Will the guilty be punished?…. by Pritish Nandy

Why is it every politician accused of a scam, however big and ugly, always protests his innocence, asks for an inquiry, and states (without the slightest embarrassment, even though he may be caught with not just his hand but his arm, elbow and shoulder in the cookie jar) that he is clueless about the crime and therefore finds no reason whatsoever to give up his office? Ashok Chavan is no exception to this rule.

Suresh Kalmadi is exactly where he was before the CWG scam broke out and the nation woke up to the fact that a huge part of the Rs70,000 crore spent on the Games was simply purloined by a bunch of shameless crooks who held up the nation to ridicule before the world. Despite all the hot air blown and the multiple inquiries launched from the PMO, Kalmadi still sits in his corner office with a smirk on his face, telling the whole world to go do its worst. He is Teflon-clad. Nothing hurts him. He appears to be beyond all inquiry, above the reach of all investigators, and by the time the multiple agencies complete their mammoth task of chasing down the crooks in this huge heist, the nation would have moved on to other, bigger scams and the media will be chasing yet another set of irascible rogues. No wonder Kalmadi smirks.

So does A Raja. It’s well over a year since the 2G scam broke, assessed between Rs 20,000 and Rs 60,000 crore, but all that the media and the Opposition could elicit from the Government was a half hearted CBI enquiry that, last Friday, made even the Supreme Court comment on its tardy pace and inquire sarcastically whether a decade will have to pass before the inquiry is complete. What about the man involved in this huge scam? No, Raja is not cooling his heels in a prison. Nor does he look embarrassed in the least. He still struts around as India’s telecom minister, much to the dismay of even the Supreme Court. He remains a respected member of the Prime Minister’s cabinet. Does he give a damn about the inquiry? No, doesn’t look like it. He sports the same smirk that Kalmadi does.

Chavan looks more dour than both. In that sense, he is closer to Satyam’s Ramalingam Raju. But like Kalmadi he is now busy pointing his finger at others. Senior and not so senior but critically placed bureaucrats, most of them chosen by him, army and navy chiefs, even his own so called distant relatives who wangled flats at Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society. He claims he had no idea that they were up to no good. Just as Kalmadi is pointing his finger at Shiela Dixit, the Delhi administration, and all the other agencies who were involved in expending the astronomical Games budget. Kalmadi also tried to whip up patriotic sentiment, suggesting that those criticising the loot of the exchequer were actually anti-nationals trying to undermine India’s image before the world just before the staging of the Games. Luckily, no one fell for that arrant nonsense and, even after Indian athletes performed spectacularly at the Games, Kalmadi was still booed every time he got up to speak. So much so that to avoid embarrassment the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi nixed his name from their guest list for the celebration parties.

But see, he is still there. In office. So is Chavan. So is Raja. So are a whole bunch of people who have been, otherwise, spurned by the public. Even RR Patil, Maharashtra’s Home Minister (and Deputy CM) during 26/11, is back in office. This time, he has Ramesh Bagwe with him, as his Minister of State, to make matters worse. Shinde and Vilasrao cannot return to Maharashtra to replace Chavan because, it appears, they too played a crucial role in the same scam. So did a whole lot of senior Government officers who have mastered the art of breaking rules to please their political benefactors and make money and property for themselves on the sly. Land reserved for Kargil widows and war heroes. Homes for the homeless, for beggars, vagrants, street children. Land for public hospitals. Parks. Public gardens. Mangroves. Forest land. Land under the CRZ. Salt pan land. There is nothing they will not grab.

The tragedy is not jut the loot. It’s the punishment. No one in power ever gets punished even when they are caught in flagrante delicto. Yes, a few get rapped on the knuckles but the process of inquiry, investigation and, eventually, justice takes so long that seasoned scamsters have learnt how to cope with it. Even when punishment happens, which is rare, very rare, it is too little too late. And by that time no one quite cares. Newer, bigger rascals have emerged.

