Monday, April 22, 2013


Modi’s Generosity Benefits Corporate Houses
WHILE the Narendra Modi led BJP administration in Gujarat claims that it has no money for preventing or fighting the “swine flu” epidemic, for meeting the acute shortage of potable water or for mitigating the famine conditions in the state, it has bestowed around Rs 1275 crore rupees as relief on the corporate sector. This was pointed out by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in its report for the fiscal 2011-2012. The CAG report, which was recently submitted to the state assembly, says the chief gainers of Modi’s generosity are the Adani, Essar and Larson & Toubro groups.

Here is an example of that generosity. According to the CAG report, the Adani group was fined for disregarding the terms of the agreement that was arrived at between the Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam and the Adani Power Limited Company, and according to the terms of the agreement the Adanis were required to pay Rs 240.08 crore as fine. However, the Adanis paid only Rs 80.82 crore only and were thus exempted from paying another about Rs 160 crore.

At Hajira, the Essar Steel Company encroached upon 7,24,687 square metres of land, which was clearly an illegal act. But Modi’s generosity gave that land to the Essar group at a special, concessional rate, whereby the state government lost Rs 238.50 crore.

The Modi government allotted to the Larsen & Toubro company for a nuclear power plant, at a concessional rate, whereby the state exchequer lost a sum of Rs 128.71 crore. As per the rules, it is the evaluation committee of the Revenue Department of Gujarat that should have estimated the value of this land but in actual practice the valuation was done by the district level evaluation committee. The company was, moreover, allotted some land in Baroda district, whereby it benefited to the tune of Rs 79.77 lakh.

But these are not the only instances of the benefits given to corporate houses. According to the CAG report, such benefits add to the tune of about Rs 1300 crore. For example, Rs 2.04 crore less than due were taken from the Reliance Petroleum; the K Raheja group was given land for the Gandhinagar IT Park at a concessional rate, while the state sustained a loss of Rs 2.81 crore in regard to the land given to the Coastal Gujarat Power.


The BJP controlled Gujarat state assembly recently passed a new Lokayukta bill wherein the power of the High Court and governor in this regard have been curtailed while the chief minister has been kept out of its purview and made the supreme authority.

It may be recalled here that the chief minister, Narendra Modi, has been, since the very inception of the old Lokayukta act, seeking to keep himself out of its purview. However, the Supreme Court, in a recent decision, flayed Modi, rejected his objections and held the appointment of Justice R A Mehta, as Lokayukta by the governor valid.

There is no doubt that Narendra Modi is aware that the Supreme Court would not take his challenge, coming in the form of a new Lokayukta law, lying down. But he appears to be banking on the time factor — that whatever procedure the Supreme Court adopts, it is bound to take quite a time. In the meantime, Modi may be hoping that Lok Sabha elections would be held, whereafter he may himself become the prime minister, and then he would be in a position to avoid all charges of money squandering.

Arun Mehta, secretary of the Gujarat state committee of the CPI(M), has in a statement described this gesture of Narendra Modi as an effort to avoid being held responsible for corruption involving crores of rupees. It is to be noted that none of Modi’s commitments, involving crores of rupees, has so far materialised at all. Moreover, Modi has been avoiding to give any detail whatsoever about the crores of rupees which he has collected and has been carefully refrainingd from enumerating the sources of this money.

It is also likely that this behaviour of his does not stand the Supreme Court’s scrutiny if any citizen files a public interest litigation (PIL) in the apex court.

However, Modi’s latest law surprisingly contains sections which would slap big fines on complainants if they fail to prove their charges. Moreover, this act gives the culprits sufficient time to eliminate all the proofs. For, a complaint would not be admitted at all unless the complainant provides sufficient proofs in advance. It is also clear that a complainant cannot hope to get any help from the state in this regard.

While Modi has made an attempt to showcase his concern against corruption by providing for six special Lokayuktas, the fact remains that their powers have been circumscribed by various limitations which would only help the offenders.

Moreover, according to the new law, the Gujarat High Court cannot have any say whatsoever in regard to the Lokayuktas. It is clear that a law like this one could only be the brainchild of someone like Modi!

Raghu People's Democracy 14 April 2013

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