By Tanaya Singh:
Here’s the end to one of the most adventurous years in terms of both, white and black, the good and the bad.Â At the dawn of this gigantic era, when everybody else is talking about the resolutions and future promises, let’s take a look back and peep into the grey areas; a few things that will hopefully be solved and should not be repeated. Read on and have a glimpse of the 5 scams that rocked 2010.
1) 2G Spectrum scam:
You talk of the biggest, the most talked about and the most baffling scams in India, this will undoubtedly top the list. Bet every person is hoping that nothing bigger than it happens, and this one remains at the crown position even ten years from now. In 2008, 2G spectrum licences were issued to private telecom companies at throwaway prices.Â By selling away the scarce airwaves at cheaper rates on a first come first serve basis, the then telecom minister Mr. A. Raja, cost the exchequer billions of dollars. The major telecom players, who got the spectrum with the exception of not following the norms, were Swan Telecom and Unitech. The conventional auction process was not brought into picture this time, and Raja ignored the demands of TRAI to auction the spectrum at market rates.
The end of his deeds was his resignation from the post of telecommunication minister. And as if the case was not already all hot and spices up, we saw the entry of Ms. Niira Radia with her memorable tapes. A lobbyist by profession, her telephonic conversations were taped by the Indian Income Tax department. These tapes trapped her of being a part of the 2G spectrum planning and other criminal wrongdoings. This brought in a lot of journalists, industrialists and ministers into the dirt. Basically one big puddle of mud filled in up with people from all the imaginable fields involved. If we quote Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), Swan got a license forÂ Rs.Â 1537 crore, sold 45% stake to Etisalat forÂ Rs.Â 4200 crore, Unitech Wireless got a license forÂ Rs.Â 1661 crore and sold 60% stake forÂ Rs.Â 6200 crore, thereby causing an overall loss of Rs.Â 1.76 lakh crore to the government. Now, with the opposition shouting and the prime minister offering to appear beforeÂ Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, we can only wait for the result.
The beauty of the show, Rahman’s song, winning medals, successful organization, the colours and the praises, none of these are enough to dominate or cover up the actual financial blunders behind the Commonwealth Games in India. A grand opening and an exquisite closing, with lucrative winners did obviously bring a smile on our faces. But nobody has forgotten the plight of the country a few months before the game, and nobody’s blind to the situation coming next. The sports ministry, then headed by Mr. Suresh Kalmadi is guilty of corruption in offering various tenders, payments to non existing parties, high prices and plotted delays in execution of contracts. While the estimated amount washed away is somewhere around 8,000 crore, CBI had to raid Mr. Kalmadi’s premises when it was out that some important documents with details of game deals have gone missing. As the probe goes on, this filth has tainted the image of India at the global front too because the depravity was travelling along with the baton.
Nobody could make the term “whistle blowers” as famous as Mr. Julian Assange. No concern about the source,Â just news, the truth and pure awareness is what WikiLeaks wants. It defines itself as “an international non-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymousÂ news sources andÂ news leaks.” On one hand Afghan war diaries and Iraq war logs came in front of the world and shook the foundations of the concerned parties, and on the other hand India saw our Gandhi family coming into picture. “Mrs Gandhi never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” became a very talked about phrase obtained from a 2007 cable. Rahul Gandhi was criticized all over India for voicing his fears regarding the Hindu extremists in front of the American ambassador. It’s like a source of national and international gossip, the gossip being totally political.
The land reserved for war widows and veterans of Kargil war, was taken by politicians, bureaucrats and army personnel. That’s the one line description of a scandal that perfectly portrays greed, insensitivity, schemes and fraud. Other than being allocated to the wrong people, the high rise in Colaba locality of Mumbai has also breached the environment ministry rules. The scam led to the replacement of Mr. Ashok Chavan by Mr. Prithviraj Chavan as the Maharashtra chief minister, under the shadow of loads of talks and discrepancies. On the way of being uncovered, it is being found that there are many layers to this concentric case. The Defence Minister said that all those who are found guilty in the case will not be spared. Let’s hope his words are true.
5) Citibank Fraud:
As the final icing on the cake of mud and dirt, Citibank gave every Indian a reason to sigh and ask “how could that go unnoticed?” The hero behind this scene is Mr. Shivraj Puri, working as the relationships manger with Gurgaon branch of Citibank. Puri lured investors into a fake scheme having very high interest rates. This was done with the help of forged circulars from Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). He opened a joint account in the names of Prem Nath, Sehna Prem Nath, and Deeksha Puri. Huge transactions had been made in this account according to initial investigations. Once the vulnerable clients were tempted for want of a lucrative scheme, Puri put their money in places of his interest. He came into light when the bank started receiving complaints from various clients about a scheme which was non-existent for the bank.
2010 brough India a fair share of tough times. While we had presidents visiting, the prince speaking and glory expanding on our motherland, we also had unlimited spheres to fight. So much so, that theÂ Enforcement Directorate (ED) is in need of more staff for proper probing.Â The New Year resolution for the country this time should surely be to clean up the mess and start afresh.