A tale of intrigueWhat is the truth behind the arrest of B.B. Vohra, former Secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum? Was he actually responsible for pushing through a $17 million deal between the ONGC and a French oil company? Or was he simply made a scapegoat of in a sinister tale of political intrigue at the highest levels? Is he the victim of a political frame-up?
Coca-Cola: The hard company behind the soft drinkThe government is playing it cool, as well it might, with the prospect of the entire Rs 100-crore bottling business landing in its lap, complete with a country-wide production and marketing network of 22 bottling plants and over 200,000 retail outlets.
Sinning with swamiYogi Dhirendra Brahmachari the dhoti-clad black-bearded swami with the magnificent all-purpose yoga ashrams in New Delhi has become a controversial figure. As a family friend of the Nehru family, the yogi's past life, according to recent revelations, was far from that of the avowed celibate that he claimed to be. The Yogi was given enormous powers during Mrs Gandhi's regime, sanctioned huge government funds and his name came to be associated with a number of women, some of whom he employed in his clinics. INDIA TODAY provides first-hand and exclusive information about Dhirendra Brahmachari's past in a special investigative report.
Those were the daysRukhsana Sultana, chief glamour girl of the Emergency, came to be recognized as a considerable political force for her massive family planning drives in Delhi's Muslim quarter of Jama Masjid. As one of Sanjay's chief compatriots, Rukhsana, a socialite and boutiqueowner, took the areas she was allocated by storm. Her overzealous endeavours to have people sterilized, together with the resettlement scheme, allegedly antagonized the residents to rebel in several bloody confrontations with the police. Now Rukhsana is talking. In several hours of interviews with INDIA TODAY reporters she gives her side of the story; and residents of Jama Masjid and Congress party workers complete the picture in an exclusive investigative report.
Maruti: How to get rich without tryingAs a sequel to our previous Cover Story (April 16-30) which exposed, to a large extent, the intricate financial web that shrouds Sanjay Gandhi's many-faced Maruti empire, India Today delves deeper into the dark, labyrinths of Maruti's dubious financial dealings. Our Special Report this issue is a startling, unpublished exposure on the myriad financial pies that Sanjay Gandhi had his sticky fingers inserted in, and the unwarranted arm-twisting techniques he employed to feather not only his own nest, but also that of his brother Rajiv Gandhi's family (Sonia and her two children).
Fingers in the pieIndia Today's special investigative team probes further into the financial fiddling that went on behind the facade of Maruti and its many subsidiaries, and exposes the dubious financial advantages gained by certain members of the Gandhi family.
S. Rangarajan: A liberal viewAfter becoming chairman of the Life Insurance Corporation, S. Rangarajan, 59, vigorously defended his organization against growing charges of inefficient management and neglect of public interest. He, however, admitted that many claims were still pending and that he was "not totally satisfied with the productivity of his staff".
Aligarh: A divided cityAligarh has always had the questionable distinction of being one of the major trouble-spots for communal disharmony. The latest outbreak of violence which erupted earlier this month, however, is undoubtedly of ominous significance. What sparked off the riots? Was it politically motivated, and if so, by whom? Was the RSS really involved?
IIAS: The joys of akademeThe setting is idyllic. A flamboyant former palace nestling amidst the mountains; acres of rolling hills; long, shaded winding walks; the luxuries of an imperial office and the services of one of the best-equipped libraries in the country. All this, and more.
The Palace: Colonial legacyThe insomnia of one viceroy and the fastidiousness of another, gave Simla its Viceregal Lodge. It was the fashionable Lord Lytton (Viceroy of India, 1876-1880), who started it all.
EPI: A reputation at stakeAt his Rs 25,000 a month villa in an exclusive suburb of Kuwait, the Chairman of the Engineering Projects (India) Ltd (EPI) Mohammad Fazal explained over a breakfast of grapes, melons and peaches how he has learnt to live with the threat to his life.
Red Cross: Demoralization sets inOur last issue carried the first part of an investigation into the spate of allegations levelled against the Indian Red Cross and its personnel. The second instalment of the investigation examines the highly-demoralizing effect the persistent sniping has had on the society's officials.
