Archive for October, 2009

Uneasy rests the chair that mines the earth

31 October 2009

cartoon

Cartoon: courtesy Surendra/ The Hindu

Is the writing on the wall (and in the scriptures)?

30 October 2009

KPN photo

A day after a cabinet colleague with a Reddy surname reminded him of the Krishna and Kamsa story, Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa leaves the Vidhana Soudha after a meeting in Bangalore on Friday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

How they are ruining my beloved Gandhi Bazaar

30 October 2009

ARUN PADAKI writes from Bangalore: The pleasure of shopping on Gandhi Bazaar Main Road in Basavanagudi may be lost forever, as an underpass at Tagore Circle will be in place by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

The ill-conceived and irrelevant underpass would not only consume the lush Tagore Park, but would render this pride of South Bangalore tree less.

An underpass at Tagore Park is nothing but a disaster on the residents of Basavanagudi.

This would end an era, in which Gandhi Bazaar has become a way of life. The historic Tagore Park would be gone forever and the tree lined Gandhi Bazaar Main Road would end up as a main arterial road connecting other localities, and in the process pushing the shoppers and vendors away.

Can one imagine the loss of shopping here on the eve of Gowri Habba, Ugadi or Deepavali?

BBMP has built a flyover at the National College Circle, just few hundred meters away from the proposed underpass that remains underutilized for more than two years.

Bangalore’s ethnicity and tradition is best seen at Basavanagudi.  Instead of turning this into a concrete mess, Gandhi Bazaar should be converted into a cultural hotspot, a shopper’s delight and a walker’s loved place.

Let every day be Deepavali, let every day be Gowri Habba, let every day be Ugadi.

Tagore Park with its elevated podium could be a place where cultural programmes could be performed, while the audiences could have multiple options to sit, squat or stand with their friends and family.

While the people here are rather quiet about this apart from talking to the press, not much action is seen to thwart this irrelevant project.

The elected representatives who opposed this not too long ago are not to be heard this time, indicating that they have either supported this underpass quietly or their efforts to stall this project has been disregarded by their own ruling party and their Member of Parliament, Ananth Kumar.

Be it the Congress or the BJP, there seems to be no difference. It is clear that their fad for flyovers is ruining Bangalore in general, and Basavanagudi and V.V. Puram in particular. People are now aware that their views hold no water and hopefully are wise enough to choose a better representative in the ensuing BBMP polls.

A picture for the personal albums of the sangh

30 October 2009

mohan bhagwat

A picture tells a thousand words; in this case it encapsulates the hopes of a billion.

The sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Mohanrao Bhagwat, delivers his thundering addres to a near-empty audience in Delhi on Thursday. A photograph that must be framed and hung at the personal library of Arun Shourie, who only recently wanted the the RSS to take over the BJP.

***

S. Prasannarajan in India Today:

“Still trapped in the wreckage of two general election defeats, they [the BJP] seem to have no idea about the aspirations and attitudes of 21st century India. They have lost the culture war as well as the economic war—the two wars the Right has been fighting in most democracies. It invariably loses the culture war and wins the economy.

“The BJP still lives in a distant yesterday which is part mythology, part history, part nostalgia, and party fantasy. It doesn’t have the audacity to be truly “right” in the marketplace. And it doesn’t have the imagination to be creative in the social arana either.”

Photograph: courtesy The Indian Express

Also read: ‘Brand’ blow to Bhagwat

Is Brand Manmohan bigger than Brand Sonia?

29 October 2009

R. Jagannathan in DNA:

“One of the big developments of 2008-09 is the rise and rise of brand Manmohan. The brand is probably as big as brand Vajpayee was in 1999 after the Kargil war and rivals that of brand Sonia—at least in urban India. In fact, we have seen two things happen simultaneously: the old brand Manmohan, reformer of the 1990s, has been quietly demarketed, and a new brand, a touchy-feely-honest-to-god Manmohan, has arisen in its place.

“The new brand is androgynous, not macho. It appeals across the gender barrier, and that is probably the prime reason for its success. In a sense, the new Manmohan is a throwback to the old, pre-reform socialist Manmohan and hence not merely an invented identity…. Manmohan Singh has the same opportunity that Vajpayee had to take India to the world stage. He should know his own strength and use it wisely.”

Read the full article: Rise of Brand Manmohan

The perils of page 3 journalism are crystal clear

29 October 2009

The BBC’s star of the millennium, the father of Abhishek Bachchan and the father-in-law of Aishwarya Rai, in his own words.

Newspaper facsimile: courtesy Delhi Times

CHURUMURI POLL: Will Yediyurappa survive?

29 October 2009

Barely six months after bouncing off the runway, the BJP government of B.S. Yediyurappa has run into an air pocket once again, thanks to the peevish shenanigans of the Reddy brothers over flood relief in the northern part of the State, and other subsidiary factors like Shobha Karandlaje getting too much bhaav.

Will there be a compromise? Will Yedi see this crisis through? Or…

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Will Yediyurappa complete full term?

On a slow news day, Lingo Leela pulls a fast one

27 October 2009

A Manorama News videograb of Kerala health minister P.K. Sreemathi waxing grandiloquent on the ban on private practice by doctors, interespersed with shots from a movie starring Urvashi and Meera Jasmine.

