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  • Sunday, September, 2021| Today's Market | Current Time: 03:40:11
  • By Nanditha S

    Paise Ka Kheel

    “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    This saying is proving true in the case of India, the largest Democracy in the world.  It seems corruption in India is at its rampant best and majority of the corruption is confirmed to be happening with the connivance and collusion of those holding strategic and powerful positions.  Many a times those empowered by the people of the country to rule them are found to be preying the purse of the tax payers and making billions.

    If the recent revelations of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and other investigating agencies are to be believed this year alone the country has lost to the tune of a hefty 220000 crore rupee in three major incidents of corruption. The first one: The scam at Satyam Computer Services, the biggest fraud in the corporate history to the tune of Rs. 14000 crore. The second: Commonwealth Games (CWG) scam in which about 30000 crore of taxpayers’ money has been swindled. The third and the mother of all fiscal scams: The 2G Spectrum Scam that cost the government Rs. 1.76 lakh crores.  Of late, the Adarsh Housing and the LIC housing loan scams.

    Interestingly India has slipped three places in global rankings of most corrupt countries, from 84 in 2009 to 87 this year, thanks to the host of scams, particularly the CWG.

    The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on the allotment of 2G Spectrum licenses has made public some shocking revelations oh how an elected representative of the people who is being paid heavily from the taxpayers account  to serve (rule) them has been plotting  to plunder the public.

    The report indicted Union Minister Andimuthu Raja mishandling the allocation of the 2G spectrum in 2008 and thereby making a heavy loss of over Rs. 1.76 lakh crores to the national exchequer.

    Raja had to reluctantly relinquish his position as Minister of Communication

    Andimuthu Raja

    and Information Technology   from the Union Cabinet headed by Mr. Manmohan Singh after the CAG report was made public.

    Going by the facts and reports available, there are reasons to suspect involvement of big fishes in this trillion rupee scam. The observations of CAG strengthen s the suspicion further.

    These are the prime points raised by the CAG:

    •             85 firms suppressed facts, gave fictitious papers to DoT

    •             DoT kept spectrum pricing issue out of GoM’s purview

    •             A Raja ignored Prime Minister’s, FM’s and Law Ministry’s advice

    •             Spectrum was rare national asset, should have been auctioned

    •             2G spectrum allocated to new players at throwaway prices

    •             Undue advantage to Swan Telecom in allocation of spectrum

    •             Email ID of Swan Telecom shown as that of a Reliance ADA group official

    •             Spectrum allocated beyond contracted quantity to 9 firms including Bharti, Vodafone, Idea, BSNL, Reliance, Aircel

    •             Idea and Spice not given spectrum on grounds of proposed merger- this was against the rules

    •             Allocation of 2G spectrum led to loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore

    •             DoT did not follow its own practice of first-come-first-serve in letter and spirit

    •             Calculation of loss based on 3G auction earlier this year

    •             Cut-off date for license letters advanced arbitrarily by a week

    •             This went against time-tested procedures of government functioning

    •             Entire process lacked transparency

    •             Undertaken in arbitrary and inequitable manner

    This scam has dented the hitherto ‘Mr. Clean’ image of Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh. For, all these major scams and the trillion rupee spectrum scam have happened within the 78 months of his regime. Of course the 78-year-old former Oxbridge economist, who is being revered by Western leaders for his unparalleled probity, has pledged to punish those involved, but is being accused by the opposition for his inaction in the questionable 2008 auctioning of telecommunication licenses by one of his senior ministers that has caused a comprehensive loss of over 1.76 lakh crores rupees to the nation.

    But, according to reports available the prime minister in a communication on November 2, 2007 had emphatically instructed the Communication Minister to “let me know of the position before you take any further action in this (2G Spectrum) regard”.

    But Mr. Raja, the then union minister for communication, had in his letter pointed out “the department of telecom has decided to continue with the existing policy of first come first serve for processing of applications as the department is not deviating from the existing procedure. I hope this will satisfy the industry.”

    The CAG report has pointed out, Mr. Raja continued with his agenda of allocating 2G spectrum to the favored, ignoring the Prime Minister’s letter.  And no action was taken against the minister for ignoring the Prime Minster. More over Mr. Raja was handed over the same portfolio, ministry of communication for a second term.

    Why the Prime Minister did not contemplate action against the Minster who boldly ignored the former’s directions to inflict enormous damage to the exchequer and the image of the nation?

    The question being raised against Mr. Sigh is his silence for over 16 months on a letter from former law minster Subramanian Swamy seeking permission to prosecute Raja under Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

    Though the ruling congress is out there in the middle shielding Mr. Singh the opposition has been relentless in their demand for a probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC).  Both the Houses in session have been stalled since its commencement for 11 consecutive days without transacting any business.  However, the ruling front looks unyielding on the Opposition demand for JPC probe on the mega corruption.

    The rulers know that the JPC probe can be vehemently harmful to their interest for the probing committee could summon all including the Prime Minister and quiz.  The Committee can call for all the relevant records, officials and ministers and dig to the roots of the scam.

    Though the government argues that CBI, the prime investigating agency of the country is on the job the Supreme Court of India has already observed that the probing Agency was not doing an earnest job in this matter. Similarly the Opposition is objected to an enquiry by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) as the Apex Court has questioned the appointment of P J Thomas, who was Telecommunication Secretary during the period of the scam and has a charge sheet pending against him.

    Every working day of the Parliament costs the exchequer about 750 million rupee.  So the total loss due to the disruption till Friday last week amounts to roughly over 8000 million rupee.

    According to a rough estimate the money involved in the 2G spectrum scam is sufficiently enough for providing food for every destitute in the country for the next 10 years.

    (The series on corruption will continue)

    SEE COMMENTS

    1 Response for “ Elected To Carry Out Corruption? ”

    • K Vijayachandran says:

      Very good article with plenty of quotes from CAG Report.
      And the last para is a biting estimate: According to a rough estimate the money involved in the 2G spectrum scam is sufficiently enough for providing food for every destitute in the country for the next 10 years.
      Good, really good.

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