FIR against Yeddy

Fresh trouble for former Karnataka Chief Minister, B S Yeddyurappa. The Lokayukta has filed an FIR against the former CM based on a complaint that was lodged against Yeddyurappa for showing undue favours to a private company in an irrigation project.
In the complaint it was alleged that two private companies owned by the sons of Yeddyurappa had received an amount of Rs 13 crore from a joint venture company of R N Shetty in favour of considering the company to take up the Upper Bhadra Lift Irrigation Scheme at a total cost of Rs 1,033 crore and an advance of Rs 103 crore was paid to them.

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Deleting clause 14 (f)- What it does for Hyderabad?

The deletion of Clause 14(f) will soon become a reality and this would mean that Hyderabad will no longer be a free zone. While this change would ensure a proper quota for the people of Telangana, the real fight is actually for the post of the police personnel which the people of Telangana feel is dominated by persons from the Andhra and Rayalseema areas.

Before getting into this issue let us take a look at what the opinion regarding 14(f) is from both sides. A person from Telangana would say that the dominance of persons from the Andhra and Rayalseema belt in the police force means that their movement seeking a seperate state will be curbed. A person from Andhra or Rayalseema would however point out that there was a need to have more of their people in the police force since the people of Telangana had attacked most of them and since the police force in 1969 were dominated by the people of Telangana the residents from other parts of the state got absolutely no protection.

Speaking to a cross section of people from Andhra Pradesh one gets the clear picture and that the real fight is to put in more people from their respective regions into the police force. This is evident since the biggest demand now by the activists is that if the government has decided to delete clause 14(f) then they should postpone the examinations for the posts of Sub Inspectors to be held on August 13 and 14. The examination should not take place under the existing set up, they say.

There is a unanimous resolution by the Andhra Pradesh government to strike out 14(f) and the matter is today before the President of India. Although the Telangana activists feel that this is just a minor victory in their agitation, it still would calm the nerves of many. The people of Andhra and Rayalseema too have decided to make their peace with the deletion of this cause. They say that for the time being there is no issue since after the clause is deleted it would mean that the personnel from Andhra and Rayalseema in the existing police force continue to serve in Hyderabad and they will not be transferred.

In the year 1969 when the agitation for a separate Telangana was at its peak it was decided that Hyderabad shall become a free zone. The non Telangana residents living in Hyderabad especially had complained that the Telangana activists were attacking them and they had absolutely no protection from the police since the force were filled with people from Telangana. There is however a counter argument to this by the Telangana activists who say that Hyderabad was made a free zone so that people from Andhra and Rayalseema could be inducted into the police with an intention of curbing the movement.

In the year 1972 the zonal system was brought into force and under this there were six zones. The clause regarding 14(f) applied mainly to the sixth zone which comprised Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Medak, Nizamabad, Mehboobnagar and Nalgunda. These areas which were not a free zone as per the compromise agreement during the merger were once again made a free zone.

The question now is what changes once clause 14(f) is deleted by the President of India in the case of Hyderabad. This would mean that in respect of the appointment of gazetted officers 70 per cent of the jobs would be reserved for locals while 30 per cent would be open to all.

In the case of non gazetted officers, 85 per cent of the jobs would be reserved for locals while the remaining 15 per cent would be open to all. The contentious issue regarding the appointment of Sub Inspectors would also have the same rule in place with 85 per cent of these jobs going to the locals and the remaining be open to all.

What one needs to understand in this case is the term local that is used very constantly. A local does not necessarily mean an original resident of Telangana. Any person from Andhra or Rayalseema who has lived in Hyderabad for seven years in a row becomes a local and is eligible for the quota falling either under the 70 per cent of 85 per cent bracket. If a person has not lived for seven years in Hyderabad but has studied four years in a row in the city then he too becomes a local and is eligible for this quota.

The activitsts from Telangana however point out that the deletion of this clause would be a small victory for them and also the people of Andhra and Rayalseema cannot complain about it. This is mainly because their own representatives have unanimously resolved to get this clause deleted and introduce a quota into Hyderabad. This would help our people get more jobs and they shall not be deprived like they have always been, the activists point out.

A silent war!

