Zaniolo mother in Capello war of words

first_imgNicolo Zaniolo’s mother has hit out at Fabio Capello after he advised Inter prospect Sebastiano Esposito “not to go the same way” as the Roma midfielder. Capello made the comment while covering Inter’s 2-0 win against Borussia Dortmund for Sky Sport Italia last night. Presenter Ilaria D’Amico then claimed the 73-year-old was simply referring to how Zaniolo left the Nerazzurri for Roma in the summer of 2018. Nonetheless, Francesco Costa fumed on Instagram: “Sometimes it’s better to be silent … without words!” She later added: “I’ll be your mother too, but you’ve gone your own way and you’re an example for lots of kids who write to us every day chasing your dream and hoping to be like you… “You who started out in the Champions League at the age of 19, you who at the age of 19 scored a brace in the same competition, the youngest Italian to do so… “You who at the age of 19 made your debut in the senior Italy squad… you who at the age of 19 was named Serie A’s best youngster in 2018-19… “You who at the age of 20 already boasts 47 appearances for AS Roma, with seven goals and three assists… “You who, for me, should be and continue to be an example, not a road to avoid, for all your peers, young or old… including the excellent Esposito… “This is while hoping that this campaign against you, which I don’t understand the reason for, doesn’t destabilise you… I love you.” Esposito made his Champions League debut for the Nerazzurri against Dortmund, the 17-year-old striker impressing in his 28 minutes on the pitch. Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: read more

On camera: Crumbling Delhi Games stadiums

first_imgIt took just two rainy days to wreack havoc on CWG’s world class facilities – SPM Swimming Complex, the Kadarpur shooting range, Talkatora Stadium and Yamuna Sports Complex.Getting the 2010 Commonwealth Games stadia ready in time increasingly appears to be near impossible. Problems at the venues, which are already behind schedule, have been further compounded by rains. WATCH VIDEOA Headlines Today investigation has found that infrastructure at the stadia is in a state of collapse, with portions of what was completed damaged by rains. Headlines Today went deep inside the stadia to find leaking ceilings, seepage and waterlogging. Thousands of crores spent on the projects seem to have gone down the drain. And the Games are just over two months away. Talkatora StadiumDelhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit inaugurated the renovated Talkatora Stadium – the dome-shaped icon of the 1982 Asian Games – on February 24. But five months later, its splendour has all been washed away by a spell of overnight rain. And with it have gone Rs 150 crore spent on the stadium’s renovation.MORE PHOTOSCountdown to CWG beginsCWG joins hands with SPIC MACAYCWG mascot Shera visits kids!Will these roads be ready for CWG?Delhi gets CWG batonOne downpour has flooded not just the stadium’s entrance, but water has even reached inside. The corridor is flooded and the floors are slippery, making it impossible to cross it. “With the rains, the cement lying around will flow into the drains, mix with water and harden. Weeds will grow. They are creating problems for the future,” town-planner Jamal Ansari said.  “The kerb stones and infrastructure coming up in a mad hurry will suffer on counts of quality of work. The kerb stones are already falling apart,” Ansari said. Yamuna Sports ComplexAnother disaster in the making has been the Yamuna Sports Complex, which had been tipped as a world class structure.  The complex was inaugurated by Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy on March 6. Nearly five months later, just two days of rain seem to have sunk a whopping Rs 250 million spent on it. Headlines Today found the stadium in a shambles. The ceiling had collapsed and the wooden flooring damaged by waterlogging. There was seepage too.  A brand new stadium meant to showcase India before the world is falling apart. “The infrastructure is already crumbling. They cannot finish the work now so they should just concentrate on finishing the necessary work. Get the stadia ready and leave the rest of the construction for later,” said Kavas Kapadia, Dean of School of Planning and Architecture. “The tearing hurry with which things are being done will lead to greater mess if now channeled now,” warned Kapadia. Escalating costsThe 2010 Commonwealth Games are set to break all records as far as expenses are concerned. Billed as the costliest Commonwealth Games, it has reportedly crossed a budget of Rs 30,000 crore.  Rs 150 crore will be spent on the opening and closing ceremonies alone. Here’s a lowdown about why the Games budget has spiralled. The details are part of a CAG report submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office. In May 2003, Rs 296 crore was allocated for upgrading the Games infrastructure. By December 2003, Rs 1,200 crore was added as operating expenses. In April 2007, another Rs 3,566 crore was allocated; and in May 2009, Rs 12,888 crore was added.  As of July 2010, the total money invested in the Games has unofficially crossed Rs 30,000 crore.advertisementlast_img read more

