EVERY newspaper would like to think that it give its readers information that is exclusively its own discovery. It is referred to as a “scoop”. The Free Press Journal (October 2) carried a story that surely is a “scoop”, yet not quite because it has its antecedents. The paper reported that the Rs 1.76 lakh crore 2G Spectrum Scam and the Rs 1.86 lakh crore Coalgate Scam have been put to shame before yet another scam, in smuggling out thorium-rich sand from beaches in the south, costing the exchequer Rs 48 lakh crore, taking advantage of an executive order issued by the Centre in 2007 to allow the mining of monazite by private companies.
According to the paper, “an estimated 2.1 million tons of monazite exported by a powerful mining cartel of Tamil Nadu could have met half of India’s power needs for 50 years, as thorium extracted from it holds the key to the nuclear programme being freed from the dependence on uranium imports to power the nuclear plants and develop limitless amounts of recyclable fuel.”
What can one possibly say of traitors in our midst who are willing to sell precious nuclear fuel to our enemies when that same fuel is such an asset to us? It is a long story but what is worse is that the government has been fully aware of what had been going on, but did nothing to prevent the theft. Significantly, the monthly journal Bharatiya Pragna (September 2012) carried a detailed article by one Sam Rajappa, giving the background to the “Great Thorium Robbery”. Apparently the exploitation of the beach sand in Kerala has been going on since years. However, according to Rajappa “since the UPA government assumed office in 2004, with Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister, 2.1 million tons of monazite, equivalent to 195,300 tons of thorium at 9.3 per cent recovery, has disappeared from the shores of India.” What is worse is that “export of beach sand registered a quantum jump after 2005.” Says Rajappa: “The greatest service Manmohan Singh could do to the nation before another scam even bigger than the ‘Great Thorium Robbery’ surfaces is to resign and go. Surely we have had enough of his leadership.”
But why blame Dr Manmohan Singh alone? What sort of traitors do we have in our midst who sell precious goods to foreigners, not realising that these goods are our precious assets? Nobody seems to care, even when India’s security itself is sought to be endangered. On October 10, The Free Press Journal carried this time an article which said that “terror groups belonging to Babbar Khalsa International and Khalistan Commando Force abroad are trying their best to radicalise Sikh Youth by showing them doctored footage of Operation Bluestar and other propaganda material. Worse, the article noted “It bespeaks of the shocking attitude of our government at the Centre and in the State that some radical outfits, principally the Damdami Taksal which Bhindranwale once headed, are building a massive memorial to the Sikh militants who were killed in the operation precincts of the Golden Temple.”
The article also said that an extensive fund-raising campaign is being undertaken by Sikh secessionist groups and 20 websites which propagate an independent Khalistan. And one of the secessionist leaders is apparently given shelter by the ISI in Pakistan. The author of this informative article is not identified except by a pseudoname “Hawk Eye”. He is evidently very knowledgeable.
A similar story has also been published by The Hitavada ( October 8) distributed by the Press Trust of India, but not many papers have published it. Why? What one would like to know is that the Prime Minister, himself a Sikh, is doing about these developments and why so many of our newspapers are keeping silent over this issue. Is the Sikh community willing to honour traitors in the most sacred of all sacred Sikh temples, the Golden Temple Bharatiya Pragna (October 2012), incidentally carries an article that says that a “Pakistan-Bangladesh plan” is on to split India, with the creation of a ‘Mughalistan’, with the backing of Pakistan’s ISI and Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI). It sounds ridiculous, but considering that it runs into eleven pages and factually well-supported, it calls for public attention. The tragedy is that we have a weak government and this is being exploited fully by India’s enemies.
Meanwhile, another matter deserves attention. How did Robert Vadra make his money? The Economic & Political Weekly (October 6) does not mention his name but an article by Aditi Gandhi and Michael Walton says that “out of India’s 46 billionaries in 2012 twenty had drawn their primary source of wealth (at least originally) from sectors that can be classified as “rent-thick” (real estate, construction, infra-structure or port sectors, media, cement and mining . As the authors note, overall 43 per cent of the total number of billionaries, accounting for 60 per cent of billionaire wealth in India had their primary sources of wealth from rent-thick sectors. The ratio of total billionaire wealth to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose from around I per cent in the mid 1990s to 22 per cent at the peak of the boom in 2008, but is now down to 10 per cent. Read the article. Meanwhile some comment on Vadra made by a respected columnist, Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar in The Times of India (October 14) maybe of some interest. As Aiyar puts it, “Arvind Kejrival deserves kudos for exposing how Robert Vadra, one-time scrap-dealer and husband of Priyanka Gandhi has become rich.” To that he adds: “The Vadra affair has produced a million chortles and left Congress spokesmen looking comic as they try to defend the indefensible. Everybody knows that this is just the tip of the iceberg; the deals in question are in white money, while political business is mostly black.”
Aiyar reminds us of Om Prakash Chautala, former Chief Minister of Haryana who was raided in 2006 and which revealed a “whooping Rs 1,400 crore of shady assets far exceeding the Vadra deals”. Yet, Aiyar writes, “Chautala’s case meanders at snail’s pace. The public has lost interest, so Chautala looks likely to become the next Chief Minister, not the next jailed crook.” People forget as our distinguished friend Sushil Kumar Shinde has perceptively noted.
How many crooks and how many scandals can one possibly remember all the time? It is better to remember God’s sahasranaam and do japa for peace and contentment.