Atanu Dey On India's Development

Subramanian Swamy aims to nail Antonia Maino aka Sonia Gandhi

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Sheela Bhatt’s piece in Rediff.com, titled “I will implicate Sonia Gandhi in the 2G case“, has interesting stuff on Dr Subramanian Swamy. Here are some excerpts, for the record.

“Just wait and see. Halfway through 2-G spectrum case I will bring in Sonia Gandhi into it. Nothing is going to go wrong in this case. This case is going to make a modern, new and clean India,” claims Janata Party president Dr Subramanian Swamy, one of the petitioners in the 2G spectrum scam, which is being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation under the Supreme Court’s supervision.
. . .
After former telecom minister A Raja’s arrest, Swamy is now targeting Raja’s mentor and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Karunanidhi.
. . .
Swami and now even the CBI’s case is that Raja favoured Swan Telecom to get the 2-G spectrum at a low price. Businessman Shahid Balwa, who was arrested on Wednesday, was a promoter of Swan. Etisalat Dynamix Balwa, which purchased shares of Swan, is also the front company of Balwa. He also launched another company which reportedly gave a loan to a television company ran by Karunanidhi’s family. This nexus and sequence of money passing hands is being established by the CBI.

The sceptic may find this complex transaction difficult to prove but Swamy is oozing with confidence. He says, “I will not leave the case half-way. I will ensure that Raja goes to jail for 21 years.”
. . .
In November, 2008, Dr Swamy wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and followed it up with four more letters seeking sanction to prosecute Raja.

When the prime minister didn’t take any decision, Swamy went to Supreme Court and the rest is history. Even advocate Prashant Bhushan filed another petition to create a monitoring mechanism to supervise CBI’s investigation of the 2G case.

Swami’s worry is that Swan’s shares have been sold to people with connections to Pakistan and Chinese investors, raising security concerns.
. . .
He has 12 years of experience teaching economics at Harvard University in the US. Even experts stop and take notice when he writes on the economy of China. He is familiar with Mandarin. He has studied the Gita and many other Hindu granthas and has written many books including Hindus Under Siege. He has been always supporter of the market economy and since last few years has been a supporter of Hindutva.

He abhors today’s politicians and is a rare political animal who is not afraid of the media. His political adversaries have every reason to be afraid of him.

When he fell-out with former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha, she ordered his arrest in Chennai. But Swamy boarded a flight and once inside argued that aircraft comes under the central government’s domain.

His greatest strength is his grasp of the law and its bold interpretations.

A very few in New Delhi can match his tenacity in taking on his enemies in a court of law. He is a rare public figure taking on Sonia Gandhi relentlessly. He is not a regular politician with a retinue of chamchas around him round the clock.
. . .

Swamy is 72 but looks much younger and has been very bullish on India and its future. He says he left a job at Harvard to become part of the ‘India story’.
. . .
With a 40-year career behind him, Swamy knows what he is doing and talking. His talking, in fact, distinguishes him from other politicians. He is never restrained in expressing his views. Since he speaks only in extreme terms it affects his credibility in the long run but he will bombard you with the very same extreme arguments if you try to tell him so.

He never tampers ideas before he speaks and he is just not afraid of his enemies or their might. His drive to carry on his mission has helped him.

He can’t be ignored because if you look closely he does not actually lose many legal battles. From the Islamic bank case to one concerning gold-plating of the Tirupati temple to the issue of Ram Sethu his activism brings the results he strives for.

There are scores of such issues where Dr Swamy has been ahead of all in raising it and taking it to its logical conclusion.

Dr Swamy, in fact, is a complex politician carrying too many secrets in his long, chequered career. Once he was close to government in Libya and Iraq, at another time he was influential enough to get one-on-one meet with Premier Deng Xiopang in Beijing and even got Chinese government to open up Mansarovar for Hindu pilgrims.

In 40 years he has been twice minister at the Centre and five times he has been elected to Parliament.

Since the last ten years his target is Sonia Gandhi against whom he has filed a case of smuggling of Indian antiques. He also took up the issue of his foreign origin and the issue of a foreign-born person’s eligibility to become prime minister.

Swamy has umpteen times made allegations that Sonia’s real name is Antonia and her family background is not what she claims to be. He has spoken so many things against her but he has never been challenged.

His favourite line is: “You journalists are ignorant.”
. . .
He adds, “The law protects me. This is in the public domain out of ignorance people keep giving opinions and discourage you. I speak bluntly. I get irritated to see people’s ignorance. I don’t speak diplomatically.”

When asked, “Do you know people sometime say you are crazy?’ Dr Swamy says, ‘That’s a fact! Only crazy people bring change. I don’t want among the sane who are stooges of people in authority today. If that is sanity, I don’t want that kind of sanity.”

