Showing posts with label Manmohan government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Manmohan government. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Congress has turned CBI its greatest political ally

Congress has turned CBI its greatest political ally

Whether CBI is, in the words of the Supreme Court of India, a "caged parrot" or the Congress Bureau of Investigation, as the opposition, particularly the BJP prefers to call it, the fact remains that it speaks the language Congress prompts and acts the way it teaches them to do.
If the Congress is using the administrative machinery to browbeat its opponents, it is only following the footsteps of its British predecessors in indulging in repressive measures the alien administration had been letting loose against the freedom fighters who wanted them to leave the country independent. At the same time, the Congress equally mastered the British art of showering generous favours on those who go out of their way to realize its political designs by hook and crook. If you look at the pictures of the alien rulers and police/army unleashing brutalities and cruelties on those demonstrating against the British rulers and the present ones in independent India, you will discern that nothing has practically changed except that the rulers are not whites. In cases, the present democratic administration appears to be more barbaric against its opponents than did the alien British government. Even women and children do not get spared.
In fact, the energies of the arms of administration – the police, crime investigating agency, income tax department, Enforcement Directorate, CBI, IB, even the National Investigating Agency (NIA) – seem to be concentrated on realizing  the single objective to promote and protect the interests of the ruling party, to whitewash the black spots on the face of the ruling class and to harass all its political opponents who stand as a hurdle in catering to the whims and caprice of the rulers at whatever cost to the nation.  In fact, the present rulers have come to make its own narrow political and electoral interests synonymous with those of the nation. 
The ruling party administration spares the rod and spoils the ruling party recalcitrants who get pampered to indulge in more wrongdoing, crimes and corruption. The arms of law get shortened when the person belongs to the ruling dispensation but get longer if it is the non-Congress parties and individuals. They get more cruel and ruthless. The truth in this respect is all pervading.

Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal leveled charges of more or less the same nature against both the then BJP national President Shri Nitin Gadkari  and Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra, though  in latter's case the charges were much more serious because these involved favouritism by some Congress-ruled States. In Vadra's case the UPA government and Congress instantly dismissed the allegations as frivolous, baseless and motivated. The government lost no time to issue a certificate of "innocence" to Shri Vadra.  The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) expressed its inability to ”order a probe in business dealings between two private entities". But that was equally true in the case of allegations against Shri Gadkari too.  Later, the PMO claimed that "while the Right to Information Act aims at creating transparency to contain corruption and increase accountability, it also seeks to ensure that revelation of information, in actual practice, does not harm or adversely affect other important public interests which include efficient functioning of the governments, optimum use of limited fiscal resources, and preservation of confidentiality of sensitive information." (


The allegations against Shri Gadkari too constituted "business dealings between two private entities" to which the PMO claimed that it could not order investigation. When Shri Nitin Gadkari was likely to file his nomination for another term of office as BJP President on January 23, 2013 the Income Tax Department conducted a raid on Shri Gadkari's business concerns on January 22. After that both the IT Department and the Government have gone silent. Nobody knows the outcome of the raids and investigation. According to a Sunday Guardian report, nothing incriminating has been established against Shri Gadkari. 
In fact, CBI seems to be burning midnight oil to function as the defence counsel for those belonging to the ruling party can and a diehard prosecutor bent upon somehow or the other to involve those opposed to the ruling party.
CBI conduct in the investigation into cases concerning the 2002 Gujarat riots and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots is a case in instance. It presented closure reports in cases against Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler though it failed to realize the ruling party's objective when the court refused to oblige. When after 29 years the court handed out a verdict of not guilty against Sajjan Kumar it took more than two months for the CBI to file an appeal against the judgement in the higher court. Case against Jagdish Tytler has been reopened under court orders.
But in Gujarat, all CBI energies are concentrated on framing the BJP leaders. Its anxiety – and of Manmohan Government – in the Ishrat Jahan alleged fake encounter seems nothing else but only to somehow or the other to frame Gujarat CM Shri Narinder Modi and other BJP bigwigs.
Criminal cases of assets beyond known sources of income against former UP chief ministers, Ms Mayawati and Shri Mulayam Singh have not been taken to their logical conclusion during the last 9 years. CBI stand on these gets fluctuated with the change of stance of these leaders towards the Manmohan government. In a similar case where Shri Lalu Yadav and his wife were acquitted, CBI did not, deliberately, for understandable political reasons, file an appeal in a higher court obviously only because he remains steadfast to prove himself as the savior of Congress government at the Centre in times of crises.
The CBI case against Shri Lalu Yadav in the fodder scam continues to hang fire for the last over a decade, courtesy again of CBI, although similar cases against officials have been decided long ago and the guilty punished.
Another stark contrast is the CBI dilly-dallying the investigations and prosecution of cases concerning 2G spectrum, Commonwealth Games, Adarsh Housing and Coalgate scandals. Except for the intervention of the courts, no minister responsible for the scams has been brought to book.  The investigation into these cases is moving at a snail's pace.
Latest is the case involving the Railway Minister Pawan Bansal. Instead of being made a co-accused, he has been made a witness. Nobody today, as a person remarked, is willing to offer even a cup of tea if he doesn't expect a return favour. But CBI in this case, makes people believe that an individual of the rank of a general manager of Railways was so foolish as to strike a Rs. 10 crore bribe deal and to part with Rs. 2 crores initially without being certain that Bansal's nephew would be able to get from the minister what he wants.
Actually, it is proving true the old Hindi saying: jab saiyyan bhaye kotwal to dar kahe ka" (When the kotwal is our benefactor, why should one worry?) It is also providing credence to the widely accepted notion that CBI is the greatest political ally of the UPA.
When the Supreme Court directed the UPA government to take steps to make the "caged parrot" free, all it seems to be trying to do is to free it from the cage with freedom restricted to fly only within a room closed from all sides under UPA supervision. It has claimed its right to monitor, a synonym for influencing, the course of investigation in "politically sensitive" cases. That betrays the real intentions of the Congress.                                                                       ***

Sunday, March 24, 2013


The VVIP accused

If you're an Italian in India, you're a VVIP. It had never been in doubt in the past. The only thing new this time is that if you're an Italian and have committed a heinous crime in India, you continue to be so. Be it Ottavio Quattrocchi or the two Italian marines Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre facing charges of murder in Kerala, they are treated as VVIPs, as the ordinary Indian accused of similar or lesser crimes rot in jails.

