Corruption is just another form of tyranny! – Joe Biden
I am sure a lot of fellow right-wingers are jumping out of their chairs, waiting to throw their kitchen sink at me for suggesting that there is no need to bring Vijay Mallya or Nirav Modi back from the foreign shores they have fled to. I have a very simple argument that I need the government, citizens and media to consider! All I ask for is a teeny bit of patience:
Vijay Mallya’s propensity to default on bank loans was a topic of conversation common among the coffee shop circuit of Bangalore, way back in 2008. (Probably because Bangalore was and still is a city, largely, of government employees!) Yet, the loans flowed freely and gladly into the hands of the well-known and beloved defaulter, till they reached a gargantuan size of 9000 Crores (including interest).
Then all hell broke loose and everyone from our neighbourhood milkman, to the screaming prime time anchor, to the twitteratti, to the government was clamoring for Mallya’s blood! Everyone wanted Mallya to be brought back to the country and treated like a common criminal. We, the long suffering middle-class, would love to see him sing like a canary and cry like a broken man, cause in our minds he had stolen some of our future. A future that we literally gave up on when we voted the poison ivy that is Congress party back to power in 2009! Anyways, that is a discussion for another day!
Mallya left India on 2nd March 2016, reasoning that he needed to be in Britain, closer to his kids! His passport was revoked in April 2016 and in June 2016 he was declared a “proclaimed offender” under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. What followed after that was a series of arrests by UK authorities and subsequent bails. An extradition story that is continuing still and will by all accounts last beyond this term of Modi government.
In meantime there is a new scam king on the block!
A recent slew of RBI directives led to the discovery of a mare’s nest, another gargantuan scam in Punjab National Bank. The prominent jeweller Mr. Nirav Modi had defrauded the country of another 11000 crores, right under the watchful gaze or perhaps at the behest of illustrious economists, such as P Chidambaram – from the hallowed halls of Harvard, Manmohan Singh – from the august corridors of Cambridge, Oxford and finally the blue-eyed, boy-wonder from Booth, Raghuram Rajan, our ex RBI governor!
Predictably, the cronies of the corrupt moved faster than the arms of law. The scamster was tipped off and made his way to foreign shores, protected by a foreign passport. In all probability this extradition too, like Mallya’s, will play out over the next few years, while back home news anchors will shout and milk this issue for TRPs, sowing doubts into the hearts of the core voters of Mr. Modi.
Then one day the government will change and all the prodigal scamming pigeons will return to the comforts of the corrupt mother-ship, back to feast off the system.
That my dear middle-class Indian has been happening so far! Between the political will, the long arm of law and the systemic corruption, the ones left holding the hideous bundle of corruption and loss both as tax payer and small-time investors are you and Me! Unfortunately, there is no fairness in this world. We better get used to it!
So, here is my radical new approach to the problem instead!
I am proposing that the government should stop trying to extradite these scamsters to India. As it is, by running after them we are spending more tax payer money on lawyer fees in a foreign land. Talk about good money being thrown after bad ones!
Once they come back they might spend time in jail, living off on more tax payer money. They might even get VIP treatment in the jail. After all, the Indian judicial system is famous for stringing out verdicts and cases for years. All the while, the tax payer will be paying to keep these miscreants alive and kicking.
In the meantime, should the political dispensation change, these criminals would be out of jail and the whole seedy saga would begin again at the behest of the political bigwigs!!
The government and we, the citizens, should instead, enter into a quid pro quo with these thievesI
The thieves get to stay in their foreign homes forever in return for refunding the principal amount sans interest in full. This can be done by attaching their foreign properties, Indian properties and selling their stakes in the business.
The second step would be to revoke their Indian passport, OCI cards etc, debar them from entering India, trading, starting businesses or contesting any political offices in India, forever! These people should never be allowed to come back to Indian shores!
In the interim, the government and more importantly RBI should start the privatisation process of the banks which despite repeated scams, have refused to change their processes. A case needs to be made of such banks that systematically destroy share holder wealth without any consideration for the tax payers, whose money is used with impunity to recapitalize every time. Privatization will never eradicate corruption completely (its rampant in developed nations too) but it will make it very difficult to carry on such large-scale exploitation of systemic loopholes with little discomfort. I am sure the finance ministry and RBI are more than capable of looking at that, at setting an example strong enough to deter future bank employees from exploiting the system with impunity!
It’s time that we the citizens, you and I, started accepting and using the system for our own good instead of lamenting about it!!
~ by The Angry Indian (Swati)
Disclaimer: This article is purely based on the author’s understanding of the whole sordid saga, with an intent to save further loss of tax payer money!