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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query special report. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query special report. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Irregularities Unearthed At Annamalai University

Government alleges abuse of power conferred on the varsity’s 
founder as reason for serious malpractices. 

A special audit ordered by the State government following the recent staff unrest and financial crisis in Annamalai University has unearthed large scale irregularities, malpractices and mismanagement in the university’s affairs.

Holding the alleged abuse of powers conferred on the university’s founder responsible for the serious malpractices, the government has warned that necessary changes were required to regulate the exercise of powers and privileges by the founder “to ensure that the university is administered in fulfilment of the purposes for which it was established”.

The audit findings led to the government demanding accountability from the University’s Senate and Syndicate. On Wednesday, a special meeting of the Senate was convened, at which several members demanded that the university be brought under government control.

One shocking revelation found in the audit report is that contributions to provident fund and pension funds amounting to Rs. 178 crore had not been remitted into the respective accounts. Further, the university authorities have diverted Rs. 268 crore from the General Fund, Examination Fund and Distance Education fund to run self-financing courses, which are supposed to be self-sufficient.

Armed with a detailed Inspection Report, the State Higher Education Secretary has shot off a letter to the Annamalai University vice-chancellor and demanded that the audit report be placed before special meetings of the Syndicate and Senate and their opinion and action sought. The State government has given the University’s Syndicate seven days to send a report to the government on the action it has taken or plans to take on the Inspection Report, along with the Senate’s opinion.

“The government is of the view that in spite of receiving grant to the tune of Rs. 42,798.24 lakh [Rs. 427.98 crore] during the period from 1998-99 to 2012-13, the university has landed in serious financial crisis. The serious malpractices have occurred due to gross abuse of powers and privileges conferred on the founder,” said the letter to the Annamalai University Registrar and Vice-Chancellor on March 7.

The government had ordered the special audit under provisions of the Annamalai University Act, following a series of events since November 2012, when the campus near Chidambaram was gripped by an agitation marked by protest meetings and fasts by the Joint Action Council of the Annamalai University Teachers and Staff Associations. A Special Local Fund Audit Team was constituted by a December 14 order.

Other key audit findings were: the University has not adhered to UGC or government norms or statutory provisions regarding appointment, promotion and fixation of pay, often fixing far higher scales of paythan permissible. The recurring financial burden as a result for 2009-10 and 2010-11 alone were Rs. 22 crore. It incurred excess expenditure amounting to Rs. 109.98 crore in 2010-11 alone by way of extra posts under Regular Education, Distance Education and Self-Financing courses, and a cumulative superfluous spending of Rs. 576.35 crore.

Violations of the Tender Transparency Act, which is applicable to the University, were noticed, as between 2008 and 2012, construction work was mostly awarded to Chettinad Builders at rates much above the estimates. The lack of an internal mechanism to oversee financial transactions has led to an overall deficit of Rs. 272 crore in the last 15 years and liabilities amounting to Rs. 238 crore.

When contacted from here, a spokesman for the Annamalai University, declining to be quoted, confirmed receiving the audit report from the government. “We received the audit report very recently and we will go by proper procedures,” he said. He added that members of the Syndicate and Senate would pass on their suggestions to the government, and only thereafter would the institution be able to comment on the issue.

At a special meeting of the University’s Senate on Wednesday, members of the Joint Action Council and several others, including vice-chancellors of other universities and governmentofficials recommended that the University be brought under the government’s control completely.

Members of the Joint Action Council of the University said they had protested many times against the illegal appointments that were being made, but were silenced by the management. “In 2010, some protesters were arrested, after which the teachers were reluctant to protest. In November last year, however, we were told the staff strength will be reduced massively and the salaries cut to meet financial problems,” said C. Subramanian, president of the Annamalai University Teachers' Progressive Association and member of the JAC. “The irregularities and malpractices started way back in the 1990s. Most government policies regarding admissions, reservation and appointments have been overlooked,” said Mr. Subramanian.

The University has 12,500 staff, of which 8,900 are non-teaching staff.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Autistic Attitude: 'The Boy Who Doesn’t Talk In Class'

By Prashant Munde / INN Bureau

Dear Principal: do you have a problem with an autistic child in your school? On a rainy June morning, a mother in her late thirties sat on a chair in a school corridor trying to convince her five-year-old son to enter a classroom. It was the boy’s first day in school. Aiding the mother was her elder son, a boy of less than 10, who had excused himself from class in the same school. Half an hour passed, but the younger one would not budge. Eventually, a peon had to forcibly carry him in.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Adolescent Girls Count

A global investment and action agenda seeks to put adolescent girls at the centre of development initiatives in developing countries. These girls, say the authors of a new report, form a special category, deserving exclusive attention of the state, donors and NGOs. 

Adolescent girls have so far occupied a marginal position in the discourse on development, which either directs the gender lens on the girl child or on adult women. The awkwardness of adolescent girls' position between childhood and adulthood render them a 'controversy-generating' category which governments and donors have so far been uncomfortable dealing with. Dealing with these girls requires dealing with the fraught areas of gender roles, sexuality and parental domination and control, and many of these define the core of a society's ethos. 

Now, a global investment and action agenda seeks to correct this imbalance and put adolescent girls at the centre of the development agenda in developing countries. The agenda has been put out in a report titled Girls Count, as a combined effort of the Centre for Global Development, Population Council and International Centre for Research on Women. 

At one-eighth of the world's population, young people between 10 and 19 years of age are the fastest growing segment of the world population. Moreover, the poorer a country, the larger is its share of young people. This age group is also the period in which there is a marker divergence in roles of boys and girls and the cultural and social disadvantages of being a girl start becoming obvious. As a girl moves from childhood to puberty and beyond, her roles as a wife, mother, worker and citizen begin to take shape with consequences that have lifelong implications. 

The opportunities, choice and freedom available to boys usually expand while those available to girls undergo many curtailments. As compared to boys, fewer girls go to school, do more domestic work, can go out of home less often, have fewer friends and mentors and have fewer public spaces and leisure activities available to them. Often lacking the right to vote, own property and shun unwanted sexual advances, girls in this age group are a very vulnerable section of the population. In these respects, as on indicators of health, education and labour force participation, girls are considerably behind their male peers. Marriage practices including child marriage and the rule of residence with the husband's family after marriage, etc., increase girls' vulnerability and also do not allow their natal families to appreciate their full potential. 

