Momentum of martyr SKD not converted to MOVEMENT for WHISTLEBLOWERS by SKDF

Indianthinker’s Homage To SK Dubey; Anniversary On 27th November

Indianthinker’s Homage To SK Dubey; Anniversary On 27th November

To: tkt@thehindu.co.in, p_democracy@vsnl.com, shravanmodak@yahoo.co.uk, loksatta@satyam.net.inolga_rbow@yahoo.com, guru@gurumurthy.net, WaterWatch@yahoogroups.com, whengodlaughs@yahoogroups.com, DailySouthAsian@yahoogroups.co.uk
From: “Ravinder Singh” <povertyfree77@yahoo.com>

Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2006 06:39:08 -0800 (PST)
Subject: [DailySouthAsian] Indianthinker’s Homage To SK Dubey; Anniversary On 27th November

Indianthinker’ s Homage To SK Dubey; Anniversary On 27th November

It is yet another anniversary of the supreme sacrifice made by highly qualified and “Desh Premi” Sh. S.K. Dubey who truly loved India.

It was not just a mere sacrifice in discharge of duty but a first major exposure of corruption & open loot in India’s largest civil project.

But it is unfortunate that organizations and his own friends politicized his sacrifice, made money and commercialized it.

PILs in the Supreme Court were actually meant sabotage investigation in to the loot in this largest project but expose criminal nexus of bureaucrats, politicians and contractors and how the then Prime Minister Office suppressed the bungling than ordering high power investigation.

It is regretted that his supreme sacrifice was wasted. Only India Express steadfastly kept the memory of Satyendra Kumar Dubey by maintaining links to his letters and related news coverage.

In his honor I would urge you all to read his letter to the Prime Minister and forward this to all you friends who care for India.

NDTV will telecast a story on 27th at 10:30 PM but it will not disclose facts given in his letter.

Ravinder Singh November26, 2006

Corruptionfree04@ yahoo.com 

Link To IE coverage of SK Dubey stories.

http://www.indianex press.com/ res/web/pIe/ full_story. php?content_ id=36695

To
The Prime Minister
Republic of India
Prime Minister’s Office
New Delhi – 110 001

Sub: National Highways Development Project (Golden Quadrilateral and North-South, East-West Corridors) —

A dream project of unparalleled importance to the Nation but in reality a great loot of public money because of very poor implementation at every state.

Hon’ble Sir,

Through this letter, I wish to draw your kind attention towards great lapse in the implementation of above project. Since such letters from a common man are not usually treated with due seriousness, I wish to clarify at the outset that this letter is being written after careful thought by a very concerned citizen of the country who is also very closely linked with the project. I request you to kindly go through my brief particulars (attached on a separate sheet to ensure secrecy) before proceeding further.

Instead of writing at length, I would be very specific and to the point highlighting the areas where there have been great lapses and would suggest certain remedies to the best of my abilities. I have been posted both at NHAI, HQ and at site on NH-2 Projects and therefore my direct experience is with NH-2 Projects (World Bank Funded). However, the story is almost same with all other projects which are under implementation and would be no different for forthcoming Projects unless we take certain corrective measures immediately. I have gone through most of the files (even closed ones) dealing with NH-2 projects (their design consultancy, procurement of civil contractors, selection of supervision consultants, the mobilisation of contractors and consultants, etc.). The areas of concern are highlighted below:

Preparation of detail project reports (DPRs) by the Design Consultants

The DPRs prepared by the design consultants are in very poor shape and cannot be implemented in the field without major modifications. It appears that the design consultants have made the designs and drawings with little consideration for the actual ground conditions and the same have been accepted by NHAI without any scrutiny. The proof consultants (deployed for checking DPRs submitted by Design Consultants) appear to have done only cosmetic work and it appears that the officers in NHAI have not even opened the final DPRs submitted by the consultants before putting the works to tender. The result is that the DPRs, on the basis of which tenders have been called, are like garbage. When the problems are being noticed in DPR at the implementation stage and the design consultants are being requested to clarify them, we are getting a very cool and negative response from them. This is contributing to delay in the implementation of projects.

A good DPR is one of the foremost requirements for the smooth implementation of the Project and we are faltering at the very initial stage. In the present system there appears to be no accountability on the part of Design Consultant. To ensure this, we should evolve a system whereby the design consultant can be made accountable for any problem in the implementation of DPR and their consequent implications in terms of time and cost overruns. A system of insurance may be devised to address this issue. The Design Consultant may be asked to keep his establishment at site in the initial stage of implementation of project, so that any design issue may be addressed speedily. Alternatively, we may link substantial portion of payment of Design consultants to the implementation of DPR in the field. Another way may be to award design consultancy (for preparation of DPR) and supervision consultancy (to supervise the execution of project) to the same consultancy firm so that any discrepancy noticed in DPR at the execution stage is corrected by the same firm. We may deliberate further to arrive at the most suitable option.

Procurement of civil contractors

The process of procurement appears to have been completely manipulated and hijacked by the big contractors. Many contractors are submitting forged documents to justify their technical and financial capabilities to execute the project. The big contractors have been able to get all sorts of help (including even the most secret information and documents) from the officials in NHAI and even the note sheets carrying approval of chairman have been leaked outside. (This mostly appears to have been done by lower officials and supporting staff). Little thought has been given to the ability & sincerity of some of the contractors to do the work they have quoted for. The three striking examples are awards of NH-2 to M/s Centrodorstoy of Russia, M/s China Coal of China and M/s LG of South Korea which are all working like commission agents by collaborating with local incompetent and inexperienced firms and trying to get the work done through them. M/s Progressive Constructions Ltd is another contractor which appears to have completely manipulated the system to get the award of 2 projects on NH-2. This company is not organised on professional lines and it is run like a family business. They get one work and assign it to one relative, the second is assigned to another and the story goes on.

There is an urgent need to have a fresh look at the whole procurement process and utmost care needs to be exercised at the time of selection of contractors. The whole process should be made more transparent and any official found colluding with the contractors should be severely punished.

Mobilisation of Contractors and Mobilisation Advance to them

NHAI officials have shown great hurry in giving mobilisation advance to the selected contractors (no surprise, as the commission to officials for award of work are linked to the contractors getting their first mobilisation advance). In some cases the contractors have been given mobilisation advance just a day after signing the Contract Agreement. The entire mobilisation advance of 10 per cent of contract value (which goes up to Rs 40 crores in certain cases) has been paid to the contractors within a few weeks of award of work but there has been little follow-up to ensure that they are actually mobilised at site with the same pace. The result is that the entire mobilisation advance remains lying with contractors (or get diverted in their other activities) for months — a way for contractors to make easy money and for client to loose interest charges on them. Most of the contractors have not mobilised even up to 50 per cent, a year after getting their mobilisation advances.

