India Scams Sheet 1947 - 2010

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 01 January 2011 | Posted in , , ,

By Ajay Chandras Astrologer

Greed, graft, politics, bribery, dirty money. Just another day in the life of a nation still rated among the most corrupt in the world. Scan the scams that have grabbed headlines, destroyed reputations and left many people poorer.

Jeep Purchase (1948) – Free India's corruption graph begins. V. K. Krishna Menon, then the Indian high commissioner to Britain, bypassed protocol to sign a deal worth Rs 80 lakh with a foreign firm for the purchase of army jeeps. The case was closed in 1955 and soon after Menon joined the Nehru cabinet.

Cycle Imports (1951) – S.A. Venkataraman, then the secretary, ministry of commerce and industry, was jailed for accepting a bribe in lieu of granting a cycle import quota to a company.

BHU Funds (1956) – In one of the first instances of corruption in educational institutions, Benaras Hindu University officials were accused of misappropriation of funds worth Rs 50 lakh.

Mundhra Scandal (1957) – It was the media that first hinted there might be a scam involving the sale of shares to LIC, Feroz Gandhi sources the confidential correspondence between the then Finance Minister T.T. Krishnamachari and his principal finance secretary, and raised a question in Parliament on the sale of 'fraudulent' shares to LIC by a Calcutta-based Marwari businessman named Haridas Mundhra. The then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, set up a one-man commission headed by Justice M.C.Chagla to investigate the matter when it becomes evident that there was a prima facie case. Chagla concluded that Mundhra had sold fictitious shares to LIC, thereby defrauding the insurance behemoth to the tune of Rs. 1.25 crore. Mundhra was sentenced to 22 years in prison. The scam also forced the resignation of T.T.Krishnamachari.

Teja Loans Scam (1960) – Shipping magnate Jayant Dharma Teja took loans worth Rs 22 crore to establish the Jayanti Shipping Company. In 1960, the authorities discovered that he was actually siphoning off money to his own account, after which Teja fled the country.

Kairon Scam (1963) – Pratap Singh Kairon became the first Indian chief minister to be accused of abusing his power for his own benefit and that of his sons and relatives. He quit a year later.

Patnaik's Own Goal (1965) – Orissa Chief Minister Biju Patnaik was forced to resign after it was discovered that he had favoured his privately-held company Kalinga Tubes in awarding a government contract.

Maruti Scandal (1974) – Well before the company was set up, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's name came up in the first Maruti scandal, where her son Sanjay Gandhi was favoured with a license to make passenger cars.

Solanki Exposé (1992) – At the World Economic Forum, Madhavsinh Solanki, then the external affairs minister, slipped a letter to his Swiss counterpart asking their government to stop the probe into the Bofors kickbacks. Solanki resigned when India Today broke the story.

Kuo Oil Deal (1976) – The Indian Oil Corporation signed an Rs 2.2-crore oil contract with a non-existent firm in Hong Kong and a kickback was given. The petroleum and chemicals minister was directed to make the purchase.

Antulay Trust (1981) – With the exposure of this scandal concerning A.R. Antulay, then the chief minister of Maharashtra, The Indian Express was reborn. Antulay had garnered Rs 30 crore from businesses dependent on state resources like cement and kept the money in a private trust.

HDW Commissions (1987) – HDW, the German submarine maker, was blacklisted after allegations that commissions worth Rs 20 crore had been paid. In 2005, the case was finally closed, in HDW's favour.

Bofors Pay-Off (1987) – A Swedish firm was accused of paying Rs 64 crore to Indian bigwigs, including Rajiv Gandhi, then the prime minister, to secure the purchase of the Bofors gun.

St Kitts Forgery (1989) – An attempt was made to sully V.P. Singh's Mr Clean image by forging documents to allege that he was a beneficiary of his son Ajeya Singh's account in the First Trust Corp. at St Kitts, with a deposit of $21 million.

Airbus Scandal (1990) – Indian Airlines's (IA) signing of the Rs 2,000-crore deal with Airbus instead of Boeing caused a furore following the crash of an A-320. New planes were grounded, causing IA a weekly loss of Rs 2.5 crore.

