Millennium Post

Parliamentary sham once again

It is clear that the UPA government is behaving like an ostrich with its head buried in the sand while the storm is on. The Joint Parliamentary Committee report on the 2G scam is yet another example of how the Congress-led government has cast a blind eye to everything that is wrong with it, as a public institution, as a central power and as the state apparatus which is accountable to its citizenry. The report, which was tabled in Lok Sabha and subsequently in Rajya Sabha as the lower house was adjourned after ruckus over the document’s ‘fraudulence’, absolves the prime minister and the finance minister from any culpability as far as indiscretions and criminalities in the 2008 spectrum allocation are concerned. This is ludicrous, though not unexpected of a government, which has systematically subverted the sanctity of an institution as robust as Parliament, and which has created an eyewash of a panel to probe into a matter that’s not just scandalous but the embodiment of the culture of corruption that has been eating away our cherished democratic foundations. As the opposition and other members of Parliament have already pointed out, the report is a cover-up and the JPC, headed by PC Chacko, that was formed to investigate the seriously faulty pricing and allocation of the 2G spectrum under the then telecom minister A Raja, is a sham. Not only does the report try to disavow the ultimate and indisputable responsibility that lay with the PM and FM, Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram, of the unfair and much-lower-than-the-then-market pricing of the spectrum as well as the completely discriminate allocation to select corporations, the JPC document tries to hide the rampant corruption indulged in at every sphere of operation within the UPA governmental apparatus behind the fig leaf of insignificant and bogus technicalities.

As leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jailtley, has highlighted, the chief issues that the JPC had to examine were: a) why were the spectrum allocated in 2008 were granted at 2001 market prices?; b) why weren’t prices and allocation rules according to 2008 standards and parameters?; and, c) why and how the prime minister and finance minister were /weren’t in the know of the scam unfolding in the telecom ministry? It is obvious that a scam of such humongous proportions, even though the JPC report and union cabinet ministers like Kapil Sibal have dismissed the previous CAG estimate that stood at Rs 1.7 lakh crores, could not have taken place without the higher authorities having a clue of the matter. And in case, the PM and the FM really did not know, then they should definitely accept the moral responsibility, since their failure to prevent such a gigantic loss to the public exchequer lays bare their acute inefficiency in serving the people well. In fact, that the JPC report devotes chunks of its text to blame previous government and not own up to the definitive duplicity and breach of public trust committed by the present government, bespeaks how the Congress-led UPA is still caught in its self-serving and blind arrogance and is heading for a sure-shot national wipe-out in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
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