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Spectrum of graft

Spectrum of graft

The scale of the telecoms scam in India is shocking. In this Arab News editorial, the paper says the country’s PM cannot escape responsibility for corruption of his Cabinet colleagues.

November 21, 2010 10:36 by

Conspiracy of silence, gross indifference, and culpability of inaction! Strong language in which India’s opposition BJP attacked Manmohan Singh yesterday soon after the attorney general appeared before Supreme Court on behalf of the beleaguered prime minister in the unprecedented telecom scandal.

Although the BJP has no moral right to confront Singh on corruption given the involvement of its own leaders in numerous graft cases with the Karnataka chief minister embroiled in a land scam right now, the Congress-led UPA government faces its biggest crisis since it came to power seven years ago. Whatever the prime minister’s compulsions for inaction, it’s not possible for Singh to counter the serious accusations hurled at him by the opposition.

Of course, no one, not even the BJP, is questioning the personal integrity and probity of Singh. In fact, if the opposition hasn’t gone all out against the government so far, it is precisely because of the spotless image of the former economist. However, as head of the government, the honest Singh cannot escape the responsibility for the corrupt and indefensible actions of his ministers. Especially when the scale of irregularities and plain, old-fashioned corruption is of this magnitude.

Just about everyone, including many within the Congress, finds it disturbing and rather hard to believe that the disgraced Telecom Minister A. Raja cheated the exchequer to the tune of Rs.1.76 trillion (approximately SR140 billion, or close to $40 billiion) right under the prime minister’s nose and he didn’t know or couldn’t do anything to stop it.

So much so that an agitated Supreme Court demanded to know in a direct snub to the premier this past week, why he ignored repeated complaints and warnings by opposition parties of irregularities in the granting of 2G spectrum telecom licenses over a period of nearly two years.

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