The collective fury over the Adarsh Apartments scam confuses me. For the uninitiated, it is an apartment complex built in the prime area of South Mumbai on land that was allocated for war widows of the Indian Defence Forces. The permission to build 10 stories was flouted and a sky scraper built in its place. Each flat whose market worth was actually around Rs.8.5Cr was bought by people of high standing like some ex chiefs of the Indian army etc. for Rs.85lakhs.
Since this scam has been brought to light by the media, there has been an uproar on the fact that flats were wrongfully allocated to ministers, private owners and other people of public standing. This uproar doesn’t confuse me. I believe we all like to vent our frustrations on these occasional scams. It just changes face from a CWG to an Adarsh. Corruption itself is not a phenomenon new to India or to all of us. Neither is it new to any country in the world. Corruption exists in most countries at various levels – some larger than the other. Financial frauds, economic busts like the recent one, political payoffs – all of these are faces of corruption at some level.
So what confuses me is what it really is that has irked us so much about this. CWG I understand – we felt that we all pay taxes and those taxes were being misappropriated. But in this case we all know of someone who had gone to see these apartments being built when they were being built and their only regret at that time was that they did not have the funds to get a flat of their own. Everyone loves a deal! They knew that the market cost of the flats were atleast 10 times of what they were being asked for. I am not too sure if the knowledge that this land was originally meant for war widows would really have changed any of our minds to purchase one of these flats being offered at a pittance.
So is the ire really regret that found translation into a smug smile if-I-did-not-manage-to-get-this-one-no-one-else-did-either! Or if it really is anger at corruption – and if it is, how deep does this corruption truly run?