Posts tagged ‘black money’

June 16, 2011

Govt seeks public views online on black money issue

New Delhi:  The government today created an email id for public to send their ideas and inputs to tackle issues arising out of black money.

The email — — has been created on the server of the National Informatics Centre and the public can send their responses on the subject with immediate effect, a senior Finance Ministry officer said.

“General public can send in their responses and inputs like imposing penalties and making penal provisions to tackle with the issue,” the officer said.

The government has already constituted a committee headed by Central Board of Direct Taxes Chairman Prakash Chandra to devise new strategies to deal with the issue. The committee is expected to submit its recommendations in the next six months.

The email account will be continuously monitored by Finance Ministry officials and they would place the messages before the committee headed by the CBDT Chairman.


June 13, 2011

Mixed feelings among followers as Ramdev ends fast

Baba RamdevDehradun: The end of Ramdev’s nine-day-old fast against corruption and black money today evoked mixed feelings among hundreds of his supporters with a section of them unhappy with the yoga guru’s decision.

While many of his followers supported Ramdev’s decision, some were disappointed and wanted Ramdev to go ahead with his fast till the Centre accepted all his demands.

“Ramdev should have continued for some more days as he was able to successfully wake up people over the issue of corruption. I am unhappy over his decision” said Lakhan, one of his followers, who had come from Muzzaffarpur.

“I am with the yoga guru. I have come from Andhra Pradesh to pledge my support. I am slightly disappointed over his decision. But whatever it is we will support it happily,” said Hyderabad-based businessman Lalit.

Ramdev, along with his confidant Balakrishna, today ended his fast heeding the appeals of various spiritual and religious leaders including Sri Sri Ravishankar.

The duo had been brought to the Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences near here after Ramdev’s condition worsened on the seventh day of his fast at Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar on June 10.

“It is good that he has broken his fast. It is a matter of happiness for me. I will also have food now. Our fight will continue till central government accepts all his demands,” said Rukmani, who had come from Motihari district in Bihar to fast with Ramdev.

Ramdev was fasting from June 4. Today was the ninth day of his protest.

“It is good that Ramdev tried to do something for the welfare of the country. But it should be the government’s duty to remove corruption from our country and bring black money stashed in foreign banks,” said Mukul, who runs a small eatery outside the hospital’s main gate.

The hospital compound was the centre of attraction for past three days as locals were amused and excited over the presence of a huge number of mediapersons from both print and electronic media who remained at the spot 24×7 ever since Ramdev was admitted to the hospital.

“I have never watched mediapersons so closely. It was exciting. I was getting first hand news on Ramdev,” an exciting Renuka said.


June 13, 2011

Baba Ramdev is turning black money into white: Digvijay Singh

Digvijay SinghGuna: Continuing his tirade against Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh on Sunday asked Baba to name the person who had secretly donated him a helicopter.

Singh also accused Baba Ramdev of turning the black money received as donations, into white.

“Baba, who is demanding that the names of the people with black money should be made public, should name the person who had secretly donated a helicopter to him,” Singh told reporters at his hometown in Raghogarh last evening.

“Baba is bringing the secret donations (black money) under the tax free category, making it white, and accumulating huge capital,” Singh alleged.

“Baba was in the business of turning black money into white. It was against the Centre’s Prevention of Money Laundering Act,” he said demanding an inquiry into it.

Taking a potshot at Baba, he wondered from where the figure of Rs 400 lakh crore black money stashed abroad has cropped up.

“Slowly and gradually, things are becoming clear, which is why, the RSS and BJP have started distancing themselves from Baba,” he said.

“Baba himself stated that the government had agreed to 99 per cent of his demands, which is why he is continuing his fast,” he said.

Singh said that Ramdev’s fast wasn’t a satyagraha, but a ‘Nautanki’ in Ramlila ground in Delhi.


June 9, 2011

Baba Ramdev to declare assets, defends call to arms

Baba RamdevHaridwar:  Baba Ramdev, who will declare his assets today to counter allegations that he has illegal wealth, has also defended his controversial call to arms yesterday.

On Wednesday, the Baba had said he would build and train an army of 11,000 men and women to fight corruption and warned the government that the next time there was police action at a protest, his supporters would be armed and would retaliate. He did not climb down completely on Thursday, but was on the defensive when he said he was not “training terrorists or Maoists, but nationalists.”

“The words should be used in the right context…I said I will make a force who will not beat anyone but they will not get beaten either,” the yoga teacher said, adding, “what is the harm or wrong if I speak about shaurya (valour)?”

