Thursday, December 31, 2009

Central Vigilance Commission

Yesterday's comments by CVC Chief Pratyush Sinha were actually the most ineteresting and deserving of national attention. It got lost in the more spicy follow-up of the Ruchika Girotra case.

If the CVC in this country can face problems in investigating high-profile matters then this country needs to get alarmed. His admission to CNN-IBN that while investigating high-profile cases even they face problems like delaying tactics etc. was quiet a scary prospect. It gets the alarm bells ringing in my ears.

His comments can be read at this URL:

I am very happy to note that he has also responded freely to the query about the changing nature of corruption in the govt. I, for one, completely agree that the larger mass of corruption is shifting from babus to the people sitting in important ministries. The direct hobnobbing of various ministers with the businessmen is certainly a very important starting point.

It is not that these things are any secret. These are all "dirty-open-secrets" of how governance is done, contracts are handed out, vested interests are created and protected. But this is probably the first time that a Chief Vigilance Commissioner has accepted these things openly.

The significance of this statement lies in the fact that accusations of corruption that have been brushed under the carpet may not happen as easily in future. The Telecom Scam amounting to almost Rs.60000 crores, the Rice Scam amount to around Rs.2500 crores and many others have not made an impact on the general masses had this fate because these numbers are unimaginable for them. It is indeed difficult for the masses to believe that scams at such humungous level can ever exist.

It will be interesting to see if the Fourth Estate will find those courageous journalist who will uncover these large scale scams and go public. I would like to see some journalist making it public that the Sethusamudram Project is also a Rs. 2500 crore scam. The rumors are that the Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping - Mr. T R Baalu - in the last government was from Tamilnadu and owns many shipping vessels, all under 30000DWT and that his son runs a dredging operations company. The Strait has a depth of 12mtrs only and therefore vessels under 30000DWT only can fare through that route. There are less than 5% vessels that are under 30000DWT and the narrow Palk Strait will not allow higher speeds and therefore vessels will not save any time by going through Palk Strait. Its only Mr. Baalu's ships that will benefit. And the continued need for dredging will give lots of money to his son's dredging company. We would like to see the media go after these rumors and accusations and bring them to light for the benefit of the public and make them more aware.

For ages, people have accused and spoken in hush tones about the nexus between Murli Deora, The Minister for Petroleum in the 14th as well as 15th Lok Sabha and the Ambani family that promotes Reliance. During the recent and ongoing feud between Mukesh and Anil Ambani, Mr. Deora intervened in favor of Mr. Mukesh Ambani. The country was wondering why Mr. Deora had to intervene in a private matter involving two brothers and the terms of settlement between the two of them. Is there only smoke or is there some major fire? Are these just rumors or is there any truth in these matters? What is the magnitude of these scams?

Whatever the matter be, it is important to answer these controversies in the favor of this nation. If these companies and individuals have benefitted hugely with some unreal personal wealth being created through favors from the Govt of India, then shouldn't the courts snatch the companies away from such individuals and put these companies on auction for other cleaner people to own and run these important economic pillars of this country and let the proceeds from such sale be invested in creating employment for the rural sector.

There are rumors about many senior politicians and there unreal wealth and involvement with various corporates. Someone owns an entire island in Indonesia and throws lavish parties there, someone owns Grape Vineyards and Wineries in South Africa, someone runs world's greatest breweries, brewing even for superbrands like Budweiser, so on and so forth. The journalists involved with the political circles surely know them all. But its upto their moral standards to bring this truth out in public. These things may create a chaos of sorts, but it will certainly bring in a greater order. Because these culprits in high positions go unpunished that we find common men encouraged to take to similar practices.

What belongs to this nation should be given back to this nation.

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