PCB, Pakistan players fixing games, says Veena Malik

first_imgGoing a step further after claiming that her former boyfriend Mohammad Asif has links with bookies, actress-model Veena Malik today said Pakistan Cricket Board all along knew about this and all national cricketers and officials are “involved in match-fixing from head to toe”.Malik said she will meet tomorrow ICC’s anti-corruption unit official Reza Hasan who arrived in the country today regarding her revelations that Asif has links with Indian bookies.”A senior police officer called me on phone today and told me that an ICC anti-corruption unit official will meet me tomorrow to ascertain the veracity of the revelations I made about Asif and his links with Indian bookies,” Malik told reporters.”Pakistan Cricket Board had evidence of this but no action was taken against Asif. From head to toe, Pakistani players and officials are involved in match-fixing,” Malik claimed.She reiterated that Asif was involved in match fixing and his links with bookies had come to light when she travelled with him to Bangkok before Pakistan’s tour of Australia.”Asif told me he was offered USD 40,000 by an Indian bookie to underperform in Australia but he had demanded 200,000 dollars,” she said.Malik said Asif’s links with bookies was the reason behind she broke off with him.”I did not want him to indulge in such activities,” she said.She further claimed that Asif was not friends with Salman Butt and Mohammad Aamir, the two other cricketers at the center of ‘spot-fixing’ scandal that has rocked world cricket.”Perhaps the common cause (of match-fixing) has brought them closer,” she said.advertisementA PCB official, who did not want to be named, said Malik was “heartbroken” after her split with Asif and had been targeting the cricketer since he refused to marry her.”In the light of this, her allegations should not be taken seriously,” the official said.During a recent appearance on a TV news channel, Malik had claimed that Asif had told her the Pakistani team would not win a single match on its Australian tour.”When Pakistan started losing in Australia, I jokingly said ‘For God’s sake, win a match’. To this, he replied ‘We won’t win anything until 2010’,” she had told the Express News channel.last_img read more

Indians continue to impress at Commonwealth Weightlifting

first_imgIndia’s impressive show at the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships continued as their medals tally swelled to 33, including 15 gold, on the second day of the competition at Cape Town, South Africa, on Wednesday.Shaya Devi (53kg senior women), Pramila Krisani (53kg youth girls), Matsa Santoshi (53kg junior women), L Ajit Singh (50kg youth boys) and Apurba Chetia (56kg youth boys) were among the gold medal winners.Indians have, so far, also won 12 silver and six bronze medals.On Tuesday, India bagged 15 medals, including six gold, to begin their campaign on an impressive note.last_img

BCCI should not oppose the Sports Bill: Kapil

first_imgFormer India captain Kapil Dev on Thursday favoured the Sports Ministry’s move to make BCCI function as a National Sports Federation (NSF), as proposed in the National Sports Development Bill.The BCCI had rejected the bill at its Working Committee meeting in Kolkata on October 29, saying certain aspects of the bill are meant to “destroy the autonomy” of the board but Kapil said the cricket board should abide by the law.”I think nobody is above the government or law, it may be the cricket board or any other association. Perhaps it personally hurts BCCI and so they are saying no to this bill.I don’t mind losing anything if my country is benefitted and that should be the mentality,” said Kapil at a FICCI function in New Delhi.”If it benefits the entire sporting fraternity, it should come into effect. One should understand that this bill is for the betterment of everyone. Personal interests cannot be bigger than the nation. The attitude should be country comes first,” said Kapil, who led the team to 1983 World Cup win.The controversial Bill is expected to be introduced in the upcoming winter session of the Parliament.On the issue of bringing BCCI under the purview of the RTI Act, Kapil said, “Well…I am not that qualified enough to answer this question. I think, when the situation arises, the experts dealing with the issue can give you the answer.”BCCI, which is an autonomous body, and some other sports organisations such as Indian Olympic Association (IOA) have opposed the legislation. .Last week, the BCCI shot off a 29-page letter to the sports minister Ajay Maken, giving in detail their reasons for objecting the controversial bill which seeks to regulate the functioning of sports bodies.advertisementThe letter points out that the BCCI was not required to be brought under RTI as it was transparent and its accounts were put up on its website. It also followed the tenure and age restrictions as envisaged in the bill with all the office bearers having limited tenures.The bill was revised after the cabinet did not give its approval. The proposed bill wants to give BCCI the status of a National Sports Federation and therefore bring it under the purview of the RTI Act.Maken said transparency in the working of National Sports Federations, including the BCCI, can be achieved by bringing them under the Right to Information Act, which the revised National Sports Development Bill seeks to incorporate.last_img read more