When rediff.com asked him, “Was there any pressure on you to not move forward in the 2G spectrum case?” Swamy’s reply was astounding.

“See, there is a general impression amongst all crooks that if you offer Swamy money, he will take the money and still continue, so no use giving him money!”

Then, giving a playful look, he says, “Since, I am Brahmin getting dakshina is my birthright. If anyone gives me money I will take it. But I will not do their work. I do exactly what I think is right. I play a role of an ancient Brahmin. Today Brahmins are connected to birth. It’s nonsense. It has nothing to do with birth. You have to have vidya (knowledge) and you have to have courage. You should not have any personal wealth. I don’t have any personal wealth.”
. . .
In 2004, Swamy went to court and even to then President A P J Abdul Kalam to prevent Sonia Gandhi from becoming prime minister.

He is of the view that, “She herself can’t become prime minister because of legal bar but she will make her son or someone else who will be worse than Dr Singh.”

He says, “I am playing for removal of UPA and in the process Dr Singh will also be removed but I won’t be party to anything under which only Dr Singh gets removed.”

When asked why he has a soft corner for Dr Singh, he says, “He is a man of integrity. He has personal integrity. He is not the man fit for this job. He has no political backing so he is totally dependent on Sonia Gandhi. You can’t have throne of India occupied by a boneless wonder. No matter how good you are its not enough. You must be a person who is able to take risks and make decisions. A man should not look over someone’s shoulder. From day one we know he is not an independent person. His background is bureaucratic. It’s not political. I know him for so many years. In the present UPA system, I know of no gutsy, no decent or no political person who can be prime minister. They have to be a rubber stamp of Sonia Gandhi.”

When asked what nailed Raja, Dr Swami says, “That press conference of January 10, 2008 when Raja allotted spectrum on first come, first serve basis. That was his unbecoming. If he had done it with little bit finesse he would have got away with it. It was so crude. He gave one hour for the companies to get demand drafts for Rs 1,650 crore. He gave advance information to those whom he wanted to give spectrum. So those people came with pre-dated cheques. I had a press release of that press conference. Some officers gave it to me.”

Swamy claims that his case saw legal success because the Supreme Court could not ignore two things.

“One, why the prime minister did not reply my letter. And, two, he could not say yes or no about my plea to charge Raja for corruption. Obviously, he could not say yes so he kept quiet because he can’t even say no.”

While ending the interview, he said, “Raja was assured by the Congress and the DMK that he will be protected. Their alliance won’t break because both are partners in crime. But Raja was let down by Karunanidhi and Sonia Gandhi because Dr Singh showed individuality in arresting Raja.”

Then, giving a mischievous look, he said, “You can’t ask Sonia Gandhi any question on Raja because she would never give that interview.”

  • Krish

    But can Dr Swamy bring the change that India so desperately needs, the change in the morality of politicians? Politics today is the most corrupt occupation in India and Sonia & Rahul are kingpins of this tribe.It seems Swamy alone will not be able to clean it up? He needs to make a deal with a large political party, convince its leaders about the need to clean up otherwise the very future of India as a democracy is in danger, and start a movement like the “Total Revolution” of JP. He may have to make some compromises in this process but every great leader has made compromises to take the masses along.

  • Madhusudan

    Old habits die hard. In a nation where 1 out of 2 citizens are corrupt, its hard to find a honest person and even harder to keep him honest in the present scenario. Very little can be expected of the present generation. In today’s society, people trying to be well charactered are hardly encouraged. Very little training is given to students to become gentlemen. Present education system only trains a person to become money making machine.

    However, if we change the education system of the country, we can produce honest leaders who are examples of integrity and character. Cultivating the younger generation, who are still in schools or entering schools, to become gentlemen is the solution. India of yester years, flourishing with gurukuls, was an ideal setup to churn out such leaders of the public.

    Now the onus is on our generation to train the younger generation on vedic principles. We must start schools where we impart deep Vedic culture and kick out Macaulay’s ghost from our country.

    (Apologies for my poor english. hope the message is understood.)

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  • http://inthearmchair.wordpress.com Armchair Guy

    Swamy is an important figure, but perhaps foolhardy. I’m not sure why he isn’t already in jail. Perhaps Sonia doesn’t perceive him as a real threat? I would think income tax raids on his assets and a CBI investigation are in the offing. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was arrested soon.

  • Sundar

    Swamy is extremely intelligent, courageous, clever and street smart. He is in Indian politics for over 35 years. Occasionally he does foolish things but they could be ignored when compared to several big and great things he has done.

    Some of his ideas in economics are radical like “Abolish personal Income Tax”.

    Now he is doing a great National Service.

  • DEEPAK

    Atanu, you can probably write a column on this topic!

