Financial defalcation, where’s the clean party? Arrests boomerang at times

Financial defalcation, where’s the clean party? Arrests boomerang at times

Agency News

New Delhi, Aug 22 : There are always two sides of a coin. When a political rival is 'arrested' especially on graft charges, there have been instances of things getting backfired. And the person put behind bars can successfully come out victorious literally and steal 'sympathy' support and votes. A peep into the past shows such things happened in nearby South Asian countries as well.

In 1977 when Indira Gandhi was arrested in corruption cases, it was reported that the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai had cautioned that Mrs Gandhi should not get any sympathy and that cases ought to be 'ironclad'. The history is witness that Indira Gandhi did get sympathy later; and she could make a strong comeback also due to infighting amongst opposition leaders.

Along with Indira Gandhi, her Cabinet colleagues were also arrested - H R Gokhale, Law Minister; D P Chattopadhyaya, Commerce; P C Sethi, Chemicals Minister and K D Malaviya, Petroleum Minister." case dealt with Gandhi's "illegally conniving" with others and pressuring two companies to obtain 104 jeeps for election work in several districts including her own.

The second charge alleged she misused her position in awarding a USD 13.4 million government oil drilling contract to a French firm, despite a lower bid by a competitor," says a report in 'The Washington Post'. It is certainly a different story that ultimately Janata regime did not survive. In 1970s, Pakistani leader and a former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was arrested on corruption cases by the military regime but soon it was felt the 'arrest' helped Bhutto and he recovered quickly from the reputation that was at its nadir.

Time and again Lalu Prasad has played the victim card. BJP sources have said that the Congress leadership 'move' backing P Chidambaram was too guided by 'political consideration' besides his family connections with Rahul and his mother Sonia Gandhi. Congress wanted to draw some media mileage and public sympathy and therefore Chidambaram was fielded at a press conference to declare his innocence on Wednesday.

Chidambaram also asked probe agencies CBI and ED to "respect" the law till the Supreme Court hears his bail plea on Friday. As they say, in short and in all fairness, another uniqueness of corruption vice is that it pervades the entire political spectrum. The BJP could be rejoicing at the agony of Congress today, but saffron party's first backward community president Bangaru Laxman too was ‘caught’ on camera collecting currency notes.

B S Yediyurappa, the incumbent Karnataka Chief Minister and whose personal image helped BJP come to power in the state today, was also jailed. Yediyurappa was arrested on October 15, 2011 after a special Lokayukta court charged him in alleged irregularities in denotifying government land. He was shifted to a hospital on health ground. Starting from A R Antulay days to the new millennium’s Telgi stamp paper scam of Maharashtra, 2G spectrum scam, the Adarsh Housing scam, Commonwealth Games scandal, Karnataka’s land scandal, Coalgate and Vyapam are just pointers to the fact that the fungus of corruption is a lasting menace.

When the issue was raised with Arun Shourie, a former editor and an ex Union Minister few years back, he had said, rather aptly: 'As regards checking political corruption, what’s important is that conviction should start and the wrong doers are sent to the jail". The Corruption fungus is more of a socio-political amalgamation. In his diagnosis as the Chief Vigilance Commissioner, N Vittal had clubbed five types of people for practicing and propagating corruption. Neta, the politician, with babu (bureaucrat), lala (industrialist), dada (criminal) and zhola (NGOs).

"There is a need to break the nexus,' Vittal had prescribed. The 2G spectrum scam perhaps enlarged that canvas and now media persons and PR industry also matter.
Among netas yet again, Natwar Singh, a first diplomat-turned-politician, landed himself in 'oil soup' in 2005 when his name appeared in Volcker report. During the Vajpayee regime, the Supreme Court-appointed committee on petrol pump had recommended cancellation of 296 allotments. The episode showed total mockery of public accountability even under a respected PM.

In the 1980s, Rajiv Gandhi lost power owing to Bofors kickback scam and in later years, P V Narasimha Rao was charged with receiving a suitcase full of currency from stock broker Harshad Mehta. Even the late V N Gadgil, the chief spokesman for Congress, later admitted to committing a 'mistake' by describing Rao as 'Mr Clean' once. 'Just when the cases against Narasimha Rao were being built, I was asked is Rao 'Mr Clean'…… I should have avoided that question…...”' Gadgil had said later.

In the ultimate analysis, if corruption is a hydra-headed malady; the holier than thou approach cannot be a virtue for the political class when it comes to corruption or the financial defalcation.UNI