Fresh documents prove that 2G buck does not stop with Chidambaram

first_imgOn September 29, the Supreme Court noted an extraordinary lapse that if advertent, is unforgivable. Pages were missing from the finance ministry file on pricing of 2G spectrum that had been submitted to the court. That suggests that the Government has much to be afraid of from full disclosure of,On September 29, the Supreme Court noted an extraordinary lapse that if advertent, is unforgivable. Pages were missing from the finance ministry file on pricing of 2G spectrum that had been submitted to the court. That suggests that the Government has much to be afraid of from full disclosure of information in the 2G case. New documents now in the possession of India Today dismantle the latest Government attempt to defend the indefensible. That defence, articulated most recently by Law Minister Salman Khurshid, claims that it was always Government policy to use the first-come, first-served methodology implemented by then telecom minister A. Raja, and not auction. The flaw, if any, was in the process. The documents expose the Government’s lies.On November 22, 2007, then finance secretary D. Subbarao wrote to then telecom secretary D.S. Mathur objecting to the telecom ministry’s decision to use the price fixed in 2001 six years later in 2007 and asked the telecom secretary why the finance ministry was not consulted on a financial matter. The finance ministry was, therefore, making a case for auction.On November 23, 2007, Subbarao wrote a detailed draft note addressed to the telecom secretary challenging the latter’s specific contention that a higher fee would result in higher tariffs for consumers. The finance ministry argument in favour of auction was being strengthened.On January 9, 2008, a day before Raja issued 121 letters of intent to licensees, a senior finance ministry official submitted a position paper to then finance minister P. Chidambaram on the auctioning of spectrum. Thiswas in preparation for a meeting of the full Telecom Commission which had been postponed from January 9 until January 15.The issue of spectrum pricing continued to be discussed in the Ministry of Finance even after Chidambaram had declared it a “closed chapter” on January 15, 2008. A series of notes and memorandums exchanged between senior finance ministry bureaucrats in the first week of April is evidence of this. At this time, spectrum had still not been allotted and licences could have been cancelledOn July 6, 2008, Subbarao recorded a note on ‘spectrum issues’ which said the pricing decision was taken in the presence of the Prime Minister, the finance minister and the telecom minister.advertisementSECRET FILESA list of documents which if fully made public will reveal all that the establishment is trying to hide.COMPREHENSIVE concept paper put up by SindhushreeKhullar, additional secretary, economic affairs, dated January 9,2008.THE AGENDA, if any,of the original meeting of the full Telecom Commission dated January 9, 2008.This will tell us if spectrum pricing was to be discussed and ifthat was why the meeting was postponed at the last minute.THE NOTE describing the circumstances under which themeeting of the full Telecom Commission was postponed fromJanuary 9 to January 15,2008.THE SECRET NOTE from the finance minister to the PrimeMinister dated January 15,2008, inwhich he said that spectrum allocationsmade by A.Raja should be treated as a “closed chapter”.THE AGENDA of the meeting ofthe full Telecom Commission datedJanuary 15,2008, that was circulatedin advance.THE DETAILED minutes of themeeting held between Raja andP.Chidambaram dated January 30,2008. In this meeting,Chidambaramadmitted to needing only seven operators and not 14; spectrum scarcity being critical; need to be legally sound; need to ensure the Government got its share from rent-seeking activities ofoperators who preyed on spectrum and finally the ambition ofseveral operators who received letters of intent and who were in it for speculative reasons. If all of this was known within 20days of the scam,why weren’t safeguards put in place?THE INTERNAL NOTE by the DEA dated February 11,2008, which said the “entire range of spectrum was proposed to be charged for bothnew and old operators”.THE NOTE for discussionby the finance secretary onApril 7,2008. It is importantbecause it outlined proposalswith respect to both 2G and 3G, which will help show diagonallyopposite approaches.MINUTES of the July 4, 2008, meeting prepared byfinance secretary D.Subbarao.This will mention details ofthe all-important meetingbetween the Prime Minister,Chidambaram and Raja.Home Minister P. ChidambaramThese documents focus the spotlight on the role played by Home Minister Chidambaram who was finance minister at the time the allotments took place. As finance minister, he had the right to overrule Raja’s decisions on pricing-the finance ministry’s views have clear precedence on all matters that relate to finance across all departments. It is clear that Chidambaram’s finance ministry officials strongly disagreed with the Department of  Telecommunication’s (DoT) decision not to auction spectrum in a series of communications right from November 2007 until April 2008. Chidambaram himself batted in favour of auction right from November 2007 until January 15, 2008, when he retreated. He then wrote a note stating that all that had