Overpowered by his narcissistic reverie, Mallya has refused to admit his dishonest acts and still treads on his vanity that has pushed him to the brink of disaster
Vijay Mallya, the rank swindler of massive public funds, apparently took a leaf from Plato who believed that "Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty". But in the bargain, the absconding tycoon has irreversibly messed up his business and also his life. In a series of his bluffs, he has persistently claimed that he is the "man of life upright and guiltless heart" and that he, never for a moment, tried to bungle the country's banking system. Overpowered by his narcissistic reverie, Mallya has refused to admit his dishonest acts and still treads on his vanity that has pushed him to the brink of disaster. Also totally misfired is his fallacious gambit that his claim of "meeting" with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before leaving India would save him from the dragnet amid the political storm that his statement has generated in India, where the tussle for power presently is at its peak, months before the crucial 2019 do-or-die electoral battle.
Extradition likely on December 10
In London for the hearing of his extradition case, a perfidious Mallya retracted quickly on his claim, confirming the Minister's version of events, but in another devious flick, chose to blame the media for "misrepresenting facts." Clearly, by resorting to his unrestrained bout of untruths, accusing the minister of indirectly "clearing" the way for his deceitful exit to a foreign land, while facing serious charges of bank loot and money laundering at home, he didn't want to take the risk of antagonizing the government further. And also, simultaneously under pressure from the British court and the Indian investigating agencies, he thought it wise to not overstretch his counter-productive lies. Most likely, the UK court will order his extradition to India on December 10, when it takes up his case.
Jaitley was wary of Mallya's 'bluff offers'
Mallya unwittingly provided a handle to the opposition parties to accuse the Modi government of being "in collusion with the corrupt businessmen and facilitating them to flee the country." They not only sought an explanation from the PM but also the resignation of the finance minister. But in a social media post, Jaitley dismissed Mallya's charge, stating that he was "spreading falsehood and that his statement is factually false in as much as it does not reflect truth...Since 2014, I have never given him an appointment to meet me and the question of his having met me does not arise."
Jaitley, however, admitted that Mallya once accosted him in the Parliament corridor, casually conveying, "I am making an offer of settlement." But, the Minister did not allow him the leeway he had expected: "Having been fully briefed about his earlier 'bluff offers', without allowing him to proceed with the conversation, I curtly told him there is no point talking to me and he must make offers to his bankers." Thus, Jaitley insisted that "Mallya misused his privilege as a Rajya Sabha Member." The fugitive later admitted that "there was no scheduled meet. I only said I happened to meet the Minister.
Rahul Gandhi certified 'Mallya is a good man'
Here is a question to Congress president Rahul Gandhi: Can a Minister allow a notorious swindler to flee the country and then face national flak and vilification? Not listening to the voice of reason, Rahul even targets Modi and seeks Jaitley’s resignation. But will Gandhi accept Shia Waqf Board (SWB) chief Waseem Rizvi's charge that he and Ghulam Nabi Azad had intervened in favour of Mallya who had "illegally occupied" SWB land in Meerut where the tycoon ran his United Spirits distillery? In his telephonic talk, Gandhi had allegedly asked Rizvi not to proceed against Mallya "who is a good man." This shows the fugitive's close proximity to the Nehru-Gandhi family and the latter's keenness to protect him. There is also talk in the air that Gandhi is in touch with Mallya.
Were Sonia, Manmohan behind these hefty loans?
Documentary evidence is available to prove that UPA's top brass had forced the unwilling bankers to grant hefty fresh loans to Mallya's companies, despite his horrific default on the existing loans. Mallya was often seen taking rounds of the corridors of power. The entire political executive, including then Finance Minister P Chidambaram, was "kind" to him as a result of the directive from the top, which included party patron Sonia Gandhi and PM Manmohan Singh. Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines owes Rs 9,091 crore to a consortium of 17 banks, which have moved the Supreme Court for recovery. CBI and ED probes reveal that Mallya diverted with impunity most of the Rs 6,000 crore amount he borrowed from the SBI-led consortium of lenders. The money was transferred to shell companies in half a dozen countries. The latest money-laundering case covers the loan of 6,027 from over a dozen banks, taken between 2005 and 2010 under the UPA government watch.