Securities Scam (1992) – Harshad Mehta manipulated banks to siphon off money and invested the funds in the stock market, leading to a crash. The loss: Rs 5,000 crore.

Indian Bank Rip-off (1992) – Aided by M. Gopalakrishnan, then the chairman of the Indian Bank, borrowers-mostly small corporates and exporters from the south-were lent a total of over Rs 1,300 crore, which they never paid back.

Sugar Import (1994) – As food minister, Kalpnath Rai presided over the import of sugar at a price higher than that of the market, causing a loss of Rs 650 crore to the exchequer. He resigned following the allegations.

MS Shoes Scam (1994) – Anyone who war old enough in 1994 to read will remember the advertisements- tens of them intriguingly headlined: 'Who is Pawan Sachdeva?' For the record, it was the peak of the public issued-led advertising boom and the ads were created by the Delhi branch of Rediffusion. Sachdeva, the promoter of MS Shoes, allegedly used company funds to buy shares (of his own company) and rig prices, prior to a public issue. He is alleged to have colluded with officials in the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and SBI Caps, which lead-managed the issue, to dupe the public into investing in his Rs. 699-crore public-***-rights issue. Sachdeva was later acquitted

JMM Bribes (1995) – Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Shailendra Mahato testified that he and three party members received bribes of Rs 30 lakh to bail out the P.V. Narasimha Rao government in the 1993 no-confidence motion.

In a Pickle (1996) – Pickle baron Lakhubhai Pathak raised a stink when he accused former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and godman Chandraswami of accepting a bribe of Rs 10 lakh from him for securing a paper pulp contract.

Telecom Scam (1996) – Former minister of state for communication Sukh Ram was accused of causing a loss of Rs 1.6 crore to the exchequer by favouring a Hyderabad- based private firm in the purchase of telecom equipment. He, along with two others, was convicted in 2002.

Fodder Scam (1996) – The accountant general's concerns about the withdrawal of excess funds by Bihar's animal husbandry department unveiled a Rs 950-crore scam involving Lalu Prasad Yadav, then the state chief minister. He resigned a year later.

Urea Deal (1996) – C.S. Ramakrishnan, MD, National Fertiliser, and a group of businessmen close to the P.V. Narasimha Rao regime fleeced the government and took Rs 133 crore from the import of two lakh tonne of urea, which was never delivered.

Hawala Diaries (1996) – The scandal surfaced following CBI raids on hawala operators in Delhi in 1991. But it was S.K. Jain's diaries that had heads rolling.

CRB Scam (1997) – Another scam forged by greed and discovered through accident. Chain Roop Bhansali, a smart-talking entrepreneur, created a pyramid financial empire based on high-cost financing. At its peak, his Rs. 1,000-crore financial conglomerate had in its ranks a mutual fund, a financial services company into fixed deposits, and a merchant bank. That Bhansali knew how to work the system became evident when he also managed to secure a provisional banking license. Then his luck ran out. An executive in the State Bank of India Inadvertently discovered that some interest warrants issued by Bhansali were not backed by cash. The bubble finally burst in May 1997, but by that time investors had lost over Rs. 1,000 crore. This was among the first retail scams in India and it was played out, in smaller avatars, across the country-especially in the South where financial services companies promised returns in excess of 20 per cent and decamped with the principal. Bhansali was arrested for a few weeks and released later on bail.

Mehta's Second Coming (1998) – The Big Bull returned to the bourses. This time, he allegedly colluded with the promoters of BPL, Videocon International, and Sterile Industries to rig the share prices of these companies. The inevitable collapse happened sooner than planned, Harshad Mehta orchestrated a cover-up operation that included a high=jinks effort by officials of Bombay Stock Exchange to (illegally ) open the trading system in the middle of the night to set things right, but the damage had been done. SEBI finally passed its ruling on the scam in 2001, banning the three companies concerned from tapping the market-BPL, for two years. Mehta was debarred for life form dealing in Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) in October 2001

Vanishing Companies Scam (1998) – A passing remark heard by then Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram resulted in a furore over what was badly-kept secret on Dalal street. Chidambaram was told that hundreds of companies had disappeared after raising moneys form the public. An informal scrutiny revealed that perhaps over 600 companies were missing. Chidambaram ordered a probe by SEBI. The SEBI probe conducted in May 1998 revealed that while many companies are not traded on the bourses at least 80 companies that had rises Rs.330.78 crore were simply missing. Later that year, the Department of Company Affairs (DCA) was asked to probe and penalize these companies. DCA still investigating. Investigations continue to this day.