Similar diversion or idling of funds are taking place in case of equipment advances to the contractors, another 10 per cent of the contract value. In many cases, the equipment is not being purchased and, even if purchased, is being used somewhere else. The contractors are getting customs and excise duty exemptions on most of the road construction equipment. However, because of laxity on the part of NHAI, the contractors in many cases are buying equipment on behalf of or for other parties and appropriating a portion of the excise/custom duty exemptions in their pocket.

We need to be vigilant and careful in giving advances to the contractors. The advances are given to the contractors to mobilise them quickly in the interest of project and therefore the same should be linked to their actual mobilisation at site. The advances should be given in installments and the release of next installment should be made dependent on utilisation of the previous installment. A strict vigil and audit needs to be done to ensure that the advances are used by contractors for quick mobilisation and are utilised in the same project for which they are being given.

Selection of Supervision consultants and Design consultants

The concept of supervision consultancy is a step in very right direction and the amount spent on them (roughly 2-3% of the cost of civil works) is a good investment. But here again we are faltering at the implementation stage.

There is a big fraud in the selection of Supervision/ Design consultants which mainly depends on their technical manpower. To get the consultancy work, the consultants are proposing to deploy well-qualified and senior professionals in their technical proposals (many times their qualification and experience are being forged and NHAI officials are not taking any pain to ask for the documentary proof in support of their claims).

Many a times, the same professional figures simultaneously in technical proposals forwarded by many consultants and NHAI officials are doing little to discourage it. However, once that work is awarded to them, they are invariably coming with the request for replacement of their proposed personnel with professionals of much less qualification & experience.

To our shame, we in NHAI are giving least resistance to this trend and the proposals for replacement of professionals are being approved freely. The curriculum vitae of professionals are invariably being fabricated and manipulated by consultants to get approval, as the NHAI officials are not asking for any documentary proof in support of the qualification & experience claimed. Instead they are abetting this crime.

The consultants in first instance come with the replacement CV to have an informal discussion with the officials. However, once they are given the feeling that the same can’t be approved on file, the CV of same man is properly fabricated (in connivance with NHAI officials) and submitted formally and the approval is granted. This is the state of affairs.

The end result is that the consultants propose to deploy the most qualified, experienced and senior men in their organisation (or outside their organisation) to get the work and, once awarded the work, replace them by much inferior persons. They propose the same senior team to get another work and repeat the same story of replacement and the drama goes on.

This way, the consultants are completely manipulating the system. The well-qualified persons in head offices of consultancy firms are thus being used simply to get the work, but they are not being sent to the site, where they are being proposed to be deployed. The field units of these consultancy firms are instead being asked by their Head offices to look for the required personnel. The result is that many key professional posts are lying vacant for months or are being filled by unqualified person. In all these, it is the project which ultimately suffers.

This whole drama can be very easily checked provided we have the will. It is all the more easy in the totally computerised system at NHAI. A few steps outlined below will go a long way in remedying this ill.

(i) No consultant should be allowed to propose the deployment of same professional in more than one technical proposal.
(ii) It should be ensured that the same person is not proposed to be deployed by more than one consultancy firm.
(iii) It should be ensured that the person proposed by a consultancy firm is actually working in the firm or is having a bond with the firm to work in the project if the firm is awarded the project.
(iv) Replacement should be approved only under very extraordinary circumstances and a penalty should be imposed on the firm for their inability to deploy the proposed professional.
(v) All documentary proof in support of the qualification & experience claimed by a person should be asked.

In summary, it should be ensured that the supervision consultants deploys a well qualified & experienced team for proper supervision of the work. This becomes all the more important, because the supervision consultant (known as Engineer in FIDIC contract document) has been given immense powers & responsibilities under FIDIC conditions of contract which we are following.

The problem of subletting or subcontracting

The NHAI is going for International Competitive Bidding to procure the most competent Civil Contractor for execution of its projects. The works are usually being awarded at high cost and the contractors are assuring the best quality in the execution of projects. However, when it comes to the actual execution of works, it is found that most of the works (sometimes even up to 100 per cent) are being sublet or subcontracted to small petty contractors who are not at all capable to execute such big projects and ensure the quality of construction assured by the Civil Contractors. As a result, the entire process of shortlisting & pre-qualification of contractors and International Competitive Bidding are being nullified and what we are getting are the numerous petty contractors working at site and making a mockery of the prestigious project. The main Civil Contractors who have been awarded the work by NHAI are doing all these under the veil of labour contract which is permissible under the Contract Agreement. But in reality, they are getting most of the work done through numerous small petty contractors (main contractors are supplying only a few critical equipment & materials) at 50-60 per cent of the price quoted by them and the rest 40 per cent of contract price is being pocketed by them without much effort. In the process, the main contractors are working just like commission agents.

I would like to mention here that the above phenomena of subletting and subcontracting is known to all from top to bottom but every one is maintaining a studied silence. It would not be inappropriate to say that all these mouths have been shut by these big contractors who are manipulating the system and individuals alike. These petty contractors are bringing poor equipment & material, giving a big setback to the progress & quality of work. The main contractors are least bothered about the timely completion of projects (and penalties, if they are unable to finish the work in time) as they are quite sure of getting time extension by manipulating the individuals. They have already started fabricating spurious claims to make grounds for time extension and cost overruns. If this issue of subcontracting is not taken up with urgency, the entire project will be a very big failure both in terms of quality of construction and timely completion.

This issue cannot be expected to be tackled by field units of NHAI as the decision to sublet the works are being taken by Head offices of the contractors & not their field units. To address this, the top administration in NHAI has to take up the matter aggressively with the top management of contractors.

NHAI organisation & office system

It would not be inappropriate to say that there is no system in NHAI, there are only individuals. There is an urgent need to review and restructure the office procedure and office set up including the file system. Record keeping is very poor and it would be difficult to trace even the most important papers after some time.

The entire organisation is almost based on sourcing people on deputation basis. There is a need to have some permanent cadre strength in NHAI. In its zeal to maintain a lean and thin organisation, one Accounts officer/Manager (Finance) is allotted to two Project Implementation Units spaced around 200-300 kms apart, which is a mere nonsense. There is an immediate need to deploy one Accounts Officer/Manager (Finance) in each PIU, which have to manage projects of around Rs.1,000 crores.

The earlier we take up these issues, the better it is for the health of NHAI. If some well-planned measures are not taken soon, the NHAI as a system is headed for big failure.

As a concerned citizen of the country, I have brought these issues to your notice for your kind intervention and necessary action. Looking at the enormity of public fund involved in the project, the matter needs your urgent attention.

I have written all these in my individual capacity. However, I will keep on addressing these issues in my official capacity in the limited domain within the powers delegated to me. If any elaboration/ clarification is needed on above issues I would be glad to render all my assistance in the interest of this very prestigious National Highways Development Project, which is undoubtedly the biggest ever project undertaken in India after independence.