Barring a terror attack on July 13, 2011 things have been relatively peaceful in India. Indian agencies are busy figuring out this menace which is now being caused by fringe groups. However the big question is what are the bigger groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba doing during this period of lull and calm.

The biggest weapon which these groups have is their patience and Indian Intelligence Bureau officials say that while they are not carrying out terror attacks there is a lot of activity that such groups carry out. The war is always on, but it is different in nature. There is no doubt that they are planning larger attacks on the Indian soil, but in the meantime what they continue to do is circulate fake currency, smuggle arms and ammunition carry out recruitments and build up terror modules across the country.

Fake currency- The year 2010 alone has seen fake currency worth Rs 3200 crore in circulation while over all since the past ten years the amount is a stunning  Rs 12,00,000 crore. The notes continue to be under circulation and the Home Ministry says that every 5th note out every 1000 is fake today. The Lashkar which is the biggest beneficiary of this racket pumps in these notes through the Dawood Ibrahim network and it has now been established that the notes of very fine quality are being printed in Pakistan.

What has been worrying the Indian agencies is that the number of routes to smuggle in fake currency have increased and also the printing units in Pakistan too have gone up. Earlier the government owned printing press in Karachi was being used to print fake currency, but today the establishment feels that there is a need to increase the supply and hence have instructed their other state owned press at Quetta to do the same. This only means that the number of notes which will be in circulation especially in India will double and Indian agencies have a tough task ahead.

The earlier routes that were being used to pump in fake currency into India were through Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. However now the reliance on countries such as Thailand and also Dubai have increased. In the future one would get to see this racket emerging more from these two countries since the heat on the operatives are lower compared to the ones operating from Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Moreover within India too there have been changes and fake currency that is pumped in through Dubai has been landing in Thiruvananthapuram and then circulated into other parts of the country. Hyderabad always continues to be a hub for such a racket, Indian agencies point out.

India claims that it is doing its bit to counter this menace in every possible way it can. The issues such as the sourcing of paper to print the notes from London continues to be a contentious issue. The Pakistani agencies have adopted the same route to source their papers which has made the entire exercise very difficult for Indian agencies. India will raise this issue with the Financial Action Task Force in the month of October since it has decided that it would need the help of the international community to fight this menace.

Arms and ammunition- While studying this aspect of terror it becomes extremely crucial to understand why the closure of the D Gang is very important to India. While there continues to be infiltration into India through the borders of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal the whole other problem that comes along with it is the smuggling of arms and ammunition. While these are the normal transit points, there is a chunk of this coming in from Thailand as well which has led agencies to believe that recruits of the D Gang have been aiding this menace. While these arms that have been smuggled in are not being used for terror activities, they continue to be in circulation in the market and are being supplied to gangs and the money being raised out of this is used to fund terrorism on a 70:30 basis.

Recruitments- This is one of the most important aspects for any terror organisation. With the Indian Mujahideen down in the dumps and their modules in re-grouping mode, Pakistan based outfits have had to rely largely on their independent networks to carry out a recruitment process. The Lashkar in particular has been looking more into their Kerala connections through the Gulf and are carrying out recruitments. There has also been an increase in activity in Hyderabad and the ongoing problems in the area have only helped these groups go about their job without being noticed. The entire focus of the police is on the agitation and this has given terror groups a safe path to go about their recruitment. When looking at this issue on a national level, the IB says that most of the activity has been down south when compared to the North which has slowed down in the area of recruitment. However these recruits would focus more on carrying on the fake currency trade and also bringing in more youth into the outfit. There have been no instances in the past couple of months to show that recruits have been sent outside the country to train. They are taking it slow deliberately to avoid the heat and they would try and ensure that nothing is done on a large scale.

Terror modules- Realistically speaking the lashkar alone has around 500 modules across the country. While the big bosses are headquartered at Pakistan, the Gulf modules have been put in charge of setting up terror modules in the country. The IB explains that the money is pumped in from the Gulf which lands up either in Andhra Pradesh or Kerala. This in turn is passed on to the recruits in these areas who carry it around the country and help set up modules. Most of the modules which are operated are not as active as they may have been a couple of years back. The IB says that this lack of activity cannot be misunderstood as them being down. These persons apart from increasing the number of modules continue to aide the circulation of fake currency and also the arms trade.

