Carnage at Paris journal ABCD of a business summit

Bengal boiling
Jan. 19: Congress leader
and lawyer Kapil Sibal
today padded up for the
Mamata Banerjee government in the Supreme
Court, requesting the court
to monitor the CBI probe
into the Saradha scandal
and gag media from publishing “leaks”.
In the process, he threw
the Bengal Congress into a
tizzy, prompted the Trinamul
Congress to hope for a leg-up
as well as an eventual alliance and the BJP to salivate
at the prospects of a hara-kiri
by its sworn enemy.
Trinamul sources interpreted Sibal’s acceptance of
the case (details on Page 5) as
a message sent by the Congress central leadership to
“There may be a possibility of the Congress and Trinamul again coming together,”
said a Trinamul leader. For
Trinamul, saddled with a slew
of problems ranging from the
Saradha scam to the Burdwan
blast, any association with the
Congress — which has a dedicated vote bank — would be
welcome, he explained.
There was no formal word
from the Congress camp,
which deepened the mystery.
Some AICC sources said from
Delhi that a senior leader like
Sibal must have had an “informal discussion” with party
leaders before accepting a
brief from the Trinamul government.
Asked if there was any indication or even a faint idea of
a fresh alignment with the Trinamul, many Congress leaders in Delhi responded with a
firm “No”.
Such assertions need not
be taken as the last word in the
Congress, which, often in the
past, has caved in to Trinamul
after initially driving a hard
bargain on seat sharing.
An indication that the lieutenants had not yet heard the
last word from the high command came when the party’s
communications chief, Ajay
Maken, did not take calls and
chose not to respond to text
messages. Sibal also did not
The beleaguered state Congress leadership made its displeasure public by labelling
Sibal’s move as the last nail in
the party’s coffin in Bengal.
“The development is extremely saddening. When we
are fighting against Trinamul,
one of our leaders is defending
its government in the
Supreme Court. The Congress
Kapil Sibal
from left)
Das Munshi,
workers are disheartened,”
said veteran Congress leader
Abdul Mannan.
Although the Opposition
parties in Bengal are deeply
divided, they are unanimous
that Mannan was instrumental in ensuring a CBI probe
into the Saradha scam after a
division bench of Calcutta
High Court declined to hand
over the case to the central
agency in September 2013.
Even after Congress leader
and lawyer Abhishek Manu
Singhvi wriggled out of a commitment to appear for Mannan the Saradha case, the veteran leader from Hooghly soldiered on and got Bikash Bhattacharyya, a former mayor of
Calcutta, to appear for him
free of cost.
Today, the Bengal Congress leaders declined to speculate what the high command
might do in the future but they
vented their ire on Sibal.
“Those leaders who consider their profession more
important than the party will
have no ties with the Bengal
unit in the future. As long as I
am PCC president, we will not
invite Kapil Sibal to any party
PCC president Adhir Chowdhury.
against Sibal took the party
leadership in Delhi by surprise. An evasive Congress
general secretary in-charge
of Bengal, C.P. Joshi, told
The Telegraph: “I don’t know
the details, in what context the
Bengal unit had made that observation. I will have to ascer-
tain facts before reacting.”
But by then Chowdhury
had told his party colleagues
that he would write a letter to
party president Sonia Gandhi
to inform her of the discontent among the party workers.
Sibal’s timing could not
have been worse for the Congress unit. It came ahead of
the party’s anti-Saradha
protest programme at Shahid
Minar tomorrow.
Over 100 Congress supporters — led by south Calcutta district Congress president
Mala Roy — hit the streets to
protest Sibal’s decision to accept the brief.
Several Congress leaders
like Mannan and former
Raiganj MP Deepa Das Munshi said they would skip tomorrow’s rally.
“We are protesting against
Trinamul here and one of our
leaders in Delhi is holding
their brief in the Supreme
Court — both cannot go together,” said Das Munshi.
For the state Congress
leaders, an alliance with the
Trinamul is a “lose-lose”
proposition, she said.
Not only has Trinamul aggressively pursued its agenda
of gobbling up the Congress’s
organisation by poaching its
MLAs, councillors and panchayat members, Congress
leaders said, they never got
any respect from Mamata.
Be it in the 2009 Lok Sabha
polls or in the 2011 Assembly
polls, the Congress had to
swallow humiliation and join
the alliance on Trinamul’s
Any revival of an alliance
or adjustment will pose another challenge for the Congress:
how to keep its flock together
and prevent an exodus of leaders who would not work with
BJP state president Rahul
Sinha said: “Now they cannot
say anymore that the Centre is
dictating the CBI probe… We
welcome their decision to go to
the Supreme Court.”
