Swan Telecom wants to know actual loss in 2G scam

Majeed Memon, appearing for Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa asserted that the CBI's case is based upon the loss to the state exchequer but the government had stated in Parliament that no loss was suffered and instead the tele-density in the country had increased in 2010 from what it was in 2004

New Delhi: Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa Monday demanded in a Delhi court that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) 'must answer' as to what is the actual loss suffered by the state exchequer due to the second generation (2G) spectrum scam, reports PTI.

Opposing framing of corruption and other penal charges against him, Mr Balwa told special CBI judge OP Saini that the agency should have written a letter to the Indian prime minister or the finance minister to know the actual loss to the exchequer due to the scam.

"The CBI must answer as to what is the actual loss to the state exchequer. It (loss) is the basis of the prosecution and it has to be supported with documentation," advocate Majeed Memon, appearing for Mr Balwa, said.

Mr Memon asserted that the CBI's case is based upon the loss to the state exchequer but the government had stated in Parliament that no loss was suffered and instead the tele-density in the country had increased in 2010 from what it was in 2004.

Mr Memon also asked the CBI if any loss has been suffered by the state exchequer, who exactly was responsible for it and up to what extent.

He also said the probe agency must answer whether Swan Telecom was ineligible to get Unified Access Services (UAS) licence in January 2008.

Balwa's counsel also accused the CBI of adopting selective approach in arresting people in the case.

"It is surprising how out of various companies (which got licences for 22 circles) and persons, the CBI picked up A and B and left others. Why are they adopting the selective approach?" Mr Memon asked, accusing CBI of conducting "a biased, selective and discriminatory approach" in the investigation.

"You (CBI) have just picked up one man of your choice from one point and the other from another point. CBI is blowing up the case so that the court would be hesitant to consider liberty of a person even after months. It is guilty of misleading the court," Mr Balwa's counsel told the court.

Mr Memon also asked the CBI to explain as to why former telecom minister A Raja is in jail if ministers belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government are not in jail despite evolving and following the same policy that Mr Raja had pursued.

Without naming anyone, Mr Memon submitted that MR Balwa is paying the price because of business rivalry.

"I (Mr Balwa) am a successful businessman and thus I am paying the price because of my business rivals. There is a feeling of vengeance (in my business rivals) as I am a threat to my competitors," he said.

Mr Balwa, arrested on 8th February, is presently lodged in Tihar Jail along with other 13 accused including Mr Raja and Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Kanimozhi.

Charges of cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy and corruption have been levelled against Mr Balwa.

The CBI charge-sheet has alleged that bribe money of Rs200 crore had been channelized from Balwa's DB Realty to DMK-run Kalaignar TV through a 'circuitous route' via Cineyug Films and Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd for grant of licence to Mr Balwa's Swan Telecom promoter.

The agency, in its first charge-sheet, has alleged that Balwa along with other co-accused in the case entered into a conspiracy for manipulating the procedure for allocation of spectrum with the aim of favouring companies like Swan Telecom and Unitech Group.

Mr Balwa asked as to why no one ever objected to telecom majors like Airtel, Tata and Vodafone securing licences between 2004 and 2007 at 2001 rates, while grant of 2G licence to him at 2001 prices merely a few months later in 2008 is being questioned.

MR Balwa's counsel pointed out to the special CBI judge that the prices were fixed in 2001 and were followed till 2008.

"May I ask if after 2004, no one talks of giving licences to Tata, Airtel and Vodafone on the same price as fixed in 2001," he said, pointing out that Vodafone was awarded licences to operate in Madhya Pradesh Telecom circle on 2001 rates in March 2007.

"In March 2007, Vodafone was given licence at the price fixed in 2001 and 10 months later (in January 2008) eyebrows are being raised that I got licences at the price of 2001," Mr Memon said.

He will continue arguments opposing framing of corruption and other penal charges against Mr Balwa in the post lunch session.

Till now, the court has heard arguments on behalf of former telecom minister A Raja, his personal secretary RK Chandolia and former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura opposing framing of charges against them in the 2G spectrum scam.


