Gandhi Private Limited:
It was in the 1980s that Arun Shourie wrote a series on the scams by then Maharashtra CM AR Antulay. It was appropriately titled “Indira Gandhi as commerce”. Cut to 21st Century and we now have a company that can truly have the reputation of Gandhi Private Limited. The long and short of the National Herald (NH) scam is as follows:
Congress gives a loan of 90 crores to owners of NH (Associated Journals Ltd) to pay off their debts worth that amount. The funds of Congress are from donations that are tax free and cannot be used for commercial funding as per law. The grateful NH then transfers shares worth that amount to Young India, a section-25 not-for-profit company, owned by the Gandhis and some others. Young India pays 50 lakhs to NH and buys off the company. In the process Young India and the Gandhi get realty worth 2000 crores. That is the Delhi property alone. If one adds up other properties of NH across the country the assets are reportedly around 5000 crores. So Young India got assets worth over 2000 crores for a paltry 50 lakhs (and the indirect transfer of 90 crores from Congress through NH in terms of shares).
Had these facts not come to light around November 2012 many of the real estate assets of NH would have already changed hands and sold to builders and property developers. It’s a lot like Robert Vadra buying land cheap with funds from a future buyer, getting it quickly regularised and then selling it off at a huge premium to that same buyer who funded him. Typically, when the scam did come to light our media was very scared as always to ask questions to the Gandhis and they still are. Instead they attacked Subramaniam Swamy who has been handling this case legally. The worst offender was none other than Sonia’s bootlicker Rajdeep Sardesai who held a sham debate (Read here) and asked the following question:
On June 26, 2014 a court in Delhi, after the first hearings, has found a prima-facie case of Criminal breach of trust and conspiracy to cheat and has summoned Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi an another four Congress members who are involved in executing the NH scam. The law will take its course, as they say but it’s what the spokies and other doormats of Congress responded with that is atrociously interesting. There was Kumar Ketkar and Congress spokie Randeep Surjewala. First on CNN-IBN and then on TimesNow. The most garbage naturally came from the moron called Kumar Ketkar (KK).
First KK claimed that he had not read the court order so he doesn’t know the facts. If you don’t even read the order and don’t know the facts why do you go on a TV panel? Then this moron carried on in TimesNow stating that takeover of NH is just another bigger organisation gobbling up a media house and all such takeovers should be debated. This is the childish nonsense that KK brings to the table. How this guy became an editor is a mystery. Mahesh Jethmalani had to explain to KK that it wasn’t a hostile takeover of a media house because the organisation had no plans to carry on any media business. The Congress party is also not a commercial organisation that should be in the business of takeovers. Obviously, stupid KK is hinting at the recent takeover of Network18 by Reliance. Is there any comparison between the two? Does Reliance need to takeover N18 to acquire some stupid assets of N18? This is as silly as our alleged editors in the media are. That moronery done, KK even made an alarming statement. Since he had not read the court order he screamed “how can we trust court orders”. Who should we trust then? Mahatma Sonia?
Then there was the “demented” Randeep Surjewala of Congress who went on a non-stop rant on Timesnow without allowing anyone else to talk or sticking to the case. Sujrewala claimed Swamy is nobody to interfere in the “private” matters of the Congress. Laughable! A political party scamming a commercial organisation fraudulently is the “private” matter of the Congress? Worse, he went on to add that NH was founded by MK Gandhi and Nehru to further the ideals of “Secularism” among other things. Where the hell did secularism come into this scam? And I seriously doubt MKGandhi and Nehru were discussing secularism at all. And the third thing is the Congress cry of “vendetta” by BJP through Swamy. This case started during the Congress govt and naturally they wouldn’t want to act on it. Even so, why should the prosecution of an act of corruption and fraud be seen as vendetta? Not one media channel even demanded that Sonia or Rahul appear on their show and answer questions. But these same cowards have no problems hounding others, shoving mics into faces, way-laying people at their homes and vehicles like ordinary thugs. That’s our MSM for you. If this case had come up for hearing before the elections Congress would have got lesser than 44 seats.
The Congress and their members can scream all they want but they do know this is serious trouble for Sonia, Rahul and the other sidekicks involved in these transactions. Other corruption allegations involve ministers and alliance partners which enabled the Gandhis to present themselves as clean. Not so in this case. Besides, every aspect of this case is based on hard documents and not circumstantial evidence. Each transaction in the NH scam appears fraudulent and with an intent to scam. Young India was formed as a “not for profit” company but it hardly seems to be that. Appropriating assets worth 5000 crores of a company with no intention of carrying out its stated business and renting out the property is hardly a “not for profit” mission.
