By Vaidehi Nathan
The best illustration of a failed government is its obsession with the Opposition. Good governments get themselves busy with programmes and policies. It has become rather routine that under Congress regime, law takes only a guided course. Take the latest instance.
A senior official in the PMO wrote to the CBI in early December seeking review of closure of a case against BJP president and leader of the Opposition, L.K. Advani. The case relates to the Babri structure demolition. The Rae Bareily court had cleared charges against Advani in 2003. Pulok Chatterjee, a joint secretary in the PMO who wrote the letter to the CBI was in the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation in the 90s, directly reporting to Sonia Gandhi and was her personal secretary when she was the leader of Opposition.
The same government dropped 15 cases in November against Satish Sharma, in the petrol pump allotment scandal. The Supreme Court had indicted Sharma, terming his actions “totally arbitrary, malafide and unconstitutional”. On November 1, the CBI sought the Delhi High Court’s permission to close all the cases as the Home Ministry, in a letter written on September 27, had decided not to sanction prosecution. Sharma is a close family friend of the Gandhis. So much so that Sonia Gandhi’s mother came all the way from Italy to attend Sharma’s daughter’s marriage in October 2004.
Lalu Prasad Yadav is yet another beneficiary of the guided law course. The Central Board of Direct Taxes submitted to the Supreme Court that it was accepting the relief given to Yadav by the IT Appellate Tribunal, Patna, in the disproportionate wealth case. Interestingly, this affidavit filed before the SC on December 8 was a last-minute changed version, introducing a political motive in the case. In many other cases too, the government has already indicated to the investigating agencies that it is in no hurry to see the logical conclusion.
Cases against First Global promoter Shankar Sharma, believed to have been the financier of the tehelka.com, at the behest of Sonia Gandhi, according to reports.
But the PMO letter is the most brazen of all the misguided missiles being fired by the government. Chatterjee has written to A.N. Tiwari, Secretary, Personnel, asking him to examine if there was any lapse on the part of the CBI in deciding not to seek review of the case. “I have been asked to request,” the letter says, without saying by whom. The government has held a fig leaf for defence, declaring that the letter merely sought to know the legal position and not directed the CBI for a review. But the contents of the letter show otherwise. The brief Tiwari gets from Chatterjee is “to (a) examine if there is any legal provisions and grounds for CBI to file a revision against discharge of Shri L.K. Advani at this stage, and (b) examine if there is any negligence on the part of any investigation/prosecuting agency in not filing a Review Petition on time.”
It is widely believed that the strings regarding these cases are being controlled by non-PMO sources.