[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ri Sri Ravi Shankar called the National Green Tribunal blind and based a day after an expert committee concluded that the three-day ‘World Culture Festival’ organised by his Art of Living (AOL) had caused major damage to the Yamuna riverbed. Sri Sri Ravishankar, a BJP supporter, had earlier denied to pay fine, but later on his Art of Living foundation had deposited Rs 4.75 crore “environment compensation” with Delhi Development Authority as directed by NGT for damaging Yamuna’s biodiversity during its ‘World Culture Festival’ in March. The green panel had on March 9 refused to prohibit the festival held between March 11 and 13 but asked it to pay a compensation of Rs 5 crore for damaging biodiversity and aquatic life of Yamuna.
On March 11, AOL had moved a plea seeking four weeks’ time for depositing the amount after which the tribunal allowed the foundation to deposit Rs 25 lakh on that day and granted three weeks’ time period to pay the balance amount. India’s top environmental court had cleared the three-day “World Cultural Festival” with the rider that the organisers must deposit a five-crore fine ahead of the inauguration. The National Green Tribunal has warned that after the event, the organisers are likely to be presented a much larger bill prepared by its experts; Sri Sri has said he will challenge all fines because “we have not done anything wrong”. The National Green Tribunal was not sparse in its censuring of either his organisation or a slew of government departments for ignoring the potential damage to the Yamuna’s floodplains, where 1,000 acres were used to host the event.
National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the AOL to submit its response within three weeks on the inspection report of Yamuna flood plains by an expert committee. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the expert committee, headed by Shashi Shekhar, Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources, to quantify the damage and furnish a tentative cost for restoration of the area within 45 days. The green panel granted liberty to the committee, also comprising senior scientist from National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Professor C R Babu, Professor A K Gosain, Professor Brij Gopal and two more members, to seek assistance of a specialised agency in determining the cost of restoration.
The another defaulter, who is relaxing on foreign lands, is Vijay Mallya, 60, he is facing legal proceedings back in India for allegedly defaulting on loans worth over Rs 9,000 crores from various banks. The UB Group chairman and Rajya Sabha member is thought to have driven to his ‘Ladywalk’ estate in the village of Tiwen in Hertfordshire. Mallya is facing legal proceedings for defaulting on loans, is believed to be at his country home in an English village about an hour’s drive north of London. Mallya, who owns plush properties in California and the UK, has one of the biggest country homes on Queen Hoo Lane in the village of Tewin.
He likes to drop in at the local pubs during his visits there but has not been spotted around the village choosing to stay inside his 30-acre estate guarded by customary iron gates that mark most sprawling country estates in English villages. Trying to push the government on the backfoot, a combative Rahul Gandhi asked how it allowed Mallya, to leave the country and said Prime Minister Modi and Arun Jaitley have failed to answer this question in their speeches. He also hit out at the Modi government for bringing the “Fair and Lovely” tax amnesty scheme, saying it only helped thieves, black marketeers and drug mafia to convert their black money into white.
Mallya became the Chairman of United Breweries Group in 1983 at the age of 28, following his father’s death. Since then, the group has grown into a multi-national conglomerate of over 60 companies, with an annual turnover which increased by 64% over 15 years to US$11 billion in 1998–1999. He consolidated the various companies under an umbrella group called the “UB Group”, spun off non-core and loss-making businesses and focused on the core business of beverage alcohol. Over the years, he has diversified and acquired Berger Paints, Best and Crompton in 1988; Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers in 1990; The Asian Age newspaper and Cine Blitz a Bollywood magazine in 2001. United’s Kingfisher beer has more than a 50 per cent market share in India’s beer market. The beer is available in 52 countries outside India and leads among Indian beers in the international market.
United Spirits Ltd., the flagship of the UB Group, achieved the historic milestone of selling 100 million cases, becoming the second-largest spirits company in the world by volume under Vijay Mallya’s chairmanship. In 2012, Mallya ceded management control of United Spirits Limited to global spirits giant Diageo, although he retained a minority stake in the business. Kingfisher Airlines, established in 2005, was a major business venture launched by Mallya. It eventually became insolvent and had to be closed down. As of October 2013, it had not paid salaries to its employees for 15 months, had lost its license to operate as an airline, and owed more than $1 billion in bank loans. In March 2016, a consortium of banks approached the Supreme Court of India to stop Mallya from going abroad due to the pending dues his companies owed them. After he left India political parties are beating around the bush attacking each other.
Two most prominent personalities of India those who are BJP supporters, landed the ruling party in great embracement.
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