happened previously (read Raja’s letters of intent) be treated as a “closed chapter”.This document was part of the submissions made to the Public Accounts Committee earlier this year. No explanation has been given by Chidambaram on why he abandoned his responsibility and suddenly supported Raja’s decision against the advice of his officials.advertisementClick here to EnlargeCoalition compulsions says PM, passes the 2G buckThe Government’s contention that Chidambaram could not have overruled a Cabinet decision even if he personally favoured auction is totally incorrect. According to a Cabinet decision of 2003, the finance ministry has the right to intervene in the pricing of spectrum. In the case of a difference of opinion between the telecom and finance ministries, the matter should have been referred to the Cabinet for a final decision. The issue was never taken to the Cabinet. Instead, the decision to support Raja’s spectrum-pricing policies was taken at a meeting attended by the Prime Minister, Chidambaram and Raja on July 4, 2008. For a second time after January 15, Chidambaram overlooked the advice of his officials on the pricing of spectrum. But this time the Prime Minister was involved as well.The Prime Minister tried to wriggle out of direct involvement. During an interaction with editors of the electronic media on February 16, 2011, when asked by India Today Editor-in-Chief Aroon Purie why he did not put his foot down even when Raja disregarded his advice for auction, the Prime Minister gave himself a clean chit and apportioned the entire blame onto the then finance and telecom ministers. He said, “After many discussions, the two ministries agreed that as far as 2G is concerned, we have to live with the present system particularly with regard to the amount of spectrum that is built and embedded into a licence agreement. So this is the background to why I did not proceed further with this matter of pricing of spectrum, because if the ministry of finance and ministry of telecom both agree and they have the obligation of the Cabinet decision of 2003 to decide on the matter and also since TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) is an expert body and Telecom Commission has experts, if all of them are of the same view, I did not feel I was in a position to insist that auction must be insisted upon.” If, as the Prime Minister said, the finance minister agreed, then Chidambaram is as guilty as Raja. For now, Chidambaram is not contradicting the Prime Minister. When contacted by india today, Chidambaram said, “I will not speak.”The Prime Minister has not been entirely transparent. In the same interaction, when asked by India Today why he had reinducted Raja into his Cabinet as telecom minister in 2009 despite the widespread outrage over the 2G policy of 2008, he said, “As of that moment, I had no reason, frankly speaking, to feel that anything seriously wrong had been done. And, therefore, I did not feel that I had the authority to object to Raja’s entry because quite honestly in May 2009, although complaints were coming from all sides, and some were from those companies which had not benefited, some were from those which had benefited but not benefited adequately and, therefore, I was not in a position to make up my mind that anything seriously was wrong with Raja’s doing at that time.” By saying that complaints were only coming from affected companies, Manmohan Singh was turning a blind eye to the complaints coming from within his own Government, from senior officials like Subbarao and additional secretary Sindhushree Khullar. It seems incredible that the Prime Minister was unaware of the views of his most senior officials.advertisementOn November 22, 2007, then finance secretary Subbarao wrote to telecom secretary D.S. Mathur asking him to confirm whether proper financial diligence had been carried out while granting crossover GSM licences to three cdma operators (Reliance, HFCL Infotel and Shyam Telelink) at a licence fee of Rs 1,600 crore each for all-India operations. Subbarao was categorical in his objection to the process when he said, “It is not clear how the rate of Rs 1,600 crore, determined as far back as in 2001, has been applied for a licence given in 2007 without an indexation, let alone current valuation.” He adds, “In view of the financial implications, the Ministry of Finance should have been consulted in the matter before you had finalised the decision.”From left: Chidambaram and Mukherjee declaring a truce. Also in the picture, Sibal and Khurshid.Subbarao insists on auction, Mathur disagreesFormer finance minister Yashwant Sinha argues that the finance ministry has every right to stop a decision that it believes is detrimental to government revenues. “In our system, the finance ministry cannot be overrun by a line ministry. The basic responsibility of the finance minister is to protect government revenues,” says Sinha. In November 2007, Chidambaram’s most senior finance bureaucrat was aware of this responsibility. How Subbarao abandoned this responsibility at the behest of his political masters is an intrinsic part of the 2G story.Then telecom secretary Mathur replied to Subbarao on November 29, 2007, and defended his ministry’s decision on the pricing of crossover licences. “The entry fee was finalised for UAS (Unified Access Service) regime in 2003 based on the decision