Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The Scamsters Dictionary

Between A. Raja and Niira Radia, the tapes and the taps, the Tata and the Chandrashekhar, it's become terribly confusing trying to figure out who has done what and when and to whom. It's almost like one of those kids' birthday party games where you try and pin the tail on the donkey while blindfolded. Competitive politics has made it tougher to figure out head from tail.

The reason everyone is totally confused is because the totals are so mind-boggling: Rs. 1.39 trillion is the figure being bandied about and anybody who had that kind of financial spectrum would be giggling hysterically all the way to the nearest bank in Liechtenstein, Switzerland.

It may have been a steep learning curve for someone but it has also been a steep learning curve for the rest of us, trying to figure all those arcane acronyms being bandied about. Try asking the Congress members what the 2G spectrum controversy is all about, most of them will draw a blank expression. They have been conditioned to believe that 2G is short for the two Gandhis, Sonia and Rahul and any other combination is beyond their comprehension. Mention 3G and the plot thickens with Priyanka added to the mix, even though now she's a Vadra. In Congress circles, however, a Gandhi is a Gandhi and will smell just as sweet (with due apologies to Shakespeare).

Back to the learning curve and the acronyms that everyone's so concerned about. Here's the first lesson in the Scamsters Dictionary: 2G led to the CAG which in turn led to the CBI which took it to the DoT. Then, the trail led to the TRAI which, in turn, has led all sorts of connection to the DMK in Chennai and elsewhere, made a sharp U-turn and moved back to the DIAL. Now, we have the ED getting involved, trying to ensure that the PMLA has not been violated. Finally, we are still trying to get to the bottom of how VCCPL carried so much clout in such a short time. That, we're told by the Opposition, can only happen if there is a JPC.

So far, the investigative bandwith is spanning the entire spectrum, from NGOs to chartered accountants, priests and editors, friends and family. Everything is relative. It seems to be like the licence which has something called UAS (Unlimited Access Services). Now we all who had unlimited access to whom and the raids on Niira Radia have given us a new phrase to include in the Scamsters Dictionary, "Economic Terrorist", as contributed by Praful Patel who has been stung by his name popping up in the tapes. It's become a mad race to clear your name as soon as possible.

For the uninitiated, the Scamsters Dictionary begins with DoT, or the Department of Telecommunications, which deals with anything to do with communications, from phones to faxes and everything in between. Then, we have TRAI or The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, a supposedly independent body. Next is VCCPL or Vaishnavi Corporate Communications Private Limited, the company owned by Niira Radia, which is a very independent entity, aka TRAI's former boss, joined after leaving TRAI, raising eyebrows but also VCCPL's bottom line.

We have another employee who had connections to DIAL, the Delhi International Airport Ltd, but so far he is not named in the CAG which, by the way, is yet another independent body, the Controller and Auditor General of India, the one that originally set the feline among the pigeons. We have now to GAG, which is the type of order issued by the CHC or the Congress High Command, to its spokespersons. Meanwhile, the CWC, the Congress Working Committee, is working overtime to ensure its ties with the DMK don't snap.

Finally, between the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) we hope to untangle some very tangled wires and cross connections. In fact, in all the confusion, the Scamsters Dictionary will be incomplete without one more acronym: QED (Quad Erat Demonstrandum: Marking the end of a logical argument by stating that I have reached the end of the argument and have proven my point).

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