Amidst a long list of myriad scams and land grabbing acts, the recent Adarsh Cooperative Housing society scam appears to be one of the most unfortunate of all. The housing society, which was supposedly meant for Kargil martyrs’ families, ended up getting allotted to everyone but the actual beneficiaries. As if the scam pertaining to buying of coffins was not enough, the widows of the martyrs had to go through this ordeal too. In fact, the location of the society speaks volumes. Being located at one of the costliest areas of Mumbai, in Colaba, the political, defence and bureaucratic classes of India left no opportunity to illegally get their names registered in the list of beneficiaries – despite having no links with Kargil martyrs. What is most hilarious is the way our babus and politicians reacted after being exposed by the media. On the one hand, while the Maharashtra Chief Minister offered to quit, on the other, the former Indian Army Chief Gen N C Vij stated that he was not even aware that the Adarsh Society flats were meant for Kargil war widows; and so he purchased one! Now, if Gen Vij is honest, then I really wonder who would be the right person (except him) to know the truth? A similar answer was given by the recently retired Gen Deepak Kapoor! What’s more, in documents submitted by politicians to get flats in the infamous Adarsh Housing Society, some politicians even showed their monthly income to be less than Rs. 20,000. Among all, Suresh Prabhu, Kanhaiyalal Gidwani and family, former bureaucrat and NCP MP Shrinivas Patil, declared their income in the bracket of Rs.20,000 to Rs.40,000! Many of these politicians are reported to own multiple properties. And mind you, all of them got their allotments at a tenth of the prevailing prices in the market! What is even more unfortunate this time is that even the top brass of the forces are involved in this loot. And now it comes to the fore that the land on which the society is being built is situated on a sensitive area of Indian Navy – forcing the Navy to brand the society land a “security threat”!
But then, amongst the others, the armed forces are probably the cleanest! There is no doubt in the fact that whether Indian businesses, or the political class, or the bureaucrats, most of them possess an unending appetite to grab land and that too at any cost! So what if these apartments were meant for the widows who have lost their husbands fighting for the same country, our corrupt classes have left no stone unturned to grab as much as they could. Thanks to media that this scam came to the limelight; otherwise, there are so many similar such scams, which do not even get reported! And the blatant and shameless loot continues. There are innumerable examples that corroborate the fact how the entire system stinks. Recently, a few more land scams have been unearthed in Mumbai itself – one involving the revenue minister and the other involving the top cops. Another land scam has been unearthed recently in Karnataka involving the top ministers of the state. Still another one has surfaced in Rishikesh, in the state of Uttarakhand. And each one of these scams runs into multiples of crores. Mind you, these are just a few land scams where, given the obscene appetite of the business, political and the bureaucratic classes, the magnitude of corruption has crossed all shameless benchmarks! In the past one decade, we have had the famous Ketan Parekh scam, the Satyam scam, the Barak missile scam, the oil for food scam, Madhu Koda scam, the fodder scam, the IPL scam, the CWG scam, and the list goes on and on...
Each one of them is a glaring testimony to the fact that national loot has been a perpetual national pastime! Billions of rupees get siphoned off into the pockets of a few. According to Late C K Prahlad, the cost of corruption to this country is a staggering Rs.2,50,000 crores! Though I feel that it is impossible to put the right value to the billions that are getting systematically siphoned, but then, keeping Prahlad’s figure as the basis, the per capita corruption for India through various scams comes to a whopping Rs.2500!
What is most unfortunate is the fact that as scams magnify, both in scope and scale, crony capitalism becomes the order of the day! That’s why as a nation, we might have a hundred billionaires, but not a single billion dollar value product! It is a matter of utter disgrace that as a nation, we have fodder billionaires, IPL billionaires, CWG billionaires, and hundreds of ‘Adarsh’ millionaires!
- 14 November 2010 |