When CBI officials decided to raid the premises of directors appointed by the companies of wanted billionaire jeweller Mehul Choksi, they were led to shabby chawls, tiny rooms with barely any amenities.
The directors are ordinary people with ordinary lives. They are normal employees or small-time investors who have been asked to sign a paper as they were given the top position in the company, as reported by The Times of India.
What are their lives like?
They were never invited to red carpet events that Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi attended. And they definitely did not benefit from the Rs 11,000 crore scam. In fact, these people don’t even have enough money to support their own families. Yet, since the scam came out in public, they have been harassed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials.
According to The Times of India, Mirror tracked down several addresses listed in a first information report on Monday and tried to interview the owners, who are stunned at being linked to the country’s biggest bank scam. Government rules require all companies to provide their directors’ residential addresses and other details.
“My father, Dinesh Gopaldas Bhatia, is 61 and he is just a small investor. He has not committed any crime, but officials have been coming here to quiz him. Just look at our house, do you think we have cash stashed away here?” said Raunak Bhatia, pointing to their messy tenement on the third floor of Kalbadevi chawl Bhatia Niwas.
Dinesh Bhatia was offered the position of an independent director in Gili India and Nakshatra Brand in 2015. “He was asked to sign several documents and attend annual general meetings. But he never really had an active role in the companies,” Raunak said.
“They first approached my father in 2013, saying Gitanjali Gems’s turnover had exceeded a certain mark and they were looking for independent directors. My father agreed because it seemed like a big deal. The company said it would offer him Rs 2 lakh.”
They found another of the listed directors, Aniyath Shivraman Nair, who said that he was actually listed as an accountant. “He is not actually a director in the company. He is an accountant. Sometime back, company officials said they would give him the designation of a director for the purpose of documentation,” Reema, his wife said.
The Logical Indian take
In India, while the quality of living of the middle and lower-class families have been deteriorating, the rich are finding new ways of becoming wealthier. Blame games do the rounds and another party comes to power, but the situation remains the same.
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.