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Stain of corruption

Stain of corruption

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: November 3, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/213158/Stain-of-corruption.html

Congress's hand is also tainted

The revelations about former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda and his associates who have been accused of massive corruption do not really come as a surprise. It was common knowledge that Mr Koda had been given a 'free hand' by those who kept him in power - namely the Congress, the RJD and the JMM - although he had neither numbers (he was an Independent MLA) nor popular support beyond his constituency. So long as Mr Koda served the purpose of keeping the BJP out of power (he turned his coat and helped bring down Mr Arjun Munda's Government) he was feted by his benefactors. Had it not been for the over-vaulting ambition of Mr Shibu Soren he would have continued to remain in power and loot the State whose interests it was his constitutional duty to safeguard. Surely the Congress, which will no doubt publicise the ongoing crackdown on Mr Koda and his friends as evidence of its commitment to probity, was not unaware of what was happening in Jharkhand? Having allowed Mr Koda to indulge in rampant corruption and shameless self-aggrandisement, it cannot, indeed, must not be allowed to, claim the moral high ground which it will no doubt try to do during the coming Assembly election campaign. If Mr Koda is guilty of grand larceny, as is now being claimed by the Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate, then those who enabled him to steal with stunning impunity are also equally, if not more, tainted. Nor should we forget that the then Congress-appointed Governor, Syed Sibtey Razi, played a key role in first bringing down the BJP Government and then installing the mockery of a Government headed by Mr Koda. If recent raids and reports by the State's Vigilance Department are any indication, Raj Bhavan does not come out of this episode smelling of roses. The Congress brazenly abused gubernatorial authority by converting Raj Bhavan into an extension counter of the party; Mr Razi was more than happy to oblige his political masters. And, having installed Mr Koda in the Chief Minister's office, Mr Razi turned a blind eye to a charlatan's shenanigans, as that was what was demanded of him by the Congress.

There are some other aspects that merit comment. First, the fact that Mr Koda and his associates were able to invest their ill-gotten wealth far and wide - including, or so we are told, in Liberian and South African mines - reflects poorly on the existing mechanism to prevent not only corruption in high places but also money-laundering. Since there are any number of laws, including a stringent law against money-laundering, and checks and balances, we can only presume that the relevant agencies either failed in fulfilling their responsibility or were instructed not to play an obstructionist role. If the latter is true, the instruction could have only come from the Congress, acting through the Union Government. After all, Telecom Minister A Raja's transgressions were also overlooked. Second, the corrupt ways of 'leaders' like Mr Soren and Mr Koda raise a question which can no longer be ignored: Is it sufficient to be a tribal to mind the interests of a tribal-dominated region or State? Have such leaders served their people well? Does being 'son of the soil' wipe away the stain of corruption and worse? This is a question best answered by the people of Jharkhand. After all, it is them whom Mr Koda and his ilk have cheated.

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