B S Raghavan

A puzzle without answer

B. S. RAGHAVAN | Updated on March 08, 2018

Strangely, scamsters are unmindful of rising anger against corruption.

The spot-fixing racket has begun to involve more and more bookies and will likely end up sucking in some more cricket players as well. A shocking feature of this continuing cascade of revelations is the possible pulling of the strings by notorious mobsters and mafias.

Police claim to have records of transcripts of phone conversations in which criminal gangs operating from within India as also from abroad are pressuring the bookies to rope in as many other players as possible.

In short, it is mushrooming like some nuclear bomb explosion. Titillating details are coming out of the opulent lifestyles of the players arrested so far and their preposterously expensive possessions. One player is said to have had no qualms about loading himself with the credit cards of bookies who had him in their grip, and making generous use of them to buy fancy stuff like watches at fabulous prices and jeans worth Rs 2.5 lakh.


The payoffs demanded and received by the players in the spot-fixing caper look like chicken feed when viewed against the Rs 10 crore bribe — monstrous by any standards and beyond the comprehension of the average citizen — allegedly paid by Mahesh Kumar, who had earlier been appointed Member (Staff) of the Railway Board with the ex-officio rank of the Secretary to the Government of India.

He seems to have agreed to pay this astronomical amount as bribe to the intermediaries claiming closeness to the Railway Minister just to be made Member (Electrical), with additional charge as General Manager (Western Railway and Signal and Telecommunication).

These sensational developments are still unravelling and the last word has not been said on them. But one thing is already clear: They may be spectacular in respect of the dramatis personae and the amounts involved, but they are of a piece with what had been routinely appearing in the media as news of innumerable other instances of corruption.

The puzzling aspect is this: All the scoundrels and scamsters, all who are caught with their hands in the till or in traps set for them, are educated, well-versed in public affairs and coming from strata of society which are outwardly respectable.

They must without doubt be aware of the tremendous upsurge against corruption under the leadership of Anna Hazare, the anger and protests voiced in Parliament and the vitriolic commentaries in the English and regional language media over a series of scams on the scale of lakhs of crores of rupees.

They must have been reading in the English and regional language media reports of the regular pounding that India has been receiving at the hands of international agencies over the spread of the canker of corruption into every nook and cranny of governance in the country and its having become a way of life.

In short, they must all have been familiar with the unmentionable abuses hurled at the corrupt sections of the society for making stinking cesspools of Ministries and departments of governments in the States and at the Centre.

Are we to take it that our corrupt cricketers and politicians have been so deaf and dumb and blind that all the commotion against scams and shady deals and bribe-taking has made no dent at all on their sensitivities and sensibilities and finer feelings?

insatiable GREED

If one thinks of this puzzling phenomenon more deeply, one is bound to come to the conclusion that there is no point in holding up just one segment of the general populace to blame. There is a dangerous and pervasive crisis of character that is slowly advancing and if not arrested, would afflict the entire society and the nation.

The crisis is composed of brazen and insatiable greed, an irresistible craving for filling every home, and surrounding oneself, with seven-star luxuries, and wallowing in riches however shamelessly and illegally made.

If, in the process, values such as honesty, integrity, rectitude and uprightness have to be buried nine fathoms deep, so be it.

Can this crisis of character be countered by legislation alone in the form of more stringent laws? Who then will be able to guarantee adherence to values on the part of those enforcing the laws? Especially when the laws themselves have been made by law breakers who have made it to representative assemblies by hook or by crook?

Is the solution in education? In the example set by parents, teachers and elders? In Indian Spring?

Enough to ponder there, my countrypersons!

Published on May 19, 2013

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