The World is my Oyster: Sid Harth
Attack on Kaskar man to send message to Dawood?
S Ahmed Ali & Mateen Hafeez, TNN | May 19, 2011, 04.58am IST
Tags:Iqbal Kaskar|Dawood Ibrahim
MUMBAI: The Mumbai police on Wednesday said the slain bodyguard of Dawood Ibrahim’s younger brother, Iqbal Kaskar, was the target of Tuesday’s attack outside Kaskar’s home on the city’s Pakmodia Street. But authorities did not rule out the possibility of a rival gang’s involvement to send a message to gangland’s first family.
A local court remanded the killers of Kaskar’s bodyguard-cum-driver Arif Abu Bakr Sayyed aka Bael in police custody till May 26. Bilal Mustafa Ali Sayyed (29) is from Mumbra and Indralal Bahadur Khatri (28) is from Nepal. Khatri shot Bael outside Mahajabeen building, where Kaskar lives, on Tuesday. Bael was reportedly alone then while Kaskar was inside the four-storey building, either on the first or fourth floor. The police are hunting for four more suspects.
A police officer said, “Kaskar was not (there). Only his driver was present at the spot,” said Rajkumar Vhatkar, deputy commissioner of police (operations).
Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police (crime), said, “We have identified the gang behind the shooting. Until we arrest the remaining accused it would not be proper to disclose the details as it will hamper the investigation.”
There is a possibility that the rival gang didn’t want to kill Kaskar. It’s likely they wanted to send a strong message that they could operate even in Dawood’s heartland, Pakmodia Street, said Roy.
Police sources suggested Kaskar and not his slain bodyguard could have been the target.
Maharashtra home minister R R Patil said, “Interrogation of suspects revealed their target was Kaskar’s driver.” Patil said there are no gangs in Mumbai. Police though were worried that Dawood’s lieutenant Chhota Shakeel would retaliate and revive gangland killings in the city. Shakeel, reportedly based in Karachi, used Voice Over Internet Protocol to ask close family members about Kaskar.
During interrogations the accused told police they planned to kill only Bael, said a source. They said they didn’t know about Kaskar until they were arrested.
Police said shooters could have killed Bael anywhere else, as he lives in Jogeshwari and travels daily to Pakmodia Street by train. “Why did they choose this place knowing it is Dawood’s backyard, overcrowded and hard to escape from,” said an officer.
Imported weapons were recovered from the accused. “Why would two small-time shooters use sophisticated weapons when they could have done the same with a country-made weapon. The cost of each imported weapon could be more than Rs 2.5 lakh, while a country-made gun costs Rs 5,000 to 10,000,” said an officer.
Two fully-loaded pistols were seized from Khatri, the more experienced marksman of the two.
Readers’ opinions (1)
Sid Harth Harth (USA)
0 min ago (06:35 AM)
“asslam aleikum Bhai S Ahmed Ali & Mateen Hafeez,” Not bad job. Could be better, if not the Pulitzer Prize material, Numero uno. If by your own news interpretation, most obvious in this piece, Maharashtra’s Home Minister, R R (Aaba) Patil says that there ain’t no terrorists, oops, Mafia trouble makers in Bombay, oops, “aamchi mumbai,” there ain’t. Moreover, you two ain’t got what my good Bhai, oops brother, Aaba has. A keen and supremely reliable intel. You merely collect the jetsam-flotsam of gutter gossip from Iqbal Kaskar’s hometown, oops, home street, Pakmodia Street. Iqbal wasn’t born yesterday. Neither was his big brother, Dawood Ibrahim (Kaskar) originally born and brought, oops,a native of Kallvan, District Nashik. I have at least two authentic boyhood friends of his to testify my claim. One is XXXX Attari and the other, XXX2 Attari. The third one not to be named because of his much closer boyhood association, perhaps reaching further than a boyhood stage, perhaps his next door neighbor, told me amazing stories about this much maligned Kaskar family. More later. Just don’t make a mistake again. Knowledge is supreme in life as well as journalism. Take my advise, go into Real Estate. the profession where secrets can be found more easily lying on the sidewalks. You don’t have to be a fortune teller. Your opinions laced with assumptions, presumptions, adoration, and street gossip stink. Learn Marathi, if you want to know about Dawood Kaskar. Fini.
May 16, 2011, 8:30 AM IST
By Rupa Subramanya Dehejia
Who today in India is making the most vociferous case to let the markets function and for the government to play facilitator rather than bully?
