Indian telecom license scam amounts to Rupees 1,763,900,000,000 (Rs 1.77 lakh crore for easy reading or $39.6 billion as an American pointed out) as specified in the report issued by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India. Now that is what I call a fraud. All the others are puny in comparison. India can beat other countries in this sphere easily. The amount is approximately 2% of national GDP and/or 1/3 of current tax revenue of India. Instead of the government earning this money from sale of precious assets, it was doled out as charity to the telecom operators by Mr. A. Raja. Now after 18 months of investigations conducted by CAG, all fingers are pointing to him.
Mr. A. Raja, the telecom minister in charge of allocating licenses to telecom operators mistakenly issued the licenses at prices less than the prevailing market value by the above-mentioned amount. An old policy of 2001 was used to calculate the license price in 2008, which resulted in this massive under quoting in the bids. Mr. A. Raja generously approved the bids and granted the licenses.
Now after the Common Wealth Games and Adarsh Property Scam, Congress party is facing severe reputation damage due to high level corruption and unethical practices followed by its senior leaders. Mr. Ashok Chavan, now the Ex-Chief Minister of Maharashtra responsible for Adarsh Property Scam and Mr. Suresh Kalmadi responsible for Common Wealth Games debacle (now removed from Congress Parliamentary Party’s secretary position) are no more in the party’s leadership good books. In all likelihood Mr. A. Raja is going to meet a similar fate. The similarity between Mr. A. Raja and Mr. Suresh Kalmadi cases are that both are claiming that other senior party leaders including the Prime Minister’s Office knew what was occurring as they benefitted from the same. Both are alleging that they are being made scapegoats. No doubt the possibility exists.
My viewpoint is that removal from an official post is hardly delivering justice. As per the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act, these actions come under cheating, fraud and bribery. These are criminal offences and hence have specific prison terms attached to them. My question is will these esteemed personalities be tried according to the Indian laws and regulations or will they be let off with a light rap on the knuckles?
To read a detailed analysis of the CAG report, check out the article “The CAG Report: Raja has no clothes” on News Click.