Skip to content

22

We, the undersigned, are shocked by the serial raids across the country on the homes of activists and public intellectuals who are critical of the government and the ruling party at the Centre. The arrests of prominent activists and intellectuals Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Gautam Navlakha, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Kranthi Tekula and others, are nothing but an attempt by the government to strike terror among those who are fighting for justice for the marginalised. This is also an attempt by the BJP to invent a false enemy and engage in scaremongering in order to polarise the 2019 elections in its favour. Already, the government and the media houses close to the BJP have been trying to spin a false narrative of a Maoist conspiracy since June, 2018. Terms like “urban naxals” are invented in order to stifle any criticism of the government. We have learnt that the Delhi Police, after having arrested Sudha Bharadwaj, waited for Republic TV to arrive before taking her to the court. This simply shows that the arrests are incomplete without the accompanying sensationalist media propaganda to demonise activists, human rights defenders and intellectuals.

The so-called raids carried out on the houses of these activists are aimed at creating a spectacle, as the writings and views of these intellectuals are already publicly known and are well documented. This seems like a conspiracy to divert attention from the gravity of the Sanatan Sanstha conspiracy to carry out serial bomb attacks on Eid and Ganesh Chaturthi! The same Sanatan Sanstha was also involved in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, as per the ongoing investigations by Karnataka police. Today’s arrests have been carried out in order to give cover to the murderers of Gauri Lankesh. People like Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha and others who have been arrested are friends of the people who have dedicated their entire lives to the betterment of the Indian public. By arresting them, the BJP is only exposing its insecurities and its intolerance to any dissent or criticism of its policies.

The arrests should be seen in continuation with the recent attacks on pro-justice voices such as Swami Agnivesh, Umar Khalid and many other student activists from Delhi to Lucknow. A BJP lawmaker from Karnataka even advocated the murder of “intellectuals.” Both the arrests and the physical attacks on justice loving people must be seen in a series of attempts to stifle dissent and deny social justice.

We demand immediate release of the arrested individuals, dropping of all false and malicious charges, as these arrests are politically motivated and unjustified.

Shehla Rashid Shora, former Vice-President, JNU Students’ Union.

Mohit Pandey, former President, JNU Students’ Union.

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Author, Journalist, Publisher.

Neha Dixit, Journalist.

Jignesh Mevani, MLA Vadgam, Gujarat.

Sanam Sutirath Wazir, Human Rights Activist.

Nakul Singh Sawhney, Documentary Filmmaker.

Teesta Setalvad, Journalist and Social Activist.

Harish Iyer, Equal Rights Activist.

Swami Agnivesh, Arya Samaj, Social Activist.

Admiral L Ramdas

Lalita Ramdas

Shabnam Hashmi

Vidyut, blogger.

Ashok Bharati, Dalit Leader

Maj Priyadarshi Chowdhury, SC, ESM Activist & Coordinator Joint Agitation of Farmers, Dalits & ESMs

Shri VM Singh, Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sanghatan

Kumar Prashant, Chairman, Gandhi Peace Foundation to the statement

If you agree with the above statement, please add your name in the comments and I will periodically add names to the post.

This article examines @santvarun's tweets summarizing the press briefing by senior INC leader Ajay Maken and connects them with relevant information in the public domain.

Three days ago, the UK newspaper, Guardian, made public excerpts of a 97-page show cause notice issued by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to an Adani Group company: M/S Maharashta Eastern Grid Power Transmission Company Limited (MEGPTCL).

On 5/2/2013, DRI under UPA-II initiated an enquiry into over-invoicing on import of electrical machinery by a subsidiary of the Adani Group.

This investigation ended on 15/05/2014. The summary of this investigation:

Note: The accused MEGPTCL, a wholly owned subsidiary of Adani Enterprises Limited, an Adani Group company, is a Power Transmission Company (TransCo). For electricity to reach our homes, first the fuel is procured, then electric power generated in a plant. This power is then transmitted through a Distribution Company to our homes. So the electricity chain is: import coal --> import machinery for Generation Company (GenCo) --> import machinery for TransCo --> sell power through DisCom. The DRI investigation exposes the TransCo part of this chain. The background, as described in Michael Safi's Guardian report:

India is electricity-starved. More than 240 million Indians – enough people to form the fifth-largest country on Earth – lack access to regular power.

In the early 1990s, to encourage power companies to build electrical infrastructure, the Indian government eliminated import tariffs on technical equipment such as reactors and transformers. Profit margins on these projects increased overnight.

Adani saw the business opportunity. In 2010, the Maharashtra Eastern Grid Power Transmission Company Limited (MEGPTCL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Adani Enterprises, was granted a license to develop two electricity transmission networks in the north-east of the state.

Per the DRI investigation, Adani Group routed the purchase of equipment via a front company in Dubai, thus inflating the price of equipment by nearly 400%. The ensuing profits were then transferred to a trust in Mauritius controlled by Vinod Adani.

Vinod Shantilal Adani, the elder brother of industrialist Gautam Adani, set up a firm in the Bahamas in 1993 and, shortly afterwards, "corrected the spelling" of his name to Vinod Shantilal Shah.

The Guardian article also detailed how the illicit profits were siphoned off out of India (as summarized in the DRI notice).

How much money was siphoned off  by MEGPTCL? Nearly INR 1,500 crores!

The DRI notice was issued May 15, 2014. 9 days later, Narendra Modi flew from Ahmedabad to Delhi on an Adani aircraft to become India's 15th Prime Minister.


What happened to the DRI investigation once Modi took office is detailed by investigative journalist Josy Joseph in his book, A Feast of Vultures: The Hidden Business of Democracy in India, whose excerpts were carried in The Wire.