The report suggests that economic opportunities for women in the future will be substantially greater. In particular, with the reduction of the burden of unpaid domestic work due to improved technological devices, the authors believe young women's labour would increasingly be available to the non-domestic economy. But are large segments of the adolescent and young female population getting exempted from the burden of household work due to availability of household gadgets? This is not clear from the report; in any event, it is hard to imagine which gadgets have made any real difference to the condition of rural women who neither have running water nor electricity to put such appliances to use. 

The broad agenda set out by Girls Count is that development data should be disaggregated by sex and age to make girls clearly visible to policymakers. It recommends strategic and significant investments in programs focused on girls, and demands that rights and benefits be distributed equitably once this segment of the population is clearly identified. 

The report suggests increased government activity in the domain of ensuring legal rights to girls, delivering social services and employment guarantees. Curbing child marriage and ensuring equitable inheritance laws should be major focus in the legal domain. Significantly, the report also recommends compulsory registration of births, and even issuance of an identity card to all children above 12 years. Further, it recommends that education and health services should be proactively delivered to reach the most vulnerable girls. Apart from training young girls for participation in emerging economic opportunities, governments should also address their specific needs for employment keeping in view their more constrained spatial mobility. 

Apart from supporting the above thrust areas, the report further recommends that donor agencies and UN bodies should specifically focus upon prevention of HIV/AIDS, and on promoting post-primary education which is crucial for realizing the full economic potential of young women. The transition from primary to secondary education requires specific attention as adolescent girls are most likely to drop out due to societal pressures during this stage. This issue requires specific attention by way of creation of a gender sensitive learning environment for girls who are either approaching or past puberty. 

Significantly, the report suggests that multinational companies have a vanguard role to play in every country, and urges them to invest in schools for girls. Private employers are urged not to discriminate on grounds of gender, marital status, or pregnancy. In addition to facilitating access to micro-credit, private employers are also urged to facilitate onsite-banking facilities for young women, which allow them to have savings independent of their families. Private companies must also push the state to invest in infrastructure like water and transport, say the authors. This would indirectly help young women by easing their domestic burdens. 

The report envisages a vast role for civil society organisations to further the agenda it lays out. Apart from being pro-active in seeking appropriate policy changes, CSOs are urged to reshape family and community expectations through community sensitisation and social marketing programs. Creating safe spaces for adolescent girls to congregate, share information and ideas and seek support is another task such organisations could fulfill. This would be a crucial step towards enhancing the social and cultural capital available to girls. 

The report has done a good job of highlighting how adolescent girls form a special category, deserving exclusive attention of developmental agencies, whether it is the state, the donors or the NGOs. But it is not clear whether the situation of these girls can change drastically as long as large segments of the population remain economically marginal. 

If the report falls short, it is in not recognising the enormity of some of its recommendations. The authors admit that formal employment opportunities are minimal in most developing countries, but do not dwell upon the immense significance of this for the economic opportunities and conditions of employment for both young men and women. The report also urges civil society groups to organise workers in the informal sector, but the gulf between those employed in the formal and the informal sectors is too vast and significant to be dealt with in this cursory manner. Moreover, while gauging the economic and social opportunities of the marginal sections of the population, it can hardly be ignored that sweeping current trends in globalisation and liberalisation are implicated in widening this gulf.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Special Report: This Little-Known 'Hyderabadi Studio' Made The 'Baahubali' A Visual Mega Spectacle

India’s most expensive motion picture, Baahubali, owes its world-class special effects to a very young company.

Makuta, established just five years ago, was the principal studio for S S Rajamouli’s blockbuster film, which consists of 90% computer-generated imagery (CGI) and graphics, with some 4,500-5,000 visual effects (VFX) shots.

Everything about the period drama set in medieval India appears larger than life—including the kingdom of Mahishmati, with its gigantic temples and courtyards, the landscapes comprising mystical waterfalls and mountains, and the epic battles.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Zakir Naik Speeches Pro-Terror, IRF Paid Money To Lure Youth For Conversion: Mumbai Police

By NEWS KING | INNLIVE

No member of the IRF or any other NGO run by Naik was questioned.

In a 71-page report on controversial televangelist Dr Zakir Naik, the Mumbai Police have said his Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) paid anything between Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000 to lure a youth to convert to Islam.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Special Report: The Lavish Big, Fat, Grand Indian Wedding

By Niloufer Khan / INN Live

There's a saying that there is no limit to spending on a wedding, especially if it's an Indian one. While marriages in India are becoming bigger and grander affairs by the day, there is a personal touch that would-be bride and grooms are giving to the most special day of their lives. INN Live finds that when it comes to creating special wedding memories, there is no dearth of ideas and no limit to the expenditure either.

When Mumbai-based Meera and Alex, a Russian based in America (names changed), decided to tie the knot, they wanted their wedding photography to reflect how they fell in love.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Special Report: A Story Of 'Bhang' And 'Hangover' In India

From the Vedas to Holi today, bhang has been a key part of Indian life and culture.

What coffee was to the American television sitcom, Friends, the cannabis drink bhang was to Hindi’s greatest satirical novel, Raag Darbari. Set in an Uttar Pradesh village during the 1960s, bhang is ubiquitous in the novel and even the children of the village, some of whom are too poor to even know what milk tastes like, are familiar with it.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Paying The Price For Bad Management?

By KHALIDA YOUSUF | INNLIVE

A survey by leading UK-based consultancy Auditel has found that 70 per cent of organisations do not have a cost management strategy in place.

The consultancy surveyed 120 business leaders worldwide and less than two per cent of them claim to track costs, or have an on-going programme to do that.
“Most organisations do not have the sophisticated analytical tools to benchmark costs accurately and monitor them after implementing cost savings,” says Chris Allison, Auditel’s managing director.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Telangana IPS officer in trouble? News report alleges serious abuse of power

Tension is brewing between a newspaper and an IPS officer from Telangana. This after the newspaper  claimed to have accessed a report that makes serious allegations against the police officer.

In a piece for The New Indian Express on Thursday, Vikram Sharma reported that an enquiry by the Telangana State Intelligence Department had made several charges against IPS officer Tejdeep Kaur Menon, Director General, Special Protection Force.

