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Reliance scam has wider ramifications

Amongst all the allegations made by the civil society activists against corruption, Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan, the searchlight they held on Wednesday on the unholy alliance between the ruling Congress Party and Reliance Industries Ltd. falls into a special category. First, it is a pre-emptive move by the activists — partly, at least. We owe them a word of gratitude. Of course, millions of Indians will now be keenly watching the government’s pending decision on any hike in the price for Reliance’s gas from the KG Basin gas fields. 

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader Jaswant Singh has demanded that the government must come clean on the issue. Surprisingly, however, L K Advani who would be the senior most official of the NDA government available today hasn’t yet spoken. Of course, the party president Gadkari lacks the moral courage to speak anymore on the issue of corruption. 
As for the Left, unsurprisingly, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has taken an unequivocal stand on the issue. The CPM has been waging a robust campaign on this issue single-handedly. But again, this is a subject that truly deserves a joint statement by the Left parties. 
Congress Party has kept mum. Funnily, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chose today of all days to exhort the nation to narrow the budget deficit. After presiding over a corrupt government that squandered away hundreds of thousands of crores worth national resources, he must be a cynic with capital ‘C’ to speak of budget deficits! 
The RIL scam has wide ramifications. Apart from throwing light on the nexus between the political parties and the corporate houses, it also raises an important question about this leviathan called Reliance. The impression one gets from the controversy is that RIL has become a hydra-headed monster which poses threat to Indian democracy. 
Any functioning democracy cannot allow that to happen. Just work out what Congress party might have got in return for all those thousands of crores worth loot it helped RIL to carry away from the nation’s kitty. 
A tragic question also arises. We have just elected a new president who also happens to be the cabinet minister in Manmohan Singh’s government who took some of those big decisions favoring Reliance. What do we do now? A nation feels rudderless in such appalling moments.
Equally, there is a foreign policy angle. The RIL has become the gateway for Big Oil to enter the Indian domestic market. First it was Chevron, now it is BP
And in a major move to favor Reliance, the government has allowed this to happen. There is nothing wrong if BP operates in India. But there is something wrong if RIL exercises its political clout to keep out other players from abroad from entering into partnerships with other Indian companies, which may compete with the Big Oil. The story of Big Oil, wherever it goes in the developing countries, is blood-soaked. Watch out, Mother India! 
Russia, for instance, has been knocking at the door and it is an energy superpower. Why is the door shut on its face from entering the lucrative Indian market? 
Again, we may never know what influence RIL has exerted on the government to shelve the Iran gas pipeline project. Those in the know of things in Delhi always smelled a rat. After all, RIL’s vice-like grip on India’s gas market wouldn’t be sustainable and its ability to hold the energy market to ransom by slyly cutting back on production if the country has other reliable alternate sources like Iran, which is indeed capable of meeting India’s needs for almost the entire 21st century. 

Posted in Politics.

12 Responses

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  1. Jai Neo says

    As Robert Vadra commented, we are indeed helpless

  2. spicy sauce says

    @simon seth – you cannot type or use spellcheck, but you must know about gas reservoir economics — please explain to us. You might be working for Reliance or one of the babu’s benefiting from the largess to the Ambanis. You are the one that needs the walk, not just talk the talk. Explain how the gas reservoir economics works, I am sure most of us here are smart enough to understand.

  3. Ramanathan Umapathy says

    will defense forces enter to help indian people
    can India have a Juon Peron?
    Will Maoists/Intellectual/eduacted unemployed create a Juon Peron for India
    India requires a honest benevolent dictator for next 10 years
    Can India develop a Hu JunTao??!!
    I do not think so because all players mentioned above are corrupt
    Big cataclysm should take place for Politicos to open eyes and all
    God’s Wrath is not far away–People of India are going to celebrate
    no body knows when it will take place but going to take place
    Bhagvat Gita will get repeated—Evil has to destroyed by Good
    Nature theory is also same–Indians will rejoice on developments -very very soon

  4. shilpy says

    bloggers say the darnest things.
    here we have bhadrakumar dismissing gadkari by saying gadkari lacks moral courage to speak on corruption. but the gandhis speak on corruption nonchalantly, much like the pakistani politicians or middle east style. does bhadrakumar lack moral courage to pull up gandhis when they do so speak against corruption? of course not.

  5. Jimmy Adoomba Oodogou says

    So finally an ex-bureaucrat has found the courage to speak out against Reliance. Take every energy decision that the government has taken. It has only favoured Reliance even at the cost of the public sector, built by the tax payers money. Take the case of the gas supply bids for Gandhar when they walked out, paying a chickenfeed penalty. Again neither GAZPROM nor ROSNEFT have been permitted to enter India. Isn’t that what has allowed RIL to blackmail the country with fictitious claims on Godavari gas. And who benefits from the diesel price hikes? Only one answer to the question – Reliance. Are the Ambani’s above the law, or do they own the Congress parties. If this is not version of cronyism and Kleptocracy, what else is it?

  6. tick says

    The story of Big Oil, wherever it goes in the developing countries, is blood-soaked.

    The jaane bhi do yaaro stance on big builders is typical. In process we forget the civil engineering and architectural feats, besides the organizational challenges which must be brought into play. Instead of awe and appreciation, and stirring of deeper emotions, shallow sophistry comes into fore play.

    On matters pertaining to energy security of India, time to get real and identify the root cause in order to generate the necessary investments. The big business risk taken by Reliance deserves appreciation, and its effort to sustain profit is inevitable. The inherent contradiction in a regulated pricing policy when the supply costs are subject to market forces got to be understood.

    K D Malaviya is credited to have laid the foundation of Indian oil policy which continues presently. It is time for rethink and put out a policy framework for sustainable market development. Indian can not be a super economic power unless big businesses are welcome and thrive in a competitive and transparent legal market.

  7. NIT DIESEL says

    If you read the history, moguls ruled India for around 200 years, followed by British for 100 years or so.The present system has already covered 65 years without too much of glory.If you notice the ruling period gets reduced by half each time.There seems to be some arithmetic digression .
    Iam sorry to say but mayne the system has outlived its value with all the decay prevailing.

  8. simon seth says

    Mr MKB, unsubstantiated charges are equally condemnable. Does teh civil society, kejriwal et al have valid proofs and basic understanding of the gas reaservoir economics? Just shooting from teh hips has become anybody and ep.getverybody’s business these days. C’mon! grow up. Get some life.Take a walk.

  9. hogajoga says

    there is lot more about these international syndicate that is all over the net that ranges from energy, nuclear, weapons, high-tech, auto, etc. Many companies like reliance are the big brokers.

  10. mr.piri says

    An illuminating piece indeed from Mr. Bhadrakumar!

    He is perhaps the only columnist of note who has dared to admit that the CPM is the only political party that has denounced the long apparent and hugely corrupt nexus between corporate knaves such as RIL and political parties such as the Congress, the BJP and the SP!

    While discourse in the Indian mainstream media today on this evil keeps getting defrayed and strays away from where the loot has been taken, efforts at keeping attention rivetted on the acts of the big time thieves must be welcomed with gusto by commoners.

  11. wizardo id says

    incredible that MSM is staying away fro mthe actual story and focussing on the story like tabloids do.

  12. predatorxtreme says

    For real transformation of India, there is a need to create a new political party with people who are clean, principled and are not manipulated by corporations. All current political parties and 99 percent of thier party members are thieves and cheats. It’s time we got new leaders who are not in it for the money but for genuine transformation of the country as a whole.

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