Extract from March Cover Story: The Massive Indebtedness of the Adani Group and Its Convenient Relations with Government Enterprises

By Nileena MS | 15 March 2018
In the cover story of The Caravan’s March 2018 issue, “Coalgate 2.0,” Nileena MS reports that a joint venture of the Adani Group and a Rajasthan power corporation that is currently exploiting a captive coal block in Chhattisgarh is in clear contempt of the Supreme Court’s landmark 2014 ruling regarding the “Coalgate” scam and in breach of later laws, yet has faced no action under the Modi government. The Supreme Court had declared illegal 214 coal-block allocations, and noted a pattern of state-owned enterprises granting lucrative contracts to private firms to mine and deliver coal from their blocks. This compelled parties involved in exploiting the blocks to reapply for permissions and renegotiate all mining agreements under stringent new rules—and yet the joint venture continues to operate on the terms of a pre-2014 agreement, which gives the Adani Group control over it. Public documents show that existing arrangements promise the joint venture undue gains of at least Rs 6,000 crore. In addition, the Adani Group will receive an estimated rock-bottom benefit of Rs 1,000 crore through arrangements for a power plant that it is to run at the coal block. Nileena writes, “By anything but the most conservative estimates, these sums are likely to be far higher.”

Death of Judge Loya: State of Maharashtra’s Claim In The SC That Medical Opinion Ruling Out A Heart Attack Was Taken Out of Context Does Not Hold

By ATUL DEV | 10 March 2018
In keeping with its pattern of furnishing testimonies that amend, distort or completely roll back on the statements formerly given to journalists, the state of Maharashtra continued its arguments on Friday in the Supreme Court to oppose an investigation into the suspicious death of Judge BH Loya. The state argued that the statements of RK Sharma, one of India’s foremost medico-legal experts—who had told me in an earlier interview that the medical documents pertaining to Loya’s death show no sign of a heart-attack and hint towards poisoning—could not be trusted. The state submitted that Sharma only had a casual conversation with a journalist and had been quoted out of context. As was the case with earlier testimonies, the state’s arguments about Sharma, too, are easily disprovable with the facts that are available.

“Rani Ma” Gaidinliu and How Modi Appropriated Nehru’s Legacy in Nagaland

By Sanjoy Hazarika | 2 March 2018
On 3 March, the election commission will announce the results of the assembly elections conducted a week prior in the states of Nagaland, Tripura and Meghalaya. In Nagaland, the Bharatiya Janata Party is in alliance with the regional Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party, after splitting from the incumbent ruling party, the Naga People’s Front. Exit polls in the state have predicted a tight contest between the contesting factions, with a slight edge to the BJP-NDPP alliance.

An Unnamed IAS Officer Levels Serious Allegations of Corruption Against Big-Four Firm KPMG India

An anonymous letter written by a civil servant, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has levelled serious allegations against the multinational consulting firm KPMG’s India operations. In the letter, which is dated 5 December, a senior bureaucrat—who claims to be a member of the elite Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and holds the post of a director in the union government—accuses the group of exercising influence over key government officials by, among other means, recruiting their children and relatives. It alleges that there is a pattern of influence among senior officers in the central and state governments and top executives in KPMG India. Other allegations stated in the letter include the purported offer of a bribe to a bureaucrat, and the awarding of crucial government contracts to international firms, to the detriment of  domestic industry.

Delhi High Court Vacates Injunction Against The Caravan’s IIPM Cover Story; The Magazine Re-Publishes It

By The Caravan | 21 February 2018
On 16 February 2018, the Delhi High Court vacated an injunction against The Caravan’s February 2011 cover story, “Sweet Smell of Success,” a profile of Arindam Chaudhuri, the former honorary dean of the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM). The profile was written by one of The Caravan’s contributing editors, Siddhartha Deb, a renowned novelist and university professor based in New York. It was widely acclaimed at the time of its publication for its thorough and even-handed portrayal of Mr Chaudhuri and the institute he headed.

The Rise of the Far Right And Resurgence of Nazi Vocabulary In Mainstream German Politics

By Arfa Khanum Sherwani | 15 February 2018
In what is perhaps the worst crisis of Angela Merkel’s political career, Germany has been witnessing its most protracted political stalemate—federal elections held in September 2017 presented inconclusive results, and the country’s future has since been mired in uncertainty. Merkel’s party, the Christian Democratic Union, and its Bavarian partner, the Christian Social Union, secured 33 percent of the votes—their worst electoral result since 1949. The CSU-CDU alliance lost 65 seats compared to its 2013 election victory, though they remain the largest force in the German parliament, Bundestag.

जज लोया की मौत: मेडिकल दस्‍तावेज़ों दिल के दौरे की बात को नकारते हैं, अग्रणी फॉरेन्सिक विशेषज्ञ की राय

By Atul Dev | 13 February 2018
भारत के अग्रणी फॉरेन्सिक विशेषज्ञों में एक डॉ. आरके शर्मा, जो दिल्‍ली के भारतीय आयुर्विज्ञान संस्‍थान (एम्‍स) में फॉरेन्सिक मेडिसिन और टॉक्सिकोलॉजी विभाग के प्रमुख रह चुके हैं और 22 साल तक इंडियन असोसिएशन ऑफ मेडिको-लीगल एक्‍सपर्ट्स के अध्‍यक्ष रहे हैं- ने जज बृजगोपाल हरकिशन लोया की मौत से जुड़े मेडिकल कागज़ात की जांच करने के बाद इस आधिकारिक दावे को खारिज कर दिया है कि लोया की मौत दिल का दौरा पड़ने से हुई थी। शर्मा के अनुसार ये कागज़ात दिखाते हैं कि लोया के मस्तिष्‍क को संभवत: कोई आघात पहुंचा हो और यह भी मुमकिन है कि उन्‍हें ज़हर दिया गया हो।

Death of Judge Loya: Medical Documents Rule Out Heart Attack, Says Leading Forensic Expert

By ATUL DEV | 11 February 2018
After examining medical documents pertaining to the death of the judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, one of India’s foremost forensic experts, Dr RK Sharma—the former head of the Forensic Medicine and Toxicology Department at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi, and the president of the Indian Association of Medico-Legal Experts for 22 years—has dismissed the official claim that Loya died of a heart attack. According to Sharma, the documents show signs of possible trauma to the brain, and even possible poisoning.

The Latest Skirmish in California’s Textbooks War Reveals the Mounting Influence of Hindutva in the United States

By Aria Thaker | 7 February 2018
Early in the morning, on 9 November 2017, hundreds of people flooded the headquarters of the California department of education. They lined up in the building’s glass atrium, waiting to testify before the members of the state board of education. That day, the board was scheduled to vote on whether various new history and social-science textbooks were going to be adopted for use in California’s government-run schools. The board president reportedly stated that the hearing was “the longest in the history of the state Board of Education.”
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