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A Raja

Probably Inspired by Politicians of his Day,Confucius Says……

“I have yet to meet a man as fond of high moral conduct as he is of outward appearances”



….probably inspired by Politicians of his day !….some things simply never change !

….and I was inspired by our Politicians of the Day !

…..yesterday on ‘Times Now’ on a debate on the Draft Report of the PAC on the 2G Scam,it ended in a slanging match between Congress Spokesman Manish Tewari and BJP Representative,Mahesh Jethmalani….Arnab Goswami as the Anchor was holding his own and seeking direct answers from Manish which were being studiously   avoided…..Mahesh lost his cool on Manish….in my view justifiably so…..accused him of polemic arguments and filibustering….”Shut Up!” screamed Mahesh…”Shut your trap !” screamed Manish back further threatening to meet every Profanity received with an Expletive of his own…..and then at the end coolly stating ” there is nothing personal between us !”

Vinod Mehta of Outlook with a stoic measured and respected stand said that it would be better to hold the debate the next day once it is adopted and seen whether it remains in this form or several phrases and paragraphs are deleted…Morever it would be unfair to simply concentrate on the PM and the PMO in the report as then the charge of political motivations would stick….uncover the roles played by others..Corporates and Journalists…and as if on cue,Arnab never misses a chance of flashing Barkha Dutt of NDTV across the Times Now Screen !….Barkha Dutt featured strongly in the Niira Radia Tapes discussing the DMK alliance with the Congress and who from DMK will become what Minister !…A Raja and Maran featured in the conversations   

So was I amused or angry at Manish Tewari’s silly obfuscating rhetorics in this debate yesterday…..Both really …he said that as a matter of personal propriety he will not discuss what is in the PAC Draft Report till it is adopted by the Parliament…Fuuny stand,as his Colleagues in Congress,some who were members of the PAC were holding Press Conferences lambasting the Draft Report as politically motivated,undemocratic and unilateral as it has pulled up the PMO and the then Finance Minister and now Home Minister,Chidambaram for not taking preventive action and turning a blind eye,despite being in the know,from letting the 2 G scam happen

The fact is that both CAG and the draft Report of PAC provide the figure of Rs 176000 crs as the loss suffered by the Nation in the 2 G Scam……the critical aspect is that the PMO allowed this scam to happen as they kept an ‘arms length’ away from the Telecom Ministry…also instructions were issued to keep this length as well as confine only to informal communications and not formal ones….Why !? read more

Conspiracy of Silence : The Officially sanctioned loot of Rs 60000 crs in the Telecom Sector !

It is chiefly for Virendra Kapoor’s ‘Inside Story’ column that I read Mumbai’s revived afternoon paper ” Afternoon Despatch & Courier” 

His Column in yesterday’s edition (sorry no weblink is available) is titled ‘A conspiracy of silence’

This is a shocking gist of what he highlights of the recent Telecom Policy to sell additional spectrum, by DMK’s A Raja,the Communications Minister in the UPA Government

  • It is atleast a Rs 60000 crs scam,making even the Bofor’s scam a child’s play
  • It is an officially sanctioned loot
  • A Raja has devised a policy in such a manner that it allowed arbitrary allotment of spectrum to hand picked parties,who in turn have already begun to sell it at windfall profits
  • The way A Raja handed over licenses on a so called ‘first come,first served’ basis created grave doubts about the fairness of the whole exercise
  • A Raja even defied the PM when the latter advised him to go for open auctions
  • The PM has virtually closed his ears and eyes to this broad daylight loot as A Raja belongs to the DMK
  • A Raja runs the Ministry independent of the PM and the Cabinet and is answerable only to DMK Boss Karunanidhi
  • Any fair arrangement like an open auction would have netted the Government thousands of crores more than it actually did
  • Successful hand picked winners of the fresh licenses can sell them almost immediately as is happening
  • Unitech,India’s second largest Real Estate Company and with no prior experience in Telecom,offloaded 60% in Unitech Wireless to Telenor of Norway for Rs 6120 crs for all it’s 22 circles,valuing the business at Rs over Rs 10000 crs.It had paid just a few thousand crores for the license
  • Swan Telecom of Mumbai got an even better deal….it paid Rs 1537 crs for the license to operate telecom services in 13 circles…within weeks it sold 45% stake to Dubai based Emirates Telecommunications Corporation valuing the business at Rs 9000 crs !
  • Neither Unitech,nor Swan have begun operations and thus do not have even one subscriber !…they have gone on to make obscene profits at the cost of the Indian exchequer and have been the beneficiaries of A Raja’s largesse

Here are some of my reflections on this

  • The Indo-US Nuclear Policy signed will be an even bigger opportunity than this Telecom Policy
  • It is simply shocking that our PM has allowed this
  • There are many precedents to this sort of shorting the Indian Exchequer….A few Years ago,the Centaur Hotel near the SantaCruz Domestic Airport in Mumbai was sold for just over Rs 40 crs to an entity ,Bajaj Hospitality,who within months sold it for over Rs 120 crs to the Sahara Group…why could the Government not have sold it at a higher and more fairer price so that the Exchequer would benefit ? 
  • These are Crimes being committed against the 1.1 billion people in India,of which 236 million live below the poverty line…that’s nearly 21% of our population…one in every five ! 
  • To be fair,one has to hear A Raja’s defense too…but the way it looks,the odds are stacked against him….it clearly appears to be a premeditated gameplan
  • The Licenses should have a Five Year Lock in…..The allottees should not be allowed to sell these or any stake in ventures that are created to exploit these….if they do so before Five Years,they must remit to the Government a significant portion of the gains on a predecided  fair formula based on reasonable returns and time period elapsed before the sale
  • To borrow a line from Pat William’s prologue in his book ‘Mr Littlejohn’s Secrets To A Lifetime Of Success’….” We live in an age which has lost it’s moral underpinnings” 
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