Sunday, August 25, 2019

Accused of murdering daughter, Indrani Mukherjee is prime witness against Chidambaram

Corruption cases in India are a blunt instrument against political opponents Congress leader P Chidambaram
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials arrest Congress leader P Chidambaram from his Jor Bagh residence in New Delhi, Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019.Image Credit: PTI

Swati Chaturvedi,

P. Chidambaram, former, finance and home minister of India, will spend the weekend in prison in the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

I have no opinion on the allegations against him except to note three things. The first: Chidambaram is not named in the original first Information Report (FIR) in what is described as the INX media case of alleged money laundering. The second: the prime witness for the CBI is Indrani Mukherjee, who is accused of the murder of her own daughter Sheena Bora.

And the third: a more general point -- the CBI has an incredibly bad record of 100 per cent failure of conviction in cases of alleged political corruption. Consider the showpiece 2G case on which Narendra Modi rode to power in his first term. The case collapsed in court and all the accused walked free. The Modi government is yet to file a proper appeal against the lack of conviction.

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Indrani is presently in jail on the murder charge and the CBI persuaded her to turn approver in the INX case, conducting negotiations in jail. Quite an apt approver. We still don’t know the exact legal deal that the CBI has made with her -- presumably they will forget and forgive her dodgy role in the INX case.

The Red Tea Detox

A CBI official, who was involved in the case, says: “Look at the big picture. Yes, she might be let off in the INX case – but there is no doubt she will still be jailed for the murder of her daughter.”

Chidambaram, a Harvard-trained lawyer (another allergy of the Modi government -- they don’t like fancy foreign universities such as Harvard), is widely credited with what was described as the “dream budget) in 1997 which made the usurious tax rates in India moderate. Chidambaram along with Dr Manmohan Singh, who ushered in liberalisation and opened up the Indian economy steered the economy through the 2008 global meltdown ensuring that India remain unscathed.

 Read: A report that showed higher GDP growth during the UPA's tenure in government has been removed from the Statistics and Programme Implementation ministry's website

Singh had used the evocative Victor Hugo quote, “no power on earth can stop an idea whose time has come” in his budget speech of 1991. In present day India with the economy facing a tanking, the black humour is evident in what’s app forwards which say the Modi government wants to keep Chidambaram in custody to get ideas on how to manage the economy.

The Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta, incredibly argued in court that “Chidambaram has the potential of not cooperating since he is highly intelligent”. This left one wondering if the Modi government considers being highly intelligent a crime. The other more sinister conclusion is would the government want to consider torturing a person who is “not cooperating”?

The notorious weapon
Corruption cases in India are a blunt instrument against political opponents. And the CBI, the self-described “caged parrot” hops to command with alacrity to whoever is in power.

The BJP, which claims to be fighting against corruption, has after nearly six years of the Modi government not appointed a Lok Pal ( anti-corruption ombudsman). It has obligingly taken in several corruption accused leaders from other parties such as Mukul Roy from the Trinamool Congress and Himanta Biswa Sarma from the Congress. Mysteriously, an entry into BJP is like a trip to the laundromat -- all stains disappear and the cases against the leaders seem to go in the cold storage. The caged parrot again listening to its master.

The BJP has allowed former jail bird B.S. Yediyurappa to form the government in Karnataka even breaking its own retirement rule of 75 years.

The Congress in power behaves in an identical fashion to the BJP. Prosecutions take years and even being caught is no deterrent as all charges are grandly swept away in a catch all “political vendetta”.

Perhaps, Indrani was smart to game the system.-Gulf News

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