Plantation Companies Scam (1999) – It was as innovative a swindle as any effected in the world. Savvy entrepreneurs convinced gullible investors that given the right irrigation and fertilizer inputs, teak, strawberries, and anything else that could be grown, would grow anywhere in the country. The promoters could afford to collect money from investors and not worry about retribution (or returns, for that matter). For, plantation companies fell under the purview of neither SEBI nor Reserve Bank of India. Indeed, they didn't even come under the scope of the Department decided to change things in 1999, enough investors had been gulled: 653 companies, between them, had raised Rs. 2,563 crore from investors. To date, not many investors have got their principals back, just another affirmation of the old saying about money not growing on trees.

Match Fixing (2000) – Mohammed Azharuddin, till then India's cricket captain, was accused of match-fixing. He and Ajay Sharma were banned from playing, while Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar were suspended for five years.

Ketan Pareks Scam (2001) – Ketan Parekh's modus operandi wasn't very different from Harshad Mehta's. If Mehta used banker's receipts, then Parekh used pay orders to ramp up the prices of his favourite scrips (the K-10). Apart from money form the banking system Parekh also rerouted money from corporated like HFCL (Rs. 425 crore), and Zee (Rs. 340 crore) to good effect. He was caught when pay-orders issued by Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank bounced. Although the total amount involved in the scam was just Rs. 137 crore, the impact was far greater.

Apparently, when a bear cartel sensed Parekh was in trouble, it stepped in and leveraged a dip in the NASDAQ to bear down stock prices. The resultant slump in the markets happened soon after Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha presented what he considered his best budget ever. Under pressure from the government, SEBI investigated the scam and heads began to roll. Among them: the entire management team of BSE, including its president Anand Rathi, CSFB, First Global, and, in an indirect connection, P.S.Subramanyam, the Chairman of UTL Evidently, for the 18 months that PSS was Chairman of UTI, the Trust had mirrored the actions of the bull cartel. The result? When the market tanked, so did the NAV of its holy cow, the US-64.

Tehelka Sting (2001) – Tehelka, an online news portal, used spycams to catch army officers and politicians accepting bribes, in their sting operation called Operation Westend. Investigative journalism turned another corner in the country.

Stockmarket Scam (2001) – The mayhem that wiped off over Rs 1,15,000 crore in the markets in March 2001 was masterminded by the Pentafour bull Ketan Parekh. He was arrested in December 2002 and banned from acccessing the capital market for 14 years.

Home Trade Scam (2002) – Under the pretext of gilt trading, Rs 600 crore was swindled from over 25 cooperative banks in Maharashtra and Gujarat by a Navi Mumbai-based brokerage firm Home Trade. Sanjay Agarwal, CEO of the firm, was arrested in May 2002.

Stamp Paper Scam (2003) – The sheer magnitude of the racket was shocking-it caused a loss of Rs 30,000 crore to the exchequer. Disclosures of the mastermind behind it, Abdul Karim Telgi, implicated top police officers and bureaucrats.

Oil-for-Food Scandal (2005) – K. Natwar Singh was unceremoniously dropped from the Cabinet when his name surfaced in the Volcker Report on the Iraq oil-for-food scam.

2010 Scams – Radia, Raja and more .... We all know that .... :)

YOU CAN ADD TO THE LIST.- I just lost count !!!

"Vande Mataram" - Mera Bharat Mahaan!!

[Ajay Chandras Astrologer is the Founder of Delhi Astrology Center. He can be reached at ajaychandras1@gmail.com]

In Saudi Arabia, 'no Arabic, mafi mushkila'

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Jeddah: A simmering issue that has been in the backburner is slowly seeing the light with many locals wondering why most non-Arab expatriates either do not know Arabic, or speak only a smattering of Arabic words picked up at random, which — although sound gibberish to the purist — does enable them to at least communicate.

