Wednesday, October 12, 2022
A Sad Saga of Political Untruths and Judicial Truths Politicians Crave for laws to be immobilized to let the Piles of Corruption lie Hidden under the Debris of Filth of Protection and Promotion By Amba Charan Vashishth Intro The Modi government’s resolve in letting the anti-corruption agencies do their job without fear and favour is not going well with those politicians who thrived at the hands of power and political protection. The results of the proactiveness of many of the government agencies have sent shivers to some who have been caught recently. They want these institutions to be immobilised so that the illegal activities of certain politicians, their relations, friends, and supporters continue to move on without hindrance at a great cost to the nation. For the last some years, it is true that the Central agencies — like the Income Tax (IT) Department, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), and, the National Investigating Agency (NIA) —have become more active than ever before, for the realisation of the objectives for which these were created. The CBI seems to have come out of its “caged parrot” stage, as it was once branded by the Supreme Court (SC) of India. It needs to be noted that none of these agencies were created by the present ruling NDA. Can performing their duties in accordance with the law be something against the spirit of democracy? If it has, the non-NDA opposition needs to apologise for having given birth to these institutions and hold out a commitment that if it ever came to power, it will lose no time in atoning its guilt by giving these agencies a model burial. “CAGED CARROT” FREED? It has become a ‘sacred’ practice with the opposition parties to instantly give him/her a verdict of “not guilty” the moment the long hands of law reach a political leader, his relations, or his supporters. it is customary for the party to which he/she may belong, the moment allegations see the light of the day and before the same were investigated and the matter was taken to the court for its judicial verdict. It is also a common practice with the political parties to hurl the charge that the ruling party is using these agencies as an instrument of oppression against those who do not see eye to eye with it. Some of them have gone to the extent of saying that the ruling party contests the elections in an “alliance” with CBI, IT, ED, and NCB. From the proactive conduct of these agencies, for some, even democracy does not seem to exist in the country. Whatever the politicians may say or claim, the people are certainly the best judge. In Maharashtra, the situation worsened when every other day there was an unchecked exchange of arrows of corruption and other charges between many politicians. The ED and the NCB authorities went into action when allegations between Maharashtra Police high-ups and the Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, belonging to NCP in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government headed by Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray flowed down freely. The ED and the Narcotics Control Board (NCB) authorities swung into action when allegations of money laundering and drug trafficking started emerging during the course of the CBI investigation into these cases. INSTANT JUDGEMENT BY POLITICIANS When demands for a CBI probe against the then Home Minister Anil Deshmukh started gaining ground the Maharashtra strongman and NCP supremo Sharad Pawar took stock of the allegations of corruption made by the then DGP Param Bir Singh against the Home Minister Deshmukh. Pawarji instantly dismissed the allegations as false and frivolous and declared that there was no ground for Deshmukh’s resignation. He went further, saying that these agencies were being used to promote the electoral interests of the ruling NDA alliance at the Centre. A few weeks later Deshmukh had to resign. Soon afterwards, another too-vocal NCP Minister Nawab Malik who, almost every day, was churning out allegations against his opponents, was also found involved in various acts of alleged crimes and arrested. Both these ministers are now rubbing their heels in jail. Similarly, Delhi Minister Satyendra Jain had all along been asserting that he is innocent and honest. When CBI and ED laid their hands on Jain, AAP supremo and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal instantly jumped in to issue a character certificate of innocence and honesty to Jain. He said he and the party were solidly behind Jain. But for the last 4-6 months Jain continues to be in jail. CERTIFICATES OF INNOCENCE When the West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee, a very close aide of CM Banerjee, was summoned by the ED to appear before it, she in her characteristic style, alleged that the BJP-led NDA was exploiting the central agencies to harass its opponents. A few hundred crores of money and gold in kilograms were recovered. Later, he and his colleague were arrested. He is now in jail. Viewing on TV screens the high heaps of ₹500 currency notes was a rare spectacle for the countrymen. Counting the notes became such an arduous job that the agencies had to procure note-counting machines. As the revelations against Chatterjee turned murky, WB CM changed her stand and started telling people that let the law prevail. As another setback to CM Mamta Banerjee, a senior TMC leader Anubrata Mondal was arrested by the CBI on August 11, 2022 in a cattle smuggling case. He is also behind bars. More than a year back, the senior Congress leader and former UPA Home Minister P. Chidambaram too was found to be involved in some criminal wrongdoings and arrested. The senior advocate as he