Link via Kanekal Kuppeshappanavar

Also read: Nimmoppan experiments with truth

Boosa, kuule, matash, woost: a short dictionary

Coming soon: Mission Impossible-3 in Kannada

Jinchaak: gaargeous like a baambshell

Let the rebels know, CM will not bow one inch

26 October 2009

KPN photo

On a day when seven BJP ministers were enconsced in yet another “secret meeting” in Bangalore, setting off the usual suspicions, chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa was going around inspecting “developmental works” at his hometown Shikaripura in Shimoga district on Monday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

***

The B.S. Yediyurappa photo portfolio

Is it an idol? Is it a statue? Is it a mannequin?

One leg in the chair, two eyes on the chair

Yedi, steady, go: all the gods must be crazy

Kissa Karnataka chief minister’s kursi ka: Part IV

Why did the chief minister cross the road divider?

Sometimes you are up, sometimes you are down

Dressed to thrill: Yedi-Chini bhai bhai in Shanghai

Survival of fittest is a great photo opportunity

Drought relief one day, flood relief the next

How a chief minister should drink tea. (Or not.)

How a shutterbug with a stethoscope shot this

26 October 2009

huilgol

Bangalore-based Ajit K. Huilgol’s photograph titled ‘Leopard Descending,’ which shows a leopard climbing down a tree, has been declared runner-up in the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition 2009, in the Behaviour: Mammals category.

The competition was jointly organised by the Natural History Museum, London, and the BBC’s Wildlife magazine.

Huilgol’s work (shot with a Canon EOS-1D Mark lll + Canon 500mm lens; 1/80 sec at f8; ISO 400) was chosen from among more than 43,000 entries from 94 countries.

From the Natural History Museum website:

“Driving along a twisty track in Nagarahole National Park in southern India, Ajit didn’t see the leopard until he was almost at the tree—rather, he spotted her flicking tail hanging down like a bell-rope. In the thick forests of southern India, leopard sightings are rare, and ones lasting more than a few moments are rarer still. Draped over a branch, the female posed for Ajit ‘like a professional model’ for a full 20 minutes. The end of the show was signalled by the sound of a vehicle. But instead of leaping from the tree, she swept straight down the trunk ‘with a grace that was truly sublime’.”

***

Ajit Huilgol, a kidney specialist, in his own words on his love for the wild:

“Like all children, I was very fond of animals and birds. As Ullas Karanth says, all children grow up listening to stories of the denizens of the jungle. In fact, even our chocolates and biscuits were shaped like animals or birds. But, once we start to go to school, we become ‘uneducated’ in a way. Our heads are filled with history, geography, maths, and other subjects, and animals take a back seat. This happened to me, too.

“When I was young, Jim Corbett‘s tales held me spellbound. I longed to go to the forests he had mentioned and see the wildlife for myself. However, lack of money was a major constraint. I had to study hard to become a doctor and then I specialized in kidney transplant surgery, which is what I do for a living.”

Link via Mahesh Vijapurkar

Photograph: courtesy The Hindu

Also read: In Nagarahole, tigers are like city buses…

Why our Nagarahole scores over Ranthambore

5 years=1,825 days=43,800 hours=The End?

Did the Tiger of Mysore really tame a tiger?

Now is the time for all our Tamil brethren to rise

26 October 2009

Prof. V.K. Natraj, former director of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Mysore, writes an original and outstanding letter to the editor of The Hindu, a proactive epistle that underlines the role that public intellectuals ought to play:

***

“I am writing to share my anguish and disappointment over an event that has largely gone unnoticed in the media except for a few letters to the editor in the Kannada print medium. I refer to the absence of sympathy and a sense of shared loss from friends in Tamil Nadu for all those who have been devastated by the ravages of the floods in northern Karnataka.

“Expressing sympathy, indeed sorrow at the suffering visited on thousands, most of them thoroughly ill-equipped to withstand this onslaught, is what sensitivity is all about. When in 2005 Tamil Nadu suffered unimaginable horrors from the tsunami, the citizens of the city of Mysore under the leadership of the pontiff of the Suttur Math came forward to raise funds to rehabilitate the victims and built dwellings for them in Mudaliarkuppam.

“Prior to this, interim measures of relief were provided to school children and fisherfolk whose livelihood was threatened. I understand that a whole colony rehabilitated with assistance from Mysore is now called Mysore colony. When in neighbouring Karnataka people suffered something similar one would expect Tamilians to rise to the occasion. Sadly no such thing has happened.

“Let me add that I write as one who has enjoyed the hospitality of Tamil Nadu in Chennai for over half a decade and know that deep down there is nothing but goodwill between the peoples of the two States. Even now I hope my Tamilian friends will do what we know they expect of themselves. It would be a sad travesty of the enormous universality represented by Tiruvalluvar and Sarvajna whose statues were unveiled not long ago in Bangalore and Chennai respectively.

“May I express the hope too that Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, one of the last in the lineage of senior political leaders in this country, will seek from Tamilians what they owe to themselves. I also add an appeal to the socially and morally conscious class in Tamil Nadu to further a cause which they must hold dear to their hearts.”

Photograph: courtesy Institute for Social and Economic Change

Did Manchalamma take revenge on Mantralaya?

25 October 2009

Manchalamma(Durga)

MATHIHALLI MADAN MOHAN writes from Hubli: It is three weeks since the pilgrim township of Mantralaya, the abode of Saint Raghvendraswamy Swamy on the Andhra-Karnataka border, suffered extensive devastation due to swirling waters of the river Tungabhadra.

