TODAY -

Darker side of India 2010: Scams and Governance
- A critical analysis of the current national ominous events -
- Part 1

Paominlen Haokip *



While the year is coming to a close, and the radiant hope of another new year 2011 is round the comer, India is still reeling under political turmoil and pressures due to unceasing scams of ominous proportions. In days to come, the 'bitter-fruits' of the past and recent scams are bound to sicken the very integrity and image of the nation and its errant leaders.

This year, there have been unprecedented episodes of scams and scandals all over the country; we heard of PF (provident fund) Scam, sex-scandal in sports, CWG (Common Wealth Games) scam, Adarsh housing scam, and lately of 2G (second generation mobiles) spectrum scam and Kamataka land scps- the process of cleaning-up is still on; and hitherto, how ugly and despicable has the country's image been painted?

In one of the recent 'cartoonscape' of The Hindu, there was a lurid representation of the nation's degenerated and sorry state of affairs; observant reader might have noticed the big "coooooooooooooo... ruption" filling the entire rectangular box allotted for that day's cartoonscape, showing how low the Nation had slipped down from its benchmark of integrity and accountability due to successive scams and scandals.

Now, care has been taken in this critical study, to employ 'fair criticism'; and in my earnest desire to see a great nation of India with a corresponding vision for a prosperous state of Manipur, there seems to be no room for superfluous delighting in 'fault-finding', and any mention of the country's plight or its current-darker-side is an empathizing of the issues in question and the persons involved with an energizing hope of a brighter India.

The Darker Side

That within hours of US President's departure from the country, two top Indian leaders had to be sacked, surely epitomized the depravity of India's political standards of morality in financial ethics; indeed a dark side of the nation when, on the same day, Ashok Chavan and Suresh Kalmadi were sacked as Chief Minister of Maharashtra and as Congress Parliamentary Secretary, respectively.

Such a series of murky events lined-up since the beginning of the year. Hardly do we notice the 'candle of incorruptibleness' burning anymore in the dark comers of India; instead, leaders far and near blatantly involve themselves in building 'their own castles', negating the welfare of masses, while most Indians are living below the poverty line; poverty alleviation measures have not been consistently implemented, and often carried out in name only.

A couple of years from now, the eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-12) will culminate; but, will it be a culmination of a brighter India in the light of the set targets? Recently, an analytical presentation of my article on the' Millennium Development Goals (MDG)' was published in The Sangai Express, dated November 16, 2010, where the grim realities, in the context of India, were highlighted; sadly many targets have not been met so far, and the deadline for the MDG is 2015. Therein had I posited that corruption is antithesis to development; this 'darer side' of the picture is largely due to scams and scandals all over the country.

Corruption Defined

Corruption is defamed by C Aikin as 'the use of public power for private profit in a way that constitutes breach of law'. The Collins Cobuild English Language Dictionary defines it as "dishonesty and illegal behaviour in position of authority and power."

Basically, scam or corruption is a deviant behaviour associated with a particular motivation, namely that of private gain at the public expenses. In the Indian context, as per the Santhanam Committee, "any action or failure to take action n the performance of duty by a Government servant for some advantage is corruption."

Scam involving judges' misdemeanor

This year, during the month of July, P.D. Dinakaran was under the scanner; the Supreme Court collegium recommended that the former Kamataka Chief Justice be transferred to the Sikkim High Court, the smallest high court in the 'Country. This drastic action was taken to show displeasure over Justice P.D Dinakaran's defiance of all canons of judicial prepriety; for he had stuck to office amid welter of corruption and land-grab charges.

In addition, during the second week of November, 2010, Justice Soumitra Sen was removed :!Tom his post as Justice of Calcutta High Court. The move was initiated after Chief Justice K.G Balakrishnan, in 2008, wrote; to Prime Minister Manmohan recommending the impeachment proceeding against Sen,,"under the Article 124(4); this was on the basis of the findings of aurin-house inquiry, which held Justice Sen guilty of [mancial misconduct under Judges Inquiry Act, 1968.

The deplorable parallelism between the above two was that Justice Sen decided to cling to office, following the example of P.D. Dinakaran, who had earlier refused to resign in the face of flurry of corruption and land-grab charges; Sen had been found guilty of misappropriation of money he received, as well as misrepresenting facts about it. Defiance of judicial propriety draws attention to the absence of a quick and effective statutory mechanism to deal with errant judges.

Commonwealth Games Scam

The Commonwealth Games (CWG), despite facing the seemingly insurmountable problems at the eleventh hour, was a grand success; many of us heard the jubilant declaration of Michael Fennel, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, who said: "Delhi, you have delivered a truly exceptional Games."

However, since the infection of the CWG scam, involving over Rs. 70,000 crore, needed a thorough clean-up, the Central Government wasted no time in executing a timely action; immediately after the games, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) began the probing of alleged financial and other irregularities by asking MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) and all agencies concerned to submit replies to queries raised by it by October 31.

The queries focused on whether the norms had been followed on 'quality tests.' And as on October 31, 2010, a multi-agency probe into the CWG affairs was currently on, with the Prime Minister appointed special committee headed by V.K Shunglu, Central Vigilance Commissioner, Comptroller Auditor General of India, Income Tax Department, Enforcement Directorate and Central Bureau of Investigations looking into various Games-related irregularities.

In another case of [mancial irregularities, in response to an RTI plea, information was provided mentioning that the Games Committee spent a whopping Rs. 3.55 crore on Common Wealth Games Federation CEO Mike Hooper; an OC official stated that the contributions of foreign consultants did not justify such colossal expenditure.

Eventually, the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI), after registering two cases related to the Queen's baton Relay (QBR) held at London prior to the CWG 2010, on November 15, 2010, arrested two sacked senior officials of the CWG Organizing Committee (OG) ­T.S. Darbari and Sanjay Mohindroo - former Joint Director General and former Deputy Director General of the OC respectively.

The first case was registered under sections 120-B. 420,468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code and section 13(2) read with section 13(1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act against them. It is to be noted that these officials had been suspended from their posts earlier on August 5, 2010 for their alleged role in irregularities, forgery and cheating case, in the QBR in London when the issue came to light with the reference of the matter by the British authorities to Indian High Commission concerning huge transfers of money through the Royal bank of Scotland to AM Films, a little known London­based company.

On November 21, 2010, the CBI arrested sacked treasurer of Commonwealth Games Organising Committee M. Jayachandran in connection with the alleged bungling in the QBR in London last year; he was arrested after several rounds of questioning by the investigating agency. As per the prediction of November 23, 2010, the Delhi Assembly's Winter Session (to end on December 1) would be a 'stormy affair' with the Opposition BJP ceaselessly raising issues pertaining to the CWG scams.

On the same day, the Chief Minister of NCT of Delhi declared: "Delhi Games were the best ever. Delhi has earned a name in the Commonwealth Games." Being aware of the irregularities involved, she added: "If any irregularity is found, we will not spare;anyone."

To be continued...


* Paominlen Haokip wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at lenjose_l(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)uk
This article was webcasted on December 29, 2010.



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