Is Modi corrupt?
Supporters of Modi claim he is one of the least corrupt politicians in India. Modi has not been convicted of any corruption but, despite widespread corruption, politicians in India are rarely convicted for corruption. In fact, Modi's government worked extremely hard to water down anti-corruption measures in the state, pushing through a bill minimising the powers and indendence of the Lokayukta, or anti-corruption ombudsman. Under this bill, the state government both appoints the Lokayukta and can choose to accept or reject the Lokayukta's findings. In effect, Gujarat now has no independent anti-corruption body.
There is a long list of acts of corruption the Gujarat government is accused of being involved in or reluctant to probe. One example is the recent deal between the Modi government and the Adani group, where the most expensive electricity supplier was chosen over other competitors in a "closed-door" deal. Theft of natural resources is another major theme: for example the Modi government gave away large stakes in Gujarat's natural gas to a company which existed only on paper. Similarly, a Rs. 54-crore illegal limestone mining case resulted in Gujarat BJP Water Resources and Agriculture Minister Babubhai Bokhiria being sentenced to three years' imprisonment. Bokhiria retained his post in the state government despite the conviction. Another high profile BJP politician involved in mining-related corruption is BS Yeddyurappa, declared to be corrupt by the BJP itself. Uncovering these scandals can be deadly: environmentalist and social worker Amit Jethwa was murdered after filing court cases against the illegal mining lobby, including a BJP MP. In November 2013, after a CBI probe, BJP MP Dinu Solanki was arrested for Amit Jethwa's murder.
More generally, the high level of criminality and corruption in Gujarat politics is documented by the governmental and electoral reform body "Gujarat Election Watch". This criminality spreads across the political spectrum, but BJP politicians are well represented amongst politicians facing or convicted of criminal charges, with six of the ten MLAs in Gujarat with the most serious declared criminal cases belonging to the BJP. Leaving aside corruption within the BJP, several BJP allies are linked to high profile corruption scandals.
Modi's personal abuses of power are also illustrated by the "snoopgate" scandal with the BJP admitting that Modi had used the state government machinery to spy on a young woman without her knowledge.
Honesty/transparency in our news pages.