Even as the town is inching back to normality, several questions remain unanswered.

Nobody has so far tried to explain the reason for the sudden flooding of the Tungabhadra river, which resulted in the unprecedented phenomenon of the shrine getting inundated. The water level had touched the portals of the main shrine before but never in its over-300-year recorded history had it come inside to inundate the Vrindvana and catch the township in its clutches.

Barring some areas of Mantralaya which were in a slightly elevated position, like the Venkateshwara temple and its vicinity, the entire township was submerged under 10-20 feet of water.

The flood extracted a heavy price, in terms of loss of property and physical infrastructure, modestly pegged at around Rs 50 crore.  What is priceless has been the loss of the treasure trove of books including the palm leaf manuscripts some of them dating back to the time of Raghavendra Swamyji.

The silver lining was that there was no loss of human life. But several heads of cattle of the Raghavendra Swamy Mutt, including the elephant, perished in the process.

A new Mantralaya has to be built afresh says Sri Suyateendra Teertha Swamiji, the peetadhipati of the Rayara Mutt, who was among those who had a miraculous escape.

***

However, the big question remains: What caused this?

Was it a case of human failure, a freak phenomenon of nature, which went unnoticed?

Or was it a case of divine retribution of sorts?

In the days leading upto the floods, there had been no reports of heavy rains in the catchment area on the upper reaches of the Tungabhadra dam, resulting in heavy discharges from the dam. This is usually the contributory factor for the flooding of the downstream areas, affecting the monuments of Hampi including the stone mantapa of the Saint Purandaradasa, and raising the level of the river in Mantralaya, located around 150 kms away.

The discharge from the dam, remained between one lakh cusecs and 1.49 lakh cusecs for the first week October.

It did not even touch the 2 lakh cusecs mark, as had happened many times earlier.

The Tungabhadra Board, the interstate body which oversees the discharges from the dam, would normally notify in the case of heavy discharges. But no such warning had been issued since the discharges this time were considered normal or even less than normal.

Obviously something happened between the dam and the shrine to cause unexpected floods.

According to information that can now be pieced together, the villain of the piece for the Mantralaya, was not the aberration of the main river Tungabhadra but the tantrums thrown by the rivulets and stream which tattoo the area between the dam and Mantralaya.

The area is drained by rivulets like Hagari (also known as Vedavati)  and streams like Hirehalla and Narihalla to name a few. All of them, without exception, went in spate adding to the misery.

Normally these are not taken seriously.

But this time all of them had assumed a quite ferocious proportion and the significance of the same was hardly taken note of. This is what extracted the heavy price Mantralaya has had to pay.

From information your reporter could gather, there had been heavy-to-very-heavy downpour in the catchment areas of Hagari on the fateful nights in both Bellary and Siruguppa taluks.  This area received more than four times the normal rainfall of around 547 millimetres, the bulk coming on the first two days of October.

The rain gauge stations in Bellary taluk recorded rainfall of 522 and 892 mm on these two days, while it was 654 and 1194 mm in Siruguppa.

Hagari joins Tungabhadra near Hachcholli in Siruguppa taluk of Bellary district, on the upper reaches of Mantralaya and several of the streams flowing across Koppal and Raichur districts brought copious flows due to heavy rainfall too to the main river.

If only somebody in these areas had bothered to notice the phenomenon and alerted the governments concerned on the possible consequences it could entail, perhaps the blow in Mantralaya could have been softened and the people, including the pilgrims visiting Mantralaya, would not have been taken by surprise and it would have been possible to salvage materials lost.

But monitoring the rain gauges is a low priority all across Karnataka and Bellary was no exception.

The problems of the people in Mantralaya trapped by the sudden rise in the water level were further compounded by the slow response of the Andhra Pradesh government in arranging for rescue operations.

The Karnataka government went out of its way to rescue Suyatindrateertha swamiji, who heads one of the important seats of the dwaita philosophy. It despatched a helicopter and a minister Shobha Karandlaje, a confidante of the chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa for the purpose.

After having done that, the Karnataka did not extend helping hand to others stranded, bulk of whom belonged to Karnataka. It may be due to primarily intergovernment hassles over the territorial jurisdiction and also because of similar developments elsewhere within the state.

The signs of developing human tragedy and suffering inherent in the Mantrayalam development obviously did not catch the imagination of the media, both electronic and print, both of national and regional hues.

Transport connections to Mantralaya, both road and rail, had been cut off during the period. The rain water had submerged rain tracks in the vicinity, and road links to other parts of Andhra Pradesh and with neighbouring districts of Raichur and Bellary districts had been snapped. The only road link available was via Yemmiganur but it could not be accessed because of the continued presence of flood water.

The plight of around 3000 people caught in the quagmire was only seen to be believed. Men, women, children had taken shelter on the roof tops waiting for the assistance, which was getting elusive and not within reach. They had had a quite harrowing time and had to go without anything to eat or drink.

But none of this appeared as meat for the media.

The media’s interest was limited to the act of rescuing the swamiji by the Karnataka government and did not go beyond it. Once that was accomplished, none bothered about Mantralaya or the plight of the pilgrims and residents of the temple-town.

Even the regional papers in Karnataka failed to rise to the occasion, in arranging for proper coverage, although most of the marooned pilgrims happened to be from the State. The marooned people had to wait for the water level to recede before they could move out of Mantralaya to their destinations.

