Middlemen syndrome

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/29/2018 11:24:38 AM IST

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has this penchant for slogans and his call for Middleman Mukt Bharat”is a modi-fication of “Congress Mukt Bharat”. Earlier seen as totally incorrupt, Modi today has a lot to answer regarding various allegations made against the BJP by the Congress such as – patronising crony capitalists such as Adani, Anil Ambani and other alleged scams - Balco, Hudco, Vyapam scam etc. Of course, even though the Rafale scam has shaken the Modi government yet he manages to hold on to the image of being less corrupt. His rhetoric and slogans do resonate for a simple reason, that the object of his attacks- Congress and especially the Gandhis- have been involved in many past controversies. The Modi government has pulled out all stops and re-opened the Augusta-Westland helicopter scam involving Rs.3600 crore deal for purchase of 12 helicopters under the UPA in February 2010 for the Communication Squadron of Indian Air Force to carry the president, PM and other VVIPs. The alleged middleman in the scam- Christian Michel- currently under ED custody, has a lot to answer for the diary entries of another of his business colleague which the CBI and ED are probing. The tribe of middlemen have thrived under various governments and despite all the talks of doing away with them because whoever comes to power continue to run with the hares and hunt with the hounds. Allegations of wrongdoings in military procurements are as old as independent India. The infamy of defence procurement began as early as 1948 when then Indian High Commissioner to Britain bypassed protocol and signed purchase order worth Rs.80 lakh for 200 jeeps for the Indian army. The army found that 150 of them were used and reconditioned and so rejected the supply. However Nehru intervened and ordered that the jeeps be accepted. Menon later went on to become India’s defence minister in 1958 and largely contributed to India’s humiliating defeat in 1962. There was the middleman Otavio Quattrochi involved in the Bofors gun scandal during the rule of Rajiv Gandhi. Around the same time another scandal also surfaced – the HDW scandal involving purchase of submarines for the Indian Navy. It was alleged by German submarine maker HDW, that 7% was paid to seal the deal. All political parties see themselves as ‘pro-poor’ and plough enormous funds into social welfare schemes. However, the bulk of those funds are siphoned off by middlemen. Even in the much-hyped social welfare schemes, the involvement of middlemen have always been a boon for exploiting various loopholes to profiteer. Even in the farming sector millions of small farmers are in the grip of middlemen linked to agricultural mandis or markets. Banks have also been hit very hard by middlemen-politicians who facilitate huge loans that ultimately turned bad. Middlemen even included godmen and conmen who were able to influence powerful politicians and officials as they nestled among the elites. Like the hydra, middlemen crop up soon after one flees while politicians indulge in witch hunting. The law should not release those middlemen so that names of the powerful people are exposed and awarded punishment like ordinary thieves. The Supreme Court should step in and ensure that the long arm of the law catch those who loot and plunder.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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