– The Real Natwar
by Arun K. Agrawal
2008, 23 cm., pp. 282, Rs. 495.00 or US$ 12.69 (Plus postage)
About the book : The nexus between big business and politicians in the loot of public money in India is too well known to require elaboration. Take the case of Reliance. It is a business house which, when compared to its peers, has been the focus of the maximum number of controversies, court cases, investigations etc. It has the additional dubious distinction of being featured the maximum number of times in the questions asked in Parliament. Of course, Reliance has come, one way or the other, to own three percent of the GDP within a short period of thirty years. The questions is: How? And this question has been answered in this book. A perusal of the text of the parliamentary debates makes it very hard to come to any conclusion other than that the brightest of our parliamentarians were involved in a cover up for Reliance Industries in a clear cut case of corruption. Corruption is easily buried in India: files vanish, honest officers are transferred, some nominal fining takes place and criminal offences are compounded. However, concealment is not achieved quite so effortlessly at the international level. And then again, being caught once – even one single time – would have been fatal to Reliance. It would have been blacklisted by the government and treated as an economic pariah. The universally admired and very sharp and articulate parliamentarians Mr.P.C. Chidambaram and Mr. Kapil Sibal, both seemed quite blind to the fact of the bribe paid by Reliance. Or did these two illustrious and famaously intelligent gentlemen cover up for Reliance? And yet, there was a time when Mr. Chidambaram was honourable enough to resign where he had done no wrong over his controversial investment in Fairgrowth Financial Services. One wonders whether he will act honourable once again, and resign – for the omission of the commissions. One wonders if any of his honourable colleagues – the Members of Parliament – will ask for his resignation? If the common man has lost faith in all politicians, if it because the best and the brightest have often flattered to deceive. The book is also about the loot of the oil wealth – more precious than gold – of the country and about the other kinds of loot and tainted questions over which the name of Reliance seems to mysteriously loom. The book has been written in the hope that those in power and the media will be at least a little embarrassed and will not let facts of extremely ugly bribery tiptoe past them so very easily in the future. After all, there's no harm in hoping.
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