Thursday, 20 February 2014

Kejriwals response to Mukesh Ambani's issuance of defamation notices to TV channels for broadcasting Kejriwal's statements

I have just received the following by email as the text of Kejriwal's response to Mukesh Ambani, who has issued notices of defamation to many TV Channels for broadcasting Kejriwal's statements regarding Ambani at a Press Conference; I have no idea whether any of the following text is valid or accurate; however, I provide it below in the public interest - please check the text against other sources (or of course with the principals, if you have access to Kejriwal and AAP); if the text is wrong in any part, I will happily amend or retract it:

"Dear Mr Mukesh Ambani,

"You have recently sent a defamation notice to a number of TV channels. Their “crime” is that they aired the press conference held on the 31st October 2012 and 9th November 2012, by Prashant Bhushan and me, live.

"In our press conference, we presented before the country how you had illegally pressurized the government into increasing gas prices. We also told the country that your associates and your companies have accounts in Swiss banks where black moneyhad been stashed away. Many TV channels aired our expose live. All these TV channels have now received defamation notices from you.

"I find it quite perplexing. If you felt that you have been defamed by what Prashant Bhushan and I said, then we are the real culprits and, if you had to send a defamation notice, it should have been to us.The TV channels merely broadcastwhat we said. Despite this, instead of sending us the defamation notice, you have sent it to the TV channels.It is evident that your sole purpose of sending this notice was to steamroll the TV channels into subservience.

"The people of India want to ask you some straight questions: Is it not true that the list of those who have accounts in Swiss Banks, as received by the Government of India, includes your name and the names of your relatives, your friends and your companies? Is it not true that a balance of Rs.100 crores is shown against your name in this list? Is it not true that you have paid the tax on this amount after this list was received by the Government?

"If the above is true, as we suspect it is, it proves that you have admitted your guilt. As per the law of the land, you should be tried and if the charge of tax evasion is proved, you should be sent to jail.

"However, this would never happen.Why? Because the Government of India is intimidated by you. You have been reported as saying that the Congress Party has been bought by you – it is your dukaan, to be precise.

"You are right. according to some media reports, Mrs. # Sonia_Gandhi sometimes travels by your personal aircraft. People believe that Mr. Jaipal Reddy’s ministry was also changed because of your influence.

"Why only the Congress? Even BJP and many other parties are in your pocket. Earlier, Mr. Advani used to make a lot of noise about Swiss Bank accounts, but since your accounts have been exposed, BJP has suddenly gone quiet. BJP has not mentioned a single word in the Parliament about your accounts.

"It appears that almost all parties are afraid of you. Most leaders are scared of you, too. However, the citizens of this country are not scared of you. All parties could be your dukaan but India is not up for sale. India is ours, it belongs to the people of this country. You can purchase political parties and political leaders with your money but we will not let India be sold.

"You say that the TV channels have tainted your reputation by airing our press conference live. That’s wrong. I would urge you to answer this question honestly – Did # Prashant_Bhushan , myself and the TV Channels defame you or did you defame yourself through your own misdeeds?

"1. In 2002, you gave 1 Crore shares with a market price of Rs. 55 per share to Mr. #Pramod_Mahajan at just Rs. 1 per share. This was a straight bribe to get “Full Mobility”. When you were caught, you took back the shares. Presently, the matter is In court. Didn’t you defame yourself by doing this?

"2. You have made your multistoreyed residence on # Wakf_land. This land had been set aside for an orphanage. You have stolen the right of poor and orphaned Muslim children. Didn’t you defame yourself by doing this?

"3. A few gas wells belonging to the Country were allotted to you in 2000. You were supposed to extract gas and give it to the government. The gas belongs to us, the people of India. We are the owners of this gas.

"You were only a contractor appointed to extract the gas. However, cleverly you became the owner of the gas. You started “selling” the gas to the government. Because the Congress is in your pocket, it always bowed before your bullying.

"The Congress kept increasing the price of gas under your pressure and the nation kept wailing. Because of you, the prices of electricity, fertilizer and cooking gas kept rising. When it crossed all limits, Mr. # JaipalReddy opposed you. He was the Minister for Oil and Gas at that time. You got Mr. Jaipal Reddy transferred. Because of you many things have become increasingly expensive in India and the people are groaning under the load of these high prices. Do these shenanigans suit you? Do such acts not defame you?

"The list of such illegal acts done by you is quite long. The majority of the traders, businessmen and industrialists want to do their work honestly. But the system forces them into wrongdoings. But when a businessman like you brazenly subverts the system for his personal benefit, the entire industry and business world gets a bad name.

"You are on one side with immense wealth. On the other side are the people of this country. The people have now awakened. Fire is raging in their heart. History is witness that whenever there has been a clash between money and such rage, the rage has won.