The Reddy’s are out

Æ21 MLAs from the BJP in Karnataka were sworn in at the Raj Bhavan today. While the new cabinet looks more or less the same, the most important exlusion is that of the Reddy brothers and their close aide B Sriramulu.

The Reddy brothers who were part of the Cabinet under B S Yeddyurappa have been left out at least for now following the Lokayukta report which had recommended action especially against Janardhan Reddy. The report clearly names the Reddy brothers and Sriramulu on several ocassions and in the case of Janardhan Reddy it clearly mentions that he should be removed from the cabinet and the BJP in Karnataka has done exactly that.

Earlier it was being speculated that there may be a Deputy Chief Minister in the new Cabinet under Sadananda Gowda. However there has been no such step taken as all through the discussion it was made clear to the leaders that there shall be no deputy since it would lead to clashes with the CM. Moreover the BJP is hell bent on showing to the public that Sadananda Gowda is not a puppet Chief Minister and he would need to function independently. In addition to this the BJP says that it does not believe in the concept of a Dy CM and further they did not want to show that there is a split in the party as has been printed out in the media over the past couple of days. Some more entries are likely to be made into the ministry over the next few days, BJP sources said.

The list of 21 cabinet ministers who were sworn in at the Raj Bhavan by Governor H R Bharadwaj are:

Suresh Kumar

Shobha Karandlage

R Ashok

Jagadish Shettar

Krishna PalemarV Somanna

Basavaraj Bommai

Umesh Kathi

V Kageri

Govind Karjol

V Narayanaswami

Renukacharya

C Patil

L Savadhi

Bache Gowda

Murugesh Nirani

S V Ravindraprasad

S Ramdas

Revunayak

V S Acharya

C M Udasi

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The Sadananda Gowda cabinet expansion

The crisis in Karnataka has blown over for now with both the factions coming to an agreement and deciding to swear in 21 cabinet ministers today at 5.30 PM. After haggling over the issue since the past four days both the factions in the BJP have come to an understanding and sent the names of 21 MLAs to be sworn in as Cabinet ministers. However at the moment the Reddy brothers including Sriramulu do not find a mention in the list of 21, although a clear picture will emerge at 5.30 PM.

Although the portfolios are not clear as yet, it has been decided that there shall be no deputy chief minister in the government and R Ashok is most likely to continue with the home portfolio.

The others who have been accommodated are Dr V S Acharya, C M Udasi, Krishna Palemar, Ramdas, Bache Gowda, Shobha Karandlage, Basavarj Bommai, Lakshman Savadhi, Renukacharya, Umesh Kathi among others. Most of the porfolios are expected to remain the same, sources added.

Yeddy summoned Katta arrested

There was more trouble for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka with a special court summoning B S Yeddyurappa to appear in person before the court on August 27. The special Lokayukta court which is hearing a matter pertaining to corruption charges against Yeddyurappa directed the former Chief Minister to be present before it on August 27th.

In another case, former minister in the BJP government, Katta Subramanya Naidu whose bail plea was cancelled has been arrested and remanded in judicial custody along with his son Katta Jagadish  Naidu along with this son were facing corruption charges and a case in this regard had been filed by the Lokayukta.

The case against Yeddyurappa was filed by an advocate by the name Sirajudin Pasha. The case was before the governor who had accorded sanction to prosecute Yeddyurappa. The lokayukta court had taken up this matter and it issued summons today.

At the High Court:

The Karnataka High Court has directed former Chief Minister, B S Yeddyurappa to place before it the report prepared by Dr U V Singh on the basis of which the Lokayukta had been prepared. The court while hearing a petition filed by Yeddyurappa challenging the Lokayukta report made this order while adjourning hearing to Wednesday.

Yeddyurappa had challenged the report of the Lokayukta which in its findings had presumed that his sons had taken a bribe allegedly for an official favour. The report states that Yeddyurappa’s sons were running a trust to which a mining company had paid a certain amount of money. The Lokayukta while recommending action against Yeddyurappa had stated that it is presumed that the money had been given to the trust since the mining company wanted some favour.

