Wednesday, June 13, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Why is law different for sons of the rich & powerful?

This refers to “Jessica case: trial by media again” by Tavleen Singh (June 2). It seems law is different for ordinary citizens and the rich and powerful. Whether it is Jessica Lal’s case, Mattoo’s case, Sanjeev Nanda’s BMW case, Puru Rajkumar’s case or numerous other similar cases involving delinquent sons of senior politicians, state officials or ultra-rich businessmen — the message that comes across is that, with dad’s influence and a little bit of luck, you can go scot-free.

This article is an eye-opener for the media in particular not to fall prey to the scheming of criminals. The media should concentrate on the main culprits, who have acted through their will, rather than casting aspersions on other people, unfortunately getting involved due to the circumstances.

It is amazing how this coterie of wards of the rich and powerful pull the trigger, without any compunction or remorse, whenever the cassata ice-cream (Mishra case in Lucknow) or booze is not served to them immediately. They just prove that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

In the latest tragic happening in our neighbouring state of Nepal, Crown Prince Dipendra killed all his family members and then shot himself. Another incident of a trigger-happy ward of the omnipotent. And judge the audacity yourself: one TV channel immediately reported that he is in coma and has been proclaimed the king of Nepal!

Mohinder Pal Singh Aujla, New Delhi


It is pro-Ramani:
One cannot but disagree with what Tavleen Singh says about Jessica’s case (June 2).

While she convicts a section of the Press by alleging that it has gone all out to get “Manu Sharma out of jail and off the hook”, she too can be charged with going out of her way to get Bina Ramani “off the hook”!

Agreed that the crime of selling liquor without a licence can’t be equated to that of a murder. But still, a crime is a crime. And nowhere in her article Ms Singh has suggested that Bina should also be hauled up for her crime, which actually led to the murder.

And her statement that the bloodstains, crucial evidence, were “cleaned up — possibly in the routine course - by the restaurant’s staff” is simply ridiculous. As if bloody fights in that illegally run restaurant/bar was a routine affair!

Balvinder, Chandigarh

The Ramanis’ crime: If, as Tavleen laments, “it is the Ramanis” the media is “going after”, she herself is trying to save the Ramanis by trying to distract the attention of the people and the police from the fact of an alleged serious crime of “destruction of evidence” indulged in by the “celebrated socialites” who, she herself admits, served liquor without a licence in their Tamarind cafe where the murder took place and from where “the small (mind the word) amount of blood that stained the spot where Jessica was shot was cleaned up - possibly in the routine course - by the restaurant staff”

Ms Tavleen must know that these days even an ordinary literate or semi-literate person knows that the evidence or crime should not be tampered with and the “celebrated socialites” should know it much better. They cannot escape their responsibility for the conduct of their “restaurant staff”. If they can, the Uphar cinema owners and management too could claim innocence putting the blame on their “staff”.

While Ms Singh does present some strong facts and arguments in the column, yet she exposes her partiality when she argues that the “evidence” (erased from Ramani’s restaurant) would be “irrelevant any way if the police cannot find anyone who admits to seeing Manu pull the trigger”.

A. C. Vashisht, New Delhi


Of HP bureaucrats

Bureaucrats in Himachal Pradesh have demonstrated their art of plundering borrowed money. In a clearly drafted order regarding economy measures, they have helped themselves at the cost of executive departments like the police, forest, health etc. The IAS and HAS officers by and large have the option of retaining their official cars or get Rs 4,500 as allowance whereas others have to compulsorily surrender their vehicles and have to contend with just Rs 2,500 or 1,500 as allowance.

Those posted in the Secretariat do not need any vehicle or allowance since they call officers of the Directorate to the Secretariat for meetings. Earlier, the government had fixed a limit of 75 litres of petrol for all officers having attached vehicles for local journey within Shimla town. Logically the monthly allowance has to be same for all officers in view of the limit of 75 litres of petrol.

But the bureaucrats know the art of manipulating. So they have made arrangements for hefty sums for themselves. The bureaucrats introduced a clause debarring doctors from getting the allowance. According to them, going to the Secretariat is more expensive than a doctor going to hospital to look after patients.

Then there is a need to please politicians. Otherwise the scheme might not be implemented. So they provided a mileage of Rs 4.75 for ministers and Rs 4.25 for others. Logic always takes a back seat in government orders. In Haryana, the staff cars have been discontinued for the Secretariat officers. Are such economy measures of the government which borrows money to pay salaries, justified? It is nothing but befooling the already burdened tax payer.

R. K. Sharma, Shimla


in holy city

Enter “Shri Amritsar Sahib” and you are welcomed by some huge hoardings on which are pasted some of the most vulgar posters. Seventy per cent of the cinema halls in Amritsar are showing adult movies, thanks to the sleeping district administration and an indifferent attitude of the people in general who claim that this is a holy city — the city of the Golden Temple and the Durgiana Temple. And those hooked on to the movies include schoolchildren, migrant labourers and those people who after watching such movies can do anything to satisfy their hunger. “Khoobsoorat Ladkies, “Cave Girls”, “Chain Girls”, “Mast Jawanies” are some of the titles of the movies being shown in the city. These days, being holidays, people come to visit the Golden Temple and other historical places in Amritsar. What an impression they get of the city? Shame on us, the people of Amritsar!

Satinder Singh, Amritsar


Doctors for peace

Through your newspaper, I would like to inform the doctors that the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development has started collecting signatures from doctors throughout the country on an appeal for complete elimination of nuclear weapons. The signature campaign will continue till August 6, 2001, the Hiroshima Day. The signatures thus collected will be submitted to the nuclear weapon possessing states with an appeal to them to make the world nuclear-weapon free in a time-bound programme so that our generations to come live in happiness and joy.

The Indian Doctors for Peace and Development urges the governments of India and Pakistan to destroy the existing nuclear weapons and put an end to this mad race, develop friendly relations and work jointly for the uplift of the poor of the continent.

Dr Ajay Bagga, Hoshiarpur

Compete and survive

This refers to your editorial “Now non-market economy” (June 6) India cannot afford to keep its economy closed always and pursue only protectionist policies in view of the fast- changing global economic scenario as the technological revolution is making a dent in every decision-making process both at the micro and macro levels. Why fear competition? Japanese or Chinese, the Indian consumer will definitely prefer these goods as long as they are cheaper and of better quality than local goods

What is required is to encourage a healthy competition by cutting infrastructural costs and reducing bureaucratic bottlenecks for creating a well-poised industrial and business climate in the country. Let us compete and survive rather than find faults.

B. B. Goyal, Ludhiana

A clarification

Eleven doctors working under the Primary Health Centre, Chakowal, have in a representation to The Tribune clarified that they have not written the letter, “Doctors forced to pay for minister’s functions” that appeared in these columns on June 11. They have claimed that certain mischievous persons have signed against the names of the doctors mentioned in the letter.


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