Speak Asia now offers products in lieu of money to panellists

The MLM company, whose COO is in police custody for alleged money swindling, is desperately trying to allay the fears of its panellists by offering unnamed, unbranded products instead of money, to keep them from filing complaints

Speak Asia, the multi-level marketing (MLM) company which is desperate to keep its flock intact, continues to release half page ads in mainstream dailies. Through these ads the company is requesting its panellists to use the reward points that they have collected to buy certain unbranded or unnamed products, like LCD television sets in lieu of money. But many do not seem to be interested in these products and they are demanding their money back immediately.

Following the arrest of Taral Bajpai, the chief operating officer (COO), and some others by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police, "proud to be Speak Asians" have been demoralised. Some of them who are desperate for the money could file complaints against the company for duping them. In order to allay fears of its panellists and to try to stop them from filing complaints against it, Speak Asia is offering products that have also been advertised on its website.

Interestingly, following the arrests, Speak Asia's newly-hired chief executive Manoj Kumar Sharma is still untraceable. However, the company's website has released a video of Mr Sharma, shot at an undisclosed location. In the video, Mr Sharma assures the company's agents about opening an office in India very soon. This is nothing new, as various officials have been repeating this since it started its activities in India a year ago. Speak Asia's global CEO and founder Haren Kaur has not been reachable.

(A couple of lines posted on Twitter about this video read: "Meanwhile Speak Asia CEO Manoj Kumar has released a video from an undisclosed location. Seems to be truly inspired by Osama.")

Mr Sharma also says in the video that he has been travelling on business tours over the past ten days and that he would be back in India soon. Criticising the media for deliberately spreading false rumours about the company, he said Speak Asia has been victimised through a "malicious and unsubstantiated" campaign by news channels and other vested interests. He said that the company is formalising its operations in India to open offices that will help to grow the business.

According to a media report, Dilip Cherian, the owner of public relations firm Perfect Relations, which claimed to handle Speak Asia's public relations and media image management, has also been questioned by the authorities in Delhi after the sudden disappearance of Mr Sharma. It seems that when the persons arrested were being brought to Mumbai last week, some investors protested at the Mumbai airport on their arrival, and this information was released to the media by the PR agency.

Moneylife was the first to write about the dubious claims made by Speak Asia and almost every article attracted numerous comments, many of them abusive and derogatory. However, there hasn't been a single such abusive comment since the arrests.

As Moneylife has already reported, Speak Asia now owes around Rs2,280 crore by way of payments to about 19 lakh panellists it has enrolled as of 31th July and there could be other older dues piled up (like payments to newspapers for publishing the company's advertisements).

Some panellists explained that the company was offering products in lieu of reward points (1 reward point=Rs50). But since Speak Asia had very few products, many have not been happy about buying what is available and they have also been voicing their discontent on the internet.

You may also want to read… 



Kishore N

6 years ago



(Mathrubhumi News Paper dated 27.08.2011)

The Police have issued lookout notice for Nano Excel Managing Director Mr. Harish Maddineni at various airports.


6 years ago


I am a SPEAK ASIA panelist. I am having only a User Id and a Password. I request SAOL to issue a written document to reassure the panelists that their money is safe with SAOL.

Nirmal Kumar Valecha

6 years ago

I stongly fell that our people on higher levels who are decission makers and ahave acted against SAOL, are bunch of fools.
Star Tv created a propaganda against them on TV and every body got feared of losing money and subsequently the banks and other money transfer authorities stalled SAOL functioning.
While the executives of SAOL went on to convince each one who raised objections and maligned there reputation that they will continue their business and will pay the panelist their dues.
Instead of taking a foolish action against local executives and arresting them, govt or other authorities should have allowed them to continue paying panalists and observed their activities closely and would have confirmed their payment processes. This would have ensured the fuctioning of the co as well as the panalist would have got the money which is their main interest. They are even trying to pay in terms gift vouchers, which also could be observed. Where is the question of taking any action unless they default in paying or compensating.
All the more they would have been asked to stop making further panalist which indirectly would have seized there Multi-Marketing -Trick which all were afraid of. And they were confirming that theyu are not MMC. They were earning from the surveys which they clain=med to be there main business of creating Data.
I think all Govt nad CBI or Courts should give them time to prove their activity which is not Multi Marketing.
They would have come under their own trap had they been a fraud company.