Thanking you,
Your sincerely,

(For particulars please refer to the separate sheet) (See Box)

Name: S.K. Dubey
Educational Qualification: B.Tech (Civil Engineering) from IIT, Kanpur
Profession: Presently working as Manager (Tech.) in NHAI and posted at Project Implementation Unit, Koderma.
Parent Cadre: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways
Other details: After graduating from IIT Kanpur in Year 1994, I was selected in Engineering Services Examination, 1994 conducted by UPSC and joined the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) in March 1996. I was also selected in Civil Services Examinations 1997 (Rank-258) and 1999 (Rank 198) but decided to continue with the MORTH. Presently, I am on deputation to National Highways Authority of India.
Address: S.K. Dubey, Manager
National Highways Authority of India
Project Implementation Unit, Koderma
Gurdwara Road, Jhumri Telaiya, Koderma (Jharkhand)
Phone: 06534-23436 (O), 22576 (O), 22619 (R)
E-mail: satyendra_dubeyin@ rediffmail. com

December 3, 2006 Posted by | martyr SKD | 1 Comment

Death of a Whistleblower – SUCHETA DALAL : Ashutosh Aman Mishra in SKDF letdown martyr SKD.

Death of a Whistleblower
SUCHETA DALAL

http://www.indianexpress.com/res/web/pIe/full_story.php?content_id=36784

Posted online: Monday, December 08, 2003 at 0000 hours IST

At midnight on Friday, there were 15,000 signatures to the petition-on-line demanding full inquiry and justice in the murder of IIT engineer Satyendra Dubey. By 11 am the next morning, another 1,100 people had added their names to the protest. The petition —http://www.petitiononline.com/sdubey has been posted on dozens of web sites and forwarded by scores of Yahoo groups and blogs and the number of signatories has been growing at an amazing pace. But the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), which is guilty of leaking Dubey’s name — first exposed by The Sunday Express — to the very crooked contractors that he had complained against seems unaware about the groundswell of public anger.

The anger is not so much at the callousness of his office; many Indians take that for granted. It is more because the leader of the world’s largest democracy has not felt the need to even respond to the killing of an honest young IIT engineer trying to retain the integrity of his own dream project, the golden quadrilateral. What the PMO probably fails to realise, despite having an IIT engineer, as his officer on special duty (OSD) is that the Internet is slowly channelling that anger into a quiet movement to clean up the system. The seeds of such a Web-based movement were sown a couple of years ago. And in the last year they have blossomed into thousands of tiny groups that are determined to contribute their bit towards creating a civil society.

What makes these groups special is that they comprise secular, educated, apolitical, middle class individuals, with specific expertise and interests. What the Internet does is to permit them to link up with each other, network and form support groups in minutes when they are moved by a larger issue or cause. For instance, even the Delhi Metro Yahoo Group members, K-West ward (Mumbai) Yahoo group and the Anna Hazare movement have all forwarded the petition to group members and supporters. Did you know, for instance, that the person who drafted the petition-on-line in this case is Tokyo-based Sanjeev Sinha who works with a securities firm? It is things like these that make the Satyendra Dubey issue different.

The Prime Minister may have been advised to ignore the Dubey issue by traditional political advisors who are probably counting on middle class Indians forgetting the case as quickly as they signed the petition-on-line. But we have reason to hope that this time it is different. That is because the Internet links a wide variety of people into a formidable network. From Kewal Semlani, a consumer and civic activist who fought solitary battles, to Shailesh Gandhi who has run a decade long effort to combat communalism. From Col. Ramesh Wasudeo who is Anna Hazare’s Mumbai face to Dr R.K. Anand a noted pediatrician and activist. From Express Senior Editor Prakash Kardaley testing the Right to Information Act to US-based Ram Narayanan who is concerned about Indo-US ties. From Sudhir Badami who crusades against noise pollution and for effective public transport to young Kush Singh whose highly informative Yahoo group for the K-West ward, which is slowly acquiring a national character.

The Internet links them all. It allows public-spirited individuals to link up with like-minded people and participate in a variety of efforts towards establishing a civil society and promoting good governance. They can also join larger groups such as LokSatta (www.loksatta.org), Public Concern for Governance Trust (www.pcgt.org), AGNI etc, that are involved with a broader range of concerns. This is just a tiny listing of the groups active in Mumbai. There are probably hundreds of similar groups around the country.

Not all group members may have the courage of Satyendra Dubey and gamble their lives, but most NGO groups are campaigning for two main issues — effective use of the citizen’s Right To Information under the Act, mainly to fight corruption and the need to legislate Whistleblowers’ Protection. The Satyendra Dubey case covers both issues.

His letter to the PM details how the absence of proper systems and procedures and the lack of scrutiny have vitiated the process of awarding the contract to the best companies. That he paid with his life for bringing the corruption scandal to the PM’s attention only underlines the urgent need to protect Whistleblowers. And the fact that PM hasn’t even reacted to Dubey’s sacrifice tells us how tough the battle will be. Having said that, it must be clarified that mere legislation will not protect whistleblowers. Even after the Act is passed, an Atul Tirodkar may still be suspended and victimised for blowing the whistle on the Bombay Stock Exchange president; and a Satyendra Dubey may still forfeit his life. But the existence of legislation will cause at least some companies and institutions to pause and worry about the consequences.

It is a little like the regulation against insider trading. Until a few years ago, insider trading was not even illegal in India. And although it is notoriously difficult to prove, having legislation in place is the first deterrent step. It is the same with legislation to protect whistleblowers. At the very least, it provides basic protection such as a fair and independent hearing and prevents employers from sacking the whistleblowers under other regulations. It also creates the possibility of getting compensated for harassment after a trial. There can be more. The UK Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 for instance lists a wide range of ‘prescribed persons’ in relevant agencies who are held responsible for dealing with whistleblowers complaints. Had we an Act in place, Dubey’s letter to the PMO would not have been passed around so carelessly, nor could all those who initialled it, evaded the consequences of their callousness.

It is globally acknowledged that the existence of legislation does not make whistleblowers out of ordinary people. Most whistleblowers have one thing in common — a strong sense of right and wrong. And the go ahead and ‘blow the whistle’ even if they become ostracised from friends and co-workers or are fired. In fact, harassment and victimisation of whistleblowers is the norm inspite of legislation, or they are ignored. That is why America has NGOs such as the National Whistleblower Center (www.whistleblowers.org) to counsel people on the consequences of their action and to handhold them and provide them with legal assistance during their battle. India too needs such counselling as much or more than it needs a Whistleblower Act, only then can we prevent other Satyendra Dubey’s from paying with their life for exposing corruption.

Email:suchetadalal@yahoo.com

June 8, 2006 Posted by | Ashutosh Aman Mishra, EXPRESS service, martyr SKD | Leave a comment

“Every official who signed the letter of martyr SKD written to PMO and refused to act should be sacked. The PMO must be made to apologise publicly.” Ashutosh Aman Mishra sole Director of SKDF did not follow.

The Saga of Satyendra Dubey

Shabnam Minwalla, A Senior Journalist

On the last Sunday of November, newspaper readers in the country woke up to a six-column headline and a dismal sense of deja vu.

