Supreme Court Chief Justice Seen Overreaching Himself; India Among ‘Laundromat’ Countries Accused of Helping Fill Putin’s War Chest
High Court refuses to grant interim stay on Rahul’s conviction, India won’t side with US against China, Smart Cities mission gets another extension, SC order an embarrassment, black tiger dies
A newsletter from The Wire | Founded by MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sushant Singh, Sidharth Bhatia, Tanweer Alam and Pratik Kanjilal | With inputs from Kalrav Joshi | Editor: Vinay Pandey
Snapshot of the day
May 2, 2023
India is among the top five countries which are buying cheap Russian crude oil, converting it into refined petroleum products and exporting the latter to western ‘price-cap coalition’ countries, thus sidestepping the US- and EU-led sanctions against Russia, says a report by the Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), citing the figures for the first quarter of 2023. The price-cap coalition includes the EU, most of the G7 countries and Australia and its stated objective is to limit Russia’s revenues from fossil fuel exports. The CREA report calls India, China, Turkey, the UAE and Singapore the “laundromat” countries and names Sikka and Vadinar ports in India among the top ports that are importing Russian crude oil and exporting refined petroleum products. The process, according to the report, amounts to filling the war chest of Vladimir Putin.
Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar, 82, announced on Tuesday that he would be resigning from his post – after 24 years of holding it, since the formation of the party in 1999. The Indian Express called it a testimony to his pragmatic politics. Pawar, who has said he would continue his “political and social work in public life”, along with travel, has always known where and when to stop in his over five decades of political career. Pawar became an MLA at 27 and CM at 38.
The Gujarat high court on Tuesday reserved its verdict in the plea filed by former Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his criminal revision plea filed seeking a stay on his conviction in the “Modi surname” remark case. Refusing to grant any interim stay on Gandhi’s conviction, the court of Justice Hemant Prachchhak observed that it is in the interest and fitness of the case that the matter be decided finally. The court will pass its final judgment after the summer vacation.
As Karnataka enters the last phase of electioneering, the popular narrative is that the Congress is likely to trump the BJP in the assembly polls. Most pre-poll surveys indicate a clear lead for the Congress over the BJP, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi unleashes his personal firepower in the final week of campaigning. Here’s an analysis by MK Venu.
In an article titled “America’s Bad Bet on India” in Foreign Affairs, Ashley Tellis, a leading proponent of closer US-India relations, writes: “India’s significant weaknesses compared with China, and its inescapable proximity to it, guarantee that New Delhi will never involve itself in any US confrontation with Beijing that does not directly threaten its own security.”
The Modi government’s involvement in the capture and subsequent handing over to her father of the fleeing Princess Latifa of Dubai in 2018 is well known, although the government has kept silent on it. Five years on, a piece in the New Yorker titled “The Fugitive Princess of Dubai” has some interesting details: “When the yacht was located, off the Goa coast, Sheikh Mohammed spoke with the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and agreed to extradite a Dubai-based arms dealer in exchange for his daughter’s capture. The Indian government deployed boats, helicopters, and a team of armed commandos to storm Nostromo and carry Latifa away.” Before fleeing Dubai, the princess had called her father a “major criminal”, responsible for torturing and imprisoning women who had disobeyed him. If the princess had really faced torture, both international and Indian law would prohibit returning her to Dubai, legal experts have said.
The India Cable is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
For the fourth consecutive year, the bipartisan United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has advised the US administration to designate India as a “Country of Particular Concern (CPC)”, despite this recommendation not having been accepted since 2020. In its annual report presented on Monday, USCIRF said it had recommended the redesignation of 12 countries as CPCs, including Iran and Pakistan.
Among the many textbook deletions by the National Council of Educational Research and Training is the chapter “Rise of Popular Movements” from the Class XII political science textbook. It elaborated on the rise of the Bharatiya Kisan Union in the late 1980s and its disciplined agitation of 1988 in Delhi. The deletion needs to be seen in light of the yearlong farmers’ agitation which led to the scrapping of the three infamous farm laws.
Eminent historian Romila Thapar writes, “Deleting pages and chapters can only be described as an entirely unintelligent way of reducing content. Given that the NCERT has not convincingly explained the historical reasons for and choice of the deletions, and the viability of such actions in historical study, we can only assume that the intention was not to improve the historical quality of the textbook but to push a particular reading of history, as demanded by those who dictated the choice of deletions.”
Madhu Limaye would have been 101 this week and Qurban Ali has a thoughtful piece on the socialist leader, parliamentarian and champion of civil liberties. He played a pivotal role in the freedom movement and later in the liberation of Goa from the Portuguese.
Chikoti Pravin, a casino organiser and gambler who had previously been investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for money laundering, was taken into custody on Monday during a hotel search in Pattaya, Thailand, according to Tv9 Telugu. In the raid on the hotel where extensive gambling was taking place, 83 Indian citizens, including Pravin, were arrested by the Thai authorities. In addition, the suspect was found to have a large amount of cash and gaming chips worth Rs 20 crore.
Although the Modi government’s Smart Cities Mission was supposed to be completed by this coming June, the Union housing and urban affairs ministry has extended its deadline to June 2024 to allow all 100 smart cities to finish their projects. In 2021, the deadline had been extended to June 2023.
On Monday, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud passed an order setting up a three-judge bench to consider ‘recalling’ a recent judgment on default bail that the government is unhappy with. Legal scholar Gautam Bhatia finds the CJI’s action “deeply concerning from the perspectives of civil liberties, the stability of precedent and judicial propriety”. “This appears to be a perilous escalation of the Chief Justice’s administrative powers as the master of the roster into judicial powers over other judges of the court: it effectively turns the CJI into an imperium in imperio, an appellate authority within the Supreme Court,” he writes.
Indian Premier League cricketers get only 18% of its revenue as wages. The head of the world cricketers’ union has said that IPL players must be “paid fairly and proportionately”. Earlier too, the Telegraph, London had reported how IPL cricketers are paid a far lower share of revenue than in other major sports leagues.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to The India Cable to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.