Several theories are afloat to buttress the theory that the flooding of the holy place was nothing but an act of divine retribution of sorts.

One theory is that it was the delay in the rebuilding of the temple of Manchalamma, the family deity of Raghavendra Swamy, which had been dismantled for the purpose, could be the causative factor. A second theory doing the rounds suggests the accumulated sins of omission and commission of those concerned.

Despite all that happened, it must be said there was no loss of life in Mantralaya. Some dead bodies, which were floating around are believed to be of those who had been washed away. None in Mantralaya lost his/her life, it is stated by the sources close to the Raghavendraswamy Mutt.)

Whatever maybe reason, it is clear that the Mantralaya has an arduous haul ahead to regain its lost glory. The flood it is said, has put the clock of development back by at least two decades.

Photograph: courtesy Shree Vartha

Also read: Madi, the mutt head, and the hand that helped

‘What Muslims were to BJP, Naxals are to Cong’

25 October 2009

Booker Prize wining author and activist Arundhati Roy in an interview with Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN (to be aired at 8.30 pm tonight, IST) suggests that the “gravest threat to internal security” is a bogey.

The reason the Manmohan Singh government has zeroed in on Maoists is big business.

“…because of this economic interest, the government and establishment actually needs a war. It needs to militarise. For that it needs an enemy. And so, in a way what the Muslims were to BJP, the Maoists are to Congress.”

Also read: ‘All terror can be traced to injustice, inequality’

Arundhati Roy: ‘India is not a democracy’

‘Middle and upper classes are in their own country’

Arundhati Roy: ‘Gujarat is a Nazi type of democracy’

‘What does Narendra Modi‘s victory say about us?’

THE BRAZEN CONDUCT OF JUSTICE DINAKARAN

24 October 2009

The breathtaking case against Justice P.D. Dinakaran has taken an even more breathtaking turn with the Madras-based Forum for Judicial Accountability forwarding a fresh memorandum of charges, its fourth, to the Supreme Court collegium, against the elevation of the chief justice of the Karnataka High Court to the SC.

This time, the charges are even more damning.

The forum draws attention to the judge’s contempt for the one-plot-per-family rule in the acquisition of housing plots by his wife Dr (Mrs) Vinodhini Dinkaran and their daughters; the undervalued purchase of a prime piece of real estate in Ooty in the name of his 80-year-old mother-in-law and the brazen use of a Bangalore bank to finance the purchase;  and the inappropriate hospitality enjoyed by the Dinkaran family at the hands of an NRI petitioner in whose favour he allegedly ruled in a case.

The forum has demanded that a CBI probe be initiated into the charges  under the prevention of corruption Act, and that Justice Dinkaran be stopped from functioning as chief justice of the Karnataka High Court, that he be removed as chief justice of the Karnataka High Court, and that his property be attached.

churumuri.com has not independently verified the charges nor does it vouch for the veracity of the charges or the lack thereof. The memorandum is published here in the public interest given the seriousness of the allegations, and because the memorandum is now a public document, having been brought to the notice of the CJI.

***

22 October 2009

To Hon’ble Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Chief Justice of India; Hon’ble justices S.H. Kapadia, Tarun Chatterjee, Altamas Kabir, R.V.Raveendran;  Supreme Court of India, New Delhi.

Sirs,

Subject:  Details of more acquisitions and improper judicial conduct of Justice P.D. Dinakaran.

Reference:  Our representations dated September 9, September 17, October 1, 2009

Further to our earlier representations, information about the acquisition of more properties by and improper judicial conduct of Mr Justice P.D.Dinakaran in another case, has come to our knowledge.

Additional information regarding the housing board allotments and the property at Ooty referred to in our third representation dated October 1 is also furnished.

ITwo more housing plots from Tamil Nadu Housing Board in favour of Dr (Mrs) Vinodhini Dinakaran

We had set out in our representation dated October 1 as to how three plots were obtained in the year 2005 by Dr (Mrs) Vinodhini Dinakaran and the two daughters of Justice P.D. Dinakaran in violation of the one-plot-per-family norm, which has been uniformly followed by the housing board since its housing schemes are meant to cater to those without any other residential accommodation.

In addition to the aforesaid three plots, Dr (Mrs) Vinodhini Dinakaran was also allotted Plot No. HIG II/39 and Plot No. HIG II/40 by the Tamil Nadu Housing Board and the sale deeds (Nos. 5044 and 5045) were executed on 1 September 2005, the same date when the sale deeds for the three plots referred to earlier were executed.

The information regarding the additional two plots are as follows:

Name of scheme: Sholinganallur village neighbourhood scheme phase III, Tambaram Circle, Kancheepuram District.

Area of plot: 395.85 square metres each

Buyer: Dr (Mrs) Vinodhini Dinkaran

Sub-registrar office: Neelankarai

Price: Rs 13,67, 267 each

Thus in all Justice Dinakaran managed to have five housing plots numbers HIG II/25, 39, 40, 43 & 44 allotted to his wife and daughters, in total violation of the rules of the public body and against public interest.  It has to be noted that the plots are allotted abutting wide roads, which enable future use for commercial purposes.