of the Cabinet. It was decided to keep the entry fee for the uas licence the same as the entry fee of the fourth cellular operator, which was based on a bidding process in 2011,” Mathur explained. He did not mention why the finance ministry was not consulted on a matter with such substantial financial implications. The Ministry of Finance was dissatisfied with Mathur’s reply. A file noting by Subbarao dated November 30, 2007, says, “No reply on why a matter with financial implications has not been referred to the Ministry of Finance.”The exchange of these two letters is not the only new piece of evidence that suggests that in 2007, the finance ministry was unhappy with Raja’s pricing of licences for dual-use technology.A draft memorandum written by Subbarao to Mathur on November 23, 2007 listed the finance ministry’s position in detail. Curiously, it was never sent to the telecom secretary. In this document, Subbarao challenged the DoT’s contention, now supported by Khurshid, that a higher entry fee would result in higher tariffs for consumers. Subbarao wrote: “It may not be correct to say that the increase in entry fee which is presently based on the 2001 auction will increase the cost of service…if the operator is able to utilise spectrum more efficiently, there will be no extra costs to pass on. The increase in entry fee and, therefore, the cost of operation will spur him to be more efficient because of the competition.”RBI Governor SubbaraoThe finance secretary clearly argued that the entry fee paid to the Government must be raised even if there was no auction for 2G spectrum allotment. Subbarao wrote: “The entry fee could be calculated taking the 2001 auction price as the base and weighting it with the improvements in technology in terms of the carrying capacity of spectrum and demand in terms of number of subscribers as well as per subscriber traffic.” The finance ministry clearly had an alternative in mind to auction for raising the price of licences but chose not to suggest it to dot. Why?Senior officials persist, Chidambaram overrulesChidambaram made an attempt in early January 2008 to pre-empt Raja by insisting on a meeting of the full Telecom Commission that comprises officials from the finance, telecom, it and industry ministries, as well as the Planning Commission. The full commission had the power to overrule TRAI which had recommended the first-come, first-served route for 2G licences. Raja initially agreed to hold a meeting of the Telecom Commission on January 9. On January 3, Chidambaram was told that this meeting had been postponed to January 15.Oblivious of Raja’s plan to issue letters of intent to 121 licensees on January 10, Khullar wrote in a note on January 9: “FM has instructed that the prolific press reports over the last two months relating to pricing of spectrum and the telecom wars may be tracked.” She went on to write, “A position paper has been prepared on the most contentious issue that is currently enjoying public attention, that is, allocation of additional licences and 2G spectrum to existing and new entrants.The draft of the position paper was discussed with finance secretary and the final draft is enclosed. The full Telecom Commission was scheduled to meet today. However, the meeting has now been postponed to January 15, 2008. Finance secretary has desired that I may represent him in the meeting.” In the same position paper, Khullar, who was later shifted to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, wrote: “The most transparent method of allocation of spectrum would be by auction.”Former Telecom Secretary MathurThe next day, on January 10, Raja simply went ahead with issuing 121 letters of intent to licensees without waiting for the full meeting of the Telecom Commission. Chidambaram ought to have objected but he did not. He used the position paper as the basis of his secret note to the Prime Minister on January 15, 2008, in which he argued for an auction-based mechanism for future allocation of spectrum. But he also stated that the spectrum allocations made in the past should be treated as a “closed chapter”. Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal tried to give an explanation in a recent interview, “It is an opinion. January 15 is after the event. Letters of intent had been issued by then. The finance minister accepted it after the event. Before that he had an opinion that disagreed with dot, but dot prevailed.”Sibal’s explanation is not entirely convincing. While letters of intent had indeed been issued on January 10, the licence agreements were only signed between February 27 and March 7. The actual spectrum was not allocated until April. There was sufficient time for Chidambaram and Subbarao to step in and insist on an auction. But they abdicated their responsibilities. On January 30, 2008, the minutes of the meeting between Chidambaram and Raja, attended by Subbarao, reveal four crucial points in stark relief:Whatever needed to be done from hereon had to be on a legally sound basis.There was no need to revisit the past, read January 10, 2008.Spectrum was best auctioned to raise resources.The January 10 happenings were of a ‘speculative venture’.All these statements were recorded post facto. According to a former official of the finance ministry, the official meetings between Raja and Chidambaram, many of which were not minuted, in