Monday, 25 May 2020

Trouble For Tharoor

Updated: July 26, 2014 5:02 pm

The head of the AIIMS Forensic Department Dr Sudhir Gupta, who did the autopsy of Sunanda Pushkar, wife of former Union minister Shashi Tharoor, has stirred up a controversy which could have catastrophic impact on Tharoor’s political ambitions. It would also discomfit the Congress Party. Dr Gupta revealed that he was pressured by a powerful UPA minister and top officials to change the report.

Reports in Zee News and Times Now said that Dr Sudhir Gupta had made the revelation in an affidavit to the central administrative tribunal (CAT). When contacted, Gupta refused to comment. But hospital sources confirmed Gupta had written to CAT and submitted email exchanges as proof.

Tharoor and Pushkar always appeared at social gatherings as a lovey-dovey couple. Honeymoon seemed to be timeless. They would enter at any event holding hands. Suddenly one learnt that Sunanda was found dead in South Delhi’s Leela Hotel on January 17. Her death was termed ‘sudden’ and ‘unnatural’ by the doctor who did autopsy. Earlier also after the autopsy, doctors who performed post-mortem had reportedly revealed that on Sunanda’s body they found certain injury marks, which “may or may not be related to her death”.

“We have conducted the post-mortem examination. We have completed the whole procedure,” had said Dr Gupta way back in January. “There were certain injury marks on her body. The nature of the injuries cannot be revealed. It is a case of sudden unnatural death.”

It is now revealed that Dr Gupta has said in his affidavit that he was pressured to note that the death was natural. But he refused and wrote that the death as sudden and unnatural. Sources said that Dr Gupta wrote to the Health Ministry and the Chief Vigilance Commissioner informing that he was pressurized by top officials to show her death as natural.

The Director, AAIMS, denied any pressure but he and Dr Gupta are said to be in dispute. But Dr Gupta has made the allegation supported by an affidavit.

The police was flummoxed when the Central Forensic Science Laboratory had ruled that there was no poison. Sources said that a committee of forensic experts has been formed. The Health Minister Harsh Vardhan too has asked for a report on the controversy.

Reports are that Dr Subrama-niam Swamy is likely to file a case for a full, independent inquiry into the death of Sunanda Patnaik.

But even before Dr Swamy moves, This means sleepless nights for the debonair Tharoor.



Does Modi Know Members Of The “Select Group”?


Narendra Modi has strange way of working and communicating. The media and most politicians outside Gujarat are not used to his method of communication, whether he is just mentioning a fact or issuing a warning. A part of his blog that he wrote on June 26, the day he completed one month in office is a case in point.

He wrote, “A big challenge I am facing in Delhi is to convey to a select group of people about our intentions and sincerity to bring a positive change in this country. These are people who are both within and outside the government system. There have been some instances in the last month with which our government had nothing to do yet these controversies have persisted. I don’t blame anybody but I surely feel that we need to strengthen systems whereby the right things are communicated to the right people at the right time. Hopefully things will change then.”

This has serious implications, far more than what appears. The question is, is this a warning to the “select group” that they be cautious that Modi knows them and what they are up to. Or he has just observed certain publications and activities which he feels misinterpret his intention or objective.

Then he says within and without the government system. Does he hint at babus and ministers who are within the system and politicians and columnists and media persons who are outside the system? But his noting must have alarmed all of the above. What he means said one senior politician, no longer active, that while criticising the steep rise in railway fares and freight rates, no one analysed why were they raised and for what purpose. This would have calmed the agitated passengers. It is learnt that in the Railway Budget, steps being taken to use the extra revenue to improve the conditions at stations, for bogies to be improved, measures for keeping compartments and toilets clean, training of the railway staff for better dealing with passengers are some of the incorporated suggestions.

Rise in prices of vegetables, LPG cylinders and petrol could also be explained. Modi obviously feels this select group is just criticising and sabotaging his policies and measures. Does he know the identity of the members of the group?

Sources say he does. The blog was simply a subtle warning. If so these people are in a very dangerous and explosive zone. Whatever be the reality, a retired bureaucrat said he has heard names of three IAS and two IPS officers who might be a member of the Group or in its fringes.



UPA’S Love For NGOS


Details of murky dealings, as UPA-2 moved towards defeat, are now tumbling out. Ironically while it has surfaced that many NGOs stalled India’s development especially in the power sector by 2-3 per cent, we now find that the UPA-2 in its dying days allotted Rs 500 crore” for NGOs.

The Union Cabinet approved… “the setting up of the Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation (BRLF) as an independent charitable society in partnership with government for transforming livelihoods and lives of rural households…. It will provide financial grants to Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to meet their human resource and institutional cost….”

One can spot Sonia’s hand in this. Her love for NGOs seems unending. Most members of BRLF are from her pet NAC. There’s some good advance planning it seems. To put it bluntly, the BRLF is nothing but a “broker”. It will “funnel” funds to NGOs of its choice (or Sonia’s choice?). Under an MOU Rs 500 crore have been pledged to this “Senior NGO”.

Would the Modi sarkar have to hold this 500 crore baby!


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