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Third-rate frauds in politics

-Ravi Krishna Reddy

It is truly a sad state of politics in Karnataka. Third-rate frauds with no desirable qualifications required in  a good and matured democracy have taken over the polity in Karnataka in general and the ruling BJP in particular. Fraudulent actions like forging the documents, providing false affidavits for swindling the state and public’s money have become the hallmark of the ruling party ministers, MLAs and MPs. As you have seen in the case of Nirani and his ministry (as detailed here) and in the case in which Yeddyurappa and Krishnaih Setty are in judicial custody (reported here, by Prajavani), the ministers and people who are in power have thrown all laws to the wind at this age of RTI and behaved like full-time professional cons.

Yes, professional con men have enetered the public offices in Karnataka, en masse. Our elected representatives and their families are putting Frank Abagnale Jr. to shame.

The sad state of BJP does not end with its senior ministers and career politicians. It extends to some imbecile politicians like B.Y. Raghavendra, Janardhana Swamy, etc. Instead of steering and shaping the party’s long-term policies and the fortune, they rushed to secure their personal fortunes as soon as they become MPs. These people were granted 50×80 ft BDA sites worth Rs. 3-4 crores for a meagre sum of Rs. 8 lacs within months after taking the oath in the Parliament. As it was demonstrated here and here, it seems these young politicians did not show any signs of restraint and rushed to provide false affidavits that carried lies in some cases and misleading information in some other.


In this time of cons and self-serving politicians governing our state, it is immature to ask what were their contributions that made qualified enough to be granted with BDA sites at lesser price. And in the case of MPs, why would they need a place here, in Bangalore city, which neither falls under their constituency, nor it is Delhi, where they should spend some decent amount of time in shaping the laws and policies of our country? I know these are not the questions to be asked at this time of treachery and day-robbery.

It may be true that the politicians are the true reflection of our society. It is not just the politics that went wrong here in Karnataka. Supporting the family’s corruption and protecting the sons and son-in-laws is prevalent in our society. A well known Kannada writer, the man who translated Tolstoy to Kannada and one time disciple of Kuvempu, D. Javare Gowda, the former VC of Mysore University, an octogenarian, went onto fast to save his son from the corruption charges. As it is noted in the previous sentence, his son is not a child. He himself is probably a grandfather, who is in his late sixties, made his father go on fasting to influence and threaten the state to scuttle the ongoing investigation on the irregularities he has committed while he was the Vice Chancellor of the same Univeristy that his father served. A father going to jail for his and his sons crimes and a the son making use of the fathers influence and power to stay out of the jail says that something is truly rotten here. Everyone supports corrupt practices of their family. I know “everyone” is not the right word here, but “majority” is also not a right word as it may imply 49.9% not supporting corruption in their families, as it is not true in this context.

Are these journalists too dumb, or are they simply dishonest?

And, majority of our  journalists are no different. I happened to visit Mudhol couple of weeks back, where Murugesh Nirani’s sugar factory and residence are located. I was shocked to see a palatial bungalow on the outskirts of Mudhol. This bungalow belongs to Murugesh Nirani. I am not qualified to assess monetary worth of this palace, but it is spread over acres, and people over there were saying it has lifts inside the house. It may be worth half a billion rupees, if not a billion. The work and expansion of the sugar factory was in full swing. I don’t think you can make some filthy money in a highly competetive sector like sugar industry. And, incidentally, I went with my friend to Nirani Sugars as he was not paid for his sugar cane for the last 6 months. So this factory has dues, but the expansion work and the bungalow next door tells the money is flowing. Where is this money coming from? What are our journalists doing? “Follow the money,” was the word Deep Throat said to Bob Woodword.  May be not many of our journalists know who Woodward is.

And, can a minister or an elected representative like MLAs and MPs, run a private business or occupy an office-of-profit, when they are serving a public office? I think the laws in our country are vague on this subject. But, why did Nandan Nilekani resign from all the posts of Infosy Technologies when he took UID position? Why shouldn’t it be applied to our elected representatives? It has become easier for our politicians to make money by corrupt means and show this ill-gotten money as the income from their private companies. Why our journalists not raising this issue?