contravention of government rules, took place in Tamil amid much bonhomie. The younger Raja showed due respect to his senior Chidambaram. The finance minister knew where to draw the line with the DMK minister whose party was crucial to his own re-election prospects.CountdownHow the scam unfoldedNov 22, 2007 Finance secretaryprotests against allocation oflicence/2G spectrum at 2001 prices.Nov 29, 2007 DoT secretary refuses to comply. Cites 2003 Cabinet decision of NDA government and TRAI recommendationsagainst auction.Dec 26, 2007 A.Raja writes to PM citing discussion with Pranab Mukherjee, chairman of the Group of Ministers on spectrum pricing, and Solicitor General Goolam Vahanvati. Informs him that the change in definition of first-come, firstservedhas Vahanvati’s approval.Dec 26, 2007 Pranab Mukherjeewrites note to Prime Minister withoutany mention of his meeting with Raja.Jan 3, 2008 Prime Minister acknowledgesRaja’s letter dated December 26.Jan 10, 2008 Letters of intent are issuedfor 121 licences to 15 companies.Jan 15, 2008 Chidambaram writes toPM, says Raja’s actions “closed chapter”.Jan 30, 2008 Raja discusses numberof operators and need to safeguardspectrum trading with ChidambaramJuly 4, 2008 PM, Chidambararam andRaja meet to discuss spectrumcharges and pricing beyond 6.2 MHz.Sept 23, 2008 Swan closes deal withEtisalat.A month later, Unitech closesdeal with Telenor.May 28, 2009 Raja reappointedtelecom minister in UPA 2.Oct 21, 2009 CBI files FIR in 2G scam.Nov 14, 2010 Raja resigns.Nov 16, 2010 CAG report on 2G scampegs loss at Rs 1.76 lakh crore.Nov 18, 2010 TRAI recommendscancellation of 69 of the 121 licences.Feb 2011 Raja, former telecomsecretary Siddharth Behura and Raja’spersonal secretary R.K. Chandoliaare arrested.April 2, 2011CBI files first chargesheet.Finance ministry in turmoil, officials vs secretaryBetween April 3 and 7, 2008, the issue of spectrum pricing cropped up again in exchanges between Khullar and Subbarao. Khullar added an important general point on the pricing of spectrum. “At this stage, the basic issues relating to pricing of spectrum may be raised,” wrote Khullar. Subbarao in his reply said, “Finance minister agreed that spectrum usage charges should be increased reflecting the scarcity value of spectrum as indicated in our note of February 11, 2008.” Subbarao directed that an office memorandum be issued reflecting the finance minister’s views. This was to be done by director, infrastructure, in the finance ministry, Govind Mohan, an ias officer of the 1989 batch.On April 9, 2008, while at Delhi airport waiting to board a flight to London, Chidambaram read a report in a leading business daily which detailed the contents of Mohan’s draft office memorandum which laid out the finance ministry’s position explicitly in favour of auction. Chidambaram was reportedly furious at the leak. To make matters worse, Mohan used the wrong letterhead to write the note-a department of expenditure letterhead rather than one of the department of economic affairs.Chidambaram gave Mohan a dressing down over the telephone from the airport.India Today has access to a letter of apology written by Mohan on April 10, 2008, three days after Subbarao’s direction, in which he accepts full responsibility for issuing the ‘wrong’ office memorandum-on the wrong letterhead. There is no mention of the leak. Mohan wrote: “…the mistake, though inadvertent, is purely assignable to a lapse on the part of the undersigned.” Mohan’s apology note was sent to Chidambaram in London immediately through an official of the Indian High Commission.The finance ministry note of February 11, 2008, referred to by Subbarao, had proposed an alternative to auction to raise more revenue. Under the formula suggested, the Government could have earned Rs 5,772 crore per pan-India licence instead of Rs 1,651 crore. This suggestion was also rejected by the finance minister.In another most unusual communication, on April 17, 2008, the finance ministry sent a non-paper to the DoT on spectrum issues. According to a senior official who was with the finance ministry at the time, it was Chidambaram who directed that the non-paper be sent. Says Yashwant Sinha, “I find it odd that one government department chose to communicate with another through a non-paper which is usually used only in diplomatic exchanges.”In the non-paper, the finance ministry agreed with the DoT “in principle” to not auctioning start-up spectrum. At the same time, it strongly supported an international competitive bidding process for 3G spectrum using two conditions. First, a mandatory rollout clause-if there is no rollout in a year, the spectrum is withdrawn and bid payment lost. Second, specific conditions for qualification so that only serious contenders are in the fray. This was the opposite of what Raja had done in January. Chidambaram did not, however, insist on auction in the July 4, 2008, meeting with the Prime Minister and Raja. Says a former finance ministry official, “When Subbarao came back from the meeting, he told us that they (Chidambaram and he) had caved in.” Two months later, Subbarao was appointed Reserve Bank of India governor. Chidambaram remains silent: is he shielding someone?The Opposition has lost no time in gunning for Chidambaram. Both the BJP and AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa have asked for his resignation. But is