New Delhi: From DDCA, corporate espionage, to chikki and IPL controversies, India was rocked by a number of scams in 2015. As we bid adieu to the year, here’s a look at the top scandals that made headlines.
- DDCA Scam
The DDCA scam began making headlines after the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the CBI’s raid at his Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar’s office earlier this month was carried out to look for files related to the alleged financial irregularities in the cricket body when it was headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Soon former cricketer and now suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad addressed a scathing press conference flanked by Bishan Singh Bedi apparently raising the issue of corruption in the DDCA and targeting Jaitley. Taking strong exception to AAP leaders’ allegations against him, Jaitley filed a civil defamation suit against Kejriwal and five others. BJP, on its part, cracked a whip on Azad by sacking him from the party for his alleged “anti-party activities”. Unperturbed by his suspension, Azad has vowed to continue exposing corruption in the DDCA. This issue promises to make headlines in 2016 as well.
- Corporate Espionage Scandal
The year began with the arrests of five senior executives of India’s top private energy companies – Reliance Industries, Essar, Cairns India, ADAG Reliance, and Jubilant Energy – for allegedly being involved in the leaking of Petroleum Ministry documents.
Delhi Police said in its charge sheet submitted to a Delhi court said that a “handsome monthly amount” was paid by the arrested corporate executives to those “hired” for obtaining the “stolen documents” from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG).
An amount to the tune of Rs. 2.5 lakhs per month was being paid to the two accused, Lalta Prasad and Rakesh Kumar, who were the first to be arrested outside Shastri Bhavan in the national capital.
The documents were then supplied to the firms by these officials for their benefit, the police had alleged. A total of 16 people were arrested in connection with two separate FIRs lodged by the Crime Branch.
- Lalit Modi Money Laundering Case
Former Indian Premier League (IPL) commissioner Lalit Modi found himself in deep water after he made headlines for allegedly being involved in a money laundering case. The business honcho was accused of bid rigging, awarding contracts to his friends, accepting kickbacks on a broadcast deal, selling franchises to members of his family, betting, and money laundering. He took refuge in the UK after absconding from India even as the Enforcement Directorate was investigating the cases.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje were also accused of doing a favor to Modi by helping him secure the UK travel documents. The issue rocked Parliament where the Congress gunned for Swaraj demanding her resignation for helping a “fugitive” escape the Indian law.
The issue isn’t over yet, especially when Modi has been reinstated as the President of the Rajasthan Cricket Association.
- Chikki Scam
The Maharashtra Women and Child Welfare minister, Pankaja Munde, found herself caught in a cleft stick after she was accused of awarding contracts for various items including the sweet snack, “chikki” for tribal area schools without calling for e-tenders.
Congress lawmaker Sharad Ranipse moved a breach of privilege motion against Ms Munde in the state assembly, accusing her of flouting rules of business.
“The Governor in his first address… had mentioned that e-tendering will be made mandatory for all purchases, which was approved by the state cabinet… By approvingRs. 206 crore-worth items, Ms Munde has flouted the rules of business,” Ranjpse said.
Following the allegations, the state government informed the Bombay High Court last month of a policy decision which would ensure that no goods of substandard quality are henceforth purchased.
- Uttarakhand Flood Relief Scam
An RTI reply has revealed a major scam that took place over three years involving disaster relief funds provided to Uttarakhand by the Union government.
Ramesh Kumar Jaisawal, a resident of Mussoorie, claimed that the Central government has admitted to having provided Rs 9,171.70 crore under the heads of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force, Centrally Sponsored schemes (CSS), Central Plan (CP), Special Plan Assistance (SPA), externally aided projects (EAP), and Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. Besides, funds agencies such as Asian Development Bank and World Bank had also released funds for disaster relief.
Shockingly, the state government admitted to receiving only Rs 5,727.44 while denying that it had received funds under the CSS and Central plan schemes and claiming that funds under these schemes were directly given to various departments without its knowledge.
The Uttarakhand government has much to answer in this regard.(Image:Forbes)