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Tuesday, 12 July 2011

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Lines and between the lines: Innocent Kapil Uncle and Bhushan’s conspiracy

Learning lessons from Guru Digvijay Singh (Diggy Chacha), Eminent and most intelligent lawyer in India after Mr. Ram Jethmalani and Telecom Minister, Mr. Kapil Sibal (Kapil Uncle) has strongly countered the allegations made by Mr. Prashant Bhushan.

A day after a public interest litigation (PIL) petition was filed in the Supreme Court against Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal accusing him of monetarily favouring the Anil Ambani-headed Reliance Communications Ltd. (RCom), Kapil Uncle denied the charges and asserted that the Rs5Cr fine imposed on the firm was as per the terms and conditions of the agreement signed between the government and the private operator.

Tracing the history and justifying his innocence, Kapil Uncle told journalists “In November 2010, the Department of Telecommunications [DoT] served a show-cause notice to RCom for shutting down telephone towers in 13 telecom circles that it had put up with money allocated from the Universal Service Obligation Fund [USOF] and imposed a fine of Rs50Cr. But by the time the file reached me in February 2011, RCom had restored the services. Hence, action could not be initiated for termination of services [as intended originally] as per the licence agreement signed [only] between DoT and RCom, but for disruption of services as per the agreement signed between USOF and RCom and the penalty was recalculated from Rs50Cr to Rs5Cr.”

He further claimed that the DoT never sought Rs650-crore penalty as mentioned in the PIL reducing the overall burden on him slightly from Rs645Cr to Rs45Cr. “I am deeply grieved by what is happening by the PIL filed by the NGO alleging that the Telecom Minister has abused his power to benefit RCom by reducing penalty to Rs5Cr. The proceedings initiated by way of an affidavit in the Supreme Court in the 2G case are malicious, motivated and defamatory.” Uncle said. He further expressed his worries and concerns for innocent Ministers and said “PILs are being misused to tarnish the image of Ministers … PILs should not be used to settle personal scores. It is a dishonest PIL…governments cannot function in this manner.”

In his long speech and detailed answers with polished English to media, Uncle did not give reasons for RCom switching off the telecom towers in rural areas and why the DoT took over four months to take action against it. However, he proclaimed an unusual but interesting and unique way of collecting fine from RCom, which can set a great precedent for other government departments. He said “The notice for Rs50Cr was to pressure RCom...they got worried and finally restored the services. They paid a penalty of Rs5.5Cr.” Sources close to Anna Hazare Panel said that they are considering introducing such an innovative method to stop corruption and charge penalty. This statement is also in line with Kapil Uncle’s earlier statement (a support to author of how to become a trillionaire in 5 years Mr. A. Raja) that there was no such 2G scam and India hadn’t lost a penny, popularly considered as Zero Loss Theory across the economic circles. 

Uncle also rejected the charge that he had favoured RCom because it had been his client earlier. However, defending the PIL plea filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), lawyer Prashant Bhushan remained firm and said the action against RCom should have been initiated for violation of licence conditions that called for a penalty up to Rs50Cr per telecom circle.

“As separate licences are issued for each circle, penalty for violation of licence agreements in 13 circles will be to the tune of Rs650Cr and not Rs50Cr or Rs5Cr what the DoT later charged,” he pointed out.

According to a source from the government (maintaining anonymity), Kapil Uncle was deeply lamented with the controversy and called Ramdev Baba for a proper yogasan and Asaramji Bapu for medicines in Ayurveda. We have yet to confirm the news from both Baba and Bapu and which asana and medicine they suggested. Source further said Diggy Chacha who was furious last month on Kapil Uncle due to his royal treatment with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to saffron-clad yoga star as he descended from a private jet in the New Delhi international airport where the government’s stalwarts went to receive him, expressed his anger again in private.

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