Volcker report: The Congress Dilemma

via Mahadev published on November 6, 2005

If one goes back to the history of the Congress party it will be well known that corruption is dissolved in its blood and hence it could be considered as its legacy.

Starting from Krishna Menon’s jeep scandal after Independence, the Mundhra deal, Dharma Teja, K D Malaviya’s oil scandal and Pratap Singh Kairon’s high handedness and his corruption ridden sons are some in the list of Jawarhal Nehru’s rule. Though he was not interested in amassing wealth, he often preferred to close his eyes to all these corruption charges. When some pointed out to him about the misdeeds of Kairon, the Independent India’s first Prime Minister shot back “what if some national money is misused, but he works and produces results”.

When it came to his daughter’s term the first Lady Prime Minister of India from the Nehru dynasty non-challantly remarked “corruption is a worldwide phenomenon”. Therefore, it seems that they never attached any importance to these issues.

Probably because of this legacy, during Rajiv Gandhi’s rule the scandals such as the Bofors and housing and hawala scams took place. Now it is the Volcker Committee report indicting the country’s Foreign Minister Mr Natwar Singh and the Congress party. Both the Minister and the Congress had denied the charges and the latter had went to the extend of deciding to send legal notice to the U N.

Besides, it has launched its traditional tactics to defeat criticism regarding corruption among congress leaders of using th socialists or the radicals to shout down and silence such objectors. Now the all the left parties who are backing the Congress to rule the country have come out vociferously in support of Mr Natwar Singh.

According to political analysts Indira Gandhi perfected this art by using her shouting brigade and vocal ministers and members of parliament to do her bidding to silence the critics o corruption rampant in her name. This legacy was carried on by her son Rajiv Gandhi who used his own new set of imperial guard with loud speakers in their lungs, to silence the opposition. The game continues even to this day in one form or the other to defeat the attack on mega scandals and stone walling any attempt to bring guilty to book.

The UN Committee headed by Paul A Volcker, has named Mr Natwar Singh and the Congress non-contractual beneficiaries of Iraqi oil sales. The Congress has dismissed the report as baseless.

Meanwhile, the former Joint Chairman of the Indo-Iraq Business Council and Jordan-based NRI businessman Mr H S Meije revealed in a TV channel interview that Natwar Singh who led a congress delegation to Bagdad in Jan 2001 when that party was in opposition in India, personally handed over Sonia’s letter to Saddam.

He also confirmed that Natwar’s son Jagat Singh had visited Iraq several times and had accompanied the Congress delegation in 2001, which is said to have been admitted by the Foreign Minister.

However, the spokesperson of the Congress has denied Mr Meije’ claim. The opposition has demanded the resignation of Mr Natwar Singh besides constituting an independent inquiry into the whole issue.

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