UPA : The most corrupt Government since independence

via http://www.bjp.org/ published on June 5, 2011

Resolution on corruption of the UPA Government passed in BJP National Executive Meeting at Lucknow.
Bharatiya Janata Party National Executive Committee Meeting Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh)
Resolution on Corruption of the UPA Government

The Government of UPA II under the Prime Ministership of Dr. Manmohan Singh has completed its second year in office. On the said occasion both the UPA Chairperson Smt. Sonia Gandhi and Dr. Manmohan Singh declared their resolve to take strong action against the menace of corruption. Nothing could be more ironical as this hollow declaration was being made in the backdrop of one of the own erstwhile Ministerial colleague, a senior Congress Member of Parliament and the daughter of the leader of an important constituent of the UPA detained in Tihar Jail on serious charges of massive corruption. It is indeed very important that these arrests were possible only because of a very assertive campaign by the opposition notably the BJP, vigilant media and lastly because of  monitoring by the Courts mainly the Supreme Court. Obviously, Dr. Manmohan Singh or, his Government cannot claim any credit because in stead of taking action he had given certificate of innocence to some of them. It is evident that Dr. Manmohan Singh presides over the most corrupt Government since independence. It lacks transparency, there is collusion at high level, no checks and balances and there is virtual collapse of system where scam after scam and scandal after scandal has become the order of the day. In fact, the Prime Minister maintained a “conspiracy of silence”, “culpability of inaction”, and “guilty of gross indifference” when nations wealth was being plundered by the then Minister right under his nose by a massive abuse of system and yet Dr. Manmohan Singh looked the other way. The silence of all powerful Smt. Sonia Gandhi was too conspicuous.

The series of scams and plunder of nation’s wealth are indeed long. However, some of the more prominent one are being mentioned.

Scam in the issue of License and Allocation of 2G Spectrum

The massive corruption in the allotment of 2G licenses in the Ministry of Telecommunication, Government of India, would remain the most shameful saga in the history of independent India. It is a copybook case of abuse and manipulation of system, misrepresentation and deception whereby selected few were favoured in the grant of license and precious spectrum, obviously, for a huge price. The facts are now too well known as to how when applications for licenses were publicly notified to be invited till 01/10/2007 then an artificial cut-off date of 25/09/2007 was created subsequently and all the applications filed between 25/09/2007 and 01/10/2007 were summarily rejected. The Prime Minister kept quiet when the rules of the game were changed after the game had begun. This was adversely commented by the Court.

The Prime Minister again kept quiet when the then Minister Mr. Raja openly flouted the direction of Dr. Manmohan Singh in his letter dated November 02, 2007 insisting for transparent mechanism for correct price of spectrum as in the year 2007 it was sought to be sold at the 2001 price when the teledensity in the country had increased manifold. The nation is entitled to know as to why as the head of the Government the Prime Minister did not intervene and stopped the entire process when licenses along with spectrum were being sold for a price in blatant violation of all the norms. Is he not clearly guilty of omission for which he has to account for 120 licenses were issued and spectrum allotted in a single day wherein many ineligible companies were also granted licences.

What is shocking is that in spite of a regular CBI case having been registered already, Dr. Manmohan Singh made a public statement on 26 Oct. 2009 that allegation against the then Telecom Minister Mr. A Raja was not correct. What kind of message he was giving to the CBI which directly works under him. When the Supreme Court took over the monitoring of investigation the same former Minister was among first to be arrested.

*           The Prime Minister has to answer to the nation as to why he allowed a scam of this magnitude to occur in spite of various objections raised by responsible quarters from time to time. On the contrary he continued to give certificate of innocence to the then Minister A. Raja till the middle of 2010. The role of the then Finance Minister Mt. P. Chidambaram also raises a lot of questions. Earlier the department of finance in accordance with cabinet resolution of 2003 was insisting that there must be a transparent mechanism for determination of spectrum pricing including public option. Surprisingly Mr. Chidambram on January 15, 2008 curiously, reportedly  took the position that as the licenses and spectrum have been allotted already on January 10, therefore the matter be treated as closed. Why this gross violation of cabinet norms at great cost to the nation. Obviously Mr. Chidambram has to answer many questions which requires proper investigation about his own role. Smt. Sonia Gandhi has also a lot to answer. As the Chairperson of the UPA and the President of Congress Party having the most decisive influence in the Government, what about her own responsibility when the nation’s wealth was being plundered in a Government of which she is the supreme leader.

