Mumbai -To fix whistleblower, bank moves from verse to worse


ALOK DESHPANDE, The Hindu, June 13, 2013 

Embarrassed by revelations about its curious dealings with corporate clients, the Bank of Maharashtra has declared war on whistleblowers. File photo
The Hindu–Embarrassed by revelations about its curious dealings with corporate clients, the Bank of Maharashtra has declared war on whistleblowers. File photo

Union leader Devidas Tuljapurkar faces victimisation and possible dismissal by the Bank of Maharashtra, as it suspects him of being the whistleblower behind a story in “The Hindu” on July 7, 2012.

For one unfortunate whistleblower, things have gone from verse to worse. Embarrassed by revelations about its curious dealings with corporate clients, the Bank of Maharashtra has declared war on whistleblowers. And since it can’t pinpoint them, the bank has gone after internal critics on novel grounds. It has chargesheeted a Union leader and ex-Director of the BoM for acts “prejudicial to the interests of the Bank.” That is, for publishing 19 years ago, a poem it calls ‘vulgar and obscene,’ in the Union’s in-house magazine, ‘Bulletin.’ That poem is the basis of the Bank’s charge sheet against a worker with an impeccable service record.

In 1984, the Marathi poet Vasant Dattatraya Gurjar wrote a satirical poem titledGandhi Mala Bhetla Hota (Gandhi met me) which shook the literary world with its polemical content. In 2013, Devidas Tuljapurkar, General Secretary of the All-India Bank of Maharashtra Employees Federation, faces victimisation and possible dismissal by the bank, ostensibly because the Bulletin, of which he was editor, carried that poem in 1994!

The real reasons for going after Mr. Tuljapurkar appear to have little to do with poetry and seem far more prosaic. He has been a thorn in the flesh of his management. Both, as an alert employee and, for a while, as Workman Director on the bank’s Board. He has also drawn the RBI’s attention to the BoM’s odd handling of some corporate accounts and advances which, he charges, are being favoured at the expense of BoM’s main depositors — lakhs of small farmers, working people and retired employees. But the BoM leadership has something more against him. They suspect him — with no basis or proof — of being the whistleblower behind a story in The Hindu, July 7, 2012. That story exposed how the bank had granted a Rs. 150-crore loan to a defaulter owing BoM Rs. 40 crore by greatly weakening the terms of the original sanction letter. The defaulter company was a part of the United Breweries (UB) group headed by Vijay Mallya. The expose embarrassed Bank Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Narendra Singh, sparking a whistleblower witch-hunt.

But no whistleblower was found. And after several transfers of senior officers within the bank, the search hit a dead-end. Ironically, it was an unthinking action of the Reserve Bank of India that handed the BoM management a scapegoat: Devidas Tuljapurkar.

Mr. Tuljapurkar told The Hindu, “Last October, I wrote a letter to RBI Governor D. Subba Rao highlighting questionable corporate advances and imprudent banking decisions of BoM at the instance of CMD Narendra Singh.” The letter, written in his capacity as a Union leader, was backed up with facts and documents. Having served as a Director on the Board of BoM from 2004 to 2009, he was very familiar with the rules and procedures.

However, the RBI failed to protect his identity as a whistleblower. In one of those unthinking acts of bureaucracy, the RBI routinely forwarded Mr. Tuljapurkar’s letter to the very BoM management that it exposed, for their comments. The bank had found its scapegoat and Mr. Tuljapurkar’s ordeal began. “Since I had written a letter to RBI, the management assumed that it was also I who had leaked that story about gifting a Rs. 150-crore loan to Mallya’s company. They wanted to corner me, so they started scanning my history,” he says.

And all they could come up with was a poem from 1984. Vasant Gurjar’s poem is a political satire that is scathing about the followers of Mahatma Gandhi who, in the poet’s view, were merely serving their own interests. In 1994, the poem was published in the ‘Bulletin’ the house magazine of the Union. In March 1995, an organisation called the ‘Patit Pavan Sanghatana’ filed a complaint against the Bulletin for publishing the ‘obscene’ and ‘vulgar’ poem. As editor of the Bulletin, Mr. Tuljapurkar was made an accused in the case.

This May 3, 19 years later, the BoM management issued an internal charge sheet against Mr. Tuljapurkar. It accuses him of ‘publishing such an inflammatory, vulgar, obscene and objectionable material in the magazine “Bulletin” meant for bank employees …” And claims that circulating that issue of the Bulletin on the BoM’s premises (in 1994) was “prejudicial to the interests of the Bank.”

Interestingly, the ‘State Performances Scrutiny Board, Government of Maharashtra’, headed by well-known Marathi poet F.M. Shinde, has a very different take on the poem. In January 2011 the Scrutiny Board made it clear that the poem is neither obscene nor vulgar. “What Gandhi had envisioned about Swarajya is nowhere to be seen. The poet has expressed this in satirical form,” Mr. Shinde had said.

Apart from ignoring the Board’s view, the BoM seems to take no notice of the Supreme Court’s order in the case against Mr. Tuljapurkar. “After the FIR in 1995, we approached both the sessions court and the High Court to discharge me from the case. But that was rejected and our appeal is pending in the Supreme Court,” he says. “The apex court, in its order dated July 7, 2010, stayed all proceedings in lower courts in this case and the actual trial has not even started in any court.”

The charge sheet accuses Mr. Tuljapurkar of not disclosing this pending litigation against him while serving as the Workman Director of the bank and for knowingly making ‘false statements’ in the forms of the bank. BoM CMD Narendra Singh took personal interest in the entire matter, says Mr. Tuljapurkar. The CMD placed the 19-year old case before the board meeting in January this year, recommending action against the union leader.

All this sidesteps the truth that Mr. Tuljapurkar’s name was mentioned in the FIR as editor of the Bulletin and not in any ‘personal capacity.’ It also ignores the fact that even charges in the case are yet to be framed. Calls, faxes and emails from The Hindu to Mr. Singh have so far drawn no response.

Meanwhile, an outraged All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), to which Mr. Tuljapurkar’s union is affiliated, has called for an agitation across the entire BoM on June 17. “We demand immediate withdrawal of the charge sheet slapped against him and thorough investigation of loans sanctioned by the bank to various corporates ever since the present chairman took charge,” CH. Venkatachalam, General Secretary, AIBEA, told The Hindu. He added that the BoM being a public sector bank, every citizen had a right to express concern about its financial health. “We shall fight back any attempt at victimisation.”

If the departmental inquiry against Mr. Tuljapurkar proceeds the way bank management wants, it could result in his dismissal. A whistleblower exposing the questionable actions of a public sector bank could be dismissed for publishing a poem in 1994. He is also a man who, while a director of the bank, transferred all the money he received as sitting charges for Board meetings to the Union’s account via cheque, accepting no monetary benefits as a director.

“I wrote to RBI because I found Mr. Singh’s financial moves unhealthy for the bank’s future. Hence I’m being targeted and victimised. They aim to make an example of me so nobody in future will dare raise his voice. It has to be stopped,” he said.

 

Paris – Secret meeting for Jaitapur Reactors continues despite protests in India #WTFnews


 

PARIS, June 5, 2013

Investors’ meet on for underwriting package for Jaitapur reactors even as protests continue

 Vaiju Naravane
 A crucial investors’ meeting to underwrite the financial package for two 1,650 megawatt Areva EPR reactors to be built in Jaitapur, Maharashtra, got under way here with a top four-man team from India, including officials from the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL). Senior executives from Areva, the French nuclear giant, several banks and government agencies are also attending the meeting.