Ramdev’s provocative comment in Haridwar yesterday caused a political storm in nearby Delhi. He had said: “Twenty youth from each region will come forward for our fight against corruption. They must be dedicated, ready to make the ultimate sacrifice. They will be given arms training. Next time at Ramlila it will be Ravanlila. Let’s see who gets beaten up.”

The government made its stand clear. “It is anti-national and we have to take action,” warned V Narayanswamy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office. (Watch) An hour later, the Home Minister weighed in. “I’ve seen Ramdev’s statement. By making that statement he’s exposed his true colours and intention. Let him do so and the law will deal with that,” P Chidambaram said.

Later on Wednesday evening, a statement issued by his spokesperson SK Tijarawala said that the Baba did not mean training in the use of guns or bombs and that the intention was not to take law in their hands.

he government has been caught in a face-off with the yoga icon since the weekend, when it ordered the police to dismantle a massive camp that the Baba had organised – it combined yoga with a sit-in against corruption. On Saturday, the Baba launched an indefinite hunger strike. Hours later, the police moved in and arrested him. The 65,000 people gathered at Ramlila Maidan were teargassed and lathi-charged.

The incident brought together activists and opposition parties who condemned the government for breaking up a peaceful demonstration.

Gandhian Anna Hazare was also on a one-day fast on Wednesday at Rajghat in the Capital to protest against the action at Ramlila Maidan, and to push the government to agree to a new corruption law that’s being drafted partly by activists led by him. Mr Hazare- the face of a campaign named India Against Corruption – declared that his movement is a “second freedom movement.” If the government doesn’t introduce the new Lokpal Bill by August 15, he warned, he will go on another fast.


June 8, 2011

Ramdev threatens govt, will raise armed force

Baba RamdevBaba Ramdev whose protest against corruption was crushed by police at the weekend warned on Wendesday of violence and threatened to train an army of 11,000 followers. Baba Ramdev issued the call-to-arms from his ashram near the holy town of Haridwar 130 miles (200 kilometres) north of New Delhi after he was ejected from the capital. He and 50,000 supporters had gathered in Delhi to hold a hunger strike as part of a growing wave of dissent against the government’s failure to tackle corruption.

But early on Sunday, police wielding sticks and firing tear gas broke up the protest in a surprise move that infuriated Ramdev’s millions of followers and triggered sharp criticism of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Ramdev, whose popularity stems from his daily yoga shows on television, called for men and women to join his “army”.

“They must be dedicated, ready to make the ultimate sacrifice,” he said in remarks reported by television news channels. “They will be given arms training. We will build an army of 11,000 men and women.”

His spokesman said that the force would have weapons but would act only in self-defence. He said that Ramdev was determined to stand up to police if they again attacked him or his supporters.

Corruption has become a major focus of public discontent in the country, and Ramdev’s hunger strike – which he resumed on Monday – has piled further pressure on the government.

The main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), sought to tap into the anger, with leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday travelling to met Ramdev in Haridwar.

Another hunger striker, veteran activist Anna Hazare, on Wednesday attracted thousands of people to a one-day demonstration in Delhi to protest against the police crackdown on Ramdev.


June 8, 2011

No need for more committees, studies on black money: Experts

New Delhi: Delays in action against black money by way of committees and studies will give time to corrupt politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats to divert their ill-gotten funds into shell companies, an eminent JNU professor has said.

“More studies or committees or new special investigating wing and treaties with foreign governments are only to stall action,” said Arun Kumar, the head of the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning in Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Kumar, who has authored ‘The Black Economy in India’, said the government’s move to institute studies and form committees on black money “will only give time to triad — politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats — to invest their funds in shell companies abroad.”

He gave the example of a politician from Jharkhand who is alleged to have invested unaccounted funds in African mines.

Similar views were expressed by National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) professor Ila Patnaik, who said that agencies like the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) were not needed to check tax-related offences.

“I don’t think we require any new special investigation agency like the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to deal with tax-related crimes…,” she said.

Under pressure from various quarters, the government had recently set up the DCI to deal with tax-related crimes and initiate prosecution proceedings against tax defaulters.

According to Kumar, the government can act on the leads provided by investigating agencies that tape telephone conversations of suspected persons.

“Investigating agencies provide the leadership with information through tapping lakhs of phones every year,” he said, adding that the government can use the information to book culprits.

The share of the black economy has increased from the Wanchoo Committee’s estimate of 7 per cent in the early 1970s to 21 per cent according to the Shankar Archarya Committee to almost 50 per cent according to the latest Global Integrity Report, said Kumar, who conducted an independent study in 1999 detailing the various aspects of the ‘black economy’.

“In the last 60 years, dozens of committee have studied various aspect of black money and given thousands of suggestions. Hundreds of these suggestions have been implemented, but the size of the black economy has grown substantially,” he said.

