French Scandal Exposes Global Corruption
By Zaheerul Hassan
According to a 2004 study by the World Bank Institute, $1 trillion is paid
every year in bribes worldwide. Though, many countries evolved various rules to carry out the accountability of politicians, bureaucrats and military
officials for blocking of bribe, but unfortunately the upward trend of getting illegal benefits have been noticed by the International Transparency
Organization. In this regard former French President Sarkozy case of “$900 million deal of Agosta Submarines with Pakistan in 1994” almost
emerged as hallmark of global corruption. The French Investigating Authorities probed the said deal and proved that Sarkozy when he was a budget
minister has signed the Agosta deal in 1994. Alleges stated that under the terms of the said deal, Pakistani officials would receive 338 million
francs as a commission, while another 216 million would be added to the price of the contract and returned to Balladur’s campaign account as
Even Former President Nicolas Sarkozy has been implicated in an investigation into the circumstances behind a 2002 bomb attack in
Karachi that killed 11 French people. Families of the victims have said Sarkozy should be summoned for questioning in the probe, which aims to clarify
whether the attack was a reprisal against France for a decision to stop paying commissions on Agosta submarine sales to Pakistan or otherwise.
Similarly many American electric companies have also been alleged in smuggling of that devices equipment to India which was later on used in
nuclear programme and missile technology. However, famous Bofors scandal till today is known as one of the biggest scandals in Indian politics. The
scandal started when India decided to purchase 400 155mm Howitzers (fancy word for really-big-kickass-gun) from Swedish company Bofors AB for $1.4
billion in 1986.
In 1987 the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and several others were accused of receiving kickbacks for this deal. Ottavio
Quattrochi was a businessman close to the Gandhi family and a prominent man in the hallowed passages of Indian government. His name came up as the
middleman in this deal. The Bofors scandal was huge. Rajiv Gandhi lost the 1989 elections due to the backlash of these allegations.
corruption is present almost in every country on various level, yet case of India is of special attention since the local level corruption has
overridden the internationalized bribe or corruption.
In the end of last year, there was much uproar in India’s upper house between the
Congress party led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the anti-corruption bill was postponed to be
passed by the house. Three days after the fiasco, BJP said that Congress had been spreading “factually incorrect, false and malicious
allegations” against it on the failure to pass the bill. BJP, while calling Singh, the weakest prime minister of India, again asked him to
In this connection, the opposition blamed the government for a deliberate trick to have the house adjourned in order to avoid a vote on
the bill. Notably, the minority parties in the ruling coalition, which had demanded amendments to the law, called it a “shameful day for
democracy” and “a result of orchestrated chaos.”
When a bid to grant the new bill the constitutional status was defeated in
the upper house, even India’s Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee described it as a “sad day for democracy.” It is mentionable that on
December 29, 2011, India’s government had passed a landmark anti-corruption law through the lower house. In the recent past, the hectic debate
had started in the Indian parliament due to the hunger strike by anti-graft activist Anna Hazare, emphasising stronger legislation to combat the
curse of corruption.
Anna movement, entitled, “India against Corruption” claims that politicians, judges, police, and total civil
service is corrupt. The supporters of the movement say that there is only “one option for all ills: remove corrupt Congress, save the nation.
Unless Congress goes, corruption will not go.” There is no place for monarchy in a democracy. And there is no term called dynastic
In fact, with everyday graft and multi-billion dollar scandals in Asia’s No. 3 economy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s
government has been continuously frustrating the middle-class over the state of affairs which had compelled the government to agree to pass
anti-corruption legislation before the end of 2011.
However, the anti-corruption law has been one of the major political issues in India for
months. The law creates a powerful ombudsman to investigate malpractices among senior politicians and civil servants. The bill offers only limited
jurisdiction over the prime minister as it requires the ombudsman to put any criminal probe in the hands of the government-controlled Central Bureau
of Investigation (CBI).
It is pertinent to note that just a few months ago; the government of Manmohan Singh was disappointed when a group of
civil society activists whipped up popular rage over a rash of corruption scandals, resulting in massive protests in the various cities of the
country. In such a scenario, some of India’s top industrialists warned that Asia’s third-biggest economy has been heading towards
It is notable that India ranked number 87 in Transparency International’s index on corruption in 2010. In this context, Indian
political and economic experts agree that corruption is widely blamed for the deteriorated system of India’s infrastructure and its civil
services—and its economy has grown at around eight percent per annum over the past few years. They remark, “Growing malpractices indicate
signs of a crisis of political credibility in India.”
Recently, a research group, Moody’s Analytics pointed out,
“India’s slowing economic growth is a cause for worry”, highlighting “the failure of aggressive interest rate hikes to curb
near double-digit inflation…India’s growth has weakened under the brunt of 12 interest rate increases since March 2010 that have pushed up
borrowing costs for everything from consumer appliances to plant equipment.”
The misfortune of India is its political system. In this
respect, in November 2011, India’s World Economic Forum (WEF), the participants indicated that corruption has “paralysed New Delhi for a
darkening economic outlook.”
Despite the fact that from time to time a number of plans and schemes have been launched by the Indian
subsequent governments to improve the poor standard of living by improving food security, wage employment, self-employment, access to basic social
services etc, but all these measures proved fruitless because of ineffective implementation which was owing to the corrupt officers.
surprising that corruption in India is not confined to civilian officials, even low and high-ranking Indian Army officials have also been found
involved in various forms of corruption on various occasions. In July, last year, Indian media revealed the new mal-practice of Indian Army officials
who were illegally selling arms and weapons. Army sources of India admitted that the officers, mostly lieutenant colonels and colonels, had faced a
court of inquiry in relation to a public suit, filed in the Rajasthan High Court by an advocate who stated that the officers were selling their
private weapons to “people of suspected character”. The Economic Times also revealed on July 7, 2011, “The weapons were bought by
these army officers from the Central Ordnance Depot of Jabalpur and later sold to civilians in violation of the Arms Act, the petition had contended.
The Supreme Court is presently hearing the case.”
It is of particular attention that in the last few years, high-ranking officers of the
Indian Army such as Chief of Army Staff, Gen. V.K. Singh, Lt. Gen. Surendra Kumar Sahni, Lt. Gen. S.K. Dahiya, Maj-Gen. Anand Swaroop, Maj-Gen SP
Sinha, Maj-Gen. Anand Kapoor, Maj-Gen. Gur Iqbal Singh Multani, Brig. Guredeep Singh were found involved in various kinds of corruption like
unauthorised construction of a golf club building at Ambala cantonment, possessing disproportionate assets, smuggling of large quantities of defence
liquor, irregularities in procuring meat and dry rations for the troops, stationed at Siachen and so on. In spite of court martial against the army
officials, malpractices in one way or the other have kept on going in the Indian defence forces.
It is because of corruption that India is
facing acute poverty, crimes and violence of various forms, economic crisis and social strife, resulting in political instability in the country under
India’s so-called democracy. No doubt, the India has failed in its responsibilities towards its citizens over the last 60 years due to rampant
Returning to our earlier discussion, although French scandal exposes global corruption, yet the same could be mostly noted in case
of India. UNO should devise some rules which should be able to helpful in saving the public money from the political and other robbers
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