Lying is quite alright
Sir — The bill proposing to penalize witnesses if they turn hostile has been long overdue (“Bill with shield and stick”, August 12). Apart from providing protection to witnesses, stiff penalties should be awarded to people who try to influence witnesses by fear or favour. Senior police officers have always lamented the weak laws on perjury in India which allows influential people to go scot-free in spite of the hard work done by the police to gather evidence. The Jessica Lal case is a good example. On the other hand, perjury laws in the West are harsh, as the case of Jeffrey Archer showed. Are we finally waking up'
Raja Sen, Dhanbad
Drive with care
Sir — At last, Sachin Tendulkar has got his Ferrari on the streets of Mumbai. But how' By getting its makers to pay the import duty on the car. True, it is quite absurd that Tendulkar was required to pay Rs 1.13 crore as import duty for a car that cost Rs 75 lakh. But a rule is, after all, a rule. First, the Indian government exempted him from paying the duty, till someone filed a public interest litigation challenging the decision. Why in the first place was Tendulkar exempted' Just because he is a star cricketer' The government did not extend its benevolence to a golfer in the past (“Tab for golfer, free ride for cricketer”, August 15).
Thanks to the PIL, the government will at least not be deprived of over one crore rupees, which can ensure a day’s meal to over 50,000 starving people. But should Fiat have pampered the cricketer so much'
Aamir Sajjad Ahmed, Calcutta
Sir — Vikramjit Sen, the judge of the Delhi high court, who took up suo-motu the case of the Union government harming the exchequer by waiving Rs 1.13 crore on payable custom duty on Sachin Tendulkar’s Ferrari, deserves to be thanked. As a follow-up of this, the court should also initiate action against the tax-exemptions granted by the Union government on the earnings of our cricketers during the 2003 World Cup tournament. What could be the logic behind fattening the already swelled purses of some of the highest-paid individuals of the country' Shouldn’t cricketers’ taxes be doubled instead'
Madhu Agrawal, Delhi
Sir — Sachin Tendulkar’s love of the Ferrari is not unknown: he has spoken about Ferrari being his dream car in several interviews. Now that Fiat has finally gifted him a Ferrari, why is everyone so hell-bent on putting a spanner in his works' Given that he has made his country proud on several occasions, can’t the Indian government do so much as waive the import duty on his dream car without someone raising an objection about it'
Sonali Sadhukhan, Calcutta
Sir — I fail to understand what prompted the mayor of Calcutta to honour Sourav Ganguly for his cricketing feats with seven cottahs of land and ornaments to his wife. The mayor’s extravagance is now well-known, but Ganguly is hardly a poor or needy sportsman who needed to be felicitated with real estate and jewellery. Ironically, Saurav also accepted the gifts, instead of setting a precedent by donating the gifts to some charitable organization
Sachin Tendulkar is also no exception. In spite of possessing assets worth over 200 crore, he could not shell out the import duty of Rs 1.13 crore on his gift of a Ferrari.
Why can Tendulkar and Ganguly not take a lesson or two from Steve Waugh, who comes all the way from Australia to Calcutta at his own expense to supervise his charity project'
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta
Sir — We badly needed an article like “So many saving graces” (August 11), and someone of Janaki Nair’s authority and scholarship to respond shot by shot to the “Save Advani” campaign, launched by the likes of Swapan Dasgupta. The latter’s articles are nothing but unbridled eulogies to the deputy prime minister.
M. Goswami, Nagaon