himself is, he used every trick of the game and erudition at his command to keep the long hands of the law away from him. Ultimately, he was arrested. He went to the highest court of the country but to no avail. He had to remain in jail for about two months. His son too has been accused of defying certain laws. The situation was no different in the case of Associated Journals Limited which published the National Herald daily. Both Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, among others, are allegedly involved. They knocked at various courts requesting for cancellation of the case against them. The courts refused. They are now on bail for their involvement in the alleged crimes. The too-vocal Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut, too, has been hauled up for various offences. For the last more than a month, he too is sulking behind bars. It needs to be kept in mind that all the gentlemen mentioned above are in jai not on orders of any government but various courts of the country. SAD COMMENTARY Who is right, honest, and innocent or guilty, will one day manifest with the verdicts of the judiciary? This could not have happened if the “caged parrot” had not been wriggled out free. If this could not happen a decade before the present NDA regime came in, it is a sad and bad commentary on the working of the earlier regimes. It is because of their failure that such huge money, gold in kilograms, drugs costing hundreds of crores, lands, and flats could be acquired by some people and the same have now been unearthed. The opposition charge against the present NDA governments is that it is exploiting these agencies to settle scores with its political adversaries. It now boomerangs on the accusers that when UPA was in power for a decade it provided cover to the nefarious activities of those who had now been brought to justice. Similarly, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has done an excellent job. Narcotics of various categories valuing hundreds of crores of rupees in the international market have been seized. Fingers have been raised on the activities of NCB too. No sane person can say that this has been done with ulterior motives. The money raised with these narcotics is used for funding anti-national and terrorist activities in the country. HON’BLE CONVICTED LEADERS Every political leader — former Haryana CM O.P. Chautala and RJD supremo and former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad Yadav included — had claimed that they were honest and innocent and that the criminal cases against them were the outcome of political animosity. Yet, they have been found guilty of the crime by the courts and have/are undergoing jail terms for their wrongdoings. Those creating so much noise on IT raids now against certain individuals or industrial units need to recall how during the UPA regime on January 13, 2013, IT authorities had conducted raids at eight units connected to the then BJP National president Nitin Gadkari. This was done on the eve of filing of nomination papers by him for re-election as President for the second time. Following this, Shri Gadkari refused to file his nomination. The UPA’s political purpose was served. It is common for the political parties to declare that their party leaders hauled up by the Central agencies for violation of the law are innocent. By their behaviour, the opposition is putting a question mark on the impartiality and fairness of the institutions of investigating agencies created under the law. Simultaneously, by doing so they are also lowering the prestige and questioning the impartiality of the judicial system of the country. This conduct also, in a way, criminalises politics and vice versa. WHAT IS AAP DOING IN PUNJAB? The non-NDA political parties, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) included, are raising a great hue and cry over what the IT, CBI, ED, and NCB are doing in various parts of the country. They call it political witch-hunting and political vendetta. But the same political parties are keeping mum over what the AAP government is doing in Punjab against its political opponents. Is it not an instance of hypocrisy? NO SENSE OF SHAME When an ordinary criminal(s) is arrested for any crime and photographers try to click their photographs for print and electronic media, he covers his faces with a sense of shame. But it is the opposite with our high-profile leaders in politics. They not only wish to be seen smiling and waving to the crowds as if they are proud of what they have done. They have no sense of regret or shame. The likes of O. P. Chautala and Lalu Prasad Yadav never confessed that they had committed any crime. They too claimed that they are honest and have been the victims of political vendetta. But courts found it otherwise. After some months, more or less, when these great leaders are granted bail — note, not honourably acquitted — they are accorded a hero’s welcome by their relations, friends, and supporters as if they are returning home from a battlefront with bounties of victories for the nation. By such a conduct our political parties are providing a halo of glamour and respect to those charged with or convicted of crimes, like corruption, money laundering, etc. When they return home after completing their term of imprisonment, they are back, guiding the politics and destiny of the country. It certainly is the true face of Indian politics. It is time the politicians who, for political considerations, side with the people who are, later, convicted of crimes, need to be made answerable and brought to book for the crime of promoting, protecting, and helping the criminals. *** The writer is a political analyst and commentator.