SENIOR BJP leader L K Advani was noticed for his presence at Shashi Kant Sharmas oath-taking ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Advani was a surprise VVIP guest. He came despite the fact that his party has criticised Sharmas appointment as CAG. Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley earlier this week charged that there would be conflict of interest since Sharma,as the new CAG,would be required to audit the accounts of the Defence Ministry as well.
WHILE it was on the cards for a while,the exit of Shashi Kant Sharma from the Defence Ministry was a bit abrupt as the government waited till the last moment to announce his elevation as the new CAG. As a result,it was too late to change the protocol in functions and events that he was to attend. On Thursday,at the foundation stone laying event of the Indian National Defence University,Sharma,as Defence Secretary,was to give the vote of thanks. Since he could not come as he was taking charge of CAG the same day,his place was taken by Chief of Integrated Defence Staff Lt Gen NC Marwah. However,the staff of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda omitted to make the necessary changes in his speech copy. The Chief Minister,in his opening statement,thanked the absent Sharma as well for gracing the occasion.
THE Central Information Commission is being sought to be put in the dock over the selection process it follows to hire legal retainers. For 16 posts,the CIC recently received about 600 applications. About 80 of them were interviewed last month. Those not shortlisted are bombarding the CIC with RTI requests. The shortlisting process was so hurriedly completed that a note of CIC itself has taken note of the grievance of those left out. A note circulated internally admits that more than 100 more applicants are meeting the criteria for shortlisting apart from those who were interviewed. The next worry is that the CIC may be dragged to courts by the rejected applicants.
THE NIA has revised its chargesheet but not its website. Seven of the accused in the 2006 Malegoan blasts,who were released on bail by a court last year and do not figure in the latest chargesheet filed by the NIA,continue to find themselves as chargesheeted of the crime on the NIA website. The NIA had earlier this week filed a revised chargesheet in the case,naming four men from a Hindu terror group as accused in the 2006 Malegoan blasts case in which more than 30 people were killed.
THE two destinations that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is set to visit next week,Japan and Thailand,have a strong Indian bond between them. The Indian envoys in Tokyo and Bangkok are married to each other. While Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa is posted in Japan,her husband Anil Wadhwa is stationed in Thailand. Both belonging to 1979-batch Indian Foreign Service,the unofficial convention of being posted within a short flying distance has been maintained in their case.