By Syed Ali Mujtaba
The corruption allegation against the Congress rule had reached its crescendo in 2014 and its reverberation facilitated the BJP government to come to power with thumping majority. The man personifying the aspirations of the millions of Indian had given the assurance to country that neither I will indulge in corruption nor allow anyone else to do that. Like a pied piper of Hamelin he lulled the nation that he would to rid the country of corruption.
The Hindu newspaper report provides clinching evidence that PMO was hobnobbing with the negotiation with the purchase of Rafael aircraft from France. It’s the PM who was presiding over corruption in the country. After this report the onus is on the government to come up with equal clinching evidences to say ‘Nay.’ Denial in media or public forum won’t convince the nation. This is no small issue and cannot be brushed under the carpet as it involves the PMO, the highest executive office that runs the country.
This new evidence is a fit case to be heard by the Supreme Court which can reopen the case where it has already given a clean chit to the government. This is a clear cut case of corruption in the highest office of the country and the PMO is indicted in this case. The Supreme Court intervention is necessary because this development undermines the entire edifice of the country.
At another level it is an interesting tussle between the judiciary and the executive and who is higher of the two remains to be decided in the country. So there is lot of burden on the judiciary to handle this case. . Definitely an impartial investigation is required in this case but will the apex court reopen the case and call the investigation as to who is misleading the nation.
Can the Supreme Court call the parties concerned and come clean on right or wrong doings in this case. It’s a testing time for the entire nation. Will the PMO wash its dirty linen in the Supreme Court? Can it deny on wrong doing standing in the dock of the Supreme Court.
The erstwhile Congress-led UPA-II dispensation at the end of its tenure, had acquired a reputation of being mired in many corrupt deeds. It’s the same “odium” is now attached to the Modi government.
The American business magazine ‘Forbes’ has published an article giving graphic account of how corruption is still thriving under Modi’s regime. It says five years ago, the Indian people gave Narendra Modi the chance to realize his big promise: clean up the corruption in India but today, Modi’s promise remains a promise. Corruption is still thriving in India, in all the usual places.
The reputed magazine cites evidences of string of high profile scandals that has shook Modi’s administration. To name a few is the murky Rs 60, 000 crore weapons deal with France to purchase 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts. Then the Rs 200 crore bank fraud uncovered last year at the Punjab National Bank.
The Transparency International has documented corruption under Modi regime ranking India at 78 out of 175 countries on corruption index. The recent ranking is worse than the 2015 ranking. These findings have surprised Indians because Prime Minister Modi has come to power with a promise to free India from the vice of corruption.
Meanwhile, a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) states that India is ranked among the “worst offenders,” in terms of graft and press freedom in the Asia Pacific region in 2017. This is another damaging report on Modi government performance since it had come to power to free India from corruption.
After coming to power Modi government took some bold move to control corruption. He banned 500 and 1000 rupee notes to get rid of “black money.” However his move miserably failed to achieve any results. The government could recover fake currency only to the tune of Rs. 41 crore, which accounted for only 0.0027 per cent of the total currency that came back into the system following notes ban.
It appears that Modi government has been fighting corruption among the country’s poor but was presiding over corruption in the high places, mostly among the rich of the country. The Rafael deal and the Punjab National Bank cases are clear cut examples to explain this trend.
Whatever may be the government’s statistics on the GDP growth rate and on the developmental index, India remains a breeding ground of corruption and crony capitalism under Modi regime. The Modi government failed on both the fronts that were major allegation against the previous government. However after coming to power the Modi government neither was able to spread the benefits of economic growth to the masses nor could it rein in the crony capitalism. On the contrary narrow elite thrived under the Modi regime.
A just a random survey in India now to measure the change in the life style of the common Indians would surely respond in negative with the majority saying that their lives have not improved even a notch since ir lives have even changed for worse.
India’s situation is neither new nor unique. Every successive government doles out similar promises to the masses of ending poverty and bringing prosperity to the country. However, after coming to power such populist governments become a breeding ground for corruption and the rise of crony capitalism. This is exactly what has happened under the Modi regime. He came to the office with the promise to change this situation of the people but actually after coming to power he made rules and regulation that helped only few elites and the masses continue to reel under misery.
Now, it’s the Congress Party under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi is selling new dreams to change the country, once it’s voted to power. His promises are so lofty that it has made social activist, Madhu Kishwar to tweet ‘Wait Till Rahul Gandhi Promises Free Sex for every adult in India.’
Indian journey since 70 years or so has been abysmally a low speed train ride. Who, How, When it will change only a Indian politician can tell, the people in large are only a witness to the inchoate images of changing India.
[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at [email protected]]