The strange case of the telecom minister, A Raja, who is accused of incredible corruption in telecom

For some time now, the Manmohan Singh Government has been accused of living in a contradictory situation, with Manmohan Singh having a very high level of credibility, while at the same time, the Government which he is running, and the Congress party, of which he is the Prime Minister and thus holding a very high virtual post in the party hierarchy, stands accused of many scams and a high level of corruption. And his own personal credibility has been lowered to a high degree because of the accusation that he has been tolerant of this corruption and has not really done anything to stop it (which makes him complicit in these corruption scams).
There are innumerable problems areas for the Government, which seeks to promote itself as a Government that cares for the down-trodden and the poor:
– When it introduces a program for the upliftment of the rural poor (the rural works program) and allocates a huge sum of money for the same purpose, it does not put into place a method to ensure that the leakages that would ensue are blocked, and that there is some focus put on making sure that the money is not siphoned off midway. And many reports from the field are claiming precisely that, that the program, while doing some benefit, is also causing a huge amount of corruption in the preparation of muster rolls, in the payments to eligible people, and so on.

– We all know about the Adarsh housing society scam, and given that it involved so many, it was impossible that the Congress machinery did not know about the scam. It was only when the media gave a huge blast on the scam that it caused jitters to the Congress and it started taking action (and even now, one is not sure whether there will be any prosecutions based on the scam – which could bring a number of politicians and bureaucrats in the crossfire).
– In various ministries of the Government, there is a huge amount of buzz in terms of the money factor involved in decision making, such as the case where the road program is under stress and delayed; with allegations that pressure is being mounted on contracting companies to pay some percentages of the contracted amount for getting the contract.
– The Common Wealth Games scam is ongoing, with a very small sacrifice so far, in terms of the removal of Kalmadi from the Congress office post, but otherwise the corruption investigation is ongoing, and going by past practices, one is not really hopeful.
And the biggest scandal is about the allotment of telecom 2G spectrum to new companies. As can be read from the referred article (link)

The heat on telecom minister A Raja is rising, with the Comptroller and Auditor General holding him personally responsible for the sale of 2G spectrum at dirt cheap rates in 2008, resulting in a loss of up to Rs 1.70 lakh crore to the national exchequer. In its final report on the alleged scam in 2G spectrum allocation, CAG has said that the minister for IT and communications ignored advice from the PM and ministries of law and finance, and the recommendations of the Telecom Commission to allocate 2G spectrum to a select group of companies at throwaway prices.
The CAG report could not have come at a worse time for Raja. A few days ago, the Supreme Court expressed its bafflement over his continuing in the government. Sonia Gandhi’s twin strikes on Tuesday on the issue of corruption — against Ashok Chavan and Suresh Kalmadi — could whet the Opposition’s appetite for more scalps from the ruling dispensation. In fact, the Opposition is already demanding that Congress should dump Raja in order to live up to its fresh anti-corruption credentials. As many as 85 licences to 12 companies out of the 122 new licences issued in the controversial January 2008 decision were granted to entities which did not meet the prescribed DoT eligibility conditions, the CAG said.

So, we have a Minister who over-rode a huge amount of expert opinion, made allocations to company (who promptly sold these licenses at exponentially higher valuations), and yet who refuses to accept that anything is wrong. The Government is so dependent on the DMK for support that it is not able to drop the minister (even when there is criticism levied from multiple sources), and has to bow down when the DMK chief takes the argument that the Minister is being attacked because he is a Dalit.
This makes the Congress now complicit in this case of corruption, since the minister is part of the Government, and it is the Congress that will have to defend itself against the attack of being hopelessly corrupt.

1 comment to The strange case of the telecom minister, A Raja, who is accused of incredible corruption in telecom

  • Rajeev Ranjan Baisantry

    I can say with conviction that nothing will happen to Raja just like nothing seems to be happening to Madhu Koda and the other politicians -big, medium and small Its a nationalized industry wholly owned and managed by the politicians of our country. They all do it in their turn.

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