Asked about the impact of
any alliance between Trinamul and the Congress, Sinha
said: “I knew that it was coming…. The CPM will also have
some underhand dealings
with the Trinamul ahead of
the polls. We are not worried
at all.”
Some sources in the BJP
camp said such an alliance
would benefit the BJP as it
would prevent a split in antiMamata votes. “The next
phase of elections in Bengal
will be fought on who is with
Mamata and who is against
her,” said a BJP strategist.
Tied to a
post and
pillars in
Calcutta, Jan. 19: For a
small-time land broker who
was apparently tied to a lamp
post and thrashed for failing to
clear a debt of Rs 50,000, Shib
Narayan Das had gone places.
He rubbed shoulders with
Trinamul minister Arup Roy,
sat on the right side of another
minister, Firhad Hakim, and
virtually rubbed shoulders
with a cake-cutting finance
minister Amit Mitra.
Das has now come full circle, landing in CBI custody
and back on centre stage as the
“mentor” of Sudipta Sen.
The elder of two brothers,
Das grew up in GIP colony at
Monoshatala in Howrah’s
“His father used to work in
a government-run printing
press. In his initial years,
Das could not land a job and he
operated as a land broker.
A young Shib Narayan would
borrow money at times to
run a family on the edge.
This was between 1999 and
2004, years before he would
meet Sen at his Shakespeare
Sarani office on an afternoon
of June in 2008,” said a CBI
A Monoshatala resident
told this reporter that on one
occasion, Das had borrowed
Rs 50,000 from someone and,
when he failed to pay back,
was tied to a lamp post and severely beaten up.
A few hundred metres
from the house of this resident
now stands a palatial house of
Das, with CCTVs at the entrance.
“Within a few months of
this incident, Shib Narayan
left the colony,” the resident
Others in the neighbourhood said that since then, Das
would occasionally return to
be with his family. On such occasions, he would go around
on an old scooter that he had
managed to purchase with the
money he made from land brokerage.
In 2007, Das had set up a
telephone booth. Either his father or his younger brother
would run the booth while he
remained busy showing land
parcels to prospective buyers
who would turn up at their
modest house.
The immediate attention of
the CBI is not to focus on that
deep a background.
The agency is now looking
into the political connections
Torture cry:
HC step in
File picture of Arup Roy (left), now minister, lighting a
lamp as Shib Narayan Das watches. (Below) Roy with a
person resembling Das at another event at another time.
The minister told The Telegraph on Monday night:
“I never knew him till he invited me to a programme
of Bhorer Baarta (a Bengali newspaper).
I attended a function of the newspaper and that was it.
I have not been in any contact with him since then.”
A smiling Das watches as minister Amit Mitra cuts
the cake at the newspaper event. (File picture)
Minister Firhad Hakim (seated in the middle). A part
of Das’s face is visible on the left. (File picture)
of Das.
“We would like to find out
the political connections of
Das to understand why he
decided to join hands with Sen
for the Saradha Realty project,” said a senior CBI officer.
“It is important to understand
whether Das rode this political patronage to set up his own
company after dissociating
from Saradha.”
Finance minister Mitra
and urban development minister Hakim had attended the
anniversary celebrations of
Bhorer Baarta, a newspaper
Das used to own.
Pictures that have been
doing the rounds since the arrest of Das show Mitra cutting
a cake on the occasion of the
newspaper’s anniversary with
Other pictures show Das
sharing the dais with Hakim,
standing on a ground with
Arup Roy, the agriculture marketing minister, and standing
near Trinamul MP Saugata
Roy during a lamp-lighting
Kapil in court, reunion
bells & hara-kiri whiff
Calcutta, Jan. 19: The Bengal
governor today reportedly
called up the state police chief
over the alleged police atrocity
on a woman in Parui, and a division bench headed by the
chief justice of Calcutta High
Court has initiated proceedings on its own on the charge.
This is the first time in recent memory that two constitutional authorities have
acted — albeit independent of
each other — over an allegation whose gruesome nature
stands out even in a state inured to political violence.
Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi is learnt to have phoned
G.M.P. Reddy, the director-general of police, after a BJP-led
delegation complained to him
about the assault on the 22-year-old woman in Birbhum, allegedly by the police and two
Trinamul leaders on Saturday
The Calcutta High Court
division bench, headed by
Chief Justice Manjula Chellur, decided on initiating suo
motu proceedings in the case.
The governor’s initiative
drew attention because Tripathi, an RSS-BJP veteran and a
stickler for rules and procedures, had been sticking to the textbook in his dealings with the
Trinamul government till now.
Even in the face of a popular backlash against Abhijit
Chakrabarti, the governor
picked him for Jadavpur vicechancellor on the basis of a
shortlist and ignored the appeals of the BJP. Chakrabarti
has resigned since then.
