2 G Spectrum case and Bhopal Gas Leak

G.S. Vijay Kumar By G.S. Vijay Kumar, 9th Mar 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Politics


If Keshub Mahindra, as a non-executive chairman of Union Carbide India Limited, could be convicted in the case relating to the leakage of gas from their Bhopal plant, there is no reason why P.Chidambaram and the Prime Minister cannot be held guilty in the 2G spectrum scam.

Collective responsibility only if it suits

If Keshub Mahindra, as a non-executive chairman of Union Carbide India Limited, could be convicted in the case relating to the leakage of gas from their Bhopal plant, there is no reason why P.Chidambaram and the Prime Minister cannot be held guilty in the 2G spectrum scam.

The special Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) Court investigating the 2G Spectrum scam dismissed the plea by Dr. Subramaniam Swamy for making Home Minister P.Chidambaram a co-accused in the case. The special judge O.P. Saini said in his judgement that there was not any sufficient ground for proceeding against P.Chidambaram in the telecom scam. Although the special judge agreed that P.Chidambaram was a party to keeping the spectrum prices at 2001 level and dilution of equity by the two companies, Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless, he did not find these acts to be criminal, per se. The honourable judge opined that “anybody and everybody associated with a decision in any degree cannot be roped in as an accused”.
Notwithstanding the Special court’s judgement, there is something called collective responsibility which seems to be have been violated with impunity by the government. Article 75 of the Constitution says that the council of ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Parliament or the house of the people. If there are any failures in the policy or lapse on the part of the government, all the members of the council are jointly responsible. Therefore, on this score, P.Chidambaram as well as the other council of ministers is responsible for this humungous loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crores to the public exchequer.
It is strange that the congress party has chosen to ignore the concept of collective responsibility of the government. The party’s spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi says that aberrations by an individual cannot lead to collective responsibility. It is alleged that A.Raja and party changed the policy not once, or twice but thrice to favour some people. Under ordinary circumstances, any wrongdoing on the part of any minister should have been corrected then and there and not allowed to remain. This is exactly what has happened in the present case. A.Raja was, knowingly or unknowingly, allowed to alter the rules as per his whims and fancies which finally resulted in a huge loss to the government.
It may be worth drawing a parallel with the Bhopal Gas tragedy of 1984 when the then non-executive Chairman of Union Carbide India, Mr. Keshub Mahindra was arrested and later convicted along with the then Managing Director Mr. Vijay Gokhale and others. If Keshub Mahindra, as a non-executive chairman of the company, could be convicted in the case relating to the leakage of gas, there is no reason why P.Chidambaram and the other Council of Ministers including the Prime Minister cannot be held guilty in the 2G spectrum scam.
It is true that the Bhopal Gas tragedy was the worst industrial catastrophe that occurred in December 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant in Bhopal. The plant released methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and other toxins resulting in the toxic exposure of more than five lakh people and several thousand deaths. If one goes by the arguments put forth by the government managers, only the plant superintendent of Union Carbide, Bhopal plant and at best, the chief of the plant should have been arrested. However what followed was the arrest of the then Managing Director of the company as well as the non-executive chairman of the company, the latter in no way connected either directly or indirectly to the disaster.
Similarly, In the recent AMRI Hospital tragedy in Kolkatta, where more than 90 people died in a pre-dawn blaze, six Directors of the hospital were arrested and booked for several non-bailable offences. For the sake of argument, one can say that the owners of the hospital were not directly involved in the accident and therefore are not responsible for the tragedy.
The 2G spectrum scam too is perhaps the worst financial catastrophe created by the government of the day involving a loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer. According to the Comptroller of Auditor General (CAG), the telecom ministry flouted almost all the rules and procedures while issuing licences.
The Prime Minister is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the country and he is certainly responsible for all actions of the government. He should be involved in all major policy decisions. He may not be directly involved in all the actions taken by the other limbs of the government but he is certainly responsible for its actions. He cannot shirk his responsibilities and look the other way. Dr. Manmohan Singh is undoubtedly an honest, upright and a sincere person but has behaved like a lame duck prime minister with no control whatsoever over his team. We cannot have one set of rules for the representatives of the people and another entirely contradictory set of rules for the rest of the country.

G.S. Vijay Kumar is a senior corporate executive and a columnist.

Tags

2 G Spectrum, Araja, Bhopal Gas Leak, Congress Party And Corruption, Corrupt Ministers, Corrupt Rulers, Corruption, Corruption And India, Corruption In Government, Corruption In India, Dmk And Corruption, Dr Manmohan Singh, India, Keshub Mahindra, Pchidambaram, Political Corruption, Politicians, Politics, Prime Minister, Subramaniam Swamy, Union Carbide, Upa And Corruption

Meet the author

author avatar G.S. Vijay Kumar
I am a management graduate and have worked as a senior executive for 25 years in the corporate sector.I am a columnist and write on management, Economics and socio-economic topics.

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