Wednesday, December 19, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Coffin scam: NDA govt can’t escape responsibility

This pertains to the editorial “A coffin scam’ (Dec12) in which you have compared those making huge illegal gains in the purchase of coffins for Kargil martyrs with shroud thieves. Such people deserve to be hanged in public although the law of the land does not permit this extreme punishment.

The NDA government, no doubt, cannot escape the responsibility in such a sensitive issue. But there is no charm in stalling the proceedings of Parliament for that. And resignation of the Defence Minister is no solution to the problem of corruption. Those who are crying “kafan-chor”, “kafan-chor” in the corridors of Parliament should at least pay heed to the explanations being given by the government and wait for the public accounts committee to come out with its ultimate findings on this matter.

If the Defence Minister is found guilty, he would have no option but to quit. But the Opposition is out to drive political gains out of the entire issue at the earliest and at any cost. That’s why they are not ready to listen to the government’s defence. There seems to be some substance in the Defence Minister’s statement that when dozens of soldiers were laying down their lives in Kargil, the government couldn’t have waited for cheaper coffins to be available or for them to be manufactured in India.

Also the role of Mr George Fernandes need not be brought under suspicious because it was he who ordered an enquiry into all the defence deals and purchases during and after Kargil. At least he cannot go so down as to become a “kafan-chor” as the Opposition is trying to portray him in and outside Parliament.


In my view if it’s very disturbing to know that someone has cashed in on the coffins of martyrs, it’s equally bad and repulsive to see MPs create a pandemonium on this issue. This will not lead the corruption-ridden nation anywhere. Let us fight the evil of corruption in a mature manner, a manner in which both size and age of the largest democracy of the world are reflected boldly.


It’s business: One should not smell a rat in everything purchased by the MoD — even in the coffins. Likewise CAG perhaps could have been more circumspect about its comments on caskets bought for warriors coming home dead. One really does not bargain on coffins for one’s loved ones. Neither there is time for global tender nor nerve. But for businessmen business of coffins or marriages is plain business where motive is profitability.

One can only call for indigenisation of the caskets with a prayer these may lie in reserve unused.

Air Cmde RAGHUBIR SINGH (retd), Pune

Resignations?: The act is so shameful that it appears that the whole nation should hang its head in shame. But to talk of principles and ask our leaders to resign on moral grounds is just like a tiny tot demanding moon from the grandmother. They have perfected the art of survival in power which has recently been displayed by none other than the Prime Minister himself by reinducting the Defence Minister who resigned on the issue of corruption. Political compulsions were so acute that the Prime Minister did not bother for the inquiry to be completed.


Put them in a coffin: The guilty in such a heinous act should not be hanged but should be subjected to suffocate and die in a glass coffin in public. The monster of corruption has engulfed the whole of India and even insulted the supreme sacrifice of our highly motivated and patriotic soldiers. Jineh naaz hai Hind par vo kahan hain?


Hang them: I am pained to read the reports on coffin scam. Our brave soldiers were fighting the enemy and sacrificing their lives in defending the country and protecting the people, whereas some people were making money in buying the coffin boxes for them.

I feel such people must be hanged in public.



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