Monday, December 12, 2005

Aniruddha Bahal Strikes Again: Question-Gate (updated)

All over today's news: A pair of Cobrapost and Aaj Tak TV reporters secretly taped 11 Indian MPs taking bribes in exchange for asking questions in Parliament. There is detailed information on how the meetings were conducted, and what, specifically, the MPs agreed to do here.

It's unusual that parties not in power get seriously corrupt, but six of the 11 MPs are members of the BJP, already on the outs. One member was from the Congress party, while others were from the BSP and RJD parties. (The RJD, Lalu Prasad Yadav's party, is an ally of the Congress; the BSP is a caste-based party that had been involved with the BJP government.)

The six BJP MPs, 3 BSP MPs, and the Congress MP have already been suspended by their respective parties. No word on the fate of the RJD member.

The moral: corruption does not follow party lines.

The other moral: the BJP is a glutton for punishment. You would expect these MPs to think twice before taking bribes from people in places where there could be video cameras rolling!

Does India have an equivalent of a Pulitzer Prize? I would nominate Aniruddha Bahal and Aaj Tak TV.
* * * * *
Update: Apparently, blogging has played a part in the scandal, as one of the Cobrapost writers planted the following blog-related question in an MP's mouth for 35,000 Rupees:

"Is it true that while NRI firms such as India Uncut of USA, Sepia Mutiny of Britain and AnarCap Lib of Netherlands have been allowed to invest in Indian SSIs, the reputed German investment firm Desipundit has been denied permission? If so, the reasons thereof? Is the Union Government of India planning to make automatic the long procedure of permission for SSIs to import new technologies such as Trackbacks, Pingbacks, Blogrolls, Splogs and Hitcounters?"

Check out the details at Sepia Mutiny. Also of course, Cobrapost.
And certainly the 'firms' involved are thrilled to be a hilarious footnote in the unfolding story of this scandal (see Desipundit and India Uncut).


vk said...

Incidentally, Aniruddha Bahal is one of the investigative journalists who first pioneered this in India. He broke the Tehelka scandal about defence procurements. It is good to see that he has not backed off.

12:56 PM  
vk said...

Oops, I noticed the topic heading makes my previous post redundant. Sorry :) . And amen to corruption cutting across party lines-they are all thugs, and on this particular issue, are united in preventing anything being done about it.

1:01 PM  
Brunda K said...

Corruption hampers any effort taken to develop the country. Its high time that civic society acts and put some effort to uproot corruption from our society.

The worst part folks who stand up against corruption are killed :- Dubey and Manjunath.


11:54 AM  

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