Vinay Joshi

In Reply to Nirmal Kumar Valecha 6 years ago

Mr.Nirmal Kummar Valecha,


If you can't comprehend it, keep quiet. OK.



In Reply to Vinay Joshi 6 years ago

Vinay Joshi, u are hereby authorized by me to file a writ on my behalf. Okay? So all who want writs filed may request Vinay Joshi to do so. Great! Thanks.

Nirmal Kumar Valecha

In Reply to Vinay Joshi 6 years ago

Mr. Joshi, do you understand English.
You have only learnt to bla-bla.... TRy to find solutions.
So many have already petitioned , what is the result! When they are paying why not give them chance to do so.
People like you create problems than solutions. Keep shut if you have no attitude to think positive.


In Reply to Nirmal Kumar Valecha 6 years ago

Who says they are paying? RBI had removed the strictures on banks for TT from SAOL to accounts of panelists though not allowing transfers from bank to SAOL. However, SAOL is yet not paying though India CEO had stated at the Press Meet on May 16th that they have enough funds in the Escrow account to pay panelists for three months without there being any further recruitments. So why has not SAOL paid by TT accumulated RPs of panelists? Do not tell me that they have not been able to open a bank account abroad even after three months. RBI has also stated that they may consider SAOL having an account with one of the conditions being that all RPs must come down to zero. For this reason SAOL has been asking its panelists to transfer all their RPs to Shopping e-wallet to buy their two displayed TVs of unknown brand and quality lying in customs gathering heavy demurrage. All that crap of Exit Option is highly skewed against panelists. If your RP are more than 11k then one would get no money on applying for the Exit Option. Anyhow, this Exit Option would come into operation only on these bastards getting a bank account in India. SAOL has left the panelists to be the front to fight the battle with the authorities on their behalf. Why should we? For that reason we have been filing complaints with the local police and with RBI, MCA/RoC or joining associations to jointly file PIL against SAOL for recovery of our money.

Kishore N

6 years ago

A great article exposing “AMWAY” is published in “MADHYAMAM” daily (August 9, 2011) titled:

Excerpts from the article:
“Who is the Godfather of ‘Networking’ fraud in India? AMWAY, an American Company.

Direct Selling Association, an umbrella of all “networking frauds”, is being led by AMWAY.

More than 1000 “Networking” companies including ‘Modicare’, ‘RMP’, ‘K-Link’, ‘Nano Excel’, ‘Bizarre’ have adopted the marketing tactics of Amway”

The above article also praises Late Shri. Y. Rajasekhara Reddy, former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh for his steadfast fight against Amway. As per the article, only because of Reddy’s firm stand Amway was not able to get any relief from Supreme Court even though the company was represented by eminent lawyers like Soli Sorabjee.


6 years ago

Mr Money life only you are one right and intelligent person on this earth.congratulations
and what about 20 Lacs of speakasians they have come from low lost educatinal background do they not understand what is happeninging that is why they are protesting in favour of SPEAK ASIA.
They are qualified doctors lawyers enggineers Chatared accountants High level govt officals.
JUST ANSWER ONE QUESTION WHAT IS RATE OF MARKET RESEARCH per survey if you know that if not please stop writing about speak asia . this is now a cult and it will not spare anyone whosoever is defaming it and all over and above we are proud speakasians we will be nothing can demora;lizes us rather you are just incresing list of people who are going to be nothing from something what they are today coz you are unable to realize strength of 20 lac welleducated and aware consumers. I am just requesting you to mend your ways otherwise pagaloo ka bhorsa nahin speak ko kuch hua tu tum tu milo gay ..............................................................
Aseem Chawla



In Reply to aseemchawla 6 years ago

Aseem, pl first keyboard whatever u want to post in MS Word. Check for grammar and spelling and then post. You are defaming all the 20 lakh panelists as being illiterate who cannot even write correctly and clearly. Via your writeup you have proved that u are just nobody to criticize the media or moneylife. I use American English for grammar and spelling as my PC is set for that for the work I do from home.


In Reply to aseemchawla 6 years ago

Hi Mr A## Ch****a, People like you always look for these kind of fraud schemes to reach the level which educated poeple have reached by doing hardwork. I know people like you who joins 10-15 fraud schemes (MLM)..chit funds etc to become rich fast. Kisko dhamki deta hai re ullu ke patte...20 lac cult ..my foot...these are 20 lacs idiots..go and hang ur self if u have lost moeny..atleast population to kam hoga...