In spite of the fact that law & order is the State subject, the Government of India (GoI) had, from the very beginning, been trying to poke its nose in the criminal case against the Italian sailors. It put pressure on Congress government there but in vain. The reasons are not difficult to fathom.

GoI has proved to be the most condescending and kind to let these accused to visit their homeland Italy for Christmas celebrations. Then, it allowed the two, just after two months, to visit their country once again for a month to exercise their right to franchise. The GoI did not oppose their request.  Even a surety of a sizeable amount was not demanded.  

The Italian Ambassador to India deliberately withheld from the Supreme Court of India (SC) the fact that under the Italian constitution an Italian citizen can exercise his franchise through the Italian embassy in the country wherever he is at the time of polling. 

The two Italian sailors facing murder charges have not been put in any jail but in guest houses, a luxury at the cost of the Indian people.

No mortal of Indian origin charged with murder or any other heinous crime is allowed parole to celebrate Dussehra, Diwali, Holi, Navratras, Ramzan, Christmas or the like. No accused in jail have ever been allowed to visit their native places to exercise their democratic right to franchise even for a day. Even our elected representatives in Central and State legislatures facing similar charges in courts are not extended this privilege.

The Government of Italy, first, refused to honour the undertaking given by the Italian Ambassador to the SC that the duo will return after one month. When the SC took a firm stand and directed the Ambassador not to leave India, it sent waves of panic in Italy. Its Ambassador stood the possibility of being jailed for contempt of court. Ultimately, the Government of Italy did bend but not before the GoI crawled.

Justifying the earlier stand, the Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzia told an Italian publication:"We would not have been able to negotiate the current conditions, which envisage (good) conditions of everyday living and guarantee that the death penalty will not applied."

Good living conditions are being interpreted as a sort of house arrest under the care of the Italian ambassador. The two sailors returned just in time to keep Rome's commitment to the SC.

Italian deputy foreign minister Staffan de Mistura, who accompanied the marines back to India, flashing the GoI undertaking, said the "suspension" of affidavit given in SC was a difficult decision but added that the Italian law against death penalty is so strict that Italy needed a guarantee. Thus Government of Italy extracted from India what it could have got only if there was an extradition treaty between the two countries. In similar circumstances, India had drawn blank in the past.

The solution was triggered by a letter from Indian authorities which was a very comprehensive letter and official letter guaranteeing to the Italian authorities that in this case there is no question that death penalty could even be envisaged and at the same time the marines upon their return will have the same status that they had on their departure," Mistura said.

Though India's foreign minister Salman Khurshid asserted that no deal had been struck, yet he admitted in Parliament that India had assured Italy in writing that there would be no death penalty for marines. He clearly said, "Notwithstanding the pending proceedings, the government has informed the Italian government that the two marines will not be liable for arrest if they return within the time frame laid down by the Supreme Court of India, and shall once again be bound by the conditions contained in the order passed by the court on 18th January, 2013."

The minister added: "... and that, according to well settled Indian jurisprudence, this case would not fall in the category of matters which attract the death penalty, that is to say the rarest of rare cases." The assurance that the marines will not face death penalty was touted by Italy as a major concession as the sentence violates European Union law but it put the Indian government in a fix for pre-judging the likely charges that can be brought to bear against the marines.

The VVIP treatment meted out – and assured – to the Italian accused violates the provisions in Article 14 of the Constitution of India which provides that the "State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth" (emphasis added). Article 15 prohibits discrimination on the same grounds.
Whether a person is guilty or innocent of the charge brought against him or her should or should not face death penalty or whether the crime is "the rarest of the rare cases" is the exclusive jurisdiction of the judiciary and not of the executive, i.e. GoI. Once our Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had decried the judicial "overreach" of the courts. Does Khurshid's assurance not amount to executive "overreach"?

The surrender story does not end here. The GoI on March 23  asked the Delhi High Court to set up a special court to try the two Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast last year.  Earlier in the day, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the Kollam district sessions court should be designated as the special court for the trial of the case. In a letter to the PM, Chandy said that the Kollam sessions court was originally scheduled for the trial and if the special court is constituted in Delhi, as directed by the Supreme Court, witnesses in the case will have to frequently travel to Delhi. Besides, documents in the chargesheet which are in Malayalam have to be translated into other languages. That would delay the trial, said the Chief Minister. ( But, for obvious reasons, GoI has chosen to brush aside the objections of its own Congress government.
Numerous persons of foreign origin, including those involved in the Purulia arms dropping case, have been arrested and tried for various crimes in India. But never has the government treated them differently from the persons of Indian origin. No person, however high or low, accused of any crime has been accorded "good living conditions" being interpreted as a sort of house arrest under the care of the … ambassador" of the country they belong to. Why this exception in the case of Italians? That remains unexplained.

The only saving grace is that Manmohan government has succeeded in preventing a major diplomatic blast that would have harmed India more than Italy. But all this happened only after UPA government crawled to make Italy bend.