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Top 5 Political Scams of the Last Decade

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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.

  1. MADHU KODA SCANDAL – Ex-Jharkhand chief minister 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) Department 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. All this and much more helped him build an empire as large as some of the leading business heads.
  2. BARAK MISSILE SCANDAL - 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. George Fernandes and Jaya Jaitley are also named in the case.  On October 23, 2000, contracts were signed by the 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 the 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.
  3. 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.
  4. NOTE FOR VOTE SCANDAL - 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.
  5. 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

You must be to comment.
  1. Tarun Kothari

    :O i thought the 2-G spectrum scam was the mother of all scams

  2. Tanaya

    then i think i missed the mother of scams….thanks fr addin tarun.. 🙂

  3. Adwait Singh

    Could I get a briefing about the telangana scam

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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