The meeting coincides with large-scale protests in Maharashtra against plans to build the two giant nuclear reactors. Hundreds of local farmers have signed petitions saying they do not wish to have their lands requisitioned or the giant reactors to be located close to where they live. Non-governmental organisations fighting plans to build the reactors say the project is located on a seismic site.

The Indian team in Paris is made up of four officials. C.B.S. Venkataraman, Additional Secretary and Niranjan Kumar, Deputy Secretary are from the DAE, while Preman Dinaraj (Financial Director) and Sandeep Singhroy (Director Jaitapur project) are from the NPCIL.

Soaring costs a concern

There have been serious concerns in India over the soaring costs of these reactors. Initially, India is expected to finalise an agreement for the purchase of two EPRs. This is expected to go up to six such reactors. The main sticking points in the discussions so far have been the cost of energy to India per kW/hour coupled with security concerns following the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in Japan. Areva had initially promised India that energy from the reactors would not cost more that Rs. 4 per kW/h. But since the cost of each reactor has gone up from 3.3 billion Euros to 8.5 billion Euros, it would be a miracle if Areva is able to keep the cost of energy within the original framework.

Anne Lauvergeon, former chief of Areva, had told The Hindu in an interview two years ago that the “four rupee target” would be “maintained at all cost”. But the French have been unable to manage costs within their own country. The only EPR currently under construction in France at Flamanville has had massive cost overruns and is five years behind schedule. However, the two EPRs being built at Taishan in China are said to be going ahead at a terrific pace, being built to cost and to schedule.

“Since the reactors will be built by the NPCIL, the cost factor will definitely be lower in India, perhaps even 30 per cent lower than it is in France. There is, however, cause for worry and the talks in Paris will focus on reducing costs to a minimum without sacrificing safety or quality,” a well placed source close to the talks told this correspondent in Paris.

Members of the Konkan Bachao Samiti said that according to their calculations, the unit cost per kilowatt/ hour will be Rs. 14 per unit. The exact cost of each EPR in India has not been disclosed.

“Three important factors”

“There are three important factors in determining the price of a kilowatt/hour of nuclear electricity. The first is the cost of building the plant. The second element is the cost of borrowing the money. What rate of interest will India have to pay? The third element is the capacity at which the plant runs. If it fails to run at 100 per cent capacity, the costs inevitably go up,” Steve Thomas, a specialist on nuclear energy at Greenwich University’s School of Business told The Hindu.

None of these issues have been properly outlined to the public and no figures have been have been released either by the DAE or the NPCIL, which has angered opponents of the project. The project will supposedly have a 70:30 debt equity ratio.

Members of the Konkan Bachao Samiti said the meeting under way in Paris was kept secret to prevent demonstrations in India. However, word of the meeting leaked out. In a letter to French bankers, the Konkan Bachao Samiti said: “NPCIL and government of India officials are making wrong representations, concealing the ground information, twisting and distorting the facts and are trying their level best to delude you [investors], in order to make you agreeable and secure loan finance for this mega disaster project.”

Mumbai- Houses Demolished, Thousands Left to Fend for Themselves


Brazen Violation of Existing Norms, Ongoing Investigations by Maharashtra Government in Mumbai

Houses Demolished just Before Start of Monsoon, Thousands Left to Fend for Themselves

Mumbai, June 4: With the onset of pre-monsoon, the slums in Mumbai have been witness tobulldozers and police brutality as today i.e 4th June saw bulldozers moving over the houses at Ganpat Patil Nagar, Sanjay Nagar, Indira Nagar, Adarsh Nagar – Mumbai. Around 250 houses were demolished at Ganpat Patil Nagar and more than 300 houses were broken down at Adarsh Nagar-Indira Nagar & Sanjay Nagar. As always, the police force was present in huge numbers and disrespectful to the protestors that included men, women, children and the aged, even the pregnant ladies were not excused of high handedness. With the onset of the monsoon, the vulnerability is increased as these families have no roof over their heads and their belongings either crushed or lying here and there.

The demolition drive at Ganpat Patil Nagar was done under the pretext of ‘protecting mangroves’ as per the orders of the Bombay High Court which not at all had said anything about demolishing slums. The over enthusiasm shown by the local MLA of Shiv Sena – Vinod Ghosalkar in demolishing this slum and evicting the families from the land exposes the nexus with the land mafia which wants to transform this locality into high rise buildings and towers. Even the Forest Department has informed that they do not want for demolition of slums but only protection of mangroves.

At Indira Nagar, Adarsh Nagar & Sanjay Nagar, the demolitions were done under the excuse of widening the nala (sewerage) but that remains an excuse only as last year also, during the same period a demolition drive was undertaken for the purpose of expanding the nala which never happened. Activist Siraj Ahmed was detained by the local police when he led the slum dwellers in protest to the demolition.

Most shocking and deplorable is the fact that in January this year, no less than the Chief Minister of Maharashtra & Chief Secretary had promised to under take a survey of the these settlement for the purpose of declaring them as slums and provisioning of basic amenities. Instead of water pipe lines and toilet blocks they have sent bulldozers and police force. It seems that the slogan of ‘slum free india’ is to be realised by bulldozing the existing slums and not be upgrading or resettling them.

It is apprehended that the demolition squad might again come tomorrow, though the slum dwellers are firm in their resolve to resist and fight against the bulldozers as well as the rules that make such deplorable acts possible.

Sumit Wajale Siraj Ahmed Sangeeta Kamble Jamil Bhai

Contact : 9892727063

National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura RoadNew Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : http://www.napm-india.org

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/NAPMindia
Twitter : @napmindia

 

#India – Farms robbed of water, farmers livelihood


Thursday, May 30, 2013, 7:49 IST | Agency: DNA
Yogesh Pawar
High-powered committee on water reallocates 1983.43 million cubic metres of water from 51 irrigation projects to coal-fired power plants, finds a study conducted by non-profit organisation Prayas.
A high-powered committee on water seems more interested in diverting water from irrigation to highly water-intensive coal fired power plants. This, despite the stress that this reallocation places on drought-prone regions in the state.
This revelation has been made by an analytical report put out by non-profit organisation, Prayas, on the basis of the minutes of meetings that high-powered committees have held over a decade. Such committees consists of ministers and bureaucrats.
Drying up fields
Terming the committee’s decisions as ‘opaque and undemocratic’, the report states that it had reallocated 1983.43million cubic metres of water from 51 irrigation projects for non-irrigation purposes, thus reducing irrigation potential by 3.23lakh hectares.
Analysis of minutes of meetings shows that of the total water reallocated by the panel, 54% was allotted for domestic purpose while 46% was for industrial purpose. Besides demand for drinking water, industrial water demands are equally responsible for reduction of water for irrigation. This debunks the general belief that industry requires less water and water allocated to it shouldn’t cause much of an adverse impact.
Of the total water allocated for domestic use, 96.94% was routed to municipal corporations in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and Nagpur. Of the rest, 1.75% went to municipal councils with 0.88% to rural pockets and 0.42% diverted to other schemes like water supply to educational institutions. It is apparent that private companies, including power plants and special economic zones, used the committee’s regime most effectively in availing water reservations.
Of the total water reserved by the committee for industries, a maximum share of 64% is allocated to thermal power plants. Of the 15 power plants which demanded and got water reservation from the panel, 13 are privately owned.
Besides power plants, the panel allowed water to be reserved for Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (19%) and special economic zones (14%).
Dodging the law
The report states that the committee did not consider farmers’ interests and even sidetracked the state watchdog – Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority.
“…this would require adherence to law and the decisions would have to be open, transparent, systematic, and rational with consideration of implications of these decisions on local beneficiaries”, the report mentions.
The report states that involvement of the regulator would make public hearings mandatory, spurring exchanging of ideas on looking at alternative sources of water for industries.
The report notes that thermal power plants, which require cooling, were provided with water-based coolers instead of air-based coolers which would have help scrimp on water.
Here’s how the report explanains this anomaly. “It would not have allowed the functionaries in the committee to make arbitrary decision favouring certain interested parties…
Activists filed two petitions in the high court and the regulatory body, challenging the committee’s decisions to divert water from a couple of irrigation projects for non-irrigation purposes. However, the state government did not await the verdict.
“The illegal decisions were legalised… using a weapon of ordinance… As a result, farmers lost their right to challenge the illegal decisions forever…” says the report. “The water reallocation from irrigation projects to non-irrigation is grabbing of water resources for industries and big cities at the cost of livelihoods of farmers.”
Advantage politics
The report points out how the allocation policy has been captured by dominant political forces emerging from rapid urbanisation and industrialisation. “These forces are capturing the policy space and thereby the vital natural resources like water at the cost of life and livelihoods of the rural farming community. There is an urgent need to close the gaps in the policy framework and evolve strong regulatory mechanisms to create a counter-political force capable of protecting the interests of the disadvantaged sections of the society,” it recommends.