Vinay Joshi

In Reply to aseemchawla 6 years ago

Mr.Aseem Chawla,

Mr. MoneyLife may be the only intelligent! What’s wrong! counter them if you can, if you must. But only with absolute info with fundas.

That you will never ever be able to do. What info you have?

Have you ever read my various earlier comments? Or are you a stooge of SA to propagate via this media? CBM as they no more can propagate.
I’ve also stated PANELIST being investigated may not be ruled out!? The first step was with the franchisees!

The Mumbai Police, Monday received HUNDRED MORE complaints against SA/SAOL, accusing them of cheating .

Among the complainant victims was a 26yr old MBA who had set up SA franchise & lost in Crores.

The SA's approx 70 a/c with about 140Cr in various banks have been since frozen.

One of the ‘Franchise Panelist’ complainant had invested 4L in four months to authorize PIN’s & empanel sub panelist, for C3% with promise of doubling!It was borrowed money.

The Mumbai Police, IT, ED, MCA put the scam at 14K Cr.



Keshav B bhat

In Reply to aseemchawla 6 years ago

Mr aseem,
I think people like you who r looking in to overnight richness without hardsips are the only right and intelligent people in this world. money life people are syphatiising with the people who have lost their life's earing in froaudulent shemes floated by inteligent people with the fraudulent motives. definitly people who are as inteligent as you do not deserve any synphathy or help in life.

Kishore N

6 years ago

Amway - Police Raid

The raids, conducted under the Prize Chits and Money Regulation Scheme (Banning Act 1978) were part of the inquiry into money chain fraud

Statewide raids on Amway offices

The New India Express:


M Suresh

6 years ago

Yeah, rightly said by Vinay Joshi, small correction it is not 'may be', it is 'will be'..! all 14 lakhs SpeakAsians and their families will be investigated because they have violated the law by joining Speak Asia, what a big & good research by money life & Vinay Joshi, wonderful, simply superb, excellent work, all SpeakAsians are like terrorist in this nation who have greedy of earning money, greedy people are like terrorist in India, they all should be arrested in first priority by the police, India is going to give Bharat Ratna, Padhmabooshan & National Award to Money Life as well as Vinay Joshi & many moneylife workers who were already in contender list..!


Vinay Joshi

In Reply to M Suresh 6 years ago

Thanx, I accept your right hand complements! As you so desire.

Now get my legal aspects & in the event, if at all, kindly save your SAOL!!!!

SpeakAsia is also under probe for selling TV’s on it’s website – forget panelist survey.

It is being investigated by EOW, Mumbai Police, for selling products of a co. which does not exist. Pl get going, sooner you will have air conditioners, refrigerators.

The five people so far arrested including Tarak Bajpai, COO, are remanded to police custody.

The offices of Tulsient Consultancy & Services Pvt Ltd; - which manages SA website has been sealed & its two directors arrested. This Co. is owned by Manoj Kumar, CEO.

SA is the holding Co. of Podium Ring Int’l Ltd; British Virgin Islands.

The ED has also started investigations, apart from MCA,IT & others – about 2K Cr transferred to international a/cs, whereas its revenue in India was only 80Cr!!?

SA has been in the biz of money circulating & its master a/c with United Overseas Bank of S’Pore has been frozen.

The above will be beyond your comprehension, THANX for your left & right hand compliments.


M Suresh

In Reply to Vinay Joshi 6 years ago

Mr Vinay Joshi, I haven't asked anything about Speak Asia, then why you are coming yourself forward & telling all these things, I'm not a SpeakAsian though, but only thing I want to support, innocent people of around 23 lakhs has been made as so called panelist, you are telling police may arrest each & every panelist, that's why I laughed inside after reading your funny comment & wanted to appreciate for that, fight with the management, but what these innocent people have done to you, also being a social worker I've taken a work of fighting with officials in getting the money of so called panelist (what speakasia calls) from speakasia management (presently) from Govt. officials to reach panelists or innocent peoples' hands..! Rest of the things whatever Govt. Does I'll give my complete support except the money not reaching to innocent people who have made by the speakasia management to put their hardly earned money, I want to ask the Govt. to return back the money to all those people & then proceed their investigations. The truth or reality what is going here in & around speakasia & also the steps taken against them by people like you, your so called esteemed ML, Star News, BJP & also by RBI, EOW, Mumbai Crime Branch, ED, MCA, etc leaving all other companies in this same category. I know more than you, so shut up!

