FREED: The Supreme Court has dismissed the order of the special CBI court which sentenced Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to five days of custody in an alleged excise scam in Delhi.

By Rajan Narayan

AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when the BJP’s Narendra Modi government would not permit the Aam Adaami party from taking control of Delhi Municipal Corporation. For a Saturday following the week when at the instigation of Home Minister Amit Shah the CBI arrested Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia for allegedly introducing a new liquor excise policy to extort bribes. For a Saturday following the week when Narendra Modi heaped more goodies on Karnataka with the inauguration of Shivamogga airport at BS Yediyurappa constituency on his birthday. For a Saturday following the week when a once again renovated Dona Paula jetty was inaugurated with fanfare. For a Saturday following the week when the Supreme Court refused permission to the center and the states to change historical Muslim names of cities.
AND a few stray thoughts on when the BJP Modi government would not permit Aam Adami Party (AAP) from taking control of the Delhi Municipal Corporation although the party had won all the battles and the war. The BJP which dominated the DMC for 20 years lost the election by a large margin. Though AAP had a clear majority it was not allowed to form the government by the saffron brigade Central government. Objections were made over the denial of permission of nominated members to vote in the election for the mayor’s post. It was only after the SC ruled that nominees did not have the power to vote that elections were finally held for the mayor’s post.
When the mayor, a former professor and first-time councilor Shelly Oberoi, declared that one of the votes was invalid. From the beginning of the session there was violence with BJP councilors attacking even female AAP councilors. The functioning of the corporation was further delayed on the controversy over the selection of six advisors. As of today the DMC has yet to start functioning even two months after AAP won the election. The BJP policy seems to be if it loses the election it should sabotage the functioning of the winning party.

AND a few stray thoughts on when on the instigation of Amit Shah, the CBI arrested Manish Sisodia for allegedly introducing a new liquor excise policy to extort bribes. It is become a routine for the BJP to arrest rivals from other parties. The Central Bureau of Investigation and the enforcement director have been misused by the BJP to silence opposition. It may be recalled that the Income-Tax Department conducted a raid on the BBC offices in revenge for the post-Godhra violence documentaries which held Narendra Modi responsible. Manish Sisodia had played a major role in the formulation of the new liquor excise policy of the Delhi government.
The CBI has alleged that a group of powerful distributors down south India had bribed Sisodia Rs100 crore to make changes in the policy in the favor of daru distribution. Amongst the concessions extended was the lowering of the age for drinking from 25 to 21 years and extending the time for serving of daru in restaurants from 1am to 3am. There were strong objections to the concessions in the liquor industry.
Ironically, the policy was approved by Lt Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena who is supposed to be the boss of Delhi. The SC has ruled that all decisions taken by the Delhi government have to be ratified or approved by the Lt Governor who is an appointee of Home Minister Amit Shah.
In the light of the charges of corruption AAP withdrew the new excise policy on alcohol. Excise is a state subject as per the Constitution. The Constitution has divided various departments under Center, State and Concurrent. Despite excise being a state subject the CBI accused Sisodia of being bribed to relax the liquor policy. In its frustration over not being able to defeat AAP in Delhi, Amit Shah ordered the arrest of Manish Sisodia.
The CBI judge sentenced Manish Sisodia to five days in CBI custody. Protesting AAP workers were brutally hammered by the Delhi police who are under the control of Amit Shah. AAP is expected to move the SC and Sisodia will probably be bailed. What is alarming is the BJP policy of arresting the deputy chief minister of Delhi and threatening to arrest Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also.

AND a few stray thoughts on when Narendra Modi heaped more goodies on Karnataka with the inauguration of Shivamogga airport in BS Yeddyurappa’s constituency on his birthday. Both Modi and Shah appear to be determined to woo the people of Karnataka with the state elections coming in. It’s no problem sacrificing the interests of Goa to please Karnataka by permitting it to divert the Mhadei river head waters, an act which will spell out a death toll for the river Mandovi in Goa and all who depend on her.
The Centre has already sanctioned Rs5,000 crore for the diversion of Mhadei river waters. Modi is showering gifts on the people of Karnataka. His biggest gift so far is the Shivamogga airport which forms parts of the constituency of former BJP chief minister, BS Yeddyurappa. The airport was inaugurated on Yeddyurappa’s birthday, a birthday present.
Modi went to the extent of asking the huge audience to flash the light of their mobiles at BS Yeddyurappa to wish him on his birthday. So for a few seconds Yeddyurappa was covered over by the flashing lights of mobiles. Modi is expected to offer more incentives for the double-engine development of Karnataka. Including improvements in the transport system and construction of a metro. It has even been proposed that Bengaluru can be the alternate capital of the country or a supplementary capital.
Karnataka is crucial to the BJP as it has 12 Rajya Sabha seats. Though the BJP has a huge majority in the Lok Sabha it falls short of 20 seats in the Rajya Sabha. Modi is desperate to acquire control of the Rajya Sabha as all Constitution amendments have to be approved by both houses. This is why Goa with only one Rajya Sabha seat has been sacrificed for the 12 Karnataka Rajya Sabha seats.

AND a few stray thoughts on when the renovated Dona Paula jetty was inaugurated with pomp and ceremony. This time the renovation has deprived the small hawkers and vendors and small restaurants of their source of livelihood. All along the way to the jetty there were dozens of shops selling sundry items of tourist interest like t-shirts, and beach wear and cosmetic trinkets, and these people were locals eking out a small living.
With the new renovated jetty in place the Department of Tourism is imposing an entry ticket charge of Rs50 on each adult tourist and Rs25 for children – if they want to enter jetty area and climb up the hillock lookout. It is said that local Goans will be allowed to enter for free on producing their Aadar or ID cards.
So if you go to the Dona Paula jetty be sure to carry your Adhaar card along with you. Dona Paula jetty has been a favorite location for film shooting. The climax of the tragic love story of the film “Ek Tuje Ke Liye” with Kamal Hassan and Rati Agnihotri in the lead was shot at the jetty; in the film Kamal Hassan dies tragically. Tourist guides took to introducing the place as the “Ek Duje Ke Liye” suicide point rather recount the original story of Dona Paula.
The original story reportedly is that Dona Paula was a noble aristocratic woman who committed suicide her over a failed love affair. The good news is that there is a proposal on the cards to revive the ferry ride from from Dona Paula to Vasco da Gama, this will be very welcome by tourists and local travellers alike.

AND a last stray thought on when the Supreme Court refused permission to the Center in the states to go about changing the historical Muslim names of towns and cities. Thanks to the SC there is no risk of the Adil Shah Palace being renamed the Nagesh Karmali Palace, after the noted freedom fighter passed away, recently. Nor will the names of panchayats and towns like Vasco Da Gama, Santa Cruz and other Christian names be changed.
Recently, the Maharashtra government changed the name of Aurangabad where tourists flock to see the famous Ellora and Ajanta caves. Aurangabad has become Shivaji Nagar. Similarly, plain simple Shimoga has now been renamed Shivamogga. But there is can be no end to this display of madness and thankfully the SC has barred our more fanatic politicians from changing the names of cities or states with communal intention. Not to mention such whimsical squandering of money on public account. How many names can they go around changing after all given the very well entrenched Muslim history of this sub-continent and India boasting of being a mahaan democratic nation in the eyes of the world. If this happened India would become unrecognizable.

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