 

Urgent Action Alert: stop brutal demolition of houses in Mumbai


Stop Brutal Demolition of Houses of poor in Mumbai

The monsoon is on the doorstep ready to make the situation a little worrisome in Mumbai but the authorities, as it seems, has decided to bring the worst for Ganpat Patil Nagar through their reckless planned decision to demolish it today. While 25000 families in GP Nagar have a sword hanging on their heads over last 4 months and while six deaths had occurred during brutal demolition in January, once again Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai is ready with the police force, this morning under disguised reason of ‘Mangrove protection’.  Adarsh Nagar and Indira Nagar in Govandi, Mumbai are also given a notice to vacate altogether 600-700 houses by June 4th tomorrow, in the name of naala building, drainage.

The local leaders of GP Nagar and activists have taken all pains to find out the documents and from discussions with the authorities that

  • The forest department has given in writing that it has nothing to do with the demolition and there is no plan for Mangrove protection.
  • There are no more than 10 houses within 50 meters from Mangrove.
  • No judgment (in BEAG vs State of Maharashtra & others) has ever directed demolition of slums or any building but only directed protection of Mangrove since 2005.

GP Nagar slum was fully exiting in 2005as per Google maps. High pakka buildings are under construction since last few years, but no demolition of those is planned. The GP Nagar slum on one hand provided water supply and other basic amenities yet on the other hand, tried to be demolished.

The poor toiling their family belongings are unprotected workers, women, and children face atrocities whenever they lose their shelter. The NHRC has been appealed to intervene and so is the National Commission on Children. Yet they have neither indicated any identification nor has written to the state government.

The Govt. of Maharashtra promised in 2011 & even thereafter that slums will be declared as per section 4 of the Slums Act, 1971 and all amenities will be provided as per section 5 (A), yet without taking that process forward, poor people are being dishoused while whatever reserved for “Housing to the Dishoused” is being de-reserved and being diverted to non-justifiable purpose & to the elites, may it be for a judges cooperative or a shopping mall.

Including Ganpat Patil Nagar, all slums have applied for Rajiv Awas Yojana & are ready to take up self-development with 2009 as the cutoff date for RAY, as is being expected in Delhi. As regards to Adarsh Nagar and Indira Nagar, a very elaborate dialogue with the Assistant Commissioner, Mumbai, Eastward  Mr. Kishore Gandhi brought out that there was no map or plan prepared neither for required naala building nor of demolition. During the joint site visit by the Jr. Engineers and one representative on June 1st, it came out that not more than 4-8 houses were obstructing drainage and yet Jr. Engineer was adamant on demolition. All this indicates that the real purpose in each slum demolition seems to be not drainage or natural conservation but land grab.

Ghar Bachao- Ghar Banao Andolan, NAPM demands from both the State Govt. of Maharashtra and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai that:

1.      Stop eviction of poor communities, including Ganpat Patil Nagar.

2.      Enquire into the Mangroves protection & encroachment in the framework of the judgments.

3.      Implement RAY with the funds and facilitation beginning with the pilot project proposed for Mandala community, Mankhurd.

GBGB, NAPM appeals to all sensitive supporters to write to the Municipal Commissioner, Shri Sitaram Kunte & C.M. of Maharashtrato stop brutal demolition today and not to make the poor shelterless, which is impingement to their right to life and not to commit atrocities against dalits in GP nagar and other communities.

Act before it’s late….

Shri Prithviraj Chavan,Chief Minister,

Government of Maharashtra,

Mantrayala, Mumbai

Ph: 022-23634950

E-mail: chiefminister@maharashtra.gov.in ,

ashish.valsa@gmail.com

Sitaram Kunte, IASMunicipal Commissioner

Office Address:

Municipal Commissioner

Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai

Municipal Head Office

Mahapalika Marg

Mumbai-400 001. 

Tel:0091-22-22620525

e-mail:mc@mcgm.gov.in

===============================================

National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : www.napm-india.org

Twitter : @napmindia

 

The Terror After The Event – Himayat Baig’s Death Sentence


Date: 1 June 2013
Subject: The Terror After The Event | Ashish Khetan in Outlook

Indian Express Archive
18th victim? Baig leaves a Pune court after the verdict, Apr 18
opinion: terror probes
The Terror After The Event
The Maharashtra ATS’s investigations into terror cases has been dubious at best. Himayat Baig’s death sentence is the latest travesty.
Ashish Khetan

I was quite settled in my career when a court in Pune sentenced Mirza Himayat Baig, a terror suspect, to death in April this year. I was working with a TV station, drawing a decent salary and covering, among other beats, internal security. A source in the Maharashtra ATS—the same organisation that prosecuted Baig for the Pune German Bakery blast—had told me soon after the arrest that Baig was innocent but was being fixed by some senior ATS officers. The latter apparently felt that their prospects for future lucrative postings would be dented if the case remained unsolved. The blast happened in February 2010, Baig was arrested in September.

The usual suspects (always members of SIMI or some other radical Muslim outfit) being falsely implicated in terror cases by our investigating agencies is not a new phenomenon. We have only to check the trajectory of the series of terror cases that have ended in acquittals over the past 10 years. Mostly, after such acquittals there is the usual criticism from civil society and journalists, but that’s par for the course for our investigation agencies. After a few critical op-eds and commentaries, all is forgotten.

For over a year, I researched several terror investigations, including the 7/11 train blasts (2006) and collected material evidence—internal documents of the agencies themselves—that showed how they were peddling different versions of the same, integral terror plot before different courts of law. It was apparent that, for our agencies, the truth had multiple versions for multiple purposes. There was one version for internal consumption of the agencies, another for the courts. Within the courts, there was one version for a court in UP, another for a court in Gujarat and yet another for a court in Mumbai. Interrogation reports of terror sus­pects were tailored in different and often contradictory ways by different agencies to suit their respective cases. I was intending to use this material to write a book. The idea of using it to intervene in a judicial process never crossed my mind then.

After Baig’s sentence was pronounced, I got in touch with my ATS source again and asked how Baig, if he wasn’t involved in the blasts, had got the death sentence? He lau­ghed and replied: “That’s the beauty of our criminal justice system. All you need to show is the recovery of some exp­losives and arms and a few tutored witnesses.”

