This is being republished from A First Taste of Law which has been shut down.
Here is a post from Jay Sayta, an NUJS first year student, who has been writing extensively on gambling laws of India elsewhere.
Scams, scams and more scams – that is what has dominated newspaper headlines over the past few months. However, with the ‘unearthing’ of each new scam, I am getting convinced that the whole process of asking politicians responsible for such scams to step down is a facade to mollify the people and the media. I shall now look into the various major scams that have been ‘unearthed’ this year and will evaluate on hindsight how much has been done except asking the politician so responsible to offer the customary resignation. Does the real power-holders of this country go scot-free even after clear links of their connivance in various scams?
- IPL Scam:
The action that was taken: Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner axed. The matter is now being probed by the Enforcement Directorate and other tax agencies. Shashi Tharoor, former MoS External Affairs had to resign after it turned out that his fiance Sunanda Pushkar may have gotten sweat-equity in an IPL team due to his lobbying.
However, it would be interesting to note, that not as much as a finger has been pointed out at Mr. Sharad Pawar, the most powerful man in the BCCI.
Though Pawar’s daughter, Supriya Sule was accused of holding equity in City Corporation, a company unsuccessfully bidding for the Pune IPL team, he has never being accused of being a part of any financial irregularities, while Modi has been accused of various financial irregularities which include favouring certain companies in awarding contracts related to the IPL.
Pawar has had the final say on all cricketing matters in India in the last few years. Pawar has himself held many prominent positions in the BCCI and most of the BCCI-IPL office-bearers at present owe him their allegiance. Given these facts, would it be hard to come to the conclusion that Lalit Modi could not carry out a heist on a grand scale without knowledge of Pawar
- Common Wealth Games Scam: Again, a multi-billion dollar scam involving various irregularities and a few regularities in contracts and tenders awarded in connection with the Common Wealth Games. Fingers pointed mainly at CWG Organising Committee Chairperson Suresh Kalmadi.
The Action that was taken: Suresh Kalmadi resigned as the Secretary of the Congress Parliamentary Party pending investigations. The matter now being probed by the CBI, CVC, IT and a host of other agencies.
The logical question that comes to one’s mind: How can such mind-boggling amounts involving an event of considerable importance to India are laundered by a single person or a single organising committee without the connivance/tacit agreement/blessings of top Ministers, the UPA chairperson and opposition leaders?
Fingers have been pointed at many important people in the CWG scam, but no action is likely to be taken. Since people have already been mollified with the resignation of Kalmadi, our leaders are now waiting for the dust to settle down.
- 2G spectrum scam: Various irregularities and reports of blatant favouritism by former Telecom Minister A. Raja in the allocation of 2G spectrum licences to various telecom companies. Again, this is multi-billion or perhaps a multi-trillion dollar scam.
Action taken: A. Raja forced to quit after mounting public pressure. Matter investigated by various agencies. The Supreme Court is also looking into the matter. A Joint Parliamentary Committee Probe is being vociferously demanded.
Again, the same question lingers: Was Raja capable of acting on his own in such a scandal of unspeakable magnitude? It appears that the PMO was aware of certain irregularities but could not take any action.
Thus, it would not be incorrect to assume that DMK Patriarch M.K. Karunanidhi (who is openly backing Raja) and certain other top bureaucrats and politicians are hand-in-glove in this scandal, but then, it is clear that no fingers will be pointed at them.
- Adarsh Housing Society Scam: Another instance of shameless land-grabbing, where top Maharashtra politicians, including former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and top defence officials were accused of grabbing flats in the ‘Adarsh Housing Society’ meant for Kargil war widows and our war heroes located in the posh Cuffe Parade area of Mumbai. Much environmental and defence regulations were routinely flouted in allowing the construction of this Society. Clearances were allegedly provided by the then Chief Minister Chavan himself, who ensured that those who handled and cleared the Adarsh files were allotted flats there.
Action taken: The Congress high command forced Chavan to resign following the public outrage. Again, CBI and other agencies will be investigating the matter. It is apparent that there is no interest to pursue other Minister’s and top officials involved in the scam.
However, those having even slight knowledge of Maharashtra politics would know that the resignation given by Chavan is just a ‘temporary’ one. Chavan is likely to be reallocated to some Central or State Ministry or assigned some gubernatorial duty, once the dust settles down, as is the customary political practice in Maharashtra.
It may thus be recalled that in the aftermath of the 26/11 attacks, Shivraj Patil was asked to resign as Union Home Minister but was subsequently allocated the post of the governor of Punjab (after a ‘hibernation’ period of a few months to allow the public outrage to mellow down). Even Vilasrao Deshmukh who resigned as Maharashtra CM (after his inefficiency in the manner of handling the 26/11 situation became apparent) was made the prestigious Union Industries Minister after the controversy diminished. Former Chief Minister Narayan Rane, who has many corruption cases pending against him, is currently heading the lucrative Revenue Ministry of Maharashtra.
The inferences drawn by me in this article are neither startling nor new. I am sure that every ordinary Indian of average intelligence would have thought about this rot in the political system and the connivance of top political leaders in corruption, but people have reacted indifferently towards these allegations of corruption. The popular perception is; “The entire system is corrupt, what can I change? And anyways, these corruption charges do not affect me in any way. I have a lot to work hard for, so why bother?”
But politicians, beware, yeh public hai, sab janti hai, don’t test the people’s patience, otherwise the day won’t be far away, when the average Indian’s tolerance and indifference towards corruption will turn into outrage and mass movements.