The Indian electorate has a very high tolerance to corruption and maybe that's why it is so difficult to eradicate it. Laloo Prasad Yadav got 15 years in Bihar despite the fodder scam hanging over him like a cloud.
When Jayalalithaa got convicted for disproportionate assets, instead of being disgusted, many took to the streets in strong support of the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. When the black money scam exploded in AAP's face on the eve of the New Delhi elections, there wasn't even a dent in their fortunes.
The media also seems quite apologetic in calling former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh corrupt. News of his being named accused and questioned was severely played down while news of Congress President's solidarity walk was severely played up.
It is these subtleties that reveal severe media bias and viewers take a subconscious cue.
But first let us see the definition of being corrupt.
Just see one of the many dictionary meanings...
Corrupt (adjective): having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or for personal gain.
Most people think of corruption being just someone taking money directly to do something and putting it in his account. But as we see, “personal gain” in any form is corruption.
Now the post of Prime Minister is the most powerful in the land.
The Government of India spends a huge amount of money on the office of the PM and it has a huge lot of perks. He goes around with a security retinue, gets to travel the world in a private aircraft and generally has a very privileged life.
Manmohan was PM for 10 years and the very act of hanging on to the PM's post comes under “personal gain”. What if a PM was faced with a choice of doing something that would harm the nation and something that would force him to step down?
If he chose to continue and also continue to harm the nation, wasn't he choosing “personal gain” over country? Isn't that itself a clear form of corruption?
When the 1.76 lakh crore 2G scam happened, the Prime Minister was directly involved because he signed most of the files and our Constitution talks of collective responsibility.
However he got away because the figure itself was hotly disputed and no corruption money was recovered that could be linked to him.
That made it to No. 2 of Time magazine's all-time abuses of power but somehow for some strange reason it wasn't Manmohan who “abused power” and neither Sonia.
However that was surpassed by Coalgate which initially talked of a loss of 2 lakh crore much greater than the 2G scam. While A Raja became the fall guy and went to jail as he was the Telecom Minister, what happened in Coalgate?
Shouldn't the Coal Minister have been brought down for questioning? Shouldn't the Coal Minister have come under scrutiny? Well such a thing didn't happen because the Coal Minister happened to be the Prime Minister! While one scam after another kept happening right under his tenure here was one which happened right in the Ministry when he was in charge!
There were also things like the ISRO scandal and Manmohan happened to be Space Minister and the alleged Thorium scam and Manmohan happened to be the Atomic Energy Minister. In the history of Independent India never has one man been surrounded by so many scams and still been persistently called clean.
Now here's the thing. The current coal auctions have shown that former CAG Vinod Rai's figure of Rs 2 lakh crore was highly conservative.
One thing is clear. Manmohan through his actions caused the Government of India's exchequer to lose lakhs of crores of Rupees. But again the mainstream media is downplaying the whole issue.
If a thief steals a few hundred Rupees in a bus he is thrashed. If an official misappropriates a few lakhs there will be a local outcry. If a downright fake story says that a Prime Minister is wearing a Rs 10 lakh suit there will be national outrage.
But India losing lakhs of crores of Rupees through some signature on a file is beyond the comprehension of most people and hence there is no outrage.
When the duo of Sonia-Manmohan was in power one can understand the mainstream media being petrified but the continued defence of the two is quite baffling.
Meanwhile to continue calling Manmohan clean and honest is quite a travesty indeed.