Big corruption not an issue with political parties by Shantonu Sen
Four issues of big corruption have received some news coverage lately . They are against a former Director CB I and presently Member Union Public Service Commission (UPSC ), a former CM and presently Member Karnataka Legislature a former CM of Delhi and presently Governor Kerala and three former Chief Justices of India. The complainants, defacto and dejure, are also big. They are Chairman Board of Direct Taxes (CBTD ), Biju Gowda Patil aspirant Member Legislative Council Karnataka , Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) r and a former Supreme Court Judge who is at the time of making his written complaint is Chairman Press Council of India respectively. . In the U S A or in U K the independent Prosecuter would have stepped in and commenced enquiries. We in India have no such system .
What are the charges against them? The former Director CBI has been found to be criminally connected with an incredibly wealthy meat exporter of India who , allegedly , has laundered his ill gotten gratifications and who again, allegedly, obtained favours from the former Director for himself and others. Its also alleged that the very top in CBI have used his “services” and he is handed over from one Director to another. The former CM of Kanataka is on tape demanding Rs 40 crores from an MLC aspirant to pay 2 crores each to twenty Members of Legislative assembly of Karnataka each to buy their votes .What is more incredible, he admits that he did demand the amount and in defense claims leaders of all political parties buy votes in the same manner. The former CM Delhi sanctioned Rs 3000 crores, approximately, to provide civic facilities to 40 lakh residents , living in hundreds of unauthorised and illegal colonies . Though over Rs 2000 crores have been spent , there is very little to show for infrastructure in these colonies, a fact borne out after physical verifications , reported by the CAG .The fourth relates to three successive Chief Justices of India who have separately ensured that an Additional Judge of the Madras High Court found to be corrupt by his own Chief Justice is given extension and later confirmed. They caved under the pressure of the Law Minister of India who acted under the instructions of the then Prime Minister of India. The Prime Miniser was threatened by a political party from the South (DMK ?) that if this particular Additional Judge was not allowed to continue as Judge the party will withdraw support and the UPA Government would fall. This happened in 2005.
There will be no hurry to start any criminal action in these four instances. The C B I will not commence a Preliminary Enquiry or a Regular Case though facts cry out for action by the premier investigation agency. Some people may find this comment churlish. C BI under law can commene enquiries suo moto.
Memory recalls that in the late 8o’s Jain Hawala Diaries was the talk of the town. No less than a Deputy Inspector General (DIG) CBI was caught taking Rs 10 lakhs from one of the Jains to hush the contents of these diaries. The diaries , two in number, listed politicians across the board .barring the Left , by their acronyms who were receipients of dollars from the Jain brothers. Supreme Court monitored the CBI enquiries. Does any one remember whether any one named in the diary was booked ? The only one who was prosecuted was L K Advani and thst was a ploy. For the rest there was practically little evidence collected to back the contents of the Diaries by the CBI. The DIG who was trapped faced trial for long 20 years and was sentenced to undergo some six months imprisonment. No other politician or bureaucrat identified by his initials was touched by any criminal court. In the early ninety’s a member of the Planning Commission , incidentally, his initials were noted in the Diary too,was arrested for his sins of commissions and omissions in his various avatars in the Government of India (1975 -1988) A litany of serious criminal charges were drawn up against him. The most serious was obtaining commissions in dollars from various foreign institutions and stashing the loot in Swiss Banks in Berne ,Hongkong and a few cities in Australia. Investigation was killed by the UPA; the law on letter rogatory was tweaked to rescue him and the NDA too did not reopen the case when it came to power. In fact, killed the other criminal charges against him. He had friends in the opposition . The last case , the Urea Scam , where dollars 64000/ was paid to a fake Turkish Company , ostensibly for purchasing Urea , in advance and not a gram of urea was imported happened in the late 90’s. It was a big scam but none of the big involved, whether the Prime Minister’s (PM) son or PM’s confidants or the top honchos in the PMO and in the Cabinet Secretariat whose criminal role was writ large, were ever prosecuted and even today one does not know what happened to the money.
Lest we forget , history has lessons. There are ranks in the Government/Judiciary who escape the touch of law. There are progenies of the highest in the land who are exculpated. That was the reality in the 80’s and the 90’s. 2014 must be different because Narender Modi is different. Hope, like love, is eternal, irrespective of the many times its dashed. History must not repeat.