If there was no CAG there would not have been a 2G scam, a Coalgate, the DIAL loot, the power pilferage and the CWG plunder. The beauty of our Constitution is that when most institutions fail, at least one stands up.
Each day of the eight years that UPA has been in power it has looted at least Rs. 20 lakh of public money according to known estimates. It is actually simple mental maths. Put together the amount of loss caused to the exchequer as indicated by the CAG reports (which incidentally the CAG says is modest), CWG scam, the Defence kickbacks and divide it by the number of days it has been in power. The average Indian is at a loss to gauge and understand the avarice of the ruling clique of the UPA. No sector of governance has been spared in the loot. And yet not one person has been brought to book.
Imagine the temerity of this opaque government that its investigative agency, the CBI has dropped the name of Suresh Kalmadi from the CWG scam chargesheet! And the way it is dithering in following leads to take the trail to logical conclusions.
The latest CAG report on coal distribution pertains to the period 2005 to 2009, which is well over three to seven years old. During this period, not one person, bureaucrat, politician, or Members of Parliament standing committees raised the issue. That fact should send shivers down our spines. When this upright Comptroller and Auditor General retires and is replaced with a less honest or more pliable person, what will happen to the system? Already the UPA has systematically destroyed one institution after another, co-opted several sections like the media, a large section of the opposition and is forever trying to coerce the judiciary.
The three reports of the CAG tabled in Parliament, after much pressure, pertain to coal, power and civil aviation. The first two are related. The coal mines were distributed arbitrarily to various companies which were ostensibly buying them to use in power generation. But several of these companies sold the mines off at multiple profits to others or diverted the coal for other projects not mentioned in the purchase deed. When several coal-based power plants were starving for coal, functioning below capacity, the private players were having a ball, hoarding and holding coal. This had a natural fallout on the power generation scenario in the country.
On power, the CAG named the private companies that benefitted thousands of crores of rupees from government largesse. Both Tata and Reliance, it may be noted, had been favoured in the 2G spectrum too. The report has mentioned the amount each of the private players received, figures that are unbelievably large.
The destruction of the state-run Civil Aviation sector was an open secret. Private companies and airlines had been blatantly encouraged at the cost of the nation. Praful Patel single-handedly did the job. By the time he quit the ministry, Indian Airlines and Air India were totally in a shamble. The private airlines have been squeezing flyers dry. Just on the eve of the CAG report, a former bureaucrat had revealed how Patel took decisions and how the various committees set up to debate, discuss and arrive at consensus were brushed aside. Only the minister and his trusted staff called the shots. Now the CAG report has confirmed what had been suspected for long. The private companies have been given a free hand to charge fee from flyers, for sixty years. What is more, a clause in the agreement says the government would not have the right to intervene. Surprisingly, nobody is talking about it.
The Prime Minister, in the meanwhile, is presiding over this cantankerous group of ministers, under the benign benediction of a leader, who is the fountainhead of all that flows malaise in the country. Manmohan Singh had claimed that he would quit even if there is a “shred of evidence” against him. Here it is. Not a mere shred, but pages and pages of it. When he was in charge of the Coal Ministry, certain people and companies were favoured causing thousands of crores of loss to the nation. Is that evidence good enough for you to resign Prime Minister? Or would you wait till more proof pours in, more skeletons tumble out of the UPA closet?