Congress backs discredited cop-why should a discredited IPS officer be taken seriously?


Courtesy: The Pioneer

August 05, 2011   11:36:46 PM


Ashok Malik

If the former Telecom Secretary’s statements are meant to be brushed aside as discredited nonsense, why should a discredited IPS officer be taken seriously?

As it finds itself increasingly beleaguered, the Congress is talking itself into one trap after another. Two recent instances stand out.

In the midst of the telecom scandal trial, Mr Siddhartha Behura, former Telecom Secretary, told the court of a crucial meeting that apparently took place on December 4, 2007. The meeting, Mr Behura claimed, was attended by Mr P Chidambaram, then Finance Minister, and Mr D Subbarao, then Finance Secretary. This meeting decided upon the pricing of 2G licences, he has said. His contention is that he, as Telecom Secretary, only implemented the decisions taken at this meeting. In a sense, he has sought to expand the ambit of culpability.

Responding to Mr Behura’s charge, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal was dismissive. “We have looked into records,” he said, “the records show that there was no such meeting. Neither Mr Chidambaram nor Mr Subbarao remembers any such meeting.” He also warned of “the danger of taking arguments made on behalf of an accused, and treating them as evidence and gospel truth”. Mr Behura, the Telecom Minister added, would attempt to save himself “even on the basis of non-existent facts”.

For all one knows, Mr Sibal may be right. Perhaps Mr Behura is indeed lying and attempting to implicate others in a show of desperation and bravado. If that is the case, the UPA Government needs to oppose him tooth and nail.

Now consider another example. In Gujarat, Mr Sanjiv Bhatt, an officer of the Indian Police Service, has spoken of a meeting at the Gandhinagar residence of Chief Minister Narendra Modi on February 27, 2002. This was on the evening of the Godhra train incineration. Mr Bhatt has alleged Mr Modi asked that Hindus be allowed to “vent out their anger” and wanted Muslims to be “taught a lesson”.

Potentially this is explosive stuff. A police officer is actually saying a Chief Minister asked his administration to back off and allow a state-backed massacre of innocent people. However, the Modi Government has denied Mr Bhatt was in the meeting of senior police officials that the Chief Minister called on February 27, 2002. The then State police chief has refuted Mr Bhatt’s contention that he was in the room that day. Mr Bhatt, it is said, was simply too junior to have attended the meeting.

It has also been established that Mr Bhatt has been in touch with activists such as Ms Teesta Setalvad and with the Congress’s Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly. In e-mail correspondence that is now before the court, he is offered legal support and coaching for his deposition before the Special Investigative Team by Ms Setalvad. He exchanges documents with the Congress leader, Mr SS Gohil, and asks him for a Blackberry phone. He tells another police officer to find out where Haren Pandya, a Minister in the Gujarat Government who was later assassinated, was on February 27, 2002.

The SIT, set up by the Supreme Court to look into the Gujarat violence, had asked Mr Bhatt if Pandya was present at the meeting. Presumably, Mr Bhatt was so engrossed in listening to his Chief Minister that he didn’t notice who else was around. Alternatively, could it be concluded Mr Bhatt wasn’t around himself?

Mr Bhatt has had a controversial career. He faces court cases for misuse of official authority. He has been involved in land-grab cases. In one incident, he was charged with framing a person who had a property dispute with a then judge of the Gujarat High Court. The National Human Rights Commission passed strictures against Mr Bhatt in this matter and fined him for “falsely involving a person in a criminal case … (and violating) fundamental human rights”.

Disciplinary action was taken against the judge as well. The judge appealed before the Supreme Court, but unsuccessfully. The judge’s lawyer, as it happened, was Mr Chidambaram, now Union Home Minister. Today, of course, Mr Chidambaram glosses over that old association and his party praises Mr Bhatt’s “courage”.

Mr Bhatt’s history has led to him having run-ins with the Gujarat Government. He has also been denied a promotion. His career is at a dead-end. Isn’t there enough reason for him to resort to desperate measures and attempt to resurrect himself “even on the basis of non-existent facts”, to borrow Mr Sibal’s expression?

If Mr Behura’s statements are meant to be brushed aside as discredited nonsense, why is Mr Bhatt supposed to be taken so seriously? Does the Congress believe all non-existent meetings are irrelevant but some non-existent meetings are less irrelevant than others?

In another episode, the Jan Lok Pal Bill activists led by Anna Hazare released preliminary findings of a survey they said they had conducted in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha constituency. The survey apparently showed overwhelming support for the activists’ version of the Lok Pal Bill. To be fair this proved nothing. The Hazare-driven Jan Lok Pal Bill is severely flawed and will end up creating a bureaucratic monster.

However, what was worth noting was the Congress’s reaction. Mr Manish Tiwari, the party spokesperson, invited Mr Hazare to contest the 2014 parliamentary election from Chandni Chowk (now represented by Mr Sibal) and essentially convert that battle into a referendum on competing versions of the Lok Pal Bill.

This is an interesting methodology, one that places primacy on the democratic process and reduces all debate to judgement only by the electronic voting machine. It is worth considering whether Mr Harsh Mander can be put up as the National Advisory Council candidate from Madha or Baramati, take on Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, and convert a constituency contest into a referendum on competing versions of the Food Security Bill.

Alternatively, Ms Setalvad (or even Mr Bhatt) could be the joint Opposition candidate from Maninagar in the December 2012 Gujarat Assembly election. This could then be presented as a referendum on alternative narratives on Gujarat in the past decade.

Those two final suggestions may sound facetious and silly. They are; yet no less offensive is Mr Tiwari’s mocking invitation to Anna Hazare to join electoral politics. Indeed, it is the Congress’s sudden belief in the purity and integrity of the political process that is so astonishing. In Gujarat, it has used extra-political means to fight its opponents. With the NAC, it has used extra-political mechanisms to draft and push through legislation. Having built the kitchen, it suddenly can’t stand the heat. How convenient.

— malikashok@gmail.com

http://www.dailypioneer.com/358712/Congress-backs-discredited-cop.html

Posted on August 6, 2011, in Anti-Hindus, Congress, Congress (Bharat), Congress Hooligans, Corruption, Corruption-Bharat, Gujarat, Mockery of Democracy, Narendra Modi, Nehru-Gandhi Family, Politics, Politics-Bharat and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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