Trials and mistrials…

A favorite actor of mine Michael Douglas must be having a harrowing time trying to keep the media at bay now. His son has been found guilty of running a large scale drug racket and is imprisoned for ten years.Michael, who appeared at an unsuccessful bail hearing on Friday, is said to be “devastated” but has prepared to accept his son’s fate.“Cameron’s a hopeless addict but no one had any idea he was dealing such vast quantities of drugs to fuel his habit,” the Daily Express quoted a friend of the 65-year-old actor, as saying. The pal added: “Michael believes jail time may now be the only thing that can save his son’s life.” We are speaking about the son of a leading Hollywood actor who has bowed his head down with shame and let justice take it’s course. My respect for Michael Douglas has just trebled and  the respect for the judicial system in the US has undoubtedly risen. (which was marred by the OJ Simpson case )

Lets examine our own state of affairs in the recent past. In India, the so called elite are let off the hook and by the crooks that have penetrated deep into every conceivable system.Do you recall the famous BMW case? I shall refresh your memory.

*On January 10, 1999, a BMW driven by an inebriated Sanjeev Nanda, grandson of the former Chief of Naval Staff and arms dealer Admiral S L Nanda, ran over sleeping pavement-dwellers in Delhi. His friends Manik Kapoor and Siddharth Gupta, sons of wealthy businessmen, were with him. Three people died on the spot while two received serious injuries. Sanjeev sped away – and ran over three policemen at the picket, killing them, too, on the spot. When he was brought to the police station, Sanjeev was still drunk. He was caught only because an oil leak from the spot had led the police to Siddharth’s house – where the car had been washed of the blood and flesh by Siddharth’s father and his employees. The pillar of Delhi’s elite society had destroyed evidence of homicide.Where there’s money, there are hostile witnesses: Manoj Malik, the lone survivor of the hit-‘n-run, told the court that he was hit by a truck. Key witness Hari Shankar refused to identify the BMW. Another witness Sunil Kulkarni absconded. In fact, none of the witnesses supported the prosecution. In the end, Siddharth and Manik were granted bail. As for Sanjeev, the Delhi high court imposed a bond and surety amounting to Rs 45 crores, then reduced it to Rs 15 crores (peanuts for an elite family of arms dealers), and allowed Sanjeev – a British national – to travel abroad.*

VERDICT – The case went into a retrial and as late as September 2008, Nanda was convicted for a term of two years only. He was freed from jail three months before his two-year jail term ended due to his good conduct. In India the elite can be released on grounds of good conduct after killing six innocent victims. Bravo!

*In September 1998, while shooting a film in Jodhpur, Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu, Neelam Kothari and Satish Shah hunted every night for chinkaras and peacocks – both, protected species. After several days of this, the Great Brown Hunters went to Gudha Bishnoi and shot two blackbucks. As the blackbucks thrashed about on the ground, Salman got out of his Gypsy to slash their throats. However, the gunshots had brought the villagers, who saw Salman and the dying blackbucks. The film stars fled, leaving the blackbucks behind. But the villagers had recognised Salman and noted the number of the Gypsy.Next day, the villagers reported the incident to forest officials and filed a complaint naming Salman Khan as the poacher. Forest officials immediately seized the dead blackbucks and the Gypsy. On inspection, they concluded that the Gypsy had earlier ferried chinkaras. A subsequent enquiry revealed that Salman Khan had hunted chinkaras in Mathania, too.The Bishnois worship blackbucks as “Jhambaji,” and were not about to let the sacrilege pass. When they doubted the pace of the investigation, they began a dharna in Jodhpur, demanding the arrest of the poachers. Finally, forest officials took the film stars into custody, and after grilling them for 7 hours, homed in on Salman as the main accused. On October 12, Salman’s application for anticipatory bail was rejected and he was arrested. On October 13, he pleaded innocence and charged that he was being falsely implicated for “political” reasons.But what happened on October 14, is straight out of the casebook of O J Simpson: Loudspeaker-fitted vehicles drove around the Muslim localities, announcing that Salman was in difficulty and that Sohail Khan wanted to address the Muslims to get their support for his brother. Muslims were urged to assemble at the stadium grounds to hear Sohail, who charged that his brother was a “victim of politics.” But when people started gathering at the venue, the local police swiftly swung into action and dispersed the crowd.
Nevertheless, the harm had been done: Thousands of people gathered outside the court room, the Bishnois raising the slogan “Hirnon ke hatyaron ko phansi do,” which was instantly met with a vociferous “Salman Khan zindabad ” from the Muslims, who now believed that the case was being manipulated by the then BJP state government. In Jodhpur, it’s become a case of Hindus vs Muslims. Just as OJ’s had become Whites vs Blacks.In the meantime, the forest officials of Jodhpur and Bombay recovered the arms used for poaching, as well as a Mauser, a Magnum and a 12-bore gun kept by Salman’s family without any licence. The raiding party also found in his father Salim Khan’s farm house two live chinkaras, one blackbuck and one peacock, which are enlisted as protected animals and birds in Schedule I of the Protection of Wildlife Act.While all this evidence was turning up, this “nice boy” (according to Dr Rishi Kapoor), was busy claiming, “I am innocent and being implicated in the poaching case without any reason. I myself love wild animals. How can I shoot them?” In the meantime, his near and dear ones sponsored a post-mortem report from the government veterinarian, Dr Narain Nepalia, which said that the blackbucks died of overeating and dog bites.

