INDIA HAS always had a parallel economy that has been patronised by politicians, a large section of small traders — those who have perfected the art of staying out of the tax net — and big businessmen (mostly of the crony capitalist kind who profited from the closed economy), senior bureaucrats as well as clerks and of course the mafia, who cannot survive without the protection of the administration. At the grassroots level, each time a corrupt RTO official issues a non-regular driving licence, he is creating a potential terrorist. Ditto for a crooked passport official who colludes with anti-national elements to issue fake passports to traitors on the run (like the Bhopal officials did after the 1993 Mumbai blasts).
It is no different for a municipal councillor who generously signs on ration card applications of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, who bribe BSF jawans and officers for their ingress. Then you have the extortion racketeers, notable among them the Mumbai and Delhi underworlds, who terrorise well-heeled professionals, performing artistes and industrialists to pay for their protection.
Most of these proceeds end up in the narcotics, film production, real estate, flesh and arms trades that cannot flourish without the connivance of the police. Both in Mumbai and in Delhi, some of the most feared policemen were eventually found with their hands in the extortion mafia till. Those who made the supreme sacrifice like Mr Mohan Sharma, Mr Hemant Karkare, Mr Ashoke Kamte and Vijay Salaskar have their dirty colleagues as much to blame as the manic terrorists, who pulled the trigger. Whenever a senior police officer ‘buys’ a coveted post, he compromises India.
It is pertinent to remember that a former police commissioner of Mumbai cooled his heels in jail for a while on corruption charges that centred on printing fake revenue stamps. How is he less of a demon than the mustachioed don, who steers almost all terror strikes on Mumbai from his palatial villa in a port city of our hostile neighbouring country? Over these 61 years, the political class have actively presided over the birth, development and sustained success of a parallel economic system whose core agenda has been to debilitate India.
Till liberalisation kicked in and home loans were showered upon us, most urban Indians dipped into their black money reserves to buy homes from shadowy builders who could not have been in business without the blessings of the political class. In Mumbai, the ratio of black to white money in real estate transactions was as immoral as 40:60 till the late eighties. Have not we also contributed to creating the parallel economy that primarily feeds all illegitimate businesses including the meticulously organised industry of terror?
The founder of one of India’s major media houses was on the run from our economic intelligence units probing his ‘hawala’ operations till he reportedly died in London. Yes, let’s recognise that terror is an industry. It sustains itself on funds that are squeezed out of the regular economy through the vicious nexus of the politician-bureaucrat-businessman-gang lord foursome, it markets itself to committed human resources, who are willing to do much more for their employers than a normal employee would and finally, the terror industry knows how to leverage the media to grow its franchise far more potently than any other, without paying for it. Or do they?