Download eBook: SEBI, UK Sinha and Omita Paul

In a major decision, the Supreme Court of India on September 26, 2012 issued notice to the Central government asking it to file their response to a plea that alleged irregularities in the appointment of SEBI chairman UK Sinha.

Canary Trap has been reporting on the entire issue since May 2011. This ebook is a compilation of all the articles written by petitioner Arun Agrawal and published on our blog.

Download the eBook from here: SEBI, UK Sinha, Omita Paul

Did US provoke China to attack India during 1971 war?

Did the US instigate the Chinese to attack India during its 1971 war with Pakistan? I came across some of the details in the declassified documents of the US State Department that were lying in my digital library. The details of conversation between the US President his top officials clearly suggest that US did try to convince China to initiate a military action against India while the war was on.

The documents have been in the public domain for a long time now. I happened to stumble upon this detail rather late. But still thought of putting it up.

Below is the entire account of conversation as then US President Richard Nixon met with his Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger in the Oval Office of the White House at 8.45 am on December 12, 1971. Kissinger’s deputy Alexander Haig also joined the meeting in between.

After a discussion of Southeast Asia, Nixon returned to South Asia and expressed the conviction that the Chinese, the Soviets, and the Indians needed to be shown that the “ man in the White House” was tough.

The conversation focused heavily on China and what the Chinese Government could be expected to do as the crisis unfolded. Early in the conversation Kissinger said: “I called Bhutto yesterday evening after we talked just for the record, and I said I don’ t want to hear one more word from the Chinese. We are the ones who have been operating against our  public opinion, against our bureaucracy, at the very edge of legality… .And if they want to talk, they should move some troops. And until they have done so we don’t want to hear one more word.”

Haig entered in the middle of the conversation with the news that the Chinese wanted to meet on an urgent basis. Because Nixon and Kissinger were on the point of leaving for the Azores, the Chinese proposed a meeting in New York between Haig and Chinese Ambassador Huang Hua. The Chinese initiative in calling for a meeting was “totally unprecedented”  Kissinger said. He concluded that the request meant “ they’ re going to move. No question, they’re going to move.” The tenor of the conversation changed at that point from the earlier expressed concern that China would not make the necessary military moves to help restrain India to a concern over the implications of the military action China had apparently decided upon.

Nixon responded to Kissinger’s conclusion that China had decided to move by commenting: “Well, this may change our plans a bit— no it doesn’t change our plans at all.” The plans he referred to were his plans to travel to the Azores to meet with French President Pompidou. Nixon instructed Haig to “ get up there” to meet with Huang Hua. Nixon asked Haig if he agreed that the Chinese request for a meeting “means they are going to move.”  Haig concurred with Kissinger’ s assessment. That raised the question of the likelihood of Soviet military action against China in the event of Chinese military moves that menaced India. Kissinger said: “If the Soviets move against them and then we don’ t do anything, we’ll be finished.”  Nixon asked: “So what do we do if the Soviets move against them? Start lobbing nuclear weapons in, is that what you mean?”  Kissinger responded: “If the Soviets move against them in these conditions and succeed, that will be the final showdown. We have to — and if they succeed we will be finished. We’ ll be through.” Kissinger tentatively suggested: “Then we better call them [the Chinese] off.” But he quickly concluded: “I think we can’ t call them off frankly.” Haig said: “I think that if you call them off, if we don’t give them some assurances,…..the price you pay for that is almost as bad as if you” Kissinger interjected: “If we call them off, I think our China initiative is pretty well down the drain.” Nixon agreed: “That’s what I think.” He added: “And our China initiative is down the drain. And also our stroke with the Russians is very, very seriously jeopardized.” Kissinger went on: “If the Russians get away with facing down the Chinese and if the Indians get away with licking the Pakistanis, what we are now having is the final — we may be looking down the gun barrel.” More hopefully Kissinger noted: “It’s the Chinese view which they expressed to Bhutto yesterday that the Soviets will back off.” He added: “I think the Soviets will back off if we face them.” Nixon said: “Well that’s the point. The reason that I suggested that the Chinese move is that they talked about the Soviet divisions on their  border and all that sort of thing. You know that the Soviets at this point aren’t about to go ripping into that damn mess, having in mind the fact that they’ re gaining from the Indian thing.”

