In the old days, corruption scandals would follow a familiar pattern. A minister would take a bribe from a businessman to either use his discretion and bend the law or to release some scarce resource. A rival businessman would leak the story to the media and a public uproar would follow.
To some extent, that pattern still endures. The allegation against telecom minister D. Raja is that he accepted bribes (according to some accounts, as much as Rs 300 crore per deal) to award licenses to businessmen who were willing to line the minister’s pockets.
But what worries me is that a new pattern of corruption is emerging. Two of the biggest scandals to have rocked India in recent weeks – the Commonwealth Games loot and the Adarsh Building Society scam – differ from the familiar pattern. Their DNA is different from the traditional scandal and they suggest that the virus of corruption is mutating into a different, more dangerous shape. More...