Former CAG Vinod Rai skipped the book launch of former coal secretary P C Parakh. The ex-coal secretary, named as an accused in the coal block allocation case by the CBI, has criticised the agency for its move to name him as an accused along with industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla. In his book, Parakh has detailed the role of CAG particularly and gave out the estimated loss caused to exchequer in coal blocks allocation. However, Rai’s speech was read in absentia. Former SC judge G S Singhvi and former cabinet secretary T S R Subramanium were seen sharing dais with Parakh.
While the Lok Sabha elections have been marked by an excessive use of offensive language, one by Derek O’ Brien, one of two national spokesmen of the Trinamool Congress, has hit a new low. “Shut the xxxx up and get a life…have the baxxx to put your pic as your DP…then talk…” Derek tweeted to two people recently. They responded in equally unparliamentary language but there were others who chided him for his choice of words and the example he set to kids, referring to his earlier quiz master avatar.
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PAPER TRAIL ON TEST
Several high profile candidates are in the fray from the seven parliamentary constituencies where the Election Commission would be using the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system which allows voters to see a paper printout showing the name and the symbol of the candidate they vote for, for at least seven seconds. Gandhinagar and Lucknow, where the system would be put to use, have L K Advani and Rajnath Singh in the fray while Bangalore South has Nandan Nilekani. Dayanidhi Maran’s constituency Chennai Central and Shatrughan Sinha’s Patna Sahib, too, will see VVPAT in action for the first time. Significantly, in 2009, it was Advani who had raised doubts over the EVMs and had demanded a re-introduction of ballot papers.
TIME FOR AN UPDATE
Nearly two months after he resigned, the government is close to finding a replacement for Admiral D K Joshi and an announcement is likely this week. While Joshi had formally quit in February, it seems that two premier Defence Ministry think tanks have not kept pace with developments. Both the National Maritime Foundation — run by the Navy — and the Centre for Joint Warfare Studies — run by the Integrated Defence Staff HQ — still have Joshi listed as the serving Navy Chief!