Of Fuss & Controversy Unwarranted
One fails to understand the fuss over counsel for NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) Prashant Bhushan being pressed for disclosing the name of the whistleblower who provided him a copy of the entry register maintained at CBI Director Ranjit Sinnha's residence containing the names of persons who met him at his official residence.
To an extent, Prashant Bhushan is right in refusing to divulge the whistleblower's identity in the interest of the latter's personal safety claiming that "it would expose him to serious risks of bodily harm, harassment and victimisation besides setting a bad precedent". Among those who waited upon the CBI Director at his house are very influential and resourceful people who felt as much embarrassed by the disclosures as did the CBI Director. Question naturally arises Why did they prefer Sinha's residence over his office and why did he condescend to entertain them at his residence and not in his office?
Disclosure by such daredevils of information has embarrassed high-ups, landed them in trouble in criminal investigations and some found guilty by courts. There is also no dearth of instances where numerous people who dared to make incriminating information public had to face the wrath of government functionaries and others. Some of them had to lose their right to life even. So their security of life remains of paramount concern.
In these circumstances, what is vital is not the identity of the whistleblower who lifted the veil of secrecy but the veracity of the disclosures. As long as the facts brought out by them are not disputed, their identity is immaterial. They need to be identified and named the moment they are discovered to have played havoc with facts causing unwarranted hurt to the image of the persons harmed by their disclosures which they knew were not genuine. In such an eventuality, they not only need to be fully exposed but severely punished too.
In the meantime, the Supreme Court on September 22 decided to review its order directing Prashant Bhushan to disclose the identity of the person who provided him the information.
Politics in the country seems to be touching a new low each day. The latest is the instance of the former Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh who whipped up public sentiments on the petty issue of his being asked to vacate his official residence in Delhi after the people of his area rejected him in the June elections to Parliament and he ceased to be a minister. On the one hand he announced that he is going to vacate the official residence and, on the other, he whipped up people's sentiments by organising a violent protest in his area where his supporters even threatened to cut-off water supply to Delhi.
He had been occupying this very house which was the residence of his late father Chaudhary Charan Singh who became prime minister of the country courtesy not a majority in Lok Sabha but of an intrigue hatched by late Mrs. Indira Gandhi who was not fascinated by him to see him a prime minister of the country but smarting at the loss of power and yearning for revenge to overthrow by hook or crook the then Janta Party government headed by Morarjee Desai. Charan Singh fell into Indira's trap. After parting company with Morarjee and his Janta Party, he was able to be sworn in as PM on July 28, 1979 but had to resign on August 24 when Mrs. Gandhi refused to honour her promise of support. Instead of going to Parliament waiting for him to seek a vote of confidence Chaudhary Charan Singh went to the President to resign. He earned the distinction of being a Prime Minister just for 24 days without having faced the Parliament. Ajit Singh inherited the political legacy of his father by representing the latter's Baghpat parliamentary constituency unhindered. In the process he made history by his party RLD enter into a marriage of convenience with friends and foes alike. Thus he made the proverbial term of "sleeping with the enemy" a reality in his political career. In 2009 Lok Sabha elections his party contested as an NDA constituent but when BJP led NDA failed to make the mark the magnet of power was strong enough to lure Ajit Singh to part company with NDA and land into the Congress lap against whom his party had fought elections.
Ajit Singh's demand to convert the house he was occupying as a memorial for his late father and former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh was a ploy to retain this house on one pretext or the other. On the vey face of it, his belated demand now looks funny. Charan Singh died on May 29, 1987. In VP Singh's Janta Dal government in 1989 and later in UPA government Ajit Singh was the Industry Minister amd Civil Aviation Minister, respectively. During the last 27 years never did it occur to him that his father deserved a memorial and that too the house he was occupying. No further comment needed. ***