Quoting the intelligence report, TNIE claims that Tejdeep was involved in misappropriation of funds meant for the Swachh Hyderabad programme and also harassed hundreds of Telangana SPF employees, including 32 posted at her house.

According to the report, these officers were allegedly used as "drivers, carpenters, cooks, attenders, gardeners and others."

The report also alleges that she showed favouritism to Andhra personnel, while also "deliberately delaying the process of distribution of SPF personnel between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh by refusing to relieve AP-native personnel." 

Lastly, TNIE also reported that "a water tanker from the SPF academy, Ameenpur, makes 150 trips to Tejdeep’s residence every month and she was faking all bills."

Tejdeep was promoted to her present post in May last year. Before that, she had served as Additional Director General, (Sports), for the combined Andhra Pradesh Government.

She is known locally, for attempting to make the Ameenpur Panchayat, garbage-free, while also taking steps to clean the Ameenpur lake.

In a rejoinder to the TNIE report, Tejdeep issued the following statement: 

"The allegations about internal organizational and resource matters of what is a security organization coupled with imputed motives of working against the interests of the Telangana state are tenuous and baseless...It is apparent that the report was written and published only to tarnish my name and reputation. The reports are highly slanderous and intended to malign the work that the TSSPF and I are involved in...The report is per se defamatory as it is a deliberate attempt to needlessly, or at the behest of some, to project me in the darkest light possible and to scandalize me in public and tar my reputation."

The INNLive reached out and spoke to both, the TNIE reporter and the IPS officer in question. Both of them assured that they would revert shortly, but did not.

The copy will be updated if and when they respond. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Special Report: The Myth Of The 'Muslim Population' Bomb

If the Hindutva brigade is to be believed, India will become a Muslim majority country by 2035. INNLIVE sifts through available data to set the record straight.

Will Muslims outnumber Hindus by 2035 and become the majority in India? Several search results on Google warn how the Muslim population in the country will expand to 92.5 crore, while Hindus will shrink to 90.2 crore by 2035. By 2040, Hindu festivals will no longer be celebrated. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

SPECIAL REPORT: RED TAPE STRANGLES 'BLACK CATS' OF INDIA

By Rahul Khanna / Delhi

India's famed Black Cats seem to have lost their bite in the four- and- a- half years since the Mumbai terror attacks. The National Security Guard ( NSG), the nation’s much vaunted counter- terror arm that so heroically brought the curtain down on the 26/ 11 outrage, stands compromised in the critical areas of manpower and training, INN investigation has found out.

Governmental neglect and apathy have so hobbled this sword arm of the security apparatus that the top hierarchy of the NSG has been moved to say as much to the Ministry of Home Affairs ( MHA), its controller and administrator. The NSG wants officers, and it wants helicopters to train its men. Both are in short supply.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

What Is The Truth Behind Sonia Gandhi’s Trips To The US?

By Rahul Seth | INNLIVE

SPECIAL REPORT Last year in September, a US court had reportedly served a summons to Congress President Sonia Gandhi in a human rights violation case related to the anti-Sikh riots of 1984. The summons were served after a group called SFJ (Sikhs for Justice) filed a civil suit in a Brooklyn Federal Court alleging that Mrs Gandhi was guilty of shielding some Congress members who had played an active role in the 1984 riots.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Malfunctioning: The Aarushi Murder Case Investigations

By Kajol Singh & Avinash Sinha

An explosive and detailed analysis of the country’s most famous murder trial. At this moment, in a CBI court in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, events are unfolding that might eventually go down as one of the most shameful scandals in India’s legal history. This is a story that should frighten everybody. It’s a story of colossal incompetence and prejudice; a story about a wilful miscarriage of justice. It’s a story that could happen to anyone in the country.

Friday, January 09, 2015

How Pakistan's Dealers Drugged Punjab: Smugglers In Border Paid To 'Conceal & Clear' Heroin Consignments?

It is not just terror that is being exported from across the border. The scourge of drug trafficking in Punjab has been growing due to the easy availability of drug couriers, digging of tunnels, insertion of pipes through border fencing, and well-knit syndicates including transnational criminals running the racket from jails. 

The Border Security Force (BSF), in a detailed report to the Union Home Ministry on drug trafficking in Punjab from beyond the borders, has explained the functioning of well-organised drug cartels. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Why PMO Is Protecting The Uusecured 'Defaulters'?

By Rajinder Puri / New Delhi

Recall the Oil for Food scam probed by the UN appointed Volcker Committee which submitted its report seven years ago.  Natwar Singh was sacked from the cabinet for alleged involvement in that deal after the Justice Pathak Commission probing the deal submitted its report. One would like to refresh the reader’s memory by what appeared in the article "Can Corrupt Politicians Preserve Freedom?" on August 15, 2006.

One wrote: “The Pathak Report most conveniently dovetailed with the political objectives of the Congress.  Natwar Singh "misused" his position but took no money. Therefore he deserved cabinet expulsion but no legal conviction.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

APs New Initiative - Guards Against Terror

By M H Ahssan & Swati Reddy

Political insulation and latest equipment can prevent the State Security Guard from becoming another Octopus.

Reeling under the Mumbai terror attack the Andhra Pradesh government has prompted the establishment of a State Security Guard (SSG) along the lines of the National Security Guard (NSG) to combat terror. But, former super cops and security experts warn that it would be an exercise in futility if it is not a wellequipped, professionally trained force that is insulated from politics in general and politicians in particular.

While some believe such a force will be effective in tackling terror and other disasters, others fear that it could be another model on paper (like the Octopus) or a gimmick to cater to the whims and fancies of politicians.

Experts believe that such a squad needs the armour of sophisticated equipment like laser weapons and night vision glasses, advanced training and adequate funds for tackling terrorist attacks, bomb threats and hostage situations.

But what is the government plan so far? “Initially, a group of 200 SSG cadres for Hyderabad and Cyberabad and about 100 for Vishakapatnam will be required to guard the coastline. They will be equipped with the best equipment and will be trained along the lines of Greyhounds training but to fight urban terrorism. They will also deal with first response services like natural or manmade disasters when not engaged in combat,” says a senior police official, detailing the SSG exercise.