The same day Qateel was to be brought back to Delhi, he was mysteriously found murdered in Pune’s Yerawada Jail. The man who could have testified to Baig’s innocence was now gone.

Baig was a poor Muslim who with great difficulty had completed his graduation and done a teacher’s course. In 2006, misfortune struck. Some of his acquaintances were arrested in a controversial Aurangabad Arms Haul case in May that year and he got dragged in too. (This is one of the most mysterious of terror cases. It took five years for the ATS to frame charges against the arrested accused. The last one heard, only two police witnesses had been examined).
Baig spent the next five years (till he was arrested) trying to earn an honest living. He did a diploma qualifying him to become a teacher in this period, besides various odd jobs including teaching at a private coaching class. On April 17, when the judge in Pune pronounced the death verdict, Baig broke down. “In the German Bakery blast, 17 innocent people were killed. I am the 18th victim of the blast,” Baig told the court. Barring the Indian Express, no other mainstream English newspaper reported at that time on Baig’s protestations in the court.

Six months before Baig was handed the death sentence, a terror suspect named Qateel Siddiqui, 28, was killed in mysterious circumstances in the high-security ‘anda cell’ of the Pune Yerawada jail. My source told me that Qateel’s death and Himayat’s innocence were linked. He gave me two interrogation reports of Qateel prepared by an ATS inspector. Qateel was arrested about a year after Himayat’s arrest. But there was a catch. He wasn’t arrested by the Maharashtra ATS but by the Delhi Special Cell. My source asked me to access Qateel’s interrogations reports by the Delhi Police and other agencies and compare it with the ones prepared by the Maharashtra ATS.

I spent the next few weeks procuring the material on Qateel available with other agencies. Finally, I had detailed interrogation reports prepared by not just the Delhi Special Cell but also the Bangalore police. As per these rep­orts, Qateel was not only involved in the Bangalore Chinnasw­amy Stadium blasts of 2010 but also the Pune German Bakery blast. More importantly, these reports completely contradicted the ATS theory of Baig being involved in the blast.

As per both these IRs, it was Qateel and Ahmed Siddibapa alias Yasin Bhatkal who had come together to plant a bomb at two different places in Pune. While Qateel was supposed to plant the bomb at the Dagduseth Halwai Ganesh temple, Yasin took it upon himself to plant the bomb at the German Bakery. Also, as per these IRs, Yasin and Qateel were toget­her until 2:30 PM on February 13 in a room they had rented in Katraj locality of Pune. Qateel was given the bomb by Yasin on the afternoon of February 13. Both bombs were supposed to go off around the same time, that is, between 6:45 pm and 7 pm.

But the Maharashtra ATS theory (that had already been presented in the form of a chargesheet against Baig by the time Qateel was arrested) was that Yasin was with Himayat Baig the entire day on the 13th and that the two had gone to plant the bomb at the Pune German Bakery. On the other hand, the Delhi and Bangalore Police reports had no reference to Himayat Baig whatsoever.

To smooth out these blatant contradictions, the ATS sent an officer named Dinesh Kadam to interrogate Qateel while he was in the custody of the Delhi police. In his report, Kadam made one crucial change from those by the Delhi and Bangalore Police. He twisted those portions of Qateel’s confession in which he spoke about his continued presence with Yasin on February 13. Now, according to Kadam, Qateel had told him that Yasin gave him the bomb on February 11. This was done to justify Yasin Bhatkal’s presence with Baig on the 13th. So February 13 was pre-dated to February 11 by Inspector Kadam, as the ATS had already spun a story around Baig and Yasin for February 13 and the same theory had already been presented before a Pune court in the form of a chargesheet.

On all other counts, Kadam accepted and confirmed Qat­eel’s revelations made before the Delhi and Bangalore police. Kadam also accepted the claim that Qateel eventually could not plant the bomb at the Ganesh temple and instead dismantled it and threw it away.

So Feb 13 was predated to Feb 11 by Inpector Kadam as the ATS had already spun a story around Baig and Yasin Bhatkal for Feb 13, the same which was made a chargesheet before Pune court.

Now, after interrogating Qateel, Kadam went back to Pune and filed a separate case against Qateel in a Pune court and charged him with attempting to bomb the Ganesh temple. The Maharashtra ATS took police custody of Qateel in this new case on 2.05.2012 and took him to Maharashtra. On 28.05.2012, a Pune court sent him to judicial custody and Qateel was lodged in a high security cell at Yerawada Jail in Pune.
On 8.06.2012, Qateel was mysteriously found murdered in the high security cell—the same day he was supposed to be brought back to the capital to be produced before a Delhi court in connection with the case registered against him by the Delhi Special Cell. The Maharashtra police claimed that two other inmates had killed Qateel after an angry exchange of words. According to them, he was str­an­gulated with a Bermuda pant cord. But the same couldn’t be recovered because it had apparently been burnt by the accused.

The man who could have testified to Baig’s innocence was now gone. Meanwhile, the trial against Baig continued. Qateel’s story, as recorded by the Delhi and Bangalore police, was never brought before the Pune court trying Baig. On April 18, 2013, the court sentenced Baig to capital punishment primarily on the basis of an eye-witness account of an auto driver who claimed he had ferried both Baig and Yasin Bhatkal on the day of the blast and had dropped them close to the blast site.

When the judge handed him the death sentence, Baig started crying. As per the Indian Express he told the judge, “I come from a poor family. I wanted to do something for my community, which is backward in every way. I had come to Pune on January 31, 2010, for a rally seeking reservations for Muslims. I was not on the run, as the ATS says.”

These words kept ringing in my mind. I proposed the story to the network I was working with. But they didn’t show any interest. The handing of a death sentence to a poor, innocent Muslim is not much of a story for the mainstream media. This, in many, ways was also a turning point for me. I quit the channel and with a capital of a few lakhs founded a portal dedicated to investigative journalism. Anuja Chauhan, who’s spent many years in the advertising world and is now a well-known author, gave the portal its name, Gulail (slingshot), the weapon of the dispossessed.

Another late realisation has been that mere reporting is not going to change much. In today’s disaggregated media and social networking sites, for every one fact that gets reported there are hundreds, if not thousands, of blatant lies that go viral, blunting and distorting the truth. The fight for justice and truth must thus be fought primarily in the courts of law. To this end, on May 17, a letter petition was filed with the Bombay High Court annexing dozens of original interrogation reports of terror suspects sourced from over half a dozen anti-terror agencies.

Besides laying out a case for how the Maharashtra ATS conspired to destroy the evidence of Himayat Baig’s innocence, around 10 interrogation reports of another terror suspect, Sadiq Shaikh, recorded by several anti-terror agencies, was also put before the court. These reports show that while in the internal records of all other agencies in the country (including Mumbai Crime Branch) Shaikh was responsible for the 7/11 train blasts, the Maharashtra ATS tailored those parts of Sadiq’s revelations that pertained to the narration of the 7/11 conspiracy.

There is a dangerous modus operandi in the ATS’s methods that repeats itself in every terror probe done by the agency­—and the ‘usual suspects’ mostly bear the brunt of it. If it was alleged SIMI members being implicated in the 7/11 train blasts, in the Malegaon 2006 blasts it was the followers of Ahle Hadith and through them, again, the SIMI, who were held responsible.

Before filing the petition, I decided to meet the 13 train blasts accused who have been in jail for the past seven years. All of them are young Muslims. And almost all of them are devout. The fact that they wore skull caps, kept a long beard, offered namaaz five times a day and followed other religious precepts in their daily lives were seen by the ATS as a sure sign of extremism. In police custody, the ATS officers castigated them for printing religious books, for propagating their religion and for wearing religious marks on their person.

