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    March 2015

The unholy trinity


On February 19 this year a Press report on Oil Ministry officials in connivance with a journalist allegedly leaking classified Government documents to private corporate entities in the petrochemical sector shook the entire nation. A few days later, another report on the Essar Group cultivating bureaucrats, politicians and journalists, showering them with gifts and favours to push its vested interests opened a can of worms which will bite many a corporate for a long time to come. Bureaucracy Today digs deep into the Essar case and brings out for its readers a revealing story of the alleged modus operandi adopted by its high-ups to swing Government policies and public opinion in its favour in connivance with bureaucrats, politicians and journalists. However, this is not for the first time that such incidents of corporate espionage have been busted. Way back in 1998, sensitive documents, including classified details of a Cabinet meeting, were allegedly recovered during a raid on the residence of V Balasubramaniam, the then Group President of the then undivided Reliance Group and the company’s chief lobbyist in the National Capital. Criminal cases were subsequently filed against Balasubramaniam and several other senior officials of the company but the case is yet to come to any conclusion. Almost a decade later in 2010, the Radia Tapes scandal again brought to light how corporate houses allegedly use their clout to influence Government policy decisions and ensure windfall gains for them.  Despite these exposures, the game continued unabated and the Essar expose is one of such episodes in the league. The grim reality is that the “politician-bureaucrat-industrialist” nexus phenomenon is ingrained in such a way that it will require a sustained systemic effort to cleanse the system. There is no gainsaying that the intersection of political, corporate and bureaucratic classes in India is a lethal combination and their interplay has a direct bearing on governance in the country. The times have changed. Today anti-corruption feelings and probity in public life have come into sharp focus. It was high time the Central Government cracked a whip on the thriving corporate-bureaucrat-politician nexus and ensured a healthy corporate environment. No doubt, the recent action of the Narendra Modi Government in the Petroleum Ministry document leak case is a ray of hope that the present dispensation at the Centre will nip the unholy nexus and establish good governance in the country. However, only time can tell whether Modi would be able to stem the nexus which always held the key to the running of successive Governments at the Centre to its satisfaction.

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