When the CAG prepared a Comprehensive Audit Report on the Issue of License and Allocation of 2G Spectrum and calculated that the presumptive loss of price in the allocation of spectrum is almost 1.76 lacs crores then every attempt was made to condemn this finding and the present Telecom Minister Mr. Kapil Sibal publicly claimed in the Parliament that there has been Zero loss. Now, the CBI too during the course of investigation has found the loss running into thousands and thousands of crores and that too on an ad-hoc basis. The extent of loss prima-facie can be judged from the fact that in the 3G spectrum auction the Government against the target of 35,000 Crores earned a huge benefit of approximately 67,000 Crores and another Rs. 38000 crores by auctioning spectrum for broadband wireless access services. In spite of this the Prime Minister did not order any review as far as the 2G scam was concerned.

When Dr. Murali Manohar Joshi as the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee was examining the matter, then initially Dr. Manmohan Singh himself praised Dr. Joshi as a seasoned Parliamentarian and senior leader, who was doing a good job. He surprisingly offered to present himself before the Committee. However, when the committee led by Dr. Joshi decided to summon the Cabinet Secretary and the Secretary of the Prime Minister for questioning then all Parliamentary and Constitutional norms were abused in a process guided by many Central Ministers in order to frustrate any questioning. It is evident that this Government has a lot to hide. Now Dr. Joshi has submitted his report to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. The same be presented to the Parliament on the first day of the next session and also be made public.

*           Now the role of present Textile Minister Mr. Dayanidhi Maran who was the Telecom Minister from May 2004 to May 2007 has also come for serious scrutiny. He insisted and Dr. Manmohan Singh willingly obliged that spectrum pricing shall be taken out of the purview of Group of Ministers on the curious argument that there has been an agreement with the DMK. It had disastrous consequences for the country. Now, there are serious allegations that a particular mobile company was given undue favour after a foreign company purchased 74% equity in the said company, and thereafter allegedly it invested heavily through a subsidiary company in the family run business ventures of Mr. Maran. Apart from glaring conflict of interest and abuse of authority it was evident that Government decisions were up for sale if one is willing to pay the price/bribe. Obviously, his role also needs to be investigated.

We hope that all the ramifications of this scam would be properly examined by the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) and guilty would be punished in the trial. The compulsion of the coalition politics cannot be allowed to degenerate into the coalition of the corrupt. * The BJP demands that the responsibility of such a glaring case of fraud and corruption cannot be blamed only to an ally of the UPA (DMK). There are people sitting at very senior and top positions in the Government who facilitated and colluded in this loot. Obviously, their role also needs to be investigated and the investigative agency must be given full freedom to do so.

Loot of Common Wealth in the organisation of Commonwealth Games

The organisation of any international games is an occasion for achievement, celebration and rejoicing. Though, our sportsman did the nation proud yet in the organisation of Commonwealth Games held in Delhi few months ago the nation had to suffer international shame and global outrage because of monumental corruption. The BJP particularly our President Shri Nitin Gadkari has very commendably exposed the entire loot in the Commonwealth Games with facts and figures in different parts of the country. Today, Mr. Suresh Kalmadi is in jail along with many of his associates of the organising committee. But, obviously, the buck does not stop with him. He is only one of the players and the rot runs deep. * Every file was approved by the Cabinet, Cabinet sub committee, Group of Ministers, Concerned Ministry, Expenditure Finance Committee, PMO and lastly even the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister appointed a High Level Committee (HLC) headed by Mr. V. K. Shunglu (former CAG) and publicly declared that action would be taken in the light of his report. The fifth report once again confirmed that there were gross acts of omission and commission which facilitated undue gains to the contractors leading to wasteful expenditure and heavy loss to the Government. The report finds glaring irregularities in the award of contracts because there was a conspiracy from the very beginning to cause deliberate delay in the completion of the project in time, escalate the cost, seek more fund and award contracts at a very high cost because of short time span available. The committee has also severely commented against the role of the Government of Delhi headed by Smt. Shiela Dixit who concentrated all financial power in her hand, the various agencies like DDA, CPWD etc. as also the reckless acts of corruption of the organising committee headed by Mr. Kalmadi. Whether it was the commonwealth village, the renovation/construction of stadiums, the award of telecast right and even in the purchase of Air conditioners, chairs for the stadium to toilet papers; there was massive corruption every where.