II.   Property in Ooty in The Nilgiris District, Tamil Nadu

Prime property: In our representation dated October 1, it was mentioned that 4.5 acres of property in survey no 4813/C with a bungalow was purchased recently on 28 August 2009 in the name of Paripoornam, mother-in law of Justice Dinakaran.  It has to be pointed out that the property was undervalued at Rs 33,75,100, whereas under the government guidelines, the value of land in survey no. 4813/C is Rs 150 per sq ft, which works out to nearly Rs 3 crore for 4.5 acre.

We now understand that the gross under-valuation of the property has been sought to be justified by showing the land abutting to bungalow bungalow as agricultural land.  This is contrary to the classification made by the government for the said property as residential area class III.  It has to be noted that the property stands in the heart of Ooty at Golf Link Road.

Source of funds: It is significant that the sale consideration of Rs 33,75,100 was paid in the following manner as per the sale deed dated 28 August 2009:

Bank: Bank of Baroda, M.G. Road branch, Bangalore

Date: 28 August 2009

Draft numbers: 125536, 125537, 125538, 125539

Amounts: Rs 900000; Rs 900000; Rs 900000; Rs 675,100 respectively

Total  33,75,100

We had earlier pointed out that the purchaser, Mrs Paripoornam is the mother-in-law of Justice Dinakaran; a retired headmistress and pensioner of about 80 years of age and is not known to have financial resources to support such a huge investment.  The fact that the demand drafts towards the sale consideration for purchase of Ooty property were all obtained from a bank in Bangalore, where Justice Dinakaran was and is the chief justice of Karnataka, cannot be dismissed as a mere coincidence and provides a lead to the source of funds and the real owner of the property.

3.   Information on funds for the Housing Board Plots

For the five plots purchased from the Tamil Nadu Housing Board in the name of Dr (Mrs) Vinodhini Dinakaran, the sale considerations were paid in the following manner as shown in the sale deeds:

For plot number HIGII/39, land extent 395.85 square metres, purchased in the name of Dr (Mrs) Vinodhini Dinakaran

Bank: Bank of Baroda, cheques number 594247 , 594352, 594805, 499387/88, and Indian Overseas Bank, cheque number 803568

Dates: 28 May 2002, 18 June 2002, 1 August 2002, 22 March 2005, and 28 May 2002 respectively

Amounts: Rs 30765, Rs 684335, Rs 151000, Rs 411167, and Rs 90,000 respectively

Total: 13,67,267

For plot number HIGII/4, land extent 395.85 square metres, purchased in the name of Dr (Mrs) Vinodhini Dinakaran

Bank: Bank of Baroda, cheque numbers 594248, 594352, 594805, 499387/88, and Indian Overseas Bank, cheque number 803569

Dates: 28 May 2002, 18 June 2002, 1 August 2002, 22 March 2005, and 28 May 2002 respectively

Amounts:Rs 30765, Rs 684335, Rs 151000, Rs 411,167, and Rs 90,000 respectively

Total: 13,67,267

The aforesaid details are obtained from the certified copies of the sale-deeds and the fact that the last three DDs / cheques in the sale deeds for Plot Nos. 39 & 40 are identical needs further probe.

For plot number HIG II/25, land extent 360 square metres, purchased in the name of Dr (Mrs) Vinodhini Dinakaran

Banks: State Bank of India cheque numbers 467422 and 467423; Indian Overseas Bank cheque numbers 804104 and 805465, and Bank of Baroda

Amounts: Rs 48615 and Rs 48000 of 28 May 2002; Rs 547485 of 18 June and Rs 161025 of 31 July 2002, and Rs 346155 of 31 March 2005 respectively

Total: Rs 11,51,280

For plot number HIG II/43, land extent 366 square metres, purchased in the name of James Kuppuswamy

Bank: Bank of Baroda, cheques numbers 594250 and 594251 of 28 May 2002, and 594351 of 18 June 2002 and 498848 of 28 December 2004

Amounts: Rs 48307, Rs 48308, Rs 547485, Rs 215724 respectively

Total: 859824.00

For plot number HIG II/44, land extent 336 square metres, purchased in the name of M.G. Paripoornam

Bank: Bank of Baroda, cheque/DD numbers 594249 and 594252 of 28 May 2002, 594353 of 18 June 2002, 498847 of 28 December 2004

Amounts: Rs 48307, Rs 48308, Rs 547485, Rs 215724 respectively

Total: Rs 859,824

The aforesaid information may provide the necessary leads to find out the source of funds.

4.  Another case of improper judicial conduct

Contrary to accepted norms of judicial conduct—that a judge shall not hear any matter to which a person close to him is a party, as otherwise it erodes the confidence of the public in the impartiality of the judicial system, Justice Dinakaran heard W.P. No. 39838 of 2005 in the Madras High Court and passed certain questionable orders.

W.P.No. 39838 of 2005 was filed in the Madras High Court by a Pentecostal Mission seeking a Writ of Mandamus, restraining Police authorities from interfering with the peaceful possession of its property near Chennai.  Initially interim injunction was granted by Hon’ble Mr Justice C. Nagappan.

One Anandhi Murthy, wife of Karuna Murthy, resident of 532, Cummer Avenue, North York, Oterio, M-2-K-2 MI, Canada contested the title of the Pentecostal Mission to the property and filed a petition to be impleaded in the writ petition.  By an order dated 19.8.2006, Justice Dinakaran allowed the said Anandi Murthy to be impleaded.

