Enron & Political Corruption

Dabhol Power Project at Night

Deep inside one of today’s newspaper pages was a small report about the closure of corruption case of Enron’s Dabhol Power Project. As per the report the case has been closed on an application moved by the BJP-Shiv Sena led Maharashtra State Government. What an Irony!! https://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/300915/04120254190935/0/12042019/18/image/

I remember this controversy vividly as it was during that time I had moved to Mumbai in 1993 for my further studies. NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar who was then in the Congress had just been moved from the Defence Ministry  to take over as the Maharashtra CM to control volatile situation post the Babri Masjid demolition riots and the Mumbai bomb blasts.

Indian Economy was then just opening up and the Government had got a major FDI for a Power Project in Dabhol, Maharashtra which was to be set up by Enron Corporation. Reports started coming out about opacity and underhand dealings in this project. The opposition led by Shiv Sena Supremo Balasaheb Thackeray went hammer and tongs about this alleged corruption and his newspaper ‘SAAMNA’ was filled with stories about it. He went so far to say that if his party was elected to power he would throw the project in the Arabian Sea.

Balasaheb Thackeray with Enron’s Kenneth Lay and Rebecaa Mark at his residence ‘Matoshree’ in Mumbai.

Riding high on this above point besides the Hinduvta card the SS-BJP combined formed the government for the first time in the State and guess what nothing like promised ever happened to Enron’s Power project. Balasaheb went on the entertain Enron Chief Kenneth Lay and the alleged face of everything wrong with Enron deal – Ms. Rebecaa Mark at his residence. The controversy was soon put in the back burner and twenty years later it has died its natural death.

Our political discourse is filled with narratives like these that the political leaders use as a stepping stone to power. Hearsay, without sound legal backup, playing the emotional card, blaming the other side and playing holier than thou!!

From The 2G Scandal’s absurd loss figures that were dismissed by the Special Courts, to tall claims of putting the entire Congress Leadership in jail in 2014 election rallies the list is endless.

The current NDA government is once again asking for mandate on these very alleged cases without acting out on its claims in the last 5 years or managing to get even a single conviction by the courts. For they know it makes out for an excellent vote catcher but a really bad legal case.

Till we have people who are constantly fed on propaganda and are ready to lap it up, we shall have cases like ENRON whose initial wildfire quickly turns in cold ash and helping bring political gains without ever managing to jail a single alleged culprit.

Letter to Anna Hazare

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Dear Anna,

Hope this letter finds you in the best of health and spirit!!

I have been wanting to write to you since a long time now, but the recent appointment of your colleague and fellow traveler to the post of Lt. Governor of Puducherry made me finally take this call.

I first heard about you while in college in Mumbai as we had a chapter dedicated to the great work you had been doing in Ralegoan Siddhi, then a sleepy hamlet in the interiors of Maharashtra and the next time I heard when you ignited and lit up the nation with your call for a Corruption Free India and Jan Lok Pal Bill.

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Candle Light March in Udaipur. (Me in Striped Blue Shirt)

Like the millions across the nation, I too was sold out on this idea and leaving aside my political ideology had marched in your support in Udaipur. Patriotic Emotions welled up in my heart every time you went on a Hunger Strike and reached the crescendo after the famous run to the Rajghat after being released from the Tihar Prison (http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/anna-runs-surrounded-by-cops-at-rajghat-464895 ) .But how short lived was this dream run??? Like the saying goes “Road to hell is paved with good intentions” this one too didn’t live up to the expectations.

downloadOne by one the nation saw your core team of India Against Corruption go their separate ways and milk each drop of fame and mileage they got from this Andolan.
• Arvind Kejriwal became the Delhi CM and is now nursing National Ambitions.
• Kumar Vishwas jacked up his rates for कवि सम्मलेन as the agitation gave him national recognition.
• Kiran Bedi is now the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry.
• Shazia Ilmi, Ashish Khetan, Ashutosh have became नेता from पत्रकार.
• Anupam Kher has now become the most loyal voice of His Master besides being a Padma Awardees.

The only people that have lost out is you and the calm Composed Yogendra Yadav. You are a man of small needs so I am presuming going back to Ralegoan Siddhi wasn’t difficult but for Yogendra Yadav he has lost his moral voice of being a psephologist and have to bide his time playing a supporting role to the acerbic Prashant Bhushan.

Anna, where is the promised utopian Jan Lokpal Bill?? Arvind Kejriwal isn’t talking about it nor is the current political dispensation at the Center and now is it factor for the Aam Aadmi. For the Indian Voters have voted in Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD with the maximum seats in Bihar Assembly, Jayalitha whose conviction has been stayed by the courts creates history and gets a second consecutive term as the Tamil Nadu CM.

Corruption is a malice that the country suffers from but as we have seen in the past it is not the main issue. There are far greater issues that demand immediate solutions then the one you remained hungry for.

Please don’t stay away from the limelight, because all governments need your moral compass for course correction.

Regards,
Deepak Sukhadia