It took a week for Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi to make good his promise of revealing a matter of ‘personal corruption’ against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Even with his not so proven skills of oratory, Gandhi had several people believe what he would say would shake the foundations of the NDA government by calling the ‘proof’ he had was good enough to create a political earthquake.
Addressing a rally in Gujarat on December 21, Gandhi alleged that the Income-Tax Department had records to show Sahara Group officials paid crores of rupees to Modi between October 2013 and February, 2014. Similar documents showed that the Aditya Birla group paid Rs 12 crore to Modi when he was CM, Gandhi alleged.
The main reason why there was not even an element of surprise after the allegation was because Gandhi was not the first person to make it. The allegation was first made by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Kejriwal took the safe route of making the allegation on the floor of the state assembly. The law provides protection to a legislator for his actions inside the House, where the presiding officer is the highest authority on most matters, and certainly in issues involving allegations of defamation.
After Kejriwal, his estranged colleague Prashanth Bhushan in a Public Interest Litigation, on behalf of an NGO, Common Cause, made the same accusation against Modi in the Supreme Court.
The bench comprising Justice Arun Roy and Chief Justice designate Khehar Singh — whose appointment was at that point of time pending with the Government — refused to grant more time to Bhushan to produce more evidence the bench needed to decide whether to hear the case, as it found the material Bhushan produced insufficient to take the case forward.
Bhushan who failed to get more time then hinted that it would be better that Justice Singh recuse himself since his appointment was pending and that could lead to some people interpreting it as ‘conflict of interest.’
Though Bhushan risked contempt of court, in all likelihood the case will be heard by a new bench of the Supreme Court in January, where Bhushan has promised to bring in new evidence. Gandhi’s act came after this but as of now he has said nothing more than what the other two have already said.
Bhushan lent weight to Gandhi’s charge by saying that the Supreme Court had not examined many documents that he had submitted and that he had, thereafter, secured additional material.
Cocky & Dismissive
The man against whom the allegation was made was silent till Gandhi made the charge. Modi spoke a day after that. He did not deny dwell on the allegation but made fun of Gandhi for his limited oratory skills. He said he was glad that there was no earthquake. That was ironic, coming for someone who saw an upswing in his political fortunes after the devastating earthquake of 2001 in Gujarat. But Modi has not answered the charge may be because he believes that all the charges made so far do not add up to anything worth a denial.
What A Metaphor!
Bhushan questioned Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s moral right to say that Modi was “pure as the Ganga,” since the so-called documents had Prasad’s name too as one of the ‘recipients’ of the ‘corporate bribe.’
In all the noise, lost to many was the irony that the spokesperson of a government that reconstituted a ministry for Ganga, and has a National Mission for Clean Ganga, compared Modi’s purity level to that of the polluted river.
For a government that has weathered the Vyapam scam, Lalit Modigate and CAG report that rapped the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation squandering away wealth on unviable gas exploration, the ‘Sahara diaries’ may look like another storm in a tea cup.
However, it is up to the Opposition to take up the issue, if it believes in the allegation. Three prominent persons have made the same allegation from three different fora. For a start, the Opposition should ask the Income-Tax Department to clarify whether such documents exist. Or, is this just hearsay or a cooked up story to malign India’s most honest politician? The people have a right to know and so the Opposition has to force the Income-Tax Department to issue a clarification on the issue. That would make for interesting times.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has written another book, 'An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India.' He has been going around the nation conducting book launches, apart from granting interviews to national and international media.
His rant at book launches go something like this: ‘200 years of British rule had reduced India from its glory of one of richest countries in the world to the poorest one.’ It is British falsehood to claim that it ushered in development and political unity. The British had done nothing with the intention of benefitting India or Indians.
So, is this some discovery that he has personally made? Colonial rule, all over the world, has been for the benefit of the coloniser. India was one such victim. History books are replete with all the atrocities that the British rulers committed in India.
It looks like Tharoor, who left his nation in his youth, lived under the wrong impression all this while. Or is he trying to make up for being a servile UN officer who found only virtues in his bosses?
Definitely lost to Tharoor seems to be the fact that no rule or individual can be portrayed in black and white. Even though the British rule brought untold misery, it unwittingly gave birth to a nation called India. To claim that there would have been the modern nation state of India, as we know it today, even otherwise is either made by those who are ignorant or those who weave fiction into history because of their inferiority complex.
“Before 200 years, the British came to one of the richest countries in the world, a country which had 23% of global GDP... a country where poverty was unknown…”
That sounds more like Sangh history. Tharoor may be planning to switch sides and hoping to return to Parliament as a BJP MP. May be he hopes to lord over the HRD Ministry and such fiction on the golden bird will help. We would get to know more a nation where there was no poverty but the word ‘biksha’ was common usage. May be, by that time, the Delhi Police would incidentally also find that Sunanda Pushkar died accidentally of drug overdose. But what a pity Tharoor would still need English to rubbish Englishmen!
( firstname.lastname@example.org)(Published on 26th December 2016, Volume XXVIII, Issue 52)#