`Whistle-blower said don't name me. Govt did. He was shot dead' told a shocking tale. But although the details were new, the essence was familiar recounting the hopeless struggle of an individual against a venal,all-powerful system. And although Bollywood gives its gun-toting vigilantes a fighting chance, most of us know that reality is much more dismissive of lone crusaders.

Despite the appalled reactions–everything ranging from the predictable `This country is really going to the dogs' to the resigned `There is no way out of this mess' the story seemed headed for the attic like so many others of its ilk. Except that the Indian Express decided to follow up on its exclusive and managed to uncover even more horrific details. And that IITians around the world came together to voice their anger over the plight of their Institute-mate. Indeed, the murder of Satyendra Dubey seemed to break through the wall of apathy and force people to speak up.

Behind the death of the thin, bespectacled engineer on November 27, 2003, lies the story of a remarkable life. Born in Shahpur village in Bihar, five kilometers from the nearest telephone pole, Satyendra was the son of a clerk in a sugar factory. He topped his village school in the Std X exams and is famous as its only alumnus to have gained admission in an IIT. The earnest youngster got into the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT (Kanpur) in 1990 and, despite initial problems with language and grades he graduated with excellent marks.

Although an array of glittering tomorrows anything from a scholarship at an American university to a high-paying private sector job in an Indian metro beckoned, Satyendra opted to work for "his country". So in 1996 he joined the Ministry of Surface Transport as an Assistant Executive Engineer.

Of course, cynics could well have sneered that this was the most lucrative option of them all. But Satyendra proved them wrong four years later when he angrily turned down his first cash-stuffed envelope and with that the opportunity to spruce up his parents' humble, hay-strewn house, buy a few gadgets for himself, and sweeten life for his six siblings. It was, however, after he was put in charge of a 60-km, 450-crore stretch of the Golden Quadrilateral Project that he encountered full-blown, institutionalised corruption.

Soon after his transfer to Koderma in June 2002, Satyendra realised just how deep the rot had spread and just how much dross was being foisted on the country in the name of the Golden Quadrilateral. He happened upon sloppy project reports, contracts awarded on the basis of forged documents, huge advances doled out to contractors and rampant subletting to petty contractors who lacked the technical ability to work on this mega-project. And everybody, from government engineers to MNC construction companies to local thugs seemed involved in what he described as a "loot of public money".

Like so many of us who consider ourselves honest and superior, Satyendra could well have satisfied his conscience by refusing to participate in the corrupt activities. But the 31-year-old felt compelled to go one step further and tackle the mess. On November 11, 2002 he sent a letter to the Prime Minister, describing the nightmarish turn that this dream project had taken.

Of course, Satyendra realised he was challenging dangerous elements–but he understood the functioning of government well enough to know that an unsigned letter would go straight into the waste bin. So putting his life and faith in the hands of the PMO, he attached his name on a separate sheet of paper and requested that his identity be kept a secret.

That this faith was misplaced soon became apparent. The PMO didn't bother either to investigate the charges of corruption or to protect the identity of its courageous informant.

Indeed, Satyendra's letter yielded only negative results–threats from those he had complained against and a reprimand from his bosses at NHAI for writing to the PM. For in an act of murderous negligence, the PMO handed over both the letter and the sheet with Satyendra's particulars to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. There, at least eight officials scanned it before passing it on to the National Highway Authority of India. Which was why it was hardly surprising that the informant's identity was leaked to the culpable contractors and officials in Koderma.

Little wonder then that lots of feathers were ruffled and financial interests threatened when it transpired that Satyendra who had meanwhile been transferred to Gaya in Bihar was to return to Koderma as one of the big bosses. As project director he would be in charge of releasing funds for an extensive swathe of the under-construction highway. And someone decided that there was just too much to lose.

At 3am on November 27, 2003, Satyendra arrived at the Gaya railway station from a trip, only to find that his car was nowhere in sight. Upon calling home and finding that the Tata Sumo had encountered starting trouble (possibly a sabotage), he decided to take a rickshaw. Somewhere along the way he was shot dead by unidentified assailants.

As is routinely the case with such inconvenient investigations, it's very likely that this murder case would have been relegated to the dump of unsolved cases in Bihar. Except that something about this story touched a chord of indignation in the country. Perhaps it was the fact that Satyendra was a golden boy from IIT; perhaps it was the heartbreaking photograph of his parents in their bare, impoverished house; perhaps it was the initial indifference of the PMO which excused itself by saying, "Numerous letters come in everyday.."

The outcome of that collective anger is remarkable: almost 50,000 citizens have signed a petition demanding action from the government, the media is closely monitoring the twists and turns taken by an increasingly bizarre investigation. The PMO and the Government went into an extensive coverup mode after nine days. Most heartening is the widespread outpouring of support and sorrow from a cross-section of society. "Make all those rascal contractors sleep on the road next to each other and run them over by a roadroller," wrote an agitated individual to the Indian Express last month, voicing a common sentiment. Concurred another, "Every official who signed that letter and refused to act should be sacked. The PMO must be made to apologise publicly."

Indeed, it is important to punish the guilty not only those shadowy individuals who pulled the trigger but also the officials who, while ignoring his request for confidentiality and passing around his letter, virtually signed Satyendra's death warrant. But while we demand accountability from others, we also need to acknowledge our own responsibility, to understand that every time we remain silent when a friend slips a fifty to a hawaldar or brags about pataoing a customs officer, we are contributing to the forces that killed Satyendra.

In a country starved of icons, Satyendra Dubey stands for much more than impressive batting figures or silver-screen charm, he stands for the realisation that every individual has a role to play in the battle against corruption. As one letter-writer pointed out, "If we do nothing beyond writing a few angry letters to the media or the PMO, the deeply-entrenched mafia will be back in a short while. It is time we united and did something more concrete." This realisation can achieve much more than avenging a single death it can save lives of the Satyendras of tomorrow.

——————————————————————————–

Epilogue by shailesh : The case was taken over by the CBI from the Bihar police. They took custody of the rickshaw puller Pradeep Kumar, who had reportedly witnessed the murder and took him to Delhi. It was declared that Satyendra was killed by robbers. Pradeep Kumar was seen around the CBI office for about two weeks. After that he is reported missing.

The CBI also took two people for questioning Mukendra Paswan and Sheonath Saha. They have died of poisoning. All of this happened by end of January, 2004.

Dhananjay Dube (Satyendra's younger brother) lamented after this; " I read the complete news about the two suicides………Now any hope that was there for justice has vanished……Really no hope left….. "

There has been no investigation into the corruption charges detailed by Satyendra Dubey.

——————————————————————————–

Born on 11th of March, 1973 in Shahpur village in Siwan district of Bihar about 15 kilometers from the birthplace of Dr Rajendra Prasad, first president of independent India.
Father: Sh Bageshwari Dubey, a clerk in the nearby Sugar factory earning a small salary.
Mother: Smt Lalmati Dubey, housewife.
Brother: Dhananjay, doing B. Tech. from Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University.
Sisters: 5 sisters. Two sisters Suman and Manju who are elder to him are married. One younger sister Pushpa is also married. Two younger sisters Kusum and Bebi are doing their graduation from Delhi University.

