A Special CBI Court's verdict sentencing the former BJP president, Bangaru Laxman, to four years of rigorous imprisonment for accepting money from Tehalka journalists conducting a sting operation to facilitate government contracts is harsh. The court ought to have taken into consideration Mr. Laxman's age, health, and the number of years that have elapsed (11 years) since the sting operation was conducted, and the fact that the nation's security was not, in reality, compromised as the incident was fictitious.
P.V. Ramana Rao,
Mr. Laxman was trapped in a sting operation. There was no real arms dealer or defence contract. If the former BJP leader is to be jailed, so should be the bribe-giver. Will Tehelka and its editor be imprisoned for conducting such a nasty sting operation?
For all we know, Tehelka might have tried to expose many others and succeeded only in Mr. Laxman's case. The BJP leader did not even know that defence deals are not sealed with Rs 1 lakh.
Alas, the poor man is being punished not for his avarice but his folly. Today the man with the broadest smile on his face is none other than Ottavio Quattrocchi — for whom the government of India worked.
Anand Sriram & Swati Sriram,
The conviction is bound to send a strong message to those who have joined politics to enrich themselves. This is perhaps the first time that a former president of a national party has been convicted on the charge of accepting a bribe. Although the BJP has dissociated itself from Mr. Laxman, it cannot wipe out the stigma for a long time to come.
Sentencing of the former BJP president is welcome. The verdict, coming after 11 years, has proved that the law does not spare anyone.
D. Joji Babu,
Mr. Laxman's conviction is another blow to the BJP. It cannot make much noise on the Bofors issue now. Indeed, the corrupt image of the Congress and the BJP is paving the way for the growth of regional parties.
Mr. Laxman was not holding a government post. Nor did he cause any loss to the exchequer. I wonder if I will end up in jail if a person pays me (a plain John Doe) to influence my friend in the government and I am videographed taking money from the bogus sting operator.
Sachin & Rajya Sabha
Sachin Tendulkar has not bothered much about social causes (Letters, April 28)? Such arguments worry me. We all know how much Sachin has grown — he is beyond numbers. I do not say he is superhuman. But he has risen to great heights from a humble background.
I have never played cricket in my wildest dreams. Sachin has drawn me to him by his personality and goodness. I hope, wherever he is, he will approach his work just as he has approached cricket. I would love to see the younger generation emulating his devotion, dedication and determination.
George K. Joseph,
The rationale behind nominating members to the Rajya Sabha is to bring people of diverse talent — excelling in art, literature, science and social science — into Parliament without making them fight elections. The presence of an eminent sportsperson will bring knowledge related to practical realities and challenges in sports, a major component of youth empowerment. Seen in this context, Sachin Tendulkar's nomination is a step in the right direction.
Sachin may be a youth icon. I am an ardent fan of his. But he could never make a good politician. He will remain a spectator to the happenings in the Rajya Sabha. A more deserving candidate — one who has played a role in development — could have been nominated.
Bibin George Varghese,
The editorial “Fake notes, real threat” (April 26) is apt. On one occasion, in my 35 years of service as a bank official (18 of those in the cash department), I could not come to a conclusion on a note submitted to me at the counter. Besides raising the issue at the inter-governmental meeting of the Financial Action task Force in June, the following steps can be taken to curb fake currency circulation. All organised sector undertakings should pay salaries and other benefits to their employees through credit in a bank account, irrespective of the amount. Sustained campaign should be undertaken by the government, the RBI, and commercial banks to promote debit and credit cards. The use of cheques should be popularised and merchants made to accept cheque payments. Banks should promote internet and mobile banking.
Increasing the security features may help to an extent but to eliminate fake notes from circulation, the government should strike at the places they originate. Spending huge sums on machinery and equipment will be of little use.
As long as we have paper currency, the counterfeit menace will continue to exist. Fake note detectors which our financial institutions use today are nothing but useless nutshells. Technology provides many ways of detecting fake currencies. But we don't have the heart to spend a little more on it. The Finance Ministry and the RBI should curb the volume of currency in use by widening cheque transactions.