By Tanaya Singh:
Politics of any country has always been associated with scandals. Be it major or minor, no country is ever short of discussions regarding the political scams. Parties, politicians, business men, traders, journalists and the public blend up to stir the most talked about stories of all times. Some of these stories are surreal like fiction, and others lead to grave agitation and anger among all sections of the society. Here is a compilation of the biggest political scams in India during the past ten years.
- MADHU KODA SCANDAL – Ex-Jharkhand chief ministerÂ Madhu Koda is for now at the crown position of recent political scandals in the country. The sudden wave of shock that enveloped every state when the Income Tax (IT)Â DepartmentÂ and Enforcement Directorate (ED) unveiled the charges against the minister is incomparable. In November 2009, the labourer turned Chief Minister was charged with laundering a sum of 4000 crore and disproportionate income. Five currency counting machines were found at his residence. This shows the amount of money flowing through his route. The money was used to purchase three hotels in Thailand, mines in Liberia, companies in Dubai, and a lot more in Indonesia, Laos and Malaysia among others. According to times of India, the breakthrough came when officials seized records of Mumbai-based Balaji Bullion and Retailers, suspected to have been used to transfer at least $10 million to a Dubai front man, Abdul Bhai. Investigators suspect the firm could have sent as much as Rs 990 crore.Â All this and much more helped him build an empire as large as some of the leading business heads.
- BARAK MISSILE SCANDAL -Â Tehelka conducted a sting operation in 2001. According to the reports of the operation, fifteen defence deals made by the Indian government had involved some sort of kickback, one of them being the Barak Missile deal. This defence corruption involved a group of ministers including the ex-treasurer of Samata Party R.K.Jain who has been arrested.Â George Fernandes andÂ Jaya Jaitley are also named in the case. Â On October 23, 2000, contracts were signed by theÂ Indian government to purchase seven Barak systems at a total cost $199.50 million and 200 missiles at a cost of $69.13 million from Israel. This deal was carried forward in spite of the fact that many objections had been raised by the team which had gone to Israel to observe the missile and also by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who was then heading theÂ Defence Research Development Organization. This matter is being investigated by the CBI. According to the first information report released in 2006, 3% of the cost was taken by Mr. Fernandes and Jaya Jaitley as commission, while 0.5% was taken by R.K.Jain. The transaction was done by Suresh Nanda, an arms dealer and former naval officer, who was acting as a middleman in the case. George Fernandes had to resign his post as the Defence Minister though he was later reinstated.
- COFFIN SCANDAL – It seems that Mr.George Fernandes was a magnet for controversies during his days as the Defence Minister. Disclosures were made in 2001 that the Defence Ministry had purchased overpriced and inferior quality coffins for the soldiers who died in the 1999 Indo-Pak war. The government had paid $2500 per coffin which was earlier been purchased at a cost of $172 per coffin. Moreover these imported aluminium coffins were far below the required standards. The Lok Sabha was adjourned due to force by the leaders of Opposition followed by raging public anger and a demand for resignation of the defence minister. The Ministry is being blamed for the fact that there has been a failure regarding the investigation and monitoring of the arms dealers. Such dealers who had led to the 1980’s Bofors scandal have been banned in India now, but the government is not successful in the filtration of the agents. Because of such transactions the country is unable to meet the desired aim of preventing leakage of foreign exchange and tax evasion on agency commissions.
- NOTE FOR VOTE SCANDAL -Â The most ignominious political scandal took place in 2008 during the parliamentary debate on the motion which was to be followed by the confidence vote. The United Progressive Alliance which was the majority holding parliamentary party. Three MP’s of the opposition party hotfooted into the parliament in midst of the ongoing discussion and began waving large bundles of money. They laid the claim that Dr. Manmohan Singh’s party had been trying to bribe and refrain them from voting in favour of the BJP after the Left Front had withdrawn its support. This disgraceful event was cut off the air. The BJP wanted resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with the claim that they had evidence and video tapes to support their accusations. The party also criticised news channel CNN-IBM for not divulging the videotape covering the bribery. This tape was aired in august 2008.
- POLITICAL WIRETAP SCANDAL – A recent scandal burst up with the revelation that since 2006, the government intelligence services had been monitoring the telephone communications of few senior political figures. According to the Outlook magazine the United Progressive Alliance and the Indian National Congress ordered intelligence officers to tap the telephone communications of several politicians including Bihar state Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat, and minister for agriculture Sharad Pawar. The party also used the tapping technique to investigate the conversations of opposition leaders during the July 2008 no-confidence motion on the Indo-US Nuclear Deal.
All this certainly proves that in India we will never run short of scandals and scams. Have more to add to this list? Drop in a comment or tweet us @YouthKiAwaaz