Vande Mataram

Friday, November 19, 2010

Spectrum-Gate: What now?

Finally, after prolonged inertia and attempted goof ups under the cover of cover ups by the UPA, the 2G spectrum allocation scam is officially out in the public. The minister concerned A.Raja maintains his claim of innocence, audaciously though, despite being neck deep in the flowing proofs of his wrong doings. He claims to have taken the PM, a man known for his honesty, integrity and probity through, inter alia, his frugal lifestyle, on board on whatever he did in the process of awarding the 2G license. This strengthens the suspicions raised by whistle blowers and opinion builders those include Dr. Subramanian Swamy, Mr. Rajeev Nambiar and others.

Dr.Swamy had written to the PMO on this issue and there had been delays even in replying to his letter. Rajeev Chandrasekar, entrepreneur-politician-MP, had also written to the PMO, but PMO resorted to inertia in this case also. The opposition parties have now raised a high decibel cry and stalled the Parliament, but initially they were either not aware of the grandi pecunia involved or were busy with other political activities. The AIADMK was the only political party to raise voices right from the day of the inking of spectrum deal. The nation's principal opposition party the BJP too had joined the chorus later, effectively vociferous though.

To start with, in 2007, the DoT has issued guidelines for the auction of 2G Spectrum. But within months, Raja had ruled out auction in the 2G spectrum. The reason he cited was that a favorable level playing field for the existing GSM players would be created through auction. If he was so interested in an evenly leveled playing field for all players, he should have ensured in the first place that all the bidding players were competent in the game they were expressing interest to play.

The Unitech Group of companies and Allianz Infratech, to name a couple, were realty companies as stated in their MOA and AOA. Hence they could not be awarded licenses for any telecom related businesses. So, they should have got approval from the Ministry of Company Affairs  and the Company Law Board to change the AOA and get new nomenclature to be eligible for participating in the telecom license auction. Though no auction was held, these companies should have done the aforesaid to be eligible to apply for licenses under the infamous movie ticket method of first-come-first-served basis.

These companies are said to have been veils for the real beneficiaries. The real beneficiaries are believed to have been Raja's cronies in his party (should have been said the other way round), the businessmen having dubious trade history who were so closely connected to the first family of DMK. The licenses were awarded at 1/10th of the prevailing market value, the process followed was illegible, the modus operandi smacked undue haste. The licensees sold parts of those contracts to another company for a higher price, which in turn sold that stake to another company, thus weaving a web of legit looking business transactions.

Raja had told in 2007 when he ruled out auction that the Government has the annual license fee for its revenue. So, was he hinting at that time that he was going to give away these licenses for stanza (not even a song!)? Well, he dragged the PM into this by stating that the PM had suggested the revenue from annual fee logic to give away these licenses without auction. The PM had not responded to this till now. This adds fuel to the suspicion that the PM has allowed this to happen whatever be the reasons attributed to the palpable inertia.

The corporates who tried to bring this loot to light were silenced by the minister, as evident from one of the bidders S-Tel was silenced with daring threats from A.Raja. The reason S-Tel went to court might not have been to expose the corruption or to get the dealings clean, but Raja 'advising' them to keep quiet triggers the 'trillion Rupees' question that why Raja was afraid of facing them in the court, if everything went by the letter and the spirit of the law book.

Contrary to the popular belief money has not been looted from the national exchequer in this case. The money that has to come to the national exchequer has been routed through illegal means, inter alia, to the coffers of vested interests who rule a part of the nation. The vested interests and their mouth pieces brush this trillion rupee scam as non-existent. Their argument is that the CAG report says the loss to the national exchequer is notional and not real, so the said scam is imaginary, fanciful and conceptual. They'll have to look for absolute nitwits to take this argument.

In investment jargon notional means "The value of a derivative's underlying assets at the spot price. In the case of an options or futures contract, this is the number of units of an asset underlying the contract, multiplied by the spot price of the asset."
What was the spot price of the spectrum when it was given away? Going by the S-Tel bid we can have a safe bet of Rs.6000 crores, yet negotiable for further hike as per prevailing market value. But that license was given away for Rs.1600 crores to an unknown, ineligible, incompetent bidder, who simply sold part of that license for a higher price. What was the quid pro quo in giving away a diamond mine for peanuts? Ignorance? Impossible with the advises, cautions and suggestions given by the PM, the TRAI, the FM and the secretaries of the ministry. Habitual swindling is the root cause for this mammoth scam.
While delving into the details a lot of shocking revelations about this loot come in our way. Those information question the very basis of the ground the Prime Minister stands before the world. Honesty. The common man can say "I don't care Ram or Ravan rules as long as I get my meals three squares a day" and live on. But the ruler should not brush aside untenable happenings in his territory with this infamous "Don't care" attitude of the Aam Aadmi. Honest people must lament and honest leaders like Dr.Manmohan Singh should act. 

There are reports now that Ratan Tata wanted Telecom out of Dayanithi Maran's reach. Anyone would wish so as we have seen how Maran threatened TATAs during his tenure as telecom minister during UPA-I. Before targeting Tata for taking the unfair route to check unfair people out, we need to ask an important question. Why are mediators allowed to influence the decisions of the Prime Minister right from setting up his administrative team? Given fact that the PM represents the first family of the Congress in the Government, can't the K-family and the S-family sit, talk and get things done?

Evidences have come out now to suggest strongly that the K-family was not comfortable with Dayanithi Maran getting key responsibilities in the UPA-II. There are conversations reported in the media now believed to have been taken place between two mediatrixes of the Congress and the DMK. (
This is now getting confirmed with the DMK distancing itself from Maran's acts during his tenure as Telecom Minister in UPA-I, while still having Raja standing  by him in public. This further proves that the immediate K-family wanted to cement its hold by keeping even the sons and siblings of his late lamented 'conscience' at comfortable distance. Family feud is not the topic I choose to discuss here, but the family loot. 

The regional political rivalry between the AIADMK and the DMK is cited as the reason for the former's stringent stand  on this issue. If such reasons have to be attributed to the raised voice of the opposition parties, what reasons would be attributed to the silenced voices of the affected and the preferred silences of the friends and beneficiaries.

Given to understand that anybody with enough money can influence the Government's decision at any level and to any extent leads us to question the trustworthiness of this Government. How are we to trust such people with the security of the nation? What would be the fate of the nation if 'anything' could be done with the money power? Q-branches may not worry because they have South American bananas to live in. The worry now is about the people who are born and brought up in this nation and nowhere to go? What are the answers we have to give the generations to come when we teach them to be truthful and practice the right opposite?

Now the ruling coalition refuses to setup a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe the scam. Legal experts and parliamentarians assert that JPC was successful in the past two decades to bring out the truth in many scams. The argument that the Public Accounts Committee would look into the scam and the CAG report is deliberate procrastination to get the guilty off the parliamentary inquiry.

The PAC would look into the accounts of the previous years and thus would do only a post mortem analysis of the scam. The PAC inquiring into the spectrum-gate would take years unless it is given a special mandate to inquire the current CAG report, keeping the regular business pending. It would be better in the interest of timely justice to have a JPC set up. Otherwise the guilty would either flee or would successfully tamper with the evidences to get off the hook.

There is a management adage "When you cannot commit on something, form a committee." The Government is not in a position now to commit on anything in this issue as there is chaos in the modus operandi of the spectrum-gate. So, better form a Joint Parliamentary Committee, Mr. PM. I trust Dr.Manmohan Singh, as he is still an honest man at heart in this head-to-foot corrupt UPA. TINEA factor works for him very well. *TINEA => There Is No Effective Alternative.

No comments:

Post a Comment