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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Diwali - fireworks of Arvind Kejriwal

Deepavali, the festival of lights, the grand festival is a couple of days away and all of us are gearing for the festivity – busy buying clothes, making sweets and more………….. here is something on buying crackers in Chennai – this time not at the Flower Bazaar / Parrys corner area but at Island grounds…  read -

At a time, when the Nation is getting ready for the festival grandly celebrated with crackers,  Arvind Kejriwal and his tireless band of flame throwers have set off yet another firecracker – and this time, they’ve picked on that perennial theme in Indian politics – of black money hoards stashed in ‘Swiss banks’.  It is a pet theme of Cinema – we have seen that in Shivaji the Boss, Kandaswamy and more………….. and many politicians including Baba Ramdev to LK Advani to Subramanian Swamy have repeatedly flagged at various points of time, focussing in particular on the feeble efforts to retrieve ill-gotten assets from their offshore havens. Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan’s press conference of yesterday momentarily brings the subject back to the front pages.  The Nation would react and read with awe ……….. and forget to do something more important themselves in a shorter span of time. 

Activists Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan widened their "anti-graft" net on Friday accusing the multinational bank HSBC of running a huge hawala operation to launder thousands of crores of illicit money belonging to leading corporates like the Ambani brothers Mukesh and Anil, the Burmans,Naresh Goyal of Jet Airways, Yashowardhan Birla and Congress MP Annu Tandon. They demanded the suspension of HSBC's India operations and arrests of its officials, prosecution of the industrialists concerned and disclosure of names of all Indians who hold accounts in foreign branches of different banks. The activists also attacked the government for not taking action against HSBC and its clients engaged in money laundering in disregard of "strong evidence", specifically accusing the thenfinance minister Pranab Mukherjee of covering up the racket when it came to light in July 2011.

Kejriwal and Bhushan made the sensational claim of having been tipped off by a mole who has just been inducted in the Union Cabinet, as they cited documents of income tax department to allege that the multinational bank took at least Rs 6,000 crore in illicit money belonging to these corporates and 700 others to be deposited in its Dubai and Geneva branches.
Though various politicians have been thus far accused of travelling abroad frequently and having illegal accounts stashing money in them – at no point earlier, a bank that too a MNC has been accused on this.  The activists, who came up with their fresh tranche of accusations after nine days, said the whole operation -- a meticulously planned affair where people could open and operate Swiss bank accounts without stirring out of their homes in India and with greater ease than starting an account with State Bank of India -- came to light after a whistleblower in HSBC leaked the names of its account holders to the French government.

As immediately, the  allegation was condemned by the government, corporates and Tandon, Congress MP from Unnao.  As rightly put, it is not politicians game alone – there is fundamentally more in to it.  There will be discourses on political corruption and illegal money black in colour – but in India, there are political parties, which act like big entities, they need huge volumes of unaccounted money to feed their ilk and run their show – they go on collection spree from corporate and mobilize funds in various ways, most of which becomes unaccounted, only to be spent on their cadres time and again – sometimes for non-descreipt, unethical acts.   There are routine expenses on heads such as leaders travelling to different places and mobilisation of people for events.  The biggest of the National parties accumulate tens of thousands of crores but show much much less to the tax authorities.  When the law makers break the law with such impunity, there is little the common man can aspire to do.  The roots of political corruption in India lies buried in the unexplained gap between the actual expenses of most parties and what they reveal.

So corruption is in air, everywhere – though there are many individuals and some Corporates who walk tall, being clean and ethical in their dealings.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
10th Nov 12.

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