Vinay Joshi

In Reply to M Suresh 6 years ago


I've got gyst of your msg, thanx.

A friend of mine from Bombay, from catering college named Mr.Suresh [incidentally] also a social worker had put up same things in my private mail.

I'm not roping you in this.

To what extent can vulnerables be helped? Thousand of Ponzi schemes are around.


Vinay Joshi

In Reply to M Suresh 6 years ago

Mr. M. Suresh,

Thanx for your left hand compliments to me & esteem ML.


M Suresh

In Reply to Vinay Joshi 6 years ago

No-mention Mr. Vinay Joshi, seriously i'm telling, if you think it was a left hand compliment, now i'll change my hand, pls take my right hand compliment, Ok.,

Vinay Joshi

6 years ago

It may be possible that all SpeakAsian's may be investigated!


Kishore N

6 years ago


Police raid at Amway offices



Kishore N

In Reply to Kishore N 6 years ago

Amway raid - latest


Kishore N

6 years ago


Asst. Commissioner of Commercial Taxes likely to be arrested in Nano Excel Fraud case. Latest reports inidcates that he is the 11th accused in the case. He allegedly accepted a bribe of 1.5 crores from Nano Excel. This was revealed by Patrick Thomas who is now in the custody of Kerala Police. A lawyer and a Christian Priest are also under the scanner for their alleged role in the above case.

Yesterday Thrissur police arrested one Chandran Nair who was the leader of Nano Excel.


6 years ago



in india more correption doing politicion and media perosn only



In Reply to BANGALORE TEAM SPEAK ASIA 6 years ago

Oh....you are still alive. I thought you also vanished with your CEOs. Why dont the company want to spread news through its own website and uses fools like you? Simple, if anything goes wrong, they can put the entire blame on you and get away, like they are using distributors bank accounts for transactions instead of their own.


In Reply to Kannu 6 years ago

What ever you hear every day, it come new and fresh to you and you like minded people write some breaking-news articles against Speak Asia. Every panelist of Speak Asia knows it very well since joining about the SAOL bank accounts. Secondly, you are still unaware about the companies who are planning to flee, but you will weep only after their dis-appearance to win the trust of victims. Can't you see that truth faces the criticism. Fleeing is simple task but facing is difficult. You mean to say that SAOL officals were waiting for their higlighted arrest to give you a chance to write some thing against them. Try you skills, Only on this idiot website, this will save and earn for you some day.


6 years ago


Kerala - No more God's own country !!

The New Indian Express Article:

Kerala is now Frauds’ Own Country

Written by Shri. George Abraham


............Social scientists who have studied this phenomenon point to several factors such as the desire to get rich with little effort in a short while, the breakdown of the old family systems and the growth of nuclear families, the rise of individualism which respects none, the decline of the hold of religion and the lack of the right leadership in political, social and religious spheres, government encouragement of alcoholism and political patronage of anti-social elements. The fact that fake companies wind up immediately after there is a change in government in the state is a pointer to an unholy nexus........





In Reply to Govindan 6 years ago

Kerala, a fertile ground for cheats


Chetan Chauhan

6 years ago

Bangalore based Unipay2U (Unigroup: Unipay2U, Visarev (Unigateway2U, Unigold2U) - Scam of Rs. 35,000 Crores approximately, might be even more than that, so surprise to see moneylife hasn't given any information regarding that company.

Owner: James @ Mugu (Actual Name: Mugunthan Gnanam / Gangam) a malaysian resident now absconded, Govt. not taking any action.

Also one company called Way2Life (WealthLine), Chennai based has looted Rs. 5,000 - 10,000 Crores, and vanished,

Owner: Chithara Kumar, tamilian now believe to be residing in Canada along with his family.

