Last summer, the Tihar Jail in Delhi was brimming with several high profile inmates accused in various scams under the UPA—2G, Commonwealth etc. A year later all of them are out, one by one and back in circulation and business. Kalmadi takes off on ‘an all-important’ athletic federation meeting abroad. The Indian Olympics Association even votes unanimously to continue with him as president. Raja returns triumphantly to his supporters. Kanimozhi cannot keep away from Parliament. The others who were co-accused have been released on bail after being in jail for varying periods. The UPA government just brazened it out.
P Chidambaram, a veteran of several hit and run scandals continues to be a senior member of the cabinet. His name has been around since the time of G K Moopanar, a much respected Congressman from Tamil Nadu. With suave, mild-mannered, not easily ruffled demeanour, Chidambaram has slipped out of several loops of fire, like the stuntman. As during the debate on his alleged connections in the telecom scam, he, for most part, agreed with the Leader of Opposition who was training the guns on him. And asked very innocently, what was wrong. After all, his young entrepreneurial son only wanted to do business. Is this house against the youth becoming entrepreneurs? He queried. He even pleaded that he be stabbed in the heart rather than being accused of the dirty word corruption. How every dramatic, how very touching, how very bald-faced!
The involvement of Chidambaram in the 2G scam has been thoroughly exposed by Dr Subramanian Swamy. He is relentlessly pursing the case in the courts. Chidambaram’s last electoral victory has been challenged in the court as he was declared winner, after rescinding the announcement of AIADMK candidate as the winner. His name has been linked to the British mining company Vedanta Resources, on whose board he was till he became finance minister. His Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme in 1997 has been roundly criticised by the CAG as an abusive fraud on the honest taxpayers of India. In 2006, President Abdul Kalam gave permission to inquire into charges against Chidambaram and Manmohan Singh that they were both holding an office of profit in the Rajiv Gandhi Trust Foundation. The list of alleged improprieties is substantial. And yet, Chidambaram has been in the union cabinet, nearly unbroken (except during the NDA period) since 1991.
The corruption cases under the UPA are so numerous that an encyclopaedia has been created by a netizen which is doing the rounds, soliciting updating and additions. The net is full of comments and outpourings of angst and hatred for the government. Not a week passes without a new scam breaking out. The Food Minister makes a kill out of food grains and vegetables. Only a month ago, potato producers were crushing truck loads of that humble vegetable on the road, under bulldozers. Now, weeks later, potato prices have gone up twice-thrice in the retail market. The ministry is now thinking of importing potato from Pakistan to bring down prices. On the one hand, food grains rot, unfit for even animal consumption and on the other there is the pathetic truth of nearly seventy per cent of India’s population going to bed on half or empty stomach. Indian children are malnourished, and women anaemic. The food ministry has ordered import of four lakh jute bags from Bangladesh, while traders in Delhi are loaded with unlifted consignment of these bags. Sugar, cotton are all coins in this export-import game being played by the government, the profit of it going to the wheeler-dealer and the loss being suffered by the common man.
The corruption in defence sector revealed by the Army Chief is but a tip of the iceberg. Even so, it’s magnitude is unheard of in history. Interestingly, all the scams of the last eight years, when investigated a little deeper lead to the doors of the Mother Superior of Congress party. She, like P Chidambaram, with deftness and solvency is brazening it out. The Congressmen and the government are following the policy of ‘Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell’ as far as her household is concerned.
The government’s flagship projects, be it JNRHS or the NREGA, are all narrations in corruption. The much-touted farmer waiver is a hoax played on both the farmer and the taxpayer. It has not reached the intended beneficiaries though the money has vanished from the treasury. Never has ever been the public money thrown around for loot by the ruling party and its minions as if there is no tomorrow. For the economic ills of India, the finance minister blames Greek, a nation half the size of one Indian state. And yet the economists demand more integration of our financial system with the global economy. There has never before been such despondency and despair in the hearts of the people of this country as one is suffering now. And the Congress party and its leadership alone is responsible for this.