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Probe into Delhi 2010 CWG
|by K. Gajendra Singh|
Another wild goose chase - yawn - have seen this rancid movie before.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked VK Shunglu, a former auditor-general to investigate into allegations of corruption and mismanagement that brought shame to India in the run-up to the Delhi Commonwealth Games, a day after the closure ceremony on 15 October. Shunglu will be assisted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and other agencies, and submit its findings within three months. Retired lackluster government officials and pliable senior judges awaiting such probes get extensions and prolong enquires into years .Mostly it is a waste of money and time.
The investigating panel will look into the “organization and conduct of the games, fix responsibility for the alleged irregularities and also prepare a dossier on the lessons learnt for future events.” The investigators had drawn up a list of more than 20 officials - including the organizing committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, a Member of Parliament - whose role will be probed for financial bungling and administrative lapses. While the CAG will look into suspected misappropriation of funds, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) will probe the routing out of the money. The CBI and Central Vigilance Commission will examine tenders and bidding documents for various games-related infrastructure projects.
By all accounts Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh heads perhaps one of the most corrupt governments in India’s post-independence history, with latest scams like controversial G-2 sale (even queried by a Supreme Court Judge) and many others. It recently appointed PJ Thomas, former official linked to G-2 loot the new Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) against opposition from many quarters. Jimmy Lyngdoh, a former Chief Election Commissioner of unimpeachable integrity and others have filed a writ petition against Thomas’s appointment. CVC, who oversees the working of the CBI, the appointment of whose director by the ruling regimes, whether the current UPA or the last NDA regime is always controversial and against the guidelines, laid down some time ago by Chief Justice of India J.S Verma. Neither the ruling coalition nor the opposition wants an independent CVC or director of CBI since when in power they manipulate the agency against political and other opponents. So do not hold your breath.
Media and others were also surprised at the terms and the scope for the investigations, which have since been since enlarged. The infrastructure, related projects like Delhi Metro and other preparations fall under Housing Minister Jaipal Reddy and Chief Minister Shiela Dixit who have not been explicitly covered by the probe.
Thieves Fall Out
CWG ‘s Organizing Committee (OC) chief Suresh Kalmadi was snubbed by excluding him at the post games receptions for the successful athletes by MM Singh and Congress party Chief Sonia Gandhi. Kalmadi is not happy with Delhi Chief Minister Mrs. Sheila Dikshit's remarks targeting the OC for corruption.
Reacting to her comments, Kalmadi said, "Delhi Chief Minister Mrs. Shiela Dikshit's aspersions on corruption in the Organizing Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi are most disappointing and uncalled for. It is not right to deflect and point fingers at others when she must indulge in self-reflection on corruption in her own departments."
Mrs. Dixit had said on Saturday that the "suspicion" of corruption in the Commonwealth Games is on the OC headed by Suresh Kalmadi and welcomed the "instantaneous" probe ordered by the Prime Minister which would clear the "cobwebs".
The process of peaceful massive social engineering through competitive party politics and reservations in favor of the disadvantaged since independence did unleash social, political and economic forces hitherto unseen in Indian history, in the process rearranging its polity. It shattered to some extent the Brahmin-imposed village autonomy based on a rigid hierarchy of priests, landowners, traders, artisans and untouchables, which had survived Muslim and British rule.
Soon, former bus conductors, petty smugglers, village pehelwans (wrestlers), and the progeny of peons could rise to the highest levels of government as chief ministers and cabinet ministers, as shown by the Lals of Haryana, the Yadavs of Uttar Pradesh and others. Imagine the creative and other energies released into the system, with the profession of politics providing an ambitious and determined person, but poor, uneducated, socially and economically disadvantaged, the opportunity to work his or her way up the system.
Unfortunately, in this free-for-all environment, criminal elements, after first helping the politicians in vote "gathering and controlling", like the Arab's camel, have moved into the tent (of power). And the system's inbuilt resilience for corrective action has been lost. After watching the slide into dishonesty, chicanery and total disregard for all civic norms, first the Election Commission and then the Supreme Court took some measures to strengthen these independent institutions, but with little success.