Strange, how we beat a pickpocket to death. We lynch a petty thief. We lock away for years on end, poor people who may have committed some minor indiscretionsΒ  out of severe, back breaking poverty. But the rich and the powerful step away from their enormous crimes to pretend that nothing ever happened.

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19 Responses to “Will the guilty be punished?…. by Pritish Nandy”

  1. Any Tom,Dick and Harry run loose and escape any kind of punishment in India IF they have money to bribe and/or some connection with bureaucrats & politicians. Money and Might always go hand in hand and it works its wonder….lol
    Look at those Film Stars still leading their lives as if nothing happened while A Commoner in their place definitely would be in Jail.
    Why to blame these poor politicians..!? Poor fellas…! Must be very hungry….So whats wrong if they nibbled few millions or billions..ehh..! its just a chump change…for such a growing economy…hehehe
    Everything and everybody has their price tag attached…buy it if you can…Or be the King’s man… πŸ™‚
    If these politicians will be punished…who will rule the country..!? wouldn’t they All end up in jail for some or the other reason..? May be they will rule from the Jail(seven star)
    πŸ™‚
    Don’t you think that way more than half the population would end up in Jail or be punished for something, more or less..!?

  2. Corruption is rampant in all parts of the world except in England.

    In England it’s a tradition.

  3. Reader,
    Did you mean they introduced it-their tradition to the rest of the world..!? πŸ™‚
    Good one…

  4. πŸ™‚ Reader,
    Thank you. I will take it as a compliment… πŸ™‚

  5. πŸ™‚

  6. sharmila,reader and EF
    what a timely post by Mr. Nandi,i have always been a great fan of his posts,be in times of india or his blogs.He always brings the contemporary issues in true light,without fear any backlash,rebuke and criticism.and its really sad to see the smirk on kalmadi and raja’s face.what this government is doing is unbelievable and unacceptable.In their convention they are attacking opposition parties as if they are in power and congress is in opposition,perhaps it is fear inside them speaking.congress should discuss the issues which are plaguing them and india but this is congress,always a party of few inviduals(read gandhi family),and their agenda involves only to grab power and retain it come what may.serving india and its people is only a misnomer for “i want to rule ,vote for me”.i would love to know reader’s views on rahul gandhi.I love him the same way as Reader loves the queen of england.

  7. Saurabh, Sharmila, Shubha, MonaLisa, Aishwarya,

    Sorry I forgot to toggle the notification box on this page. Spent most of the day on the previous page with Aishwarya.

    Saurabh, I love the Queen more than you love Rahul. Wanna bet? πŸ™‚

    But somehow I always get misunderstood untill I write long explanatory notes. Like what happened with MonaLisa yesterday. She went offline after posting a strong objection to my take of ‘American Prophets’ and did not wait to see my glossary.

    On another occassion I wrote the Vyaas navagrah stotra for Shubha but it was so late that she probably never opened the page again. I’ll never know because there was no reply.

    That’s the story of my life in general. Sound bytes that dissolve in thin air…

    Coming back to Rahul –

    In my opinion Rahul is the 21st century version of Oskar Schindler and is out to save the legacy of the Nehru dynasty.

    Oskar Schindler was a Jew who saved a handful of his folks during the WW II holocaust by pretending to be supporting the Nazi regime.

    But I suppose the simile is far too shallow in the real sense.

    Rahul is born in an organized world which works on long term plans over 10-20 years.

    We are going to see a lot of him as the Congress gears up for the next elections to the center. Don’t ever be deceived by the typical Nehruvian emotional rhetoric. Rahul only repeats the words of his grand-mother and great-grand father. He barely feels what they meant when the words were said by Indira and Jawaharlal Nehru the first time.

    He has a distinct advantage over his competitors (like Sanjay’s son) though. He has inherited the intellectual vision that has developed within the family as well as close associations with the ruling families in other countries.

    And he is protected by Sonio’s mafia.

