Tuesday, December 21, 2010

THE 2G SPECTRUM SCAM: A DIVERSIONARY TACTICS

B.RAMAN

Mrs.Sonia Gandhi, the President of the Congress (I), and Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh have been living in a make-believe world of their own totally cut off from reality. This became apparent from their speeches at the just concluded 83rd plenary session of the Congress (I).

2. The reality is the plethora of serious corruption cases that have come to the fore one after the other for more than a year now--- in the Government of India as well as in the State of Maharashtra. These cases demanded prompt action for their investigation and prosecution of those involved in the cases----either at the political level or at the level of bureaucrats or both. Instead of initiating prompt action in a manner that would satisfy the public, attempts have been made to drag their feet in order to avoid having to take action while pretending to act. Instead of acting against the wrong-doers through the investigative agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), these agencies were kept away from the wrong-doers in a blatant manner in an attempt to protect them from the legal consequences of their wrong-doing.



3.Whenever the CBI takes up a case of suspected corruption for preliminary enquiry or investigation, it is expected to initiate three steps immediately after taking cognizance of the complaint---firstly, seize documents that could have a bearing on the enquiry or investigation to prevent their being tampered with or destroyed; secondly, identify and freeze bank accounts that could be connected with the wrong-doing in order to prevent the money-trail from being destroyed; and thirdly, seize the passports and other travel documents of the suspects under enquiry or investigation in order to prevent them from fleeing the country. Arrests follow later for custodial interrogation before prosecution.



4.None of these steps was taken----particularly in the case relating to the so-called 2G spectrum scam in the Ministry of Telecommunications in which the principal suspect is A.Raja, who had to resign as Minister following the submission of a report by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India drawing attention to the massive irregularities allegedly committed by him during his tenure as the Minister. He allegedly committed these irregularities not clandestinely, but blatantly in a manner that was widely known in the Ministry.



5. No attempt seems to have been made for months by senior officials of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet Secretariat to prevent Raja from misusing his office and, if they did not succeed in doing so, to draw the attention of the Prime Minister to his misdeeds and seek his intervention. If they had not done so, it was dereliction of duty of a serious nature on their part. On the contrary, if they had done so, but if the Prime Minister had not acted on their caution, it was dereliction of duty by the Prime Minister for which he cannot escape responsibility.



6. There have been derelictions of duty at various levels----political and bureaucratic--- probably going up to the Prime Minister. The question is not just whether Dr.Manmohan Singh is an honest man of tremendous integrity. The question is whether Dr.Manmohan Singh was effective as the head of the Cabinet and the Government in rooting out such instances of corruption. There was a colossal failure of leadership by the Prime Minister who showed poor reflexes in dealing with the allegations and in failing to act against Raja and others involved.



7. A CBI enquiry---even if it be under the supervision of the Supreme Court---- can only go into the criminal ramifications of the case. It cannot go into the administrative and policy ramifications. Nor can it identify leadership deficiencies at various levels, which made this scam possible. Only a comprehensive enquiry by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) into the various aspects of the scam---- political, administrative and criminal--- can throw light on what happened, how it happened, who were the dramatis personae and how it remained undetected. Only a JPC can identify and zero in on lapses at the Cabinet level.



8. By opposing such a comprehensive enquiry by a JPC, the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi are apparently trying to keep the enquiry confined to the criminal aspects of the case without going into the other aspects which could create embarrassment for the Government in general and the Prime Minister in particular.



9. In their speeches at the Congress plenary, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh have used diversionary tactics by announcing a series of measures for preventing corruption in future without explaining what they intended doing to deal with the corruption that has already taken place and to punish those responsible so that there is a deterrent effect on future temptations. The Prime Minister’s offer to subject himself to questioning by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Parliament is part of this diversionary tactics. The Prime Minister is yet to explain to the people why he is so doggedly opposing a JPC. The fact that past JPCs did not produce results is no excuse for not having one to enquire into the 2G spectrum scam.



10. Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister seem to be calculating that if they continue to stonewall the demand for a JPC and avoid a comprehensive enquiry, there could be a backlash against the opposition and public memory will start forgetting the scams. This should not be allowed to happen. (21-12-10)



( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and , presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

7 comments:

Esoteric said...

Bingo! This narrative almost perfectly captures the disconnect with common people of India and the leadership.

There is one dichotomy you've missed for some reason...you cannot assume Dr Singh and Sonia Gandhi to be on the 'same page' on these matters.For all purposes the political ship is manned by Mrs Gandhi with Dr Singh leading the Govt.

Alliances and dealing with partners etc is not Dr Singh's forte nor his responsibility.His personal integrity has been above suspicion most of his public life and there is no reason to doubt his intentions.

The equation has been fraught with divisions over policy matters and possible handover to the next gen.

In other words, this needs to be read as a Dr Singh versus Sonia equation.

Its also instructive to note that in Sep 07 itself the PM had indicated his displeasure to A Raja but he took advice from the CAG and Finance Ministry and over rode him.PM is liable for inaction but not intent of action.He was not allowed to act.

Lastly, its difficult to believe that A Raja pocketed the whole cash and didnt share the booty with his seniors and that the alliance partner in TN didnt share some of it with their counterparts in Delhi.

Sawant said...

F@$k the whole country through the arse and then hand it over to the BJP to fix the mess.

Itsdifferent said...

And the latest idiotic and nonsensical statements from Kapil Sibal that 1999 2G Spectrum auctions caused a loss of Rs.1.34L crores. I thought Kapil Sibal to be somewhat of a sensible man. And he has to stoop to this level to satisfy the high command? Does these men have a any grey matter on top, or is it just vaccuum up there?
Wont they even think, even simple questions like "Why did you have to wait this long?" and the current loss is reported by CAG not by any ministry and how did he come up with such a huge math etc, have to be answered...
We are proving everyday, that we are nothing but a banana republic.
How pathetic....

nri2008 said...

Dear Ramanji

Your wise and accurate column confirms that India has indeed become a BANANA Republic controlled by Duopoly of Gandhis and malleable PM Manmohan Singh-It is indeed a very sad day for both Indian democracy and Republic where the organs of the state have been subverted to davor DMK CM Karunanidhi and family, Sonia Gandhi and her Congress party at the expense of the Indian people!

Most amazingly senior Indian media columnists has been exposed to be corrupt and political lobbyist of the highest degree.

Warm Regards

Ram

PS Hope this corrupt Government i is booted out o office with the corrupt bureaucrats at the earliest!

Esoteric said...

Itsdifferent-I agree Mr Sibal has displayed a certain assertiveness in his public statements of late, that are odds with his soft and sophisticated demeanor over the years.

He thinks that by asking rhetorical questions and looking to the past ie NDA regime,he can deflect attention to the rot.

He is surely a loyalist who will do whatever he can to coverup the misdeeds of his masters.His interviews to Barkha are actually funny as her own integrity or lack of it has been well recorded recently.

Maha said...

Mr B Raman has rightly pointed about the CBI failure in taking action in 2G scam. Sonia will talk against corruption , but give promotion to PJ Thomas who is involved in a corruption case. PM Manmohan singh talk about guilty will be punished, but he did not allow the CBI to proceed to inquire Raja. The court , media and the public have to act vigoursly to punish these powerful political guys and should recover the money.

Avu said...

Spectrum exposes the ugly backyard of politics - the nexus of politicians, business people and the media. You think only PM and Sonia are playing diversionary tactics. It is a rule in Indian politics that It just takes time to make people forget the scams. Its directly proportional - big scams just take a little longer but eventually news stories will wear you out and the scenario will change and A new scam preferably by opposition parties will come out and the media will conveniently shift its focus to that and eventually Spectrum will go into the same graveyard of Bofors, stock exchange, Satyam and many others. Who knows even right now the involved parties may be contriving a very good diversionary topic - riot in kashmir, abductions by naxals, karnataka bjp land scams, SC case against gujarat CM... Money can do anything friends. Dont worry. Guilty will go not be punished not in this country. If you still believe they will be, good night and good luck.