The "Hindu" perception of Dharma and the rule of law is often quite ambivalent. Hindus believe that by propitiating local deities and gods (now the local politician, now the police sub-inspector), one can escape punishment. The checks and balances of a truly democratic system have been weakened by all political parties. The institutions of the judiciary and the media, so easily tempted by wily politicians, have been co-opted and do not fulfill their duties without fear and favor.
The media should keep a watch on political parties and the bureaucracy. The Indian media has become a poor copy of USA, where five corporate conglomerates control 90% of media, now called communications (communicating and disseminating the interests of the owners.)There may be some free-for-all among the Indian media, but they have largely lost their mission and professional integrity. Many of them are compromised by study grants and well-paid visits to the West for seminars and short courses. Some media barons have an unholy relationship with politicians, not for principles, but for pelf and power. They feed on each other.
There is something rotten in the (Judicial) State of Denmark
At a seminar in Chandigarh two years ago on the 'Responsibility of Judicial System towards the Society', Supreme Court judge G S Singhvi said that the judicial system had become a business in the eyes of the people. He said that due to the harassment suffered by the common man in his struggle for justice, 95 per cent of the people do not go to courts at all, suffering silently. "Those 5 per cent, who do go, wait in queue for many years, empty their pockets to hire a lawyer. It's a nightmare for the common man --," adding that this was the reason people had started taking law in their hands. (The judicial system is therefore openly and brazenly misused by the government, the rich, the politically powerful and the criminals).
The judicial redress will remain a far cry in India where eight of the last Chief Justices of India’s Supreme Court were proclaimed to be corrupt according to a public declaration by senior Supreme Court advocate Shanti Bhusan, a former federal law minister of India. He has challenged the Supreme Court to charge him for Contempt of the Court .There has been no takers so far.
Unless India transforms it polity, it will further resemble the 11th century at the time of the invasions from the northwest, or during the last centuries of Moghul rule, when every job was for sale .Groups of Marathas, Jats, Rohillas, Sikhs and invaders roamed around the country looting and inflicting misery on the suffering masses of Hindustan. Now these gangs have formed political parties and loot and oppress common people. It is said that to become a police constable a bribe of Rupees 3 to 5 lakhs has to be paid .There are reports of job of Mumbai’s Commissioner of Police being auctioned to among the highest top policemen.
Pernicious Hold of the caste system and maltreatment of women
Since women athletes have done unexpectedly well in CWG 2101 in spite of lack of facilities or incentives by politician/official controlled sports bodies and even sexual abuse, it is worthwhile to look at the gender discrimination in India as laid out in Hindu scriptures,
In India’s Brahmin ordained apartheid like divided society since millennia there has been little weakening of its hold since 1947 or equality of the sexes guaranteed by the Constitution. The women in real life remain relegated after the religious law giving and enforcing Brahmin fraternity , warriors and nominally ruling caste of Kshatriyas , the trading and agriculture community of Vaishyas and even the Dalits ( former and in the countryside ,still untouchables). Muslims have become the new untouchables as shown by the discrimination against them and in various studies and reports .The Hindu ruling elite have co-opted the Ashrafs among Muslims, who enjoy the same status as Brahmins in Hindu polity .But many a times even well-educated and rich Muslims cannot buy or rent a flat in Hindu controlled housing complexes even in Mumbai.
Violation of the Constitution by External Ministry’s Pinstriped Khaps
A girl child is still given food the last in the family, so it is with her education, with female feticide, bride burning for dowry. The honor killings by Khaps aka caste councils for marrying outside obscurantist medieval customs are still a common practice in many parts of India, especially in the north. The Khaps even want modern laws reversed.
For almost half a century pinstriped Brahmin led Khaps in external affairs ministry, in total violation of India’s Constitution, destroyed many diplomats’ lives and careers for wishing or marrying foreigners. Thus the medieval mindset permeates even in the so called modern educated milieu. Brahmin Foreign Secretaries resisted this obscurantist attitude to the end e.g. a vindictive Maharajkumar Rasgotra telling a lie (on record with eminent journalist Jyoti Malhotra) and Venkateshwaran dismissing legal opinions of Justice Rajender Sachchar and eminent legal luminary Soli Sorabji that the Ministry’s rule was ultravires of the Constitution with Tamban arrogance and disdain. The Ministry had never once consulted the ministry of law on this rule since 1947. (Watch this space for more).
