CONGRESS CULTURE BREEDS CORRUPT VULTURES

THE OTHERSIDE

Indian Congress founded in 1886 was dilly dallying between Dominion status, which meant independence with a common king and independence with no such binding to a titular head. Only in 1930 it ended its vacillation and proclaimed independence as its goal. After independence the purpose for which Congress party came to the scene had successfully accomplished. Dr.Ambedkar said “Congress was like an army recruited not for the purpose of carrying on Parliamentary democracy, but for the purpose of carrying on political warfare against a foreign government. Seeing this Mr. Gandhi very wisely suggested that the Congress be dissolved and new political parties on party lines are formed for conducting the Government. But leaders of the party were ready in their tents with their clothes to take in their hands the reins of the Government. They refused to listen to Mr. Gandhi’s advice.

Q: Why Gandhi wanted the dissolution of the Congress once India obtained independence? What made Gandhi suggest the dissolution of the Congress party?

A: Andhra leader T.Prakasam went on collecting donations from people and in many meetings purse was handed over to him, which became a debatable topic in the media. Mahatma Gandhi without naming anyone in general wrote against the practice of receiving purses from people in his magazine Harijan. Sardar Vallababhai Patel wrote angrily to Mr.T.Prakasam and sought explanation. Patel wrote it will set a bad precedent. Mr.T.Prakasam replied that people willfully contributed to compensate his sacrifices during freedom movement. Since Mahatama Gandhi condemned strongly Mr.T.Prakasam handed over the money collected into the coffers of the Congress party. Mahatma Gandhi wanted to write calling for expulsion of Mr.T.Prakasam but was persuaded to drop that idea by Jawaharlal Nehru and Patel. Konda Subba Rao, the whistle blower who brought out this corrupt practice also wrote to Congress President Rajendra Prasad. Congress President asked Congress Secretary Shankar Rao Dev to probe the charges against Former Chief Minister T.Prakasam and then Chief Minister Kumarasamy Raja. Since he could not decide the matter it was handed over to a three member committee comprising Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad and Sardar Patel, who exonerated Mr.T.Prakasam and let off other Ministers since they were not in office and thus closed the chapter in February of 1950.

This one case itself justified the suggestion of Mahatma Gandhi that Congress should be disbanded. Corruption was a matter for party to decide and exonerate. This golden rule enunciated by Nehruvian years was sincerely followed till SG scam era. Sorry 2G scam era under Sonia Gandhi’s puppets governing India is what led to SG scam, Sonia Gandhi scams.

The Public Accounts Committee which unearthed the Jeep Scam of then Defense Minister Krishna Menon, in its 9th report , told the matter must be handed over to a single or plural judge and the Nehru led Government of the day wrote on 1954 December 18 to the Public Accounts Committee and urged to reconsider its suggestion for judicial probe. When the Public Accounts Committee stood firm, the Government of the day closed that file.

Thus Congress set another bad precedent by throwing the Report of the Public Accounts Committee into dustbin and made mockery of Parliamentary democracy.

In the famous Mundra scam, the enquiry commission headed by Justice Chagla indicted Finance Minister Mr.T.T.Krishnamachariar and he had to resign, and while accepting his resignation Jawaharlal Nehru gave TTK a conduct certificate hailing his cleanliness, thus brushing aside a Report of an Enquiry Commission. Thus Congress set up a third precedent to throw enquiry commission reports into archives, which resulted in all political leaders inducted by subsequent enquiry commissions getting away without punishment.

Hence Mahatma Gandhi’s timely warning to disband Congress as soon as independence was attained assumes significance.

Q: Nira Radia is now famous, Win Chadha was lobbyist in Bofors deal, and the role of lobbyists wont end, Bofors story has lesions to recall how it was clinched. Tell what happened in Bofors era, keeping aside 2G era for few minutes away from your memory?

A: Let me quote with due thanks to legal luminary Ram Jethmalani {Deccan Chronicle 8th June 2005]: “Defence Secretary Bhatnagar had several meetings, the first of which was on June 7, 1984. There were 4 competing suppliers in the field –Sweden, United Kingdom, France and Austria. Naturally all these suppliers could not be present in person to participate in the negotiations with the Government of India”. All of them acted through one or the other agent. Only the British Government was negotiating through its High Commission.

These countries had Consulate, Embassy or High Commission, then why did they engage agents, you need not break your head, Congress culture of governance needs greasing so many palms, and to do that dirty job agents were chosen, who are capable of exploiting all the weaknesses of our bureaucrats from lowest to the top echelons. It took a heroine like Nirra Radia to expose this kind of governance.

“Offers were invited in sealed covers by July 23 of 1984. After negotiating committee held 14 meetings only by February 28 of 1985, final decision could be arrived. On that day Army short listed French Sofma gun and Swedish Bofors gun. On May 1985 Defence Secretary Bhatnagar summoned the representatives of the 4 suppliers and told them that Government of India does not want any Indian agents to be involved in the negotiations, and whatever amounts are being paid to Indian agents by the supplier should be reflected in the reduced prices. Till that time Bofors was represented by their Indian agent Mr. Win Chadha, originally an accused, but who died during the proceedings. No decision was taken even up to the 18th meeting of the negotiating committee which took place on December 1985. However the Army on February 18th of 1986 informed the negotiating committee its technical opinion in favor of Bofors gun. At the 20th meeting of the negotiating committee letter of intent was issued to Bofors on March 14 of 1986. Few days before that on March 10th of 1986 in a confirmation letter stated “We hereby confirm that we do not have any representative / agent specially employed in India for this project.”  Indian Prime Minister Mr.Rajiv Gandhi who attended the funeral of Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme announced the decision to buy Bofors gun on that occasion.

