Yesterday in Andhra Pradesh, the Principal secretary for Home, Mr. B.P.Acharya was arrested by the CBI for his role in a scam. He was sent to a jail of which he is technically still the incharge (to suspend an officer, he/she has to be under custody for a minimum of 48 hours). Anyways, the irony aside, there are some issues that I wish to discuss here.
B.P.Acharya has been charged with "criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption". As Managing Director of the AP Industrial Infrastructure Corporation, he has been accused of about 20 offences - primarily saying he has "ditched" APIIC and caused immense loss and more importantly of keeping the APIIC board "in the dark".
You see, I have a problem with "in the dark" accusation. APIIC is headed by a politician. APIIC is "vested with the objective of providing industrial infrastructure through the development of industrial areas" - which means that APIIC provides land (real estate) for private developers for "industrial development". Essentially, if one is inclined, this is a money making machine - given the large tracts of real estate involved.
Now let's come to the present case. APIIC entered into an agreement with EMAAR for developing a township, golf course and convention centre. According to the deal, APIIC was to get a 26% share. This was in 2003. After YSR became the CM, one of his trusted lieutanants, Ambati Rambabu was made the chairman. Mr. B.P.Acharya, an IAS officer was made the Managing Director. After these appointments were made, some astute machinations by those in power ensured that that APIIC share dropped to 5-6%! That's right - from 26 to 6%.
Another accusation is that plots were sold at a much higher value than what was shown on paper. On paper, they were sold for Rs. 5000 per sq.yard. But money was collected to the tune of 50,000 per sq yard. And according to the CBI - " the accused collected a sum of nearly Rs.138 crore by selling the plots at inflated rates to the customers, who include several top politicians, professionals, film actors and industrialists."
Now, let's add up everything. CBI says that an IAS officer pocketed so much money by selling lands at such high rates to "top politicians" etc. In today's world of instant connectivity, are we to freaking believe that the politicians heading APIIC were clueless about this loot? CBI says the board was "kept in dark" about dilution of shares. Are we to freaking believe that in today's world of information overdrive, the board was so incompetent to not know that the shares were being diluted?
Ambati Rambabu, the chairman of APIIC was merely let off after questioning. Ambati Rambabu is now the voiceferous spokesman of YSR Congress party led by Jagan. YSR's best friend, his soul mate, K.V.P.Ramachandra Rao was merely questioned. Before making any further arguments I would like to present case 2.
You all must have been bored to death listening to the "illegal mining" of the Reddy brothers in Karnataka. You must have also been bored to death by news channels covering their arrest. Now, while covering their arrest - the news channels missed a minor detail. He was arrested for illegal mining in Andhra Pradesh, not Karnataka! Now, what does that mean? That means, the Andhra Pradesh government gave the Reddy brothers permission for this illegal mining. This illegal permission was given in 2005, which means YSR was the Chief Minister. It is a known thing that the families of YSR and Reddy brothers are very close. Now, which department has to give permission for this mining? Technically the central government has to agree, based on recommendations by the state government.
Congress party took up this case to serve two purposes - one is that by arresting Reddy brothers, they can cause damage to the BJP in Karanataka, and simultaneously hurt Jagan Mohan Reddy in Andhra Pradesh. Now, the Reddy brothers are arrested. Next in line should logically be the minister who recommended the grant of the lease, right?
Here's where CBI stumps you! It arrested the IAS officer incharge then. The IAS officer places the blame on the then minister of Mines, Sabita Indra Reddy (who is now the Home Minister). The IAS officer says she merely worked under the influence of the minister. CBI vehemantly disagrees with this - tells the court that the minister is not at all at fault. It tells the court the minister was "misguided" by the IAS officer. The minister goes on to say that she signed the file to "help the poor" and tells changes were made the original file she signed!
You see, YSR's close proximity to Reddy brothers had no bearing on the issued G.O. The reason YSR put up a dummy candidate like Sabita was to ensure such files get through - yet that is of no importance to this case. The IAS officer acted only in connivance with the Reddy brothers to grant them the license. And we don't even hear anything about the central government officers in this case!
So, basically again it is all the officers fault - no congress politician had anything to do with any of these scams.
Cases 3, 4, etc
The ISRO fiasco is too recent to be recounted. A blog two days back details it here. Suffice it to say that the government again said that the Scientists at the helm "misled" it. Many articles have derided this action and questioned as to how the PMO can remain in the dark.
We have also heard before that A. Raja misled the PM on 2G scam. Editor of CRI summarised it beautifully -
"PMO formidable institution with mechanism to be alerted on massive economic crimes How then people suffer lie that MMS didnt know a damn?"
It is nothing but a blatant lie that is being imposed upon us when they say that the "minister did not know", "the CM did not know", "the PM did not know". Our system is so designed that the political authority has all necessary information at their disposal. Unless the political head is extremely dumb, it is impossible not to get a hang of massive scams happening under his/her watch. Officers merely follow orders (in such cases, mostly oral I guess) in coming up with "deals" that will help the political heads. While it can be debated whether officers should blindly follow such orders, it is a travesty of justice and insult to our intelligence when officers and only officers are arrested for such massive loot scams.
Lastly, fellow tweeter and blogger asked if any English TV media covered the arrest of IAS officers. They did - here's a tweet from Rajdeep Sardesai.
Bad day for IAS: senior officer arrested in Andhra for corruption; IAS officer's wife arrested for slapping cop in B'lore
Not a word on the actual case. Ofcourse not!