The Forest Department exhumed the blackbucks and ordered a fresh autopsy by a board of vets. Marks of bullet shots were found, Nepalia was suspended and charged with giving a false post-mortem report.The Forest Department then went into overdrive and filed four cases against Salman. Two charge him with shooting chinkaras; another pertains to violation of the Arms Act; the fourth names him as the main accused in the shooting of two blackbucks. When the combined cases went to court, guess what… where there’s money, there are hostile witnesses:Key prosecution witness Dinesh Gawra, who held the spot light as Salman hunted, has absconded. In May this year, witnesses Kanwara Ram and Rupa Ram denied giving a statement to the police that they had seen the Gypsy. Pukh Raj said he had seen a vehicle but could not identify it. In June, prosecution witnesses Daulat Ram and Sumnesh Limba told the court that the knife (used for slitting the necks of the animals) was lying on the table in the police station, whereas the recovery memo stated that it was handed over by Sohail Khan in their presence. In July, Arun Kumar Yadav, the owner of the Gypsy, told the court, “Whatever I told in my earlier statement about the animal blood on the seats of the Gypsy and the stinking smell coming from it and also the finding of bullets from inside the vehicle while washing it was not based on my personal knowledge.”Such, then, are the antecedents of Salman Khan, Esquire.

And, such is the family supporting him. Is it any wonder why singer Kamaal Khan, who was in the car when Salman crushed to death the worker in Bandra, told the police that his friend wasn’t driving the Landcruiser when the accident occurred…? Salman, in a police statement, has denied that he was driving the vehicle and refuted allegations of being intoxicated. His claim that bodyguard Ravindra Patil was driving the Landcruiser is known to be false: Patil can’t drive, and one victim told the police that he saw Salman getting down from the driver’s seat. Actually, the whole country has seen on television one victim state the same from a hospital bed.*

VERDICT – Salman is out on bail and has appealed to the higher courts against a five year prison term. He continues to be a leading star in our country and has just made a movie called ” Veer” – a show of grit and valor. Besides, his other accomplice Saif Ali Khan was just granted the Padma Shri ( despite killing India’s endangered species ) while having an ongoing case against him. We reward, award and shower our erring stars with accolades and the highest civilian honors.

There are many more countless cases where trials have been a complete mockery, and the judicial system exemplifying sham. There has been Jessica Lal and more recently the Rathore case, where justice is yet to see the light of day. There have been other cases where celebrities have been involved with serious customs and tax evasion charges, yet not arrested.  More recently in Mumbai, a rich A 27-year-old woman, drunk and speeding at over 150 km an hour in her SUV, rammed into a police jeep and two other vehicles past midnight, killing two people and severely injuring four policemen. She was returning from a party. This case will also head the same way as the Nanda case or the Salman Khan case.Of course, unless there is a big hue and cry from the media, we will remember it for a few more days, else the case will be laid to rest.

VERDICT – In India, being rich and connected is a privilege that accords the right to get away with murder.

* Cases from Outlook.


22 Responses to “Trials and mistrials…”

  1. wow! now finally you found out the real reason why stars find it must to be connected with some politicians and industrialists. however that serves many purposes both ways though.
    Muslim card has been played successfully time to time in various matters by various sad India can never be united ever as this formula will be used over and over again by many more for sure.
    judiciary system in India is a sham ! well! in fact is there any systematic system at all !?
    it is very disappointing!

  2. That’s an amazing article. Wr need a assasin squad which would shoot this people rather than get justice

  3. parmaatma Says:

    I believe Sense of Justice, as a virtue, is very difficult to socialize. Especially in a multi-cultural, communalized nation as ours. The only common fabric appears to be the economic ground on which we live together as one nation.