Two months after the 7/11 blasts, when four synchronised bombs went off inside a mosque at Malegaon—all those killed were Muslims—the Maharashtra ATS had again arrested nine Muslim youth who were said to be followers of either the Ahle Hadith or SIMI. Two of the accused were kept common between the 7/11 and Malegaon cases and were shown as the suppliers of the explosives for both sets of blasts. And like in the 7/11 probe, the ATS also managed to extract confessions from these Malegaon Muslims. Indeed, in Malegaon they went a step further. They even had an approver who told the court that he was not only willing to implicate himself but also his co-accused. Under pressure from Muslim groups, the Maharashtra government finally transferred the Malegaon investigation to the CBI. But the 7/11 case continues to be with the ATS.

In the Malegaon case, the NIA filed a chargesheet last week (the probe was transferred from the CBI to the NIA) where it has named a bunch of RSS members as accused. But bizarrely, even then the NIA has not asked the court for the discharge of the original set of accused. Nor has it addressed the role of the Maharashtra ATS that had not only arrested innocent Muslims but had also shown recoveries of explosives, extracted confessions, found eye-witnesses etc.

These are not mere issues of legalities. When law enforcement agencies show absolute contempt for law, justice and truth, when innocent members of a community are falsely implicated in case after case and when the system turns a blind eye and fails to take correctives, it’s not just the idea of justice but the very idea of India that is at risk.

My petition before the Bombay High Court has asked that an independent commission of inquiry be ordered into the conduct of the ATS and direct punitive action be taken against the police officers found responsible. Part of the decision lies with the court, the rest with the people of India.

(The author is the founder of http://www.gulail.com)

Gulail Expose – The Squad’s Fall Guys


The Maharashtra ATS persists with the prosecution of 13 innocent Muslims by keeping the evidence of their innocence from the court. Ashish Khetan exposes a sinister conspiracy of the men in uniform.Additional reporting by Thufail PT
Not one but two acts of terror visited us on July 11th 2006. The first was inflicted by those who planted seven deadly bombs on suburban trains in Mumbai, snuffing out 188 innocent lives. The second, invisible but equally insidious, was unleashed in its aftermath. It was those sworn to uphold the rule of law, to be fair and just who launched a systematic programme of Muslim persecution.In the name of combating terror, the Mumbai police and its specialized anti-terror squad (the ATS), tortured, humiliated and stripped at least twenty innocent Muslims of all their basic human rights. Their right to live with dignity, their right to be a Muslim, their right to earn an honest living—was mercilessly taken away in one fell swoop.

Waterboarding, administration of chemicals through veins and anus, giving electric shock to their private parts, sleep deprivation, threat of raping family members were among some of the techniques of coercion that were applied to extract false confessions.

In the course of its investigations Gulail is putting out internal documents running into hundreds of pages that exposes how the anti-terror agencies deliberately misled the Indian Courts, how material facts are being concealed from both the public and the judiciary and how different versions of the same terror plot are touted before different courts. Our expose establishes how the Maharashtra ATS selectively picked and chose from the revelations made in a subsequent terror investigation. This was done to retrospectively validate the bogus 7/11 train blasts investigation. These documents reveal how one version of a terror conspiracy was circulated for the internal consumption of the agencies and another for the judiciary.

This investigation by Gulail exposes the false implication of innocent and disempowered Muslims in crimes they never committed. It lays bare the sinister and elaborate conspiracy of the Maharashtra ATS of manufacturing bogus evidence, planting explosives in the houses of innocent accused and dressing up stoolpigeons as eyewitnesses.

It shows that the Maharashtra ATS’s investigation was guided by a deep rooted and extreme prejudice against the Muslims. Anyone with a past association with the student organization¬¬¬¬– Students Islamic Movement of India was automatically deemed a terror suspect. The act of publishing Islamic books was equated with sedition. To be a devout Muslim was seen as a sure sign of extremism. Gulail’sexpose shows that the ATS instead of carrying out a methodical, in-depth or scientific investigation opted for the easiest route. They went after the usual suspects. Anyone with a past, formal or informal, association with SIMI was hauled up to the police station and tortured. And as days went by without any leads or break-through and public pressure to show results grew, the ATS implicated a set of former SIMI members who had been kept in illegal detention since the blasts. This story lays bare the absolute farcical method of ATS investigation and utter contempt for the due process of law.

More significantly, Gulail puts the spotlight on a deep crisis brewing in our democracy. It is a crisis of a loss of faith in the ideals of justice and perhaps the very idea of a secular India. Every act of police brutality and false implication not just strikes at the rule of law. It also erodes the faith of our minorities in the capacity of this nation to dispense equal justice and to live by the promise made by our founding fathers. This story exposes the deep rot that has set in in our system, one that first condones and then resolutely fails to take any kind of corrective action.

For the last seven years thirteen innocent Muslims are facing a farcical trial in the Mumbai train bombings. A good portion of their life has been spent behind the bars, their families have been forced to live a life of deprivation and hardships and their future and the future of their children has been cast with a permanent shadow.

Gulail is putting out in the public domain the testimonies of unspeakable torture and humiliation of members of the minority community at the hands of the ATS. These Muslims were tortured to extract false confessions of their involvement in the train blast case. Under the draconian law of MCOCA, confessions made before the police are admissible in court. As soon as these accused were sent to judicial custody, they all retracted their confessions, exposing the coercive tactics of the ATS.

All this material amounts to compelling evidence of the deliberate faking of evidence as well as the most inhuman torture of innocent Muslims in police custody to pervert the course of justice.  We hope that these revelations would shock the conscience of those occupying the highest echelons in the judiciary and the government.

In keeping with its promise of fighting against injustice and inequities not only in the public space but also in the courts, Gulail has filed a letter petition in the Bombay High Court and before statutory bodies like the National Human Rights Commission and the National Minorities Commission.

The Usual Suspects
The July 2006 train blasts were the biggest terror strikes in India after the 1993 Bombay blasts. Seven synchronized bombs claimed around 190 lives—an indication of an extremely sophisticated and elaborate conspiracy. So how did the Mumbai police go about the investigation? Did they turn to sophisticated investigative techniques. No, what they did do was haul up the usual suspects, that is, the ex-members or sympathizers of the SIMI to the police station and began interrogating them. These were the same people whom the police had been surveilling for the last 5 years since the ban on the SIMI. They became a familiar sight, hauled into the police station every time there was a bomb explosion in the city. In other words a lazy and malicious police machinery presumed those constantly under their radar to be suspects.Eventually 13 innocent Muslims were oimplicated in the blasts case on the basis of confessions made before police officers.

Take the case of 30-year old (age at the time of his arrest) Abdul Wahid Sheikh who was a teacher at Anjuman Islam AbdusSattarSaheb High School, MaulanaShaukat Ali Road, Mumbai. In 2001 when the SIMI was banned, the Mumbai police had registered a case against Wahid and dozens of other Muslim youth from Mumbai for being members of the banned organization.  Since 2001 the Mumbai police had been following the policy of hauling SIMI members to the police station every time there was a bomb explosion in the city. Since 2001 like other alleged SIMI members Wahid was permanently on the police radar. He was interrogated on multiple occasions after a series of blasts at Ghatkopar, Mulund and Vile Parle in 2002-2003 and the Gateway of India Blasts, 2003. Similarly, after the 7/11 blasts Wahid was detained at the ATS police stations. The ATS finally arrested him under the claim that he had been absconding since the train blasts.  During the trial evidence has now emerged of police station diary entries showing his presence on multiple occasions at different police stations after the train blasts.