Q:  Rajiv Gandhi cautiously avoided Indian agents but under Manmohan Singh’s rule lobbyists thrive, and his government taps conversation, makes selective leaks to gain bargaining power for electoral alliances, and works for corporate welfare, how do you substantiate?

A: The basic price of Petrol is only Rs 28.93, whereas excise duty of Rs 14.35, plus education tax of 0.43, dealer’s commission of Rs.1.05, customs duty for crude oil Rs 1.1, VAT Rs 5.5, and customs duty on petrol Rs.1.54, Transport Rs 6.00 makes up the figure of Rs 58.90 per litre in India.  In 2008 when petrol was sold at Rs 50.64, in Australia equivalent of Rs Rs.31.99, Canada Rs 31.42, Pakistan Rs 36.09, in USA Rs 17.57, Malaysia Rs 30.12, Saudi Arabia Rs 5.71, UAE Rs 15.95,New Zealand Rs 32.28, Qatar Rs 9.82, Bahrain Rs 9.57 were the prices of per litre of petrol.

In 2010 Malaysia reduces petrol price from Rs.30.12 per litre to Rs.20.99 and our neigbour Pakistan reduces from Rs 36.09 to Rs 31.43. The incompetent unintelligent Finance Ministers of these countries are reducing the burden on the consumer and Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee in this year imposed import duty and excise duty, further thrown out petroleum prices from government control to the play of market prices. This had hiked petrol price, is one side of the story.

Comparing to other countries corporates in India pay less to government to plunder natural resources like gas whereas consumer, the citizen, so called Supreme power in a democracy is burdened. That is why Sunday Indian’s Editor Arindham Choudry says ours is not democracy but demonocracy. American President Obama had said what exists in America is not people’s democracy but corporate democracy.

After 2G scam of so called 1.76,000 crore unruly scenes were witnessed in Orissa Assembly over 3, 00,000 crore mining scam. Supreme Court raised the issue of how out of 341 mines 215 are without valid lease or rights are operating in Orissa. Union Government headed by Manmohan Singh and managed by Pranab Mukerjee cannot brush this 3, 00,000 crore mining scam as that happened under Biju Janata Dal rule.

 As per government estimates there are 15,000 mines operating illegally in various states of India with only 8700 legally functioning mines. The loot out of these mines yet to be computed, and in our country .By illegal mining corporates mint millions whereas consumers bear the brunt of price rise. If these looters were taxed and if those taxes are in proportion to their earning we need not hike petrol prices or other essentials.

The iron ore exported by the year 2000-2001 was around Rs 358 crores whereas by 2008-2009 it went up to 21,725 crores. One ton of iron ore was exported from 6000 to 7000 depending upon its grade. The Lok Ayuktha of Karnataka Justice Santhosh Hegde found out that government was getting royalty of Rs 16 to Rs 27 per ton. In 2004, low grade iron ore per ton royalty to Karnataka Government was Rs 4, high grade ore fetched Rs 27 per ton. As per Karnataka government estimates extraction of per ton iron ore costs Rs 150. Even if transport of Rs 250 is added plus royalty of Rs 27, at port the price per ton was Rs 427, whereas export price was equal to Rs 7000. Government was only getting Rs 27 per ton allowing Reddy brothers to pocket huge profits. Santhosh Hegde brought this out. The Planning Commission of India woke up to this loot in 2005 and suggested that at least 10 percent of export price should be taxed. The Manmohan Singh’s clean government waited for 3 years thinking how to subvert this suggestion of the Planning Commission. The Ministry accepted the proposal mooted by Planning Commission in 2009 August, but with a tactic. Government appointed Indian Bureau of Mines to fix the export price in order to calculate taxable royalty.  Those officials fixed for low/high grades export price at Rs 1760 and 1949, when actual exports were ranging between 6000 to 7000. To fix 10 percent of royalty for Rs 1760 and 1949 super brain of Pranab Mukerjee got immense satisfaction. Even a child knows that exports are made under Letters of Credit and once loaded in ship, the bill of lading is given and these documents are produced in banks to negotiate bills. If an idiot like me was Finance Minister, I would have ordered for 10 percent deduction for royalty when banks negotiate bills. Ordinary citizen’s taxes could be deducted, but how can corporate be deducted, this government may argue. There is no export duty for minerals but import duty for petroleum products. If this being the case petrol prices have to go up, onion prices should have wings to fly in sky, and our economist Manmohan Singh will be proud of his governance.

Gandhi a prophet wanted Congress to be dismantled, and we are paying the price since his own party had become a puppet of plunderers and profiteers in the corporate world.

N.Nandhivarman, General Secretary, Dravida Peravai

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