"Kindly do not try to intimidate the media of this country. There may be some mediamen who may have done wrong things themselves. Such media-persons may succumb to your pressure. However, the majority of media persons keep the interest of the Country at heart even today. They are not going to capitulate so easily. History witnessed that whenever the judiciary, bureaucracy and legislature crumbled, it is the honest fourth pillar, comprising such media-persons that kept democracy alive.

"You have invested in some media houses directly or indirectly. It is possible that these media houses do your bidding. However, the journalists working for such media houses will not barter their integrity so easily.

"What is your dream? Do you want to become the world’s richest person through dishonesty? Suppose you became the owner of all the wealth in this country. Would that make you happy?

"Happiness does not increase by accumulating more and more wealth. Happiness comes with sacrifice. If you stopped doing business dishonestly and contributed your wealth for the development of the nation, this country will remember you with pride forever.

"With regards, "Arvind Kejriwal".

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Upsetting India: Aam Aadmi Party (article published in the current issue of THE INTERNATIONAL INDIAN MAGAZINE, Dubai)

Everyone was shocked by the results of the Delhi elections: Aam Aadmi is a political party which did not even exist a few months ago.

Most Indians have still to recognise the significance of the results: the notable thing is that even though BJP won a plurality of seats, it actually lost votes - in spite of Narendra Modi’s supposedly charismatic and magnetic drawing power, the BJP’s vote share actually declined.

The results were not only a slap on the wrist for Congress, they were also a shock for BJP – after the announcement of the election results, the BJP leadership initially boasted that they would still provide the government for Delhi, but when it actually came to the decision, they did not dare to come up to the platform.

AAP had already announced that it would not work with anyone’s support, and wisely made clear the minimum agreement necessary before it would work with any party. Its 18 point minimum demand is too extensive to list here, but included items which were bound to be totally unacceptable to both Congress as well as to BJP, such as: The VIP culture to be stopped in Delhi: no MLA, minister or Delhi official to use a red beacon on their cars, nor live in big bungalows or be provided any security greater than is available to the ordinary citizen; locally-relevant decisions to be taken directly by the local citizens in ‘mohalla sabhas’ in every locality and colony; complete statehood status for Delhi: the Central Government’s hold on organisations like the Police and the Delhi Development Authority to be ended; an audit of all electricity companies in the national capital from the time these were privatised: licences to be cancelled for any companies that refuse to participate; all unauthorised colonies to be regularised (thirty percent of Delhi’s population lives in such colonies); clean and affordable ‘pakka houses’ (properly built houses) for those living in slums; regular jobs for all those working on contract; roads, electricity, water and other basic facilities to all street traders; setting up enough courts and appointment of a sufficient number of judges so that all uncleared cases are dealt with within six months; and, all sexual harassment cases to be investigated, prosecuted and judgments delivered within three months.

As one person put it on an internet chat group: “AAP had guts to put conditions and its conditions are exactly the demand of people”.

Another put it this way: “I am a supporter of Congress and if they do not agree on most of the AAP’s points, I think I will have to think about realigning my support”.

I am sure the refusal of BJP to support the AAP agenda will also have led to most BJP supporters to reconsider whether their support for BJP should be discontinued.

In any case, it was clear to me and to any other clear-eyed observer that no such minimum agreement would be forthcoming (it is entirely contrary to the spirit and modus operandi of both Congress and BJP).

So it is also clear that we will have a re-vote for Delhi around the time of the National Elections – and that, unless AAP does something extremely stupid before then, or BJP or Congress do something extraordinarily smart, AAP should then win the Delhi re-vote by a clear if not outright margin.

What AAP’s triumph signifies is a shock to the entire political culture in India which has slowly declined since Independence, and became totally reliant on money- power, muscle-power and caste-based calculations.

While caste-based calculations still have some hold in the less-developed parts of the country (that is, of course, the actual reason those areas are less-developed), it is clear that their hold is declining and will soon be a thing of the past. At least if ethics- and law-based parties such as AAP deliver administrative performance that matches their promise.

Given the economic and political structure of our country, that cannot be delivered if any such party forms the government only in a few states. As the entire structure of the country is steeply pyramidal, with economic as well as political power concentrated at the top levels of the Central Government, it is necessary for such ethically- based parties also to have power at the national level.

The challenge before AAP and similar parties elsewhere in the country is that of scaling up their effort - and there are indeed efforts for such parties to come together on the basis of a minimum common agenda in order to form a united national Rule-of-Law Front.

It is already evident that many if not most eminent thought leaders from the country will be with such a front, once it is formed.

Can India move beyond the upset of the Delhi elections to upsetting the entire direction of corruption and incompetence in which it has gone increasingly in the decades since Independence? If so, it will upset many who are currently benefiting from the incompetence and corruption.

But some upsets are good ones.


For the full text of the current issue of THE INTERNATIONAL INDIAN MAGAZINE, please see