The report specifically mentions that “the malaise runs deep and cannot be dismissed as a one of aberration for which relatively junior functionaries alone can be held responsible. Officers of the organisation concerned who were involved would have to identified on the basis of further investigation and suitable action be taken”. The committee further notes that “ there was a method in the madness and undue delay on projects was perhaps a deliberate attempt at higher levels to create a sense of panic with a view to giving undue advantage to all concerned”.

The total loss of taxpayers’ money because of massive corruption is about 70,000 crores in the organisation of Commonwealth Games. It is too well known that in the approval and the grant of financial sanctions some officers of the PMO were also involved. In stead of taking any action now the Delhi Chief Minister Mrs. Shiela Dixit has publicly rejected the report and the Prime Minister is again maintaining a conspicuous silence. The BJP demands as recommended by Shunglu Committee that all those sitting at higher levels be identified, their role be investigated and they be suitably punished. * The BJP further demands that the CBI must examine the role of the Delhi Government and also that of the Chief Minister Smt. Sheila Dixit in the Commonwealth Games Scam. Their culpability too is indeed obvious.

Compromising the Institutional Integrity of central Vigilance Commission (CVC)

The UPA Government surpassed all limits of propriety in forcing the  appointment of P J Thomas as the Central Vigilance Commissioner who is the Chairperson of the Commission. He had an admitted tainted record because he was charge sheeted in a corruption case relating to import of palmolein, which was pending for trial before a Court in Kerala. The committee entrusted to make recommendations apart from the Prime Minister and the Home Minister also included the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. Smt. Sushma Swaraj specifically objected to the recommendation of Mr. Thomas because he was accused in a corruption case. The Home Minister wrongly represented that he has been cleared. The request of Smt. Swaraj to postpone the consideration even for a day to ascertain the facts or, alternatively to appoint any one else was also turned down. Both the Prime Minister and the Home Minister forced the appointment of Mr. Thomas. It is to be noted that earlier as Telecom Secretary he had protested against the audit by the CAG over the issuance of 2G licenses on the ground that it was a policy decision and not subject to audit. What happened thereafter is too well known.

The CVC is an integrity institution. The Supreme Court while considering the challenge to his appointment found to its surprise that many noting between the year 2000 and 2004 of the DOPT recommending initiation of penalty proceeding against Mr. Thomas was not brought to the notice of the selection commission. The Court held that when institutional integrity in question and that too of a vigilant body like the CVC, the touchstone should be public interest and that the personal integrity has “certainly a co-relationship with institutional integrity”. The Court accordingly held that there was no fairness in the procedure and if one member dissents then the majority overruling it must give reasons for its disagreement.

Dr. Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister and as the Chairman of the Selection Committee was directly responsible for forcing the appointment of tainted officer as CVC to act as a watchdog against corruption. He is yet to clarify why he sought to overrule a very legitimate objection of Smt. Sushma Swaraj, the Leader of Opposition (LS) against Mr. Thomas.

Adarsh Cooperative Society Scam

This was again a copybook case of corruption. The Adarsh Cooperative Society was given prime land under the control of Defence Ministry ostensibly to build flat for the Kargil heroes and their widows in a prime costly area in Mumbai. However, it was grabbed by politicians and bureaucrats through manipulations and fraud. All the rules were manipulated with malafide intention to change the land use when Ashok Chavan was the Revenue Minister and Vilasrao Deshmukh was the Chief Minister. * Even the role of Mr. Sushil Kumar Shinde, former Chief  Minister and Present Union Minister is equally suspect. The beneficiaries included many relatives of the high profile Congress politicians including former Chief Ministers.

But for the outrage in the entire country over the insult and humiliation to the memory of the Kargil heroes even such a shameful scam would not have been allowed to be investigated fairly. Yet, there are doubts still because as reported in the media the file concerning the possession and control of plot by the Defence Department, surprisingly has become traceless. * Even the file granting environmental clearance has become traceless in the Union Ministry of Environment.

Antrix Corporation Ltd -Devas Multimedia Scam

Another scam was reported in the Department of Space, a department directly under the charge of Prime Minister. In 2005 Antrix corporation Ltd, commercial arm of ISRO launched two satellite for Devas Multimedia and gave large benefit of unrestricted use of 70 MHz of scarce S-band over a twenty years period including mobile telephony for a meagre Rs. 1000 Crores without auction or, determination of reasonable price. This is important because last year the Government earned Rs. 677
9 Crores by auctioning 15MHz of similar air waves for 3G mobile services and Rs. 38000 crores by auctioning spectrum for broadband wireless access services. No approval of the Government was taken nor, any monitoring done as to how such an irregular deal was allowed to take place. A decision to terminate the deal was taken only in July 2010 after five years of the deal. Only after a massive campaign in the country in view of the loss to the national exchequer, the deal was finally terminated in February 2011. Much before this termination the officers of the Devas Multimedia were in touch with high Authorities in the Government including in the PMO.

