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The Flat Rate

The Flat Rate
Bombay an "international finance centre"? No way. Not at least for the foreseeable future, with its dilapidated buildings, proliferating slums, terrible roads, overloaded trains, poor airports, inadequate water and sewerage systems. Take a look at the cag's recent report, a damning indictment of Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh's performance. It details the massive losses suffered by public sector undertakings, including a loss of over Rs 70 crore by the City and Development Corporation. On top of this has come startling revelations of police-underworld connections. Though the state home minister has given the director general of police, P.S. Pasricha, a clean chit (after a sting operation revealed the mind-boggling list of properties owned or booked by him), news reports clearly show what insiders and government officials knew all along: the nexus between the underworld and the police.

"Forget senior officers, even police inspectors are in league with the underworld—the policemen do them favours in return for property," I was told by a serving top-level police officer. In Pasricha's case, he, along with other IPS and IAS officers, was sold a flat in a cooperative society, the land of which was given virtually free by the government. They only had to pay for the cost of construction. In other words, flats now worth several crores were sold to them for a lakh or two. The stipulation that these flats could not be resold was later done away with. Politicians and judges—journalists as well, I am sorry to say—have got flats in a similar fashion.


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