___________________________________________________________________

June 8, 2006 Posted by | Ashutosh Aman Mishra, Atal Bansal, martyr SKD | Leave a comment

SKDF failed to use the good will and support of Indian Express in seeking justice for Dubey. Ashutosh Aman Mishra has Failed in this as Director of SKDF

Ashutosh Aman Mishra, Atal Bansal and Moderator Kalyan Panda have FAILED in their duties in SKDF.

THREE of them in SKDF drove away members from SKDF, when members raised questions about ACCOUNTABILITY.

Moderator Kalyan Panda instead of following the MESSAGE of martyr SKD, He used SKDF to MALIGN current WHISTLEBLOWERS.

Moderator Kalyan Panda has IMPLANTED emails in SKDF Yahoogroup to settle personal scores.

These THREE did not even understand the MESSAGE of martyr SKD and helped in DERAILING the CBI Investigation.

PIL filed by SKDF was BUNGLED by asking concentrating only in BIHAR STATE. martyr SKD had written a CHARGESHEET to PMO.

June 8, 2006 Posted by | Ashutosh Aman Mishra, Atal Bansal, EXPRESS service, Kalyan Panda [Implanter] Writes, martyr SKD, skdf letdown | Leave a comment

The movement for an honest India is being subverted by vested interests amongst our brown rulers. Ashutosh Aman Mishra Sole Director and Officer responsible in SKDF.

One of the ways of judging a Nation is by the way it treats its heroes and martyrs.

From December 2003 to March 2004, India lionized Satyendra Dubey since he represented the ultimate sacrifice being given in the cause of the Nation and Satya.

In January 2004, the CBI first tried to desecrate his death by saying it had proved that Satyendra’s murder was not caused because of his appeal for honesty to the PMO, but because he was trying to resist some petty thieves.

The Nation refused to believe this and Citizens continued to shower their faith,love and gratitude to this simple man for raising the banner of honesty.

The CBI beat a hasty retreat then, but has repeated the same canard now.

Our martyrs for independence did not have to suffer such vilification, since Indians wrote our history later on.

The movement for an honest India is being subverted by vested interests amongst our brown rulers.

We must not allow this to happen.
\

An IITD Alumni

June 8, 2006 Posted by | martyr SKD | 1 Comment

If Dubey’s death was by petty thieves why would any one wipe out all witnesses.??. Ashutosh Aman Mishra and Atal Bansal FAILED in following this in SKDF

Satyendra Dubey an whisteblower was eliminated by the corrupt sahibs of India.

CBI was put in charge by the previous Government only to white wash the case and drop it.

CBI has concluded that Dubey’s death was merely a petty robbery gone wrong.

Yet CBI will not explain why the rickshawpuller Pradeep Kumar disappeared into thin air.

Has he fled or has he been buried by the Indian mafiaso ??

Witnesses Sheonath Shah and Mukesh Pawan also seem to have died mysteriously.

If Dubey’s death was by petty thieves why would any one wipe out all witnesses.??.

Does this make any sense at all ??

Wonder if they are in safe custody away from the murdering mob under the protection of the CBI.. ??

From an IITian about martyr SKD.

June 8, 2006 Posted by | Ashutosh Aman Mishra, Atal Bansal, martyr SKD | Leave a comment

The Saga of Satyendra Dubey by Shabnam Minwalla, A Senior Journalist:[Question from all of us now is why martyr SKD letdown by Atal Bansal, Ashutosh Aman Mishra and SKDF?]

The Saga of Satyendra Dubey

Shabnam Minwalla, A Senior Journalist

On the last Sunday of November, newspaper readers in the country woke up to a six-column headline and a dismal sense of deja vu.

`Whistle-blower said don’t name me. Govt did. He was shot dead’ told a shocking tale. But although the details were new, the essence was familiar recounting the hopeless struggle of an individual against a venal,all-powerful system. And although Bollywood gives its gun-toting vigilantes a fighting chance, most of us know that reality is much more dismissive of lone crusaders.

Despite the appalled reactions–everything ranging from the predictable `This country is really going to the dogs’ to the resigned `There is no way out of this mess’ the story seemed headed for the attic like so many others of its ilk. Except that the Indian Express decided to follow up on its exclusive and managed to uncover even more horrific details. And that IITians around the world came together to voice their anger over the plight of their Institute-mate. Indeed, the murder of Satyendra Dubey seemed to break through the wall of apathy and force people to speak up.

Behind the death of the thin, bespectacled engineer on November 27, 2003, lies the story of a remarkable life. Born in Shahpur village in Bihar, five kilometers from the nearest telephone pole, Satyendra was the son of a clerk in a sugar factory. He topped his village school in the Std X exams and is famous as its only alumnus to have gained admission in an IIT. The earnest youngster got into the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT (Kanpur) in 1990 and, despite initial problems with language and grades he graduated with excellent marks.

Although an array of glittering tomorrows anything from a scholarship at an American university to a high-paying private sector job in an Indian metro beckoned, Satyendra opted to work for “his country”. So in 1996 he joined the Ministry of Surface Transport as an Assistant Executive Engineer.

Of course, cynics could well have sneered that this was the most lucrative option of them all. But Satyendra proved them wrong four years later when he angrily turned down his first cash-stuffed envelope and with that the opportunity to spruce up his parents’ humble, hay-strewn house, buy a few gadgets for himself, and sweeten life for his six siblings. It was, however, after he was put in charge of a 60-km, 450-crore stretch of the Golden Quadrilateral Project that he encountered full-blown, institutionalised corruption.

Soon after his transfer to Koderma in June 2002, Satyendra realised just how deep the rot had spread and just how much dross was being foisted on the country in the name of the Golden Quadrilateral. He happened upon sloppy project reports, contracts awarded on the basis of forged documents, huge advances doled out to contractors and rampant subletting to petty contractors who lacked the technical ability to work on this mega-project. And everybody, from government engineers to MNC construction companies to local thugs seemed involved in what he described as a “loot of public money”.

Like so many of us who consider ourselves honest and superior, Satyendra could well have satisfied his conscience by refusing to participate in the corrupt activities. But the 31-year-old felt compelled to go one step further and tackle the mess. On November 11, 2002 he sent a letter to the Prime Minister, describing the nightmarish turn that this dream project had taken.

Of course, Satyendra realised he was challenging dangerous elements–but he understood the functioning of government well enough to know that an unsigned letter would go straight into the waste bin. So putting his life and faith in the hands of the PMO, he attached his name on a separate sheet of paper and requested that his identity be kept a secret.

That this faith was misplaced soon became apparent. The PMO didn’t bother either to investigate the charges of corruption or to protect the identity of its courageous informant.