I'm having just a small list of companies around 276 MLM companies which are operating in India which all has MCA, ROC registration, even ISO also, all have cheated & ran away and still companies keep on coming & keep on closing. what hell this govt. is doing i can't understand? which country we are living in? I don't think in no other country this kind of scam would have happened except india..!

Compare to all other scams even Speakasia's, other companies scams are too big; i will ask moneylife to turn your attention towards other companies also, speakasia is having consumer power which i have not seen in any other company in my life, let us see how govt. handles this company panelists. This number is too big, govt. has to do something for them. Rest of the companies in the market collects money in the name of investment & also watching advertisements & doing surveys for which you are paid they tells.. huh, until what time they'll run the show! one day they are closing & running away na, why govt. is not taking any step remains a big question??


6 years ago

I am following articles written in Moneylife. I want you to introspect the following issues.

A cricketer is paid about Rs.5 lakhs for a test match played for five days whereas he is paid more than fifty lakhs for playing an IPL match for about three to four hours. Have you raised any questions about this? Is he a different cricketer? How is he paid so much? Is this not a gamble? Where were you at that time?

India is an electric power starved country. Even if you spend about 20MW per IPL match about 1000MW is spent for one season. Since the cricketers are paid so much let them play in sunlight. Why we have to live without power? Have you raised such issues? Where were you then?

Do you mean middle class has to live always middle class? With the kind of inflation and corruption in this country, middle and lower class suffer a lot. What have you done for that?

Some people spend in lakhs for their car's number plates. But government gives Rs.2 lakhs for the deceased person's family for bomb blasts, accidents, etc. Pea nuts it is. What have you done for that?

When a company tries to empower “The great Indian middle class” economically, why so much of hue and cry? I strongly believe Moneylife is doing injustice to the middle class. Is it that imperialistic attitude that drives you, Moneylife.

When the country is infested with scams after scams, where is the system that monitors. If you want to emancipate this country from all these pests try to correct the system of discrepancy in the standard of living among the crores of Indians.



In Reply to Babu 6 years ago

wohh...clap..clap....why don't you directly say that SAOL is a genuine company? Why pulling middle class,electricity,cricket and scam into this issues? Is this not a scam? who are the sufferer?obviously middle class.Who make them sufferer? off course-off course SAOL.huh ! talking like a social worker...in reality you are one of the lootera,who loot poor people money by supporting fraud company.


In Reply to KB 6 years ago

Of course yes. It is genuine. The media proclaims that SAOL has cheated lakhs of panelists across the country to the tune of several crores and the panelists are taking to the streets in support of the company....whose behest are the police acting? the people...commoner? no.....This shows the kind of respect the company has garnered among its panelists...The sign.campaign and other initiatives taken by the company's panelists stand testimony to its genuinity..the company doesnt need a conduct certificate from YOU..


In Reply to Babu 6 years ago

Mr Babu definitly companies like SAOL does not require any certificate from anybody as they come loot people in one way or other way and vanish but people like you who r liveng in fools pardise or the partners in their crime will never realise till everything goes wrong and these people disappear. any way u people r smart enough to follow what ever these fraudulant people say and show to you. atlest spare others please dont drag others and ruin thier life, if you are not able to do good for others it is ok but atleast dont do bad to ohers


In Reply to Babu 6 years ago

Yes..fraud company need a conduct certificate from people like me.I am not a authority of RBI,SEBI and any other statutory body ,i am a simple man who stops 32 people from investing their hard earn in this fraud company.Those who overheard my suggestion are facing lots of hardship now after losing lakhs of rupees in your GENUINE company.Tell me how much money u have lost in SAOL? Paisa nahi milne ki gussa media par mat utarna. Learn something for the betterment of poor.Loot ne ka danda mat karna..samji !!!

Yet another railway accident, but the authorities are not bothered—and safety plans are off-track; local, low-cost solutions are ignored

We have not had an accident-free year for a long time now. The Indian Railways gives administrative solutions to technical problems and finds technical reasons to escape the administration's accountability. Local, low-cost solutions already in the possession of the Indian Railways are never used

Another railway accident has taken place in West Bengal—an express train from Guwahati derailed and collided into a local train on 31st July (Sunday), killing one person and injuring at least 38 people. 

