Category Archives: National

Indian News


Starting today, March 15, The Hindu offers its readers a series of unprecedented insights into India’s foreign policy and domestic affairs, diplomatic, political, economic, social, cultural, and intellectual – encountered, observed, tracked, interpreted, commented upon, appreciated, and pilloried by U.S. diplomats cabling the State Department in Washington D.C.

The range of subjects, issues, and persons covered by the India Cables is extraordinary. While the trained diplomat’s eye is almost always on the ball – the developing Indo-U.S. strategic relationship and everything that helps or hinders it – the range includes India’s relations with its neighbours, with Russia, the European Union, East Asia, Israel, Palestine, Iran, and the rest of West Asia, Africa, Cuba, the United Nations. It covers issues and actions relating to defence cooperation, nuclear policy, arms control, terrorism, intelligence sharing, export control, human rights, Indian bureaucracy, environment, AfPak, and much more. There is a special focus on 26/11, Kashmir, India’s policy towards and dealings with Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, and where the Indian polity is headed.

Politicians of all shades, diplomats and other officials, sleuths, businessmen, journalists, busybodies, bigwigs and smallwigs figure in the WikiLeaks India Cache – which comprises 5,100 U.S. Embassy and consulate cables relevant to India (not all of them originating in India) and aggregates an astonishing six million words.

These American diplomats have been trained to listen, probe and prod, massage egos, milk sources, report, and write (supplying accessible and, at times, witty and elegant headings and sub-headings) to inform, analyse, and amuse – as though they were full-time journalists. Many of them work like wire service beavers: long lunches, yes, but very often, same day reports of important meetings. Few things escape their notice. Most of the time, they see Indian men, women, and matters through the reflected mirror of U.S. strategic interests and policy.

The India Cables have been accessed by The Hindu through an arrangement with WikiLeaks that involves no financial transaction and no financial obligations on either side. As with the larger ‘Cablegate’ cache to which these cables belong, they are classified into six categories: confidential, confidential/noforn (confidential, no foreigners), secret, secret/noforn, unclassified, and unclassified/for official use only.

Our contacts with WikiLeaks were initiated in the second week of December 2010. It was a period when Cablegate had captured the attention and imagination of a news-hungry world.

Raja aide Sadiq Batcha found dead in Chennai

Sadiq Batcha, aide of former Telecom Minister A. Raja, committed suicide by hanging at his residence here on Wednesday, police said. He left behind a suicide note, which said the media’s coverage of the 2G spectrum allocation scam had maligned his image in society, the police claimed.

The death evoked statements expressing suspicion over its probable cause from political parties, and the Tamil Nadu government announced that the case would be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Mr. Batcha (38), Managing Director of city-based export firm Green House Promoters, was under the CBI scanner for his suspected links with those involved in the 2G case and was questioned by the agency on February 22 in Delhi. Earlier, his residence here was searched.

At 12.45 p.m., Mr. Batcha was found hanging by a rope normally used for the cradle of his younger child in the bedroom of his residence in Teynampet, police sources said.

His family members rushed him to Apollo Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival. The body was taken to the Government Royapettah Hospital for post-mortem, which is scheduled for Thursday morning.

According to the First Information Report registered at the Teynampet police station after a complaint was lodged by Mr. Batcha’s wife Reha Banu, Ms. Banu went to pick up her elder child from school at 10.45 a.m. and returned soon. Around 12.45 p.m., she went to the first floor and knocked on the bedroom door to call Mr. Batcha for lunch. But he didn’t respond. Drivers and helpers at the house broke open the door and found him hanging, the report said.

Reliable police sources said Ms. Banu and her children were heading to their native village after the death, but were called back by the police.

The police, who conducted the preliminary investigation at Mr. Batcha’s house, found the suicide note in which he had also asked his wife to stay in Chennai and take care of the children, and his brother-in-law to get married soon, the sources said.

A case of death under suspicious circumstances under Section 174 of the Cr.PC has been registered.