Feeding the NGO mafia:
We were just about getting a hang of some anti-national NGOs and we are surprised with yet another scam-like act of the previous Congress govt. It seems the Congress had realised they were going to lose power and were bent on leaving as much muck behind for the new govt as possible. Here’s a GOI press release from September 2013:
“The Union Cabinet today approved the proposal for setting up of the Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation (BRLF) as an independent charitable society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 to facilitate and upscale civil society action in partnership with Government for transforming livelihoods and lives of rural households, with an emphasis on women, particularly in the Central Indian Tribal Region. It will provide financial grants to Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to meet their human resource and institutional costs for upscaling of proven interventions; invest in institutional strengthening of smaller CSOs and capacity building of professional resources working at the grassroots... Even though BRLF will have an India wide mandate, the initial focus of the organization will be on the Central Indian Tribal Region, centered on blocks having significant tribal population across 170 districts in the States of Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat. Rs 500 crore will be released for creating the corpus fund of the new Society, in two tranches. The society will be constituted as a partnership between Government on the one hand and private sector philanthropies, private and public sector undertakings (under Corporate Social Responsibility) on the other hand”.
What the hell is anyone to do if the govt itself goes around forming NGOs? Have they concluded all the State govts and Panchayats are useless bodies? Sonia Gandhi’s love for NGOs and activists seems unending. Most of the members of this Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation (BRLF) are from her pet coterie called the NAC which is now dead. There’s some good advance planning it seems. To put it bluntly, the BRLF is nothing but a “broker” between NGOs and the GOI. It will “funnel” funds to NGOs of its choice (or Sonia’s choice?) across the country (I couldn’t find a website of theirs, if they have any). Who are these people accountable to? And what is the brokerage and other perks that members of this BRLF will enjoy? And under an MOU an amount of 500 crores has been pledged to this “Senior NGO”. Indian Express reports on it with additional information and about the founders of BRLF:
“Thanks to Jairam Ramesh, the Modi government will have to shell out Rs 300 crore — over the next two years — and deal with a society registered in the UPA regime packed with “eminent persons” which include members of Sonia Gandhi’s National Advisory Council. Barely two months before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections were announced, the UPA’s Rural Development Ministry under Ramesh signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation making it a funding agency for NGOs across the country. And released to it a first tranche of Rs 200 crore in January 2014… this society was registered in December that year by members of the then National Advisory Council Mihir Shah, Virginius Xaxa and Mirai Chatterjee among others. The other founding signatories include: Nicholas Barla, a social activist associated with the Catholic Church in Odisha; Bihar cadre IAS officer AS Mathew; S Parasuraman, Director of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and activist Pramathesh Ambastha… The BRLF’s Memorandum of Association allows it to “raise financial resources” even from “international agencies/organizations” apart from other sources like Central or state governments and private sources with the purpose to “provide financial grants to civil society organisations”.
200 crores already paid with great urgency and 300 crores to be paid over the next 2 years. Sounds like the govt created a Greenpeace for itself. It is worse than that if you consider that all the salaries and other expenses of this body will be borne out of public funds. There is only one way to see it. This BRLF is an immoral baby of an outgoing govt with no purpose but to favour the “pet” NGO operators of the Congress and Sonia Gandhi. This immoral act was carried out by none other than Jairam Ramesh who had interesting things to say about NGOs himself:
You can read the whole story about Jairam Ramesh calling many NGOs a “mafia” here. And here is what he exactly said in according to IE’s report of September 25, 2013:
“Our experience with NGOs in some states has not been good. In different states, we have seen that NGOs have become a racket. And this racket has been formed because politicians and NGOs have developed a close association," Ramesh said, adding that most NGOs are either in the name of one or the other politician's wife, son, daughter or some relative. "It has become a mafia," he said, adding that "there are some states like Maharashtra, Gujarat... where some NGOs are doing good work". Ramesh said that it was the strategy of the government to give less importance to NGOs than they used to get earlier. Elaborating further, he said that it was important to work with elected institutions like state governments and gram panchayats. He added that NGOs would be working in those places where the number of these (elected) institutions was less”.
Jairam Ramesh says the above after having formed the BRFL just a few days prior in the same month of September 2013. So it does appear that the BRFL was not created by Ramesh’s conviction but more out compulsion from other “clever” political superiors. If you look at the areas that BRLF has chosen to concentrate on, all of them have state govts and panchayats. So this farce was played out for the pleasure of someone it seems. There is only one way to reverse this. A govt cannot back out of an MOU but it must wind up the NGO (BRLF) itself or its partnership with it. Govt cannot become an NGO. The 200 crores already thrown away should best be accounted for properly and no further amounts should be paid to this “Broker NGO”. Whether it takes an ordinance or any other act there is no way the GOI should fund such NGOs of “fancy” of certain individuals.
Going by both, the National Herald scam and the formation of this NGO broker BRLF, there cannot be any doubt that the Congress party itself is a party of NGO for profits. The cases must be dealt with severely to set precedents so that other govts or parties do not indulge in such corrupt acts. There are many politicians in the ruling BJP also who are connected or involved with some spurious NGOs. They should declare it, withdraw from it or be investigated along with other fraudulent NGOs.