Red Cross: The mudslinging matchThe Indian Red Cross Society, an autonomous organization dedicated to humanitarian principles, has found itself in the centre of a raging controversy over the past few years.
Politics of violenceOn December 6, 1977, the biggest and one of the oldest textile mills in India, Swadeshi Cotton Mills in Kanpur, erupted in a bloody orgasm of violence as over 700 rioting workers demanding payment of deferred wages fought a pitched battle with armed police forces. When the tear gas and the cordite fumes had cleared, the gigantic mill lay in a shambles.
Swadeshi Cotton Mills: Battle of the brothersThe fateful events of December 6 in which Swadeshi Cotton Mills, Kanpur, exploded in an unprecedented paroxysm of violence, was not a solitary incident as most of the national media have made it out to be.
Religion: A matter of trustThe temple perched at a height of 3,000 feet on a hillock, is nearly six centuries old. Cars and buses bulging with devotees weave their way up the serpentine ghat road from Tirupati (population: 36,000) at the foothill.
Illegal arms: No licence to killThe illegal arms trade is a booming business, no matter how much the Government may try to turn a Nelson's eye towards it. Recently, in a series of lightning raids on houses and factories, the police in Morariabad and Rampur uncovered a sizeable cache of illicit arms-both assembled and in components. Not to be left behind, Bihar revealed its own secret trove of furtive munition factories. INDIA TODAY delves into the inner facts of the raids and the well-established illegal arms business.
Coal mining: The depths of greedCoal mining is a dirty business. Men and women sweat and strain in dark passages underground to get at the stuff that goes up in smoke. The mining areas of Bihar have never been known for their shining morality, and sordid exploitation continues in the pits and out of them.
Child-lifting: Fear stalks the southThe reports that first came in were ambiguous - and even for their violence, unexceptional. But then more reports followed the first and soon a kidnapping scare was sweeping across western Tamil Nadu, driving panic stricken villagers across the state to mindless and brutal killings.
Delhi Flying Club: Running into heavy weatherTwo weeks after its patron saint Sanjay Gandhi was killed in an aircrash, the Delhi Flying Club from where he took off in the ill-fated aircraft, is the centre of a bitter dispute concerning its control.
Samba spy case: Nagging doubtsThe Samba spy case was by far the biggest scandal in the history of the Indian armed forces. However, very few details have leaked out to the general public, largely because of the thick blanket of secrecy that has been thrown over the case. Last fortnight, the case took a dramatic turn when some of the officers involved challenged the Government's dismissal order in the Delhi High Court.
Forgery: Malicious propaganda warOver the past few weeks forged documents implicating certain neighbouring countries in the arming and training of underground Nagu rebels has been 'planted' with various well-placed individuals.
Air India: Backing the wrong horseDespite the tight security lid that is clamped down by the Government whenever a major deal is in the offing there is, inevitably, one dead giveaway - the sudden, concerted advertising blitz launched by the rival companies battling over the contract.
Mercenaries: Indian cannon fodderIn the midst of the war-torn city of Beirut (the capital of Lebanon), hundreds of Indian mercenaries, lured by devious Indian agents, are fighting for an alien cause. Risking their lives they are there for money alone, evolving a salamander instinct for survival. An on-the-spot report from Lebanon's training camps with exclusive photographs.
Gold auction report: Losing the midas touchTwo reports submitted by Kanwal Raj Puri, former Reserve Bank of India governor, on the controversial gold auctions during the Janata regime turned out to be more hallucinations than the objective recording of the events. India Today, which obtained a list of the 20 people who had allegedly cornered the gold, found on investigation that the facts were entirely different and that Puri's report was at best a series of half-truths.
IIT-Delhi: Mountains out of molehillsThe Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), New Delhi, one of the nation's prestigious, high-budget institute for advanced studies and sophisticated research, has come in for increasing criticism lately. Critics point to skewed priorities, mismanagement of talent and resources, false claims of research achievements and a discouragingly unscholarly atmosphere of petty rivalries. A behind-the-scenes look.
