Saturday, December 18, 2010

Corruption and Congress no strangers

India’s tryst with scams pre-dates our declaration of being a Republic. List of scams since 1948. Will have to hark back in time to get a historical perspective to our scams and corruption, in 1969 Congress party split and Congress (Indira) came into being. That was an era of extreme shortages of essential commodities and all other items, high tax regimes on personal and corporate incomes. Anything and everything that went wrong was conveniently attributed to an omnipresent/ omnipotent invisible foreign hand. Corruption was practiced at lower echelons of administrative machinery i.e. inspectors of all departments (irreverently called the license/inspector raj period).

Famously our original Mr. Clean from congress party Late Shri Rajeev Gandhi stated that only “16paise of every rupee reached the target”. Balance of every single rupee was fittingly dealt with by a porous administrative system. The other telling mots that he employed were Dhekna in Hindi (See) Banana in Hindi (Make or Construct). Today what we are witnessing is the interplay of these two Hindi words in English we are seeing an India teetering towards becoming a Banana Republic.

Ironically he perished at the altar of corruption, appeared on the India political firmament with lofty ideals and raised the hope of an impoverished nation. Yes Congress did manage to whitewash his reputation with the ensuing JPC. However despite employing all the Surf detergent the only high end washing powder available in those days, it has still not been able to remove the stains completely. This indelibly ingrained one fact among the Congress party, that all positives were for Congress party and Nehru clan to claim! All the negatives were to others account. This is still the underlined approach.

Keeping in line with that thought process Congress is loath to apportioning any credit to Late Shri.P.V.Narashima Rao for opening the Indian economy. Our incumbent Prime Minister was the main player, as the then Finance Minister. Even to this day Congress continues to appropriate all positive to itself and the Nehru clan, negatives are often equally divided between NDA and other Governments that were at the helm of affairs at some time or the other.

What emerged then was, Indian entrepreneurial skills being unfettered, however the systems were not suitably amended to support the growth that was to follow. Old control systems were recycled and new source for corruption moved up the ladder from the lowly inspectors to higher echelons of administrative machinery. The proverbial red tape length may have been reduced however it was substituted with increase in width.  It would not be wrong to compare our present status to a vintage car fitted with V8 or V12 engine.

The current chaotic situation and the angst among the people is due series of scams that have come to light and each surpassing the other in audacity and amount of money. Has the government got down to seriously tackling this situation? Emphatically NO! Interest of the country is being subjugated to protecting name of Congress and Nehru clan. A Joint Parliamentary Commission is the only way forward along with criminal investigation by other competent agencies.

The progression chart under normal circumstances for all those connected with these 1.Common Wealth Games. 2. Adarsh Housing Society.  3. 2G Spectrum. infamous events should have been taken into custody and interrogated. Prompt action was needed as time was of the essence for getting to the bottom of the issue. That has not happened in any of them. Let us now focus on what is happening in particular with the 2G where the amount involved is Rs1,70,000crores or close to US$40billion. Tapes have revealed a nexus between Politicians-Journalists-Corporates.

Opposition demand of JPC has not been acceded by the government. Supreme Court of India is supervising an investigation by CBI and has enlarged the scope to 2001 instead of only the present. This will probably nail the criminality involved in this sordid saga. The larger question of policy loopholes will remain unaddressed which only the Parliament can do. 
1. CAG report tabled in Parliament confirmed the wrong doing and the amount.
2. Government is quibbling over the amount stated in the CAG report.
3. The government was in know of this happening did absolutely nothing to prevent it.
4. CBI filed a chargesheet without names and then did nothing thereafter for 11months.
5. Government under extreme pressure removed the Minister finally.
6. New Minister appointed.
7. One man commission of inquiry set up to investigate intra departmental functioning.

To any keen observer of India the ongoing process would resemble a standup slap stick comedy show. Why was this statement made? There is the case of phone tapping which was done over a period 2 years. No subsequent arrests made, no cases filed on the basis of phone taps. Instead tapes leaked to media at the peak of 2G heat in Parliament. The Government is doing everything other than what it should have done, that is order an expeditious comprehensive criminal investigation along with a parliamentary joint committee to revisit the telecom policy and plug the possible loopholes. This is the logical course.
What has actually transpired can only us leave bewildered and anguished.  

We were at the receiving end of some pearls of wisdom.” The Congress president engages in abstractions when she speaks of our shrinking moral universe in the context of corruption. The second rhetorical trope in this repertoire is something to the effect that “we will get to the bottom of this”. This invitation to plumb dark depths is a clear obfuscation.”

Next the importance of the role of Prime Minister.
“Prime Minister, you are central to governance: you constitute the governance deficit.”
Breaking his silence over the telephone tapping controversy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today am aware corporates are nervous but phone tapping needed. This speaks volumes how the issue is being obfuscated by the man who should have faced the parliament and the nation for the colossal corruption and misuse of phone tapping.
Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid gives thumbs up to lobbying PR. The issues is not lobbying, the issue is Corruption. Another diversionary debate, which was picked by mainstream English media to ease the pressure on Congress and UPA government.
One-man-panel to probe 2G-scam: Sibal. Another sham and another diversionary tactic when a JPC would have done a better job.

Latest article on this issue:

S Gurumurthy has courage to write about  secret Billions of Sonia Gandhi siphoned off from India.
Is it too much to conclude that thanks to Sonia family’s suspected billions in Swiss accounts the system cannot freely probe the $462 billion looted from India at all? Tail-pieces: The total wealth of both Gandhis, as per their election returns, is just Rs 363 lakh, Sonia owning no car. Sonia lamented on November 19, 2010, that graft and greed are on the rise in India!! Rahul said on December 19, 2010, that severe punishment should be given to the corrupt!!! Amen.


Gandhi denies payoffs in Swedish arms deal - Rajiv Gandhi.
Sonia Gandhi used the penultimate day of campaigning in Delhi to launch her most vitriolic attack yet on the BJP, accusing Atal Behari Vajpayee of "telling lies" about Rajiv Gandhi's involvement in the Bofors scandal. Sonia Gandhi.
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Saturday described the Bofors kickback allegations against his family as lies indulged in by non-Congress governments and asserted he saw no reason to apologise on the issue.  Rahul Gandhi.

Bofors Quattrocchi-Chadha IT AT order.

Brave talk with feet of clay. Clear double speak will not put their money where their mouth is.

The question every Indian is asking will the guilty be punished or once again the national interest be sacrificed to protect the real culprits.

I welcome a debate and discussion on this…As always, please keep your tone civil, your language polite…no sweeping generalisations please and no personal abuse.  Thank you.