Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Congress should stop defending Vadra, order fair probe: BJP

(Indian Express)
In the wake of fresh charges levelled by social activist Arvind Kejriwal against Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra, BJP today demanded Congress and UPA ministers stop defending him and order a fair, free and comprehensive inquiry into his business dealings.

BJP alleged Congress has not gone for any proper inquiry or ensured that the guilty are brought to book in several scams, including the Commonwealth Games and the coal mines allocation scandal and even tried to sheild the culprits.

"Till today, no tangible steps have been taken by the government to control corruption even though Congress president Sonia Gandhi had given a five-point sutra to her chief ministers at Burari", BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.

She maintained Kejriwal has quoted some Punjab and Haryana High Court judgements which deal with the nexus between DLF and Haryana government as well as Vadra.

"But Congress is not going to take any step. Investigations are too much to expect. More so when the Finance Minister himself has come out in defence of a person, though calling him a private person, on these serious allegations," Sitharaman said.

BJP insisted Vadra is a "politically exposed person" and all his high volume transactions should have been monitored as per the rules.

"Why is it that Congress has rushed to his defence instead of probing the whole matter. This is getting murkier. We demand a comprehensive inquiry.... It is high time Congress stops running away from an investigation... We want a fair and free probe," Sitharaman said.

Kejriwal "Cong agent", making charges to serve his ambitions: BJP

Miffed at activist Arvind Kejriwal stealing the show at a BJP programme yesterday, the opposition party today alleged he is levelling charges against parties and individuals as a part of his strategy to serve his political ambitions.

BJP General Secretary Vijay Goel, who had welcomed Kejriwal to the stage at a party protest programme yesterday, did not mince words to express his anger against the social activist's behaviour.

Kejriwal had spoken against BJP from the dais and asked what the Opposition had done to check the "wrongdoings" of the Sheila Dikshit government in Delhi.

"BJP has always opposed the hike in power bills. We have held demonstrations in all parts of Delhi. We held a protest in which 2,000 RWAs participated.... Who is Kejriwal to ask us what we have done in the last three years? He has entered the protests just three days back and restored two power connections and he thinks he is leading the movement," Goel fumed.

The BJP leader alleged Kejriwal is a "Congress agent" and his criticism of the opposition party is aimed at weakening the agitation against the "unjustified" hike in

power bills of the people.

When it was pointed out that Kejriwal had "exposed" how Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra's business relations with realty major DLF and hence could not be acting at the behest of Congress, Goel only repeated his


"Yes, he is attacking political parties and individuals as he is starting a political party," Goel said in reply to a question.

He demanded a public apology from Kejriwal for attacking BJP at yesterday's public meeting.

Asked why BJP had supported Anna Hazare's agitation and backed Kejriwal too in the past but is now so opposed to him, Goel said "when something is right, we will support it but when something is wrong we will speak against it."

He ruled out Kejriwal being a threat to prospects of BJP in the Delhi assembly polls due next year.

BJP insisted it has been in the forefront of fighting against the hike in electricity bills of the people.

Clearing the air on yesterday's incident, Goel said Kejriwal and around 30-50 of his supports came to the venue where BJP members were agitating against power bill hike. "We had not invited him. He came to the dais on his own and said he would like to speak for two minutes. Out of courtesy, we allowed him," Goel said.

Unholy nexus between DLF, Haryana govt: Arwind

New Delhi: In a fresh attack on Robert Vadra, Arvind Kejriwal said on Tuesday that there was a malafide nexus between DLF and the Haryana government and a direct beneficiary of the same was the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. 

On Robert Vadra's links with DLF, he said that the son-in-law of the Congress president was given 50 percent stake in the company that was given permission for SEZ. He added that Vadra sold the stake back to DLF after a year. "If this does not prove the link then what does," he asked. 

"Unitech and County Heights bid were higher but were ignored," he revealed. Attacking the Congress government in Haryana further he Kejriwal said, "The land was acquired illegally after saying that it was for public purpose." He accused that the financial dealings were not transparent and said that the Haryana government had manipulated the bidding process. 

He asked the Haryana government to submit a white paper on the dealings with DLF. "Part of land given was protected forest land and DLF's six proxy companies bought directly from the farmers," he further added. 

The IAC had alleged on October 5 that Vadra had bought properties worth over Rs 300 crore between 2007 and 2010 with an interest-free unsecured loan of Rs 65 crore from realty major DLF.

They claimed the properties were given at undervalued rates in exchange of favours allegedly received from Congress state governments in Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi. 

DLF had on Saturday denied it had advanced any unsecured loan to Vadra, or sold its assets to him at throwaway prices, or that there was a quid pro quo in the transactions. 

