Scam Central

Two more line items emerged today in the unremitting flurry of data on corruption scandals that threaten to derail the India story.  Putting a semi-official number on the loss generated by the alleged improper allocation of 2G telecom spectrum (the so-called 2G spectrum scam), the Central Bureau of Investigation said that backroom deals cost the treasury some $11 billion, reports the Economic Times.  

The statement rebuffs former telecom minister A. Raja's claims that there were no losses due to his treatment of spectrum applications, amid continued wrangling over whether the investigation requires a probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee--a battle that the Congress party, which is tied to Raja through its alliance with his DMK party, appears to have lost. Finally seeing the writing on the wall, the government agreed to introduce a motion to set up a JPC when parliament resumes business on Feb 21, the Hindustan Times reported Monday.

But the step back may just have been blood in the water for the opposition, today's latest suggests, as the BJP has now charged that corruption related to a plethora of hydroelectric projects in Northeast India "equals" the 2G scam, reports the HT.

In a report titled “Congress Governments – Loot of North East”, BJP says the state of Arunachal Pradesh is a ‘soft target’ for scammers, according to the newspaper. “The hydropower scam in Arunachal Pradesh is one of the biggest scams of the region. The Congress government that came to power there in 2004 signed 137 MoUs in two years and awarded the projects to dubious companies,” the paper quotes the report as saying.

Hydro power projects totaling 70,000 MW and worth $90 billion were signed in a short period in a suspicious manner, the report claimed, and the projects were allotted to non-existent and newly formed companies.