Also, the media in Karnataka, especially the TV media is controlled by politicians. 4 out of the 5 news channels in Kannada are owned by active politicans. As said in a meeting with Alam Pasha by himself, Nirani also owns a channel, and he does not like bad press.

Alam Pasha has gone on record saying that Nirani threatened him by saying “I am the owner of Samaya Channel. I can give bad  publicity to you and expose you.”

The reason why I am bringing this up here is, the journalists of Kannada media do not have a systematic support for their fellow journalists when someone in the family writes something critical of an active politican or a media owner. There was an incident reported in some blogs recently that a lady journalist was indirectly forced to resign from Samaya TV, beacuse her spouse wrote something in Udayavani paper criticising Murugesh Nirani.

Suresh Puduvettu covered the same story that we published here at Vartamaana.com, a month back in Udayavani, a Kannada daily . His wife, Manasa Puduvettu, was incidentally employed by Samaya TV. As soon as the report appeared in Udayavani, Mrs. Puduvettu was warned and tarnsferred to Gulbarga as a punishement which eventually forced her to resign. But no journalists or journalists association of the state supported her for this ill-treatment.

I believe this is high time that the honest and senior journalists of Kannada media to come out and expose these and support their colleagues and save their profession from the clutches of corruption and fear. Recently we have seen Advani saying “his party can’t win the confidence of the people if its own house is bedevilled with similar weaknesses,” and the journalists merrily reported it. Now is the time for journalists in Karnataka to rid their house of corruption, fear, injustice and insecurity. In that process may be the cheaters and frauds in the disguise of public representatives would also be controlled and be brought to justice.

But, will our journalists act?

(Prajavani image courtesy: prajavaniepaper.com)

Janardhana Swamy – no different from other politicians

-Bhoomi Banu

Janardhana Swamy has proved he is no different from other politicians. He filed a false affidavit to secure a BDA site in a posh locality in Bangalore at a subsidised price (only Rs. 8,62,996 for a 50×80 site). He has openly admitted to his act and he is left with no defence in this case. As per law, filing false affidavit is a crime punishable under Indian law and his case is similar to the circumstances which led to Shimoga MP B.Y Raghavendra to surrender his site and Justice Shivaraj Patil quit his office of the Lokayukta.

People, in particular voters of Chitradurga, expect their representative humble enough to surrender the site he obtained through illegal means. However, Mr. Swamy has not shown signs of remorse. Instead, he has continued to evade the question. He wants to defend his act by stating that the other two sites he already own were insignificant in terms of value. But the copy of the affidavit, which every BDA site applicant has to fill, state that the beneficiary should not own either a residential or agricultural or commercial property in the Bangalore Metropolitan limits. The metropolitan area is beyond the BBMP limits.

Expectations from Swamy, a techie-turned-politician, are obviously high because the intentions (as he himself proclaimed) of entering politics were far more different from others in the same boat.

Straight from the Silicon Valley in California, Swamy entered into election politics in Karnataka. The BJP boasted itself for selecting him as its candidate from Chitradurga Lok Sabha constituency, reserved for the Scheduled Castes. The people supported him in the elections. The party also stood by him. BJP’s tall leaders including L.K. Advani campaigned for him. The efforts did not prove futile.

Astonishingly, within a few days from his election to Lok Sabha, Swamy began to claim responsibility for all good happened to Chitradurga. Be it proposed railway link between Davangere and Tumkur or IISC campus in Challakere or Upper Bhadra project, he claimed himself as the ‘man behind’. A visit to his website (jswamy.com) shows how badly he is after publicity over developments that began even years before he entered into politics. All this showed that he is, like any power-hungry politician, after publicity.

His misdemeanours have not only upset people of Chitradurga, but his one-time supporters too. Many of his software field friends camped in Chitradurga to campaign for him. A few people who put in their efforts for his victory want him surrender his BDA site.

Mr. Yogesh Devaraj, a prominent personality in the India Against Corruption movement, has vent his disappointment over the turn of events in a comment in Churumuri.wordpress.com. Mr. Devaraj has known Swamy for several years in the US. He says Swamy has hurt the prospects of people like him who dreamt of a political career. However, Devaraj has not lost hopes. He wants Swamy rectify his mistake by surrendering the site so that he can get back the credibility he lost. Will he listen to these voices?