All eyes on 2G probe after DMK-Cong deal

The three days of political drama finally ended on Tuesday with the DMK conceding 63 seats for the Congress in Tamil Nadu polls. “We are happy to announce the alliance. It’s a winning alliance and we will come back to power again,” said Gulam Nabi Azad. Now that the seat sharing deal is sealed, the questions being asked are who blinked first and what is the deal that has been hammered out? The deal raises many more questions over the investigations into the 2G scam, like if there will be a slow down in the ongoing CBI investigations into the 2G scam.



Congress sources have said the demand by the DMK is to go slow on the family with regard to the investigations.




Former telecom minister A Raja’s arrest and the raids by the CBI on the DMK-owned Kalaignar TV have been seen as attacks on the Karunanidhi family.




But the 2G investigations are under the direct monitoring of the Supreme Court and Congress sources say that it will not be possible for the Congress to intervene at this juncture.




The question however is if the CBI digs deep into the 2G scam, will the alliance be able to survive?




The Congress and the DMK were deadlocked on a deal over sharing of seats in the upcoming Tamil Nadu assembly elections following DMK’s decision on Saturday to pull out its ministers from the UPA Government over Congress attitude.




The Congress was insisting on contesting 63 seats whereas the DMK was prepared to give 60, twelve more over the number Congress contested in the last elections. DMK was also not wiling to concede to Congress the choice of seats.




On Friday night, Karunanidhi had accused the Congress of being unreasonable by escalating the demand for seats from 50 to 53 to 57 and then to 60. And after agreeing to settle for 60, the party later raised the demand to 63, he had complained.




DMK’s sudden announcement of resignation by its ministers on Saturday took the Congress by surprise. A miffed Congress – used to succumbing to allied pressure – decided to finally take a stand. Congress sources said that what upset it the most was the demand by the party to go slow on the family with regard to 2G investigations. Congress said its hands were tied by the Supreme Court order. It’s when the DMK was unrelenting that Sonia decided to step in.




The DMK-Congess alliance is back on track after Sonia Gandhi decided to step in. An angry Sonia even ticked off Azhagiri and Dayanidhi Maran. Sources said that she accused the DMK of violating the coalition dharma. She went on to suggest that her party was prepared to go it alone in the elections.




This is when the message hit the DMK hard, having realised that things could go worse on the 2G front and that there was no way Congress would relent. Now, the DMK will have to explain its cadre and voters that it did not give in completely to the Congress.

Hon’ble K’taka Governer – in the news for wrong reasons!!

Though the disqualified MLAs would appeal to the Supreme court, initial victory has been of the CM & the Speaker. But we must not lose the focus of the high handed manner in which Honorable Governer acted during the confidence Vote. At this stage it shows that Honorable was partisan, hasty in recommending the dismissal of the Govt. While he has allowed to prsecute CM, who would rectify the mistakes from his side? Readers may remember that he had also denied awarding of honorary Doctoral degree to reknowned writer Chidananda Murthy. Later a protest by Kannada activists, pressure by senior  Kannda writers etc made the Gov. succumb to the pressure.

RSS writes letter to PM

Sarkaryawah (working chief) of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Suresh (Bhayya) Joshi has written a letter to Prime Minister of India on 9th February 2011 and has requested a meeting at a mutually convenient time to discuss this issue.

The purpose of this letter is to bring to your attention the deliberate attempts to distort, even pervert and politicise, the ongoing investigations into the bomb blasts at Malegaon. Ajmer and Hyderabad and to cast false aspersions on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [RSS].

A single fact in the Government’s hands will nail this lie. The Maharashtra ATS [MATS] has evidence in its possession to show that the accused in the Malegaon blast case, Col Purohit and Dayanand Pandey, were, simultaneously plotting to eliminate Shri Mohanrao Bhagwat, the then Sarkaryavah – General Secretary – of the RSS (currently the Sarsanghachalak), and a senior RSS leader Shri indresh Kumar. At the time of the Malegaon investigations, a senior Maharashtra ATS official had informed one of our prominent leaders about this conspiracy by the above mentioned Malegaon accused. Yet, some elements in the investigative agencies have been trying to club the RSS with those very same people who were plotting against it. The fundamental question that arises, but not addressed, is: how could the RSS be bracketed with those who were viciously hostile to it and conspiring to kill its leaders?