So there's a siphoning off of illicit profits by the Adani Group, who have backed the winning horse in the 2014 General Elections Narendra Modi, who then proceeds to stymie the investigation against them. The public is left to bear the cost of it all, which is where the INR 2/unit #AdaniTax comes in. It’s not only about the INR 1,500 crore; inflated invoices have a downstream impact on wheeling & generation charges:

Further, Adani Group clearly stands to profit from every part of the electricity chain ( import coal --> import machinery for Generation Company (GenCo) --> import machinery for TransCo --> sell power through DisCom). There are more dots to join - one detailed in the June 2016 issue of The Economic & Political Weekly by Paranjoy Guha Thakurta.

Thakurta also co-wrote with Aman Malik a similar article in The Wire which talked about an ongoing investigation into over-invoicing by as many as FORTY of India's biggest energy companies. A side note: Thakurta recently resigned as Editor of EPW after a defamation notice from - no prizes for guessing - Adani Group!]

Summaries of these articles from the INC Press Release:

The more you delay the adjudication process, the more the cases fade away from public memory and our collective consciousness.

Adding up all the over-valuations: in coal imported - INR 29,000 crore; in power plant machinery - INR 9,000 crore; in compensatory tariffs - minimum INR 10,000 crores!

So the INR 50,000 crore question is, how does this affect the electricity tariff charged to consumers? See the excerpts below:

To repeat: As many as 40 energy companies, including Adani Group, overvalued invoices and transferred the (inflated) cost to electricity consumers! Why should consumers foot this padded bill? Why is Narendra Modi, of na khaunga na khaane doonga fame, silent on this?

The demands made by the INC:

  1. Immediate reduction of tariff by up to factor of ₹2/ unit wherever these companies are producing & transmitting electricity.
  2. Immediate CBI investigation monitored by a judge of the Supreme Court into the corrupt practices of over-invoicing
  3. The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission should investigate all private power generating entities to identify over-pricing of equipment

It is high time that Narendra Modi stopped dishing out #LalQileKeJumle and took strong action against looting of Indian public! Expose ! Remove !

Postscript: Aamjanata.com agrees it is high time Narendra Modi delivered on his repeated vows to cleanse the system of political corruption.

Post-postscript:

  1. A piece in The Voice of Nation that tells you of the closeness of the Adani brothers - note the sympathetic tone. Is this supposed  to be the voice of India?
  2. A recent Climate Change news article on Modi & Adani wreaking havoc on the environment.
  3.  Vinod Adani was mentioned in the "Panama Papers"

DELHI UNION OF JOURNALISTS

Flat no.29, New Central Market, Connaught Circus, New Delhi-110 001

Phone: 23413459, E-mail: duj.delhi@gmail.com

April 24, 2015

PRESS RELEASE

Justice for Dalit Journalist Nagaraju

Journalists, academicians, activists, lawyers and eminent personalities came together in solemn remembrance of the death of Dalit journalist Nagaraju Koppula who died after a protracted battle with cancer. Participants at the condolence meeting held on April 23, resolved to fight for justice against the casteist discrimination and contractual exploitation meted out to him by his employers The New Indian Express. Despite being highly qualified with an MA in History from University of Hyderabad, Post graduation in journalism from IIJNM Bangalore, interned with The Hindu Chennai,  the New Indian Express underpaid him, denied health benefits when faced with deadly disease cancer, Provident Fund and other monetary rights pushing him to death.

Veteran journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta with whom Nagaraju had worked as a translator from Telugu to English for a documentary said, “Nagaraju stood out in the crowd of elitist students in Tehelka School of Journalism (now defunct) creative writing course. I was shocked when I heard he passed away. He was determined to work in English print media despite many people advising him otherwise. His passing away is a great loss to journalism and the Dalit community. There need to be safeguards for people entering the profession from marginalised backgrounds.”

Journalist and researcher Sukumar Muralidharan sent a message of condolence and expressed his solidarity to the cause of getting justice for Nagaraju Koppula.

Jawaharlal Nehru University Prof Pradeep Shinde got emotional and said, “The situation is tricky. Dalits who come to the cities carry not only their own individual aspirations but the aspirations of all those left behind in the village. More than cancer or any other disease, the treatment they are meted out with by the society at large and the lack of support in these cities, kills them. Nagaraju could have perhaps fought the cancer for a few more years had he not been deprived of psychological support and become a victim of systemic institutional discrimination.”

Mr Nathu Prasad representing the Dali Shoshan Mukti Manch expressed his condolences.

The meeting concluded by demanding immediate action on several fronts, some of them as follows:

  1. The rightful dues including medical reimbursements, salary dues and compensation for the 25 years of productive service lost be given to the family and not through doles collected from employees
  2. Immediate action against all those responsible for victimizing him
  3. Constitution of an enquiry into the matter
  4. Legal action under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act

A joint committee consisting of journalists, DUJ, lawyers and activists will hold an independent investigation into the matter and submit a report in a month

Memorandums will also be sent to various concerned bodies like the Press Council of India, NHRC, SC/ST Commission, Govt of India etc.

The meeting decided to hold a candle light protest outside The New Indian Express office on Bahadurshah Jafar Marg on April 25, Saturday from 6.30 p.m. onwards to demand justice for Nagaraju. A joint memorandum will be submitted to the management.

(S. K Pande)                                                               (Manisha)

DUJ                                                                            Friends of Nagaraju

Nathu Prasad

Dalit Shoshan Mukthi Manch

Originally published at Press Release- DUJ demands Justice for Dalit Journalist Nagaraju.