Chidambaram just the fall guy? Does the buck stop somewhere higher up? On October 10, the Supreme Court will likely make an observation on Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea that the CBI investigate Chidambaram’s role in the 2G scam. If the court gives cbi the go-ahead to investigate, the home minister will have to step down.Given the gravity of the situation, Chidambaram’s silence in the face of a series of allegations, beginning with Swamy and ending with the finance ministry’s note of March 25, 2011, to the pmo, is odd. Unless Chidambaram’s silence is a shield for the Prime Minister’s potential culpability. Says a Cabinet minister, “It is ironic. The reason why Chidambaram did not overrule Raja and press for an auction is clearly because Raja’s decision had the PM’s sanction.” Says Sinha, “The Prime Minister is guilty of an act of omission because he refused to act when he could have to stop the spectrum allocation. The then finance minister is guilty of an act of commission because he abandoned his original stand that you cannot go by the entry fee of 2001 and spectrum is a scarce commodity that should be auctioned, and went with Raja.”Congress MPs are unhappy with the Prime Minister’s attempt to distance himself from the entire scam, leaving Chidambaram to shoulder the blame. The party has rallied behind the home minister. Even a Chidambaram-baiter like Digvijaya Singh rushed to his defence telling the media that he is a “man of integrity and competence. There is no question of any charges against him”. The orders to save Chidambaram have come from Sonia Gandhi. The Congress leadership is aware of the fact that anyone who was the finance minister at the time would have had to make the decisions that Chidambaram did. Coalition compulsions or ‘dharma’ gave the Congress little room to manoeuvre because without the DMK’s MPs, the Government would fall.Raja at Patiala House courts, Delhi, during the 2G trial.Supreme Court intervenes, spectrum woes multiplyThe Supreme Court could refer the decision on whether to allow a CBI probe into Chidambaram’s role to the trial court that is investigating the 2G scam. In the Supreme Court, P.P. Rao, advocate for the Union of India in the 2G case, argued against Swamy’s plea that the CBI should investigate Chidambaram’s role, stating that this should be clubbed with the trial court’s investigations. This will buy Chidambaram, and the Congress, some crucial time. Time can delay, but not eliminate the contradictions. Chidambaram, known for his proximity to 10 Janpath, is too important to be sacrificed. More so, as then the focus would shift to the Prime Ministers role. Manmohan knows that his plea of “coalition compulsions” will not hold in court. It has already been rejected in the court of public perception. If Chidambaram has to resign over the 2G allocations, the very stability of the UPA will be under threat.There are other considerations at play. There are five state elections due next year. Four, especially Uttar Pradesh, could affect the electoral college that elects the next President of India, elections for which are due mid-2012. The UPA cannot afford to lose the presidential election. For this, it needs to keep its electoral base intact, particularly at the state level. An unresolved 2G case, which could also implicate senior Congress leaders, will hurt its electoral prospects.Meanwhile, it is business as usual in the home ministry. “Chidambaram is the same as ever, going about his meetings. He is still as gruff and demanding,” said a home ministry official. No one knows what he’s thinking, though son Karti let slip the mood recently when he tweeted, “The only silver lining in a crisis created by a vicious campaign is that it shows one who their true friends are.” Chidambaram is busying himself by putting his pet project, the National Counter-Terrorism Centre, on the fast track. “He will certainly be a difficult man to replace at Home. Despite his track record with the Naxalites, there are few who can handle this ministry with the same elan,” said a Cabinet colleague.Chidambaram has other worries, including the career-threatening challenge to his election before a Tamil Nadu court. The court is hearing a petition from an AIADMK leader challenging Chidambaram’s election to the Lok Sabha in 2009. Chidambaram had trailed through each round of counting until he won in a last-minute recount by a narrow margin. He has become more isolated in the state’s power politics since his bete noire Jayalalithaa took over as Chief Minister earlier this year. Recently, when he convened a meeting of the vigilance and monitoring committee in his Sivaganga constituency, two of the seven collectors failed to turn up saying they had to rush to Chennai for an urgent meeting with the Chief Minister. The vigilance committee reviews Central Government schemes and as the local MP, Chidambaram heads it. Pudukottai Collector B. Maheswari and Sivaganga Collector V. Rajaraman boycotted the meeting. An embarrassed Chidambaram said “the meeting was scheduled after due consultation with the collectors.”Chidambaram began 2011 dreaming of succeeding Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister. By September, a district collector had snubbed him. It is not a good time to be P. Chidambaram.- With Lakshmi Subramanian in Chennai and Bhavna Vij-Auroralast_img read more