There are reasons for the apathy to learning Arabic, despite many having spent years working in the kingdom. Reasons cited by the non-Arab expatriate community include claims of finding the language difficult and an absence of Arabic schools or institutions. Many, on the other hand, are simply not keen to learn the language.

As a result, many non-Arabic speaking expatriates rely on English as their chosen language of communication, something that Saudis find strange, especially when these expatriates have been living in the kingdom for over 10 years.

The major obstacle, according to the non-Arabic speaking expatriate community, is a lack of institutions that provide short courses in Arabic that would suit working people. Although some Saudi universities do teach Arabic to non-Arabic students, most of this teaching is done at specialist universities that cater to full-time religious students.

There are also some private institutions that teach Arabic. However, non-Arabic speaking expatriates are either unaware of them, or they do not enroll because of exorbitant fees. One person who did make an attempt to join found that the program was poorly thought out and would not have benefited him.

Arab News contacted 905 phone directory to inquire about Arabic language institutes. The phone operator told Arab News that there was nothing in the system and he could only be of assistance if we could provide a name of an institution to search in his database.

The paper also contacted various English language institutes to find out if they also teach Arabic. All of them said that they only teach English and are not planning to run Arabic classes in the future.

In addition, a computer and language institute, when contacted, also confirmed that they only provide Arabic language classes for company employees.

A Saudi, who did not wish to be named, said that sponsors and companies take no effort whatsoever in teaching their non-Arabic speaking workers Arabic or enrolling them on courses to learn the language. “It would help if people knew the language as interaction between colleagues would be better,” he said.

He added that one way this issue could be addressed is to state, while recruiting from abroad, that knowledge of basic Arabic language is a must in the contract. “This could then be developed when the expatriate comes over here, and not leaving them to learn on their own.”

Often, many non-Arabic speakers make an effort to learn the language on their own or with a bit of help from their Arab friends or colleagues but they end up speaking broken Arabic. This is especially found among expatriates who work labor jobs.

Ali Ashkori, an Indonesian who has been living in the Kingdom for three years and works as a driver, said he worked hard to learn Arabic by himself. He said he found great difficulty communicating with others, especially when he goes to grocery stores. His problem is in speaking the language but, according to him, he partly understands what people say in Arabic.

Rodolpho, a Filipino salesman in his 30s who works at a mall in Jeddah, said, “I communicate with people in English as English is a popular language in the Kingdom. Arabic is very difficult for me. I did not learn it because my job does not require that I do so and there is no institution that I can join to learn the language. I only know basic Arabic words that I hear frequently during work.”

Erfan, an Indian salesman in a Jeddah shop, has been working in the Kingdom for five years and does not know the language. He said that besides the absence of an Arabic teaching institute, he finds Arabic difficult because it is spoken in various dialects. “I only know basic words related to my work. It is sad that when I see two people speaking in Arabic I can only understand a word or two but I don’t have any idea what they are talking about. I wish I could learn but I cannot find anyone to teach me or to talk to me in Arabic.”

For Erfan, part of the lack of interest to learn the language is the large community of Indians who live in the Kingdom.

Muhammad Ali, a Turkish private company employee, realized the importance of the language when police stopped him. He said that he was trying to communicate to the officer but the conversation was totally futile, as neither of them could understand the other.

“I was given the violation without knowing why. I had no interest to complain because I cannot speak Arabic and I cannot communicate with them.” Ali hopes to see Arabic language institutions opening for people like him.

[Irfan Ahmed is an alumuni of Jamia Millia Islamia. He is currently based at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He can be contacted at abushadin2005@gmail.com]

Justice K.G Balkrishnan should quit the chair of NHRC, demands SDPI president E. Abubacker

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

IMO News Service

Justice K. G. Balakrishnan
Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) National President E.Abubacker stated that Justice K.G Balakrishnan does not have the moral right to continue in the chair of National Human Right Commission (NHRC). “He must resign and face investigation in the event of allegations raised against his relatives, that they have illegally amassed properties when he was the Chief Justice of India,” demanded Abubacker in a press release. Abubacker pointed out that it is not only his son in law Shreenijan who is facing allegation, but his wife, brother and daughter also are under the shadow of doubt.