A few years ago, the Shankaracharya of Puri declared that women have no right to learn Sanskrit or read Vedas. Shankaracharya mostly a Brahmin is like Ayatollah Khomeini, a jurist – consult in Shia Iran, to maintain Brahmin control over Hindu society by denying education to non-Brahmins and women. Brahmins, about six percent of India’s population including obscurantist cranks and charlatans continue to rule and flourish all over India, with many of them named Ananda (bliss) spreading swamis, preachers and priests on religious TV channels. Some have been charged with, molestation, rapes and other crimes like Catholic priests all over the world.
Sanskritisation and the Neo-Brahmins
Do as I tell you to do and not what I do myself – A Brahmin saying
But the results since independence have been quite distressing and depressing. New families /dynasties from OBCs and other lower castes and classes have become the neo Brahmins and occupy the top ladder in their caste groups as do Brahmins among Hindus. They copy and behave like Brahmins i.e. behave as if they are above law. It does not and will not bring in equality before the law. The entrenchment of caste system has been strengthened because India copied the flawed and totally unsuitable British Electoral Law of the first past the post for elections which was OK because of their history and political evolution. (The British is a highly stratified polity: us and they).
This does not speak well about our so called wise men who framed India’s Constitution. Britain evolved a two party system over centuries while no such thing existed in India in 1947 nor was it likely any time soon. It should have been obvious that India’s heterogeneity needed a different electoral system. The result is that any united caste group with even 25% share in a state can acquire power after getting only around 35% of the votes cast. This regularly happens in Haryana where Jats with 22% of the total population rule the roost. Lalu Yadav misruled Bihar for 15 years combing Yadavas (23%) and Muslims. The manifestoes cater for a caste grouping only, fraction of the electorate. All political offices are then cornered by the family and the caste group. Thus the caste and sub-caste divisions have been strengthened.
Now that a 3rd political party has emerged in Britain, they have announced possible changes in the electoral law. The voter will have first and second preference votes. One who gets one plus 50% of the votes cast will be elected as peoples representative. But in India where we go to Vedas of eternal guidance for inspiration, almost everything, we will not change what we have copied from the British. There is no serious discussion to change the flawed electoral law, which is prima facie against the principle of democracy and peoples’ representation in the Parliament. The village yokels and the urban riffraff which are getting further criminalized and now occupy the legislatures seem quite happy with shameful happenings, like fights and violence and the sale of votes at every change or likely change of government. Democracy has been perverted.
Incredible India or Scams India
Indian economic decision makers led by PM Manmohan Singh and Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, both imbued with the theories and practices of Washington Consensus outfits like the IMF and the World Bank , created to safeguard US interests, are more or less following US policies, except perhaps with some modifications like not letting normal banks in India to function as investment banks and invent and create hundreds of trillions of crazy financial instruments, benefitting only the banksters. US economic policies brought down the prestigious institutions like Lehman Brothers and Meryl Lynch among others in 2008 and will certainly lead to US economic denouement sooner than later.
Americans believe that they can loot money from wars, creating reserve currency and globalization. They have created trillions of money on computer screens only in last few years. Indians believe that when God gives them opportunity for amassing wealth by fair or foul means, they should embrace it. It is God’s gift. One can get away, since rule of law can be outflanked. Indian legal institutions can be exploited to delay and obstruct any punishment after financial wrongdoings and venality. Apart from the ongoing CWG scam, let us look at some other scams.
In early 1990s there was Harshad Mehta, an Indian stockbroker, known as the 'Big Bull'. He triggered a rise in the Bombay Stock Exchange in the year 1992 by trading in shares at a premium across many segments. Taking advantages of the loopholes in the banking system, Harshad and his associates triggered a securities scam diverting funds to the tune of Rs 4000 crore (Rs 40 billion) from the banks to stockbrokers between April 1991 to May 1992. He died of a massive heart attack in 2001, while the legal issues were still being litigated. He was very popular and an icon for the Indian public. Everyone wanted to become rich overnight like him.