Similarly,Dr Tanveer Ansari, a BUMS doctor was working as a specialist in emergency procedures at Fauzia Nursing Home in Nagpada, Mumbai. In 2001, Tanveer had participated in the medical relief work carried out by the SIMI in Bhuj in the aftermath of the 2001 earthquake.  In 2001, when the SIMI was banned, Tanveer was also arrested, accused of being a member of the SIMI. Like other associates of the SIMI, Tanveer too became a usual suspect, questioned multiple times in the aftermath of the bomb explosions. Post 7/11, after some rounds of questioning, Tanveer was illegally detained and finally arrested.
The story of the other eleven accused is more or less similar, except that some of them had absolutely no linkage with the SIMI. Still they were implicated since the ATS needed an array of characters for the fanciful story they had scripted.
The Call Data Records of the cell phones owned by these men have now revealed that they were not even present at the blast site.

Torture and Coercion 
Out of the nine 7/11 accused who were interviewed by Gulail, eight gave a detailed description of the unspeakable torture they were subjected to in police custody (all 13 accused have been behind bars for the past seven years, these interviews were obtained by Gulail with great difficulty in court corridors. Gulail couldn’t speak with the ninth accused MuzammilShaikh in detail as the police escort stopped us from interacting with him).
1
Kala Chowki branch of the ATS was the designated torture chamber. Besides inspectors and constables, senior IPS officers like AN Roy, Naval Bajaj and Jaijeet Singh also participated in torturing these men.

Waterboarding.
The extremely barbaric technique of torture used by the CIA on Guantanamo Bay detainees was used by the ATS on these 13 innocent Muslims. The accused used to be tied to a handcart with their feet up. Their faces were then covered with a piece of cloth and water was poured onto their faces so that they felt like they were drowning.

Narco-analysis in police custody
Many of these men while they were in police custody were also administered chemicals through their veins that was meant to make them unconscious and was supposedly meant to extract information. These narco-analysis tests were carried out in police custody without any medical supervision or court permission. These illegal narco tests were done in addition to the narco-analysis that was done on many of these men with court permission at the FSL, Bangalore facility.

Some of the other techniques of torture that were used:

  1. 180 degree stretching of legs
  2. Electric shock to private parts
  3. Beating with shoes and belts
  4. Chinese water torture: Victims head was fixed to a spot

 

Manufacturing bogus Evidence

The evidence lead in the charge-sheet was of three kinds:-11 MCOCA confessions made to police officers; recoveries of explosives and detonators from some of the accused and  so-called public witnesses (well known stool pigeons or those  under the thumb of the police)  who claimed the unlikely feat of recognising the faces of some of the  accused while getting in and out from the local train though they were strangers to them. However, against most of the accused, the case is based on confessions and recoveries.

Gulail’s investigation reveals the circumstances under which these accused were compelled to sign onto pre-drafted confessions. Some accused agreed to sign under extreme physical pain. But there were some who refused to give in. These men were then told that their wives, sisters and mothers would be raped in front of their eyes and their brothers and father would also be implicated. Faisal Shaikh’s 70-year old father was made to march naked in front of his son. The ATS finally got what they wanted. These men too gave in.
The ATS extracted 11 confessions on the strength of which they filed the chargesheet in the first week of December 2006.  Since then all 13 men have been in jail.


The crackdown on the ‘Indian Mujahideen’ and arrest of Sadiq Sheikh.

In August and September 2008, there were serial blasts in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Surat.  Following some leads in these blasts, the Mumbai Crime Branch arrested one Sadiq Sheikh along with 20 other accused from Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra.

Subsequent to the arrests, the Mumbai Crime Branch claimed to have recorded confessions of more than 10-12 persons including SadiqShaikh, as this was also a MCOCA investigation.
This was a crucial juncture in the terror investigations in India. In a span of a little over one year between August 2007 and September 2008, there were terror bombings in Bangalore (seven serial blasts of July 2008), Hyderabad (Lumbini Park and GokulChaat Blasts of August 2007), UP (triple blasts at Court premises in Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad, November 2007), Jaipur (serial blasts of May 2008), Ahmedabad (21 serial blasts in July 2008) and Surat  (aborted attempt as eighteen bombs malfunctioned) and Delhi (five synchronized bomb blasts in market places of Delhi in September 2008). The series of bombings across India hinted at a single, integral terror conspiracy and brought several investigating agencies of different states together and consequent pooling of information.

Evidence emerges that 7/11 was not done by the 13 men originally arrested

Thus, the confessions of Sadiq Sheikh and others as recorded by the Mumbai Crime Branch, are significant, because they clearly point to the fact that even the July Mumbai local train bombings of 2006 were done by this set of people newly arrested and without any reference or link to those prosecuted by the ATS from 2006 onwards!

In other words the set of men arrested following the 2007 and 2008 set of bombings across the country were interrogated by Ahmedabad, Delhi, UP, Karnataka and other police teams and were subsequently made common accused in all these 2007-2008 blasts.
Sadiq Sheikh and his alleged ‘Indian Mujahideen’ accomplices were interrogated by different police agencies on different dates. Each agency prepared detailed Interrogation Reports (IRs). Common to all is the view or conclusion that it is this set of men that were behind even the July 2006 Mumbai local train bombings.

Gulail obtains internal documents of over half a dozen agencies that show the 13 train blast accused are innocent.

Our sources in the Mumbai police and state police agencies of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka who were involved in investigating ‘Indian Mujahideen’ and its alleged involvement in the 2007 and 2008 blasts provided us the Interrogation Reports of Sadiq Sheikh and others prepared by each of these agencies (All these interrogation reports are uploaded on the website). These Interrogation Reports show the dates on which they were prepared and the computers on which they were prepared.

All these Interrogation Reports (IRs) based on ‘confessions’ record a massive and integral conspiracy. These IRs contain a meticulously detailed description of more than eight terror strikes that Sadiq Sheikh and his accomplices had plotted and executed since 2003:These are
1. DashashwamedhGhat, Varanasi, 2004 (the bomb packed in a container had failed to explode. The local police dismissed it as an accident. But Sadiq told the police that it was actually a terror plot)
2. Shramjeevi Express Blast,Jaunpur, UP, 2005
3. Diwali Blasts, Delhi, 2005
4. Varanasi Blasts, 2006
5. Mumbai Train Blasts, 2006
6. Hyderabad Twin Blasts (Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park), 2007
7. Ahmedabad Serial Blasts and the failed Surat Blasts.


Agencies accept Sadiq’s revelations in cases that were yet to be solved

The agencies have themselves claimed (both in court and in public) that Sadiq’s interrogation led to the arrest of over 70 terror suspects by UP ATS, Hyderabad CIC, Ahmedabad Crime Branch, Rajasthan ATS and Delhi Special Cell.

The content of these reports, and  ‘confessions’ etc is part of the charge-sheetSadiq and his accomplices in the alleged oufitnamed Indian Mujahideen were charge-sheeted in all those blast cases in which the investigation was still not completed. Hyderabad Blasts (Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park) of 2007, Ahmedabad and Surat (aborted) Blasts of 2008, Delhi Blasts of 2008 were some of the cases in which the alleged Indian Mujahideen members including SadiqShaikh were charge-sheeted.
At the same time all of them were equally aware that an entirely different set of persons had been put on trial for the same by the Maharashtra ATS.

But those parts of Sadiq’s revelations that go contrary to previous investigations are brushed under the carpet.

