Disgraced and hunted, Yeddyurappa steps down: After protracted games of hopscotch, Karnataka Chief Minister Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa stepped down August 1 as he came under the crosshairs of the Karnataka Lokayukta. Yeddyurappa had thus far survived 38 attempts to unseat him and survived three votes of confidence in the State Assembly. Anti-corruption ombudsman Justice Santosh Hegde’s damning report, submitted the day before he remitted office, charged Yeddyurappa, certain ministers in his government, and former CM H D Kumaraswamy of accepting kickbacks from illegal mining in Bellary. Yeddyurappa, who curried favor with the Bharatiya Janata Party’s top brass since he took over as the first BJP chief minister of a south Indian state in 2008, played hardball till the end. Arguably, he won the last round by appointing his chosen successor, D V Sadananda Gowda, as the Chief Minister designate.
Delhi women walk in defiance of sexual harassment: About 800 young women of all ages answered the call by 19-year-old Delhi schoolgirl Umang Sabharwal to take to the streets to protest against sexual harassment and objectification of women. Dubbed Slutwalk or Besharmi Morcha, the march was taken out in Delhi, widely acknowledged as one of the most unsafe cities for women.
Mystery ship of woes grounded at Juhu: Concerns over India’s coastal security were heightened when M V Pavit, a 1000-tonne Panama-flagged vessel, mysteriously ran aground at Mumbai’s Juhu beach. The ship had been abandoned by its crew in July and reported sunk. However, it drifted for more than a hundred hours through India’s maritime territory before being detected. The vessel had escaped detection by the three agencies entrusted with securing India’s coastlines – the Navy (responsible for security beyond 12 nautical miles), the Coast Guard (which patrols the zone between 5 and 12 nautical miles), and the maritime police.
CAG report tars Delhi CM: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s Performance Audit Report on the Commonwealth Games-2010 indicted the Delhi Government, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and certain ministers for causing loss running into hundreds of crores of rupees by undertaking “ill-conceived and ill-planned” projects, selecting consultants in an “arbitrary and non-transparent manner” and executing contracts at “exorbitant” rates. The CAG report said contracts were “awarded and executed in an ad hoc and arbitrary manner”, causing “waste of public funds totaling Rs 101.02 crore.”
Sonia flies to US for secret surgery: Leaving her party’s affairs in the hands of a four-member team including son Rahul, Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi made an unannounced departure for the US to receive emergency medical attention for an “undisclosed ailment.” Sources later reported that she had been admitted to New York’s Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and a statement by Congress spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi confirmed that Gandhi had undergone “abdominal surgery” successfully and added that she is expected to return in three or four weeks.
Indian who downgraded USA’s credit rating steps down: Markets around the world crashed when the credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded the United States’ rating from AAA to AA , effectively removing the US government from its list of risk-free borrowers for the first time in history. The move was not entirely unexpected as S&P, one of three major agencies that offer advice to investors in debt securities, had warned investors about the upcoming downgrade announcement saying that it would act if Congress did not agree to increase the government’s borrowing limit and adopt a long-term plan for reducing debt by at least $4 trillion over the next decade. Within weeks, the agency’s president Deven Sharma stepped down. Although the agency confirmed that his decision had nothing to do with the downgrade, analysts inevitably drew links between the events. Dhanbad, Jharkhand-born Sharma, 55, had served as president since 2007.
Aarakshan releases despite protests from pro-reservation lobbies: Filmmaker Prakash Jha’s Aarakshan, scheduled for release early in August, ran into trouble with pro-reservation politicians and activists. Starring Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Manoj Bajpayee and Prateik Babbar, the socio-political drama is a fictional documentation of events following the Supreme Court judgment of 2008, which upheld the government’s decision to allot 27 percent quota for Other Backward Castes in government-funded institutions. Although the film was passed by the Censor Board, screening was banned in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh with state governments citing concerns that certain scenes and dialogues might fan public anger. Eventually, the film was released but critics slammed it for portraying a complex issue simplistically.
Whitewashed 0-4, India forfeits No 1 Test ranking: As if the injuries dogging the world’s No 1 Test cricket side weren’t enough, it helped itself to a massive portion of insult. Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s dream stint as captain ran aground when his side was crushed 0-4 in the Test series against England. Sachin Tendulkar’s much-awaited 100th Test century also remained elusive as the Little Master fell short of it by nine runs in his last innings of the tour.