I’d argue it’s not any bureaucrat, policy wonk or columnist in Delhi, but a group of farmers protesting in nearby Uttar Pradesh against their government’s approach to land acquisition for the Yamuna Expressway project. The project, when completed, will create a six-lane, 165-kilometer freeway that will cut travel time from New Delhi to Agra to two hours from at least four. Last week, as protests flared, at least four people, including two policemen, died in the violence.
This is the next chapter in an ongoing saga, punctuated by the arrest of Rahul Gandhi, a Member of Parliament and office bearer of the Indian National Congress who last year had promised to be the farmers’ “soldier in Delhi”. Mr. Gandhi has been released on bail.
Last September, in the wake of violent protests over the same project, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati announced a new land acquisition policy which would raise the amount per square meter each farmer would receive, although crucially this would remain set by the government.
So what do the farmers want and does it make sense? And can their actions be construed as anti-development?
Unlike in some other disputes such as the Vedanta bauxite mining project in Orissa that the government rejected, the issue here is not principally about farmers or tribals not wanting to sell their land. The farmers’ objection is that the government’s approach of fixing the price grossly undervalues their land, which will presumably jump exponentially in value when converted from agricultural to commercial use.
What is more, according to news reports, the farmers, in particular the Federation of Indian Farmers Organizations, would prefer that the state stop acting as “property dealers and brokers” and allow the farmers to negotiate directly with the private sector developers.
Far from being anti-development, the U.P. farmers’ position makes good economic sense in at least two ways.
First, the farmers are right that it’s arbitrary and unfair for the government to stipulate a fixed price per hectare of land in advance of negotiations. In a normal market with many buyers and many sellers and a homogenous good, the price is determined where demand equals supply. But in this situation, the land only attains its full value after the sale is consummated and the property developed.
In a market-based land acquisition scenario, striking a deal is much closer to what economists call “bilateral bargaining,” where two parties are haggling and the final terms reflect each side’s relative bargaining power. But in the U.P. case, for the government or anyone else to set a fixed price in advance of negotiations between the two principal parties short circuits this normal bargaining process and prevents the market from functioning. Hence the farmers’ dissatisfaction.
In this light, the farmers’ agitation can be understood not as obstructing a development project but, by ratcheting up the pressure, turning the bargain in their favor. Even claiming that they would refuse to sell their land at any price, as a few farmers have said, is a great bargaining strategy. It’s no different from a labor union threatening to go on strike to get a better wage from an employer.
Second, those farmers who favor direct negotiation with developers as the most efficient way of reaching a deal also have sound economics on their side. This approach would cut out the middleman, in this case the state government. Under the current U.P. program, the government pays a low price to the farmers, charges a high price to the developers, and thereby extracts most of the gravy, to say nothing of creating opportunities for corruption.
The farmers’ belief in their own savvy as negotiators would seem to belie the commonly heard argument that the government needs to be involved to prevent them from being exploited or intimidated by large private-sector players. Rather, the current system, led by the government, seems to be fleecing the farmers.
The current system would also seem to work more in favor of the developers than the farmers because it’s simpler to deal with one actor, the government, than negotiate individually with small groups. In economic terms, it solves the coordination problem of one buyer having to negotiate individually with many sellers but does so by transferring most of the gains to the government at the expense of both parties. The developers, too, should therefore prefer negotiating directly with a group of farmers.
Here’s the dilemma. If the government stays out, it’s possible that small sellers will fail to coordinate in negotiating with the large buyer, which may result in the deal falling through or of the small seller getting ripped off. But if the government acts as broker and uses its coercive power to force a deal, farmers also could get the short end of the stick.
In practice, there will be ongoing and messy three-way negotiations, with the government involved whether anyone likes it or not. Some politicians will find it expedient to side with the farmers, who in turn have an interest in publicizing their cause. The issue has already become highly politicized, with so far more heat than light, and little of concrete benefit for the farmers.
The ideal solution would therefore involve the government acting purely as facilitator and coordinator between buyers and sellers, rather than its current role as rent extractor and price-setter. A suitably crafted land acquisition bill, or an interim ordinance, could achieve this, and ensure that the bulk of the gains accrue to the buyers and sellers, not the government. Transparent rules of the game are key as they create trust among all parties that the final outcome is fair. We need to end the License Raj in land acquisition.
The bottom line is that there’s nothing irrational about what the farmers in U.P. are doing and no inherent challenge to India’s development model. Our desire to have a fast route from Delhi to Agra has to be weighed against appropriate compensation for the farmers who’re going to lose their land and livelihood.