PM knew about Raja’s role in 2G scam: Shourie

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Shourie has claimed that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was informed about former telecom minister A Raja’s involvement in the 2G spectrum scam in 2009. Shourie, who was the telecom minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, said that Singh took no action against Raja even after getting the information about the scam. Speaking exclusively to CNN-IBN, Shourie said that after the Prime Minister did not act on his complaint for a month, he was forced to approach the Central Bureau of Investigation. Shourie also alleged that his own party is not interested in taking the matter forward.

Congress has distorted thinking on Kashmir, says Advani

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Sunday accused the Congresss of “distorted thinking” on Jammu and Kashmir and said it was a shame that two top political leaders of the country had to observe the Republic Day in the custody of a state government.

In a post on his blog, Advani said the movement for Jammu and Kashmir’s complete integration with India by Shyama Prasad Mukerjee saved the country from possible “disastrous consequences” of the policies of then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

“The gross mishanding by the government of the BJP’s Tiranga yatra reveals that the Congress party has still not abandoned the distorted thinking about Jammu and Kashmir state which made the government committ those early follies,” Advani wrote.

“By undertaking this exercise now, the BJP has done a signal service to the cause of the country’s unity and integrity, for which the party’s founder sacrificed his life,” he added.

Advani said that Pakistan’s leadership mishandled the eastern wing of Pakistan resulting in an independent Bangladesh. “Pandit Nehru’s handling of J&K state – his reference to UN the issue of Pakistan’s aggression on the state, and his conceding a separate constitution and a separate flag to the state – could have had similar disastrous consequences,” he said in his blog.

Ministry, GoM didn’t stop DD loot: Shunglu

Senior political figures responsible for conduct of the Commonwealth Games are in the line of fire for their inability in preventing officials from colluding with a UK-based broadcaster to cause a Rs 135 crore loss to the government.

The Shunglu committee’s interim report on the graft-tainted Games said the information and broadcasting minister and a ministerial group failed in oversight functions. It recommended action against suspended Prasar Bharati chief B S Lalli and director general of Doordarshan Aruna Sharma.

The report does not specifically name I&B minister Ambika Soni or oil minister Jaipal Reddy who had headed the group of ministers.

Census 2011 will cover illegal immigrants too

The Census 2011 will cover all people living in India, including illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Registrar-General and Census Commissioner C Chandramouli today said the exercise will cover anyone living in India and enumerators would not ask their nationality.

“Everybody will be counted even if he has illegally entered (in India),” he told reporters at a function organised for unveiling of the logo of census enumerators by Home Minister P Chidambaram.

Chandramouli was asked whether illegal immigrants from Bangladesh will be counted.

He made it clear that the information collected about individuals will be kept absolutely confidential. In fact, this information is not accessible even to courts of law.

Chandramouli said except the foreign embassies and consulates, all houses, religious and public places will be counted during the massive exercise.

DMK scrambles to save face over Raja arrest

The Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) will have to reshuffle their political card games after the embarrassing arrest of A Raja over the 2G spectrum scam. A general council meeting of the DMK is scheduled to be held today (Feb 3) in Chennai on how best to salvage the situation and how to reduce the impact of the blow caused to the party’s image.

DMK chief will have to face stiff opposition from dissenting forces within the party. One faction wants to maintain their unconditional support to the tainted Former Telecom Minister A Raja, the other group wants to disown him completely and clear the party’s name. The loudest dissenting voice comes from Karunanidhi’s son and Union minister MK Azhagiri who has been rallying to suspend A Raja from the party for long.

Azhagiri is supported by Deputy CM of TamilNadu, MK Stalin as well. Karunanidhi recently visited Delhi and held a meeting with PM Manmohan Singh on a damage control mode and to strategise on the upcoming polls in Tamil Nadu.