Most infamous corruption scandals of India

Most infamous corruption scandals of India

Indian Politics Scams

India is a vibrant democracy with a diverse political landscape. However, the country has also been plagued by various political scams and scandals that have tarnished its image and eroded public trust. Here is a brief overview of some of the major political scams that have rocked India in the past decades.

2G Spectrum Scam (2008)

One of the biggest scams in Indian history, the 2G spectrum scam involved the allocation of telecom licenses and spectrum to private companies at a fraction of their market value, causing a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer. The scam was exposed by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in 2010 and led to the arrest of several politicians, bureaucrats and corporate executives, including former telecom minister A. Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi. The scam also triggered a massive public outcry and a series of protests by the opposition parties, civil society groups and activists. In 2012, the Supreme Court cancelled all the 122 licenses issued by Raja and ordered fresh auctions. In 2017, however, a special CBI court acquitted all the accused in the case, citing lack of evidence and prosecution's failure to prove the charges.

Coalgate Scam (2012)

Another scam that exposed the corruption and mismanagement in the allocation of natural resources, the coal block allocation scam involved the irregular allotment of coal blocks to public and private entities without competitive bidding, resulting in a loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore to the national exchequer. The scam was unearthed by the CAG in 2012 and implicated several politicians, bureaucrats and industrialists, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who was also holding the coal portfolio at the time. The scam sparked a political storm and led to the disruption of parliamentary proceedings for several sessions. The CBI registered several FIRs and raided various premises in connection with the scam. In 2014, the Supreme Court cancelled 214 out of 218 coal block allocations and ordered fresh auctions. In 2015, a special CBI court convicted former coal secretary H.C. Gupta and two other officials in one of the cases.

Commonwealth Games Scam (2010)

The Commonwealth Games scam was one of the most embarrassing scandals that tarnished India's reputation as a host of a major international sporting event. The scam involved the misappropriation of funds, inflated contracts, shoddy infrastructure and substandard facilities for the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in Delhi. The scam was exposed by various media reports and audits by the CAG and other agencies, which revealed that the total expenditure for the games was Rs 70,608 crore, much higher than the original estimate of Rs 11,494 crore. The scam led to the resignation and arrest of several officials, including former sports minister Suresh Kalmadi, who was also the chairman of the organizing committee. The CBI filed several chargesheets and cases against the accused in the scam. In 2018, a special CBI court acquitted Kalmadi and nine others in one of the cases, citing lack of evidence.

Adarsh Housing Society Scam (2010)

The Adarsh Housing Society scam was a case of land grabbing and violation of environmental norms in the construction of a 31-storey residential building in Mumbai. The building was originally meant for the widows and families of Kargil war heroes, but was illegally occupied by politicians, bureaucrats, military officers and other influential people. The scam was exposed by media reports and investigations by various agencies, which revealed that the land belonged to the defence ministry and that the building violated the coastal regulation zone rules. The scam led to the resignation and arrest of several officials, including former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, who was also accused of granting undue favours to his relatives for flats in the building. The CBI filed a chargesheet against Chavan and 12 others in 2012. In 2016, however, the Bombay High Court ordered the demolition of the building and directed the state government to initiate criminal proceedings against the accused.

Vyapam Scam (2013)

The Vyapam scam was a massive admission and recruitment racket that involved the manipulation of entrance exams for professional courses and government jobs in Madhya Pradesh. The scam was operated by a syndicate of politicians, bureaucrats, examiners, middlemen and candidates, who rigged the online tests conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), also known as Vyapam. The scam was exposed by media reports and whistleblowers, who also alleged that several people associated with the scam had died under mysterious circumstances. The scam led to the arrest and resignation of several officials, including former education minister Laxmikant Sharma and former MPPEB director Pankaj Trivedi. The CBI took over the investigation in 2015 and filed several chargesheets and cases against the accused in the scam. In 2017, a special CBI court convicted 37 people, including Trivedi, in one of the cases.

Other Notable Scams

Some of the other notable political scams that have shaken India are:

| Scam | Year | Loss | Accused |

| Bofors Scam | 1987 | Rs 64 crore | Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, Swedish arms manufacturer Bofors |

| Fodder Scam | 1996 | Rs 950 crore | Former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, former chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty, several politicians and bureaucrats |

| Telgi Scam | 2003 | Rs 20,000 crore | Abdul Karim Telgi, former Karnataka home minister Roshan Baig, several police officers and politicians |

| Satyam Scam | 2009 | Rs 14,000 crore | Satyam Computer Services founder Ramalinga Raju, his brother Rama Raju, former CFO Vadlamani Srinivas |

| Saradha Scam | 2013 | Rs 2,500 crore | Saradha Group chairman Sudipta Sen, former union minister Matang Sinh, several Trinamool Congress leaders |

| AugustaWestland Scam | 2013 | Rs 3,600 crore | Former IAF chief S.P. Tyagi, his cousins, former union minister Ahmed Patel, Italian defence firm AugustaWestland |

| PNB Scam | 2018 | Rs 13,600 crore | Diamond merchant Nirav Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi, several PNB officials |


The above-mentioned scams are just a few examples of the rampant corruption and malfeasance that have plagued Indian politics for decades. These scams have not only caused huge losses to the public exchequer and the national economy, but also undermined the credibility and legitimacy of the democratic institutions and processes. The scams have also exposed the nexus between politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen and criminals, who have exploited the loopholes and lacunae in the legal and regulatory framework. The scams have also highlighted the need for greater transparency, accountability and probity in public life, as well as the role of the media, judiciary, civil society and the common citizens in exposing and combating corruption. The fight against corruption is not only a moral duty, but also a national imperative for ensuring the growth and development of India.


(1) 20 political scams that shamed India.

(2) 10 biggest Indian political scams - iPleaders.

(3) Top 15 worst political scandals of independent India.

(4) Congress' saga of scams: Rs 48,20,69,00,00,000 public money ... - Zee News.

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