Then there was Abdul Karim Telgi, a convicted-counterfeiter. He earned money to the tune of several billion dollars by printing counterfeit stamp paper. His 300 agents sold the fakes to bulk purchasers, including banks, FIs, insurance companies, and share-broking firms. His monthly profits were estimated in the neighborhood of Rs 202 crore (slightly more than US $40 million). The size of the scam was estimated to be more than 43,000 Crore Rupees. Such scams cannot be operated without the full support of the politicians. Under the influence of the truth serum, Telgi is said to have blurted out the names of some prominent Indian politicians which he was coerced to recant. He has recently been sentenced but the political heavy weights behind this scam remain free.
Then there is the perennial Bihar Fodder Scam, with an alleged embezzlement of about Rs 950 crores (US$ 206.15 million) from the government treasury. This theft involved many Bihar state government officers, business people and even chief and other ministers belonging to various political parties led by Lalu Yadav, Dr. Jagannath Mishra and others. It involved fabrication of "vast herds of fictitious livestock" for which fodder, medicines and other equipment was supposedly procured. Although the scandal broke in 1996, the theft was spread over two decades. It revealed, and is an example of the mafia rule having penetrated several state-run economic sectors in the country.
It is said that the government of India is really not interested in extraditing the notorious Mumbai gangster Dawood Ibrahim, resident in Karachi, Pakistan and now a collaborator with Pakistan aiding ISI in various terrorist activities in India in general and Mumbai in particular. His interrogation, if extradited would indicate his linkages with many prominent politicians and rich persons in Delhi, Mumbai and elsewhere.
The biggest recent corporate scam in India involves one of the most respected (!) businessmen. InfoTech Satyam founder B. Ramalinga Raju who resigned as its chairman after admitting cooking up the account books. He showed "fictitious assets with real ones" through Maytas acquisition which failed, and he decided to confess to the crime. It involves a fraud of about Rs 8,000 crore (Rs 80 billion). The government stepped in and with help of another private sector company set the affairs right i.e. sweeping the misdeeds under the carpet. But suspicions remain! Who knows what is hidden in various accounts of other private companies all over India.
In 1996 CBI seized Rs. 3.6 crores in cash concealed in bags and suitcases from the official residence of Ex-union minister Sukhram. In February 25, 2009, Sukhram was sentenced to three years' imprisonment and told to pay a fine of Rs two lakh. Court also ordered forfeiture of his disproportionate assets worth Rs 4.25 crore. He appealed to the Higher Court and is free and enjoying life. There are many such cases of ministers and Chief Ministers who after conviction have got stay orders from higher courts and will enjoy their ill-gotten wealth till they pass away.
Even at the time of the 2004 Athens Olympic, the Greek media was full of reports of massive corruption i.e., inflated and rigged up costs and wrong doings, something like Delhi’s 2010 CW Games.
Writing in Aljazeera net of 10 May 2010 Mark Cochran said that in the biggest multilateral economic bailout ever attempted over the next three years, Greece will receive $146 billion from Euro-zone countries and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to lift the bankrupt country out of its debt crisis. But Greece's fundamental problems remain unresolved: corruption and massive tax avoidance which fuels the black economy. Popular anger is growing because of the tax rises, wage reductions and savage public spending cuts required as part of the Eurozone/IMF deal.
Blaming the Olympics
Many Athenians believe their economic downfall began with the 12 billion euros spent hosting the 2004 Olympic games. The world-class sporting facilities now lie largely abandoned.
Costas Bakouris, now the corruption watch dog who ran the Athens Olympics Committee said,
"I have seen many assessments of what it takes to make, let's say, a 15,000 seat stadium and I have seen how much it cost Barcelona and Atlanta and how much it was in Sydney and the estimate we used to have in Greece for some of those, it was anywhere between 50 per cent more to four times more," he says. "So therefore I knew that there was probably a lot of corruption and other things and therefore it cost a hell of a lot more."
There is a saying that Greece is a poor country full of rich people. As the good times rolled through the 1990s and soft loans and grants poured in from the European Union, luxury and fashion was just one industry that boomed. (India has FDIs and Sensex zooming up. India, where 70% of population subsists on less than a dollar per day, with India's neo-liberal policies favoring the rich and the crooks, you have private jets, helipads, yachts and huge mansions costing US$ Two billion).
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