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Raja out of the Government, but how much was the Prime Minister responsible ?




It’s been a few days since the telecom Minister A Raja was literally forced to leave the Government. This was a crisis of the highest order, since you had a minister of the Government, who was pilloried by the press as having taken a series of acts that caused an incredible amount of loss to the national economy. Who can forget those times when a company such as Unitech bought spectrum for a rate that was prevalent 7 years before it bought the spectrum (so, they paid a rate in 2008 that was prevalent in 2001), and through a series of measures that seemed to benefit a number of companies who had advance knowledge of the terms and conditions of the licensing situation. And then, the company (in this case Unitech) sold this same spectrum for many times the amount they paid, leading to a situation where the company benefited clearly from a Government policy (and where other companies were willing to pay a much higher amount). And this was true for many companies who bought spectrum. Further, the CAG report, in a direct attack on the actions of the Minister, concluded that the loss was of such a high level that it lays low any other scam in the past (the amount spoken is around 1,76,000 crores, and if you consider the Bofors issue that led to the defeat of Rajiv Gandhi 20 years ago was for Rs. 64 crores).
There is an extensive amount of research that is being show-cased by the media, a lot of which shows the various steps taken by the Minister against the advice of the officers in his own ministry (for which some of them had to pay), against the advice of the Law Ministry, and against the advice of the Prime Minister himself.

One can only speculate at the amount of interests that caused a minister of the Government to so easily disregard the advice of the Prime Minister. However, just the resignation of the Minister is not sufficient, since the report by the CAG clearly lays down a huge loss for the Government, and says that there was deliberate action that led to this loss, and this needs to be investigated and the guilty (including the Minister and the various officials prosecuted). One does not really believe that this will happen, since the Government would like to believe that the resignation of the minister is enough of a punishment, and even if a CBI enquiry continues, the CBI is a tainted institution, with its past actions leading to a clear belief that the CBI is no longer independent when it comes to investigate something against the interests of the Congress.
But the main question that is now rebounding in the political arena is the role of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister runs the Government, and is responsible for the actions of the Government. The very role of oversight of any minister of the Government is one of the key roles of the Prime Minister, and for a scam of this amount, it is impossible to believe that the Prime Minister is not responsible (what is the Prime Minister then responsible for ?). In the past, it has been clear that the PM has known about the problems of the actions taken by the Minister, but due to coalition politics, has been unable to take action. Now, the PM is being indirectly questioned by the Supreme Court on why the PM did not take any action on a petition that called for the prosecution of the Minister (in reality, what the court is asking for is why the PM did not do anything, and for how much of this is he responsible). Such a direct questioning of the PM is unprecedented, and the questions, along with more media attention, very embarrassing for the Congress (combined with the attention on the Adarsh, the CWG, etc, it projects the Congress as a severely corrupt party). The only solace that the Congress has is some of the attention being focused on the BJP Government in Karnataka because of the corrupt allocation of land to the relatives of the Chief Minister, and that people’s memory is short.




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