Indeed, Satyendra’s letter yielded only negative results–threats from those he had complained against and a reprimand from his bosses at NHAI for writing to the PM. For in an act of murderous negligence, the PMO handed over both the letter and the sheet with Satyendra’s particulars to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. There, at least eight officials scanned it before passing it on to the National Highway Authority of India. Which was why it was hardly surprising that the informant’s identity was leaked to the culpable contractors and officials in Koderma.

Little wonder then that lots of feathers were ruffled and financial interests threatened when it transpired that Satyendra who had meanwhile been transferred to Gaya in Bihar was to return to Koderma as one of the big bosses. As project director he would be in charge of releasing funds for an extensive swathe of the under-construction highway. And someone decided that there was just too much to lose.

At 3am on November 27, 2003, Satyendra arrived at the Gaya railway station from a trip, only to find that his car was nowhere in sight. Upon calling home and finding that the Tata Sumo had encountered starting trouble (possibly a sabotage), he decided to take a rickshaw. Somewhere along the way he was shot dead by unidentified assailants.

As is routinely the case with such inconvenient investigations, it’s very likely that this murder case would have been relegated to the dump of unsolved cases in Bihar. Except that something about this story touched a chord of indignation in the country. Perhaps it was the fact that Satyendra was a golden boy from IIT; perhaps it was the heartbreaking photograph of his parents in their bare, impoverished house; perhaps it was the initial indifference of the PMO which excused itself by saying, “Numerous letters come in everyday..”

The outcome of that collective anger is remarkable: almost 50,000 citizens have signed a petition demanding action from the government, the media is closely monitoring the twists and turns taken by an increasingly bizarre investigation. The PMO and the Government went into an extensive coverup mode after nine days. Most heartening is the widespread outpouring of support and sorrow from a cross-section of society. “Make all those rascal contractors sleep on the road next to each other and run them over by a roadroller,” wrote an agitated individual to the Indian Express last month, voicing a common sentiment. Concurred another, “Every official who signed that letter and refused to act should be sacked. The PMO must be made to apologise publicly.”

Indeed, it is important to punish the guilty not only those shadowy individuals who pulled the trigger but also the officials who, while ignoring his request for confidentiality and passing around his letter, virtually signed Satyendra’s death warrant. But while we demand accountability from others, we also need to acknowledge our own responsibility, to understand that every time we remain silent when a friend slips a fifty to a hawaldar or brags about pataoing a customs officer, we are contributing to the forces that killed Satyendra.

In a country starved of icons, Satyendra Dubey stands for much more than impressive batting figures or silver-screen charm, he stands for the realisation that every individual has a role to play in the battle against corruption. As one letter-writer pointed out, “If we do nothing beyond writing a few angry letters to the media or the PMO, the deeply-entrenched mafia will be back in a short while. It is time we united and did something more concrete.” This realisation can achieve much more than avenging a single death it can save lives of the Satyendras of tomorrow.

——————————————————————————–

Epilogue by shailesh : The case was taken over by the CBI from the Bihar police. They took custody of the rickshaw puller Pradeep Kumar, who had reportedly witnessed the murder and took him to Delhi. It was declared that Satyendra was killed by robbers. Pradeep Kumar was seen around the CBI office for about two weeks. After that he is reported missing.

The CBI also took two people for questioning Mukendra Paswan and Sheonath Saha. They have died of poisoning. All of this happened by end of January, 2004.

Dhananjay Dube (Satyendra’s younger brother) lamented after this; ” I read the complete news about the two suicides………Now any hope that was there for justice has vanished……Really no hope left….. “

There has been no investigation into the corruption charges detailed by Satyendra Dubey.

——————————————————————————–

Born on 11th of March, 1973 in Shahpur village in Siwan district of Bihar about 15 kilometers from the birthplace of Dr Rajendra Prasad, first president of independent India.
Father: Sh Bageshwari Dubey, a clerk in the nearby Sugar factory earning a small salary.
Mother: Smt Lalmati Dubey, housewife.
Brother: Dhananjay, doing B. Tech. from Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University.
Sisters: 5 sisters. Two sisters Suman and Manju who are elder to him are married. One younger sister Pushpa is also married. Two younger sisters Kusum and Bebi are doing their graduation from Delhi University.

___________________________________________________________________

June 7, 2006 Posted by | Ashutosh Aman Mishra, Atal Bansal, martyr SKD, skdf letdown | Leave a comment

Sequel to the Satyendra Dubey saga:[Question from all of us is that why Atal Bansal and Ashutosh Aman Mishra in SKDF did not carry out the MESSAGE of martyr SKD? ]

Sequel to the Satyendra Dubey saga:

Needed: Commitment to Satya

In November 2003, when Satyendra Dubey was murdered, he was lauded as a symbol of courage. Fellow IIT Alumni around the world lionized Satyendra as a martyr who lost his life for fighting against corruption. All across India, public meetings were held to protest against the murder and to honor Satyendra. The All India Management Association posthumously gave him the Service Excellence Award. UK’s Index on Censorship magazine awarded him the “Index Whistleblower Award”. He was given Transparency International’s “Annual Integrity Award”. Media coverage of the Satyendra story made it sound like the beginning of a revolution for honesty and integrity in public life.

The excitement and passion for honesty in public life faded and the desecration of Satyendra’s martyrdom was accepted by June, 2004.This raises the question: were the earlier actions honoring Satyendra’s acts inspired by a social commitment or a mere fleeting fancy?

Let us first briefly review the sequence of events.

* In November 2002, Satyendra Dubey sent a letter to the PMO
detailing systemic corruption in the National Highway Authority of India. He named four contractors and gave details of their misdeeds. In order to protect himself, he also made a special request that his name be kept secret when the PMO investigated the matter.

* Satyendra’s name was not protected and the file containing his complaint was circulated to various offices. This was like issuing a public contract for his life.

* A year later, on 27, November 2003, Satyendra was murdered in Gaya, the town where he lived and worked for NHAI.

* News reports about Satyendra’s murder stirred the Nation and unleashed a storm of outrage.

* Within days the Prime Minister’s Office and NHAI issued statements defending themselves and trivializing Satyendra’s death.

* On December 14th, 2003, the case was handed over to the CBI.

* By 26th December, the CBI said that according to the evidence given by rickshaw puller Pradeep Kumar, Satyendra had been killed when resisting thieves who were trying to rob him. Most people refused to believe this and the CBI’s explanation further intensified the public outrage.

* In mid-January, 2004 key witness, Pradeep Kumar, “disappeared”.

* Two other witnesses, who were interrogated by the
CBI in this case, allegedly committed suicide within a day in the end of January.

* There was no investigation of these murky happenings or the CBI’s role in these suspicious deaths. After keeping quiet for about six months, the CBI again repeated the earlier story in June 2004.

* There has been no public investigation of the alleged corruption within the NHAI and thus no attempt to set things right.

In light of this sequence of events the posthumous honors heaped on Satyendra seem like a mockery. How can we on the one hand honor Satyendra and on the other hand allow the CBI to get away with the claim that he is the random victim of a common thief who killed him to get hold of Rs.4500?

