Chennai: Jayalalithaa has slammed her political rival, the DMK, for allegedly shielding Telecom Minister A Raja in the 2G scam. Raja's resignation has been demanded regularly by Jayalalithaa's AIADMK and other Opposition parties. In 2008, his decision to award licenses for 2G spectrum -instead of auctioning it- is reported to have cost the government more than one lakh crore rupees.
Here's the full statement released by Jayalalithaa.
The Congress party has tried to give the impression of ensuring a degree of probity in public life. Shashi Tharoor was made to quit as Union Minister of State as soon as accusing fingers were pointed at him about his alleged complicity in a murky IPL deal. After charges of corruption and malpractices surfaced in connection with the conduct of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Suresh Kalmadi, who was presiding over CWG affairs was allowed to continue till the Games were completed. Now he has been eased out of his powerful office as Secretary of the Congress Parliamentary Party. He will face the high-level inquiry into the CWG scam without the protection provided by his position. Similarly, Ashok Chavan has been removed as Chief Minister of Maharashtra in the wake of the Adarsh Housing controversy. The delay of a few days was only to ensure that Maharashtra had a full-fledged chief minister in place during US President Barrack Obama's sojourn in Mumbai. Hours after Obama left India, Chavan's resignation offer was formally accepted.
But, despite trying to project itself as a role model for impeccable public morality, the Congress has not emerged with a halo around it. The reason for this is the continued presence of A Raja in the Union Cabinet as the Minister of Telecommunications. Raja has presided over what is easily the "mother of all scams" - the 2G Spectrum scam, that has caused, according to calculations worked out by no less an authority than the Comptroller & Auditor General of India, loss to the Indian exchequer to the extent of Rs. 1,76,379 Crores!
The British, during 90 years of Imperial rule from 1857 to 1947, is credited, at today's rupee value, with having looted India to the extent of Rs 900 Crores. The entire Nation rose in revolt against Britain for this. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, a virtual revolution took place in this country. The people rose as one against British rule. The fire did not die till the 15th of August 1947, when the last of the British rulers left India's shores.
Raja's scam, perpetrated with just a few signatures over a few hours, outclasses the British loot by 200 times! If this money was available with the Central Government, we need not have gone for the controversial increases in petroleum prices that have broken the back of India's middle class. Houses worth Rs 1 lakh each could have been built and distributed free to as many as 2 crore poor, homeless Indians. The Ganga could have been cleaned and could have been linked to a cleaned-up Cooum... So much could have been done. So many benefits could have accrued. Raja's pro-active role in this massive, unprecedented scam has been made public not merely by opposition politicians and the media but by the Central Vigilance Commission, the High Court of Delhi, The Supreme Court of India and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
Raja, the DMK's poster-boy in Delhi, hails from a party that lacks morality. So, it is not reasonable to expect him to quit on moral grounds. Neither will his party leader ask him to quit, considering that a sizeable portion of the loot has ended up in his household. Though it is over two years since the scam first surfaced and its specifics have been getting murkier by the day, the Congress party that dominates the ruling coalition in Delhi has not been able to muster the courage to demand his resignation either. They are worried that such a precipitate demand would end up with Karunanidhi pulling out of the fragile UPA coalition leading to its premature collapse.
The repeated demands for Raja's ouster by me and other right-thinking political leaders and opinion makers have therefore fallen on deaf ears. The time has come for the people to step in. I call upon the people of India - no, I do not mean the members of my AIADMK party, I don't even mean the people of Tamil Nadu, but every concerned citizen of India - to express their sense of outrage. The CAG report has been submitted to the President of India.
Now the President officially knows that a loot of Rs 1,76,379 Crores has taken place. It is now for the people to let the President know how they feel about it. I therefore call upon all Indians to send a one line telegram to the President of India at Rashtrapathi Bhavan, Delhi, demanding the dismissal of Union Telecom Minister A Raja. This has to be done, if India is to be saved. People power alone can save the Nation.