Tag Archives: Special task Force

Series of Maoist attacks in Bastar: A loud message for Raman Singh?

Lalit Shastri

bastar divisionChhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh was to land by helicopter to launch the ambitious State-wide Lok Suraj Abhiyan (People’s good governance campaign) from Bastar on April 13. The State Government had announced that the chief minister will make efforts to ensure immediate redressal of public grievances. He was supposed to conduct sudden inspection of any government school, hospital, hostel, or tehsil office check their functioning.

Later on April 13, the chief minister’s programme as revised and it  was announced that he would launch the Lok Suraj Abhiyan from Sarguja or Bastar th next day. On April 14, Singh formally landed at Chotedonger in Naraynpur district of Bastar formally start the Lok Suraaj Abhiyan.

Raman Singh Lok Suraj Abhiyan
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh launched Lok Suraj Abhiyan from Chhotedonger in Narayanpur disrict of Bastar division on April 14, 2015. This coincided with the birth anniversary of Baba Sahab Dr. Bheemrao Ambedkar

By April 11, Saturday, when senior state officials had done a review of the preparations for the Lok Suraaj Abhiyan and the in-charge Secretaries were busy visiting their respective districts and RP Jain, the Bastar Division Commissioner had rounded up a crucial meeting of all concerned officials at the collectorate conference hall at Jagdalpur – the district headquarters of Collectorate in Jagdalpur and had instructed them to be prepared on war footing for the chief minister’s Bastar visit, the Maoists attacked and killed seven and wounded at least ten security personnel belonging to the highly motivated team of Special Task Force (STF) in Sukma district of Bastar division.

The next day, the Maoists killed a Border Security Force jawan in Kanker district of Bastar division and torched over a dozen vehicles carying iron ore. On Monday, there was another terrorist attack – the third in as many days. This time the Maoists blew up a mine sweeping vehicle killing five security personnel in Dantewada district of Bastar.

The Maoists have given a clear message to the chief minister that he should keep away from the border areas of  Bastar.- D.M. Mitra, IPS, National Crime Records Bureau

These attacks were obviously timed to block the launch of the Lok Suraj Abhiyan by the Chief Minister in Bastar. When contacted, D.M. Mitra, a senior police officer and author of “Genesis and Spread of Maoist Violence and Appropriate State Strategy to Handle it” said that through the series of attacks in Chhattisgarh this past week, the Maoists have given a clear message to the chief minister that he should keep away from the border areas of  Bastar.

The Maoists who are deeply entrenched in the Bastar forests apparently chose not to launch a frontal attack this time as the naxalite terrorists belonging to the Communist Party of India (Maoists) had done in May 2013 when they attacked a convoy of Congress leaders in the Darbha Valley in the Sukma district and killed at least 27, including former state minister Mahendra Karma, Chhattisgarh Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel and veteran Congress leader Vidya Charan Shukla. It is also possible that the Maoists are currently following the strategy to consolidate, spread their network and enlarge their area of influence by attacking only the security forces and not the district officials or the VIP’s – a pattern adopted by the naxalites since the beginning. The 2013 attack on the Congress convoy could be an exception.

On a close examination of the Maoist or the naxalite attack on STF personel in Sukma district it has come to light that the security forces this time did not become easy targets for the terrorists. As part of their domination exercise, they were not moving on the motorable tracks, that easily get blown up by mines and when attacked, they too retaliated and there is information that in the exchange fo fire some naxalites were also killed. The motivation and valour on the part of the STF personnel notwithstanding, what is disturbing is that there was hardly any coordination between the district police force and the security personnel engaged in the anti-naxalite (Maoist) operations. If this had not been the case, a contingency backup mechanism would have been in place to counter the Maoists without loss of time.

“The unwanted Governor”

Lalit Shastri

constitutionAfter Prime Minister Narendra Modi had accepted R.K. Pachouri’s resignation from the PM`s Council on Climate Change following allegation by a 29-year-old researcher with The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) that Dr Pachauri (75), had been sexually harassing her, a former diplomat, who has had first-hand global exposure to the universally embraced position that slipping on the moral ground is unacceptable when the credibility of the high and mighty is at stake, had responded by quipping “Pachouri should have been sacked.”

