WHO is the most popular Indian in the world? Sachin Tendulkar? Wrong. Amitabh Bachchan? Wrong again. Manmohan Singh? Forget it. The popular Indian, if you go by the kind of buzz he has been making in the global media of late, is A Raja, the spectrum man who has taken the world by storm.
In fact, I have learnt more about Raja from newspapers and magazines in London, Paris and New York than from all our newspapers put together. They even know his first name, Andimuthu, which I couldn’t find in our media. They know where he was born, how he became a minister in Sonia Gandhi’s, sorry, Manmohan Singh’s cabinet, and how he suddenly became an expert in spectrum or spectra, and how he came to distribute thousands of crores worth of spectra through his small office in Delhi, until somebody put a stop to it, and the man was out on the street. The man says he has done nothing, which may be one reason why he is not mentioned in the FIR, why he has not been questioned or arrested, and why his boss, the great Manmohan Singh, pats him on the back, and why, when he went back to his real bosses in Chennai, he received a hero’s welcome from a wild crowd of supporters.
India used to be known for yoga, Ayurveda and Bhagwad Gita, but that was long in the past. Now it has blossomed into a notorious place – for corruption and political skulduggery. You open your newspaper in the morning and Congressmen in their lily-white khadi finery came out tumbling, clutching their crores. There is hardly a minister who is not involved in some money racket or the other, with scores of businessmen in tow. In fact, it is hard to distinguish between a Congress politician and a businessman, as they keep shifting their roles from time to time. The juiciest rackets are, of course, hatched in the capital, right under the eyes of what is known as PMO, though the PM himself, bless his soul, is apparently totally in the dark about the goings-on around him.
I suspect that Raja is a small fry in all this, and some big sharks are involved, including, almost certainly, the mafia, probably the Italian mafia, the biggest of them all. The Italian mafia is a deadly animal and its fingers reach everywhere. It controls the government of Silvio Berlusconi in Rome, most of the finance ministries and banks in Europe and maybe even in America, where it is very active, and, of course, the foreign exchange markets of the world. Who knows, it also controls our own foreign exchange market, and, even the stock market, possibly a good deal of foreign trade including diamonds, not to speak of spectrums. Raja may have been a small fry, but he was a trusted man, which is why he is still a free man, months after being found with his hands in the till.
If the mafia is really involved, why has it been quiet all these days and has suddenly decided to show its fangs? Perhaps what we now see is only the tip of the iceberg. Years ago, it was almost certainly involved in Bofors, which is why so much cash changed hands in Italy, though the guns themselves came from Sweden. It was, however, no big deal, as such deals go, and only a few million dollars were involved, which was chicken-feed. Things started humming after Indian economy suddenly boomed, and the sums swelled to billions, not millions, of dollars. This is when the mafia decided to intervene and enlisted services of small fry like Raja & Co, which, until then, operated only in the bazars of the Nilgiris.
There is now so much cash floating around that only a fool would let it go without getting a slice for himself. And this is what the mafia, aided and abetted by the khadi-clad ministers, are up to. The whole thing has become a big operation, far bigger and far more complex than one reads about in the newspapers. The conspiracies may have been hatched in Delhi, but the loot is shared globally through the mafia, with cash ultimately parked anywhere from Zurich to St Lucia. The mafia has long arms and can keep everything or nearly everything in control through its network.
Secondly, Raja & Co are not sure who they are working for. Are they working for the legitimate government apparently presided over by an ex-economist called Manmohan Singh, or a faceless outfit run by the mafia? I say apparently because you cannot be certain that poor Singh is really running the government. His office hardly knows what is happening around him. He had no idea – or at least gave the impression he had no idea – that thousands of crores were being siphoned out of Commonwealth Games, though the Queen herself had been alerted about it and refused to make an appearance in Delhi. If your minions can spend Rs 70,000 crore when their budget was less than a quarter of that amount with the Prime Minister’s Office completely in the dark, then you must be either a dud or pretend to be a dud while the mafia is busy with the loot.
The PMO also had no idea. Raja & Co were cooking up the books to the tune of at least Rs 100,000 crore. Was the PMO intentionally looking the other way, or had been instructed to do so? And instructed by whom?
Actually, there are two governments in India: one is run by the South Block and the other from God knows where. Since you do not actually know who is running the government – from Delhi or maybe from outside the country by the mafia – you play safe, and, if you are clever, you try to play one against the other, as our friend Suresh Kalmadi did, and which explains why nobody has been able to touch him. What you call corruption is actually sharing of the loot between the two administrations, one in the South Block, the other somewhere outside the country but manipulated from the inside, which is why Raja & Co will almost certainly go scot free.
This is only the beginning. India is being looted right and left, and God alone knows where the cash is being parked and by whom. We have become an open country, totally at the mercy of foreigners, and the government cannot or will not do anything about it, as it too is part of the conspiracy.