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The other ‘Coal Scam’

More than a decade ago, when media and civil society were going gung-ho against the then UPA government for the “Coalgate” scandal, the furore was focussed on a report prepared by an independent institution, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, that revealed evidence implicating the Union government and multiple coal mining companies. The CAG had found that the government had allocated a slew of coal blocks to privately-owned mining companies without conducting fair auctions. The...

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PM Modi’s 'own goal' on Adani and Ambani

Half-way through the heat and dust of India’s general elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sprung a surprise on the country, including his most ardent supporters. He suggested during a public speech on 8 May 2024 in Karimnagar, Telangana, in southern India, that the country’s two richest men Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani were sending carloads of cash to the largest opposition party, the Indian National Congress. Opposition leader, Rahul Gandhi, pledges to institute a parliamentary probe into...

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Are ‘show cause’ notices to 6 Adani companies part of bigger crackdown?

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the regulator of the country’s financial markets, has sent ‘show cause’ notices to six listed companies in the Adani Group. This was revealed by the companies themselves in recent filings to stock-exchange authorities. A notice to show cause is a formal document issued to a party in a dispute that sets out details about an alleged offence or misconduct. Such a notice is usually issued by a law-enforcing authority. The receiving party has a...

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Long on rhetoric, short on practice: Modi government battling corruption

A decade ago, in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Narendra Modi, then still the Chief Minister of Gujarat, famously declaimed: “Na khaoonga, na khaane doonga” (Neither will I take bribes, nor will I let others take bribes). He added that he would bring back illegal wealth stashed away in tax havens abroad by rich Indians and distribute the money among the poor—Rs.15 lakh for each poor family. Modi projected himself as a crusader against corruption in general and the corrupt Congress...

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Lens on New India

THE DEMOLITION, THE VERDICT AND THE TEMPLE: THE DEFINITIVE BOOK ON THE RAM MANDIR PROJECT By Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay Speaking Tiger, Rs 699 The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its political arm, the Bharatiya Janata Party, are hopeful that the ‘inauguration’ of the incomplete Ram temple at Ayodhya would consolidate the Hindu vote in favour of the incumbent regime in the run-up to the general elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi thinks that whipping up religious fervour with the pran pratishtha...

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The totalitarian project behind the electoral bonds scheme

Example 1: Ajay Mishra Teni, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, is the BJP member of the Lok Sabha from the Kheri constituency in Uttar Pradesh. In October 2021, his son, Ashish Mishra Monu, allegedly drove into a crowd of protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri, killing four farmers and a journalist. The junior Mishra is under trial for murder. The government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi resisted immense pressure to dismiss Teni from the Cabinet at the time and he has now been...

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Sreedhar Ramamurthi: A geologist who campaigned for Mother Earth

Sreedhar Ramamurthi was a scientist as well as an activist who worked to ameliorate the condition of those impacted by reckless mining all over India. He worked with many others who shared his ideals about the need to conserve the planet with care. He was no starry-eyed social worker who believed he could change the world overnight. He was down to earth and practical about what could be achieved and what could not, and the extent to which the government could be convinced to support the under...

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FPJ Exclusive: Big Players Who Bought Electoral Bonds

Here is a tentative list of entities in corporate groups that purchased electoral bonds and the controversies surrounding some of these groups. We know that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) got more than half the funds from the redemption of bonds between 2018 and 2024. One of the companies that bought the bonds is Future Gaming and Hotel Services. This company bought bonds worth Rs 1,368 crore. The person behind this company is Santiago Martin, often called India’s “lottery king.” There have...

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A tell-all exposé on policy battles and power games in India’s economic corridors

A bureaucrat, sometimes described as a civil servant, is, more often than not, a sophisticated slave of his political masters. Not all are, however, equally supine. Among them, a minority displays a strong spine. The privileged lot belonging to the elite IAS who are supposed to hold up the proverbial “steel frame” of the country, are a mixed bunch of the subservient (the majority) and the rebellious (a few). The author of the book under review may consider himself as belonging to the latter...

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An Amazing ‘Zoo Story’

A trust associated with the Reliance group inaugurated the world’s largest private zoo on February 26. The zoo is the “pet project” of Anant Ambani, son of group head Mukesh Ambani. The zoo is the venue of Anant’s pre-wedding celebrations where the world’s richest and most famous are expected to be in attendance. The project was set up under the shadow of a series of legal challenges around the country by the petitioners concerned, with allegations of illegal transfer of elephants from different...

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