Monday, June 17, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Bofors case: CBI says the criticism unfair and unwarranted

Apropos of your editorial “Bureau of inefficiency?” (June 12), the remarks about the CBI are totally unwarranted, malicious and contrary to decent media practices. The content and the headline are highly objectionable and the conclusion has been drawn in a most irresponsible and unfair manner.

In the CBI, each case is thoroughly investigated, legally scrutinised and has to be presented to the court for scrutiny and judicial verdict. The CBI conducts every investigation strictly in accordance with the law and the guidelines of constitutional courts.

In the Bofors case, it was the FIR which was quashed by the Delhi High Court earlier and not the chargesheet as stated in the editorial. The grounds on which it was quashed were entirely different from the grounds on which the High Court judgement has been pronounced recently. The FIR was later upheld by the Supreme Court. Since then the CBI has pursued the case vigorously upto the Federal Court of Switzerland to get the bank documents which took over 10 years. The accused adopted all kinds of delaying tactics and did their best to prevent the transfer of documents.

After receiving the documents, the CBI filed two chargesheets. The trial court took cognisance of the chargesheets and the argument on charge was to begin when a certain point was raised by the accused. 


This point is yet to be finally settled. There has been no delay on the part of the CBI in the Bofors case. The CBI has fought protracted legal battle both in India and abroad which is still continuing.

The CBI’s conviction rate of 69 per cent is the best amongst investigating agencies anywhere in the world. The High Courts and the Supreme Court refer a number of cases to the CBI and the investigations have been appreciated by the highest constitutional courts. There is always a demand for CBI inquiry from cross-section of people in the country and they have been increasingly reposing faith in the CBI.

S. K. KHAN, Dy Principal Information Officer, CBI, New Delhi.

IT Act amendment affects businessmen

The provision (relating to restrictions on payments in cash) under Section 296T of the Income-Tax Act, 1961, i.e “Mode of Repayment of certain loans or Deposits”, of Rs 20,000 or more, otherwise than by payees account cheque, demand draft or pay order, was inserted from July 11, 1981. Contravention, if any, thereof entailed penalty u/s 276E of the Act. The penalty provisions u/s 276E have already been dropped from April 1, 1989.

Now the new Amendment in the Income Tax Act, effective from June 1, 2002, has put businessmen into great difficulty. Everybody has to repay loans or deposits by payees account cheque/demand draft/pay order, where the amount is Rs 20,000 or more. Now to circumvent the provisions, one has to open a current account, even to make deposit of cash in C/C account and other loans accounts. The payment from C/A has to be made by payees account cheque/demand draft/pay order (and not through transfer-voucher/bank-advice, even if the C/A is in the same bank). Such an exercise is not workable or feasible for long. It is suggested that the monetary limit of Rs 20,000 be enhanced to at least to Rs 2 lakh (i.e as on today, after 21 years the value of Rs 20,000 has increased manifold).

The Act should be amended to help businessmen. They should be required to obtain PAN from all those who make payment(s) totalling over Rs 50,000 in cash, in a financial year against sale/services. If PAN is not available, photocopy of 60/61 should be obtained, where applicable. Only our lawmakers can save businessmen from the present cumbersome procedures. The C/C limit should be excluded from the purview of the new provisions.

S. K. HANS, Jalandhar


Computers & graft

Just as computers have made it possible for a railway passenger to book his ticket without payment any premium on its cost, similarly they can help a farmer to receive his uninflated bill for canal water without any bribe money.

The present method of billing in Haryana is based not on the quantity of water consumed by the farmer but on the kind and quantity of crops grown with it. There may have been some justification for such an unscientific and concessional method of billing in the past, when water was available in plenty and the economic status of farmer was low, but there is none for it in the present age of computers and water shortage.

The accuracy of these bills depends upon the degree of honesty of canal patwari who unfortunately is notorious for being the fountain head of organised corruption; it is customary for a farmer to bribe him on regular basis and for him to return this favour by undervaluing his bill and thus causing huge loss to the exchequer. This practice is so much institutionalised that no eyebrows are raised over it in any quarter. Its remedy lies in changing over to volumetric assessment which is automatic and independent of a patwari or its like.

The whole problem, therefore, boils down to determining the volume of canal water consumed by the farmer and this can be computed easily by sifting the requisite date, from the one being already collected for other purposes, with the help of computers. Such a fundamental reform can prove to be a turning point in the history of water management in Haryana and can kill two birds with one stone: first, liberating the farmer from a corrupt system and thus introducing a social reform of great significance; and second relieving patwaris from their duty of preparing water bills and consequently reducing their number.

This reform is inevitable and the sooner it is introduced, the better for all concerned but the sad part of the story is that the farmer-friendly Haryana Government has yet to overcome the bureaucratic resistance to the introduction of a new and innovative idea, like this one.

Over to the Chief Minister of Haryana.

S. P. MALHOTRA, Former Engineer-in-Chief, Irrigation Deptt, Haryana, Panchkula

Punish the guilty, not all

We, the doctors of 1998 and 1999 batch of PCMS (Amritsar district), refer to the report (May 30) quoting the Punjab Chief Minister as saying that if there is any doubt about the selection in any batch, the entire batch will have to go. This clearly smells of autocratic and dictatorial style of functioning of this government. This defies all norms of law and justice.

India is a vibrant democracy with a very strong and impartial judiciary and in the eyes of the law, a person is deemed innocent until proved guilty. We welcome Captain Amarinder Singh’s drive against corruption, but this should be well directed and targeted against the guilty. Making a whole batch suffer for the actions of a few (if any) will be unconstitutional, illegal and totally unwarranted. A lot of hard work and pains on the part of the doctors have gone into their selection for the PCMS. These doctors have an excellent academic record. Some of them have been working in remote villages for 3-5 years and have done very good work.

We would like to ask the Chief Minister whether he can say with guarantee that he would again be able to get selected in the Combined Defence Services examination if he took the same?

Jagjit Singh Khalsa & Ranjit Singh, Amritsar

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