But the alleged inhuman
treatment of the lady, who has
said she was slashed with razor
blades and nettle leaves were
rubbed on her private parts, prompted the governor to step in.
“We informed the governor about the atrocities on the
woman from the minority
community…. He called up
the DGP in front of us and
sought the suspension of the
policemen,” state BJP president Rahul Sinha, who led the
five-member delegation to Raj
Bhavan, told reporters after
coming out.
Raj Bhavan sources confirmed that the governor had
spoken to the DGP in the presence of the BJP delegation.
But the claim that the governor had asked for the suspension of the policemen could
not be independently verified.
The sources said the gover-
Tripathi and Chellur
nor had sought a report from
the DGP on the Parui incident.
Repeated calls from this newspaper to Reddy’s cellphone did
not elicit a response.
“The governor was moved
by the incident the way Gopalkrishna Gandhi was affected
by the 2007 Nandigram firing
and termed the incident cold
horror…. This marks a deviation from the way he has been
handling the affairs till now,” said a state government official.
State education minister
Partha Chatterjee said there
was no harm if the governor
had stepped in. “The governor
can intervene but the steps
that he suggests would have to
be routed through the state administration. The police have
already started taking action.
We are looking into the matter,” said Chatterjee.
Sources said the Parui officer-in-charge had been benched after the uproar. (See Page
The prod from the governor’s house was not the only
moment of discomfort for the
Mamata Banerjee government as the matter also raced
to the high court.
Advocate Bikash Ranjan
Bhattacharyya produced copies of Anandabazar Patrika
and The Telegraph to raise
the matter before the division
“Yes, I am aware of the fact.
I have seen in the newspapers,”
Chief Justice Chellur said.
Bhattacharyya asked the
chief justice: “Do you not
think that the court should
take cognisance and initiate
suo motu proceedings?”
Chief Justice Chellur said:
“Submit your papers and
other relevant documents, if
any, to the registrar-general of
the court today. This court is
hearing other matters today.
So the matter will be heard another day.”
asked whether the division
bench was taking cognisance
of the matter, the chief justice
had a brief word with the cojudge, Justice Jaymalya
Bagchi, and said: “Yes.”
Trinamul MP showers praise on Modi, says Bengal lost because of ‘ego problem’ and slams House obstacles
BSE SENSEX 28262.01 © 140.12
8550.70 © 36.90
61.71 © 0.16
■ Loyalty should be focused on
the country and then on the
party leadership.
■ We need to accept the fact
that people’s feelings, support
and aspirations are with
Narendra Modi at this point of
■ When the country is looking
Global wealth
■ The richest 1 per cent are
likely to control more than
half of the globe’s total
wealth by next year, the
forward, the negative approach of the Opposition
towards the government is
an obstacle to the progress
and development of the country.
■ The Trinamul Congress lost
a golden opportunity to improve Bengal because of an ego
■ Bengal can lead… but politicharity Oxfam reported in a
study released on Monday.
Collaboration curb
■ The government is planning
to ask the IITs, IIMs and other centrally funded instituti-
cal culture of violence has to
go… political flags in educational institutions have to go.
New Delhi, Jan. 19: It must
be Amit Shah.
OK, it must be Sidharth
Nath Singh?
Then it surely must be
Rahul Sinha?
ons to seek its guidance before
entering into collaborations
with foreign universities.
No, no, no.
It is Dinesh Trivedi, the
Trinamul MP who once derailed Mamata Banerjee
with his railway budget and
since then had made peace
with the leadership.
The quotes above are
picks from Trivedi’s recent
speech in Gujarat’s Kutch,
rperson of the censor board.
IS ‘militants’ held
■ Four suspected IS militants
Censor board chief
have been held in Dhaka for
■ Film producer Pahlaj Nihalaallegedly plotting an attack
ni has been appointed the chai- on key installations and to
where he shared the dais
with Prime Minister
Modi’s brother Somanbhai
Contacted today, Trivedi
stood by everything published in the Sunday edition of
a Gujarati daily, Kutch
Mitra, and felt that he had
committed no wrong by
praising Modi and was not
turn Bangladesh into a
caliphate state.
Kiran to lead BJP
■ Kiran Bedi has been declared
the BJP’s chief ministerial
candidate for the Delhi polls.
bothered about the consequences.
“I have appreciated Modi.
I have not abused anybody….
Time has come when you
have to speak. Otherwise,
people will ask why I remained silent,” Trivedi said
over the phone.
turn to
turn the
Former UPA minister Krishna Tirath has joined the BJP.
Tharoor quiz
■ Shashi Tharoor has been
quizzed in connection with
Sunanda Pushkar’s death.
Dinesh Trivedi
Disruptions are
not the way to
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