However, Arvind Kejriwal has more up his sleeves. He said that he had more to expose but will do so on November 16. 

Meanwhile the Congress questioned the intentions of Kerjiwal and his team and doubted the authenticity of the papers that were shown to the media by them. Speaking to the press Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said, "I condemn this personal attack by them. If there is any truth to the matter then Haryana government will look into it. Also Kejriwal should go to the court and not gain cheap publicity," he said. 

Rohingya Muslims attacked in Burma after attacks on Buddhists in Bangladesh


Muslim homes burned after attacks on Buddhists in Bangladesh
October 8, 2012

Fresh unrest broke out in Rakhine state yesterday against the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Houses in Sittwe, the provincial capital, were set ablaze by angry Buddhists, who were prevented from burning down the town’s largest mosque by police. The houses belonged to Muslims evacuated to refugee camps outside the town, following sectarian clashes between the two communities several months ago.

The violence is thought to be in response to recent attacks on
Buddhist villages and temples in neighboring Bangladesh.

“We wanted to burn down the largest and oldest mosque in the town because we are so angry at the Rohingyas’ attacks against Buddhist monks,” said Ba Tun Aung, a Sittwe resident.

He said Buddhists in Rakhine state have applied for permission to a stage protest today.

According to Rakhine state attorney-general, Hla Thein, the situation in Sittwe is presently calm, but police have blocked major roads leading to mosques and Muslim homes to prevent further arson attacks.

In Yangon, protests against the anti-Buddhist attacks in Bangladesh occurred over two consecutive days last week in front of the Bangladeshi embassy. Protesters were planning to take to the streets of the city again today.

The Bangladesh government has accused the Rohingya refugees of being responsible for last week’s incidents, which occurred after an alleged anti-Muslim photo showing a burned Qu’ran was posted on Facebook.

Anti-Muslim protesters in Myanmar are now pointing to a photo depicting a young model on top of a reclining Buddha image. The protesters, who include monks, allege the photo was created and distributed on the internet by Muslims to insult Buddha.

Arvind Kejriwal to elaborate on his allegations against Robert Vadra and DLF today.

 October 09, 2012 10:12 IST

New Delhi: Activist-turned politician Arvind Kejriwal is expected to elaborate more on his allegations against Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra and real estate giant DLF at a press conference later today. Despite the government ruling out an inquiry into the business deals between DLF and businessman Robert Vadra, Mr Kejriwal has said he stands by his accusations against them.

"DLF granted favours to Shri Robert Vadra. What favours did Haryana government grant DLF? How is DLF reply a bunch of lies? Will speak tomorrow at 5 pm," he tweeted yesterday, after Finance Minister P Chidambaram said that at this stage, an inquiry cannot be ordered by the government into the business deals between DLF and Mr Vadra.

"Transactions between two private individuals cannot be questioned on the basis of some imputed or implied act of corruption," Mr Chidambaram said.
The deals have been described as illicit by activists Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan, who launched an anti-graft political party last week.

Mr Kejriwal and Mr Bhushan had suggested that Mr Vadra used Congress' black money into his property purchases, estimated by the activists to be worth Rs. 500 crore today.
Mr Kejriwal and Mr Bhushan have accused DLF of gifting an interest-free loan of 65 crore as well as discounted apartments in some of the company's fanciest housing projects in Gurgaon in Haryana, just across the border from Delhi. The activists allege that in return for the sweetheart deals, the Congress, which is in power in Haryana, released land reserved for public interest projects to DLF, and that the developer was given express-lane clearances and permissions.

Mr Vadra has described the allegations as "defamatory" and an attempt by the activist-politicians to get "cheap publicity." The Congress has made similar accusations, describing the activists as "political upstarts" looking for attention before elections are held in states like Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

DLF has also explained that it gave neither discounted apartments nor unsecured loans to Mr Vadra, and stressed that it has not received any undue favours because of its transactions with Mr Vadra.

Continuing to defend Mr Vadra, the Congress yesterday asked why the activists didn't file a court or police case if they have evidence of financial irregularities against him. When asked why the Congress is defending a private individual, Rashid Alvi, a spokesperson for the party, said, "This attack, which was done purposely, was not an attack on an individual person. This was an attack on the Congress party."

Law Minister Salman Khurshid said that Mr Kejriwal has forced the Congress to react by linking Mr Vadra to Sonia Gandhi in his allegations.

"If he (Mr Kejriwal) had been just mentioned Robert Vadra, then we would not have replied. But he said Robert Vadra, who is directly related to Sonia Gandhi. So we have to reply on the behalf of Sonia Ji. She is the sole reason of what we are and where we are. The Congress chief is everything for us and we can even die for her," Mr Khurshid said yesterday.