|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Why is the CBI under fire?
October 09, 2003
Ithink it was Winston Churchill who declared that 'democracy is the worst form of administrative government invented by man except for everything else.'
Come election time, and we all know exactly what he meant. Isn't it sickening to listen to adults, men and women to whom
Or is it? I am always suspicious when I hear parties across the political spectrum singing the same tune. (After all, they could not agree even during the Kargil War!) And trebly so when the point that brings them together happens to be abusing the Central Bureau of Investigation!
The fact is that leaders from the three parties are all under scrutiny. Dr Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti (the chief minister putative of Madhya Pradesh) have been charged for alleged complicity in the demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya.
Mayawati is being investigated for possession of assets beyond all known means, a fallout of the Taj Corridor case. Finally, Ajit Jogi, chief minister of Chhattisgarh, has been charged with alleged forgery of documents.
The result is that representatives of all three parties are loudly claiming that the cases are 'politically motivated.'
Before going on to discuss the implications of this charge, shall we see if there is any truth at all to it? Whatever one might think of the Ayodhya dispute -- particularly after the initial findings of the Archaeological Survey of India -- the fact remains that the specific charges against Dr Joshi and Sadhvi Uma Bharati have received some kind of sanction from the courts.
That does not mean, of course, that they are guilty; but it does indicate that there is reason to put up a chargesheet against them. If the law is an ass for doing so, then we should consider reinterpreting the law. We certainly cannot impugn the Central Bureau of Investigation for doing its duty.
That is just as true in the other cases mentioned above. Mayawati has charged the Bharatiya Janata Party, specifically the prime minister, of pursuing a vendetta against her. She says that the health of her mentor, Kanshi Ram, has been affected by this hunt. She is wrong, the Central Bureau of Investigation was put on her track as a result of dictates by the Supreme Court no less. Had the Bharatiya Janata Party actually wanted to investigate tales of ill-gotten wealth, it could have done so far more discreetly with a nod from the Union finance minister, built up a dossier, and then launched it at the right time.
As far as I know, nobody from the ruling party in Delhi ever anticipated that the relationship would disintegrate so fast.
Nor did the powers-that-be in Delhi have anything to do with the mess in which Ajit Jogi finds himself. The chief minister of Chhattisgarh has a history of shooting off his mouth. For instance, he opposed disinvestment in BALCO without considering the implications, alleging that there would be a huge loss of jobs; today, he is singing another tune!
Later still, he alleged that there was a plot hatched in Delhi, 'Operation Black Sea', to discredit him. Specifically, Jogi stated
There is no politics involved in such a case, is there? So why is the Central Bureau of Investigation under fire?
Oddly, when trouble breaks out the first call is invariably to demand a Central Bureau of Investigation investigation. (Except, perhaps in Kerala; Chief Minister Antony's decision to ask the agency to look into the Marad murders has sparked the curious reaction from K Karunakaran and the Left Democratic Front that this is contrary to the federal principle!) What will be the worth, in the public eye, of such investigations if our leaders simultaneously damn the agency as a political puppet?
As ever, reactions differ depending on which side of the magnifying glass one happens to be. Elections or no elections, that won't change.
T V R Shenoy