Kissinger said: “Well we’ve got to trigger this quickly, so that we are positioned, and not at the tail of the Chinese. Otherwise we have no moral authority whatsoever for supporting the Chinese.” Nixon asked: “Bhutto asked the Chinese to move too didn’ t he?” Kissinger responded: “They are not doing it because of us.” Nixon said: “That’s what I mean. Let me just get that straight right away. Why are the Chinese moving?” Kissinger answered: “We asked, but that’ s not the reason they’re doing it.” Nixon concurred: “The way you put it Henry, the way you put it is very different as I understand. You said look we’re doing all these things why don’t you threaten them. Remember I said threaten, move a couple of people”……He added: “We have to scare these bastards”……Kissinger stated: “I said we will prevent pressures on you from other countries. But it is immaterial who made them do it. We didn’t make them do it. They are acting for the same reason they jumped us when we approached the Chinese border in Korea.” Nixon asked: “Is that what you think Al?” Haig responded: “Yes sir.” Kissinger said: “It’s exactly the same situation. But leaving aside whether we made them do it or not, we did not make them do it, my feeling would be the same, Mr. President, if I had not talked to them on Friday. They don’ t move that fast……This has been building up. My feeling is, Mr. President, leaving completely aside what we said, if the outcome of this is that Pakistan is swallowed by India, China is destroyed, defeated, humiliated by the Soviet Union, it will be a change in the world balance of power of such magnitude that the security of the United States for, maybe forever, certainly for decades — we will have a ghastly war in the Middle East.” Nixon interjected: “Now we really get into the numbers game. You’ve got the Soviet Union with 800 million Chinese, 600 million Indians, the balance of Southeast Asia terrorized, the Japanese immobile, the Europeans of course will suck after them, and the United States the only one, we have maybe parts of Latin America and who knows.” “This is why, Mr. President,” Kissinger said “you’ll be alone.” Nixon responded: “We’ve been alone before.”

Revealed: IAF’s innovative use of airpower during Kargil conflict

A new report by Dr. Benjamin Lambeth on the Indian Air Force’s role in the Kargil conflict has revealed how the IAF employed innovative use of airpower to speed up the eviction of the Pakistani intruders from the Indian territory.

Dr Lambeth is a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in the US and has written extensively on air warfare and other defense-related matters.

The report, Airpower at 18,000: The Indian Air Force in the Kargil War, states that:

“The experience offers an exemplary case study in the uses of airpower in joint warfare in high mountain conditions and is key to a full understanding of India’s emerging air posture. It is the one instance of recent Indian exposure to high-intensity warfare that provides insights into the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) capabilities, limitations, relations with its sister services, and interactions with India’s civilian leadership.”

The report reveals some innovative use of airpower employed by the IAF during the conflict. While quoting a senior IAF official, the report states that when the conflict started, there was only one squadron fitted with GPS which would have aided accurate boming from safer altitudes. Also, this would have helped IAF aircrafts stay away from the effective reach of enemy’s man-portable infrared surface-to-air-missiles.

“Further innovative real-time adaptation by the IAF occurred when MiG-21 pilots lacking sophisticated onboard navigation suites resorted to the use of stopwatches and GPS receivers in their cockpits for conducting night interdiction bombing.105 Yet another novel technique developed by the IAF for use in the campaign entailed selecting weapon impact points so as to create landslides and avalanches that covered intruder supply lines.106 Finally, to note just one of many additional examples that could be cited, the IAF pioneered during its Kargil campaign what has since come to be called nontraditional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance through its use of electrooptical and infrared imaging targeting pods for conducting high-resolution aerial reconnaissance of the battlespace,” the report further states.

Dr Lambeth’s report also throws light on the perception that IAF “reluctantly” initiated combat operations during Kargil and sough “to avoid involvement in the conflict altogether, claiming inexperience in mountain warfare and unfamiliarity with the terrain, as well as the risk associated with the heightened SAM [surface-to-air-missile] threat in the mountains.”

“In truth, the IAF began conducting initial reconnaissance sorties over the Kargil heights as early as May 10, less than a week after the presence of the enemy incursion was first confirmed by Indian Army patrols. It also began deploying additional aircraft into the Kashmir Valley in enough numbers to support any likely combat tasking, established a rudimentary air defense control arrangement there because there were no ground-based radars in the area, and began extensive practice of air-to-ground weapons deliveries by both fighters and attack helicopters at Himalayan target elevations,” the report states.

However the report also states that overall, the Kargil conflict was a “poor test of India’s air warfare capability”. The report adds: “Despite the happy ending of the Kargil experience for India, the IAF’s fighter pilots were restricted in their operations due to myriad challenges specific to this campaign. They were thus consigned to do what they could rather than what they might have done if they had more room for maneuver.”

Click here to read the entire report

The Ghaziabad whodunnit


Since Muslims across the world are in anguished agitation, I decided to take a short drive from New Delhi, along National Highway 24 to Ghaziabad’s Dasna village leading to the Masoori police station, where six Muslim youth were shot dead by a nervous police on the evening of September 14, three days after the tragedy in Libya.

Ghazi, which means warrior, is common to both: Benghazi and Ghaziabad. This quaint detail is attributable to an earlier spurt of globalization in the medieval period.

Benghazi erupted on 9/11 when US ambassador and his three fellow Americans were killed by a mob after an anti-Muslim video, produced in the US, was aired on YouTube. Gradually, uncontrollable rage enveloped the entire Muslim world.