Impressive? Perhaps. But there are several suggestions that former senior officials would like to make from their numbers to their duties. “There is a need for a special force with a special purpose to work round the clock. A group of about 500 men should be raised and trained with special techniques to tackle urban terrorism like the firepower technique that enables terrorists to be flushed out without actually entering the room,” says former police commissioner R P Singh.

Most agree that such a special force would be available at short notice to respond to emergency situations. “The squad should be in a constant state of alert with, ideally, a response time of 30 minutes, unlike in Mumbai where it took the NSG a few hours to reach the spot. In order to do so, regional quarters must be set up to avoid any waste of time,” says former director general of police MV Bhaskar Rao. “The force should operate with focus and shouldn’t be given other jobs and misused for other purposes,” he adds.

Most cops however, admit, that this is a tall order given that even the high profile NSG is treated shoddily when it comes to equipment and protection gear, among other things.

However, it hasn’t stopped a handful from hoping that the SSG will be insulated from external influences, largely political. Others feel that it would be difficult to keep the two apart and with elections approaching chances are that they would be reduced to security guards of politicians. “Even if the squad is exclusively meant for a particular job it would always be under political influence,” feels former director general of police R K Ragala.

Bhaskar Rao adds for good measure, “Skilled black cat commandos are engaged to guard politicians in times of emergencies. This is a gross misuse of their abilities. Politicians should stop using police machinery for personal purposes.” He goes on to suggest that the move would be most effective if the government puts an act in place that specifies clearly the role of this new force and its functions.

Nevertheless, heads of prominent establishments in the city, particularly star hotels and multiplexes, welcome this initiative of the state government and say a highly trained and motivated force of individuals with the best of equipment is the need of the hour. “If two to four commandos visit the hotels on special occasions, even if they are in plain clothes, it makes a lot of difference. It would effectively convey the message across that there is high level security. Also they should be asked to take a tour of hotels so that they can get acclimatised to the surroundings and become familiar with their layout,” feels Veer Vijay Singh, president, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Andhra Pradesh.

“Although we undertake strict security checks we would still appreciate the functioning of a special security team as it would ensure extra protection,” T Srikanth, general manager (operation), Prasads Imax.

SSG not the first of its kind: Hyderabad has been on the target of terrorists since 1992, the year Babri Masjid was demolished. The following year in December the city witnessed a series of tiffin bomb blasts.

Also, in the early nineties the city police came to know about the infiltration of some Kashmiri militants and for the first time AK47 was used to gun down a Special Intelligence Bureau SP in Tolichowki area.

The city in 2005 experienced the first ever suicide bomb attack at no ordinary place but the Task Force headquarters of the city police. In 2007 the roots of the city were shaken when terrorists exploded three bombs, one in May at the historic Mecca Masjid, two in August at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat Bhandar, killing about 60 innocents.

For the last 16 years the police has been talking about the existence of terror modules, sleeping and otherwise, in the city. Besides, the city has also been on the hit list of Leftwing Extremists who have killed two senior IPS officers, in the same period in the city.

But the responses of the political leadership and police bosses have never been concrete. The politicians, cutting across party lines, have shown no comprehension of the magnitude of danger lurking over the city. The police, on the other hand, demonstrated little ability to read the writing on the wall and kept repeating the same old rhetoric of manpower crunch and budgetary constraints.

According to sources, between 1990 and 1993 when H J Dora was the city police commissioner he had announced the formation of City Guards. It was a team of 60 well trained boys that later fell to politicking in the police and the indifference of politicians. The City Guards exist no more.

Following last years’ bomb explosions, the government, after obtaining a comprehensive report from the then director general of police M A Basith and his team, had announced the formation of Octopus. At that time some senior officers had pessimistically said that the announcement was nothing more than cooling down the frayed public temper. Unfortunately, that pessimism turned out to be true.

Octopus, the elite force to fight urban terrorism, has strong components of operation and rescue teams. The Octopus plan envisages vigorous training and as well as high value weaponry for these teams. Why should the government waste taxpayers’ money in setting up a new force, State Security Guard, when it can revive the Octopus, internal security experts ask?

Another example of insensitivity of the ruling party and the top police echelons is the transfer of a battle-ready Greyhounds unit from Hyderabad to Gandipet and beyond.

According to a source one Greyhounds unit comprising about 30 highly skilled young men had always been kept ready at its former headquarters in Begumpet. The members of this unit can start leaving their location in their own special vehicles within five minutes of notice. The men in this unit have the training to secure an endangered place and tackle hostage situation. In spite of the IG Greyhounds insisting that the unit should be allowed to stay in some place in Hyderabad, the Director General gave it marching orders, sources said.

In a situation like this what is required on the part of politicians and the police officers is the understanding of the need to have a specialised force in the city to combat terrorists and raise it as quickly as possible. Only that kind of action would restore the faith of public, nothing less, analysts said.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

'Too Many Spooks Spoil The Case'

Liaquat Shah’s case is a symptom of the colossal anti-terror mess. Dozens of agencies, turf wars, power centres, crossed wires. Is the NCTC the answer?

On22 March New Delhi woke up and counted its blessings. Officers of the Delhi Police Special Cell claimed they had averted a major terror strike by arresting Hizbul Mujahideen commander Liaquat Shah on the Indo-Nepal border near Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. A cache of arms and ammunition, including AK rifles and grenades, too had allegedly been recovered from a guesthouse in old Delhi. As 24×7 news channels showed a haggard-looking man, shouting his innocence, in the grip of gun-toting Special Cell men, the National Capital Region and perhaps the whole country heaved a sigh of relief. Memories of the twin blasts that rocked Hyderabad on 21 February were still fresh in their minds.

The police claimed that Liaquat, a resident of Kupwara in Jammu & Kashmir, had slipped into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in 1997 and received arms training. They said Liaquat had returned to oversee a terror attack to avenge the hanging of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

The terror story ruled the airwaves for a few hours before it exploded in Delhi Police’s face. As soon as news of Liaquat’s arrest went public, his family and the J&K Police debunked Delhi Police’s claims. According to the J&K Police, Liaquat was a reformed militant coming home to start a new life. His relatives claimed they had notified the cops on 5 February 2011 about Liaquat’s planned surrender. The route that he had taken, entering India through Nepal, is the most preferred one for reformed militants and many who availed of the state’s surrender policy had used it.

