Corruption and the silent media

Corruption is an easy topic to blog on. All of us know so much about it.

Huge amount of money is being spent all around us to upgrade our country's infrastructure. It is only natural to expect that corruption will chase big money. So I think, how much of this could be going on in the background? Chances are you have dealt with public offices for a license, certificate or an approval. Don't tell me you never bribed some clerk or engineer. How tough is it to imagine that similar things could go on at a larger scale for these projects that run into thousands of crores?

There have been controversies to give us enough hints. S K Dubey was killed, supposedly trying to expose corruption in NHAI related projects. We dont yet know the real killers in that case. An ex deputy chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, a congress man, has been accused by a TV channel of taking huge bribes (as high as 25 lakhs) from a company that was executing some highway projects in MP. NICE, the company executing Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project, has been accused of acquiring excess land time and again.

S K Dubey murder has left behind this website. But media, people and perhaps judiciary too have all but lost interest in chasing the real culprits. Tehelka type journalists prefer working in metros like Delhi and Mumbai, working conditions on the fields and villages at NHAI projects aren't too nice I suppose. Jokes apart, why should someone risk his life fully aware of the fact that SK Dubey and Manjunath's (apparently trying to expose adulteration in Indian Oil petrol) 'sacrifices' were eventually not worth it.

What is happening with BMIC and NICE seems even funnier. Karnataka state government has accused NICE of corruption, time and again. Wow! Extrapolating my encounters with small time corruption to this case, it could just be that NICE may not be paying its "dues" to certain people. Or they may have accidentally acquired a minister's land for one of their clover leaf interchanges. Its a nice drama though. First you help NICE acquire all the land. And then you turn around and accuse NICE of acquiring excess land.

How does our media cover big time corruption? Think of newspapers covering corruption. I can only recall Lokayukta raids to catch a sub-inspector or a PWD site engineer red handed. That is it? Think of TV media reporting on corruption. A few spy-cam adventures with 'select' set of MPs. A bit better, but that's it?

The silence is remarkable. Or may be I am being too negative here, corruption isn't as rampant as I think. Or perhaps, its unrealistic on my part to expect media to do the policing job. Or is it just that no one wants to risk landing in a cross fire?

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