    Even villages are divided by hamlets having different beliefs.

    An unjust society or a nation is designed to fall apart. The red brigand lining the western coast and the in the forest between Orissa, Kharkhand and West Bengal are now armed to their teeth, with a justice system entirely taken from Mao Tse Tung (who killed more than 60 million across China during his reign).

    I believe we need a judiciary with more credibility and power to enforce human rights, not a dictatorial regime that will shoot anyone who disagrees.

    • Assassin squads are figurative Sudhir. But, I think quasi dictatorial style can be good. Take Singapore as an example. Albeit, a smaller country as compared to India, their sense of governance ( social democracy ) works wonders.

  4. parmaatma Says:

    Errata: I meant Sense of justice is difficult to nationalize, not socialize.

    And its Maoists in Jharkhand

    • Sudhir – The maoists are attacking some important nerve centers of the country. I believe, instigated by China.

      • parmaatma Says:

        True. But it is not a political issue. From 1911 to 1975, China has witnessed the same process successfully turning it into a military state. A systematic cleansing of a failed aristocractic system beginning from the peripherals and occupying land and power as it grew. It took 50 years to turn into the monster that it is today. Throughout the first three decades it was supported by Stalin and the communist politburo from the erstwhile USSR. Reference with evidences in Mao, The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, published 2007, Vintage books London.

        We, as a people, have to preserve our freedom lest our children are enslaved by another more intimidating system.

        Just a thought. Don’t mean to provoke anyone. 🙂

  5. Anand Khare Says:

    Indian judiciary system is the slowest in the world. It suits most of the people at the helm of affairs and hence I dont see any improvement in it in near future. Most of the cases that are pending are not because the justice is sought. The cases are made for the disputes become subjudice and no justice is done to real aggrieved.
    I always laugh when big people reiterate so often that they have full faith in judicial system of this country.
    Amrican justice system has its own flaws which allows everyone suing other for no significant reason.


    • Anand – Agreed on all counts on the judicial system here. But, in the US even if people sue each other for even throwing an egg, when it comes to serious crime, homicide & terrorism, their judicial system prevails with very few flaws. (which would be the case if a jury made up of common people at the helm) Sudhir has pointed rightly, the justice system is one which is extremely difficult as a virtue to nationalize given our diversity, but even if we get it right to 805, it will be commendable.Right now, I think we are not even 20% there.

  6. Sudhir – I am all for freedom. Freedom is vital like oxygen, I do not promote communism but I promote a little fear of Government, above all , fear of the law. That is why I think Singapore is a good example. It does not infringe on democracy, yet severe enough to restrain upsurges. There is no requirement to be enslaved here, and I cannot stand China’s way of Governance. Mao is one man I have no respect for either.

    • parmaatma Says:

      Thank you. As I said its not a political issue. I will add to that. Its an ideological issue.

      What we, as a nation, need is an ideology that can bring us together. Something on the lines of what Mahatma Gandhi achieved between 1925 and 1942.

  7. looking to the current situation is it not too much to ask for sudhir !? i see no inclination to follow any such ideology by far. everyone need and look for a quick fix in their favour right or wrong.
    and you are so right that its a height of Humor when such celebrities show their faith in such system publicly. does that mean they publically challange ppl that hey ! we bought justice myway. do whatever you can bt ‘I already WON ‘!!!!!!!

    • parmaatma Says:

      Agree. Its too much ask of a nation.

      Speaking for myself, I am already on this journey for a family of ‘one’ – just me. I am not into leading, preaching or teaching but I am content with the joy of living my own ideals within my limits.

      • Sudir & Monalisa – Family of one it is! I too fancy the same notion of living our ideals the way we want to so long as justice is not hampered and my ways are not instrumental in doing so.

  8. Sharmila, the judiciary is one of the pillars of our democracy. If these cases are any indication of the decay that has set in, then I’m afraid for the future of our country.

    • Melwyn – It is sad and worrying. I agree. We need clean blood to wash this country, the judiciary is a part of it and so is the political. I wish people who voice their opinions like the Vir sanghvis, Pritish Nandy were more political. Nandy was, but not anymore. I think to survive in politics it requires a different breed. But, why must it be so? Why cannot fair and honest citizens survive?

  9. Salman Shahid Alvi Says:

    Well,its a a big slap on the judicial system of our country that lets the criminals flee away just because they have a way with eminent personalities who help them rub away the stains of human blood…….

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