However the High Court stated that the report had been prepared on the findings of the UV Singh report and hence it would be important that it is placed before the court so that they could look into it.

Govt plans ESMA in Telangana

The Government of Andhra Pradesh is planning on invoking the provisions of ESMA as the employees of Telangana get ready to commence their pen down strike. The government is mooting invoking the provisions of this tough act since a pen down tends to affect essential services in the state.
The next few days will see a lot of developments in the Telangana as activists have planned a series of agitations. From Monday onwards there will be a total non cooperation movement by the employees. This would be followed by bundh calls in all regions of Telangana. For the first time the Road Transport Corporation will take part in the agitation and not ply any of the buses until there is a concrete decision on the issue. The employees both government and private will also take part in the agitation and there will be no work in the Telangana region. Further the Coal employees association ( Singeni) will also take part in the agitation and they have already infomed about the same. This is expected to hit the coal industry which is strong in five districts of Telangana.
However some agitators have been complaining about cracks in the movement. They are particularly upset with the statement by K Chandrasekara Rao of the TRS who said that the next elections would decide the fate of a lot of leaders. What the agitators argue is that there is no question of fighting the next elections in Andhra Pradesh.
Further some leaders of the employees association have also bee complaining that they should be kept out of the purview of the agitations since it is a completely political issue.

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BJP crisis over?

The BJP in Karnataka has claimed that all differences between them have bee sorted out. The BJP leadership in New Delhi made it clear to the warring factions that there is no need for them to go to Delhi to sort out the issue and the same should be sorted out in Bangalore itself.
Earlier Jagadish Shettar and K S Eshwarappa called on Sadananda Gowda and discussed the formation of the Cabinet. Following the meeting it was decided that they would amicably resolve all issues and have a cabinet in place in the next two or three days.
The Shettar faction which had abstained from the swearing in ceromony had been given a dressing down from the leaders at New Delhi. They were advised to cooperate with the new leadership and work as one party and not two factions.
Following this pleasantaries had been exchaanged at Gowda’s residence and the two factions claim that the issue had been resolved.
In the next couple of days the BJP will submit the list of Cabinet ministers to the governor. A crucial meeting to finalise things will be held on Sunday.

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What Shettar wants

The war between the two factions in the Karnataka BJP continues, with pressure being mounted on Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda.
Gowda who held his first review meeting now faces the challenge posed to him by the Jagadish Shettar faction who have put out the following demands-
1) Deputy Chief Minister
2) Home portfolio
3) Revenue portfolio
4) 17 cabinet berths
5) 50 per cent of the posts of Chairpersons of Boards and Corporations.
Janardhan Reddy made it clear at Bangalore that he would follow the orders of Jagadish Shettar. He said Shettar and K S Eshwarappa are their leaders and he will take orders or listen only to them. The Yeddyurappa faction is now pondering over how to accomodate the Shettar faction which has also been seeking the intervention of the party leadership in this matter.

SC allows iron ore mining in Bellary by NDMC ‎

The Supreme Court in an interim order while keeping in mind the demand for iron ore has permitted the state run NMDC to operate two mines in Bellary district.
The NMDC which has been granted leases by the state and also which finds a mention in the Lokayukta report pertaining to lease violations was today permitted by the Suprme Court to extend the production of iron ore to the tune of one million tonnes per month from tomorrow onwards.
The Special forest Bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia while passing this interim order however maintained that this order does not apply to private owners and the ban on mining in respect to them shall continue.
The interim order also states that while mining would be permitted for the NMDC, no part of the ore shall be exported. Further the Bench also directed the Karnataka government to levy royalty of 10 percent of the value of the iron ore.
The Supreme Court also directed a macro level environment impact assessment  be undertaken by Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education and directed that the report be submitted in three months. In addition to this it also sought details about the rehabiltation package for Bellary in three months.

CBI probe- the Supreme court also adjourned hearing on an interlocutary application seeking a CBI or SIT probe into illegal mining in Karnataka. Senior Counsel Prashanth Bhushan said that the application while seeking a CBI or SIT probe also takes note of the latest Lokayukta report. The matter is expected to be heard next week.