If the CBI story is true then all of us who saw Satyendra as a martyr to honesty, have to admit that he was an ordinary person and the awards, public adulation and hero worship were all a big mistake. It means then that the Satyendra saga is a collective fiction -a falsehood created to fulfill our desperate need of a hero for honesty. Most people do not accept the CBI’s claims and view its handling of this case as a cover-up. Enough people know that the CBI’s investigation is now itself a matter that needs to be investigated. Yet there is no public clamor demanding accountability from either the CBI—or the Prime
Minister’s Office, where the buck really stops.

However, it is still not too late to act. If all the institutions, which honored Satyendra as a martyr, again raise their voice, the truth could still be brought to light. The institutions should do this not merely for the sake of honoring whistle blowers but for salvaging their own credibility. Otherwise the next time the All India Management Association or the IIT Alumni Association talk about the importance of good governance, they will seem shallow and lack credibility.

Even worse, our failure to take effective action will be a signal of both our apathy and our collective fear in dealing with the Government. The primary reason for the affluence of the
developed nations is a public culture of insistence on accountability and honesty in both public and private life. What is really at stake here is this process of evolving such a culture. Satyendra Dubey is important to this struggle, not as an individual, but as a symbol of courage and honesty.

The question most people ask is: “But what can we do?” The simple answer is to find multiple ways of raising a clamour about the following demands:

One: The PMO must reveal the names of the officers who passed on Satyendra’s letter without protecting his identity and take action against them. Similarly action must be taken against the officers in the Ministry of Roads and Transport who circulated the file with Satyendra’s letter to all and sundry.

Two: There must be an open public investigation into the charges of corruption detailed in Satyendra’s letter.

Three: The CBI must explain how and why one witness to Dubey’s murder is missing and two other people died within 24 hours of being interrogated by the CBI.

Our collective failure to get action on these points will not just mean that other honest people will be ever more reluctant to blow the whistle on corruption. More significantly it will mean that our aspiration of making India a world-class economy is a shallow pipe dream. We must create conditions where honesty is honoured, not desecrated.

shailesh Gandhi

A petition on line was started and sent to the Prime Minister of India.

The answer was a deafening silence.

14-Sep-04

To,

The Prime Minister of India,

7, Race Course Road,

New Delhi –1.

Sub.: The martyrdom of Satyendra Dubey.

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

I send this letter to you with a lot of hope. First,- a hope that you will actually read this letter. A hope that you will recognize the importance of the issues being raised in this letter,- of bringing honesty to the agenda of the Nation. Specific issues on the Satyendra Dubey martyrdom have been highlighted in the accompanying letters sent by various Citizens. There is also an e-petition at http://www.satyamevajayate.info with about 900 signatories.

Please consider Mr. Prime Minister, why have we been shorn of any heroes of National acceptance in the post-independence era? There have been many others like this Indra of Satya who have made valiant attempts to bring honesty to the agenda of the Country. Most attempts are crushed. A Nation needs to honour the honest. Satyendra Dubey approached the PMO with a complaint without any personal motive about large-scale generic corruption in the NHAI. Though he requested that his name be kept secret, it was flaunted about for everyone to see. He was killed in a clear attempt to silence his crusade for honesty, whereas the CBI has after over six months claimed to have solved the case by claiming Satyendra died while resisting ‘thieves’. Various citizens have raised relevant issues about this with CBI, NHAI and others, to no avail. If our heroes before independence had to face such a dishonest structure, perhaps all of them would have been shown as having been murdered by thugs and dacoits.

A number of arguments highlighting the obvious flaws in the investigations so far are given in the accompanying letters. Please sir, do spend a little time on this matter, since it concerns the truth. If you can spare ten minutes, I would be very happy to come and meet you to appraise you about the facts of this case.

With a lot of hope,

Yours truly,

Shailesh Gandhi

Chairman, IITB Alumni Association

Mob: 09820027305.

Key issues raised by Stayendra Dubey which have not been answered

Satyendra’s letter gave the names Centrodosity of Russia, China Coal of China, LG of S.Korea and Pioneer Constructions Ltd. as being guilty of taking the contracts by manipulation and bribing and subsequently giving it away to subcontractors and making huge profits without doing any value adding work. He also talks of upto Rs. 40 crores being given to a single contractor as mobilisation advance, which is evidently diverted, -partly to pay the bribes. Equipment advances are also being given.

There is no justification for giving advances to Contractors. If they do not have the financial capacity to do the jobs they should not be awarded the contracts. The buyer is the Government of India, and the corrupt practices highlighted by Satyendra are probably a routine in most of the Infrastructure projects. Customs and excise duty waivers mean that the budget of India indirectly subsidises the work and makes mechanization appear cheaper than it really it is. Needless to say that the equipment stays on and is used elsewhere. This in turn leads to making mechanization appear far cheaper than it really is. Why is it that no serious investigation has been done on the detailed allegations made by Satyendra? The true reason is that they point to a serious rot in the entire rush for big projects.

Raj Kamal Jha ending his letter to Satyendra Dubey in a moving ‘Ode to a Mate’ wrote, ‘But the next time-and there will be a next time- there is a Satyendra Dubey, from IIT or wherever, who walks into a lonely place to blow the whistle, he will look right and left. He will look over his shoulder, it will be cold, the wind will blow hard, and he will then look up. And he will see you shining there.’

Yes Satyendra,-he will see you and take the right lesson- honesty will not be tolerated. If he is foolish enough to sacrifice his life, we will first make a National past time of honouring him, but ultimately desecrate the memory of his death.

The issue is not only about the Indra of Satya. The minimum ethical stand we need to take is that when as Institutions, Organisations, or Media, we do not compromise our public stand on honesty. Whenever these Institutions deviate, others must challenge them. It is far better to admit mistakes than to pretend we are infallible. To refuse to admit errors is becoming a characteristic of our entire leadership from the political, bureaucratic, business or intellectual class. If all the institutions which honoured Satyendra’s memory raise their voice,-at least for the sake of their own credibility,- the truth will come out. This can have a positive effect on economy and good governance, leading to a more ethical, sustainable and equitable society. Honesty is a value, which is basic to the well being of a society. As individuals and as a society, we have to bring it to the center stage of our National agenda and debate. In the first five decades of the last century, Satyagraha was the prime mover of our nation. The primary reason for the affluence of the Developed Nations is also an insistence on Honesty privately and publicly. In India when Business or professional interests are at stake, people bond together to safeguard themselves and get more. The organized workers have also managed to defend their own turf. Who will defend Satya?

And without Satya can there be a better India?

shailesh gandhi

June 7, 2006 Posted by | Ashutosh Aman Mishra, Atal Bansal, Kalyan Panda [Implanter] Writes, martyr SKD, skdf letdown | Leave a comment

SKDF did not follow up with PRESS and COURTS to turn the Satyendra Dubey letter to PMO dated November 11, 2002 in to a charge sheet. Shows FAILURE of Ashutosh Aman Mishra and Atal Bansal of SKDF.