Credibility – not only of the high and mighty but even that of the Indian Federal system and the writ of the Constitution – has been challenged as Madhya Pradesh Govenor Ram Naresh Yadav has refused to step down even after a first information report (FIR) was registered against him by the Special task Force of Madhya Pradesh Police in a case linked with the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board and the massive recruitment and medical admission scam. In the case of Yadav, it is not just the needle of suspicion that is pointing at him. The police have even registered a case and accused him of committing a criminal offence. Already an axed OSD to the Governor Dhanraj Yadav is in jail facing prosecution in the PEB scam case and allegations are also mounting against the Governor’s son.

As Yadav has refused to hold the high moral ground and resign, he should have been removed by the President on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers. [Under Article 155 and Article 156 of the Constitution, a Governor of a state is an appointee of the President, and he or she holds office “during the pleasure of the President”. Because the President is bound to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers under Article 74 of the Constitution, in effect it is the Central Government that appoints and removes the Governors. “Pleasure of the President” only means the wish of the Central Government].

Last August, Supreme Court of India had admitted a petition by the Mizoram Governor and the then Governor of Uttarakhand Dr. Aziz Qureshi. He has challenged the conduct of the Union Home Secretary who had called and asked for his resignation. Qureshi has sought the apex court’s direction with regard to Article 156 of the Constitution that spells out the only manner in which a Governor of a State can be removed. In this backdrop it is strange that the present Governor was also directed by the Home Ministry to resign.

In the case of Yadav, the entire issue of credibility has been swept under the carpet as the Governor has chosen not to vacate his office and approached the Jabalpur High Court with a petition asking that the FIR against him be quashed. In the process, while the High Court is seized of the matter, Yadav hopes to continue as Governor. Notwithstanding the general mood of the people, when a large cross-section of citizens are saying “he is an unwanted governor”, the tenure of the present Madhya Pradesh Governor would obviously get prolonged despite the charges against him only as per the wish of the Central Government and with the “Pleasure of the President”.

Reflecting on the present controversy, the Governor’s office and the issue of credibility and constitutional authority and good governance, it would be appropriate to look back at events as they unfolded about 22-years ago. In June 1993, there was an exclusive news story by me in The Hindu with Bhopal dateline revealing how the then Madhya Pradesh Governor Kunwar Mahmud Ali Khan was communalising the Bhopal police stations in the post-Ayodhya scenario during President’s rule. As an obvious follow-up of that story the Governor was dismissed and was relieved on June 23, 1993 at the direct initiative of the then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.

In the wake of the Ayodhya riots, when Madhya Pradesh was brought under President’s Rule, the Governor had ordered an inquiry by the state GAD secretary into the acts of omission and commission by bureaucrats and police officers leading to the riots and aggravating the situation. There was a follow-up story by me again in The Hindu questioning the inquiry by a relatively junior officer when the State chief secretary and Director General of Police were also under the purveiw of inquiry as they were monitoring the riot situation on a continuous basis by remaining present in the Police control room. The Governor had responded immediately and the entire process was upgraded by appointing a Judicial commission of Inquiry. Subsequently, when it was pointed out by me through the columns of The Hindu that the objectivity of Inquiry could be established only by replacing the then Chief Secretary and the DGP, the Governor was quick in announcing their removal (second fortnight of December 1992). After this, a constitutional crisis persisted for several days as one of the Advisers to the Governor, holding the General Administration Department (GAD) portfolio, had put his foot down and refused to implement the Governor’s order. Again, on January 1, 1993 I did a piece in The Hindu drawing the Union Government’s attention towards this critical issue. The same morning the Governor got a command from the Centre asking him to divest the erring Adviser, a former chief secretary, of the GAD portfolio take up the task of enforcing his own order.That forenoon, the Governor drove to the State secretariat and occupied the chief minister’s chamber – the first time any governor did that in Madhya Pradesh – to oversee the removal of the chief secretary and DGP. It is an entirely a different story that the same Governor was later removed when he got derailed and had violated the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

PEB scam: Office of Governor comes under a cloud

Lalit Shastri

Ram Naresh Yadav
Ram Naresh Yadav

Ram Naresh Yadav was Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 1977 to 1979.  He was formerly with Janata Party and later joined the Congress and was appointed Governor of Madhya Pradesh in August 2011.

