No country in the world today is free from political scandal. However, in a young democracy like India, political scandals related to corruption can shatter the public’s confidence in their elected leaders. Here are the 10 worst political scandals that India has witnessed after independence.
2012 Indian coal mining controversy
The Loot: INR1,855,913.4 million (USD32 billion)
Key Players: Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the coal ministry, many electricity boards and private companies
The Scam: Comptroller and Auditor General of India estimated that the coal ministry lost millions in revenue as coal blocks were allotted and not auctioned to benefit those close to the ministers.
2010 2G spectrum scam
The Loot: INR1,760 billion (USD30 billion)
Key Players: Many telecommunications companies, M. K. Kanimozhi, then telecom minister A. Raja, Nira Radia
The Scam: Communication bandwidth was auctioned off for lower than market value in return for bribes.
2003 Uttar Pradesh food grain scam
The Loot: INR350 billion (USD6.0 billion)
Key Players: Former UP CMs Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav and cabinet minister Kapil Sibal.
The Scam: Food purchased by the government to distribute to the poor for free or discounted prices was sold on the open market for profit.
2012 Delhi Airport Land Scam
The Loot: INR1, 669,723.5 million (USD29 billion)
Key Players: Central government, Delhi International Airport Limited, Airports Authority of India, India Development Fund, Malaysia Airports, Fraport AG, and GMR Group
The Scam: Undue favors allowed Delhi International Airport Limited and the GMR group behind it to acquire land for the airport at throwaway prices.x
2012 Uttar Pradesh NRHM scam
The Loot: 100 billion (USD1.7 billion)
Key players: Former CM of Uttar Pradesh Mayawati, several BSP ministers
The Scam: Several ministers of the BSP as well as former CM Mayawati and top bureaucrats of Uttar Pradesh allegedly siphoned off more than INR10,000 Crore from the National Rural Health Mission.
2010 Commonwealth Games Scam
The Loot: INR 35,000
Key Players: Commonwealth Games organization committee, various state departments
The Scam: Discrepancies were found in the tender process for the Games including misappropriation of funds, discrepancies in purchase of equipment, over-inflation of price, deliberate delays in execution of contracts and payment to non-existent parties.
2013 Indian helicopter bribery scandal
The Loot: INR36 billion (US$620 million)
Key Players: Helicopter maker AgustaWestland, unnamed Indian military officials, several high profile high profile Indian politicians
The Scam: Many Indian politicians and military officials allegedly accepted bribes from AgustaWestland for the procurement of 12 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters that are employed in VVIP duties in the country.
1996 Fodder Scam
The Loot: INR9.5 billion (USD 20 billion in 1996; USD340 million in 2013)
Key Players: Chief Minister of Bihar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, as well as former Chief Minister, Jagannath Mishra
The Scam: The corruption scandal traced the government’s fabrication of fictitious livestock to obtain funds for animal husbandry equipment, fodder and medicine.
1996 Hawala Scandal
The Loot: INR810 Crore (USD18 million not adjusted for inflation)
Key Players: Then Leader of Opposition Lal Krishna Advani, Madan Lal Khurana, Balram Jakhar, Sharad Yadav, P. Shiv Shankar, V. C. Shukla
The Scam: Large-scale bribery payments were made to national politicians in exchange for political favors through the Jain brothers who were Hawala brokers.
2009 Maharashtra Irrigation Scam
The Loot: INR 720 billion (USD12 billion)
Key Players: Then irrigation minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar,
The Scam: Whistleblower Vijay Pandhare who was a member of technical advisory committee for the state and Chief Engineer of the Water Resources Department in Maharashtra claimed that the proper procedures were not followed in giving clearance to 32 irrigation projects.