The so called "vital" signal systems were in operation, with innumerable staff maintaining the same. But when "non-vital", non-signal equipment like our own Raksha Kavach has been ready for more than a decade now, the RDSO (the Research Design and Standards Organization) keeps on conducting umpteen number of unending proving tests and trials, treating it as a standalone system. But the Raksha Kavach was just an additional layer to the existing system. It was supposed to augment, not replace a vital system. The Kavach was just supposed to plug holes in our railway system, at a low cost. But the goalposts keep getting shifted every time the intelligent device proves itself; it becomes a case of ego massage to try to get the authorities to approve the installation of this system.

But why is that? One ‘unfortunate’ aspect it that the Raksha Kavach is from India, from another railwayman. As per the current line of official reasoning, how can a colleague do the some thing that the railway authorities have failed to do all these years? Again, the Kavach comes at a low cost. The Railway Budget cannot build its empire if funds are slashed for indigenous anti-collision devices (ACDs). And since the Kavach is not of foreign origin, railway officials cannot get foreign junkets for training. On the top of this, this ACD technology can be a huge threat to the grandiose plans of the concerned department to go on an import spree, all in the name of safety.

There is one more serious structural deficiency which has not been brought out in public till now.

Raksha Kavach or the ACD is only one victim of this deficiency. Over the last 50 years, the Indian Railways has not produced any thing worthwhile from the RDSO, which is its premier R&D technical centre, unique in the world with all disciplines under one roof and dedicated with an annual budget of more than
Rs30 crore to Rs40 crore, spread over a beautiful colony in Lucknow. No one has seriously considered to identify what is ailing the RDSCO and correcting the same. The last attempt was by the late Madhavrao Scindia, who, as Railway Minister, prepared a restructuring report for the RDSO, which looked at ways to improve its working. As luck would have it, I was the principal contributor to the effort at that time, in 1986.

Maybe it is time the general public also know the real problem debilitating the railway from getting out of its rut.

For railway personnel, an accident and determination of cause of the mishap is always a cause for provocation; invariably, battle lines are drawn between departments.

Rarely is the truth revealed. The technical fights are taken to the hollowed portals of the RDSO too, which is supposed to be a technical body, but there too, the same field attitudes prevail.

Logical updating of criteria for evaluating safety of track-vehicle interaction and safety certification process by RDSO for clearing new rolling stock have never been done.

The case of the CRT wagon which got introduced despite poor oscillation and trial results can never be forgotten. A number of derailments—along with the huge cost entailed, over a decade, finally forced the powers-that-be to dump all these thousands of wagons. The way track engineers too fight not to budge from their poor track standards in earlier years, forced a director for wagons in the RDSO, to introduce BOX-N ( a wagon with high un-sprung mass and hard riding on tracks to wear out rails), to "destroy" tracks, which he told me, with a wink, at that time. Then track engineers went about introducing 90UTS rails. The expensive games our people pay cost the nation huge sums of money.

Confrontations, arguments and debates do shake up the system; but these should not necessarily be done at a high cost to the system and with bad blood.

Frequency domain analysis and advanced mathematical modelling for simulating the conditions which are not possible to cover by the limited few kilometres of tests with limited parametric variations, never got off the ground. Safety case analysis is less than satisfactory by international standards. Resistance was and is phenomenal.

The core problem is that RDSO is that it is trying to function as the technical authority with no training except for field training for its incumbents occupying and warming the chairs, thereby becoming experts—who somehow spend time to go back to the field to seek career opportunities. True, none joined service to become professors or scientists or mathematical geniuses. 

The day you wear the hat of a director, within 24 hours, you hold the power of veto on anything that moves in the RDSO, which concerns your department. Inter-disciplinary problems are sought to be solved purely with departmental bias.

Individuals who come there from organised services are excellent and brilliant but ambitious too, naturally. But their eyes are to reach the positions they desire and aspire to be back in the railways.

Meantime, the waiting tenure in RDSO is spent as best as the personnel at the centre can—some learn quite a lot—some contribute significantly within the limitations, but everyone wants to get back.

Safety issues are dealt in the most unprofessional manner. The typical approach is that the Indian Railways gives administrative solutions to technical problems and finds technical reasons to escape administration's accountability.

