Current Indian Telecoms minister Kapil Sibal has his work cut out trying to repair the damage done by the previous Indian Telecoms Minister A. Raja, who simultaneously under and over-achieved by wrecking not just the telecoms industry, but the standing of the entire Indian government. It seems that Raja auctioned off the 2G spectrum in the rapidly expanding Indian phone market less like a national spectrum and more like pills in the pocket of his trenchcoat. His massively irregular “first-come-first-served” sales are thought to have cost the government twenty billion pounds. Mr Raja is also a billionaire, by the way, but we don’t think we were supposed to notice that.
The scandal has expanded to shake the entire government, with prime minister Manmohan Singh vowing to punish everyone involved. Because that will totally make all the money magically reappear and repair the damage to the country’s reputation, which now hovers somewhere between “hilariously greedily corrupt” and “tragically incompetently corrupt.” Mr Raja has been arrested, while minister Sibal is meeting with top telecom industry executives in an attempt to straighten things out. But considering how they’re the ones who illegally bought the spectrum and are making millions upon millions of whatever currency you want to use, it’s unclear what his strategy is beyond asking “Pretty please don’t do whatever you like for profit quite so much, or we’ll get cross this time, we mean it.“