J&K Police also claimed that two policemen had gone to Gorakhpur to pick up 9-10 people, including Liaquat, and had kept the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Delhi Police in the loop. When the handover happened, the J&K Police allege that the Delhi Police didn’t allow them to take Liaquat into custody. Two days later, he was paraded as a terror mastermind.

However, a Delhi Police officer begged to differ and made some counter-claims.

• If the J&K Police had received the surrender application in February 2011, then why did they file an FIR against Liaquat in March for waging war against the nation?
• Why is the J&K Police refusing to reveal the identity of the two personnel who had gone to pick up the contingent?

The Delhi cop also wondered whether his colleagues were foolish enough to jeopardise an operation in which both the IB and the J&K Police were kept in the loop.

The Kashmir Valley, which was already reeling under curfews imposed after Guru’s hanging, erupted in protest. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was quick to remind the Centre that Liaquat’s arrest might deal a big blow to its flagship programme aimed at bringing back reformed militants who had crossed over to POK. PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti added that Kashmiris are nabbed without evidence and treated as fodder for rewards and medals.

Two days after Omar made the demand, the Union home ministry announced that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) will probe the curious case of Liaquat.

This is not the first time such claims and counter-claims have exposed the lack of coordination between various intelligence agencies. And it won’t be the last.

As a home ministry official puts it, “Intelligence agencies have a ruthless desire to put one’s interest before everything and make sure they get all the credit. The nation’s interest can go to hell for all they care.”

So, how does one explain Liaquat’s arrest? Was it due to a bad intelligence input or an insatiable greed on the part of the security agencies to have a terror arrest against their names so that their annual confidential report looks good? There are close to 23 security agencies, 35 state anti-terror cells and special units operating in India on hundreds of cases in which people have been branded as terrorists, only to be found innocent after a trial extending from five years to eternity. By that time, the officer concerned has moved on in his life, with a gallantry medal pinned on his chest for exemplary courage. INN has relentlessly chronicled the plight of such innocents, who were falsely implicated. INN has also tracked the alarming chaos and difficulties faced by India’s anti-terror establishment. 

When P Chidambaram took over as home minister after the 26/11 attacks, it was seen as a welcome relief. He touted the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) as a magic wand that will rid Indian intelligence agencies of their turf wars. Four years later, the NCTC has turned out to be the biggest bone of contention between the Centre and the states. The fate of Chidambaram’s pet project will be known at the internal security meeting of the chief ministers to be held in Delhi on 15 April. So, with the NCTC’s dilution, are we once again taking one step forward and two steps back in the fight against terror?

“If everybody in the intelligence community had shared inputs, 70 percent of the terror attacks would not have taken place,” says an intelligence officer. “But then, given the stakes involved, it is also asking for the impossible.” This sums up the attitude of the intelligence agencies, who are busy fighting a turf war rather than the war against terror.

When two blasts rocked Dilsukhnagar, a crowded locality in Hyderabad, on 23 February, terror made its first visit to India in 2013. The twin blasts killed 17 people and injured more than 100. What followed was something that has played out again and again after every terror attack.

Within no time, the Union home ministry issued a statement that it had shared intelligence inputs with the Andhra Pradesh government, which they “failed” to assess and act upon. Not wanting to be left out of the action, Delhi Police Special Cell officers told friendly journalists that two Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives had confessed in late 2012 that Dilsukhnagar was one of the areas where they had done a recce. The officers claimed they had passed on the information. But the AP Police rubbished those claims, saying the intel inputs were not that specific.

Forty-eight hours later, the NIA took over the probe. A crucial piece of information emerged when CCTV footage revealed a man visiting the spot on a bicycle. He was seen leaving a bag and fleeing just minutes before the blasts. Going by the modus operandi, the NIA suspect that IM operatives Tabrez and Waqas, who were part of the 13/7 Mumbai attack, had a hand in this operation as well.

However, 12 days before the blasts, something interesting had happened in Mumbai. On 11 February, the Mumbai Anti- Terror Squad (ATS) had announced a reward of 10 lakh each for information on four IM operatives alleged to be behind various terror strikes across India in the past couple of years, including the 2012 Pune blasts. They were Yasin Bhatkal, the founder-leader of IM and one of India’s most-wanted terrorists, Asadullah Akhtar alias Tabrez, Waqas alias Ahmed and Tahseen alias Raju bhai. For a long time it was believed that Tabrez and Waqas were Pakistanis, but the Mumbai ATS claimed that they were, in fact, Indians.

But the Mumbai ATS failed to disclose that had it not been for a major goof-up, involving the Delhi Police, IB and Mumbai ATS, three out of the four IM operatives would have been behind bars and maybe the lives of the 16 people in Hyderabad could have been saved.

Chronicles of a Terror Foretold
Five cases where lack of coordination among the security agencies cost the country dear 

1. Hyderabad 2013 The 21 February blasts in Hyderabad could have been averted if the Mumbai Police had not arrested Naqi Ahmed Wasi in January 2012. Wasi, a Delhi Police informer, was on the verge of leading the police to Indian Mujahideen operatives Waqas and Tabrez, when he was nabbed for his alleged role in the 2011 serial blasts that rocked Mumbai. Security agencies suspect that Waqas and Tabrez were instrumental in the Hyderabad blasts

2. Kolkata 2009 Indian Mujahideen founder-leader Yasin Bhatkal was arrested by the Kolkata Police in 2009 on charges of carrying fake currency. But he was set free after only a month in jail as he could convince the police that his arrest was a case of mistaken identity. Unfortunately, the police had no way of cross-checking with a national database

3. Mumbai 2008 Despite having concrete intelligence, the investigators could not join the dots, leading to audacious terror attacks on 26/11. The Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) knew of the training and sea movements of Lashkare- Toiba terrorists and the IB had a list of 35 cell phone numbers, but those leads were not pursued. The role of the Mumbai ATS also came under the scanner for its inability to access the information

4. Kargil 1999 The IB had 45 specific intelligence inputs. The most concrete input received in June 1998 said that Pakistan was building bunkers, but it was not shared with everybody. The then RAW chief Girish Saxena was livid enough to put his displeasure on record, saying that the turf war had cost the country dear

5. Purulia 1995 In the Purulia arms drop case, where automatic weapons and ammunition were dropped from an aircraft in West Bengal to be used by a militant group, RAW had the information at least a week prior to the incident. “We gave the information to the home ministry 4-5 days in advance. The ministry sent it by registered post to Calcutta,” says a former RAW official

On 20 November 2011, the Delhi Police Special Cell announced that they had busted a homegrown terror module and arrested six people. They were Mohd Qateel Siddiqi, Mohd Irshad Khan, Gauhar Aziz Khomani, Gayur Ahmed Jamali and Abdul Rahman (all from Bihar) and Mohd Adil (from Karachi). This module was allegedly behind the terror attacks at German Bakery in Pune, Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru and the Jama Masjid in Delhi.