    If he has a master-plan, which I am sure he does, we will get some clues in the next few years through Pranab Roy or Barkha Dutt.

    The only uncertainty is whether he is developing a new model for India or customizing a re-hashed mix from the US, Italy and USSR.

    We know the risks of such customizing. In 1950 Dr. Ambedkar and his team copy-pasted bits and pieces from constitutions of several countries in the world and called it the Constitution of India. The result is 94 amendments in 60 years!!!

    Rahul is not as devious as the buck-in-ham. Don’t take any credit away from the Queen bee.

    If Rahul is a Himalayan King Cobra that eats its own species then the Queen is The Anaconda…

    πŸ™‚

    • reader,
      well i accept defeat regarding your love with queen of england.I am sure are right about rahul ,i think your views about rahul are spot on except the part about his vision about india or in your words his masterplan.To be truthful a person who has has no views about any of the issues concerning the country for ex kashmir issue where he could just whimper that we should give more time to omar.we are yet to get his views on cwg mess,adarsh scam,price rise ,the truth is he can not speak a single word extempore except his trademark line”ther are too indias ,one who is progressing ,and which is poor”.we sure deserve a line or too,from the projected pm of india.you must be seeing the news on bihar elections and how rahul gandhi( who only gets activated during elections0 ,is saying what the government of bihar was doing the attacks on biharis on mumbai,.My question to him is that what was congress gov doing that time in maharashtra.your government will not take any action and you hope that nitish sitting 2000 kms away will take any action.extremely laughable and immoral and people say he is the future prime minister of india.But i think the way india and its people function there will be no surprises that he will become pm of india…

      • I think you missed the message there. Rahul Gandhi didn’t question what the Government of Bihar was doing when Biharis were getting beaten up in Maharashtra, he questioned why Biharis have to go to other states for job in the first place. He is trying to attack Nitish Kumar by saying that Bihar hasn’t developed much under his rule.

    • reader,
      well i accept defeat regarding your love with queen of england.
      I am sure are right about rahul ,i think your views about rahul are spot on except the part about his vision about india or in your words his masterplan.
      To be truthful a person who has has no views about any of the issues concerning the country for ex kashmir issue where he could just whimper that we should give more time to omar.we are yet to get his views on cwg mess,adarsh scam,price rise ,the truth is he can not speak a single word extempore except his trademark line”there are 2 indias ,one who is progressing ,and which is poor”.we sure deserve a line or too,from the projected pm of india.
      you must be seeing the news on bihar elections and how rahul gandhi( who only gets activated during elections) ,is saying what the government of bihar was doing the attacks on biharis on mumbai,.My question to him is that what was congress gov doing that time in maharashtra.your government will not take any action and you hope that nitish sitting 2000 kms away will take any action.extremely laughable and immoral and people say he is the future prime minister of india.But i think the way india and its people function there will be no surprises that he will become pm of india…

  8. Mr Nandy forgot to mention celebrities like Salman Khan who mow down people sleeping on the streets and are still adored by fans throughout India.

    • I did’nt miss the message.He no doubt reiterated that job point time and again.But about this point he was referring about so called inaction of bihar government.and moreover for showing bihar’s inability to provide jobs,one does’nt need to refer to mumbai or anywhere else ,its a fact that everyone knows.

  9. Sharmila,

    I have realized that it takes me a minimum of two posts from Mr. Nandy to have an idea of what he is getting at. First, ‘Tosh on Sale’ and then ‘Why India is not just Delhi’ and then, ‘The art of forgetting’ and ‘Will the guilty be punished’. If one set spoke about our disappearing culture, the next was about how fast we shift focus from one event to the other. One post supports and validates the next – like a sound foundation with a smooth layering of bricks. How fast we have moved from CWG, Diwali, to watching the First Lady play hopscotch. And how sad that when once upon a time our culture was the main ingredient, now its just a spice to advertise India.

    Aish.

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