A Raja in Time Magazine`s list of Top 10 power abusers

A Raja has earned the dubious distinction of figuring in the Time`s list of `an ignominious club of privileged leaders who stepped too far`.

Last Updated: May 20, 2011, 00:54 AM IST

New York: Former Telecom Minister A Raja,
at the centre of the 2G spectrum allocation scam, has earned
the dubious distinction of figuring in the list of Time
Magazine`s "an ignominious club of privileged leaders who
stepped too far".

The 2G scam is ranked No 2 in the list of scandals and
scams in the all-time Top 10 Abuses of Power, only next to
ex-American President Richard Nixon`s `Plumbers`, a secret
unit tasked with digging up dirt on Pentagon Papers leaker
Daniel Ellsberg.

Raja, who is cooling his heels in New Delhi`s Tihar
jail, has beaten some tough contenders to be ranked second and
be ahead of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, North Korean
autocratic leader Kim Jong-II and skirt-chasing Italian
premier Silvio Berlusconi.

Raja`s lawyer when contacted said he did not want to
comment on the report.

The Time write-up on the India`s Telecoms Scandal
says, "In recent months, India`s ruling coalition government
has been rocked by an epic corruption scandal that has
challenged its once unbreakable grip on power."

The Time report while including the DMK leader in its
list also did not have any kind words for Indian democracy or
the judiciary.

It said that following 2008 elections, the country`s
telecommunications ministry was awarded to Andimithu Raja, "a
relatively green lawmaker from a regional party who won his
post as a result of India`s usual parliamentary political
horse-trading."

The magazine further said, "But, according to
allegations that led to Raja resigning late last year, he
presided over the underpricing of bandwidth to mobile
companies - apparently in return for bribes - which some
estimate may have cost the Indian government around USD 7
billion.

"That figure makes it hands down the largest episode
of graft in Indian history, and played a part in the withering
defeats Raja`s party sustained in local elections in early
May. Raja himself now languishes in jail as the snail-paced
Indian judicial system inches the case forward."

Other persons included in the list include former Tyco
CEO Dennis Kozlowski, former president of Israel Moshe Katsav,
Roger Vangheluwe, who stepped down as Bishop of Bruge, former
head of China`s State Food and Drug Administration Zheng
Xiaoyu and US Secretary of the Interior in 1922 Albert
Fall.

PTI