Sunday, 01 June, 2008 , 03:33 PM
Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy has written to Prime Minister exposing the ‘Himalayan fraud and monumental folly of Sethusamudram project’.
In the letter a copy of which was released to the press, Swamy had said,’I hope and pray that by now you have been briefed on the proceedings of the Supreme Court in various hearings held in the first week of May.
The Supreme Court has reiterated two directions which the Madras High Court had earlier given on my writ petition heard on 18 June and 19 June 2007 (subsequently your government hastily got the case transferred to the Supreme Court and therefore the May hearings of the Apex Court were in the nature of continuation of those hearings).
‘Essentially the said directions require your government to go back to the drawing board and re-work the Sethusamudram Channel Project (SSCP).’‘During the course of my arguments before the Supreme Court, I had firmly established with records and citations of past judgments of the Apex Court that the implementation of the SSCP would constitute criminal and civil illegalities.
Even you have committed a civil illegality when you inaugurated the project on 2 July, 2005 despite having failed to obtain the mandatory NOC from the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board as required under the environmental law.
There was also an illegality committed in failing to obtain an NOC from the Coast Guard and the Maritime Board. Moreover your government committed a civil illegality by failing to honour the UN Law of the Sea (1968), and associated Bio-diversity Convention by failing to conduct a joint inspection with the government of Sri Lanka on environmental viability of the SSCP.
I am sure that if you send for Fali Nariman who is your main senior counsel in the case, he will apprise you of the details.’‘I, therefore, request you, out of personal regard for you and our long past happy friendship that you desist from any further pursuit of this illegal, ill-advised and economically disastrous SSCP and boldly take the steps to declare unilaterally that the Rama Setu is an ancient monument, a national pride, and a world heritage.
As far as SSCP is concerned, it may be re-cast by converting Tuticorin into an international container port and an international airport and connect it by a coastal railway- cum- express highway to Kolkata originating at the port.
This would be economically more profitable and consistent with the national security considerations.’Earlier this month, on 5 May, Swamy had sent a letter to the Prime Minister seeking his permission for the prosecution of T R Baalu, Union Shipping Minister, under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Swamy wrote as follows to the Prime Minister:
‘ This is first a reminder of my letter dated 1 February, 2008 seeking your sanction under the Prevention of Corruption Act to prosecute your Minister of Shipping.
Since that letter, charges of corruption against Baalu have proliferated galore in the country. Enclosed is a letter from Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) holding the chairman of the Chennai Port Trust, which Trust is administratively under the said Minister, of gross impropriety.
Yet your government have accepted the Financial Officer of the Chennai Port Trust C N Rao as the new chairman of Tuticorin Port Trust which Trust is the nodal body for the Sethusamdrum Ship Channel Project.
Kindly therefore withdraw the nomination forthwith and please expedite the grant of sanction.’No one can dispute the fact that right from the beginning, Sethusamudram Canal Project (SSCP) has been planned, organised and launched as a commercial asset for a few Cabinet Ministers in the UPA government and some of their counterparts in Tamilnadu.
According to expert, unbiased technical and scientific opinion in India and abroad, SSCP is a scientifically inconsistent, technologically non-feasible project at the present time.
The cogent arguments presented by some tsunami specialists and earth scientists of international stature have not been considered or answered in open-transparent forums by the leading proponents of the project.
Many of the vital questions raised by Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in March 2005 were bypassed in a subterranean manner by imaginative, covert, sly and stealthy manoeuvres and operations.
What is amazing is that the top brass of the Indian Navy has remained silent or neutral on the SSCP and the brazen promoters of the SSCP — mean the firmly entrenched vested interests involved only in a private loot under the garb of public interest —— have become the naval strategists of Palk Bay!
Against this background it should be clear that there has been an organised conspiracy of firmly entrenched vested interests - the PMO, the Union Ministry of Shipping and Transport and the Tuticorin Port Trust ( TPT)-to ignore the best technical advice given by International experts about the wholly avoidable dangers and disasters of the SSCP in its present shape.
The words of the American judge Justice Cardozo are relevant in this context: ‘Means unlawful in their inception do not become lawful by relation when suspicion ripens into discovery’.
Swamy and other senior Counsels have convincingly argued and proved in the Supreme Court of India that there has been a blatant violation of the DUE PROCESS OF LAW right from the inception of the SSCP.
There is no table of weights and measures for ascertaining or determining what constitutes the due process. What is due process of law depends on circumstances.
It varies with the subject matter and necessities of the situation. Due process of law requires that the proceedings shall be fair, but fairness is a relative, not an absolute concept.
It is fairness with reference with particular conditions or particular results. Whichever way one looks at it, there has been a total violation of the DUE PROCESS by the government of India in according sanction for the SSCP.
That is why I have been asserting with unassailable facts and figures ever since May 2005 that the SSCP is a ‘Monument of fraud and folly.’
It is reliably understood that about four days ago, the Prime Minister directed Baalu to submit his letter of resignation as Union Shipping Minister, having regard to the serious corruption charges raised against him by Subramanian Swamy. According to sources, AICC leader Sonia Gandhi informally overruled Manmohan to ensure the temporary survival of Baalu.
About the Author
V Sundaram is a former IAS officer who has held with aplomb various posts of high stature.A man of high intellect, he wears his deep erudition and astounding knowledge of diverse atters rather easily.
Endowed with a sharp brain and sharper analytical skills, Sundaram has been exposing the pseudo-secularists and calling their bluff like no other in Indian journalism.
But after from standing firm for the cause of Indian nationalism, Sundaram has written, with equal felicitous ease, on matters ranging from poetry to psychology and many things in between.Quite simply a writer whose prolificacy is matched by his prolificacy of reading.