PRESS did not turn the Satyendra Dubey letter to PMO dated November 11, 2002 in to a charge sheet.
November 11, 2002 Letter to PMO
martyr SKD wrote – A dream project of unparalleled importance to the Nation
Read the following:
N. Ram Of The Hindu Is No Ram
Sucheta has taken the lead in exposing the professional misconduct of press. Press has very incompetently covered development and economy related issues.
N. Ram of The Hindu is No Ram, he may try to appear to be champion of freedom of press but he is no better than his rivals in business.
I have tried to raise very critical issues like Kaveri dispute or Narmada dispute for example but none in the press dared to cover it. Example:- When most of the water in KRS dam shall be lost on way to farmers why Supreme Court wanted to release barely minimum amount for Karnataka’s priority needs. Firstly press doesn’t have the skilled reporters and secondly, like most politicians, doesn’t want to convey bitter truth to people.
Press as the “Balancing Pillar” of democracy and efficient governance is as feeble as other three Indian constitutional pillars, legislature, executive and judiciary.
Press seldom challenges the bad decisions of the government when it does; it addresses the public outrage due to certain event.
Indian Express was the only newspaper that extensively covered Dubey story. But it did not turn the Satyendra Dubey letter in to a charge sheet.
In India role of judiciary in keeping a check on the functioning of legislature and executive is limited there press has to fill the gap.
On policy issues judiciary has limited powers and procedure is slow and complicated but press can respond instantly the way Corruptionfree responds.
There is huge credibility gap that press has to bridge.
Ravinder Singh
—————–
Under N. Ram, the Hindu becomes a ‘sorry’ paper
Posted by: “Sucheta Dalal” suchetadalal@yahoo.com
Tue Jun 6, 2006 12:21 pm (PST)

Hello all

Freedom of press?

This is a horrifying new trend that will affect the entire media and ultimately freedom of __expression in the country.

Are editors/owners crawling when asked to bend? Do they really need to bend in order to get advertising?

Has survival become so tough for the media?

If things are so bad with print, you can imagine how much worse it is in the audio-visual media.

Everybody needs to think about this. Would appreciate reactions.

best
Sucheta

Under N. Ram, the Hindu becomes a ’sorry’ paper ARVIND SWAMINATHAN writes from Madras:
Editors, reporters and correspondents at The Hindu are in a state of shock and disbelief today after another grovelling apology to an automotive major from their card-carrying Editor-in-Chief N. Ram appeared on the pages of the paper.

“In the Open Page article by R.S. Anand titled ‘The way we showcase India abroad’, a sweeping and baseless statement was made about a Kirloskar product, suggesting it was outdated. The Hindu apologises for this unwarranted assertion and withdraws the Open Page article from its website,” the apology signed by the editor-in-chief reads.

The “offending” piece by Anand, a student at RWTH in Aachen, Germany, comprised run-of-the-mill reflections on the Hannover Fair, and contained just two references to Kirloskar—both of them in the same paragraph.

“Companies such as HMT, BHEL, Kirloskar, etc, participated in the (Hannover) fair. My fellow German students were shocked to see the engine displayed by Kirloskar which was designed a century ago. They asked me, ‘Are they still using this one?’’ the “offending” paragraph went.

That was enough for Ram, otherwise a champion of free ___expression on television and in public forums, to go out crawling on all fours.

“Just what does our editor find so sweeping and baseless about that statement,” asked a senior editor of the paper on condition of anonymity. “And anyway it is not the author’s statement, it is the quote of a German visitor.”

Hindu staffers are bemused that Ram, otherwise particular about details, should not have published the date of publication of the offending piece—May 21, 2006—in the apology. “It’s almost as if he doesn’t want readers who have back copies of the paper at home to go back and check,” a staffer said.

At the same time, many senior editors and journalists within and outside the Hindu are horrified that the whole article has been axed from the paper’s website although the references to Kirloskar were contained in only one paragraph.

“Look at the irony. We lecture the world on why Da Vinci Code should not be censored. We lecture the world on why Fanaa should not be blacked out. And yet, because some rich family is offended, we remove the whole piece from the website. Is only the paragraph at fault or the whole piece? And what will the author tell his German friends about The Hindu? That the paper has very elastic journalistic ethics, depending on who is offended ?” the editor asked.

There is yet a third angle to the apology which is that it comes over and above the head of the much-vaunted Reader’s Editor, K. Narayanan, whom Ram has been projecting as the panacea of all journalistic ills in the country.

“Was Kirloskar’s complaint brought to the notice of the Reader’s Editor? If not, why ? If so, what was the substance of the complaint—that somebody had a view that the advertiser did not like? So, is Ram the Advertiser’s Editor? Doesn’t this undermine the position of the Reader’s Editor,” a staffer asked.

The Kirloskar apology is the second inside 20 months since Ram displaced Malini Parthasarathy and his brother N. Ravi in a bloodless palace coup.

On October 20, 2004, Ram published this: “The contents, tone and language of ‘Kudos to Tata Motors’ by C. Manmohan Reddy (Business Review, The Hindu, October 18, 2004) are highly inappropriate. The Hindu conveys its deep regrets to Mahindra and Mahindra and also to Kotak Mahindra, ICICI Bank, and Citibank for the publication of the article.”

In that case, all the “offending” piece did was to lambast Mahindra and Mahindra for showing a “singular lack of responsibility towards the environment”.

“They choose to sell Bharat Stage I versions of the vehicle in large numbers in many of the 11, large and environmentally sensitive, cities where all the other automotive manufacturers have switched to BS II versions—all to save about Rs. 5,000 to 6,000 on very profitable SUVs that cost nearly Rs. 8 lakhs, on the road,” Reddy wrote.

That was enough for Ram to apologise to M&M and the auto finance companies. However unlike in the Kirloskar case, the offending M&M piece continues to remain on the paper’s website along with the apology two days later.

Media watchers say they are not surprised that both the apologies have gone out to automotive companies, which are big advertisers on the pages of The Hindu and many of which are located in Tamil Nadu.

What they find hilarious is that a committed communist should be so servile and obsequious to capitalists.

“Here’s a paper that day in and day out extols Jyoti Basu and Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, Prakash and Brinda Karat. And yet to see it saying sorry for such minor journalistic indiscretions, if they are indiscretions, suggests duplicity, if not plain hypocrisy,” says a journalist who has seen better days under G. Kasturi.
__________________________________________________

June 7, 2006 Posted by | Ashutosh Aman Mishra, Atal Bansal, Govt. of INDIA, Kalyan Panda [Implanter] Writes, martyr SKD, skdf filings, skdf letdown | Leave a comment

martyr SKD message

A dream project of unparalleled importance to the Nation but in reality a great loot of public money because of very poor implementation at every state.

June 6, 2006 Posted by | EXPRESS service, Govt. of INDIA, martyr SKD, skdf documents, skdf letdown, skdf previous members | 1 Comment