Bangalore: The biggest threat to democracy
is "corporate mafia" brought about by liberalisation, leading
to public resources being entrusted to private enterprises
which are not transparent and are solely interested in
profits, activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan said on Sunday.
"In the guise of liberalisation, a new kind of business has
been created - privatisation - where public resources whether
it is forest, water, spectrum or wealth of public sector
organisations are entrusted to private enterprises where there
is no transparency, value of assets is unlimited and profits
as high as 90 per cent," he said.
This, Bhushan said, has led to coming up of `corporate
mafia, the biggest threat to democracy today.
Public-private partnerships have fuelled enormous
incentives for corruption, Bhushan one among the 10-member
Lokpal panel, alleged.
Referring to the "mining mafia" of Reddy brothers in
Karnataka, he alleged that mining leases of strategic minerals
in forests and critical areas have been given to their units,
besides private mining firms in the last nine years, in
violation of government policy.
"Over 250 such mining leases were granted in the state
without any transparency or public auction", he said.
He alleged that mineral resources had been exploited at a
rate which will see everything exhausted in 20 years.
"The mining mafia has made the state government change its
policy at the expense of public exchequer, ecology, common man
and equity" he said.
More than two thirds of iron ore mined in Karnataka is
exported to China and other countries, he alleged.