- Suyash Karangutkar.
In it’s latest sting operation, Cobrapost.com have bought into limelight the shameful scenes of our corrupt M.P’s. The investigative website has come out with an expose showing parliamentarians demanding heavy amount inorder to give a recommendation letter to an oil company. They also agreed to lobby with the Union Ministry of Petroleum for a fictitious Australian oil company to secure oil exploration and rigging rights in North East.
- Operation Falcon Claw.
In this operation codenamed ‘Falcon Claw,’ assuming a fake identity, Ashish Jadon, representing an equally fake foreign oil company, the Mediterranean Oil Inc. of Queensland, Australia, complete with a website, brochure and company profile, Cobrapost reporter K. Ashish approached these parliamentarians.
Introducing himself as a consultant working for Mediterranean Oil Inc. entrusted with the onerous task of rallying support from MPs across the political spectrum for its oil exploration bid in the Northeast, pegging the project at Rs. 1000 crore, he requested the MPs he met to write a recommendation letter. It will help boost its profile and help it win oil exploration rights in the Northeast.
- The exposed ministers.
AIADMK ministers K. Suguman and C. Rajendran, BJP ministers Lalu Bhai Patel, Ravindra Kumar Pandey and Hari Manjhi, JD(U) ministers Vishwa Mohan Kumar, Maheshwar Hazari and Bhudeo Chaudhury, Congress ministers Kiladi Lal Bairwa and Vikrambhai Arjanbhai and BSP Minister Kaiser Jahan were those parliamentarians whose dirty politics and corrupt practice was caught in the hidden camera.
The shocking thing was that the M.P’s did not even bother to check whether the company was real or reel. The ministers demanded an amount ranging from 50, 000 to 50 Lakh in exchange of the ‘Letter of Recommendation.’ In the greed of money, six of these ministers even issued the letter in exchange of the amount.
- The Video Footage.
The footage, updated on Cobra Post’s website, shows Vishwa Mohan Kumar, Loksabha Minister of Parliament from Supaul Bihar demanding a bribe of 30,000. Samastipur’s M.P Maheshwar Hazari agreeing to write a letter and get it approved in exchange of cash. He demanded 5 lakh for that.
- The Press Release
The Operations Press release says:-
When Cobrapost reporter, for instance, suggested Lalu Bhai Patel to pursue our case with the ministry, the BJP MP from Daman and Diu said, “Haan bhai (Yes, brother)!” We paid him Rs. 50, 000 for a recommendation letter, as he also agreed to lobby for us. His fellow party leader Hari Manjhi from Gaya, Bihar, would come along for lobbying with the oil ministry: “Jayenge … chalenge (Will go … will come along).” Similarly, Maheshwar Hazari, the JDU MP from Samastipur, Bihar, would reassure us: “Jab tak hain tab tak aapki company ki madad karenge ... yahan se lekar mantralay tak, jahan tak kahiyega (Will help your company till my term lasts … from this level up to the ministry, wherever you ask).” Hazari would bring along a group of five MPs for lobbying with the ministry. We had to pay him Rs. 5 lakh for each MP. Jasmir Ansari, the MLA Husband of BSP MP Kaiser Jahan, goes a step ahead to say: “ … tumhara ye jo project hai poora kara denge … Sonia se kehke … kisi se bhi keh ke … toh kisse hum baat karein (… we will see your project through … by talking to Sonia or somebody else … then whom should we talk to [in your company]).” He would charge Rs. 5 lakh for three letters, one from his MP wife, and two from other MPs.
Only a few parliamentarians played it safe by keeping the deal as much discrete as they could help. They wouldn’t enter into direct negotiations with the party or talk money, and raised their brows if the Cobrapost reporter talked money. For instance, while AIADMK MP from Pollachi, Tamil Nadu, K. Sugumar was “Ok” with money talk, his fellow party MP from South Chennai C. Rajendran would have none of it. After paying his staff Rs. 50,000 for a recommendation letter, when we managed to tell Lalu Bhai (BJP) about the payment, he shot back: “Mujhe nahin … ye baat mujhe nahin bolna (Not me … don’t tell me this thing).” But most of them had no problem discussing money with Cobrapost reporter. Congress MP Khiladi Lal Bairwa would quote Rs. 50 lakh as his price for writing a recommendation letter and would invite the Cobrapost reporter to his Mansarovar address in Jaipur, Rajasthan, to deliver the “material.”
His party fellow MP Vikrambhai Arjanbhai from Jamnagar, Gujarat, would neither like to talk money nor like it to have delivered at his door. He would rather like his fee, a tidy sum of Rs. 6 lakh, to have delivered through an Angadia, a hawala racketeer. He negotiates through his personal assistant. However, when the reporter asks the MP for the letter first, he impatiently replies, “letter pehle thode milta hai? Letter koi de dega aapko pehle?” (you will not get the letter beforehand, has anyone given you the letter beforehand?).
- - Suyash Karangutkar is the Managing Editor of The News-O-Holic.