The supposed ‘funding scam’ of the Aam Aadmi Party stands resolved. It was an episode which had absolutely zero substance but was still broadcast in primetime by all major news channels. Either the people who head the editorials of these enterprises have no knowledge of India’s banking and financial system or, as alleged for a long time, they are complete sellouts and are ready to showcase anything in exchange for money.
Let’s find out why AAP has done nothing wrong (by nothing I mean zilch) with respect to this entire controversy:
1) Due diligence is limited in scope
As pointed out by ex-RBS India chief Meera Sanyal, the party has limited scope and power while investigating or vetting any donation made by any person/individual. The party can check for the following credentials of any company/individual.
- Official registration (done by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs under the Companies Act)
- PAN/TIN number, obtained through the Income Tax department
- Banking credentials (which are automatically ascertained as all payments are done by cheques, netbanking etc
The party, through its Parliamentary Affairs Committee, made sure all the aforementioned credentials were verified and checked before the cheques for processed for clearing.
2) AAP trusted the financial structure and laws
Every organisation, agency, department issuing documents, licences, registrations to companies or individual, has its own system of verification and checks which are done with utmost diligence as follows:
- RoC (Registrar of Companies) verifies all documents, addresses, phone numbers, financial credentials of companies being registered under the Companies Act. Moreover, this entire registration process is carried out by licensed and authorised CA firms.
- Income Tax/Sales Tax departments undertakes its own verification process before issuing PAN cards, TIN numbers etc.
- Public/ private banks and financial institutions have their own independent system of verification, only after which they allow their customers (companies, individuals) to open bank accounts and do financial transactions. All these norms (KYC- Know Your Customer norms et al) are prescribed under various acts governed by the Reserve Bank of India.
If anybody is at fault for the existence of such shell companies (as reported yesterday), it is these very institutions which have failed to adhere to their verification laws and processes.
Why did the RoC and DoIT issue licenses and registrations to these companies if their addresses were forged?
Why did the banks related with these companies allow such dubious organisations to undertake financial transactions. Did they not follow the KYC norms and check for all credentials before opening financial accounts?
The Aam Aadmi Party didn’t have the power to obtain addresses, names of directors, phone numbers of these companies as this information is protected under banking privacy and secrecy laws. They completed all checks within their scope and power and trusted the competent authorities to have done their job priorly. Even if you don’t agree with the above points, is it practically possible for any party to verify, in-depth, each one of 35,000 donations made in a very short span of time?
My questions to the media and several misinformed ‘bhakts’ and AAP detractors, who have ran circles around this issue with unbelievable imbecility and ignorance.
Do you think AAP would’ve bothered to convert their black money into white and then have the naivety to put it up on their website? Couldn’t they have just used up the black money (in cash) directly to fund their campaign? Do you think everybody is as stupid as you?
Do you think if AAP had done anything wrong with respect to these transactions, they would’ve uploaded it on the internet for the world to see? Would an ATM robber upload the CCTV footage of his robbery on Youtube? The very fact that all these details were taken from the AAP website proves that AAP’s political funding is transparent and clean to the core.
Do you even know what ‘Hawala’ means? Have you ever heard of hawala payments being made by cheque? Stop taking the Indian public for a ride.
I believe the media has some very educated, intellectual people on board in their economic, financial, and related teams who would know how weak the entire case was from the very beginning. Infact, a close relative of mine, who has 30+ years of experience in the financial sector, and is a staunch AAP critic and BJP follower, had slammed the media on hearing this episode. He straight away knew that AAP was not at fault and he even went to the extent of calling the media a sellout after seeing every news channel run the same news for the entire day without even checking the veracity and credibility of the claims.
Indian commoners are very gullible and can easily be influenced by even the slightest of murmurs. It only takes a spark to spread a fire in this nation. You can’t blame the people for attacking the AAP, after what was shown on the television yesterday. But after seeing the entire coverage, I can confidently say that media structure in India has collapsed beyond comprehension. Is this the sort of responsibility and accountability claimed by the fourth pillar of democracy? Is there no moral credibility left in this generation’s news enterprises? Is everything a question of money? Or are you willing to put journalistic ethics on the line for the sake of TRPs and Twitter trends?
It’s my heartfelt appeal to all informed and aware citizens of this country to not rely on the media for all your facts and information. You have the power of the internet at your disposable, use it wisely and responsibly. Be your own media.
The author can be followed on Twitter @QSportsLunatic.