Millennium Post

Singh, blind king

Of all the white elephants in the humongous room that is coal scam investigation, the biggest, undoubtedly, is the smokescreen and halo around former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s ‘honesty and integrity’. Presiding over one of the most corrupt regimes in the history of independent India, UPA-I and UPA-II, Singh not only sat over misallocations of coal blocks to private players blowing rules of competitive bidding and transparent auction to smithereens, he even was reluctant to exercise any control over his ministers who allowed such misadventures to carry on.

Even as the Supreme Court squashed  214 of 218 coal block allocations from 1993 to 2011 citing misconduct and improper observation of rules, Singh was allowed to not face the strong media glare in the name of his personal honesty. This is hogwash. Why should the man holding the topmost post in the government for almost ten years be not held accountable for the inefficiencies and sheer fraudulence exposed as part of his regime? Now that a special court in Delhi has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which itself stands thoroughly discredited with a director who might have shielded fraudsters in 2G telecom scam, why it never bothered investigating the former PM, perhaps the massive elephant in the room can finally be spoken about.

Hadn’t it been for the CAG audit, which underscored a loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore to the government exchequer in Coalgate, such stupendous anomalies and systemic misappropriation of precious natural resources would have stayed beyond the grasp of an easily tricked public. It has been two years since CAG audit was filed in Parliament and despite the many counterpoints thrown around by Singh, who held the coal portfolio for some time when the misdeeds occurred, not only has he not been brought to book, but he hasn’t even faced a rigorous questioning session. About time he does.
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