Monday, August 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Time to bow out, Mr Ram Naik

HARI JAISINGH in his front-page editorial (Aug 11) has hit the nail on its head by making a forceful plea for the resignation of Mr Ram Naik, Petroleum Minister, in the wake of a gigantic scam in the allotment of petrol pumps and gas agencies. It is not a scam in the ordinary sense of the term. It is an open loot, a brazen banditry committed on the body politic of India by those who swear by the professed value system of the Hindutva.

In defending itself the BJP has taken recourse to a perverse logic the Congress did it while in power. So we have the divine right to do the same (though on a much bigger scale). The myth of the BJP being a party with a difference has been exploded with a bang and the king can be seen moving stark naked.

Mr Ram Naik’s resignation and the probe by a sitting Supreme Court Judge into the whole affair is the minimum that needs to be done to apply balm to the wounded conscience of the nation.


Congress role: Since the PM has cancelled all the allotments done by his government, the Opposition shouldn’t have involved in creating an unruly atmosphere leading to adjournments of both Houses. Is stalling the proceedings of the Houses to seek the solutions of such problems in a democracy justified and the only way? Is it not a brazen show of public money being squandered over petty individual differences of the political parties as nearly Rs 25 lakh is spent for an hour?


By digging out old cases of discretionary allotment, the NDA government has just tried to tell the Congress that at least the pot cannot call the kettle black.

D.P. SINGH MOR, Patiala

Auction petrol pumps: So far as the distribution of petrol pumps and gas agencies is concerned, no doubt in official records, these would have been allotted to war widows, ex-servicemen and handicapped persons but on actual verification, it would come out that these were run by other persons who have purchased these from the deserving allottees. Will it not be better to auction these petrol pumps and gas agencies and pass on the benefits to the needy class, i.e. war widows, ex-servicemen and handicapped persons?

HARISH K. MONGA, Ferozepur

Favouritism: The Congress has no locus standi to accuse the BJP of favouritism in the allotment of petrol pumps and LPG agencies as it had indulged in large-scale nepotism in making such allotments during its rule. Uproar and adjournments in Parliament by the Congress-led Opposition has caused a loss of crores of rupees of business hours. Instead of pooling one’s efforts towards a common and clear objective-uproar, adjournments, bandhs, strikes, boycotts, picketing, dharnas have become the hallmarks of the modern political and social setup in India. This has obliterated the dividing line between right and wrong. You cannot be content with looking at things. You have to see them, understand them and then act.


Convict them: It is time to act. It is time to boot these corrupt, blood-sucking, power-hungry tyrants posing as patriots and well-wishers of the people out of office and convict them through a powerful independent judicial system very much like in the USA where justice grinds an erring politician, actor or CEO with breathtaking severity.

DEEPAK GULATI, by e-mail

Public opinion: I agree with Hari Jaisingh that in the circumstances the only honourable course left for Mr Naik is to bow out of this stinking office before public anger becomes uncontrollable. Vigilant public opinion and the media must mount pressure on the government to set its house in order. People are fed up with scandals. Time has come to reverse this trend. Clean, transparent, responsive, people-friendly governance is the need of the hour.

K.L. BATRA, Yamunanagar

Posers to Naik: Mr Naik must own responsibility and resign to keep up the high traditions of democracy. A few queries are posed to Mr Ram Naik. Is it not his constitutional duty to run the ministry affairs without fear and favour to anybody? How can he wash his hands off simply by saying that after constituting dealer selection boards he had no role to play? Is it not his duty to oversee the implementation of transparency policy of allotment as laid down in the guidelines of his ministry?

What proof of delinquency does he require more when the Prime Minister has cancelled the allotments on the ground that a dispute has arisen. Everybody knows the dispute that it is the distribution of largesse of public property to party men and friends from other parties and heavy weights.

What circumstantial evidence Mr Naik needs more than reported in the media and evasive answers amounting to admissions in debates on allotments. I think there was pressure of party workers and top leaders knew about it. The political system is at fault. Judges who headed the boards also got caught in the system. The integrity of the Indian nation is at stake. It is for the leaders of the nation to ponder. It is not too late.

R.K. MAHAJAN, New Shimla

Blame game: The manner in which the politicians of today defend their actions or inactions is like street children indulging in blame game. Look at the way as to how the people of the party in power speak in the matter of allotment of petrol pumps. Are they so naive as not to realise that by painting out the misdeeds of the Congress regime to defend their actions, they are not washing their blackened faces. Instead they are, by their own admission, painting themselves in the same colour. Well, people have given their verdict on the Congress by removing it from power. Is the party in power waiting for that?

No marks to the Congress as well. In every session of Parliament the Opposition has been stalling the proceedings on one pretext or the other. So much so that important legislative business is either postponed or completed in a hurry without any discussion. They speak of corporate governance. Will we ever have a semblance of governance at the highest level of government.

P.K.HANDA, Panchkula

Why curbs: Successive public representatives in power have minted money out of the petrol pump/gas agency allotments. Since there is no shortage of petrol/diesel in the market. There are no restrictions on the purchase of these essential commodities, one can buy as much quantity of the fuel from wherever one wants. Then what is the logic behind restricting the allotment through licence/quota/permit only, on setting up of new filling stations?




Shylock Sidhu & his cabal

Apropos of Hari Jaisingh’s article “A matter of justice & fair play” (Aug 9), there is no denying the fact that there were candidates who got through the PPSC selection process on merit while a sizable number of them gained admittance on mercenary or quid pro quo considerations while Ravi Sidhu was manning the pearly gates.

The author has been in a bit of hurry to give the benefit of the doubt to the doctors and teachers on the ground that there has been no evidence so far for their having bribed anybody. Now evidence is a subjective and constricted view in the process of dispensation of justice whereas the author is writing from a higher pedestal of seminal thinking.

However, even on the question of evidence, the apex court has judicially recognised the concept of preponderance of human possibilities in a given situation. If Shylock Sidhu and his cabal were getting their pound of flesh from so many, the chances are that he did get a morsel or two from the sundries. There can be no other view to the proposition of the author that it is a difficult situation for the executive and the judiciary to deal with, particularly when there is no precedence to fall back upon. However, with all due respect to the learned author, his remedial suggestions are long on spiritual and intellectual exhortations but short on brasstacks of the process of separating wheat from chaff. Calling a modern Vikramaditya to judgement in the present setup is like looking for a clone of Mahatma Gandhi in the Congress or of a Master Tara Singh, a frugal extraordinaire, in the Akali Dal.

Peter Drucker, the celebrated management guru, says that there is no problem for which there is not a solution and there is no solution which is not hidden within the problem itself.

If you can define the extent, depth and parameters of your problem, you have already solved half of it and the remaining half will itself show up the blueprint of the solution.

Therefore, the bottomline is to look into every nook and corner of this scam by handing over the investigations to the best and the brightest from the investigation apparatus and give them an absolutely free hand. When all the diagnostic findings of the malaise come out, the decision about wielding the scalpel will be easier to execute.

R.C. KHANNA, Amritsar

PPSC: Admittedly some amongst those selected by Ravi Sidhu and now dismissed by the Punjab Government are capable and would have made it on their own if the system so permitted. But the point is they opted for the devious route.

Equally, all members of the PPSC are guilty of living with themselves from this cesspool of corruption by resigning. Therefore, there is the need to dismiss all the members and reconstitute the commission under the newly appointed chairman. Dismissed candidates, not found guilty of malpractices in their selection should be made to reappear in a some what truncated test but full interview before the freshly appointed commission. Nothing should be done to derail the ongoing drive against corruption.



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