“It is not the political influence of Shreenijan that helped him to gain assets. It has now become evident that Justice Balakrishnan, while he was the Chief Justice of India, had deliberately ignored the complaint against A.Raja, former minister and the prime accused of the biggest corruption scam in the history of the country,” Abubacker said.

It is worth mentioning that Justice Balakrishnan had earlier played down a similar allegation against Justice P.D Dinakaran and did all that was possible to have him elevated in the Supreme Court .

It was Justice Balakrishnan who instructed the Supreme Court registrar to litigate in the Delhi High Court against the order of the Chief Information Commissioner that the information whether judges have filed their statement of assets is to be disclosed under right to information act.

Justice Balakrishnan already made it clear that he is not competent to hold the post of NHRC Chairman, by sharing dais with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, a day after the latter appeared before the special investigation team formed under the direction of the Supreme Court to probe in to 2002 Gujarat genocide. The relatives of the victims had vehemently responded against the act. Again, he created anguish among the victimized group of people and in human rights circles, when he spoke in favour of fake encounter killings by police, occupying the chair of National Human Right Commission.

Justice Balakrishnan has also been the one who took initiatives for the Indian Judiciary to interact with the Israel counterpart, and signed a contract to strengthen the bilateral relationship.
Mr Abubacker urged the Government to take steps to expel him if he is not ready to quit the post by himself.

Maulana Maududi Memorial lecture on "Islamic Finance in India and Challenges Ahead" to be held at Gaya tomorrow

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

By Wakeel Ahmad

Gaya: The Maulana Maududi Memorial lecture on "Islamic Finance in India and Challenges Ahead" is going to be organized at Millat Campus ,Gaya on January 2 ,2011 under the aegis of Islamic Centre, Gaya.

Tameemuddin Humble
Alkhair Cooperative Credit Society Ltd (Gaya), a branch of Islamic Microfinance Cooperative Credit Society Ltd. is rendering interest free microfinance services to people from marginalized section of the society willing to set up small businesses in order to fend for their living in an honest and honorable way.

Since the last 15 years the Islamic Centre has been organizing lectures every year at Millat Campus, Gaya.

“Growth Fund”, an investment product of the Alkhair Cooperative Credit Society Ltd. will be launched on this occasion in Gaya for the affluent class to get sharia complaint investment benefit through Alkhair.

This Alkhair Cooperative Credit Society Ltd. branch came into being barely five months ago and has since familiarized itself among all the strata of people within a short span of time.

The services being provided by Alkhair Cooperative Credit Society Ltd. have been welcomed by the people and received a good response.

Ever since it started functioning, it has catered to the need of both haves and have nots. It proved immensely helpful to those who could not afford to get their account opened in commercial banks.

Since it inception it has been doing a good Samaritan's job by reaching out to the poor people and marginalized sections of the society .So far, hundreds of poor people have got their daily deposit accounts and saving accounts. Apart from this, about a dozen of people got loans ranging from Rs.5,000 to Rs. 20,000 for their micro enterprises. While speaking to this scribe, Mr. Tameemuddin Humble, Manager of Alkhair Cooperative Credit Society Ltd. (Gaya branch), said that Dr. Waquar Anwar, Fellow member of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (FICWA) would be the Guest Speaker who will throw ample light on the topic and keep people abreast with the microfinance and its system.

[Wakeel Ahmad is a Journalist based at Gaya, Bihar. He can be contacted at wakeeldel@gmail.com]

Gujarat' s Muslim ghetto Juhapura shines

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By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani

Ahmedabad: Gujarat, Ahmedabad and the largest Muslim ghetto of Asia –Juhapura is always remembered for the wrong reasons thanks to our biased and so called secular mainstream media in connection with infamous riots of 2002. Actually in the past this largest Muslim concentration has many positive stories but unluckily it did not find the place in the public consciousness but now the corporate world has focused its eyes on Juhapura. It is a ghetto with five lakh Muslims living in the area.

