Prime Minister Narendra Modi has weathered many a storm, often emerging stronger from the crises. Even the disastrous demonetization decision benefited him politically. But the verdict in the 2G spectrum allocation case is such a damning indictment of his government that he would find it extremely difficult to shrug it off. Make no mistake, it is the failure of his government rather than that of the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate that the accused have been acquitted.
…senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, at whose behest prosecution in the 2G spectrum allocation case began, doesn’t agree with the judgment; but on Thursday he approvingly quoted from Saini’s verdict to highlight the shoddiness of the functioning of government agencies.
The judgment of Special Judge O.P. Saini is being debated and even slammed; the government has decided to challenge it in the high court, but some of the assertions made by him show the ruling dispensation in poor light. Here is a Prime Minister who came to power riding on the wave of anger against corruption, with the promise that he would throw the wrongdoers behind bars. Like most other of his promises, this one too has been observed in the breach.
“In the beginning, the prosecution started with the case with great enthusiasm and ardor. However, as the case progressed, it became highly cautious and guarded in its attitude making it difficult to find out as to what prosecution wanted to prove,” Saini wrote in the 1,552-page verdict, adding that, “by the end, the quality of prosecution totally deteriorated and it became directionless and diffident. Not much is required to be written as the things are apparent from the perusal of the evidence itself.”
Even those who disagree with his verdict have not challenged these assertions. For instance, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, at whose behest prosecution in the 2G spectrum allocation case began, doesn’t agree with the judgment; but on Thursday he approvingly quoted from Saini’s verdict to highlight the shoddiness of the functioning of government agencies.
In an excellent write-up, Sree Iyer has narrated certain facts that raised questions about the intention of the Modi regime to clean up politics and public life in the first place. He mentioned, among other things, Modi’s meeting with DMK chief M. Karunanidhi on November 6. This was preceded by raids on 187 premises linked to the leaders of AIDMK, the DMK’s main rival in Tamil Nadu.
Perhaps, Modi and his confidante, BJP president Amit Shah, have started believing that no impropriety and no breach of promise on their part can hurt them. Like their predecessors, they have also used law-enforcement agencies to win friends and destroy enemies. Mukul Roy, earlier with the Trinamool Congress and accused of Narada and Sarada scandals, was brought to the BJP fold in the expectation of increasing the footprint of the saffron party in West Bengal.
Similarly, agencies have been allegedly used against Lalu Prasad Yadav. This is not to say that Lalu is the paragon of probity, but action against him was because of political reasons and not because the Modi-Shah duo was carrying out a crusade against venality. In the run-up to the 2014 general election, big promises were made regarding punishing the corrupt, bringing back black money stashed in overseas accounts, etc.
So far, the government has not done anything serious to bring the alleged crooks to book. There has been no action against Robert Vadra who, according to garrulous BJP spokespersons, has become very rich using questionable means. Nor has the government done anything to prosecute former Congress president Sonia Gandhi who practically ran the previous government which the BJP claims were scam-ridden. The only case against her and her son Rahul is being prosecuted by Swamy.
As for bringing back black money, Shah has flatly denied the redemption of the promise; indeed it was no promise but a chunavi jumla not to be taken seriously. Instead, the Modi regime unleashed taxmen against businessmen and middle-class people in the name of eradicating black money from India.
And yet, the Modi-Shah combine have been winning elections — so far at any rate. But will they be able to further fool people as to why they couldn’t ensure a conviction in the 2G allocation case? You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can not fool all the people all the time, said Abraham Lincoln. Evidently, Modi and Shah believe that even if you can’t fool all the people all the time, you can do that for a very long period. It remains to be seen if the length of that period can stretch much after the 2G case shocker.