The producers of the film must be pleased at the effectiveness of their mischief. There were the expected expressions of anger in parts of India too, which is host to the world’s second largest Muslim population. Apparently, to boost local anger, pages of the Quran were desecrated near Ghaziabad.

I am not for a moment suggesting a common authorship for the troubles in Benghazi and Ghaziabad. What I am saying is this: the black mood which had spread far and wide because of the video was taken advantage of. That is where pages of the Quran, with “pig” scribbled on one of them, enter the narrative. Mysteriously, in one corner of the “desecrated” page is scribbled a mobile phone number which confuses but leads nowhere.

Behind the Masoori police station, which serves 33 villages, a “bazaar” (village market) is held every Friday. September 14, Friday, was no different. The bazaar did brisk business during the day. By evening, say about 5.00 pm, when shoppers were returning home, a whisper went around Masoori that someone had thrown torn pages of the Quran from a moving train: covering the entire stretch from Ghaziabad to Moradabad. Most of this turned out to be gross exaggeration.

I met nobody who had actually seen these pages. Nor had those I spoke to met anyone who had set eyes on the dreadful piece of evidence.

The Chairman of Dasna Municipality, Sajid Hussain, 6.4 feet, lanky, like a retired fast bowler, narrates the nightmare he lived through. He speaks almost in a daze. Holding his head in both his hands, he mutters: “Yes, I saw the desecrated page very briefly at the police station because I was distracted by the mob.”

Behind Sajid Hussain’s office is the mosque of the adjacent village of Rafiqabad. Someone, who is mysteriously anonymous, brought the pages of the Quran to Abdul Qadir, “Muezzin” (one who calls the faithful to pray) of the mosque. Accompanied by a posse of devotees, Qadir turned up at the Masoori police station, shaking with rage. He announced he had come to file an official complaint. The crowd meanwhile was rapidly transforming itself into a mob. And the mob grew exponentially in size from “Asr” to “Maghreb”, the two congregational prayers, one in late afternoon and the other at dusk.

Sajid Hussain stands up, stretching both his hands which nearly touch the ceiling. “Calls were being given at all the village mosques asking the congregations to rush to the Masoori police station.” That is how the crowd swelled. He then screams into the air: “Who has given them so much power, these Imams of mosques?” And when the situation goes out of control “You expect the secular leadership to douse the flames?”

Earlier when the SHO asked Qadir to let him have the pages of the Quran so he can attach it or make a copy of it for the FIR, Qadir refused. The Quran would become “unclean” if the SHO handled it. Was not that particular page from the Quran already “desecrated”? After all, that specifically was Qadir’s complaint. Moreover anyone can buy a copy of the Quran from bookshops. Qurans thus sold become unclean? I tried looking for Qadir but he remained elusive.

By 6.30 pm DM, ADM, every acronym in the administrative and police catalogue are crammed into one small complaints room from where they all crawl into the “khazana” or the Strong room to protect themselves.

“Reinforcements please” shouts the SP into the telephone, repeatedly “Or, we will be killed.” The mob has held up traffic on NH24, blocking reinforcements, he is told. As the mob, by now in thousands, surges towards the room, setting fire to vehicles in the way, the ADM orders the constable with his finger on the trigger. “Fire in the air.” The constable pulls the trigger. Nothing happens. He shouts “Bandook kharab hai”, (the gun doesn’t fire). Where is the armoury? There is no armoury, just one more .303 rifle. Encouraged by a virtually unarmed police station, the mob breaks the door.

ADM orders the police to fire from the solitary gun in its possession into the crowd. Youngsters, at least three including bystanders, are shot in the head. Three more die of excessive bleeding.

On the way back, I see armed police in several villages, a scary over correction by the administration. Just off NH24 some youngsters, seated on a cot, are sipping tea. This is politics, they say. In the assembly segments, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party did better than Samajwadi Party in recent elections. Culprits apparently wanted a communal riot. “But we did not fall for the bait”, they point to Rajiv Gupta, seated with them. In fact he owns the tea stall. “Inshallah, we, in the villages around Dasna and Masoori will never allow a communal riot.”

The “villains” may have planned for a communal riot, but the situation on the ground in Qasbahs and villages is quite different: Rajiv Gupta and Haji Shaukeen pitted against the administration!  But this is the picture probably only in the villages. Don’t forget, the MP from Ghaziabad is BJP’s Rajnath Singh: intricacies of first past of the post system.

(Saeed Naqvi is senior Indian journalist, television commentator, interviewer, and a Distinguished Fellow at Observer Research Foundation. Mr. Naqvi is also a mentor and a guest blogger with Canary Trap)

PIL filed for quashing appointment of Maha Info Chief


A PIL challenging the appointment of Maharashtra’s former Chief Secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad as its Chief Information Commissioner was filed in Bombay High Court, and mentioned today before Chief Justice Mohit Shah.