The report that two malls are being planned near Juhapura junction is an invitation to reflection. Let us break stereotypes and understand that major surveys show that as a community, Muslims spend the most on shopping and entertainment.

Sociologists also realize that Muslims in Gujarat are still a ghettoised community, especially after 2002 riots. The question now is whether we are confronting a new experiment where desire and consumption negate the reality of ghettoisation? Will the location of the two malls redefine Juhapura from a solely ethnic space to a new definition in urban conviviality?

Today, shopping is a major sport and our malls have become places for informal meetings and family outings. Malls have also become museums of desire where people visit them not to buy but to touch and look. The Juhapura experiment will be watched with great expectation.

Now, Ahmedabad’s horizon is set o expand to keep up with the changing lifestyle of its people. And developers and retailers are making a beeline to areas that till now, were largely neglected. Two malls are being planned near the Juhapura junction. One is a joint venture between the Chauhan Group and Himalaya Mall, while the other is project of the Radhe Group. Both projects will begin construction in the next two months.

A plot of 25,000-27,000 sq ft had earlier been purchased for the Chauhan-Himalaya JV , which will be a mall-cum-hotel near Vishala hotel. Kunwar Harji Chauhan of the Chauhan group, which is part of the hospitality and real estate industry said, “Juhapura is considered the biggest ghetto in Asia and not surprisingly so far, no malls or multiplexes are seen here,” and added, “The mall will benefit not just Juhapura Muslims but also some other Hindu areas surrounding it.”

A survey by the Future Group’s Big Bazaar had found that comparatively, the Muslims community spends the most on shopping and entertainment.

Managing Director of Himalaya Mall Kamlesh Modi said, “The areas near Juhapura do not have any modern facilities and no mall can be found in a 3-km radius. The project therefore fill the gap.” “However, we are still in talks with the company for starting the project”, he added. The mall will have four floors excluding the ground floor. The project will also include a banquet hall and a three star residential hotel.

Olympus, the Radhe Group project, is expected to be an eight -lakhs sq ft property, which would house a discount mall and a budget hotel. The mall, spread across half the project will house a 12 screen multiplex, gaming zone and food court.

Construction for the project is expected to begin in near future. “The specialty of the mall would be discounts offered, which will range from 25–75% and it will be on reputed brands,” said Rahul Mehra, project consultant.

The projected cost for the Olympus project is Rs 65 crores excluding the cost of land. Construction is scheduled to take about 18 months, MD of Radhe Infrastructure Ltd, Ashish Patel revealed. “We are going to start the project soon, and we will decide whom to sign for the mall after the development of the first phase”, he added.

[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He can be contacted at lakhani63@yahoo.com]

Cracks widen in Ramjanmsthan movement

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IMO News Service

Only the legal community would suggest how an issue which is sub judice could be so lavishly interceded by unrelated claimants while making nonsensical pleading as regards Babri Masjid title suit. However, the recent news of cracks in the Ramjanmsthan movement has been reconfirmed by constant assertions of the reverend seers of Hindu community who see no role of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) as regards construction of a ‘grand’ Ramjanm temple on the disputed site of Babri Masjid. Ramalay Nyas floated by the four Shankaracharyas is a new contender in the list of many ‘close friends’ of child Ramlala. The said trust is prepared to share the historic land neither with the VHP nor Nirmohi Akhara.

Dwarka Peeth Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati has said to reporters at Nagpur, “The land is in the Central government’s possession. So, we will request them to hand it over to the Nyas for building a grand temple”. Explaining specialty of their proposed model the seer commented “The VHP wants to erect a temple of Ram in human form. We want to construct a temple of Ram in his godly avatar.”

According to him, the VHP is not a legal party to the dispute and Nirmohi Akhara’s plaint has been time-barred by the court. However, he did not specify how his own trust would be a legal plaint itself.

He took altogether a bizarre stand on the issue that the “VHP has mistaken by demolishing the structure that was never a mosque, which has led many to believe that there was a mosque there. The VHP, in fact, ended up demolishing what was originally a temple.”