It was a joint operation by the Delhi Police Special Cell and the IB, but what was not revealed in the press conference was the identity of the seventh person, Naqi Ahmed Wasi Shaikh, who was also arrested. Naqi was a resident of Darbhanga district in Bihar and owned a leather-processing unit in Byculla, Mumbai.

Naqi told the Special Cell that he knew about the hideout of Bhatkal and two other IM operatives in Mumbai and could lead the police to it. Though Bhatkal and his accomplice had vacated the place, they were yet to collect their advance of 1 lakh. The Special Cell had put the phone line of Rubina, the landlady, on surveillance. On 1 January, they got a lucky breakthrough when one of the “Pakistanis” made a call to Rubina, who asked him to call back in an hour. The suspect called after three hours but Rubina told him that she needed more time to return the money. The call was traced to a phone booth in Dadar. The sleuths were confident that they were on the verge of effecting a big breakthrough.

On 23 January, the Mumbai ATS announced to the world that they have arrested two people from Bihar in connection with the 13/7 Mumbai blasts. One of them was Naqi. A stunned Special Cell then leaked the news that Naqi was their informer, triggering a war of words between the Special Cell and Mumbai ATS. The moment Naqi’s arrest was made public, all the clues simply disappeared.

This is touted as a classic case of how lack of coordination, inflated egos and the constant game of one-upmanship are compromising the fight against terror.

However, this was not the only embarrassing story that emerged out of that breakthrough. During the course of interrogation, the revelations made by Mohd Irshad stunned and embarrassed the Delhi Police. Irshad told them that Bhatkal had lived in New Delhi for 8-9 months in 2011.

Bhatkal was married to Irshad’s daughter and was living in the industrial belt of Meer Vihar, in west Delhi’s Nangloi area. When the police raided the area, they found a small ordnance and weapon factory. The locals told police that Irshad and Bhatkal mostly kept to themselves and didn’t interact much with others. The police believe that Bhatkal was in the city even after the 2011 Delhi High Court blast.

But if you thought that the intelligence agencies’ tryst with embarrassment and Bhatkal ended here, think again.

In late 2008, on an alert given by the IB, the Kolkata Special Task Force busted a fake currency racket and arrested Bhatkal. He claimed that he was Mohammad Ashraf from Darbhanga in Bihar and showed a voter’s ID card as proof. The address and other information checked out to be true. After a month in jail, he was let off.

However, when the footage of the German Bakery blast was released by the IB, the Kolkata Police was shocked to find that the person they thought was a petty thief was India’s most-wanted terrorist.

Intelligence officers and security experts agree that in cases like these, if even a little cooperation is extended, big results can be achieved. Bhatkal is not the only case where lack of coordination botched up the case, it’s just the latest.

“The 2006 Mumbai train blast is yet another example of how the lack of coordination led to this situation,” says a senior IB officer. “RAW was aware of the movement of the LeT module, which came to do the recce, and even the IB knew this. However, none of them shared the information with the higher-ups and therefore a golden chance was lost to prevent that attack.”

Months before the 1999 Kargil War, the IB had 45 specific intelligence inputs. In June 1998, the IB had intelligence that Pakistan was building bunkers but they did not share the information with anyone. The result was there for everyone to see.

The disconnect is also illustrated by Riyazuddin Nasir’s arrest. In 2008, a sub-inspector in Bengaluru saw Nasir carrying several car number plates and enquired about it. Unable to get a satisfactory reply, he booked him under a vehicle theft case. In a chance encounter, the SP crosschecked Nasir’s details with the IB, and found that they had arrested one of the country’s most-dreaded terrorists.
Even the 26/11 attacks, one of the most audacious that the country has ever seen, is not without its share of goof-ups.

“We had a lot of information about 26/11 and that too well in advance,” says SD Pradhan, former chairman, Joint Intelligence Committee and former deputy National Security Adviser (NSA). “In 2006, RAW knew that 150 LeT men were undergoing training in water tactics. In June 2008, we got inputs that the Taj Mahal hotel and Leopold Café were going to be attacked. But the biggest problem was that these inputs were with different agencies — RAW or IB or DIA. In mid-November, another input was given to the Coast Guard, Indian Navy and the Mumbai Police that 10-12 people were coming towards Mumbai from Karachi. They scanned the coast but didn’t find anything. Another alert was sounded on 19 November, but they thought they had already checked. There was plenty of intelligence to be acted upon. If only somebody had connected the dots.” Even these inputs were not shared with the NSA.

Incredibly, highly-placed sources have told INN that the cell phone numbers used by the 10 LeT terrorists were available with the IB at least five days before the attacks. The sources shared the contents of a ‘secret’ note that mentioned 35 cell phone numbers. Of the 35 SIM cards, 32 had been bought from Kolkata and three from New Delhi by LeT’s “overground workers”, and sent to POK by mid-November. The precise contents of the ‘secret’ note could not have been more direct. “The numbers given below have been acquired from Kolkata by overground workers and have been sent through Pakistan-trained militants based in Kashmir to POK,” the note said. “These numbers are likely to emerge in other parts of the country… and need to be monitored and the information taken from these numbers regarding the contents of the conversation and call detail records are required for further developing the information. The monitoring is possible at Kolkata.”

