Dr. Manmohan Singh and his black-box of honesty and integrity

When I was a kid, Doordarshan was the only channel available on Television. The channel used to host an interesting series which ran one story per episode. I don’t remember the name of that serial, but I distinctly remember one of the episodes which went like this:

An old lady had no one left in her immediate family. She traveled from the house of one relative to the house of another relative, stayed with them for some time and then moved to the other relative’s house. Wherever she went, she was warmly welcomed by lovingly hosted by her relatives. Her relatives used to fight with each other for hosting the old lady. This was completely contrary to general social behavior. The answer to this was in a big metal box which the lay always carried with her. The heavy box used to be locked with huge locks. No one had ever seen what was inside it, but it was believed that the lady carried gold, silver and precious metals. The old lady said the same. People served her with the hope that once she dies, they will become the owner of the box.

One day when the lady was alone, some thieves, who had heard a lot about the box attacked her. The old lady beg them to not open the box, but the thieves break the lock. To their shock, they discover stones and bricks inside. There was no precious metal or gems. The sham was created by the old lady for her survival. The lady was never rich.

The verdict on 2G scam is disappointing. All 18 accused, including A Raja have been acquitted. Congress is already claiming that there was ‘no scam’ and journalists want Vinod Rai to apologize. These events are discouraging, however, what drew my attention was statements given by Manmohan Singh after the verdict. Dr. Manmohan Singh says, “The judgement speaks for itself…I am glad the court has pronounced unambiguously that all this massive propaganda that was being done against the UPA was without any foundation.”

In 2011, Manmohan Singh interacted with editors of the electronic media, in which he mentioned that he was not aware of the methodology of first-come-first-serve (FCFS) policy followed for 2G spectrum allocation by former Telecom Minister A Raja. He also mentioned that Telecom Distribution was neither discussed with him nor was brought to the Cabinet. Dr. Singh famously used the phrase “coalition compulsion” to absolve Congress from the shadows of scam and put the burden on DMK.

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To my surprise, The same Dr. Manmohan Singh is now saying:

I do not want to boast (about) anything. The court’s judgement has to be respected. I am glad that the court has pronounced unambiguously. All the massive propaganda which was being done against the UPA was without any foundation. The judgement speaks for itself.

By stating this, Dr. Singh is not only giving clean chit to all his “coalition-compulsion”members but he is also saying the cancellation of 122 licenses by the Supreme Court was a “propaganda”.

Dr. Singh carries an image of a leader with high values, honesty, and integrity. People who have stayed close to Dr. Singh claim that Dr. Singh is incorruptible. They also say that he may not speak-up against corruption, but he will not be involved in corruption. This image, along with his brilliant academic timeline, elevates his position a lot among his supporters and defenders.

Sadly, the bold statements given by Dr. Singh in recent days, including the one after 2G verdicts raise a strong question on this image. His belief the 2G scam was a sham and all the accused were innocent falsifies all those who worked day and night to uncover the scam.

The question is : Why is his image of honesty and integrity not shaken when he turned a blind eye to sins of his team members?

The answer lies in the ‘Big metal box’ which no one has ever opened.


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