While civilian supremacy over the armed forces is accepted in democracies the world over, and is an article of faith in the Indian military establishment, it refers to political and not bureaucratic control. It was the civil military disconnect which was largely responsible for slippages and deficiencies in India’s defence preparedness in 1962. Sadly, the situation has not improved much since then.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who chairs the parliamentary standing committee on law and justice, and is also a Congress party spokesperson, has been involved in a legal fight on behalf of the leading telecom companies to stall the audit of their accounts by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
If Tehelka, on leads that there was corruption in defence industry, can entrap political leaders and army officials by bribing them with cash (even prostitutes), then what is wrong with a political party planning a sting operation with a TV channel.
Congress Party's troubles are increasing with each passing day as new revelations from whistleblowing websites suggest the party spent around Rs 50-60 crores (about $25 million) in buying the MPs' support for the crucial Indo-US Nuclear Deal vote in the Lok Sabha in 2008.
Last week, one was dumbfounded when Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal tried to insult the intelligence of the entire nation while stating that the 2G scam did not cause any loss to the nation. Though his arguments seemed convincing, they were heavily flawed.
It is for some strange reason that Mr Chandrasekhar does not find anything wrong in Anil Ambani’s RCom being given a GSM license on 18/10/2007 when there was no notification for applying for a GSM license under dual technology but finds fault with the Tata's application of 22/10/07 for GSM after the notification for dual technology was made on 19/10/2007.
BJP's strategists believe that if a JPC probe is ordered then they can use the issue for a longer period of time (Assembly Polls in certain states next year and General Elections in 2014). Also, the members of the JPC can keep on widening the scope of the inquiry, and can even summon the Prime Minister to appear before it.
Ratan Tata would be well advised to sack the lobbyist, withdraw the petition from the Supreme Court and let the tapes remain in the public domain. Otherwise he risks damaging his reputation forever which will be a sad thing. As for the tapes, they will remain in public domain (the Internet is too vast to be covered by a court injunction).
Srikumar Banerjee, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and ex-officio Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, one of the drafters of the Bill is guilty of ignoring the consequences of possible nuclear disaster because his text has privatized profits and made liabilities public. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is in-charge of Department of Atomic Energy, appears to be guilty of dereliction of duty as well. The Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests chaired by T Subbirami Reddy reveals their culpability quite categorically.