Sources reveal that this crucial piece of information was received by the IB on 21 November, at least five days before Ajmal Kasab and his nine accomplices got off the inflatable dinghies on the evening of 26/11. Both the prime minister and the home minister were aware that the numbers were available, but they were not being monitored. The lapse is all the more critical because at least three of the 32 numbers contained in the secret note were the exact same cell numbers that the terrorists used to keep in touch with their handlers in Pakistan. It is possible that the terrorists only activated their cell phone numbers after reaching Mumbai but why were the numbers not put under surveillance despite the knowledge that they had been sent to terrorists in POK?

Former Uttar Pradesh DGP Prakash Singh agrees that had a national commission like the one formed by the US after 9/11 been appointed by India after 26/11, several heads would have rolled.

After 26/11, the then home minister Shivraj Patil resigned and Chidambaram took charge and advocated the NCTC’s formation. However, the plan ran into rough weather. It was scuttled by at least seven non-Congress CMs. The biggest stumbling block proved to be the NCTC’s power structure. That it would be reporting to the IB director and have the power to arrest people without informing the local police made non-Congress CMs see red. After stiff objection, the Centre decided to place the NCTC under the home ministry and clarified that whenever any arrest is made, it will inform the local police. Besides, the DGPs of respective states will be on the NCTC board, so that any action will have their consent or be in their knowledge.

When Sushil Kumar Shinde took over, he sounded out a conciliatory message that until all the CMs’ concerns are addressed, the NCTC won’t become a reality.

Experts like Pradhan feel that since the Indian model of NCTC has been borrowed lock, stock and barrel from the US, there was no need for Chidambaram to change it. The US NCTC makes it abundantly clear that the agency will have no power to arrest or assume operational responsibilities. “The NCTC is a very powerful body. The states are legitimately worried. Only the KGB had the power to arrest and needless to add, it was grossly misused,” he says.

VK Singh, former Joint Secretary (technical wing), RAW, narrates how multiple agencies work at cross-purposes. “After I took over, I had a chat with the army. We knew what equipment the Pakistan and Chinese forces were using and I offered to exchange information. When I told my superiors, they didn’t buy the idea.

“The aim of the NTRO (National Technical Research Organisation) was to bring all technical resources under one umbrella. Everyone is doing the same job, monitoring radio or microwave link. Besides duplication, it’s resulting in a wastage of effort. The aim almost became a reality during APJ Abdul Kalam’s time but RAW refused to play ball. The IB and army also did the same and we were back to square one.”

But former RAW chief Vikram Sood questions the very need for NCTC. “Whenever we are in a crisis, we create a new agency,” he says. “After 1962, we had the ARC and SSF. After the Mizo mess in 1965- 66, we created RAW. In 1971, we won the Bangladesh war, so nothing was created.

In 1999, after Kargil, we created the NTRO. After 26/11, the NCTC proposal came up, which has still not taken shape. Have you thought through the concept? It has to be a bottoms-up, not a top-down system.”

A serving senior IB officer agrees with the potential of misuse. “Even in the IB, there are various stories of misuse,” he says. “After 1977, the Shah Commission had documented the IB’s misuse during Emergency, and this is when the agency didn’t have any power to arrest. So you can understand the fear of these states when the powers of arrest and independent investigation are given to the IB.”

Security experts are also of the opinion that instead of creating more bureaucratic hurdles and agencies, the government should concentrate on beefing up the existing system. “How will the NCTC be helpful in preventing attacks?” asks noted security expert Ajai Sahni. “Show me anything the NCTC brings to the table that does not already exist in the IB or the Multi- Agency Centre (MAC). All they are doing is cannibalising existing institutions to create a new and weak institution. In a country with 1.2 billion people, how can you be successful when you have barely 300-400 people committed to anti-terror intelligence gathering in the IB?”

The crippling shortage of manpower in the IB is also manifest in the response of Minister of State, Home, RPN Singh in the Rajya Sabha on 12 February. Reflecting the apparent state of disarray, he said, “Despite a sanctioned strength of 26,867, the IB has only 18,795 personnel. Nearly 1,500 slots in the deputation quota could not be filled due to non-availability of suitable officers.”

The figures mean the IB is functioning with only 70 percent of the required manpower and the gap is increasing every year. The minister added that the “actual induction figures are much less because many selected candidates don’t turn up”.

But experts like Prakash Singh are in favour of setting up the NCTC as they feel that without it the individual agencies will keep indulging in turf wars. “If the states feel that the NCTC is encroaching on their territory, then why do they ask for Central forces after terror attacks?”

Intelligence experts also question the need for vesting investigative powers with the NCTC when the NIA already exists. The NIA was created in 2008 to ensure that all terror-related investigations are streamlined. Four years later, the NIA is still grappling with internal issues. The government’s seriousness about its creation can be gauged from the fact that the agency was initially operating out of a shopping mall in south Delhi. The agency also got a taste of the turf war during the probe into the 2011 Delhi High Court blast when the police was left fuming after the home ministry transferred the case to the NIA.

“A major flaw in the current proposal is that the sub-structures needed for the NCTC’s functioning have not been included,” says Pradhan. “It must be understood that the mere creation of the NCTC won’t suffice. Unless the sub-structures are created at the state and district levels, it won’t be able to function efficiently.

“There is a need to create district-level collation centres (under district police chiefs) for examining the collected inputs from thanas, which are needed for counter- terrorism. Such inputs should be sent to the subsidiary MACs for examination and integrating related information. These centres should be chaired by the state DGs to ensure that they are fully aware of the developments and place their resources for further action or developments of leads.”

Following the outrage over Liaquat’s arrest, the Centre has announced a new policy framework for the rehabilitation of surrendered militants, as the arrest is seen as a symbol of the lack of coordination among security agencies. In the coming months, the Centre is expected to consult with the states to firm up the policy.

Friday, May 31, 2013

WILL 'MARUTI' BECOME 'TATA MOTORS' IN GUJARAT?

By Poonam Mondal / Ahmedabad

Narendra Modi’s political strategy may be working wonders for him, but definitely not his business strategy.

According to a report, discontent is brewing in 44 villages covering 126,000 acres of land in the Mandal Becharaji belt, which has been notified as special investment region (SIR).

SIRs are similar to special economic zones, but units established here are not just export-oriented. Apart from commercial and industrial units, such regions can also house residential areas and offer logistic connectivity.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Special Report: The Great Drain Robbery

India has lost nearly a half-trillion dollars in illegal financial flows out of the country, says a new study by Global Financial Integrity. P Sainath writes.

