Kochi: Anti-corruption crusader Vineeth Narain has said technology was once thought to be a panacea for the malaise of corruption in the system but experience has proved otherwise. It has become an active tool in the hands of the corrupt and helped them make faster bucks, he told DC here on Sunday.
“I was invited to speak at an alumni meet of IIM Ahmedabad some two decades ago,” Mr Narain, who in the 90s chased the Jain Hawala case to a successful end, said. “The audience comprising senior corporate professionals assured me that technology was fast emerging and it would end corruption. But now technology has proved to be an effective tool in the hands of the corrupt.” A scandal of Rs 100 crore was big then, but now people flee after siphoning off tens of thousands of crores of rupees over night, thanks also to technology. “Chanakya has said in Arthasastra that the impact of a tool depends on the honesty of the people who use it,” he pointed out.
Mr Narain said corporates manage to place their people in positions and institutions that are created to protect common man’s interest and fight corruption. “The Central Vigilance Commission, the Central Bureau of Investigation, top bureaucratic positions…they have been created to protect national interest. But corporate houses have infiltrated them with their own people. There are businessmen who call the shots in key ministries such as finance, petroleum, civil aviation,” he said. “They get their people in those positions and their job is done. These bureaucrats and officials will take care of those interests.” In return, they will be able to live a luxurious life post-retirement as these corporate would take care of them and their future generations. “I have proved that a former Chief Justice of India was involved in land scam while he was in service but no politician wanted to act,” he said. The CVC had honoured the Punjab National Bank for their systems twice in 2015 and in 2016 and “in no time we have Nirav Modi duping the bank off Rs 11,000 crores,” he recalled.
Politicians are not all that wary of losing the elections, he observed. “They make money while in power and take care of their empires they create while in power once they lose. So, a loss in an election need not be a matter of regret for them.”
He said the silence of the media is one of the worrying factors when it comes to tackling corruption. “Media houses were run by corporates post-independence period too, but the editors were given the freedom to run the papers. But the total corporatisation of the media post-liberalisation has left with few people who would chase the truth,” he said. “The corporates get their people in the newsrooms as well. There is money, glamour and power in the profession now, and people easily fall for them. In the process, they lose their honour.” And those who fight them are silenced one way or the other. “The government would also ensure that those organisations which raise an objection die an early death.”
Mr Narain said corruption affects the life of millions of people directly and keep them in poverty in India. “Unlike some developed countries, the impact of corruption is felt at the bottom here. Masses suffer without even basic amenities. Hence, the fight must continue.”...