Wrong to say India is scam-driven country: PM


New Delhi : Besieged by a series of corruption charges against his government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday said it was wrong to say India is a “scam-driven” country and asserted that the government was “dead serious” about bringing “wrong-doers” to book so that the “self-confidence” of the people is not shaken.

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He also said he never claimed that he had never made a mistake but he had not made the kind of mistakes that were being attributed to him.

“I do not say that I have never made a mistake. But the kind of propaganda being done and shown, I am not such a big culprit,” the prime minister said at a press conference at his 7 Race Course Road official residence.

“I, through your medium, am promising the people of India that anybody found guilty of corruption will be severely punished,” he said, adding: “I wish to assure the country as a whole our government is dead serious to bring to book all the wrongdoers regardless of their position in 2G spectrum, CWG, ISRO and Adarsh (scams).”

In fact, the prime minister in his over hour-long interaction, conveyed that his biggest regret were the irregularities that have come to the fore during his rule. The second five-year term of the UPA, called UPA-II, began in 2009 and will enter its half-way mark later this year.

During the interaction, the prime minister also said the projections of such scams by the media had tarnished the country’s image.

“I would like to say that in projecting these evils an impression has gone around that we are a scam-driven country and that nothing good is happening in our country. In the process, I think we are weakening the self-confidence of the people of India. I don’t think that is in the interest of anybody in our country.

“We have a functioning government and whatever some people may say we are not a lame duck government and I am not a lame duck prime minister. We take our job very seriously, we are here to govern and to govern effectively, tackle the problems as they arise and get this country moving forward on a pace of development which we would do justice to the demands being made of the processes of governance,” he stressed.

The prime minister, who last met senior journalists Sept 6, 2010, also denied any personal connection to the scandals, and expressed concern that the people’s confidence was being weakened.

“We are weakening the self-confidence of the people of India. I don’t think that is in the interest of anybody that is in our country. India as a whole has to march forward,” he said.

The press conference came in the wake of a series of allegations of financial irregularities, including in the allocation of 2G and S-band spectrum. Allegations surfaced that the nation suffered revenue losses because space spectrum using S-band – high value and scarce radio waves – was given by the Indian Space Research Organisation’s commercial arm to a private company, Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd, at low prices without competitive bidding.

The government also faced allegations of financial irregularities in various Commonwealth Games projects.

As one scam after another hit the nation, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalled the entire Nov 9-Dec 13, 2010 winter session of parliament with demands for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum scam.