Sab Chor Hai!

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(Brig (retd) GB Reddi)

“Sab Chor Hai” – all institutions without exceptions – is engulfed in corruption: Executive, Legislatures, Judiciary, Media and even the “Aam Admi”. Let none suffer from any illusions on the above count.

A 2005 study done by the Transparency International in India found that more than 92% of the people had firsthand experience of paying bribes or peddling influence to get services performed in a public office.

Undeniably, “Pareto Law”, that is, 80/20 rule governs corruption in today’s India. After all, corruption encompasses both physical and moral; and, bribe giver and taker.

Utter rubbish is the talk or narrative of “Fighting Corruption” or “Zero Tolerance against Corruption.” Even Arvind Kejriwal, hailed as crusader/champion of anti corruption has dismally failed to send the Commonwealth Games culprits to jails.

Shocking is the latest CBI Court verdict in 2G Scam.  A Raja, Kanimojhi and all others have been acquitted (not found guilty).

Be that as it may, what is quite absurd is “GRAND Welcome and receptions” by their followers. Media’s glorification of tainted individuals and their followers naturally gives encouragement to tainted individuals and their followers to indulge in “SCAMS” with impunity.

Even the DMK alliance partners in the political spectrum to include the Congress Party and its stalwarts have hailed it a great victory.

24-hourse later followed the CBI Court verdict in the “Fodder Scam”. Laloo Prasad Yadav, the RJD Supremo, stands ‘guilty’ for siphoning over Rs.85 lakhs from the treasury before 1996 in one case. The CBI court is to award punishment on 3 January 2018.

The verdicts delivered by the CBI Court’s are the first step only.  Their verdicts will be challenged in the High Courts’ followed by the Supreme Court. Thus, there will be phenomenal delays. Meanwhile, the convicts will seek ‘bail’ pending final adjudication. If the judiciary is earnest, it should not grant ‘bail’ to Laloo Prasad Yadav and associates. It is a test case for the judiciary to show itself on the highest moral pedestal.

Yet, to expect and hope that the judiciary would deliver justice is utopia. “Justice delayed is Justice denied” is an oft quoted adage.  A brief look at the phenomenal delays in adjudicating justice clearly reflects their complicity.

For example, the culprit – Quattrocchi – in the “Bofors” died in 2013. No action pending on others. Many other cases are still pending since the “Due Processes of Law’ and “Laws of the Land” permit culprits to escape from punishments.

Add to it, the “Fodder Scam” adjudication over 21 years.

Also, public pronouncement of Ashok Khemka, IAS Officer, on phenomenal delay by the present Khattar’s BJP government in Haryana in appointing a Commission of Inquiry and also the delay in expediting action in Robert Vadra corruption scandal.

Of course, Sonia and Rahul Ghandy’s are on unconditional ‘bail” in the National Herald case of cheating and misappropriation.

Who is responsible for such an absurd situation? Judiciary blames the Investigating and Prosecuting Agencies. In turn, the Investigating and Prosecuting Agencies blame the Executive for not according sanctions and also providing evidence.

And, the Media jumps to sensationalize the political diatribe indulged by rival political parties and leaders. Consequently, corrupt leaders are portrayed in “honest life sizes’ than their ‘lowest and most heinous images”.

3 ½ year of Modi led BJP rule is over.  Less than 18 months are left for Modi to act or perish.

Never too late for Modi to realize that contra opinions of pollsters and pundits, people overwhelmingly voted in favor of Modi-led BJP in the 2014 elections in the hope of redemption from gargantuan envelopment of corruption.

Yet, not a single “Corruption Tiger” has been sent behind bars except for Sashikala in disproportionate assets case (Final outcome in Laloo Prasad Yadav’s case is still awaited).

Modi’s credibility is at stake. If he fails to act and seek shelter under the “Law takes its own course), even his followers may not continue to extend their support.

In retrospect, his rival political parties would launch a tirade against Modi’s complicity for not initiating prompt actions in Vyapam Scam, Lalit Modi, Vijaya Mallya and others.

Furthermore, the “Panama Papers” have India ranks 19th out of 180 countries in terms of the number of names in the offshore data leak. A total of 714 Indians have been named.

 

Unless Modi directs the concerned authorities, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax, to take time-bound actions and give wide publicity by giving monthly ATR (Action Taken Report), the Aam Admi would not be impressed by Modi’s strong leadership capabilities.

 

Similarly, prompt action must be initiated against individuals and organizations who deposited demonetized notes in ‘Benami accounts’ and their names placed in the public domain.

 

In retrospect, if you look for one leader or family for alleged involvement in corruption around the corner, one can find many of their political colleagues/crooks in the same bandwagon.

The “grand high level corruption”, an unholy congregation of most powerful figures, is hardly scared of media investigative revelations and laws of land. They indulge in the direct plunder of public resources, asset stripping, or large-scale bribery. Quite often, they use shell companies and tax havens and indulge in money-laundering.

For them, unethical behavior is least concern. They have mastered the art and science of corruption and look at those helpless bystanders voicing concern as people out context with the march of times. These figures wield enormous influence on government affairs.

Earlier Modi realizes his rapidly eroding credibility in the eyes of the common people of India, it is better for his survival at the 2019 polls. Modi can no longer remain on the back foot. No takers for mere repetitive sermonizing. Transparency is imperative to retain credibility.  Not only Modi must take bold decisions, but also ensure effective implementation in sending the culprits behind bars.

Modi must take a leaf out of Xi Jinping, President of China. Pledging to “Root out Corruption”, Xi Jinping since 2012 has taken action against 250 senior officials including about a dozen high-ranking military officers, several senior executives of state-owned companies, and five national leaders.

The 2 big ‘Tigers” – rival Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang (Minister of Public Security” have been sent to jail – life imprisonment. Within a year, 11 ministerial and provincial-level senior leaders were arrested, including leaders within the country’s most formidable special interest groups like the oil industry.

In the Peoples Liberation Army, around 13,000 military officials have been punished including  Gen Guo Boxiong and Gen Xu Caihou who served as vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission (CMC), the PLA’s high command now headed by Xi.

Up to two million lower-level officials have also been investigated and 1.34 million grassroots-level party officials around the country had been punished.

In contrast, Modi cannot lay claims to be comparable results having been crowned by people largely on the “corruption” issue in 2014.

Judiciary, the CBI, ED, Income Tax and Media are equally responsible for the present absurd state – phenomenal delays – in the “Fight against Corruption”.

Can Modi crack the whip on corruption on all alike with disregard to party affiliations in the remaining period of 18 months? Based on past performance, the answer is NO.

Is fear of loss of power is the reason for Modi’s indecisiveness to send the culprits to jails? Having got elected on the basis of rooting out corruption, if Modi dithers on taking bold decisions, people will also throw him out of power in 2019 just as they ejected the Congress Party in 2014. Modi too would go down in the pages of history as a hypocrite (Mahatma Gandhi) – a product of democracy.

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