Monday, April 14, 2014

"Some can resist these pressures. Others succumb"

Another week, another tell-all book. Now it is the turn of the infamous Coal allocation (aka coal-gate) scam and it is a veritable nightmare for PM Man Mohan Singh (again). The claims are familiar:  an honorable (but weak) man who has been forced to play host to a den of dishonorable people.

PC Parakh was the chief whistle-blower in this case and here is a brief profile from Wiki:
In 2004, coal secretary P C Parakh informed PM the potential fraud inherent in the discretionary allocation of the captive coal fields and objected to it in writing. Still all the 142 coal blocks were allocated without auction during the Prime Minister's tenure in the coal ministry. The Supreme Court observations on April 30 (2013) are undoubtedly harsh. No other government in India has been criticized in such words. PC Parakh who is considered the whistleblower for the coalgate said that he clearly pushed for auctions, but was overruled by the PM.

Our personal opinion is that this is a BJP driven ploy to get free election propaganda (going around the election commission rules). We agree that dirty tricks are considered fair play in love and war, but this relentless targeting of a man who has given all his blood, sweat, and tears to his nation seems quite distasteful and extremely petty.
....
A new book accuses Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of being weak and unable to stamp out corruption on his watch, the second recent attack by an insider that undermines the Congress party as it seeks re-election despite trailing in opinion polls.


That impression was underlined in a book, published on Monday, called "Crusader or Conspirator? Coalgate and Other Truths" by PC Parakh, who retired as coal secretary in 2005.

It said Singh's inability to take on vested interests led to the so-called "Coalgate" scandal, which rocked his premiership.

It was the second book in the last week to portray 81-year-old Singh, Prime Minister since 2004, as a well-intentioned man of high personal integrity but one often unable to assert his authority.


The Coalgate scandal erupted in 2012 after the public auditor questioned the government's awarding of mining concessions without competitive bidding, which it said unduly benefited chosen private and state companies and potentially cost the treasury billions of dollars in lost revenues.

Parakh said that Singh, though keen to introduce open bidding, could not tackle resistance from coal ministers in his administration. Parakh said he himself came under pressure from people interested in acquiring coal blocks.

"Pressures come in the form of enticements such as post-retirement assignments, partnership in business, bribery, blackmail or pure intimidation. Pressures also come from friends and relations," Parakh wrote in the book. "Some can resist these pressures. Others succumb," he said, adding that at no time did the Prime Minister's office make recommendations or exert pressure in favor of any party.
....

regards