Saturday, July 16, 2022


POLITICIANS’ DIVINE RIGHT TO CRIME AND IMMUNITY TO PUNISHMENT By Amba Charan Vashishth Intro From the hue and cry raised by political leaders over the raids by the Income Tax (IT) Department, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED), National Investigation Agency (NIA), and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), it looks, they and their near and dear ones have come to acquire a kind of ‘divine’ right to commit a crime and ‘constitutional’ immunity to punishment from the law of the land. By nature, they dismiss the allegations against them as ‘false, fabricated and unsubstantiated, aimed at character assassination, political vendetta aimed at tarnishing the image of individual leaders and their political organisations’. The current political scene in the country is passing through a very strange phase of churning. The moment government agencies — the State police or the central agencies, like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), and National Investigation Agency (NIA), come into action against a political person in the opposition for the crime allegedly suspected/alleged to have committed a crime, the parties instantly come out with the same age-old, oft-repeated, stale and stock phrases to declare the action as “vindictive, politically motivated”, aimed at “character assassination”, ‘totally false’”, “unsubstantiated” and what not? With the speed of the light and sound, they come out giving their party functionaries a verdict of ‘innocence and not guilty’. With the same speed, they declare their opponents in power ‘guilty’ of the crimes alleged against them. POLITICS, THEIR SAVIOUR There are numerous instances of political leaders trooping out to defend the crime of a leader and relative of their party leader. How can they say so, remains a mystery? A political party has nothing to do with the business or other dealings of the kins of their leaders and, consequently, no locus standi to say anything of what right or wrong they have allegedly committed. In other words, the business of the party leaders or their relations is not the business of the party and vice versa. DO THEY SHARE BED? Some time back a woman came out against a chief minister alleging that he had sexually assaulted her. She gave the date and the time when this crime was committed. She even mentioned the registration number of the vehicle in which the CM had brought her to his house. Strangely, it was not the chief minister but his ministers who came out with a statement declaring that the allegations were false and malicious. At this, a person quipped: How do they know that the allegations are false? Do they share the bed with him every day? MAHARASHTRA MINISTERS IN DOCK The present Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) Government was very kind to bring Sachin Waze back to police service 17 years after he had been dismissed. Soon a controversy loudly blasted in police and political circles over the conduct. of this blue-eyed Mumbai Police officer. Everything was going on smoothly till an unknown vehicle with explosives was found in February 2021 near the house of well-known industrialist Mukesh Ambani Later, Mumbai Commissioner of Police Parambir Singh made very serious allegations of corruption against NCP leader and the then Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. The opposition demanded Deshmukh’s resignation. The NCP supremo, Shri Sharad Pawar was quick to act as the investigating officer, the prosecutor, and the judge — all in one — to declare that the charges against Deshmukh were “false”. He reiterated that they will back the minister and not seek his resignation over the allegations. CHARGES ALWAYS ‘FALSE’ The ‘good character’ certificate issued by Shri Pawar to Shri Anil Deshmukh did not stand in good stead with the CBI, to whom the investigation was later transferred by the Bombay High Court. Deshmukh had ultimately to resign. He is now rubbing his heels in jail for the last many months under court orders. Another NCP leader and Minister in the MVA government, Shri Nawab Malik, had for the past many months been functioning as the government and party’s main sharpshooter hurling serious charges against persons who stood in opposition to the MVA government. Now, Nawab Malik is behind bars facing numerous charges, including money laundering, under orders of the courts. But the flashpoint came when on April 28, 2022 Shri Pawar called for the repeal of the sedition law, saying that Section 124(A) of the Indian Penal Code is “misused against people who criticise the government”. DUPLICITY Whether the sedition law should be abolished or not, is a different issue. What is relevant, surprising, and, to an extent, intriguing is, it looks, Shri Sharad Pawar’s left hand doesn’t know what his right hand is doing. Only a week back the MVA government, of which NCP is a vital constituent, had slapped independent MP Mrs. Navneet Rana and her MLA husband with sedition charges on their plan to recite Hanuman Chalisa on a public road before the CM’s residence. The plan was foiled by a heavy deployment of Police force. First, reciting Hanjuman Chalisa on a public road cannot be a crime and more so, attract sedition charges. Two, the Chalisa was not recited even. Then how come, the sedition charge was slapped? UPA TOO DID Those shedding crocodile tears over IT/ CBI/NIA/NCB raids on politicians these days seem to have forgotten that it was done during UPA rule too. Just one instance. On the eve of BJP National President Shri Nitin Gadkari’s plan to file his nomination for the second term, on January 23, 2013 IT raided Purti firms linked to him. UPA’s political purpose was served when he decided not to file his nomination papers on moral grounds. Nothing happened afterward. More than a year back when a section of Congress MLAs and ministers revolted against Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, he slapped sedition charges against his own Congress rebels, Later, the same were withdrawn after his political purpose had been served. The BJP President J. P. Nadda was perfectly right when he said that no culprit, not even a political one, ever confesses his crime yet, later, he is declared guilty and sentenced to imprisonment for various terms by the courts. Whether it is the former chief minister of Haryana, Om Prakash Chautala, former chief minister of Bihar Lalu Prasad Yadav, former chief minister of Tamil Nadu Ms. Jayalalitha and her friend Shashikala, and many others, they had all declared the cases against them as “false, politically motivated, an attempt at character assassination” and what not. The only saving grace is that they expressed their faith in the country’s judiciary. All of them had to face the ignominy of being sentenced to jail terms for as long as 10 years. YASEEN MALIK, THE ONLY EXCEPTION It goes to the credit of the chairman of the JKLF chief Yaseen Malik that he did have the grace to confess his guilt in the charges brought out by NIA against him. He has been awarded two sentences for life. *** The writer is a Delhi-based political analyst and commentator

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