India is losing nearly Rs.240 crores every 24 hours, on average, in illegal financial flows out of the country. The nation lost $213 billion (roughly Rs.9.7 lakh crores) in illegal capital flight between 1948 and 2008. However, over $125 billion (Rs.5.7 lakh crores) of that was lost in just this decade between 2000-2008, according to a study by Global Financial Integrity (GFI). These "illicit financial flows," says GFI, "were generally the product of corruption, bribery and kickbacks, criminal activities and efforts to shelter wealth from a country's tax authorities."


GFI is a programme of the Center for International Policy, Washington D.C. It is a non-profit research and advocacy body that "promotes national and multilateral policies, safeguards, and agreements aimed at curtailing the cross-border flow of illegal money."
In just five years from 2004-08 alone, the country lost roughly Rs.4.3 lakh crores to such outflows. That is - nearly two and a half times the value of the 2G telecom scam now exercising Parliament and the media. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) pegs the 2G scam at almost Rs.1.8 lakh crores.

Accounting for the rate of return on those illegal outflows, the present value of that $213 billion reaches $462 billion (Rs.21 lakh crores) says GFI. Astonishingly, over $96 billion of that amount left the country between 2004 and 2008. As the report's author, Dev Kar, says, "India is losing capital at an average rate of $19.3 billion per annum ... India can ill afford to ignore such a loss of capital."

As the report puts it: "Had India managed to avoid this staggering loss of capital, the country could have paid off its outstanding external debt of $230.6 billion (as of end-2008) and have another half left over for poverty alleviation and economic development."

At the 2004-08 pace (if it has not gone up), the economy is haemorrhaging at a rate of nearly Rs.240 crores every day on average. And even the total $462 billion, says GFI Director Raymond W. Baker in a letter prefacing the report, is "a conservative estimate. It does not include smuggling, certain forms of trade mispricing and gaps in available statistics." Factor these in, and "it is entirely reasonable to estimate that more than a half-trillion dollars have drained from India since independence."

The study
The GFI study is titled "The Drivers and Dynamics of Illicit Financial Flows from India: 1948-2008." Authored by Dr. Kar, formerly a senior economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and now Lead Economist at the GFI, it defines 'illicit flows' as "comprised of funds that are illegally earned, transferred, or utilised - if laws were broken in the origin, movement, or use of the funds then they are illicit." Such fund transfers are not recorded in the country of origin for they typically violate that nation's laws and banking regulations.

So massive are these illegal outflows, says the study, that the "total capital flight represents approximately 16.6 per cent of India's GDP as of year-end 2008." Its estimate falls far short of the $1.4 trillion figure cited in the India media prior to the 2009 general elections. But, says the report, "the figure still represents a staggering loss of capital." Illegal flight of capital, it says, "worsens income distribution, reduces the effectiveness of external aid, and hampers economic development."

That does seem an obvious outcome in a country where according to the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS), 836 million human beings live spending Rs.20 a day or less.

The illegal outflows also account for most of India's parallel economy. "The total value of (such) illicit assets held abroad represents about 72 per cent of the size of India's underground economy which has been estimated at 50 per cent of India's GDP (or about $640 billion at end-2008) by several researchers. This implies that only about 28 per cent of illicit assets of India's underground economy are held domestically." It also strengthens arguments that "the desire to amass wealth without attracting government attention is one of the primary motivations behind the cross-border transfer of illicit capital."

The GFI study makes two vital points amongst others that will surely stoke ongoing debates in the country. One: the drain bloated massively in the era of economic liberalisation and reforms starting with 1991. Two: "High net-worth individuals and private companies were found to be the primary drivers of illicit flows out of India's private sector." Conversely, "India's underground economy is also a significant driver of illicit financial flows."

Tax havens
As Mr. Baker says: "What is clear is that, during the post-reform period of 1991-2008, deregulation and trade liberalisation have accelerated the outflow of illicit money from the Indian economy. The opportunities for trade mispricing have grown, and expansion of the global shadow financial system accommodates hot money, particularly in island tax havens.
"Disguised corporations situated in secrecy jurisdictions enable billions of dollars shifting out of India to "round trip," coming back into short and long-term investments, often with the intention of generating unrecorded transfers again in a self-reinforcing cycle." Interestingly, the points about high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and corporates and 'mispricing' take the debate way beyond the clichéd 'corrupt politician' explanation.

Lauds reform
The report, while stressing these factors, says that given the limitations of available data, it found "scant evidence that imprudent macroeconomic policies drove illicit flows from the country." It lauds the post 1991-reform era. And praises Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for launching "India's free market reforms that saved the country," in its view, "from financial ruin and placed it on a path to sustained economic growth." On the role of macroeconomic policies in the outflows, it says there is yet work to be done, data to be generated.

But its own evidence on how the outflows escalated post-1991 is pretty damning. And India's liberalisation itself - in which period the GFI study records the greatest drain - was about a sea change in macroeconomic policies. The study notes a rise in inequality in the reform period. And acknowledges, in its summary, that "A more skewed distribution of income implies that there are many more HNWIs in India now than ever before." It implies that governance issues, deregulation without new oversight and a complex web of other factors were more to blame.

GFI calls for measures that would require country-by-country reporting of sales, profits and taxes paid by multinational corporations. It recommends India should curb 'trade mispricing.' Because "transfers of illicit capital through trade mispricing account for 77.6 per cent of total outflows from India over the period 1948-2008." It advises steps that would require automatic cross-border exchange of tax information on personal and business accounts. And actions that would harmonise vital matters under anti-money laundering laws across nations.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Unholy 'Nexus' Between India Inc ‘Electoral Trusts’

By Debayan Das | Kolkata

SPECIAL REPORT Money can't really decide elections. But why does India's poll finance remain so murky? An intriguing paradox of contemporary Indian politics has been insufficiently noted: corporate India finances India's elections, substantially if not wholly, but it is unable to determine election outcomes. Money matters, but it is not always electorally decisive.

By now, it has become a well known fact that Electoral Trusts play a very significant role in the funding of both national and regional political parties that make use of these funds. And now, as the general election of 2014 is knocking on the door, the number of electoral trusts, set up by the top corporate houses, is also getting bigger.