*          The Department of Space comes directly under the charge of the Prime Minister. When confronted with Gross irregularity his reply was the same as usual, he did not know about it or was not told about it. It seems odd and curious that alibi of lack of knowledge has become the constant theme whenever he is confronted with any irregularity. Dr. Manmohan Singh should we presume that you don’t do any monitoring or, you are in the habit of looking the other way, whenever any wrong or corruption takes place.

Black Money of Indian nationals laying in Foreign Banks

There is a great sense of outrage in the country over the gross indifference of the Government of India in taking earnest and effective steps in recovery of black money of Indian nationals deposited in foreign banks which are fruits of crime and corruption. Earlier, when the issue was highlighted by the BJP Parliamentary Leader Shri L K Advani in the last Lok Sabha election it was it was called an election stunt by Congress. Later on it was announced that meaningful steps would be taken after coming to power. The series of adverse comments which the Supreme Court has occasion to make against the inaction of the Government in a PIL relating to the issue itself exposes the lack of seriousness of the Government. We only hear announcements of constitution of study by a multidisciplinary committee and a five pronged strategy against black money. These are just phoney declaration without any meaningful intent to execute a time bound programme to unearth black money and share with the people of the country the details of accounts holders abroad. The USA in spite of double taxation regime could use the leverage of its economy to force the Swiss Bank Authorities to reveal the names of tax defaulters. India is no more a third world economy but an emerging economic power house having strong voice in G-20 nations. What prevents the Government from using this leverage? * United Nations Convention against corruption which became effective in December 2005 was reportedly ratified by India only last week. This is an important tool for developing comprehensive response to global corruption. But for the strong monitoring by the Supreme Court the Enforcement Directorate and other Agencies would not have been allowed to honestly prosecute the case of Hasan Ali who had many foreign accounts having huge funds flow and who is in tax default to the tune of about 76,000 crores. The reason is obvious, in interrogation of the accused persons, allegations have also been made against some important Congress leaders.

Scam after Scams keep on appearing with alarming regularity in this government.  The large scale irregularity in the export and import of food grain is too well known. How large quantity of food grain rotted in various godowns of the food corporation of India and common people suffered is also known to all. Now, there are reports and allegations of massive scam in the allocation of coal blocks to private parties. This includes the period when Dr. Manmohan Singh himself was the Coal Minister. Precious coal blocks were allotted in favour of private parties having questionable records and plans only on papers.

The above are only some of the glaring illustrations of massive corruption of both the UPA I and UPA II Government. Without doubt the Government headed by Dr. Manmohan Singh has witnessed the largest numbers of corruption related scams since independence. * The country witnessed the most shameful experience of Dr. Manmohan Singh Government surviving the vote of confidence by bribing some Members of Lok Sabha. Till date no meaningful or punitive action has been taken against those who are guilty. The entire UPA Government was at the beck and Call of Ottavio Quatrocchi in bailing him out of the Bofors Scandal only because he had frequent entry into the Gandhi household. How upon patent misrepresentation of a Government Law Officer, his London bank account containing the bribe money of Bofors Scandal, was released is too well known. Both the Prime Minister and Smt. Sonia Gandhi cannot escape their own responsibility in the suffering of India because of these scams. They need to come out clean. The nation is entitled to draw its own conclusions.

*           The BJP will continue to fight against and expose the series of scam and scandals that has become the defining features of the UPA Government. It has already undertaken all India campaign against the corruption and scams of the UPA in the past. The BJP demands that all the black money of Indians deposited in various foreign banks which are profits of crime and corruption must be brought back to India in a time bound manner by taking adequate, prompt and pro-active steps. It is equally important that all those including high and mighty, who are involved in various scams of the UPA Government must be prosecuted.

It is evident that Dr. Manmohan Singh government has lost all the moral authority to govern the country because the way it has permitted the plunder of National wealth which has brought shame suffering and humiliation to India and Indians. It has lost popular legitimacy and forefited the right to rule the country.

The BJP gives a clarion call to the people of the country to decisively agitate against the cancer of large scale corruption unleashed by the UPA Government which is eating into the vitals of the national polity, in order to ensure that those guilty regardless of their stature an authority are held accountable and are punished.

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