Friday, April 6, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



A shady world of arms and men

This refers to Mr Hari Jaisingh’s article “A shady world of arms and men” (March 23), Tehelka has not exposed the first scam in defence purchases. Some of the earlier examples are Bofors, HDW deal, and Westland helicopters. This again represents the tip of the iceberg. Corruption has, in fact, reached all levels, from the farmer to the politician, from the soldier to the bureaucrat, from the porter to the padri.

It is not clear whether the Tehelka “expose” was a genuine piece of investigation or part of the gameplan of certain vested interests. Where were the Tehelka scribes when Mine Protected Vehicles (MPVs) roughly 13-year old — were purchased for Rs 58.75 lakh each in April, 1999? Fifteen jawans were killed in a mine blast in J&K while travelling in one such vehicle. Then no scribe woke up. Why all the noise now, barely a month or two before the Assembly elections in five states.

S.. S. JAIN, Chandigarh

Divine grace: Mr Hari Jaisingh’s piece is a satire on the malfunctioning of the Government. The disclosure of shady deals about the purchase of T-72 tanks from Russia and obsolete Caspers from South Africa, was horrifying. Did the government take any action against the guilty persons involved in these deals? If so, did the government make the punishment public so as to deter the other?


The exposure of Tehelka has belied all claims of the government that defence deals are struck by honest persons who keep in mind the national interest. Non-governance over the past few decades has proved that only God is saving India, otherwise it would have been ruined long ago.

D. P. JINDAL, Mandi Gobindgarh

Tehelka is not the first: Even before the Tehelka episode, there have been deals in which people in power had indulged in scams, scandals, muddles, kickbacks, hawalas, etc. One of our former Prime Ministers has been named in the Bofors deal and another has been sentenced in a case of bribery. Tehelka has given us an additional opportunity to say that the people in power are not there just to serve the nation. They belong to parties the main purpose of which is not the service of the people. They come together and invest money to earn profits and to earn the profits they indulge in such anti-social and criminal activities. They have earned a good deal and they possess assets much beyond their known sources of income. None has conducted a survey and such a survey will never be done because these politicians believe in friendly matches in the spirit of “live and let live”. Heavy punishment should be given to such criminals.


Needed major surgery: What has been attempted after Tehelka’s revelations is no better than a first aid treatment whereas what is needed is a major surgery.

Questions are being raised about the role of the intellligence agencies. Eyebrows are being raised over the fact that they had no clues at all about the operation being carried out by the reporters of the website as they went about recording statements of politicians, military officers and bureaucrats.

Although claims are being made that the IB did have some knowledge of the operation, but by that time enough had been recorded to pin down the Government.

From failure to detect the Kargil intrusion to “defencegate”, no lessons seem to have been learnt by the intelligence agencies. Military intelligence seems to have turned a blind eye to the frequent visits of its officers to five star hotels. The moot point is: how the fictitious firms could enter into a deal for selling arms the way the news portal had shown in its tapes. The activities of Tehelka in making secret tapes of defence deals also amount to criminal conspiracy against the lawful Government.

Inquiry by a retired Supreme Court judge is a mere eyewash. The pertinent question is: what will be the fate of the verdict? Who will give practical shape to the verdict and punish the guilty?


Punish the corrupt: The videotapes of Tehelka have exposed the NDA Government headed by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee. Senior leaders, bureaucrats and defence officers have been videographed talking and asking for bribes openly.

To save the country, the highest custodian of India’s independence must move to ensure so that the corrupt leaders and officers are punished quickly so that the others could take a lesson.

S. L. SURI, Kapurthala

Shameful rot: Be it a conspiracy of political rivals, or the gameplan of vested interests or even a disruptive act of the ISI, the gravity of the Tehelka expose can neither be ignored nor should it be allowed to be diluted or minimised. A shameful rot in the system has come to light, which can jeopardise our national security. It will be disastrous if the NDA Government delays punishing the guilty or tries to shield corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and other officials.

Notwithstanding the means adopted by the ‘’, we must accept that evil has been exposed and we should honestly work to eradicate it. The working of the system must be made clear and transparent.

If the NDA Government finds it inconvenient to put Mr George Fernandes in the dock, then let the people seek an answer from him as well as from the NDA Government. National security cannot be politicised in the name of secrecy, nor should it be trivialised in the game of party politics.


Eternal vigilance: Dhritrashtra of Mahabharata was himself honest, but being blind, and acting blindly, he failed to save his kingdom.

The Dhritrashtras of today, though they have normal eyesight, will bring national catastrophe, by acting blindly.

Every corrupt person is a potential spy. Innocent persons are booked and the guilty are rewarded. But for an assertive judiciary, the men framed in the Samba spy case and the Isro espionage case would have been hanged as traitors.

The remedy lies in constant vigilance. The media and the press must remain fearless, and honest if the country is to be saved.


Helping animals

It goes to the credit of the SSP of Jalandhar to have envisaged the unique project “Animal Helpline”. It is an endeavour packed with compassion. The Animal Welfare Board has rightly decided to confer the Jeev Daya Puraskar on him.

The second police helpline for animals has been formed in Ludhiana. A representative of a non-government organisation, two head constables and three constables from the Traffic Wing have been deputed to help animals in distress anywhere in the district. This team will also attend to calls regarding atrocities on animals.

Starving stray animals ramble along the lanes and are tortured by unfeeling people who hurl at these animals anything they can lay their hands on. These dumb animals are vulnerable to accidents and it is not uncommon to see on the roadside animals with fractured limbs and festering wounds. Now the animal helplines at Jalandhar and Ludhiana are there to attend to such cases. The prime need of these projects is a continuous campaign to increase awareness among the people about their moral duty to contact these organisations whenever they come across an abandoned, injured or distressed animal. Their telephone numbers should be exhibited at important road crossings.

These two organisations should serve as models for similar helplines to be established in other cities and towns.


Place of helmet

Almost all major cities in different states have made the wearing of helmets by two-wheeler drivers compulsory. Some cities where it has been optional till now, are planning to make it mandatory.

But so far none of the automobile companies has thought of making provision for keeping a helmet on the vehicle by devising an inbuilt locking system. In the absence of an effective system, the owners of two-wheelers are put to great inconvenience. After parking their vehicles, they have either to carry the heavy helmets with them or to deposit it with the parking contractor who often charges extra for this service.

In this age of competition where the companies are vying with one another to make their products attractive to the customers, such a device will certainly enhance their acceptability. The auto-companies should think of providing this much-needed facility to their customers.


Clashing dates

CET examination for admission to Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, has been fixed for May 19, 2001. This date clashes with the date of the UP Entrance Test for Engineering Colleges. This will deprive thousands of students of Punjab of an opportunity to take the test in UP.

The date of the CET examination should be changed suitably in the interest of the students.

SATYA PAL, PatialaTop



Tribune Website

I want to put a few words of appreciation of the Website that is being run by The Tribune. I benefit from the site at least once a day. It is because of this site that I am able to keep in touch with my home town. Owing to the prolific coverage by the newspaper and its spontaneous availability on the Web, I have never experienced any problem in getting news and information, regardless of the difference of time and distance between Chandigarh and where I live.

Not only is the site a link with my hometown, but its contents and the overall design are also superior in comparison with some of the big rival news sites. Most other sites are cluttered with advertising gimmicks but The Tribune’s site is free from unnecessary commercial jargon.

H. S. MALHOTRA, Manchester (USA)


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