While expressing difficulties of existence of two places of different denominations side by side, as the verdict of Allahabad high court came out with, he proposed to build a grand temple in true Aryan style of architecture which will draw the design not from any Indian temple but from the Angkor Vat in Combodia.

Earlier, the chief of Nirmohi Akhara Sant Gynadas declared about severing of his relation with the VHP, who is presently negotiating with Hashim Ansari, the oldest litigant of Babri Masjid issue for some amicable solution of the Ayodhya dispute.

The senior leader of RSS Ram Madhav commented on the viewpoint of Shankracharya in these words, “We have nothing to say about what Shankracharyaji has said. The temple dispute was between some parties like Ram Janambhumi Nyas, Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Wakf Board. Let them react to it. Our stand is clear. We want a grand temple on the entire undivided land.”

First Muslim player replaces captain Ponting in the Australian cricket team

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IMO News Service

Sydney: It has been a watershed moment for Australian cricket.

The sport-crazy country's national team has been humiliated during the Ashes series against an England side they would once routinely embarrass.

Australia's crushing innings and 157-run defeat in Melbourne marks the end of a golden period where the team had dominated the game for the best part of a decade.

The result means that England, the holders, take an unassailable 2-1 lead into the fifth and final Test next week and will retain the Ashes even if Australia salvage some pride with a victory in Sydney to square the series.

Yet every cloud has a silver lining.

On one hand, the hosts will have to make do without captain Ricky Ponting, still regarded as one of the finest batsmen of the modern game, who has been ruled out due to a troublesome fractured finger.

But his absence could mark a wholly different watershed: his replacement, 24-year-old Usman Khawaja, is set to become the first Muslim to play for the Australian national cricket team.
"It's been a childhood dream for me," Khawaja, who was born in Pakistan before moving to Australia as a young boy, told.

"Ever since I can remember I wanted to play for Australia."

Khawaja has been waiting in the wings throughout the series, and has been in sparkling form in Australia's domestic Sheffield Shield, boasting the highest average in the competition, close to 75.

It shows that it's a fair system and whoever puts in effort can achieve anything in this country
The same can't be said for Ponting. A horrendous run of form with the bat, combined with his team's largely abject displays throughout the series, has seen the 36-year-old receive a mauling from the Australian media.

England retain cricket's Ashes with innings victory in Melbourne.

But the promotion of Khawaja to the first team has come at a time when Australian cricket needs a good news story, and at a time when the country's attitudes to immigration and multiculturalism have been put under the spotlight by recent tragedy.

As many as 50 Iraqi and Iranian Kurdish immigrants died when their boat sunk off the coast of Christmas Island last month, an Australian territory that holds thousands of failed asylum seekers in detention camps to prevent them entering the mainland.

An Amnesty International report on the conditions at the island condemned "the sheer number of individuals who had clearly been suffering both physically and psychologically from the conditions of prolonged detention.

New poll shows 68.4% of Israeli Jews fear Israeli Arab uprising

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Findings also show 60% of Arabs fear mass expulsion and 64.4% of Jews say Arab birth rate is a security risk.

By Fadi Eyadat

68.4 percent of Israeli Jews fear a civil uprising on behalf of Israeli Arabs and 63.3 percent say they won't enter Arab towns in Israel, according to the results of the 2006 index of Jewish-Arab relations released on Monday.

The poll also showed that 62 percent of the Arab population in Israel fears that the "triangle" area will be ceded to a future Palestinian state and 60 percent say they fear a mass expulsion from Israel.

The survey, which was administered by the dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Haifa, Professor Sami Smooha, polled 1,423 Jewish and Arab Israelis on a wide range of issues dealing with the rift between Jews and Arabs in Israel.

According to the poll, 80 percent of Jews said that in future agreements dealing with the borders and demographics of Israel, the state must retain a Jewish majority.

Furthermore, 64.4 percent of Jews polled said they feel that Israeli Arabs pose a security risk to the state through their high birth rate, and 83.1 percent said Israeli Arabs are a security risk due to their support of the Palestinians.