In restructuring the system to allow for true technology cycles to take off, it was proposed that the officers who opt to join RDSO should accept a one-way ticket —that is, they do get 30% to 50% higher emoluments, performance-based bonuses and creation of scientific cadre grades and in situ promotions. But first, they have to go through a rigorous IIT-based one-year course leading to a diploma/post graduate qualification in basic mathematical modelling and research tools, losing also the departmental tag, remaining a railway man only, without departmental administrative bias, anymore.

The institution should become an autonomous body under the control of the transport ministry, but grants for running the same should be granted by the Indian Railways. This would prevent any further influence of bosses in the Railways riding roughshod over the work of the RDSO.

It may be argued that then the RDSO will become another ghost CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) lab with the same level of zero performance and lots of privileges with an easy life. It is possible. But the hope is that since with basic field experience of, a say a decade, people are brought
into the system, the love & commitment built into the officer for the railways, and the sacrifice he has to make to quit his own service, may all add up to a renewed vigour to push the boundaries of knowledge to contribute to the working of the railways.

Further, all the commissioners of railway safety can then belong to this autonomous technical regulatory authority, and also be chosen from the members of this body.

Like all things in our country, we may have to again give ourselves a chance. But there no future for the current safety mechanism, which has proven to be a hopeless structure.

When your door to return to normal railway operations is shut and by attitude, you choose and excel in the work of the advancement of safety and technology improvements, and your advice carries the authority of an autonomous independent body, the truth has a chance.

Truly outstanding officers who want to really improve do get stifled in RDSO. The departmental games each one officer plays with each other makes it a
zero-sum game.

We end up producing hot air and safety & technology become victims of product sellers’ lobbies.

Where everyone believes his own version as the truth, the truth dies.

We refuse to allow the CRS (commissioner of railway safety) reports of an accident inquiry to be made public. Why not? A publicly conducted inquiry, if the entire report is public, can analyse what led the authority to its conclusions. It is unfair to the authority to take all the flak, without knowing what exactly was the basis for conclusions drawn; if baseless conclusions are seen to be arrived at, let the stupidity be exposed.

But the technical wing of the RDSO is consulted by CRS, by which he forms his reports. But like everything else in our system, bureaucracy rules here,

Again the bane of our world is working in secrecy.

Lives lost in accidents did not trouble the mandarins in the high echelons over decades—the Indian Railways chugs on, again with the same repetitive platitudes.

It is amazing that we tend to ruminate over each incident for 24 hours, except the platitudes and then keep waiting for the next accident to happen.

(Mr Rajaram is the former Chairman & Managing Director of the Konkan Railway Corporation and inventor of the Skybus).




6 years ago

The problelm is that Mr Rajaram has become wise quite late in the day. Why did he not apply these standards for the Sky Bus which he 'invented" ? One person was killed in that experiment and the abominable structure still looms dark over Madgaon station. Where was all this wisdom then?


shraboni chakrabarty

In Reply to Raman 6 years ago

Funny how this comment popped up just as I was going to post a comment.
Anyway, now I am going to say something different about this false and malicious statement.
The Skybus accident was undoubtedly tragic. But it is short-sighted to write off an excellent project like the Skybus, which would have given us world class public transport at a fraction of the price paid for expensive metro projects.
This kind of sarcasm and judgmental attitude is what has kept India backward.
We need to learn, recognise and honour excellence.


In Reply to shraboni chakrabarty 6 years ago

The comment is an Oxymoron,
I rest my case!


6 years ago

An excellent analysis which should be brought to the notice of the so called Superior Revenue Establishment of the Government of India, the status given to the exclusive domain of the railways. How many senior railway officials travel by train itself is a question. But even more relevant is the point that, the pampered lot living in the colonioal traditions of palatial residences, have no time to even make surprise visits to the station platforms to see for themselves the condition in which the millions of common Indians travel in the midst of no reliable safety systems. One thing must be done-the special status of the railways must be done away with as railways no more are the chief contributors to the central revenues. As regards the very valid issues concerning the non-performing DRDO brilliantly brought out by the author, let it be an independent body like the DRDO so that the careerists are not permitted to come on deputation for a few years to enjoy perks of foreign tripps, etc. and are made answerable for their contribution to the body of knowledge.
But all this requires a government with character and courage of conviction not bogged down by the political copulsions of coalition. This would appear to be impossible in India ever.

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