It’s not a question of growth versus equity, but growth with equity. Our farmers seem to understand that better than our politicians and policy wonks. They just want a piece of the action, like we all do.
Rupa Subramanya Dehejia writes Economics Journal for India Real Time. You may follow her on Twitter @RupaSubramanya.
May 16, 2011, 8:30 AM IST
Economics Journal: Don’t Blame the Farmers for Wanting a Fair Deal
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2:11 am May 19, 2011
Sid Harth wrote:
My dear Rupa Subramanya Dehejia, I love you Stop My “Little Old Lady,” has put Hex on me Stop According to her Law Stop No woman live or dead Stop can be named after the end of my sentence, “I love,” Stop That is not mine Stop Namely my wife Stop Just kidding. You are a Spring chicken, oops, a Spring of fresh, undiluted water, oops clear as a mountain spring water. I am allowed to say that according to my “LOL’s LAW.” Kidding aside, not if WSJ Community permits so. I am serious. Advocacy has become a new, oops, freshly new Buzz-Word in India. Supreme Court is lauded, as well as eulogized from the Country Capitol, oops, Capital, to the back yard Hooch vendor’s “adda,” Hindi for shop. Although, the Right Wing Fundamentalists Hindu outfits, too many to name here, have used whips to ward off advocacy in the past. These advocates, oops, advocacy individuals were called names. For instance, “Commies.” Arundhati Roy et al were taken to court for assassinating their private and patented “Hindu,” religion.” It is all water under the bridge. The same outfits are getting into fits. Usually their kind get into fisticuffs. Farmers’ demands, be it for a fair compensations of their farm lands, their rehabilitation, oops, guaranteed rehabilitation or their bank loans being forgiven, are real and need to be addressed at the highest levels. Just two short years ago Maharashtra faced almost a deluge of farmers’ suicides on account of banks foreclosing on their mortgages. Sonia Gandhi had to interfere to staunch that mass bleeding of the village farming community. One homely poor farmer’s wife, Kalavati, became an instant celebrity, with a little help from Rahul Gandhi. Times are tough for growing India. Growing like a dandelion weed. Every which way you look, you see smoke stacks belching chimneys producing, not corn, not wheat, not rice. not bajra or lentils. The essential ingredients of Indians. Flying ash dumps are not heaps anymore. They are mountains. Pollutions in such areas is so big and so ugly that young fillies wear Muslim terrorists’ “rumal,” Hindi for a scarf, covering their beautiful faces all except their sun goggles covered eyes. Howzzat for the beginning salvo? Have a nice day.
…and I am Sid Harth
10:34 pm May 17, 2011
SAMAR TYAGI wrote:
you know the actual problem is not the intermediary of the govt. but the real cause lies in the fundamental. suppose a farmer who has 2 hectares of land is sold to govt. at much lower prices than the market ones.he is going to be poorer day by day. as he would not have any other continuous source of income. in reality land is not taken but he is forcibly driven from his living. he is compelled to change his econimic wher he has no expertise.
11:30 am May 17, 2011
Nice article….it should be growth with equity and not growth vs equity.
11:03 pm May 16, 2011
Siddhartha Gupta wrote:
If government doesn’t “coordinate” will it be possible to convince all the small landowners? Ultimately some of them will be coerced.
9:45 pm May 16, 2011
Chacko George wrote:
Nice article. Reminds me of The Greater Common Good by A Roy. But the best part is this article doesnt take any side. Hard fact is that somebody is paying for the development that we take for granted.
11:48 am May 16, 2011
Can we have some data please?
I saw a report in a TV channel where they said that the farmers sold the land to the government at Rs 45 lakh per acre, and when the government sold it at Rs 90 lakh per acre, they got wild.
If this is true, then the state exchequer gained. The farmers already got a fair value at *that* point in time when they sold. To take the streets to show to be on the side of farmers is politically correct and an election gimmick.
– Mahboob @mahboob_h
10:47 am May 16, 2011
Keith Wroblewski MD wrote:
Thanks for your insightful comments. In my home state of Pensylvania,USA, the government typically fixes the price for the homes or land and while it may not be fair initially, the Kantian utilitarian argument of the expressway’s good for the economic good of that sector probably supercedes the good for the isolated few farmer’s. The real question is what efforts the Inidian government will make to help those farmer’s reacquire land in another region and at what cost to those farmers.
…and I am Sid Harth