News

New Corruption Allegations Rock Indian Government

Indian Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh smiles during a ceremony on the occasion of the Indian Army Day in New Delhi, India, FILE January 15, 2012.
Indian Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh smiles during a ceremony on the occasion of the Indian Army Day in New Delhi, India, FILE January 15, 2012.

In India, authorities will investigate new allegations of corruption after the head of the army said he was offered a bribe by a defense equipment lobbyist. Meanwhile, an activist is trying to revive an anti-graft movement which received a huge outpouring of support last year.

Allegations probe

Parliament erupted in furor because of the allegations by army chief V.K. Singh that he was offered a bribe to clear the purchase of 600 substandard vehicles. Defense Minister A.K. Antony quickly ordered a probe. “It’s a serious allegation,” he stated.

General Singh told the Hindu newspaper that a man had what he described as the “gumption" to walk up to the general and tell him he would be paid about $2.8 million, if he approved the contract. Singh did not name the lobbyist, but says the man had recently retired from the armed forces. Singh says the lobbyist claimed that people had taken money from him before. 

The army chief told a television interviewer that he had reported the offer to the defense minister, who was stunned. He said both he and the minister have tried to ensure transparency in defense procurement. 

But General Singh says it will take more drastic surgery to eliminate what has spread like a cancer through the Indian system.  

Singh said the army already has 7,000 of the vehicles in question, which he says were purchased over the years at an exorbitant price.

Damage control

Some observers questioned the timing of the army chief’s revelation. General Singh was recently involved in a spat with the government about his retirement age.  

The latest allegations will further dent the image of a government which is struggling to quell public anger about a series of bribery scandals. Fury caused by alleged kickbacks involving billions of dollars fueled huge public protests led by anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare seven months ago.

Hazare is demanding the creation of an independent anti-corruption agency that would be known as Lokpal.

But Hazare’s anti-corruption movement appeared to run out of steam in December, when his hunger strike because of the government’s failure to establish a Lokpal drew hardly any crowds.

Hazare is now attempting to revive the movement. On Sunday, he staged another protest in New Delhi, saying he is ready "to fight again.” He says the government must enact a law to establish the anti-corruption agency by 2014, or face defeat in general elections.  

Hazare says he wants the law for the sake of the nation and the public.   

The government has drafted a Lokpal bill, but it has failed to win support from opposition parties and Hazare calls it toothless.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met leaders of political parties last week and said that he is committed to finding a consensus on the anti-corruption bill.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: sam
March 30, 2012 10:30 AM
Anti business policies by successive govts.have prompted many to seek their fortunes elsewhere .Local and foreign investers are frustrated by the red tape and willy nilly policies drafted by arm chair officials .UPA govt. is weak,being a coalition of goups with their own agenda.Retroactive taxation will certainly put off investment and hinder progress and increase powerty and unrest in the country.

by: rkgoel
March 26, 2012 8:56 PM
route cause of corruption in India is politics and politicians , we have prefabricated corrupt politicians and buerocrate

by: patel
March 26, 2012 8:14 AM
corruption is a big problem in India. starting from the airport & having having something done you have to pay witch never gets to the government. that is way India works.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs