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Licence to kill

Sir — I possess a driving licence but I cannot drive. I am sure that I am not the only person in the city of Calcutta who has such a confession to make. When I went to take my driving test, I found there were about 150 others waiting to take the test, and not surprisingly, the “testers” had little time to spare for each novice. I was asked to drive the car backwards, which I failed to do. But that did not seem to matter to the final outcome, for, in a month’s time, I was the proud owner of a driving licence with my photograph embossed on it. Thankfully, I did not have to bribe the authorities to get my licence, but I know a few who have done even that. If the United Arab Emirates and a few other countries have stopped issuing licences to Indians, it is not without reason (“Steep curve ahead for global licence”, Nov 23). The news that driving tests will now become stringent makes me laugh. When has “stringent” laws and regulations stopped Indians from finding ways around them'

Yours faithfully,
Snigdha Guha-Roy, Calcutta


Money talks

Sir — Corruption is a natural impediment to economic growth. Sadly, it has become endemic to Indian politics. From Bofors to Unit Trust of India to Tehelka, each day brings the news of some scam or another. Now it is Dilip Singh Judeo, but what about the Congress’s Ajit Jogi, who has four criminal charges against him, or Mayavati, Laloo Prasad Yadav or Mulayam Singh Yadav' It is unfortunate that the highly qualified bureaucrats have to play stooges to such corrupt politicians. This is not to say that there are no corrupt officers in the Indian bureaucracy, but there are no doubts that there are many more honest bureaucrats than there are clean politicians.

Yours faithfully,
B.S. Ganesh, Bangalore


Sir — The cash-on-disc scam involving the Union minister and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief ministerial candidate in Madhya Pradesh, Dilip Singh Judeo, deserves a speedy, free and fair investigation. This should not be a problem, since if Judeo is cleared of the charges, it will help the BJP immensely in the assembly elections. However, any delay in the process of inquiry or attempts at victimizing the newspaper that busted the scam may be safely taken as an admission of guilt on the part of the government.

Yours faithfully,
Subhash Chandra Agrawal,


Dariba, Delhi

Sir — It seems to be more important for the BJP to find out “who” was behind spilling the beans in the Judeo episode rather than why one of its senior leaders got involved in the shameless act of accepting a bribe. Since Dilip Singh Judeo had the audacity of saying that even Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi took money from the Birlas, he needs to be reminded that Gandhi wanted ordinary Indians to contribute to the freedom movement. Since the Birlas were the rich industrialists of the time, they decided to contribute financially. It is a pity that Judeo’s resignation is being projected as a proof of his high moral standards, and he has been left the campaign-in-charge for the elections in Madhya Pradesh.

Yours faithfully,
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta


Sir — The Judeo case takes off from where the Tehelka scandal had left. The media’s job is not to play the police, but strangely, everytime a scam is exposed, it is the media who are held responsible for it. One thing that this series of scams has revealed is the market value of individual politicians. Now we know that a politician in the cabinet is worth several outside it. Let the media be thanked for giving us this valuable information.

Yours faithfully,
Deepak Kumar, Muzaffarnagar


Governing blues

Sir — The media, particularly in India, had made Bobby Jindal, the 32-year-old man of Indian origin, as the next governor of Louisiana, long before the people of Louisiana got a chance to do so. But as it turned out, the people preferred Kathleen Blanco (“Brown hope sours at last minute” (Nov 17). Not only did Jindal lose after leading all through the opinion polls, he lost by a margin of 54,000 votes. One reason surely was that he was representing the Republican Party of George W. Bush, whose goodwill is diminishing rapidly. Maybe Jindal should never have left the country of his birth.

Yours faithfully,
Jang Bahadur Singh, Jamshedpur


Sir — Mani Shankar Aiyar has found the perfect platform to voice his support for Sonia Gandhi’s claim to prime ministership of India (“An Indian among Americans”, Nov 18). He seems to have overlooked the fact that the highest administrative position — that of the president — in the United States of America still cannot be held by a naturalized US citizen. An emigrant can only aspire to the post of governor or senator, and no further. What will happen to Aiyar and his cronies if the same were to happen in India'

Yours faithfully,
Arunava Choudhury, Calcutta


Case in point

Sir — While it is true that I have been suspended on October 27, 2003, in connection with some enquiry related to a search and seizure at the ground floor of premises CG 22, Salt Lake on May 17 (“Graft slur on top drug buster”, Oct 31), I would like to mention that there were eight other investigating officers who conducted the search and seizure along with me. The report is baseless and intended to defame me. It also mentions that I have taken charge as assistant director, Narcotics Control Bureau (Eastern Zonal Unit), Calcutta a year ago, which is not true. I only joined on May 2, 2003. Also, I have no connection with the Asraf Ali case, since I had not joined the NCB(EZU) when the case was booked.

Yours faithfully,
N.C. Patra, assistant director (US), Narcotics Control Bureau (EZU),


Calcutta

The Telegraph replies:

At no point in our report have we mentioned that N.C. Patra was the only person conducting the raid at CG 22 in Salt Lake. It is correct that Patra had not joined the NCB, Calcutta at the time Asraf alias Arshad Ali was booked. However, subsequent to his joining the department, he took the lead in carrying out investigations into this very case. So, our mention of corruption charges being brought against Patra in this particular case stands vindicated.

It is true that he joined the department in May, and not a year back as mentioned in the report, but this has no bearing on the case.

Contrary to the points raised by Patra, the NCB headquarters maintains that it was forced to take the “extreme step of suspension” against him because of multiple allegations of corruption. The NCB (EZU) director, Shankara Rao, has been categorical in his statement that “the charges against Patra are being investigated by the Union home ministry and the onus is on Patra to prove that he is not guilty.”

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