OFF THE RECORD

OFF THE RECORD

Swiss bank request

Black money stashed away in Swiss banks has created enough dust during the campaign for the Lok Sabha elections. While it is not known whether those who parked their wealth in such banks are worried or not, it is certain that Swiss banks’ secret dealings have created curiosity among many multi-millionaires.
According to Prof R Vaidyanathan, Department of Finance and Control, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, he has been receiving lots of queries everyday about how to open an account in Swiss banks.
Vaidyanathan, a member of the task force constituted by the BJP to find out details of tax havens said in a recent talk in Delhi that he received a call from a businessman from Chandigrah requesting assistance to keep his money in such banks. Of course, the businessman also offered a huge commission for the service. But Vaidyanathan said he politely refused and advised the businessmen to keep his money in Indian banks.

Ajith Athrady in New Delhi

Exam blues for CSIR

The exam sessions in March and April appear to have come in the way of shaping the future of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratories. Till a few months back, as many as 13 CSIR laboratories did not have a full time director as the incumbent had retired. There was no problem in four laboratories where a person from the same institute was appointed as the next director.
The problem arose in nine other institutions where an outsider from universities, IITs or other institutions was to take charge. It was found that since their children had an ongoing board or entrance or a final examination — they could not leave their stations till the examinations were over. Elections came soon thereafter, further delaying the new appointment and transfer process. The CSIR has to now wait for a new government to have new directors, in many of its constituent laboratories.

Kalyan Ray in New Delhi

Now time to cool down

Four of the five phases of the Lok Sabha polls are over. The countdown for the post-poll number game has already begun. So it’s time to look for new friends and also to mend fences with friends-turned-foes.
The Congress could not strike a pre-poll deal with its allies RJD and LJP. So it had a bitter fight with Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan in Bihar. So much so that the Bihar Congress President Anil Sharma urged Sonia Gandhi that not only both of them should be sacked from the Union Cabinet, but there should not be any place for them in the Congress-led coalition that would take shape after the polls.
The onus of toning down the Congress’ rhetoric against the RJD and LJP chiefs was on the Union minister Kapil Sibal. He found it difficult to explain Sharma’s remarks.
He simply said: “It is too hot out there. If somebody has to campaign in 43-45 degree Celsius, it is quite natural for him to make such remarks.”

Anirban Bhaumik in Delhi

Smart voter

Are voters gullible? Is their vote a commodity that can be bought, for a bottle of liquor, cash, sarees and blouse pieces? Are the poor especially easily taken for a ride? The voter is much smarter than one can imagine. Bucchamma of Pragnapur in Medak district of Andhra Pradesh admitted to getting Rs 50 and a liquor bottle from one party. She also heard that the ‘other party’ was giving Rs 100 for each vote. So will she vote for Rs 50 or Rs 100?
“Our sarpanch says we should vote, but our basti has decided to vote for whoever will give us a cement road and cover the open drains. Even if they give us Rs 200, we don’t want it”, she said. Are politicians listening?

R Akhileshwari in Hyderabad

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