Media is one field that never gets a reason to stay off the barbeque. It has a perpetual field day, courtesy: with such ‘corrup’talented politicians, safely guarded terrorists and a lot of sting operations to spill all the dirty linen on street, no matter who it belongs to! And as we talk about corruption, it is no longer a taboo but is gaining a lot of leverage these days. I won’t be surprised if corruption is included as a subject in Economics in near future. In recent times, when my political awareness was hitting a rock bottom, it was jolted out of an age old slumber when the 2G scandal hit the screen. My eyes were staring at a name that appeared almost on every channel, a name I never heard of before, or I never bothered to remember!
A Raja: nowhere to go…!!
A.Raja may not have been that famous as a cabinet minister for information and technology, but thanks to the 2G scandal which made him ‘infamously’ famous in days to come, with the leak of Radia tapes. Along with him, a lot many names were roped in, even pulling in business magnates like the Ambanis and the Tatas at some point, to which the later had openly challenged the authenticity of the allegations made, by writing a letter in the public forum defending his stand. And as anticipated, what followed was the opposition barking (a reaction never on time!) and the ruling government trying to balance out the situation by drawing the pros and cons of the events likely to follow. At the end, the tainted minister was asked to resign, who meekly waited for his ‘ultimate’ God – MK Karunanidhi to come and rescue the falling humpty dumpty! After a lot of coaxing, cajoling and swearing ‘truth’ and patient waiting, Raja was forced to become modest enough to resign and he got jailed eventually!
Coming to what this 2G scam is all about and why it garnered a 3D attention, let me brief in short: First of all, 2G is second generation wireless telephone technology which was launched on the GSM standard in Finland. It came with extra benefits like digitally encrypted phone conversations, a broader spectrum allowing great penetration levels by the phone and some advanced data services for the mobile. The potential of this technology was unquestionable and so were the benefits! So instead of getting the deal through an auction, wherein the estimated market price would have been known, the 122 licenses of the 2G spectrum were issued to about 9 telecom companies (of little experience in the telecom sector) at a price of 1658 crore, on the basis of first come first served. And the matter remained dormant for some time until the pandorum struck with the arrival of 3G which was estimated to be valued about USD 15.03 billion (nearly 67,719 crore). The loophole now got only bigger and wider when the companies that had brought the license for 2G sold the same for almost double the original pricing, which has incurred a national loss of 176,379 crore. And definitely A Raja had his vested interests in the deal, he thought he had planned so meticulously.
Well, just too bad for him, to have underestimated his education of being a lawyer and having over trusted the goodwill of his shrewd mentor, MK Karunanidhi. Nevertheless, he has been jailed but the 2G scam was not the only rotten apple in his basket! His possession of illegal assets and some not so legal business dealings added to his list of woes! His can of worms had just continued spilling one by one with Lord Murphy making rounds around him! Bad timing, I must say, when there is absolutely no dearth of corrupt politicians in our country. Only that it was Raja’s turn as per destiny. I am not getting any deeper into the intricacies of the scandal as I choose to remain aware but not addicted to the study of politics.
‘Osama breathes his last’ – so says Mr.Obama, finally!
I sometimes wonder if Obama probably thought lawyers are the only people who have brains, or are the only people who can think and analyze! The news of the death of the 54 year old renowned and the most dreaded terrorist – Osama Bin Laden, made headlines not only on the news sites but also on all social networking sites like facebook and twitter. I was neither shocked, nor surprised. I was rather amused and more so, when people actually started celebrating, as soon as his death was broadcasted all over the world. The news read, ‘After an year old operation of American troops in the land of Pakistan, Osama was killed at Abbotabad by the US troops and the dead terrorist was royally buried in the sea!’ Ok! For a moment, if I believe that this guy is dead, the question that still lingers is ‘Why was he buried in the sea?’ Saddam, who was a tyrannical ruler but a better form of devil as compared to Osama, was captured, made to stay in the land he hated most, USA and was eventually executed. And Osama, who shook the spirit of USA by bombing the twin towers and propelled the rise of Taliban in Afghanistan, was given such an easy death and burial?
‘Mr. Obama, don’t you think, your assertions off late have been very ambiguous, either making people feel more euphoric or more doubtful. Well, the question as to why your friend/foe Bin Laden was not dragged by neck to US and hanged at the Twin Tower location of Chicago, where he took so many lives callously years ago, remains a question you would find difficult to answer.
By the way, if that devil is ‘dead to rise no more’, then I believe, you got to do some homework, to give a credible explanation on the whole operation that has taken place in Abbotabad, explaining the ambiguity created by the Pakistan government, which has half a crowd swearing that your ‘much awaited’ operation was carried out in absolute oblivion, and most importantly, the village folks of Abbotabad who claim there was no refugee by the name of Bin Laden taking shelter amongst them!’