Not stopping with that, Justice Dinakaran continued to pass extraordinary orders on 6 September 2006, 20 September 2006 and other dates recording that the writ petitioner and his senior counsel conceded that the averments in writ petition were false and passed other orders.

According to the averments of the writ petitioner in his appeal, viz. W.A.No. 1329 of 2006, no such concession was made and that they had in fact wanted to withdraw the writ petition and approach the Civil Court. Yet, Justice Dinakaran continued to hear the matter and pass highly questionable orders.

We do not wish to comment on the merits or demerits of the claim of the petitioner or the claim of Anandi Murthy.

It is reliably learnt that Justice Dinakaran had earlier enjoyed the hospsitality of the said Anandhi Murthy and her husband Karuna Murthy. In fact, just a year before the said writ petition was filed, in the year 2004, Justice Dinakaran, his wife and two daughters visited Canada en route to the USA for admission of daughter Amudha Porkodi in SUNY College of Technology at Utica, New York State, USA.

Justice Dinakaran and his family stayed with Anandhi Murthy and Karuna Murthy in Canada between 11 and 15 August 2004.  Later, it is learnt that the said Anandhi Murthy and Karuna Murthy actually joined the Dinakarans at Utica, U.S.A. at the time of Amudha Porkodi’s admission to college.

Justice Dinakaran thus had a close connection with one of the parties to the case and despite that continued to hear the case, violating the accepted code of judicial conduct as enunciated in the Bangalore Principles.

Value 2 of the said Principles under the Chapter “Impartiality” reads as follows:

“2.1 A judge shall perform his or her judicial duties without favour, bias or prejudice….

“2.5.  A judge shall disqualify himself or herself from participating in any proceedings in which the judge is unable to decide the matter impartially or in which it may appear to a reasonable observer that the judge is unable to decide the matter impartially.”

The aforesaid principles are not laid down merely for the benefit of the parties to the case who will have a remedy on review or appeal. However, the code of judicial conduct is meant to preserve the image of the judiciary as an impartial mechanism and it is this image Justice Dinakaran lowered by his conduct. It is this conduct, which calls for scrutiny and condemnation.

The information so far provided by us coupled with the report submitted by the district collector, Thiruvallur district, as widely reported in the newspapers, show that Justice Dinakaran is guilty of not only judicial misconduct but also of various offences under the criminal laws of the country, including prevention of corruption Act, 1947.

Justice Dinakaran’s continuation in the judicial system jeopardises the integrity of the entire judicial system and in order to prevent any further damage, the precedent laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Justice V. Ramaswami ought to be followed and Justice Dinakaran should not be permitted to function now.

We are convinced that the information forwarded by us regarding Justice Dinakaran’s actions while holding office as a judge of a high court are sufficiently supported by documents furnished so far. The acts of appropriating public property, amassing assets disproportionate to known sources of income and the questionable judicial orders showing bias and malafides are of such gravity that they cannot brook any further delay in setting the regular course of criminal investigation in motion and immediate attachment of his assets.

When any officer high or low in the executive commits any offence, it is the administrative head or the police who initiate action for setting the process of criminal investigation and prosecution in motion.  The Supreme Court of India, in order to protect the independence of judiciary has held in K. Veeraswami vs Union of India {1991(3) SCC p.655} that it is the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, who has to ultimately sanction registration of an FIR and investigation against a judge in the higher judiciary.

In keeping with the high principle of judicial independence, the Supreme Court of India, as the highest judicial forum, may call for a criminal investigation and consequent action against Mr Justice P.D. Dinakaran.

We, therefore, request that:

# based on the information provided by us in our representations dated 9 September 2009, 17 September 2009, 1 October 2009 and 22 October 2009 along with any other information received by the Supreme Court Collegium, the Central Bureau of Investigation may be directed to register a First Information Report under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 and other relevant Laws against Mr Justice P.D. Dinakaran, Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court and the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India may grant the necessary permission for the same;

# based on the result of the investigation, the Central Bureau of Investigation may be directed to obtain necessary sanction from the President of India in consultation with the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India to prosecute Mr. Justice P.D. Dinakaran;

# advise Mr Justice P.D. Dinakaran to go on leave and not to discharge functions as a Judge of the Karnataka High Court;

# initiate immediate action for removal of Mr Justice P.D. Dinakaran from the office of Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court and

# direct immediate attachment of the assets of Mr Justice P.D. Dinakaran and ensure that no tampering of evidence takes place, pending investigation and appropriate action.

Yours faithfully,

Signed

R.Vaigai, Sriram Panchu, senior advocate, Anna Mathew, Sudha Ramalingam, S.S. Vasudevan, S. Devika, T. Mohan, Geeta Ramaseshan, N.L. Rajah, D. Nagasaila

Full coverage: The strange case of Justice P.D. Dinakaran

CHURUMURI POLL: Is Dalit Dinakaran above the law?

If he is unfit for Supreme Court, how is he fit for Karnataka HC?

If he is unfit for Supreme Court, how is he fit for Karnataka HC—II?

‘Integrity + competence + judicial temperament’

Yella not OK, but Supreme Court silent yaake?

India’s best editors, wiser than rest together?

24 October 2009

rajdeepNew

Via Twitter, CNN-IBN editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai, names the “most outstanding election analysts across channels” on counting day, October 22. His verdict: Kumar Ketkar, editor of the Marathi daily Loksatta, and Palagummi Sainath, rural affairs editor of The Hindu, both of whom were on CNN-IBN.

