Those That Rule Above and Beyond
It is a common recognition of Indian “mainstream” politics that however the various off-shoots of the Sangh Parivar may seem to be warring from time to time, they all obey the RSS.
A more macro version of the above is the following: that however the Congress and the BJP may be warring on issue after issue, both these faces of Indian Capitalism obey the Ambanis. And sundry other corporates that have any real clout.
Think of the many recent reports on corruption of one kind or another germinated by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG for short). Apart from the lip service done to this “constitutional authority” by all sections of the political class, the fact remains that its findings are now endorsed, now not by either of the two major parties, depending on how the reports of this body suit or not suit their realpolitik of the moment. Too many instances here in very recent public memory and media exposure to need recounting.
But, as the CPI(M) has just pointed out in a most instructive Press Release, when it comes to the CAG exposure of the corruption engaged in by the Reliance Group of Industries with respect to oil exploration rights and stipulations in the KG-6 deep water block, a pall of eloquent silence seems to have fallen over both the Congress and the BJP. Not a squeak thus far. True guru bhais in this regard, you may say.
Just to cite three unlawful enormities underscored by the CAG, and publicized by the CPI (M):
--a 117% increase in estimated capital expenditure for the block without any augumentation of capacity involved;
--procurement awards made by Reliance Industries Limited “on single financial bids, major revision of scope/quantities/specifications, post-price bid opening, substantial variation in order quantities, with consequent adverse implications for cost recovery and Government of India’s financial stake”;
--a contract of $1.1 billion given to the Aker group for a ten year lease against an estimated original cost of $300 million; RIL gave eight such contracts to the Aker group out of ten single party bids on what prima facie seem to be sweet heart deals that enabled it to inflate capital expenditure.
Equally remarkably, one has heard nothing to date on this particular CAG report from Anna and his team who, after all, have taken on the burden of exposing corruption and its sources in modern India. But then, as some have been pointing out, the chief object of the Anna phenomenon seems to be to pillory those that manage the state, not those who actually own it.
Post Script: how many Indians know of the fact that the chief beneficiaries of the Oil for Food programme (Iraq) were not the ones we got to hear of but the Ambani group of industries? A fact concealed and kept from parliament and people with conjoint efficiency by both Congress and the BJP while the country was going after the likes of Shri Natwar Singh. (See Arun K. Agrawal, Reliance, the Real Natwar, Manas Publications, Delhi, 2008.)