Measures to check banking frauds
It is unfortunate that India is undergoing the pain of increasing loot of public assets and money laundering, thanks to the regime of discretionary powers of our leaders and bureaucrats. Intrigued by high-profile absconding thieves like Mallya, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Lalit Modi, Sanjay Bhandari, Deepak Talwar and many more, Parliament has passed the Economic Offences Bill aimed at preventing offenders from syphoning off public funds and fleeing the country. The law also empowers the probe agencies to confiscate assets of those who flee the country after committing economic offences. But the questions are being raised if the new law will be able to check frauds.
In a stern warning, the Finance Ministry has asked bank chiefs to check all NPA accounts exceeding Rs 50 crores for fraud, else they will face criminal conspiracy charges. This missive comes in the light of the arrest of Bhushan Steel's erstwhile promoter Neeraj Singal for allegedly syphoning off funds. It is learned that bankers could be held accountable under Section 120B of Indian Penal Code if they fail to report fraud in an account which is later unearthed by probe agencies.
High Corruption Stalked UPA regimes
Under severe attack from the BJP for the mega scams allegedly patronized by Congress over the years, the latter has alleged that bank frauds to the tune of Rs. 54,317 crore had taken place under BJP's watch, which the saffron party put back in the Congress' court. In this acrimonious political tussle, the things are being made to look hazy, where Congress, the mother of all scams, tries to put a veil over the inadequacies of its misrule. But the BJP promptly hits back: "These frauds were committed during Congress regime and it could not absolve itself of direct culpability, collusion and connivance in these frauds...the manner in which procedures were flouted clearly shows the Congress hand in these scandals."
Under the scam-tainted UPA's 10-year rule, great opportunities of growth and development were missed callously as corruption and policy paralysis brought the GDP growth rate crashing to its slowest pace of 4.6% for the decade. High inflation kept household budgets under strain, the slowdown in the industrial sector resulted in poor quality jobs. Look at the nine mega scams in nine years that negatively marked the UPA's performance graph: Coal scam, 2 G spectrum scam, Chopper scam, Tatra truck scam, CWG Scam, Cash-for-vote scam, Adarsh scam, IPL scam, Satyam scam, besides a few smaller ones.
Modi curtails graft significantly at the top
The most notable achievement of the Modi government is that there are almost no tales of entrenched corruption at the top. But if the party claims that corruption has disappeared under its rule sounds pretty illogical and boastful. Graft in India doesn't always emerge from the opportunities people see to make a fast buck by bending rules, but it shows up as a monster embedded right in the system. The booty so earned is systematically distributed through the marked channels of slime and dross. And, then, what is our democracy, if not wholly fueled by corruption and greed. That is the route our parties walk on and win elections.
Why is corruption germane to our democracy?
And in times when elections throw up hung legislatures, MPs, MLAs and corporates are even "bought" in costly horse trading. So, when the politicians are corrupt, the system too flows through the stream of corruption. PM Modi has worked really hard to cut the tales of corruption under his watch, and he has succeeded to some extent, but the rot still continues despite the many rectifying blockades he has placed within the system. He has made noticeable beginnings on this front. Ostensibly, while the Congress and other party leaders set their key leaders free to make big money, Modi looks trying to check the rot. He asks his party governments in states as well to fall back on a cleaner system. But as the states have their own independent administrations, the Central guidance there becomes perceptively remote, lax and somewhat ineffective. Yet, Modi's four-and-a-half-years rule resolutely demonstrates that he wields the key to tackle difficult situations with alacrity and perseverance. His resolve to fight corruption looks total and unmitigated!
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Last Updated Sep 19, 2018, 9:28 AM IST