the workers during the stir in June, said.
The suspended and dismissed workers include all the office-bearers of the proposed MSEU, he added.
However, management sources said MSI has been facing serious production issues, particularly with respect to meeting targets and quality control, in the past few weeks.
"On 24th August, 1,230 cars were planned to be produced, but only 437 were assembled. Out of which, just 96 cars could pass quality check," the source had said.
Workers have been indulging in deliberate attempts to reduce output and are compromising customer interests, the source added.
However, when asked about the allegations of tampering with the products, Mr Kumar said, "Some management-supported workers are doing this after the product is ready just to take revenge on us for the June strike."
Alleging sabotage by some workers, the company management decided to enforce a 'Good Conduct Bond' for the workers, which seeks an assurance that they will not resort to go slow measures, sabotage production or indulge in activities that will hamper normal production at the plant.
Taking an aggressive stance, the management is understood to have decided to move all non-automated production work from the plant to its Gurgaon unit till the time the workers agreed to sign the bond.
Over 22 regular workers at the plant have signed the bond so far. While casual workers have been asked to report to their respective contractors, apprentices at the plant have been given leave till 1st September.
The plant, which produces models such as Swift, DZiRE and SX4, has a total of about 2,500 workers, of which 950 are regular employees.
Shares of the company were being quoted 0.23% down at Rs1,077.55 in noon trade on the Bombay Stock Exchange.