“Wiser than all Delhi editors put together,” says Sardesai, whose own election show had the usual sprinkling of said “Delhi editors”, who also appeared on CNN-IBN.

Ahem.

Also read: Don’t ask me, ask her. Don’t ask me, ask him

Why Rajdeep, Barkha must decline Padma Shri

India’s best editors? Just press ‘Click’

Not the land of the cow, land of the holy cows

Harijans had Ambedkar; Girijans have Naxals?

23 October 2009

Former West Bengal finance minister Ashok Mitra in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“The Dalits were fortunate to be gifted a cult figure in Bhimrao Ambedkar. He worked within the system from the Gandhi-Irwin Pact days to ensure a substantial say for his people in the nation’s affairs. He was the main architect of free India’s Constitution too, and availed himself of that opportunity to guard Dalit interests jealously….

“Descendants of India’s original inhabitants have failed to produce an Ambedkar from within their midst. They have been squeezed and squeezed for aeons on end by the superior classes, uprooted from their land, thrown out of their homestead, denied sources of food and water, whiplashed as bonded labour, their women were free goods to satisfy the sensual urges of the gentry, their poultry and pigs were confiscated to cater to the culinary requirements of the same set. Environmentalists and wildlife buffs have worried over matters concerning the preservation of the flora and the fauna; they had little time for the sufferings of the tribal people….

“Maoists seem to have done their homework. They have built an organizational network, silently and surreptitiously, across eight or nine states with a significant concentration of tribal stock. They think the revolution they have been itching for is well-nigh near. The foot soldiers of that revolution will be the suppressed and oppressed adivasis now ready for a glorious uprising against the tyrannies of State power.”

Read the full article: The phantom enemy

Also read: When Priyanka meets Nalini, she’s a messiah, but…

CHURUMURI POLL: Will State beat Naxals?

How a chief minister should drink tea. (Or not?)

22 October 2009

KPN photo

On the day his party was tasting defeat in three States, Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa sips tea the old-fashioned (down market?) way in the company of the (more suave?) home minister, Dr V.S. Acharya, at the BJP office-bearers meeting at Malleshwaram in Bangalore on Thursday.

Of course, there will be those who will say tea and coffee taste better this way, that drinking from the cup is a colonial hangover of Resident Non-Indians, but surely there will also be those who will say that the chief minister of a State ought to exhibit more “class” in front of the cameras?

Of course, there will be those who will say this is the CM’s personal style, that he has been doing it for years, that he only does it among his own, not in front of world leaders, but surely there are better ways of suggesting that you drink like the aam masse than to slurp (noisily?) from the saucer?

Of course, there will be those who will say this is none of anybody’s business, but why shouldn’t it be?

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

***

The B.S. Yediyurappa photo portfolio

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Yedi, steady, go: all the gods must be crazy

Kissa Karnataka chief minister’s kursi ka: Part IV

Why did the chief minister cross the road divider?

Sometimes you are up, sometimes you are down

Dressed to thrill: Yedi-Chini bhai bhai in Shanghai

Survival of fittest is a great photo opportunity

Drought relief one day, flood relief the next

CHURUMURI POLL: Is it all over for the BJP?

22 October 2009

The return to power of the Congress-NCP in Maharashtra—on top of the Congress’ predicted wins in Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh—hides a smaller but more substantial subtext: the defeat of the BJP-Shiv Sena combine and their  combined failure to overthrow the ruling coalition.

By all accounts, Maharashtra, one of India’s richest States but also one of its worst governed, has been ravaged by farmer suicides, power scarcity, water scarcity, mind-numbing corruption, poor administration, terrorist attacks, and worse for years, if not nearly a decade. Yet, the BJP-Sena combine was unable to overcome the so-called “anti-incumbency” wave that usually consumes ruling dispensations.

Coming on top of the BJP’s loss in the general elections in May, and the succession battle which has seen much blood-letting, the question: is it all over the BJP’s brand of politics? Is it merely missing a leader or is the trouble much deeper? Has its ideology run its course? Or, is it too early to write its obituary?

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Will the BJP ever come to power?

CHURUMURI POLL: Is the BJP in total disarray?

‘The only person to blame for BJP defeat is L.K. Advani

BJP defeat is a defeat of BJP brand of journalism

‘Fitting finale of five years of foolish opposition’

Skylight through the roof and through the door

21 October 2009

KPN photo

From what used to be her home and hearth, a woman in flood-hit Haccholi village in Bellary watches members of the “central study team” assess the damage on Wednesday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

When Priyanka meets Nalini she’s a messiah but…

21 October 2009

priyanka binayak

Gladson Dungdung, an activist based in Jharkhand, a State bang in the middle of the “Red Coridor”, appeared on CNN-IBN on Tuesday night to discuss the Naxal issue.

Dungdung, who says his parents were murdered and their 20 acres of land taken away for a dam without being compensated, says the government is essentially batting for the multinational corporations (MNCs) who want forest land cleared for their projects.

To address the issue of Naxalites, the government, he says, has to first address the economic, social and cultural injustice which has been done to the adivasis and address the developmental issues.

Dungdung: See the problem is that two decades ago what Rajiv Gandhi used to say that only 15 per cent of the money used to reach the poor is the same thing that Rahul Gandhi is saying now. That means they have not done anything.