Now either Sadiq and his accomplices were responsible for 7/11 bombings or those 13 men who were originally arrested. But the agencies accepted and further corroborated only those of Sadiq’s revelations that related to the investigations in which the accused had still not been identified and arrested by the respective agencies. But revelations pertaining to blasts like 7/11 that went contrary to the police theory were conveniently ignored.

Can in a country governed by rule of law this policy of pick and choose followed by the agencies in the offences punishable with death penalty be condoned?

Thus at least after 2008 September, all the said agencies including ATS Maharashtra were privy to the nature of evidence and revelations pertaining to the July 11, 2006 train bombings and they relied heavily on these revelations in the investigations pertaining to the 2007-2008 bombings. But those revelations that related to the 7/11 Mumbai train blasts were conveniently brushed under the carpet.

The lack of bonafides is evident from the fact that no attempt was made to arrive at the truth or exonerate one set of obviously innocent persons.

But none of these agencies placed the entire relevant material before the MCOCA court trying an entirely unconnected set of 13 men for this very act. Why?

Our intent is not to pass a verdict of guilt against certain accused. But it is only to highlight the blatant discrepancies and contradictions in terror investigations. Evidence that suits a police case is considered credible and evidence that debunks bogus investigations is hidden both from the courts and public view.

HOW THE ATS MISLEAD THE 7/11 MUMBAI COURT

More here- http://www.gulail.com/squads-fall-story.html

 

Pune German Bakery Case – How the ATS conspired to destroy all evidence


BY ASHISH KHETAN
khetan@gulail.com
>

PUNE GERMAN BAKERY CASE

On February 13, 2010, a powerful bomb tore apart the  famous German bakery situated atthe posh colony of Koregaon Park in Pune. Seventeen persons were killed and 58 suffered severeto minor injuries. The Maharashtra ATS seized the CCTV footage from inside the bakeryand claimed that they  had identified the bomber.
In June 2010 the Mumbai ATS arrested one Abdul Samad, a young Muslim and a resident of Bhatkal town in Karnataka, ostensibly for the Pune Blast.
But the ATS theory collapsed when Samad’s parents held a press conference and released videos and pictures of Samad attending a wedding in his home town in Bhatkal on the day of the blast. Faced with incontrovertible evidence of Samad’s innocence, the ATS did a sudden U-turn and now said that the bomber was Samad’s brother Ahmed Siddibapa also known as Yasin Bhatkal among the agencies. Samad was instead shown arrested in a bogus Arms Act case and was soon released on bail.ARREST OF HIMAYAT BAIG In September 2010 the ATS arrested a resident of non-descript town named Udgir in Beed District of Maharashtra named Himayat Baig and claimed that it was he who along with Siddibapa had carried out the German bakery bombing. The ATS also claimed that he confessed to his involvement and also led the police to the recovery of explosives.  At the time of his arrest Baig was running a small cyber café in Udgir.In December 2010 Baig was chargesheeted. His charges read that Yasin Bhatkal prepared the bomb at Baig’s cyber café. ATS claimed that Baig and Yasin transported the bomb during the early hours of 13 February from Udgir to Pune by covering a distance of over 300 kilometers.As per the ATS theory, they left Udgir at around 5 am to reach the city of Latur at 6 am and from there they came to Pune by a private luxury bus. They reached Pune at around 2 pm and the two remained together during the day, claimed the ATS.
The ATS further claimed that the two planted the bomb at around 17:00 hours at German Bakery and the same exploded at around 18:50.

ARRREST OF QATIL SIDDIQUE In November 2011, almost an year after Baig was arrested, the Delhi Special Cell arrested a 28 year old resident of Darbhanga district in Bihar named Qateel Siddiqui. Delhi Police claimed that Siddiqui was involved in several terror strikes including the Bangalore Chinnaswamy Stadium Blasts of 2010 and the Pune German Bakery.  Both Bangalore and Delhi Police carried out a sustained interrogation of Siddiqui. The consistent and continued case of the Delhi and Bangalore charge-sheets regarding Qateel is that he was behind the German Bakery.My sources in the agencies have provided me the original Interrogation Reports prepared by both Delhi and Bangalore Police, upon which the charge-sheets are based. Thus the open position is that Qateel is the guilty party, and with no link to Himayat. Then how is it that for the Pune trial Court alone, Himayat is the guilty party, not Qateel? So much so that Himayat has been handed down a death sentence, with no evidence of his presence even in the CCTV footage?

Gulail is putting out in the public domain the Interrogation Reports reports of Qateel Siddiqui prepared by Delhi and Karnataka Police. These reports were kept away from the Pune Court that tried and convicted Himayat Baig.  As per both these IRs, it were Qateel and Yasin who had come together to plant a bomb at two different places in Pune. While Qateel was supposed to plant the bomb at a temple named  Dagduseth Halwai Ganesh Temple, Yasin took it  upon himself to plant a bomb  at  the German Bakery.  Also, as per these IRs, Yasin and Qateel were together until 2:30 PM on February 13 in  a room they had rented in Pune. But the ATS theory  is  that Yasin was with Himayat Baig through out the day on the 13th. Also Delhi and Bangalore Police reports had Qateel and Yasin as the lone figures in the plot of Pune German Bakery with no reference to Himayat Baig whatsoever. Once again, we have different courts being given different stories regarding the same incident. The helpless accused or their agents  might  never know of these conflicting versions and can seldom access the information. Justice is the uniform casualty.

ATTEMPT TO WHITEWASH THE CONTRADICTION BY THE ATS

more here – http://www.gulail.com/Pune-german-bakery-story.html

2006 Malegaon blasts: Probe against Maha ATS, CBI officials likely


Last Updated: Friday, May 24, 2013,
 
New Delhi: Maharashtra‘s elite Anti-terror Squad and CBI officials, who probed the 2006 Malegaon blasts, may have to face probe as the Centre has taken a serious view of allegations that nine Muslim youths were framed with malafide intentions.

Taking note of the chargesheet filed by the National Investigation Agency earlier this week in which four suspected members of right-wing groups were named as accused, senior officials in Home Ministry, the cadre-controlling authority of IPS, said the Maharashtra Government may be “advised” to probe the role of then ATS officials who had allegedly been framed.

 
The case was registered by Maharashtra ATS with Rajvardhan, then Additional Superintendent of Police of Nasik (Rural).

Abrar Ahmed, who was named by the ATS as an accused, had alleged in an affidavit that then DIG of ATS Subodh Jaiswal (at present on deputation to RAW) and then ATS chief KP Raghuvanshi had “doctored” a confessional statement from him.

Later, the case was probed by CBI whose Joint Director Arun Kumar, at present Additional Director General of Uttar Pradesh Police, but the families of the accused approached the court saying no CBI team ever visited or took their statement.

The supposed transcript of telephone conversation submitted by CBI along with its supplementary chargesheet which purportedly showed Abrar Ahmed hatching the conspiracy was not authentic, the families of the nine accused had claimed in their petitions.

ATS and CBI had earlier filed a charge sheet against the nine Muslim youth and charged them with triggering explosive devices on September 8, 2006 at Malegaon.

The youth, who were behind bars for five years, were released as NIA did not oppose their bail plea.

PTI

 

What plagues Maharashtra’s irrigation sector ?


Wanted: rule of law

Author(s): Pradeep Purandare, Downtoearth
Issue Date: May 31, 2013

What plagues Maharashtra’s irrigation sector

Pradeep PurandarePradeep PurandareIt is simple, true and bitter. Maharashtra’s irrigation sector is going from bad to worse. First an irrigation scam and now a drought.