Postal censorship: Storm in the letter-boxIn pursuance of the orders of Pritam Singh Bhinder, police commissioner of Delhi - orders reportedly approved by Lt-Governor Sunder Lal Khurana- 25 policemen at five main post offices have been intercepting, reading, and re-posting the mail of 264 persons.
Atomic energy: Paying for negligenceThe Department of Atomic Energy is widely reputed to keep its operations a secret. But when three boys and a woman died, and 10 others were injured in a blaze at the Nuclear Fuel Complex near Hyderabad, the incident could hardly be hushed up.
UP co-operatives: A den of corruption"Since the co-operative movement has become the major source of political patronage, the ruling parties always try to shield the criminals because they are their vote banks in the rural areas."
The cost of delayAcross the vast expanse of the country are strewn canals that won't hold water, ports that can't entertain ships, steel plants that can't produce enough and atomic energy projects which are quite powerless. The list of projects that have been delayed year after year - and at times decade after decade - is endless.
SFF: Sexy spooksThe scandal involves the nearly 500 female personnel of the SFF, all of Tibetan origin, who have been reduced to the position of sex objects and whose presence has turned the SFF headquarters at Chakrata, north of Dehra Dun, into more of a brothel than the nerve centre of a top secret organisation.
Uttar Pradesh police: In cold bloodThe inhuman actions of the police in the Bhagalpur blindings have catapulted the country's 9-lakh strong law enforcement force into the harsh glare of public and media attention.
Pollution: Death of a villageFew places have experienced the dangers posed by pollution as starkly as the villagers of Nalavagulu in Karnataka who have been fighting an 11-year battle to protect themselves, from effluents discharged by a chemicals factory one kilometre away.
UPSEB: Riddled with corruptionElectricity boards all over the country seem to generate more controversy than power. Despite the stiff competition the Uttar Pradesh State Electricity Board stands out easily as the worst of a bad lot.
NCCF: Dubious dealingsLast April, addressing the delegates to the Cooperative Congress, Mrs Gandhi mentioned en passant that there was a tendency in some powerful groups to try and control the cooperative movement in the country.
Charanjit Singh: The Meridien controversyOnly the future will tell if Meridien Hotel turns out to be a pot of gold for Charanjit Singh or an embarrassment to his party besides being an exceptionally heavy millstone around his neck.
Tamil Nadu: The genie in the bottleK.S. Ramamurthi, a former high court judge, heads a one-man commission which is probing the allotment of licences of 10 arrack blending units, and the selection of wholesale distributors of western style alcoholic beverages described as IMFL and arrack.
Tamil Nadu: Tortured to deathIn Tamil Nadu, villagers and slum-dwellers shrink in fear when someone knocks on their door late at night. The callers might be a small posse of constables, come to arrest an Anthonyswamy or a Thanthoni for some petty crime or the other.
NAFED: The stink of scandalNational Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited was buffeted around by MPs, cooperative movement leaders and senior government officials for large-scale bungling in its dealings at home and abroad.
Fake doctors: Slashing at sightIt was, quite literally, an eye-opener. As many as 23 innocent eye patients have been blinded by quacks who operated on them with razor blades at the Rajkhera, Lalpur and Kheroli villages of Dholpur district of Rajasthan.
Tihar Jail: Death in the dungeonsIn reply to a question raised in a parliamentary committee recently about the number of deaths of prisoners in jails and police lock-ups, the home minister supplied the members with little or no information. However, investigations conducted in Delhi's Tihar Jail revealed that out of the 2,300-odd undertrials and convicts, 21 died in the jail's custody, mostly under suspicious circumstances. An in-depth report with case-studies.
Andhra Pradesh: Up for grabsThe ruling authorities of Andhra Pradesh may be having second thoughts about their decision to prosecute 48-year-old Mohammed Ibrahim Khan, now better known as the "king of land grabbers".
Delhi: Operation land-grabIt is a lucrative business. Grab a piece of land anywhere in Delhi, sell it at exorbitant rates to land-hungry people, and become a millionaire almost overnight. This is exactly what leading politicians, property dealers and anti-social elements have been doing in the capital for the last few years.