oppn parties Govindaraj Diary versus the Sahara-Birla Diaries

News Snippets

  • University vice-chancellors in West Bengal decide not to hold final-year examinations despite UGC prod, will instead go by the state government advised 80-20 formula where 80% will be marked on performance in past semesters and 20% on internal assessments in the final semester
  • The Centre wants the ITI and other top Indian firms to bid for 5G as Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE are not likely to be allowed to participate
  • India and China agree on total disengagement to return to peace ahead of the next round of military talks
  • The Supreme Court allows delivery of summons and notices via WhatsApp and email, but questions remain on proof of actual receipt
  • National Investigation Agency says the proceeds from the Kerala gold smuggling case could have been used for terrorist activities
  • Four Maoists shot dead in Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar
  • Despite localized lockdown, Covid cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in West Bengal. Newer areas brought under containment zones in Kolkata
  • ICSE, ISC results declared, Average scores in the English paper, 20% lower this year than the average in most years, pulls down the aggregate for most candidates
  • IIP contracts by 35% in May. Manufacturing goes down by 39.3%
  • Row erupts over CBSE's decision to reduce the syllabus by 30% this academic year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Experts say several lessons that the ruling dispensation does not like are being removed
  • Gangster Vikas Dubey's nephew killed in an encounter by UP police who also pick up his key aide Raju Khullar and his son Adarsh
  • MHA sets up an inter-ministerial committee to probe the alleged financial misdeeds of three trusts linked to the Gandhi family
  • Actor Jagdeep, most famous for his Soorma Bhopali act in Sholay, passes away
  • Pakistan says Kulbhushan Jadhav has declined to file a review petition and will stick to his mercy plea. India calls it a farce
  • India to keep a strict vigil to confirm that the Chinese are abiding by the deal on the pullback at the LAC
The plot thickens in Rajasthan. Sachin Pilot removed as deputy chief minister and PCC chief. His loyalists dropped as ministers.
oppn parties
Govindaraj Diary versus the Sahara-Birla Diaries

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2017-02-24 22:31:45

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Every political party in India has fundraisers right down to the ward level in urban areas and village level in rural areas. Although the methods of raising funds differ, most of these fundraisers are dubious characters and they often employ coercive and strong arm tactics to get people to pay. It can be small amounts through harmless methods such as donation boxes at rallies and meetings and coupons through door to door campaigns. Or it could be more coercive medium ticket amounts from hawkers, transport unions, workers’ unions and the like. Finally, it could be a goodly sum from those repairing their homes or businesses, real estate operators, business establishments and professionals. But one thing is sure. Since most of it is in unaccounted cash above the legal Rs 20000 from one source, it is often not entered in party books of accounts. The fund flows to one or two trusted hatchet men at the state level, who then route it to top level party functionaries at the national level. Normally, these hatchet men are given quotas – they are told to collect an x amount during a given period. The amount varies – it is more if the party is ruling and less if it is in the opposition. If it is a state level party, the flow of funds stops at that level. The protocol is well established, known to almost everyone and is followed by all parties.

It is in this context that the I-T raids on the Congress MLC Govindaraj about a year ago that yielded a diary where accounts of Rs 600 cr transferred to various Congress leaders at the high command before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections (including entries that said RGOffice, SGOffice and M Vora repeatedly) assumes importance. While the contents of the diary have been accessed and made public by a section of the media, one is sure that they will be rubbished by the Congress party. The party has already said that the diary is “unverified” as if all those named will verify that they did receive the amounts. The Congress faces a dilemma. If it now says that the diary cannot be taken as proof of money transfers, how will Rahul Gandhi, who claimed that the Sahara-Birla diaries were proof of illegal payments to Narendra Modi when he was chief minister of Gujarat, justify his stand? It seems that the epicentre of the earthquake Rahul Gandhi hinted (vis-à-vis the Sahara-Birla diaries) is now firmly at the Congress headquarters.

The BJP, on the other hand, can easily claim that while unnamed corporate sources who scribbled in the Sahara-Birla diaries could not be trusted, a party MLC like Govindaraj, who is known to be the fundraiser of the Congress in Karnataka will obviously keep records of payments he made to the party high command. The party can claim that while the earthquake did not materialize, a volcano has erupted in the Congress backyard. But the situation is very tricky and both camps will try to wriggle out of the dilemma. While the I-T department will pursue the case as it says it has other strong evidence of income from hidden sources against Govindaraj, it will be interesting to see what the Supreme Court thinks of the diary as evidence. It needs remembering that the apex court had refused to admit the Sahara-Birla diaries as any kind of proof for payments to politicians and bureaucrats. Will it take cognizance of the Govindaraj diaries if and when the case comes up before it?