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RAM JETHMALANI
ETHICS & POWER

Ram Jethmalani is a senior politician and eminent lawyer.

The chargesheet against Pranab

Dear Pranab Dada, your government’s corruption is the cause of our congenital and irremediable poverty.

Pranab Mukherjee

Dear Pranab Dada,

The Congress party has been in power almost continuously with few breaks, winning elections over false promises of garibi hatao. Yet, the poor in our country are dying for a morsel of bread to keep themselves alive. All they can do is forgive and forget with empty stomachs.

CHARGE NO. 5

This charge targets your conduct as minister in the UPA I and II. Under pressure from the United Nations and the UN Convention against Corruption, the BJP government, before losing power in 2004, passed the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. But it had no time to frame the necessary rules and create the essential mechanisms of enforcement. Your party came to power in 2004, and you too were a minister. Is it or is it not right that this law remained a dead letter for nearly three years, and a delegation from the UN had to sit on your head and ensure that the law became workable and came in force? It is then that an honest income tax officer in India made a demand of a sum of Rs 39,000 cr by way of income tax from the notorious Hasan Ali of Pune, with a Swiss bank account of $8.6 billion to his credit. The Swiss officer who received this requisition was equally honest. He wrote back to the Indian officer that if he certified that he was investigating a case of money laundering, the required information would be supplied to him. This confirmation was not given, and deliberately not given, because Hasan Ali's defence in India has been that all the money in his account is not really his, but that other people are using his account for stashing their own money. Your government and the finance ministry, of course, dropped this inquiry as a hot potato, evincing a determination not to receive the information. The obvious inference is that you wanted to sit back and save Hasan Ali and others whose names may come to be similarly disclosed. Your government took no steps to attach this money and you, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, very joyfully and with a smirk on your face, recently announced that all that money has disappeared from Hasan Ali's account, and only about $50,000 now remain. You will not be able to point out one action to attach that amount or have it repatriated to India. You have not even finished the adjudication proceedings against Hasan Ali and any order which may now be made will be infructuous. Your prosecutors in the High Court could not prevent bail from being granted to Hasan Ali. It is the Supreme Court which cancelled it because by that time the Supreme Court was dealing with the same black money in the petition filed by Mr Ram Jethmalani and other honest citizens.

CHARGE NO. 6

The German government, by bribing an employee of Liechtenstein Bank got the names of the fiscal dacoits spread throughout the world including India. The German government publicly announced that they would share the information with every friendly government without any cost or conditions. A government of a poor country like India should have been the first to call for the list of these dacoits and financial terrorists. The stolen amount stashed away abroad is estimated to be about $1,500 billion, an amount which will remove Indian poverty overnight. Yet you did nothing. Just as money disappeared from the Hasan Ali account, it presumably has disappeared from other accounts as well. The president of your party has been refusing to disclose the contents of her IT returns. She has been spending money on travels abroad for purposes unknown and occasionally making the excuse of medical treatment for ailments in hospitals undisclosed.

CHARGE NO. 7

The French government did with a Swiss banker what the Germans had earlier done in the adjoining state. Like the Germans, the French shared information with every other country. Your government has made no effort to obtain it. You have refused to disclose the correspondence with foreign banks or governments for getting back this amount. The people of India are entitled to know the identity of those thieves that have stolen their wealth. You have betrayed the people's trust. You are protecting powerful criminals, who, in all probability, control your government. You have destroyed democratic transparency and made a mockery of the rule of law. You have set up the false excuse of a Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty, which does not apply to this situation.

Open letter to Pranab MukherjeeRAM JETHMALANI

CHARGE NO. 8

In the litigation filed by Mr Ram Jethmalani and others v/s Union of India and others being W.P. No.176/09, the Supreme Court has delivered its judgement on 4.7.2011. The honourable judges found that unaccounted money stashed away in banks abroad clearly indicates a compromise of the ability of our state to manage its affairs in consonance with what is required from a Constitutional perspective. The Supreme Court has so observed in para 8 of its judgement.

This judgement of the Supreme Court, available in law reports, alone should have led to the dismissal of your government and calling for fresh elections. The Supreme Court has found that in spite of the pendency of this petition, there has been no honest attempt to retrieve this money, and the Court ordered a special investigation team headed by two distinguished former judges of the Supreme Court of India to be in charge of the investigation. Your government should have welcomed this decision. Almost a year has gone by and you have prevented the team from being constituted and the money being recovered. You have been ordered to disclose the names to the petitioner and you have not done it. You are in contempt. A public servant, who is a defaulter of this kind, cannot and should not be the President. It will make the presidency an accomplice in high crime.

CHARGE NO. 9

The UN Convention against Corruption, which creates the right to receive this information from authorities abroad, was open for ratification for more than half a decade. Your government did not ratify this Convention though it was politically and morally obligatory. This is conduct that confirms that you were determined to save these powerful dacoits from the consequences of their crimes. Ultimately, when it became clear that the Supreme Court would deliver its judgement in July last year, your government announced that they had decided to ratify the Convention. The Prime Minister personally made a statement to the nation stating that this action established his government's anxiousness to retrieve the stolen money. Immediately, discerning people grew curious, if not suspicious, and did some research about what exactly was going on. Research disclosed that while ratifying the Convention, you had made a reservation to the effect that if there is a treaty or protocol with any government, then that would apply and not the Convention. Some time before the ratification you invited a Swiss minister to India and signed a protocol that you would seek information only for the future and not the past.

The only conclusion that emerges is that your entire Cabinet is a party to a gigantic fraud on the nation and should face legal consequences. The only ones who can escape jail are the unimportant and ignorant ones who can with some plausibility claim that they have not understood what the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister were doing to the nation. Our charge is that you are looting the nation and your installation as a President would be a horrendous crime and tragedy for the nation. We appeal to all honest voters in this election, not to become a party to this fraud.

Dear Pranab Dada, millions of our fellow citizens have sunk into the deep borewell of misery and starvation. Your party's promises of garibi hatao have proved myths and criminal acts of deception. Your corruption is the cause of our congenital and irremediable poverty. Your rescue operations are only a sham and pretence. Like the little Mahi girl, who fell into a deep well, they too will perish.

Are you even at this late stage prepared to repent, ask the nation for its forgiveness and disclose to it all the names of the criminals who infest and occupy the upper decks of our ship of state?

Yours sincerely,

Ram Jethmalani and Friends

 
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