The petition is next listed for hearing on 4th October 2012.

The PIL (91 of 2012, Krishna Harischandra Rao versus State of Maharashtra) is filed by five prominent RTI and good-governance activists. The four others are Sulaiman Bhimani, G R Vora, Mohammad Afzal and Anil Galgali.

Click here to read the entire petition

The petition contends:

“This petition is filed in order to quash the prejudicial selection and appointment by State of Maharashtra of a new Chief State Information Commissioner (Chief SIC) in violation of Right to Information Act 2005, the Constitution of India, and the Principles of Natural Justice, particularly, ‘Nemo iudex in causa sua’ i.e. ‘No man is permitted to be judge in his own cause’. The person appointed as Chief SIC, Mr Ratnakar Gaikwad (hereinafter referred to as Respondent no 2 or R2), was former Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, and enjoyed a privileged and influential position vis-à-vis the high powered committee that selected him for this appointment. Indeed, he was the de facto appointing authority, as the Governor of Maharashtra is only nominally the appointing authority. R2 used this position to his own advantage, and virtually selected and appointed himself as Chief SIC, with the help of other respondents.”

The petitioners contend that Gaikwad was himself at the center of a small inner circle responsible for conducting the selection process whenever vacancies arose. Despite scores of applications lying before him, he deliberately sat on the files, neglected this duty, and left the office of the Chief SIC vacant for over 10 months, so that he could occupy this office immediately after his retirement. He left as many as three other benches of SICs vacant for periods ranging from 4 to 16 months.

“The documents available indicate that this was a deliberate action,” says Sulaiman Bhimani, who procured the documents under RTI. “Exactly six days after his retirement from the post of Chief Secretary, a meeting of the High Powered Committee (Respondent 5) was convened, exclusively for the purpose of selecting R2 for the post of Chief SIC,” his petition states. The appointment of Gaikwad undermines this statutory institution, and is a flagrant violation of the Fundamental Rights of citizens guaranteed by Articles 14 and 21.

“The respondents have neglected the duty cast upon them by Article 50 to ensure the separation of the Executive and the Judiciary,” the petition states.

The petition contains documents that reveal how the Chief Secretary was part of the selection and appointment mechanism of the government, and how, after leaving the position vacant for over 10 months (after retirement of the former Chief Information Commissioner Vilas Patil in July 2011), Gaikwad himself applied for the post on 29th May, two days before retiring from the post of Chief Secretary. The appointment letter issued on 8th June carries the signature of Chief Secretary Jayant Banthia (Ratnakar Gaikwad’s successor) along with that of the Governor, indicating that the Chief Secretary was himself an appointing authority.

The petition further contends that:

“Although the Right to Information Act is only seven years old, it has revitalized the citizens of our 65-year-old democracy. The hopes of crores of people from different walks of life, including government employees, aged pensioners, members of underprivileged sections of society, and anti-corruption crusaders, are now pinned on the use of Right to Information… The quality of people’s access to such information under RTI is therefore a matter concerning their fundamental right to Life and Liberty.

Hence, the injustice does not end with the appointment. It is the beginning of a long series of unjust decisions that will corrode the fundamental rights of citizens, fabric of our democracy. In his present capacity as Chief SIC, R2 is poised to be “judge in his own cause” during his five-year tenure. R2 will directly hear cases relating to the Maharashtra government departments in Mantralaya, which he himself headed in earlier years as Chief Secretary. He will also hear cases against MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority) and other state government bodies that he headed in earlier years, violating the principles of natural justice.”

Without any cooling-off period, Gaikwad was appointed immediately upon his retirement from the position of Chief Secretary. This removes the necessary at-arms-length distance between the State Government and the Maharashtra State Information Commission, and leaves the citizens with a biased tribunal, depriving them of equality before the law and equal protection of the law in the case of Right to Information Act. This infringes on the Life and Liberty of the common man,” the petition stresses.

The petitioners’ main prayer is quashing of this untoward appointment. Such quashing has an ample precedent in ‘Centre for PIL versus Union of India’ [WP 348 & 355 of 2010], wherein the Supreme Court quashed the appointment of Mr PJ Thomas as Chief Vigilance Commissioner as the grounds of his selection was “non-est in law”. “The selection of Ratnakar Gaikwad violates many guidelines articulated by Hon’ble Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia in his judgment,” Sulaiman Bhimani said.

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(Krishnaraj Rao is an RTI activist. The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Canary Trap)

The Great Indian Loot

Iron Ore, Coal, Manganese, Thorium. A one stop digital resource to read/view/listen about all the relevant information related to mining mess.

It is extremely vital that all the information related to massive scams over our national natural resources should be in public domain.

Some of the latest posts: