In this government, some ghost makes the decisions and even the PM does not know Congress Ministers and MPs were all outraged at George Fernandes'sreminder what happens in China to a leader who betrays the country'sinterests. Even George'sfriends would wish that the fiery leader should have put his thought in a more acceptable phrase, even for a Lohiaite. In any case, the one party regime in China is no good example to compare with democratic India, though there are in the same Parliament politicians who visit China annually as pilgrims and sing its praises for its authoritarian politics.
George has a legitimate grievance that no one spoke in defence of civilized discourse when he as defence minister faced day in and day out Congress MPs? collective definition of him inside Parliament as ?kafan chor?. Some one could also remind the outraged Congressmen that they too employ adjectives that are most reprehensible when they refer to BJP and RSS leaders, individually and collectively. When a Minister in the previous UP Government called for the killing of a Danish citizen in a public meeting and offered to pay a heavy sum to such a murderer, no one in the ruling Congress even uttered a word of disapproval. And only the other day there have been open calls for killing of a Bangladeshi author for her writings with none from the Congress expressing outrage at this. The call for decency in political discourse cannot be a one-way street.
The Congress leaders who are asking the BJP to restrain George as he is the convener of the NDA alliance led by the party, must ask themselves why they get into a silence mode and a denial denim when it comes to what happens to a foreign individual with a name beginning with Q. The latest is that all the men in the Government say they don'tknow why the appeal for his extradition from Argentina was withdrawn. The CBI chief Vijay Shankar who is handling the extradition, says publicly that he does not know who authorised the withdrawal of the appeal in this case. The Government, officially has gone into a silent mode though Parliament has met for two days after that event. The suspect is the Law Minister Bharadwaj. But he refuses to open his mouth claiming he would tell Parliament.
This is not the first time that Q gets extraordinary help from the top officers of the government whenever the Congress is in power. It is necessary to list these occasions as they are too many to be overlooked as mere coincidences.
Event number one: Q gets out of India during Narasimha Rao'sregime despite the CBI tracing the Bofors bribes being paid to a company set up by him. An External Affairs Minister in the Congress Government hands over a letter to his counterpart in Switzerland asking for stopping any help to the CBI in tracing the Bofors bribe funds in which Q is prominently accused as recipient. The Minister then resigns when the matter becomes too hot for the Congress to defend but the Minister does not reveal who prompted him to give this letter when he is in no way involved in the case.
The CBI loses the case for extradition of Q in Malaysian courts and experts suspect that the case was deliberately weakened to provide an escape hatch for this Italian businessman. The British government freezes the funds of this businessman on an application by the CBI. But within days the funds are defrozen on the specific request of a top law officer of India and the money is withdrawn overnight. When the matter gets known everybody in the government washes his hands of the event. The question on whose instruction the top law officer of the Government advised the UK to defreeze the account, remains un answered even to this day.
When Q is detained by the Argentina Government, the CBI takes over ten days to respond to that government'scommunication on the absurd plea that it could not get anyone to translate the message from Bounes Aires. The delay surprises even the Argentina Government but there is no pulling up the officials in New Delhi, only the Prime Minister wringing his hands in despair.
Why this special treatment to this Italian businessman? Is there a rational explanation for whole government machinery going dead when the case of this one individual comes up? Who is pulling the strings from behind when Q is concerned? Why is every time responsible Ministers suddenly throw up the trowel and pass the buck? Even after the Government of India is made to look a stupid organization withdrawing the appeal it was itself filing in a foreign country against the Italian whom that government had held at the instance of New Delhi, there is a deafening silence here. The Congressmen are going into paroxysms of anger when their Prime Minister is described in unacceptable terms. Why are they not getting angry when their government is seen as a nincompoop abroad by its own actions in a bid to help a foreign citizen whom it has itself accused of serious crime?
Above all why is this same Prime Minister keeping a studied silence about these series of events concerning one foreign citizen whom his Government is pursuing over seven seas on the one hand and helping him to escape the law on the other? Is there a secret he holds that could upset this government more than Prakash Karat'speriodic threat to whip it into submission?
More than Q, these Questions demand an answer?from this Prime Minister. The Congress cannot use the expletives of George as an excuse to shove this serious question under Parliament'scarpet.
(The writer can be contacted [email protected])