Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will have a sigh of relief as the Supreme Court on Wednesday put on hold the summons issued by a special court in connection with his alleged involvement in the coal scam.
The apex court bench of Justice V. Gopala Gowda and Justice C. Nagappan suspended the summons by the special court holding trial of coal scam cases as senior counsel Kapil Sibal, questioning the March 11 order summoning Manmohan Singh, asked where was the act of illegallity.
Posing a number of questions, Sibal said: “Is it illegal to allocate mines? Is it illegal to choose private parties to allocate the mines?” Sibal asked where was the illegality. Sibal said that the guidelines for the allocation of the coal blocks were not statutory in nature and the prime minister can any time take decisions bypassing the guidelines.
Can the prime minister not review the decisions of the steering committee and balance the competitive public interest by allocating a part of Talabira II to Hindalco?
While suspending the summons issued by the special court, the court issued notice to the CBI on a batch of petitions challenging the March 11 order. The court also issued a notice to the central government on a writ petition by Kumar Mangalam Birla who challenged the constitutional validity of a section in the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Besides the summons to Manmohan Singh, the court also put on hold the summons against industrialist Kumar Manglam Birla and former coal secretary P.C. Parakh,.
The special court trying coal block allocation scam cases on March 11 had summoned Manmohan Singh, Birla, Parakh and Bhattacharya for offences of criminal conspiracy, breach of trust, and under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Manmohan Singh on March 25 moved the apex court to contest the special court’s March 11, 2015, order directing him to appear before it for granting a share in the combined Talabira II and Talabira III coal block in Orissa to Kumar Mangalam Birla-owned Hindalco in 2005.
The court summoned Manmohan Singh, Birla and Parakh after it rejected the closure report by the CBI.
Veteran actor Anupam Kher has wrapped up shooting of “The Accidental Prime Minister” that is based on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and says history will not misjudge the Congress leader.
Anupam on Friday shared a video, where he is seen donning Singh’s looks and holding the film’s clapboard. He announces that the last shot of the film was taken at 2.40 a.m. on October 27.
“It is a wrap for one of my most cherished films ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’. Thank you…for the most enriching times. Thank you Dr Manmohan SinghJi for your journey,” the actor said, who kind of walked in the former Prime Minister’s shoes.
Anupam says it has been “a great learning experience.” “One thing is sure ‘history will not misjudge you’,” he added.
He also shared a photograph with actress Suzanne Bernert, who is essaying the role of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in the film.
The film is based on a book by Sanjaya Baru, a former media advisor to Manmohan Singh. Akshaye Khanna features as Baru, and Divya Seth Shah plays Manmohan Singh’s wife Gursharan Kaur in the movie.
The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stood by the CBI and ordered them to go by the law
When powerful MPs asked him to drop cases against Ram Rahim, then CBI chief Vijay Shanker refused to do so
The head Sadhvi would get an order from Gurmeet Ram Rahim- to send a Sadhvi to his bedroom
Bengaluru, August 30, 2017: M Narayanan, Chief Investigating Officer in the rape case of Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has revealed how Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister resisted political pressure from Punjab and Haryana and supported Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in their investigation.
Narayanan hails from Kasaragod, Kerala and was in Mysore, the day Ram Rahim was finally jail sentenced for 20 years. He expressed satisfaction over the Dera Chief’s punishment and said that Ram Rahim should also be convicted for other pending cases- murdering two people in the past (Dera follower Ranjit Singh and journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati).
He revealed that Ram Rahim was very careful of his abominable deeds, he behaved like a seasoned criminal and who never used to leave any traces behind. The investigating officer said “He had a collection of condoms and contraceptives in his room. He was a maniac, a real beast.”
Manmohan Singh backed CBI
M Narayanan, who is now a retired Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of CBI. He was the Chief Investigating Officer in Dera Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s rape case. According to News 18 report, Narayanan said, “The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stood by the CBI and ordered us to go by the law. He went through the statement made by 2 Sadhvis before a judge and did not succumb to the pressures from Punjab and Haryana MPs.”
Narayanan also spoke about what the former Prime Minister did, “After a lot of pressure from these MPs, Manmohan Singh had summoned the then CBI chief Vijay Shanker to his office to discuss the case against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. After seeing the victim’s statements before a judge, Singh backed us.”
He lauded his boss Vijay Shanker for taking a stand for the right cause in spite of pressure from politicians of Punjab and Haryana. “When powerful MPs asked him to drop cases against Ram Rahim, Vijay Shanker refused to do so. He backed us fully,” said Narayanan.
Narayanan also talked about how he along with his team carried out the investigation and said, “The complaint was sent in 2002. But nothing had happened till 2007. Expressing serious concerns over the progress of the investigation, the Punjab & Haryana High Court enquired CBI. It had also summoned the Chief Vijay Shanker to court seeking an explanation. After that, he gave us Sadhvis letters, files of the murder of journalist Ramachandra Chatrapati and Dera volunteer Ranjit Singh. He ordered us to go ahead and complete the investigation in just 57 days as ordered by the High Court,” mentions News 18 report.
According to Narayanan, it was a tough task to accomplish as Sadhvis letters were anonymous. He said that they came to know that over 200 Sadhvis had left the Dera between 1999 and 2002, due to sexual harassment.But they could trace only 10 victims. Many of them were married and thus didn’t come forward to file a complaint. But, they were successful in persuading 2 victims to take an action against him and filed the charge sheet before a court in Ambala on the 56th day“.