Sahara has to cite relevant agreement clause to pull out: IPL

first_imgIndian Premier League (IPL) chief executive Sundar Raman said on Saturday that Sahara India can terminate their Pune franchise only after “invoking” the relevant clause in the contract.”The contract terms are very clear as far as the franchise agreement is concerned, and they need to invoke under the termination clause as per the contract,” said Raman during the IPL players’ auction here.Sahara India pulled the plug off its multi-million-dollar team sponsorship with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and also walked out of its IPL franchise Pune Warriors, claiming they have been denied natural justice yet again.Sahara’s decision came hours before the IPL 2012 auction where 144 players went under the hammer here and there was no one from Pune Warriors team bidding.Taking a dig at Sahara, Raman said the corporate major was trying to bend the rules to suit its needs.Sahara had requested the IPL management to add Yuvraj Singh’s price to its auction purse after the southpaw was ruled out of the tournament with a lung tumour.”The truth is they had requested flexibility and amendments to the regulations which suited them, and which was, in the opinion of the IPL, unfair to the eight other franchises,” Raman said.”The IPL was not prepared to grant an exception to one franchise to be sitting in the auction room with a much higher purse than every other franchise as that defeats the purpose of the regulation,” he said.Sahara cited several reasons while ending its 11-year-old association with the BCCI, the latest being its request in the IPL auction being turned down.advertisementlast_img read more

Men’s recurve team beat Korea to reach Stage II final

first_imgThe Indian men’s recurve team shone at the World Cup Archery Stage II by making it to the final in Antalya, Turkey, on Friday.The trio of Rahul Banerjee, Jayanta Talukdar and Tarundeep Rai made it to the summit clash by defeating the fancied South Koreans in the semifinals.India are yet to qualify for the London Olympics, but their performance in Turkey raises hopes that they will make the grade at Ogden in the United States next month.Their women counterparts, who have already booked their London tickets, bowed out in the quarter-finals after losing to Chinese Taipei.The Indian men did not have things all their way and had narrow victories in every encounter. Banerjee, Rai and Talukdar started with a 217-215 win over Mexico in the round of 16, followed by a 216-215 victory over the Netherlands.Their biggest victory came in the semi-finals when they edged past powerhouses South Korea 225-224.In the final on Sunday, the Indians will face Great Britain, who made it to the summit clash with wins over Malaysia, Italy and France. Korea and France will face off for the bronze medal.last_img read more

Euro 2012: Ronaldo double sends Portugal into quarterfinals, Dutch out

first_imgTwo goals from Cristiano Ronaldo gave Portugal a 2-1 comeback victory over Netherlands and a place in the quarterfinals of Euro 2012, as the Dutch exited with three defeats from three games.Portugal’s win puts them second in Group B, the so-called Group of Death, on six points behind Germany, who won all of their matches.Rafael van der Vaart opened the scoring for the Netherlands with a long-range curling shot on 11 minutes.On 24 minutes Cristiano Ronaldo equalized after defender Joao Pereira’s long pass sent the Real Madrid star one-on-one with Netherlands goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.Ronaldo put his team ahead 16 minutes from time on a magnificent counterattack, picking up Nani’s pass in the box and dummying Dutch defender Gregory van der Wiel before scoring with a placed shot.last_img read more