Shammi Kapoor passes into the ages: Shammi Kapoor’s was perhaps the most recognizable voice that shouted Yahoo! before we adapted it to a yodel. His dashing good looks and versatility made him synonymous with the heartbeat of an entire generation from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. He essayed several Hindi film hits including Tumsa Nahin Dekha, Dil Deke Dekho, Junglee, Kashmir Ki Kali, Janwar and Teesri Manzil. He was married to costar Geeta Bali and had two children before she died tragically of smallpox in 1965. After his retirement from film, Kapoor was well known in digital media circles as the founder and chairman of the Internet Users Community of India (IUCI) and for setting up organizations like the Ethical Hackers Association. Kapoor died August 14 of kidney failure.
Jagan Reddy raises a storm in AP: A CBI raid on the estates of Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, son of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy who was killed in a helicopter crash in 2009, unearthed a tightly guarded 75-room mansion in the tony Banjara Hills area of Hyderabad spread over 32 acres and valued at Rs 350 crore. It is alleged that Reddy received kickbacks from corporate entities and individuals in return for land allotment in Special Economic Zones, mines and irrigation projects. The powerful Congress MP has been embroiled in a row with the Congress high command since his father’s death, threatening to split the party in the state. Several MLAs have shown solidarity with Reddy since the raids on his properties began. AFP Photo
Rajya Sabha approves impeachment of Justice Soumitra Sen: August 18, the Rajya Sabha made history with its overwhelming approval of the impeachment motion against former Calcutta High Court judge Justice Soumitra Sen. If the Lok Sabha too follows suit next week, Sen could become the first judge to be removed for misconduct in Indian history. The charge against Sen is that he was held guilty of misappropriating Rs 33.23 lakh in a 1983 case. In his defense addressed to the Rajya Sabha, Justice Sen said that he was being made a “sacrificial lamb in the season of scams to be showcased as an example of cleansing the judiciary.” In 1993, impeachment motions were initiated against Justice V Ramaswami of the Supreme Court but the motion was defeated in the Lok Sabha when the Congress party abstained from voting.
End of an era as NRN steps down as Infy chairman: Nagavara Ramarao Narayana Murthy, inarguably the most recognizable face of India’s information technology movement, stepped down as Chairman of the company that has led India’s IT services repartee to the global economy. In 1981, he and six engineers founded Infosys Consultants Private Limited in Pune with an initial investment of Rs 10,000. Today Infosys Limited is the darling of the Bombay Stock Exchange and is among the NASDAQ-100. Murthy, 65, was the company’s first CEO. After his retirement in 2002, he handed charge to Nandan M Nilekani and continued as Chairman and Chief Mentor. He now holds the title of Chairman Emeritus.
Amar Singh charge-sheeted: Delhi police charge-sheeted Amar Singh, the influential former Samajwadi Party general secretary along with two ex-BJP MPs, and L K Advani’s former close aide Sudheendra Kulkarni in the 2008 cash-for-vote scam during the trust vote on the nuclear deal with the US. The United Progressive Alliance allegedly bribed MPs to survive a confidence vote on July 22, 2008 after the CPI (M)-led Left Front withdrew support to the UPA government. Police acted on a directive from the Supreme Court to shed their “inhibitions and follow the letter of law”. It alleged that Singh “conspired” with his secretary Sanjeev Saxena and others to bribe the MPs. Singh was on the 31-member Standing Committee to debate the Lokpal Bill in Parliament.
Rajiv Gandhi killers’ fate left hanging: Perarivalan, Murugan and Santhan, the three convicts sentenced to death in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, got a lease of life after the Madras High Court stayed their execution for eight weeks. Their appeal for clemency had earlier been rejected by President Pratibha Patil. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by an LTTE suicide bomber during an election rally at Sriperumpudur, near Chennai, on May 21, 1991. Political leaders and activists have been protesting in Tamil Nadu seeking commutation of the death penalty.AFP Photo
Gujarat governor sidesteps Modi to appoint Lokayukta: Even as anti-corruption fever gripped the country, Gujarat governor Kamala Beniwal used her discretionary powers to appoint retired judge R A Mehta as Gujarat Lokayukta citing that Chief Minister Narendra Modi had intentionally kept the post vacant for over seven years. Mehta is known to be close to Anna Hazare. Reacting to the move, the Modi government has challenged the appointment in the Gujarat High Court. The issue has seen heated exchanges in Parliament with the Congress and the BJP trading charges over the “constitutional crisis” in the state.
Triumph for Anna Hazare: After high drama that sent TRPs through the roof, social activist and Jan Lokpal crusader Anna Hazare ended his 13-day fast when the UPA government buckled and agreed to a voice vote in Parliament over the Jan Lokpal Bill. Hazare galvanized the anti-corruption movement in the country by challenging the UPA government’s move to reject of his camp’s draft of the Jan Lokpal Bill with a much publicized fast at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan.