Tuesday, May. 17, 2011

India's Telecoms Scandal

In recent months, India's ruling coalition government has been rocked by an epic corruption scandal that has challenged its once unbreakable grip on power. Following 2008 elections, the country's telecommunications ministry was awarded to Andimithu Raja, a relatively green lawmaker from a regional party who won his post as a result of India's usual parliamentary political horse-trading. But, according to allegations that led to Raja resigning late last year, he presided over the underpricing of bandwidth to mobile companies — apparently in return for bribes — which some estimate may have cost the Indian government around $7 billion. That figure makes it hands down the largest episode of graft in Indian history, and played a part in the withering defeats Raja's party sustained in local elections in early May. Raja himself now languishes in jail as the snail-paced Indian judicial system inches the case forward.