Not Just An Accountant – Diary of the Nation’s Conscience Keeper
Rs 500, Rupa Publications, New Delhi. 2014
Author: Vinod Rai
Vinod Rai’s voice is one of reason; more sober than sensational. His analysis on Coalgate and 2G scam in this book should not be missed. His argument is piercing and book reads like a thriller He slowly builds up, solely based on facts, the now famous accusation that lakhs of crores were lost in these scams.
When it comes to gas exploration and drilling, Rai unequivocally hits out at Reliance. With ample proof, he establishes that government departments toed the Reliance line under the guise of being corporate-friendly.
The book starts with a one-page foreword by former President APJ Abdul Kalam, where he calls upon people to act with righteousness in the heart and excellence in their endeavors. (Kalam, sadly, is no more)
In the preface, Rai lays down the contours of the book and its various case studies. In a short chapter, he recalls his journey to Delhi after working in Kerala and a couple of other places. The book begins in earnest only after he was appointed Comptroller and Auditor General.
He repeatedly points out that had the government taken a different stand on the various scams, we would be on a different level economically. He eviscerates the various decisions taken during the rule of UPA II, most of during which Rai was CAG.
He also records his correspondence with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on various subjects, including leaks to the media.
He takes us behind the scenes of the CAG’s office and also questions how media leaks happened frequently and were in many cases before the final draft had been drawn.
He also exposes how civil aviation ministers considered Air India to be part of their fiefdom and expected bureaucrats to fall in line. When anyone opposed, they were shunted out to unimportant posts.
He also bemoans the corruption in the holding of the Commonwealth Games. He accuses the government of withdrawing supervision enabling the organizing body to indulge in corruption.
His steadfastness, persistence and honesty are to be appreciated. I hope this book is widely read.