Scrappy sell-offs, Red Fort as Personal Asset, Village Head Biddings in Poll season and more
It happens only in India
In an unfortunate derailment of duty, RajivRanjan Jha, a railway engineer at the Samastipur Railway Division in Bihar, tried to illegally sell a vintage steam engine as ‘scrap’. The engine was stationed in Purnia for public display when Jha decided:Out with the old, in with some jingle-jangle for his pockets.
Jha’s plan was on track till a pesky sub-inspector deployed at the RPF outpost began asking questions about the scrap he was loading into a pick-up van. To lay suspicions to rest,Jha brandished a forged letter from the Divisional Mechanical Engineer that the ‘scrap material’ was to be taken to the diesel locomotive shed. He even signed a memo—the plan's Achilles heel—which an RPF employee brought to the notice of their superiors when the scrap failed to reach its destination. Unadulterated greed aside, per-haps Jha’s most offensive crime was in treating the lovely, vintage metre-gauge engine as scrap in the first place. Pearls before swine, indeed.
Loss of Inheritance
Talking of old, valuable things, the Red Fort was in the news recently.No, nothing hoisted nor taken down, but the Delhi High Court did have to contend with a certain Sultana Begum,widow of the great-grandson of last Mughal king Bahadur Shah Zafar, who asked that the Centre hand over the Fort of Delhi to her or offer her adequate recompense. Why? The government of India had illegal occupation of her ancestral property, indirect contravention of her fundamental rights and now owed her back the Fort itself or equivalent compensation.The court however rubbished the claims. Hey, don’t judge her too harshly—ones allowed to try anything once.
The Assam Police’s cautionary invite to the party of the season!
Dance of Democracy
The experiment of democracy in our country, is often a gift that keeps on giving.This season’s greetings come from a village in Madhya Pradesh, where the post of gram sarpanch(village head) was opened for auction. With bids starting at `21 lakh,the gavel finally came down on the winning bid of `44 lakh by a certain Saubhag Yadav. Of course, the whole event is completely illegal, but that does not take away from its popular support—villagers unanimously resolved that Yadav will be their new village sarpanch and no one, except him, will file nominations for the post in the upcoming polls to ensure that he is elected unopposed. This system they believe would clear the election process of the use of illegal muscle and money power. Sure it clears the elections of all the democratic principles it is designed to uphold too but as they say, the devil's the details, and who wants that?