On the other hand, the poll shows that fears among the Israeli Arab population, with 80 percent saying they fear mass land expropriations on the part of the state, and 73.8 percent saying they fear they will suffer violence from Israeli authorities, and 71.5 percent from Israeli citizens.

(Courtesy: Haaretz)

Adil Rajput among UK’s NRI honour list

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By Hasan Suroor

A number of Britons of Indian origin figure in the New Year’s honours list announced on Friday and, for a change, there are no big names but ordinary hard-working “unsung’’ heroes and heroines from different walks of life.

They include artists, rights activists, doctors, teachers, public sector workers and charity volunteers who have quietly worked to improve the quality of life around them.

London-based Indira Patel has been appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) for her services in the field of human rights. She is one of the several women of Indian origin who have been honoured. Ravi Parkash Chand, Head of Equality and Diversity, Home Office in Northamptonshire; and Dr Minaxi Sharad Desai, Consultant Cytopathologist and Clinical Director at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, have been made Commanders of the British Empire (CBE).

Among those who have been appointed Officers of the Order of the British Empire ( OBE) are Buckinghamshire-based Nirpal Singh Riat for services to charity; and Purnima Tanuku for services to families in Lancashire. Sarup Singh Dhandia, a Leicester-based artist, is among the three NRIs who have been made Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). Others are: Carolyn Dhanraj for services to the public and voluntary Sectors, and Surinder Kaur Dhillon for services to community relations.

Doctors honoured in various categories include Dr Sanjoy Kumar, Dr Ashok Pathak and Dr Satya Vrat Sharma.

Leicestershire-based sitar player and teacher, Dharambir Singh Dhadyalla, is recognised for services to Indian music; and Ratilal Devchand Shah for services to the Indian community in London.

Also honoured are Adil Rajput, executive officer, Jobcentre Plus, Department for Work and Pensions, Durham; Dr Jacques Rangasamy, senior lecturer, University of Salford, for services to multicultural arts education, in Greater Manchester; Urmila Thakkar for services to the community; Pam Vedhara for services to local government and Chelliah Yogamoorthy of Highways Agency, Department for Transport. 

(Courtesy: The Hindu)

ATS reopens probe into Kanpur blast

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

IMO has raised the issue of improper investigation of a series of bomb blasts in Kanpur in some of its editorials and news pieces. It is a welcome sign for many who wished for a fair probe of the concerning events.

By Bhupendra Pandey

The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has reopened investigations into the blast in Kanpur in which two Bajrang Dal activists were killed on August 25, 2008. The decision has been taken following discussions with National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials who have promised all assistance.

A team led by an Additional SP rank official has been assigned to pick up the threads from where the investigation was stalled eight months ago after it hit a dead-end.

It has also asked for the interrogation report of Swami Aseemanand, who was arrested by the CBI last month in the Mecca Masjid blast case, and the call details of the Swami’s associate Bharat Bhai Rateshwar who was a link between the Swami and members of the Hindu outfits found involved in blast cases. Rateshwar is wanted by the CBI and the Rajasthan ATS.

The UP ATS hopes this may provide some clue about the connections of the Bajrang Dal men — Rajiv Mishra and Bhupider Singh — who had died in the blast, and also help unravel why they were making the bomb and who had supplied the explosives. 

 The ATS knows about close links between a Kanpur-based office-bearer of a Hindu outfit and Swami Aseemanand. This office-bearer was on the ATS radar because of his association with the two dead men, but the ATS could not find any proof to link him with the blast.

An ATS official said they were, at one point, looking into the possibility of involvement of Abhinav Bharat, and had for some time also examined if Aseemanand was involved, but they soon started tracking Sudhakar Dwivedi alias Mahant Amritanand alias Dayanand Pandey whom they arrested for his involvement in the Malegaon blast.

The blast in Kanpur took place in a house in Kalyanpur which was owned by Rajiv Mishra’s father. The house was used as a private hostel for students who come to study in Kanpur from nearby villages, but Rajiv had retained one room. Only Bhupinder singh and Rajiv were present in the room at the time of the blast and both died on the spot.

The police later found remains of explosives, detonators, timer devices and countrymade grenades. Apparently, both died when they mishandled the material.

(Courtesy: Indian Express)

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