The state’s irrigation statistics (see box: ‘Status of canal irrigation in Maharashtra) speak volumes. Maharashtra consciously opted for large scale public sector irrigation projects in a very big way. However, it could not get the desired success. Bad planning and design, substandard construction, poor physical status of canals and distribution network, bandobast or jugad (improvisation) in the name of operation and management (O&M), criminal negligence in maintenance and repairs (M&R), only lip service to participatory irrigation management (PIM), poor recovery of water tariff, inequitable distribution and inefficient use of water, and virtual absence of the rule of law are some of the well known reasons for the dismal performance of Maharashtra’s irrigation sector. This article focuses only on rule of law because its operative details are generally not reported and discussed even if water conflicts of all types (see box: ‘Water conflicts‘) are increasing both in numbers and severity at all levels within the state. Drought has only further worsened the situation.

Status of canal irrigation in Maharashtra (2010-11):

  • Ultimate irrigation potential (surface water): 8.5 million ha
  • Created irrigation potential (state sector): 4.737 million ha
  • Actual irrigated area (canal irrigation/state sector): 1.841 million ha
  • Investment on completed state sector projects: Rs 48,500 crore
  • Balance cost of 749 ongoing state sector projects: Rs 75,500 cr

Processes matter

Maharashtra has enacted several irrigation Acts (see box: ‘Irrigation acts in force’) to provide for various aspects of canal irrigation like construction, O&M, M&R, PIM, water tariff, compensation and, most important of all, control of water theft and unauthorised irrigation. It is needless to emphasize that all these processes are of vital importance to achieve the objectives of successful irrigation. The non-implementation of irrigation Acts means non-implementation of those processes too. That’s what has actually happened in Maharashtra. Failure to scrupulously adhere to the inherent processes has led to ad hoc decisions. Complete anarchy is the end result. It is, in fact, the genesis of the irrigation scam. The scam, in turn, has significantly contributed to virtually inviting the drought. Inordinate delays in completing irrigation projects and cultivation of sugarcane in drought-hit tanker-fed areas perhaps explain the unfortunate phenomenon.

The parent Act

Maharashtra Irrigation Act of 1976 (MIA 76) is a parent Act because it provides for foundation, frame and structure of water management in the State. Irrigation Development Corporation Acts (IDC), Maharashtra Management of Irrigation Systems by Farmers Act (MMISF) and Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA) Act (See box: ‘Irrigation Acts in force’) take it for granted that MIA 76 is in force and refer to the same time and again. It is hence needless to say that the implementation of IDC, MMISF and MWRRA Acts heavily depends upon the implementation of MIA 76. Let us examine some details – first in theory and then in practice.

Water conflicts

  • Irrigation vs non-irrigation
  • Flow vs lift irrigation
  • Upstream vs downstream river basins / projects
  • Head enders vs tail enders
  • Seasonal crops vs perennial crops
  • Water resources department vs water users associations
  • Rural vs urban
  • Watershed works and small projects vs big projects

MIA 76, being a parent Act, amply provides for the following:

  1. Preparation of Rules (Section 114) to provide for the operative part of the Act and give details of day to day implementation of the Act.
  2. Issuance of River (and its tributaries) Notification (Sec 11) to bring river water under the legal jurisdiction of Water Resources Department (WRD).
  3. Issuance of Command Notification (Sec 3) to legally intimate the beneficiaries that Act and Rules of WRD shall be applicable in the notified command area.
  4. Issuance of Notification regarding appointment of canal officers (Sec 8) to specify their jurisdiction
  5. Allotment of Duties to canal officers (Section 10) and their empowerment through delegation of powers to them under Sec 110

A serious and in-depth review of the actual implementation of MIA76, however, would reveal the following failures which are inconsistent with the progressive image of Maharashtra:

  1. Rules of MIA76 have not been prepared in the past 37 years from the time of enactment of the law. The Old Rules, namely Bombay Canal Rules, 1934, and Central Provinces and Berar [CPand B] Rules are still being followed. These old rules are based on old Acts, namely Bombay Irrigation Act, 1879 and CP and B Act respectively. Old rules are, of course, not compatible with MIA76 as water management practices have naturally changed tremendously with time. The old Acts have been repealed by MIA76 way back in 1976. Not having the rules of MIA76 is the single most serious crime against water management in the state. It makes irrigation in Maharashtra vulnerable in many respects. An unprecedented legal crisis appears to be in the offing.
  2. Legal procedure regarding issuance of notifications with respect to rivers, commands, appointment of canal officers and delegation of powers is also reportedly not complete in many irrigation projects in the state. The magnitude of incompleteness can only be known if the Water Resources Department releases a white paper on the subject.
  3. The absence of rules and pending notifications has obviously taken its toll. In absence of rule of law, a “free for all” situation exists in the state. Bandobast or Jugad (improvisation) has superseded efficient and equitable water management. Conveyance losses have crossed generally accepted limits. Theft of water has become a rule in itself. Those who somehow get water seldom get it in time and in required quantity. Regular and timely canal maintenance is conspicuous by its absence. Arrears of water tariff are increasing. Diversion of water from irrigation to non-irrigation has increased. The situation is alarming. It is in fact explosive and could probably trigger the proverbial “third world war on issues related to water”.

 

Irrigation Acts in force

  • Maharashtra Irrigation Act, 1976 [MIA76]
  • Irrigation Development Corporation Acts [IDC Act-one each for 5 Irrigation Development Corporations enacted from 1996 to 1998 – total 5 numbers]
  • Maharashtra Management of Irrigation Systems by Farmers Act, 2005 [MMISF Act]
  • Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority Act,2005 [MWRRA Act]

PIM and water entitlement

With this background, can Maharashtra hope to implement MMISF Act and MWRRA Act, which provides for PIM, bulk water supply on volumetric basis and water entitlement? Is the state “legally” ready for such a basic change? If the parent Act itself is not implemented, it is only to be expected that all other Acts would also only remain on paper. Following facts substantiate the argument:

  1. Integrated State Water Plan [ISWP] was supposed to be ready within six months from the date of enactment of MWRRA Act. However it is not ready even after eight years. In the meantime, MWRR authority is taking far-reaching decisions which are supposed to be taken within the framework of the ISWP.
  2. The State Water Board (chairperson – chief secretary) and State Water Council (chairperson – chief minister) were constituted way back in 2005 through notifications in the official gazette as per MWRRA Act. But even after eight years, both the board and council have yet to officially begin their “historic” work. Not even a single meeting has been held so far.
  3. The proposed Lift Irrigation Water Users Association has not been formed as per the MMISF Act even after eight years.
  4. Non-profit Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management (SOPPECOM) and Lokabhimukh Pani Dhoran Sangharsh Manch, a coalition of groups working for water rights in the state, have on several occasions pointed out that water users’ associations (WUA) mostly exists only on paper. They have demanded joint inspection of WUAs. There has been no response from the authorities.
  5. MWRRA is not functioning like an independent regulatory authority. In the context of drought, in general, and release of water for Jayakwadi project from upstream reservoirs, in particular, MWRRA – the so called first independent regulatory authority in India’s water sector—has been a silent spectator for all practical purposes.

Water governance

In view of above facts it is clear that there is hardly any water governance in Maharashtra’s irrigation sector. There is an urgent need to go back to basics. Things need to be streamlined and disciplined on war footing in the larger interests of the water sector. Equitable distribution, efficient use of water and resolution of water conflicts demand rule of law. Vested interests obviously do not want it. Will civil society act and act decisively and fast?

Pradeep Purandare was associate professor, irrigation management, at Water And Land Management Institute in Aurangabad till 2011

 

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