Besides setting up the DCI, the government has also commissioned a study to estimate the extent of black money within and outside the country. The study will be jointly conducted by the NIPFP, National Institute of Financial Management and National Council for Applied Economic Research.


June 8, 2011

Baba Ramdev eviction: Anna Hazare and team on day-long fast

Anna HazareNew Delhi:  Activist Anna Hazare and his supporters will hold a day-long fast at Rajghat in New Delhi today to protest against the police crackdown on Baba Ramdev and his followers at Ramlila Maidan on Saturday night.

Mr Hazare and his supporters, who have launched the India Against Corruption campaign, will be on hunger strike from 10 am to 6 pm. They initially wanted to protest at Jantar Mantar, but the Delhi police denied them permission for this citing law and order concerns. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC have been in place at Jantar Mantar after Saturday’s incident at Baba Ramdev’s camp at the Ramlila grounds.

“We want to have a peaceful day of prayer and fasting,” said Arvind Kejriwal, an activist at the frontlines of the India Against Corruption movement.  He stressed that the hunger strike is a protest against the government’s action against Baba Ramdev and his camp against corruption late on Saturday night.  The Baba was evicted from the camp at Ramlila Maidan and 65,000 supporters were forced to disperse after the police tear-gassed and lathi-charged them.  The Opposition and activists have targeted the government for trying to stifle a democratic protest.

In April, a lengthy hunger strike by Mr Hazare provoked vigorous nationwide support.  The government was forced to acquiesce to Mr Hazare’s demands: that the government introduce a new tough law against corruption, and that civil society activists help draft this law to prevent the government from providing loopholes designed to help those the law would apply to – bureaucrats and politicians.

Mr Hazare nominated five activists, including himself, to the drafting committee of this new Lokpal Bill (Citizen’s Ombudsman Bill).  The government appointed five ministers to work for them.  The joint drafting committee, as it’s referred to, had an uneasy working relationship which hit a new low after the Baba Ramdev crisis.

Irreconcilable differences between the government and activists include the latter’s demands that meetings of the joint committee be video-taped and that the Prime Minister’s office be covered by the Lokpal  Bill. Activists also want a public debate on the Lokpal Bill – the government has so far refused this.  Civil society members had earlier said they won’t attend Lokpal panel meetings unless they are video recorded and made public, but now they say they will attend the next meeting.

No Intention To Quit Lokpal Panel, Says Team Anna

A day after boycotting the meeting of Lokpal bill drafting committee, Anna Hazare-led team made it clear on Tuesday that they had no intention to quit the joint panel and hit out at HRD Minister Kapil Sibal for
attacking them.

Activist Arvind Kejriwal said civil society members will attend the next meeting on June 15 and contended that if they leave the ten-member committee, it will have “no credibility” as it will only remain a government panel with five ministers.

“Kapil Sibal has said that whether we come or not, they will go ahead (with the drafting of the Lokpal Bill). Why did that question arise? We had written to (Finance Minister) Pranab Mukherjee that we will not be attending June 6 meeting. We also said that Anna Hazare will not be available on June 10 and so the meeting on that date be postponed. So it makes it clear that we are going to attend meetings. We are
not going to leave the committee just like that,” he said.

He also accused Sibal of “putting words in their mouth” and said the government should “tone down arrogance.” Despite the five civil society members boycotting the meeting on Monday, the ministers went ahead and finalised some provisions of the proposed Lokpal Bill.

Later, Sibal took objection to the boycott of the meeting by civil society members and said that the committee would do its work “whether or not someone comes”. (With PTI Inputs)


June 7, 2011

Anna Hazare and team shift fast venue to Rajghat

Anna HazareNEW DELHI: Civil society members led by Anna Hazare have decided to shift the venue of their day-long protest on Wednesday from Jantar Mantar to Rajghat to avoid “confrontation” with police, activist Arvind Kejriwal said on Tuesday.

“We are shifting to Rajghat. We have spoken to the commissioner of police and will fast in the vicinity of Rajghat tomorrow from 10am till about 6pm We will fast and pray the whole day,” Kejriwal told reporters.

“There will also be a debate on the Lokpal bill at 5pm,” he added. Both Kejriwal and Hazare are part of the anti-graft Lokpal bill panel.

While Baba Ramdev had held his protest at Ramlila ground, Hazare and other activists had announced a fast at the Jantar Mantar soon after the yoga guru’s eviction from Delhi.

Police on Sunday imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in areas that include the Jantar Mantar and Ramlila ground.

