Monday, May 6, 2013

In the dock for 90 Lakhs

Don't worry, this is simply a cartoonists imagination and not likely to be a reality any time soon. 

But  disturbing is the fact that the sum being talked about is so small - only Rs. 10 Crores!! What has happened to our leaders? And to the investigative capacity of CBI? These past few years, we have been listening about thousands of crores worth of scams,  even after adjusting for the CAG exaggeration.
Even Sukhram (remember, PV Narsimha Rao's telecom minister?) was caught with Rs. 3.6 Crores, way back in 1996. After over 15 years, CBI arrests a person for only Rs. 90 Lakhs! 

If you ask me, this is a Congress conspiracy, with the support of political friends & foes. For far too long a time, the figures involved in various scams have been huge, really huge. The magnitude was such that a former bureaucrat, and a common man, started living his political dreams. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) may not win many seats (perhaps, none at all), but it dared to challenge the political establishment. Now which political party would take this kindly? But Arvind Kejriwal, being an ex-babu, knew how to put his point across in a manner that he could not be touched. 

By reducing the scam amount to Rs. 10 Crores, Kejriwal would now have to uncover scams upwards of this figure, which is not a difficult task. With this master stroke, Kejriwal has been presented with the prospect of a press conference every hour for each new scam he unearths! Would Kejriwal jump at this opportunity? No, he cannot & should not. Not that there are not enough such scams. On the contrary, this minuscule transaction happens all over, regularly. Kejriwal would not get time to even photocopy documents, if he has to publicly announce each small (by today's standards) scam. 

Now we come to the foes. Wonder why Mamata Banerjee is so depressed? One of the reasons is that the railway portfolio was previously held by her & her nominees. With one arrest, Didi has been silenced (for a few weeks at least) as she would be scared, lest the misdeeds during her & her nominees' tenure emerge. Also, Mahesh Kumar was apparently close to Mamata Banerjee and was working towards becoming the Chairman of the Railway Board. This scam does not actually target PK Bansal's nephew (and PKB indirectly), but one of Didi's accolytes (and Didi indirectly). Hats off to Congress  for silencing Mamata Banerjee. This was one hell of a job & the sacrifice of PK Bansal (if that happens) would be a small price to pay!
As if on cue, the principal (though not principled) opposition party, BJP, demanded PK Bansal's resignation. As it demanded the resignation of each minister involved in the past scams. How many of them resigned? This demand is just an eyewash (like most of the previous ones), something the BJP needs to do to keep its political constituency intact. This was BJP's part of the bargain while handing over Karnataka to Congress. Such give-and-take is a matter of daily routine in our political set-up. 

All those who think that this was a brainchild of the Congress, or feel I think so, are mistaken. For one, the current crop of Congress leaders, or its backroom political managers, lack enough brains to even think of such a brilliant tactical maneuver. Moreover, there are clear signs of the brains behind this - the brainiest of the political class in India today. Isn't the nephew connection obvious? This is not the first nephew-gate, though this will definitely be the last. Guess who...
More than disturbed, I am worried. Till now it was only the leaders or their offsprings who figured in such scams (barring one where a driver was involved). Not being offsprings of netas, most of us were outside the purview of suspicion & thus could enjoy such scams. By bringing the nephews & nieces too in the ambit, many more of us mango people could be under the scanner. Thus, the CBI could simply pick you up if some distant relative of yours holds a public office. Just like the police encounters, this would enable legal encounters. And just like police encounters, most of these legal encounters would also be fake. While police encounters need a lot of planning, legal encounters do not. In a clannish social structure of India & an oversized government machinery, this means practically every one of us is a potential scamster!!
But more worrying is the fact that the nephews have been dragged into the political battleground. Till now, it was just the sons, daughters & a particular son-in-law who were the soft targets. Thus, single politicians had the advantage of claiming to be clean (as some of them do). The signal being sent out is that now even these politicians can be trapped. The message is, "married or not, your prime ministerial ambitions need to be toned down". This is why I believe, BJP protests (at least in Delhi) are an eyewash & there is only one brain which can conceive of such a brilliant move to bring Congress & BJP on one side while also prevent another nephew-gate. 

Kaka ne sabko mamu bana diya!

Picture Credits:

Arvind Kejriwal & Prashant Bhushan:

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