He said that it was a tough job for them to even enter Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters, Sirsa as the CBI team was constantly threatened by Ram Rahim’s goons. They had to suffer a lot of hostility in the quest for justice.
Decoding King sized life of a Godmen
Narayanan said that Dera Chief Ram Rahim was living the life of a king in what he called an ashram, he would be in a cave like room, with Sadhvis around (who were made to be at his beck and call). It was a daily occurrence as on every night around 10 PM, the head Sadhvi would get an order from him- to send a Sadhvi to his bedroom and so, she used to force one of the Sadhvis chosen by him to sleep with the “pitaji“.
“Ranjit Singh was a prominent volunteer at the Dera. After his sister was raped by Ram Rahim, both of them had left Sirsa. A few days later an anonymous letter reached Punjab and Haryana High Court. Suspecting that Ranjit Singh was behind it, Dera chief ordered his men to murder him. It has been proved that the pistol used by his murderers belonged to Dera manager. They had also left a walkie-talkie at the scene of the crime. I am sure Ram Rahim will be convicted in these heinous cases too,” said Narayanan (he retired in 2009).
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August 27, 2016: The Islamic evangelist Zakir Naik with rock star ratings, could be only temporarily in trouble. Come November and he may be able to find apologists in the NDA government.
What has the month of November got to do with the government? Because, like the rest of the world, New Delhi is waiting for the outcome of the US elections. A Hillary Clinton victory will end the nail biting suspense globally, and in Israel and Saudi Arabia, there may be celebrations. Naik’s patrons in Saudi Arabia are perhaps low today, but they could bounce back with a Clinton victory.
The Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and The Clinton Foundation have another link: considerable sums for their respective Foundations have come from Saudi Arabia.
Naik has been officially in the business of evangelism since 1991 when IRF was established. That year Manmohan Singh’s New Economic Policies brought New Delhi in line with the US. George Bush Sr was the President. The Bush family’s extraordinary interests in Saudi Arabia continued during the Clinton years.
An economically “reformed” New Delhi looked at Washington for almost every foreign policy lead. Since the Saudis could do no wrong in US eyes, New Delhi adopted the same public stance towards Riyadh. Zakir Naik preached in the Salafi-Wahabi idiom, favoured by the House of Saud. Little wonder, successive Indian Prime Ministers were advised to look the other way.
During days of breathless adoration for the US, particularly when the nuclear deal was being negotiated, what registered in South Block was an unstated message from Washington: tolerate Saudi Arabia and its interests. Zakir Naik had Saudi protection. Therefore, his evangelism was acceptable to India for the past 25 years. Wahabism-Salafism was kosher when, on cue, New Delhi was voting against Iran in Vienna.
Naik has fallen on bad days because the West and their clients like Saudi Arabia have badly bungled in Syria. Jointly and singly they financed and armed all manner of extremist groups. Their search for a “moderate opposition” remained a pipe dream.
The blowback from the Syrian, Libyan (earlier Iraqi and Afghan misadventures) continued to plague the Saudis. Ultimately, to run away from themselves, they leapt into the bubbling Yemen cauldron.
Destroyed countries and civilizations created a migration problem, an Exodus of Biblical proportions, causing Europe to shuffle out of its old coil. Two party political structures, secured a long time ago, began to crumble.
As if all of this were not unsettling enough, the Americans have just come up with an unconvincing Republican nominee for President and a Democratic nominee who is by her own admission “unloved”. Even The Economist, that pillar of the Western liberal establishment, has pulled out from the dictionary adjectives of an extreme nature to describe Hillary Clinton: “dishonest”, “untrustworthy”.
In brief, the West has its own crises to worry about. The Saudis had already come down a notch or two when the Iranian nuclear deal was signed. And now, the mess in Europe and the US has pushed Saudis away from the West’s attention radar.
New Delhi, which keeps a steady gaze on Washington and its changing moods, has shrewdly noticed Riyadh’s fall from grace. Naik can now be taken to task. The change of heart on the evangelist also signals something important: New Delhi now feels secure in the thought that Sufism and mild Hanafi Sunnism most characterize Indian Muslims. Wahabism-Salafism is remote from the wider Islamic practice among India’s Sunnis.
Riyadh may be down, but it would be premature to count it out. After all, should Hillary Clinton enter the White House, who knows what might she not do for “Israel’s security”. Her email released by Wikileaks confirmed that the Obama administration had deliberately provoked the civil war in Syria as “the best way to help Israel”.
In an earlier email, she said: “The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.”
“Overthrowing Bashar Assad” was the one point theme former Saudi spy chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan had been instructed by the late King Abdullah to pursue. Typical of Prince Bandar’s style of diplomacy, he turned up at the Kremlin on a secret mission. He promised Putin a “terror-free” Sochi Olympic games if only he could have Assad’s head on a platter. Bandar was sidelined because he could not deliver on Syria.
So long as the Israeli military point of view is part of Western strategic thinking, a regime change in Damascus must re-surface as a Washington priority, should Hillary Clinton win.
Such an operation would require coordination with the Saudis as well. In other words, the current nosedive in Saudi saliency maybe quite as dramatically arrested. Zakir Naik’s protectors in Riyadh may yet be able to stiffen their sinews and summon up the blood. Good for Naik. Also, Delhi will then have to place Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s concerns in the balance. Apparently, Naik’s evangelical mesmerism is causing concerns in Dhaka where acts of terror have picked up in frequency, allegedly influenced by his eloquence. (IANS)