It’s interesting to see that despite the lockdown and the Covid crisis, the media articles against Delhi Gymkhana Club continue unabated, and all with the same slant. It’s also interesting to see the priority and speed with which the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) is pursuing this case, with the babus dropping hints that the Prime Minister needs the club land for his Central Vista project. This is not correct, as a cursory look at the Vista project plans will reveal. What this is about is control by the babus at the NCLT aided by vested interest groups from the club. Which brings us to the activities of a certain former president of the club, ex Transport Secretary Vijay Chibber. It is he who had initially filed a complaint against the club at the SFIO, alleging that there were wrongdoings that needed investigation. This three-page complaint was apparently signed by 10 club members. But at least three of them have since informed the club that though the signatures on Page 3 were theirs, the contents of Pages 1 and 2 were not the same as what they were shown and to which they put their names. Only Page 3 remained unchanged. This is crucial because this petition is part of the NCLT case against the club. Moreover, 82 directors (2012 onwards) of the club were summoned by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), but only 16 have been impleaded. This doesn’t include Chibber. Why go after the current team at the club that’s trying to put corrective systems in place? An argument can be made that those liable should be held accountable, not the entire club. Such as the ex president, who claimed he got NDMC clearance for the new pool, but this is now being questioned. Was he in a hurry so he could get the then Corporate Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley to come and inaugurate it? Or the (same) ex president who got the club’s centenary souvenir brochure reprinted a year after the celebrations with six pages added to include his picture. The larger question here is: the MCA gets hundreds of complaints against corporate irregularities. Does it appoint administrators in each entity or is Gymkhana Club being singled out for special treatment?
The Black Sheep
In the battle against Covid, most of the Chief Ministers have taken the lead. We may question their efficacy or their methods, but they have all responded to the Prime Minister’s call to take responsibility and initiative. All but one. The performance of the Bihar Chief Minister is perplexing to say the least, especially since his state goes to the polls at the end of this year (if elections do happen). Nitish Kumar has not really earned any accolades for his handling of the Covid crisis. First he refused to rescue the 12,000 students from Bihar stuck in Rajasthan’s Kota ever since the lockdown began. Even after his counterpart, the Uttar Pradesh CM sent buses to get back the students from his state stuck there, Nitish Kumar did nothing. Finally, two months later, some of their students made their way back to Bihar with the help of special trains. Ditto towards his attitude towards the migrant workers stuck in Delhi. It is the Delhi CM who paid for their passage to Bihar, not Nitish. What is the Bihar CM’s game plan?
No dual rides
I am a bit perplexed by some recommendations made by some states—such as Delhi—for life post lockdown. Such as the rule that two people cannot travel together in an auto or cycle rickshaw. Usually, it’s two members of a family that travel together. If they can share the same house why cannot they share the same auto? Ditto for not allowing two people on a two-wheeler; and the rule of not allowing more than two passengers in a cab? If two people can sit in the back together—why not allow a third who can be accommodated in the front seat? It’s not that families have extra cash to hire two rickshaws when one can do. Then again, these are Covid Times.