A Wave of Scams

We live in a society. This ensures that we are never alone. The actions we make have reactions. Small or big, a society draws its strength from its inhabitants. For that matter, not only strength but weaknesses and problems of the society too are a result of the actions of its inhabitants. We, the people of a society depend on each other, though may be in the least significant way. So what happens when that dependency leads to misuse of or by the other person?

In our daily lives, most of us would have faced situations where corruption prevails. Bribing the traffic police is perhaps the most common. Since the society functions together, corruption at one corner does not take long to spread over, covering a larger population. Soon, it becomes as natural as any other habit and after a while, it can also become difficult to prevent as people become addicted to it due to high gains. Just as one stale fish spoils the water of the entire pond, one corrupt society does not require much time and effort to corrupt the nation.

In India, corruption at the grass root level often does not attract much footage. After all, who would have time punishing the small corrupts when the powerful people responsible for the nation are busy building their swanky apartments from illegal transfer of money!

Recently, there has been a high tide of scandals/scams in India, which has almost washed away our country’s progressive efforts, pulling us down to square one. While a single scam is enough to overshadow a country’s development efforts, scams one after the other can only make matters worse for a developing country like ours.

Top Recent Corruption Scams in India:

Telecom Licence Row

The 2G Spectrum Scam or The License Row Scam will perhaps be recorded in Indian history – in Golden Letters that is – as the biggest and the most complicated telecom scandal. The scam involved allocation of Unified Access Service Licenses. It has been drawn that Telecom Minister A Raja is at the core of this Rs.1.76 lakh crores worth of scam. While awarding the spectrum rights and licenses, A Raja apparently flouted and evaded norms at every level as he led out 2G licenses in 2008 at a throw-away price. Consequently, many ineligible firms also got these licenses, confirmed by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s (CAG) report.

Already having a corruption charge against him, A Raja has gone ahead and said that he is not involved in any wrongdoing. Although investigation has been ordered into the matter, differences between the officials and the court are making matters worse.

According to CAG’s reports, some units of realtor Unitech were handed out licenses even in absence of enough capital. Swan Telecom was also given a license to launch 2G, despite being disqualified as Reliance Communications owned more than 10% in it.

Now when the investigations are on and Raja’s house has been raided by CBI, the scope of enquiry has been widened from 2008 to 2001. This means that now, not only the chaos created in giving out licenses in the year 2008 would be checked, but also the First-Cum-First-Serve policy advocated by the Telecom Ministry in 2001, as that is when it all started.

Loan Bribery Scam (LIC Housing Finance and Major Banks)

Loan has always been a hassle. Though there are now easy ways through which one can borrow loan without much paperwork. One of the scams relates to just that!

Top officials of Indian banks, lenders and financial firms were recently accused of taking bribes to grant corporate loans. Though the actual scale of embezzlement is not known, it is estimated to run into millions, just like any such endeavour.

So far, eight people have been arrested. Among them are CEO of the leading LIC Housing Finance and other senior officials of reputed banks like Bank of India, Punjab National Bank and Central Bank of India. The bribes are said to be paid by Money Matters Financial Services, a private finance firm.

Wondering just how safe your money is? Well, keep hoping for the best! Now, your favourite Banks are also playing out in the market.

Commonwealth Games

Surely the most talked about subject of 2010, Commonwealth Games are sure to have generated the highest TRPs! The sporting extravaganza had cost up to Rs. 70,000 crores, of which only half were spent on Indian sports persons. Throughout the year, CWG always got associated with alleged cases of hard-core corruption, involving purchase of equipment and issuing contracts at unreasonable prices.

Chairman of the Organising Committee was kept busy throughout the year, explaining himself at every point, to every other person. In the end, he was sacked from his post.
It was alleged that equipment – like treadmills and toilet paper – were purchased at whopping high prices, even the plants and pots were very expensive (though in the end, all were stolen!). The tenders of the stadia construction were tampered with. The entire Games Village seemed like a stack of cards, built on corruption and just needed the slightest blow of wind to cripple it. How it managed to pull off the Games safely would be debatable in the years to come.

Adarsh Housing Scam

Home is sweet only when built with love, affection and honesty! It has been alleged that politicians of the ruling party, bureaucrats and military officials have taken over the land meant to build apartments for war widows.

After reports in the media, the government sacked the powerful chief minister of western Maharashtra state, a member of Congress.

The controversial block faces the Arabian Sea, with 103 apartments in a high class Mumbai district, and is considered as among the most expensive pieces of real estate globally. Investigations are on for violation of several norms, including environmental laws and land-use rules.

The catch in this scam is that the apartments were sold for as little as $130,000 each, while local media estimated their value at $1.8 million each.

Since the scandal broke, water and power supply has been terminated in the apartments, preventing anyone from occupying them.

Impact on the Nation as a whole:

So ultimately, you may ask – whose money is it anyway? The question we have been asking ourselves since ages now, with no specific answer. And after such scandals being uncovered, our doubts regarding ‘who’s money is it’ only get confirmed. The moment a part of a common man’s income goes out towards all kinds of taxes, this question becomes baseless. It is through such scams that a regular tax payer realises the reality of the so-called use of his tax for the development and progress of the nation.

Uncovering of these scams one after the other is set to unleash a fear amongst the investors and tax payers. If not dealt with caution, this trend (Yes, of late, it has almost become a trend!) may lead to more tax evasions and hence increased corruption among the masses, thus setting up of a vicious cycle.

Aishani Gupta

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