Earlier, Kejriwal said police had denied permission to the Gandhian to fast against corruption at Jantar Mantar,

Calling the police action “arbitrary”, Arvind Kejriwal told reporters that Hazare and his supporters would hold a peaceful protest in the heart of the capital nevertheless.

“Anna Hazare has given a call for prayers and fasting. How can prayers and fasting pose law and order problems?” he asked, adding that police had cited law and order as the reason for denying permission for the Wednesday hunger strike near the Jantar Mantar monument.

Kejriwal said that Team Hazare, who he described as civil society representatives, would assemble on Wednesday against the police decision and court arrest if necessary.

“Anna Hazare is 73 years old. He is a man of peace,” he said, calling upon people to lend their support to Wedneday’s protest. “The government ought to explain what threat does Anna Hazare pose.”

Kejriwal said the government was behaving “as if they have the right to be corrupt and if anyone protests, they would either be crushed” or made to face legal orders banning the assembly of five or more people.

Delhi Police imposed the orders on Sunday in the New Delhi district — the heart of the capital — as they cleared the Ramlila ground of yoga guru Ramdev, who too was fasting against corruption, and his supporters.


June 7, 2011

Ramdev says history will not forgive Manmohan for “political sin”

Baba Ramdev Fast against corruption

With the government toughening its stand against Baba Ramdev, the yoga guru on Tuesday said he forgave the Prime Minister for the crackdown on his agitation but history will not forgive him for the “political sin” he committed.

“The Prime Minister termed it (the police action) unfortunate. In a way he has accepted his sin. Since he has accepted his sin, I have forgiven him,” Baba Ramdev told reporters here.

“I have personally forgiven him but the history of not only India but the whole world will never forgive him for the political sin he committed. He has tainted democracy,” Baba Ramdev, who is continuing his satyagraha here, said.

The yoga guru was reacting to Dr. Singh’s remarks on Monday that “it was unfortunate that the operation had to be conducted but quite honestly, there was no alternative.”

Baba Ramdev also attacked the Congress for ridiculing his escape in a women’s dress from the ground, saying even Maratha warrior Shivaji had escaped in disguise to secure the nation.

“If anybody saves his life for securing the nation, they won’t like it. Even Shivaji had saved his life. But these people do not accept Shivaji as their ideal. Their target is to protect terrorists and kill Baba.”

Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi had on MOnday said, “A satyagrahi does not run away stealthily wearing women’s dress. Satyagrahi is always ready to sacrifice his life“.

Baba Ramdev also alleged there could be “five kinds of conspiracies” to eliminate him at the Ramlila ground from where he was evicted after his talks with the Government to end the fast failed.

The yoga guru said that he suspects that the police would now edit the recordings made by the CCTV cameras installed at the ground in a bid to wipe out the evidence so that they escape action.

“We had put CCTV cameras in the camp, which recorded the events. If the police had not done anything wrong, why did they took away the footages forcibly. This is clear cut goondaism of the police.

“Our workers who had gone there have been embroiled in false cases under a conspiracy. The police will now edit the footage and then release after deleting portions so that no action follows against them,” Baba Ramdev said.

Baba Ramdev said there could be conspiracies to kill him by strangulating, burning the stage on which he was sitting and shooting him.

He said the government’s argument that there was a threat of terrorist attack on him could be the fifth conspiracy to eliminate him and alleged that an e-mail has been “manufactured” by the government to make it convincing.


June 6, 2011

BJP to meet President on Ramdev, demand special Parliament session

Bharatiya Janta PartyNew Delhi: BJP on Monday said it will hold peaceful protests across the country against the crackdown on Baba Ramdev’s agitation and meet President Pratibha Patil to demand convening of a special session of Parliament to discuss the issue.

The party, whose top leaders including BJP president Nitin Gadkari are holding a satyagraha at Rajghat, accused the government of “shielding and protecting” the corrupt.

“We would seek the intervention of the President. We would meet her this evening. LK Advani had yesterday said that the BJP will demand a special session of Parliament to discuss the issue,” BJP chief spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad said.

Advani, Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley were among a host of leaders who were at the satyagraha site.

Prasad said the Congress should remember that the BJP had fought against the “godmother of India” Indira Gandhi and succeeded.

“One thing that Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister should remember is that the BJP fought against Indira Gandhi and emerged victorious.

“People of this country had taught a lesson. They will also teach these people a lesson. The whole country is angry and in an agitating mode. The government has lost all its moral authority and is cracking down on peaceful protests like the one led by Baba Ramdev while giving permission for anti-India rallies and speeches like the one by Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

The BJP had yesterday launched an agitation against the crackdown on Baba Ramdev’s supporters and asked the government to bring back black money parked abroad.