As Yadav refused to hold the high moral ground and chose not to submit his papers when his name was dragged in the first instance in the PEB scam, the Centre should have intervened and asked him to go. Failure on his part to oblige should have led to his removal by the President–obviously on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers. This would have helped in upholding the dignity of the high office of the Governor.

After the Special Task Force of Madhya Pradesh Police registered an FIR against Ram Naresh Yadav on February 24 following Jabalpur High Court’s intervention and disclosures by the prime accused and also on the basis of prima facie evidence showing his alleged involvement in the masssive State professional examination Board scam, the Union Home Ministry asked him to resign.

The Congress decision to hand-pick Yadav and his appointment as Madhya Pradesh Governor during the previous Manmohan Singh regime does raise eye brows. The Intelligence Bureau has a state unit in Bhopal and is supposed to keep a tab and report to the Centre if the working of the Governor, his family members and officials is not above board and lowers the prestige of the Constitutional office of the Governor. Such reports should help in containing a problem before it blows up into a crisis. This is exactly what did not happen that too when even commoners had started shouting from rooftop about the involvement of “Rajbhawan” in the PEB scam, which is linked with the recruitment of government employees.

It would be naive to imagine that those at the helm of the Congress-led UPA Government were unaware of the goings on at Rajbhawan in Bhopal. Obviously the Congress bosses had brought Yadav as Governor of Madhya Pradesh with the motive of using whatever influence he might be having in Uttar Pradesh in the Yadav community to counter Mulyama Singh Yadav and his Samajwadi Party during elections and in return the Manmohan Singh Government chose to tun a nelson’s eye to all that was going on in Rajbhawan. Already the axed OSD to the Governor Dhanraj Yadav is in jail facing prosecution in the PEB scam case.

Perhaps this is for the first time since Independence, we have a Governor against whom an FIR has been registered by the Police under several Sections of the IPC and also the Anti-corruption law.

While the President is elected by the representatives of the people, namely, the Members of Parliament and the Members of the State Legislatures, the Governor is merely appointed by the President which really means, by the Union Council of Ministers. The Governor holds office during the pleasure of the President and can be removed by the President at any time.

As Yadav refused to hold the high moral ground and chose not to submit his papers when his name was dragged in the first instance in the PEB scam, the Centre should have intervened and asked him to go. Failure on his part to oblige should have led to his removal by the President–obviously on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers. This would have helped in upholding the dignity of the high office of the Governor.

The Indian Constitution and Governor’s authority

  • Article 154 vests the executive power of the State in the Governor.
  • Article 159 prescribes the oath, which a Governor has to take before entering upon his office. He has to swear in the name of God/solemnly affirm that he “will faithfully execute the office of Governor (or discharge the functions of the Governor) and will to the best of ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law and will devote to the service and well-being of the people.
  • According to Article 168, the Legislature of a State shall consist of the Governor and the Legislative Assembly.
  • Article 161 vests in the Governor the power to grant pardons, reprieves, etc.
  • Article 164(1) says “The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister and shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor”.
  • Assent to Bills under Article 200 says the Governor shall not assent to, but shall reserve for the consideration of the President, any Bill which in the opinion of the Governor would, if it became law, so derogate from the powers of the High Court as to endanger the position which that Court is by this Constitution designed to fill.

PEB Scam: MP Governor Ram Naresh Yadav submits resignation?

Newsroom24x7 Desk

MP GovernorBhopal: Has Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav  submitted his resignation on being asked by the Union home ministry to step down after the Special task Force of Madhya Pradesh Police registered an FIR against him under various sections of IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act in connection with the massive State Professional Examination Board scam also known as “Vyapam” scam?

Everyone was asking this question in the state capital today but there was no official confirmation of the Governor’s resignation.

Yadav, a former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, is the first Indian governor booked in a cheating case. He has been charged of criminal conspiracy and for his role in manipulating the screening process and recommending names for selection as forest guards.

The FIR against Yadav was registered after a division bench of Jabalpur High Court comprising Chief Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Alok Aradhe told the STF to proceed against the “high dignitary”.

The Governor’s former OSD Dhanraj Yadav is already in jail facing prosecution in the PEB case. His son Shailesh’s name has also figured during interrogation of the accused.