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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

PC ~ Roses in December ~ and Finance Scam


TV News channels flashed – media highlighted -  A team of six officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrived at the house of former Union minister and senior Congress leader on Tuesday evening, hours after the Supreme Court turned down his plea for an urgent hearing of his anticipatory bail petition in connection with the corruption and money laundering cases .. .. ..  but returned empty handed unable to find the famous economist !!  ~ something on PC and Finance Scam !!

RK Shanmukham Chetty was Independent India's first finance minister from 1947 to 1949. He was also Diwan of Cochin kingdom from 1935 to 1941.  Born in Coimbatore, he initially was part of Swaraj party.  He is known as the First Minister to table the budget in Parliament on 26 Nov 1947.  Wikipedia reports that he was  was chosen by Mahathma Gandhi, against the wishes of Jawaharlal Nehru, due to conflict of views with Nehru, Chetty quit after a short time. Chetty returned to state politics and was re-elected to the Madras state legislative assembly in the 1952 elections as an independent candidate.

Roses in December is a book  written by MC Chagla, a jurist, diplomat and a Cabinet Minister who  served as Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court from 1947 to 1958.  Public servants and political opponents have natural misgivings against commissions appointed under section 3 of the Inquiry Commission Act 1952 as motivated, slow, ineffective and costly luxury. The report is never submitted within time, seldom published, action rarely taken..

Moving away, there exists   accepted meanings of   personal computer (PC):
1) PC is short for personal computer or IBM PC and in a literal sense would exclude other types of personal computers, such as Macintoshes.
2) A personal computer (PC) may also refer to any small, relatively inexpensive computer designed for an individual user.

Two young South African innovators have set their sights on disrupting modern day computing. They have built the world’s first personal computer (PC) with virtual input and output peripheral.  In a move set to enhance the mobility and usability of computing devices in areas where connectivity is an issue and electricity is in limited supply, these innovators have created a PC that does not require physical keyboard, mouse and monitor.  Luyanda Vappie from Eastern Cape and Motsholane Sebola from Limpopo came up with this idea 2 years ago. This was necessitated by the need to digitalise and improve accessibility of technological gadgets in rural areas.  The device, called Prism, is a world first in that it is a personal computer that has a virtual keyboard and mouse as well as a virtual screen. Prism aims to enhance digital skills by improving the accessibility of digital literacy tools.

Last year, Japan's finance ministry acknowledged that documents in a suspected cronyism scandal had been doctored,  as pressure mounted on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ally Finance Minister Taro Aso over the case. Abe,  in his sixth year in office, had tried to put behind him questions over the sale of state-owned land at a huge discount to a school operator with ties to his wife, Akie, behind him.

Last month Kenya's finance minister  surrendered himself to the police after the chief prosecutor ordered his arrest over allegations of corruption. Henry Rotich is accused of flouting procurement procedures in awarding a contract worth over $450m (£405m) for the construction of two dams to the Italian company CMC de Ravenna. In March 2019, Mr Rotich denied any wrongdoing in a large newspaper advert. The company too  denied the accusations. Director of public prosecutions Noordin Haji is also investigating how the tender was awarded for $170m more than was in the original contract.  He has ordered the arrest of more than 20 other people accused of being involved in the contract, including other top officials and the directors of CMC de Ravenna.

Decades ago, Mundhra scandal rocked the Nation.  Haridas Mundhra was a Calcutta-based stock speculator who was found guilty and imprisoned in the first big financial scandal of newly independent India in the 1950s. The Mundhra scandal exposed the nexus between the Bureaucracy, stock market speculators and small rogue businessmen. It also brought to light rifts between the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his son-in-law Feroze Gandhi, and also led to the resignation of India's then finance minister T. T. Krishnamachari.  In 1957, Mundhra got the government-owned Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) to invest Rs. 12.4 million in the shares of six troubled companies of whom Mundhra held a large number of shares which he was trying to boost by rigging the market.  The investment was done under governmental pressure and bypassed the LIC's investment committee. The irregularity was highlighted in 1958 by Feroze Gandhi who represented the Rae Bareli seat in the Parliament of India. Subsequently, the parliament had passed the Life Insurance of India Act on 19 June 1956, under which 245 firms were nationalised and consolidated under the Life Insurance Corporation.

M.C. Chagla Commission, which took up the Life Insurance Corporation scam submitted its report in less than a month. The  report led to the resignation of then Union finance minister T.T. Krishna-machari and the Special Police Establishment indicted Haridas Mundra, the wheeler-dealer businessman who masterminded illegal transactions of LIC shares, and handed him a 22-year prison term.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th Aug 2019.

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