CNN-IBN: You are saying that the democratic process has remained unchanged in this country for the last 25 years.

Dungdung: Yes. Another thing when Priyanka Gandhi meets the killer of Rajiv Gandhi, she becomes the messiah for the people—or is at least projected like that. When someone like Binayak Sen treats an adivasi, he becomes a Naxal supporter. How is this fair?

Photographs: courtesy CNN-IBN, Revolution in South Asia

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Will State beat Naxals?

Are you a part of the 1%—or the other 99%?

Everybody loves a good number: 93, 77, 54, 33

Rising India’s share of the poorest is growing

Indians should never ask where on earth Gabon is

CHURUMURI POLL: Will State beat Naxals?

21 October 2009

Over 200 districts in nine States are in the shadow of Maoists. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calls them the “gravest threat to internal security”. Home Minister P. Chidambaram wants permission for the deployment of the armed forces to combat them.  Dozens of civilians have perished in the grisly crossfire. With several of their colleagues nabbed, the Naxals have resorted to Taliban-style beheading to get their message across. Etcetera.

Is the State only trying to tackle Naxalism as a law and order problem instead of treating it as a more complex socio-economic phenomenon—the result of lack of development, exploitation of tribal land, business-friendly policies, police atrocities? Are the Naxal methods right? Do they have the licence to inhumanly target civilians, all for their “cause”? Should the Army be deployed against Indians, even if they are Maoists?

Regardless, by going all out against Maoists, the Indian State has staked all. Questions: Will it win the war? And will there be peace in the countryside thereafter? Or is the State only fighting a war for big business?

Arundhati Roy: ‘Govt at war with Naxals to aid MNCs’

Yella not OK, but Supreme Court silent yaake?

21 October 2009

Senior advocate Anil Divan, a signatory to the original memorandum of charges against Justice P.D. Dinakaran of the Karnataka High Court, in The Hindu:

“The Justice Dinakaran controversy is ‘snowballing’ and is diminishing the image of the judiciary with every passing hour. National dailies have been reporting various news items.

“Some of the headlines run: “Dinakaran elevation put on hold” (The Hindu, 11.10.2009); “TN report may nail Dinakaran” (The Times of India, 11.10.2009); “Dinakaran row: Panel may ask Govt. to consider others” (The Indian Express, 11.10.2009); “Supreme Court studies secret report on Dinakaran” (The Times of India, 11.10.2009); “Dinakaran move to SC held up” (The Asian Age, 12.10.2009); “Government to take possession of Judge land” (The Asian Age, 12.10.2009); “Charges pile up against Dinakaran” (Hindustan Times, 13.10.2009); and “TN farmers now add to Dinakaran’s woes” (The Indian Express, 13.10.2009).

“The informed citizen is inquiring — what is happening? What are the decisions of the Collegium? Why the delay in appointing four other State Chief Justices to the Supreme Court — all senior to Justice Dinakaran? Why is Justice Dinakaran being permitted to sit and discharge judicial functions in spite of serious allegations being looked into? Even though over a month has expired there is no press release, official statement or information officially given or emanating from the Supreme Court.”

Read the full article: Judicial integrity: Lessons from the past

Full coverage: The strange case of Justice P.D. Dinakaran

CHURUMURI POLL: Is Dalit Dinakaran above the law?

If he is unfit for Supreme Court, how is he fit for Karnataka HC?

If he is unfit for Supreme Court, how is he fit for Karnataka HC—II?

‘Integrity + competence + judicial temperament’

The egrets have no regrets, or maybe they do

20 October 2009

KPN photo

It isn’t just humans who have been affected by the flooding of the Tungabhadra. A congregration of egrets waits on the banks of the high level canal near Hampi for their daily fish as the canal has been overflowing for the last two weeks.

Photograph: Saggere Ramaswamy/Karnataka Photo News

Is India taking a sudden right toward the US?

20 October 2009

HRD minister Kapil Sibal talks of allowing Harvard and Yale and Stanford to set up shop in India. Environment minister Jairam Ramesh does a u-turn on climate change.  Commerce minister Anand Sharma talks of reviving the Doha round of WTO talks. The US ambassador in India, Timothy Roemer, publicly thanks the UPA government for allocating land for two nuclear plants.

Is the UPA, in its second innings, taking a decidedly pro-US turn, slowly, secretly but surely?

Yes, says Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr, in DNA:

“There is no need to look for conspiracy theories that prime minister Manmohan Singh and some of his cabinet colleagues are taking decisions that send out a clear signal that India-US relations will be closer in UPA’s second term. But there is a need to talk about it openly, even debate it, and express objections at least in some cases.

“The BJP will not do it because its leaders do not have the time or the inclination to argue the case either way. The communists can rant as much as they like but no one is likely to take them seriously. The tendency of Singh to do things quietly will only raise doubts and suspicions when there need be none. What appears murky about the Singh government is not the deeds so much as its refusal to do them openly.”

Read the full article: UPA-2’s conspicuous tilt towards US

Also read: 18 things you might like to know about Jairam Ramesh

Graduates of Indian Universities need not apply

Red Bull is energy. Purple Buffalo is electricity.

19 October 2009

KPN

On the morning after, brilliantly psychedelic buffaloes gorge on the plantain leaves of a Deepavali afternoon, in Bagalkot on Monday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News


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