    SP is one of the most corrupt politician in India http://dawnwires.com/investment-news/sharad-pawar-the-king-of-all-corruption-in-india-a-call-to-duty-for-young-india/

    One angle that is sidelined in the media is SPs 2G connection. A senior minister in NCP (Praful Patel) has commented that Pawar knows Balwa family for 30 years (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/services/hotels-/-restaurants/govt-puts-on-hold-decision-to-lease-srinagar-centaur-to-db/articleshow/7464541.cms

    Vinod Goenka, the other partner in DB Realty (Dynamix Balwa group) also talks about DB (Dawood bhai), Swan telecom, Raja and Pawar in the following article- http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/why-just-dubai-baramati-they-call-us-dawood-bhai-too-db-chief/articleshow/7473280.cms

    Another link which points to Raja meeting Balwa in the house of the daughter of a top Maratha politician (who else?!). The daughter (supriya sule?) was also close to Raja’s patron politician in Delhi.
    http://www.hindustantimes.com/2G-scam-CBI-questions-Balwa-partner-Unitech-MD/Article1-662766.aspx

    As usual the maratha strongman has denied links to 2G scam- See what illuminating comments TOI readers have on this statement – http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/opinions/7475316.cms?commenttype=mostrecommended&sorttype=bycount

    If all this is not enough, now Dons sons also have stake in DB Realty!- http://www.hindustantimes.com/Mumbai-don-s-sons-have-stake-in-Balwa-company/H1-Article1-661694.aspx

    Also Read this article the wealth of pawar – http://www.scribd.com/doc/6237552/The-Wealth-of-Sharad-Pawar

  • Vickram Crishna

    With all due respect to our professor (I think he had moved on by the time Atanu joined the campus, so possibly did not know him as well as some of us oldies), he has always suffered a little from a tendency to be a rabble rouser.

    All of us worry about the effects of crony capitalism, but we do not waste our time blaming a single party (there is no space in Indian politics for ideology anymore) for this rot. Indeed, while most of us feel pretty helpless to avoid participating in the ‘little corruptions’ that devil our daily lives, the decisions to participate in bigger corruptions is often a direct consequence. This pattern is very well known in revenue departments: a junior officer is asked to sign off on something a senior has ordered, and from that point on (if she agrees, and very few of us leave school with enough backbone to disagree) is at their mercy if she blows the whistle, heavens forbid, or even if she refuses to personally gain from the daily churn. For some, dismissal or resignation from service has been an option, for others, a quick and unexpected end on a railroad track. But corruption is not the government alone, for after all, two hands are needed for a handshake, or to pass on a folded note.

    Prof Swamy was a role model for us when he explained the intricacies of economics, but a role model of a different kind when he used some very wily tricks (and used some persons – students – who had the same tendency to disrupt rather than propose positive change) to shake up the Delhi campus. I for one can’t remember any attempt at proposing things be run better. Later on, at the height of the Emergency, he boldly appeared in Parliament, registered his presence, and slipped away, despite the fact that there was an arrest warrant out for him. Bold, brave, but for no purpose really, because all that proved was that our security forces can be compromised. He should know, for he is the person who helped create the rot in the IB of the time, and undoubtedly some officer of the IB assisted in that exploit. Later on, the IB fed Mrs Indira Gandhi misinformation that led to her decision to end the Emergency, mistakenly thinking that she would win the election that followed. Prof Swamy did nothing (he was a Union Minister in the government that followed) to ensure that security services in India get revamped and serve the country first, and political leaders a distant second.

    As someone else has commented on a separate list, the quality of our public life is such that the UN thinks Mr Mukesh Ambani (the one whose home cost a billion dollars) is a fit person to chair the Millennium Development Goals initiative (naturally, since he has taken so much effort to ensure that not one drop of petroleum or its related products produced by his companies ever enters the fuel cycle. No wait, he hasn’t, and never will. OK, so /that/ is not the reason).

    And Prof Swamy thinks one aging lady is the core of the problem for the country? When I read his exploits, I wonder what part economics plays anymore in his understanding of society.

    Incidentally, his raising the Quattrocchio connection at this stage is almost amusing. At the time, Mr Chandrashekhar openly said that the Bofors scam, if indeed there was one (meaning, that the payment of commission money meant that India had chosen the wrong gun at the wrong price), about which the sums involved could be as high as Rs 64 cr, was hardly the biggest scam for the country. He implied it was chickenfeed, even in 1990.

    I don’t doubt we need whistleblowers in our society. Prof Swamy isn’t one, but even if he seems to be, his ‘blowing’ is very selective.

    Vickram
    http://communicall.wordpress.com
    http://vvcrishna.wordpress.com

  • Anonymous

    Atleast Mr Swamy has the B………. to bring the issue to this level..