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At Last, The Last nail!

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At Last, The Last nail!, ‘Mother of all Scams, Gollapudi Maruti Rao. Although the ruling party is mired in any number of scams by now and is already started paying the price.

Although the ruling party is mired in any number of scams by now and is already started paying the price, as indicative in the elections of the four states, this scam can be termed as the ‘Mother of all Scams’ considering its omnipotence and how the politicians and bureaucrats and army officers joined hands in looting the society and government ‘shamelessly’ adamant in refusing to accept the indictment of a respectable commission

This is surely the last nail in the ruling Congress’s coffin. The very name of the project-Adarsh- is a grotesque mockery of its true meaning. A travesty. The committee that was given the job to enquire into the corruption of this project- consists no less a person than the retired judge J A Patil and an ex-Chief Secretary P Subrahmanyam. Look at the list of people involved in the scam. Four Chief Ministers, a Home Minister of this country, two Nationalist Congress Party Ministers, twelve IAS officers, two state ministers, two retired Chiefs of Army Staff, two Major Generals, one Colonel, one Brigadier, one IFS officer, three collectors and several members of Parliament and many others. Perhaps this is the largest scam in the history of Independent India in terms of persons involved holding the highest offices and collective misadventure though not as much for the money.

This goes to prove how much the human nature can sink to a new low independent of the station to which a person belongs when it is a question of sharing the murky loot. This is the lowest point in the history of any political party to sink and it has to bend its head in utter shame because all these people were heading the great Institutions of this country, pledging their honour on the Constitution of India for upholding its values, who meticulously bended the rules brazenly sharing the infamous loot. And what did the Congress government do? Maharashtra Government totally rejected the report. And look at the funny reason for its rejection. The Cabinet felt that it could reject the report in view of the fact Governor of Maharashtra Sankaranarayan refused permission to CBI to prosecute Ashok Chavan, the erstwhile Chief Minister! It should have been the other way.

The Governor in his wisdom should have decided on the need to prosecute a public servant guided by the commission’s verdict. Instead the government chose to get guided by the arbitrary decision of the Governor in spite of the positive indictment by the commission. In fact, Ashok Chavan resigned soon after the scam broke and that rocked the political establishment. Now, with a detailed report of the inquiry commission at hand which categorically says that “the decisions were not proper, justifiable and in public interest’’, how can the State Government reject the report? Importantly, how can a Governor stall the inquiry of CBI into the matter?

The entire project, right from the conception in 1999, had its blessings of any number of politicians and their patronage-all in the vantage positions and each one contributed his share of corruption and had drawn his pound of flesh. It is blatant and without any veil whatsoever. Let us go into the details. In 2002, Vilasrao Deshmukh, the then Chief Minister cleared the plans. Bending domicile norms, former Army Chiefs N C Vij and Deepak Kapoor were given flats. Deshmukh’s decision reducing the road next to the building to increase its FSI was cleared by the present honorable Home Minister Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde who was the then Chief Minister neglecting the noting of the finance ministry that this has to be cleared by the Cabinet; because 20 of the 71 members of the society will become ineligible for allotments. Another IAS officer, Subhash Lalla, secretary to the Chief Minister who became instrumental in pushing this file was gifted with two flats –one in the name of his mother and another to his daughter. Former Mumbai collector Pradeep Vyas’s wife was given a flat.

The Chief Secretary of Metropolitan Maharashtra Development Authority D K Sankaran and C S Sangitarao, another collector, were allotted flats in the names of their sons. Another Mumbai collector I K Kundan and Urban Development Authority Deputy Secretary P V Deshmukh were having flats in their names. Uttam Khobragade, former General Manger, though exonerated by the commission for lack of evidence, his daughter Devyani Khobragade, who is in the news for maltreatment in USA is having a flat, for which she is positively ineligible, as she already has a property in the city and she gave a false declaration.

Originally this project was given a ‘noble’ label of rehabilitating the wives of the Kargil war victims-really a laudable aim. But it was an unkind ‘clothing’ or foil of deceit and considering that military officers of the highest order are involved in this exploitation this is in a very poor taste and a singular case of base ingratitude to our armed jawans and projects the army in very poor light.

Although the ruling party is mired in any number of scams by now and is already started paying the price, as indicative in the elections of the four states, this scam can be termed as the ‘Mother of all Scams’ considering its omnipotence and how the politicians and bureaucrats and army officers joined hands in looting the society and government ‘shamelessly’ adamant in refusing to accept the indictment of a respectable commission. Either the Congress has become thick-skinned by now or has helplessly resigned to bow to public outrage and resentment.

And here is an anti-climax in this sordid affair. The Maharashtra Government vehemently rejected the committee’s report only a few days back. And when Rahul Gandhi asks the Maharashtra Chief Minister to reconsider the report the CM immediately makes a U-turn. A typical case of sycophancy or the obedience of the political class towards Nehru family, a singular instance when moral responsibility takes a back seat to party loyalty. The ‘moral horror’ of the public-spirited citizens of this country will manifest very soon in action and the day is not too far when their resentment will translate into reality. The popular adage in Telugu summarises it all- that ‘vipareeta budhi’ foreshadows the ‘vinasa kalam’. The perversion of mind foretells the doom of the subject.

(gmrsivani@gmail.com)

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