Corruption and the lack of accountability of the UPA government have become a major cause of concern for the entire country. All the major issues, which are currently in focus highlight these major failings.
The allocation of the 2G Spectrum was made by the government in the most arbitrary and corrupt manner. Spectrum was allotted at cheap prices and the norms were changed midway. The loss was caused to the public exchequer and gain to the private parties. The Parliamentary accountability has been set at naught by the official draft of the JPC, covering up the crimes of the UPA government thus raising a larger question whether Parliamentary committees are capable of a non-partisan investigation.
The Case against the Law Minister
The coal block allocation was arbitrary and suffered from the vice of nepotism. Favourites of the ruling party were preferred, even when there is a famine of coal with the power plants. An attempt has been made by the minister of law & justice, the officials of the Coal Ministry and the PMO to interfere with the CBI’s investigation and doctor the CBI’s status report being placed before the court. The CBI is not being candid either before the court or the country. Truth is slipping out only in instalments, particularly when it is being compelled to speak by the Supreme Court. The affidavit of the CBI director today, though couched in a careful language, effectively highlights the extent of interference made by the government and the efforts to conceal the truth. The following key points appear from the affidavit:
- Two law officers of the government namely the Attorney General and the Additional Solicitor General lied to the court. The ASG stated that the report had not been shared with the political executive. The truth is otherwise. The Attorney General, who was present at the meeting, and had himself made changes, has stated that he had not seen the report. The institution of the law officers has been devalued. The moral authority of some of these law officers has been completely eroded.
- The falsehood being propagated by the minister of law and justice that he has done no wrong and that no significant changes were made in the Status Report is factually wrong. The Paragraph 19 of the affidavit indicates the following changes:
- “The tentative finding about non-existence of a system regarding allocation, weightage and marks was deleted”. This clearly indicates that the factum of there being no system of giving weightage/marks for specific criteria and that the decisions were taken in an arbitrary manner was deleted.
- “The other tentative finding of non-preparation of broad sheets or charts by the Screening Committee, to the best of our recollection, was deleted by the Hon’ble Union Minister of Law & Justice .”- This indicates the fact that there are no records containing the calculations made by the screening committee and this fact was deleted.
- “Further from the Para 1.23 of the same report deletion of a sentence about the scope of inquiry with respect to legality of allocation, while amendments in law were in the process, was done by the Union Minister of Law & Justice.” The gravamen of the charge of the C&AG was that while the law was being amended, to give effect to the June, 2004 decision for allocation by bidding/auction and till 2011, for a period of eight years, nothing was done thus causing wrongful loss to the government. The Law Minister prevailed and deleted that part of CBI’s Status Report which confirmed what the C&AG had said.
- “The changes made in the Paragraph 2.8 of the final Status Report pertaining to PE4 about non-existence of approved guidelines for allocation of coal blocks incorporated at the instance of the officials of the PMO and the Ministry of Coal and the same were factually correct.“
The last of the above points is most significant. The officials of the Coal Ministry and the PMO are suspects in the said case where wrongful allocations have been made. They could be the potential accused in the case. The CBI Director’s affidavit states that the report was shown to the suspects and changes were carried out on their behest.
- Even though the CBI Director’s affidavit cosmetically states that the central theme of the Status Report was not altered, the above mentioned changes brought about at the instance of either the political executive or the suspects has interfered with crucial points in the affidavit, which may have a bearing on the final investigation. This is a case of the UPA government first involving itself in corruption, and thereafter indulging in cover up exercise by failing to provide unadulterated and truthful information to the Supreme Court. The Minister and the Ministry of Law can only advise on the question of law when their opinion is sought. They cannot interfere with factual aspects of the investigation, which they have done.
The Case Against the Railway Minister
The railway minister’s case is clearly a case of corruption. The UPA government is guilty of selling jobs. If senior jobs in the government such as the member of the Railway Board are being sold at exorbitant prices, the governance itself is getting debased. The significant aspect of the railway minister’s case is as under:
- The decision to promote Shri Mahesh Kumar is taken by the railway minister Shri Pawan Bansal.
- The actions of the railway minister in making appointment of Shri Mahesh Kumar are in rhythm with the CBI’s allegation that his nephew was promising the posting for a consideration.
- The middle men were no rank strangers. Shri Vijay Singla is the alter ego of Shri Pawan Bansal. They have intrinsic political links and are involved in an apparent web of commercial and business dealings.
- The perusal of the recorded telephonic conversation would show whether Shri Vijay Singla and Shri Sandeep Goyal were taking money on their own behalf or promising to get the work done through Shri Bansal. The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 gets invoked when a public servant either makes money himself or somebody else unfairly makes money because of him. All these telephonic conversations are admissible evidences against Shri Pawan Bansal under section 10 of the Evidence Act.
We are placing these facts in public domain since there is a huge public outcry against corruption and its cover up. The Prime Minister and the UPA government, in the past, tried to cover up scams such Cash for Votes, 2G spectrum allocation , CWG (Common Wealth Games) , Coal Block Allocation and are today threatening to cover up the cash for jobs scam. Both the case of the law minister and the railway minister are cases of either direct corruption or covering up corruption. Both ministers should be sacked immediately and the illegal acts committed by them must be investigated.
BJP's Sushma Swaraj is Leader of Opposition (Lok Sabha) and Arun Jaitley is Leader of Opposition (Rajya Sabha)
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