Month: June 2011

Curious case of Khaled Chisti

On 22/6/2011 on NDTV 24×7’s Left Right and Centre the issue of showing mercy to Khaled Chisti was discussed. PM had written to Rajasthan’s Governor Shivraj Patil to release Khaled Chisti and Shivraj Patil had decided to seek legal advice. The question was whether India should show large-heartedness and release him on humanitarian grounds. The discussion led to some revelations.

Nidhi Razdan first asked audience members. One person said there are many Indians in Indian prisons in similar condition to that of Khaled Chisti. Nobody writes to PM about them. There should be common rule for all. One woman said she was fighting for justice and Pakistanis have carried out many terrorist activities in India. That meant he should not be released.

Nidhi Razdan asked Rajeev Shukla about releasing Khaled Chisti. Rajeev Shukla said Justice Markandeya Katju had sent his letter to PM through him through email and PM had replied to Markandeya Katju through him. So Rajeev Shukla was the intermediary between Markandeya Katju and PM.

The panellists were in agreement that Khaled Chisti be released on humanitarian grounds. Even BJP spokesperson Nirmala Seetharaman did not mention exchanging Khaled Chisti for the release of Sarabjit Singh. Ravi Shankar Prasad had demanded that if Khaled Chisti had to be released it should be in exchange for Sarabjit Singh.

Vinod Sharma said Markandeya Katju was a Kashmiri Pandit and a Kashmiri Pandit getting a Pakistani prisoner released will make Pakistani people happy about India and Markandeya Katju had written to Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari to release Gopal Das. Gopal Das was released after Manmohan Singh invited Pakistani leaders to attend Indo-Pak World Cup Semi-Final. That time nobody said anything about Markandeya Katju’s letter. Vinod Sharma was wrong when he said there was no terrorism 20 years back. Terrorism in Kashmir had got a boost when five terrorists were released to secure Rubiya Sayeed’s release in December 1989. Vinod Sharma is associated with Congress.

Siddharth Bhatia wanted Khaled Chisti released.

Till some days back nothing was heard about Khaled Chisti. How this issue suddenly became important is not clear. Rajeev Shukla is married to Ravi Shankar Prasad’s sister Anuradha. Shivraj Patil was Home Minister. There is more to the case than humanitarian consideration. Judges should not get entangled in such matters.

Corruption at top and bottom

There are people who say Lokpal Bill targets corruption at top and does not make any difference to corruption at bottom. They do not know corruption at bottom is very often due to corruption at top.

A home minister takes four crore rupees as bribe to appoint a police officer as commissioner. The commissioner recovers that money from his juniors who in turn recover money from their juniors and so it reaches the level of constable. This also results in criminals going scot-free due to acts of commission and omission by police.

A chairman of a Public Service Commission takes 75 lakh rupees as bribe to appoint DSPs and judges. They recover it from their juniors and others.

If getting a driving licence, passport and income tax refund is difficult without paying bribe, people at the top are responsible for it. Transport minister is responsible for RTOs. People should question him about corruption in RTOs. Transport minister can act against corrupt employees.

If someone says he does not want zero corruption he is either corrupt or a beneficiary of corruption.

Some say PM should not be under Lokpal and he can be investigated after he demits office. That is closing the stable doors after the horses have fled. What if he does not demit office and gets re-elected or manages to retain office through foul means till his death? It seems Congress wants Manmohan Singh to quit as PM and Rahul Gandhi to take over. Manmohan Singh has not obliged.

Many have spoken about how Hong Kong was once corrupt and one day people came out on the streets and said we will not tolerate corruption. All corrupt persons lost their jobs. India can have such a day when Indians will come out in every city and village and say we will not tolerate corruption and demand dismissal of all corrupt people.

Death penalty for corruption has reduced corruption in China to a great extent and has made it a great power.

Tyranny of the unelected

Some Congress members refer to the demands by Anna Hazare group about Lokpal Bill as tyranny of the unelected and unelectable. They are against fast as protest and call it blackmail. Congress has a history of tyranny of the unelected.

In 1939 Mohandas Gandhi’s candidate Pattabhi Sitaramaiah lost and Subhash Chandra Bose won the election to become Congress President. Mohandas Gandhi said Pattabhi Sitaramaiah’s defeat is my defeat. It became difficult for Subhash Chandra Bose to function as Congress President. He had to resign some months later.

In January 1948 India was fighting a war with Pakistan over Kashmir. India had stopped transfer of 55 crore rupees to Pakistan as that would have been used against India. Mohandas Gandhi went on fast against government decision and the government that had Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel agreed to Mohandas Gandhi’s demand.

In 1952 Morarji Desai lost Legislative Assembly election. Congress made him Chief Minister of Bombay claiming he was victorious leader of the victorious party.

Sanjay Gandhi exercised power when he was unelected.

In 1991 Narasimha Rao who was not an MP became PM.

In 1998 Sonia Gandhi who was neither a member of CWC nor an MP dislodged Sitaram Kesri as Congress President and became chairperson of CPP, a post created for her.

Over the years Congress had appointed many unelected people as chief ministers and ministers. Many who have lost elections have been made governors.

BJP refers to Manmohan Singh as unelectable. He became a Rajya Sabha member from Assam when there was a law that a Rajya Sabha member must be a resident of that state. Later that law was abrogated. He contested a Lok Sabha election and lost. He continues as a Rajya Sabha member.

What Congress has to say about judiciary usurping the power of legislature or executive? Judiciary has made or abrogated laws by its judgments. Sometimes it has amended the constitution by its judgments. Recently Bombay High Court struck down mandatory death penalty for repeat offence under Section 31A of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Act, 1985.

A Supreme Court judge has written to PM asking to release Pakistani prisoner Chisti from Ajmer Jail saying if he dies in prison it will be bad for India. Such arguments were made in UK for the release of Lockerbie bomber saying he had three months to live. After his release it was said that he had 10 years to live. Oil exploration contract for BP in Libya was said to be the reason for the release. BJP finds it odd that a Supreme Court judge has written to PM for release of a Pakistani prisoner but has no problem if Chisti is exchanged for Sarabjit Singh who is in a Pakistani jai.

What about the tyranny of the unelected who resort to violence and announce money for murder? People who threw flower pots on Taslima Nasreen got away with it. Maqbool Fida Husain’s painting exhibitions were disrupted. He received death threats. Someone announced crores of rupees for anyone who murders Maqbool Fida Husain. Maqbool Fida Husain left the country, became a Qatari national and died and was buried in London.

What about industrialists who dictate who should or should not a hold particular portfolio? Usually when there is a CAG or some other report about some irregularity BJP is quick to demand the minister’s resignation. CAG report on Reliance and other oil companies had not elicited any response from BJP for some days. Then BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi wanted the government to investigate how CAG report got leaked instead of demanding the resignation of Murli Deora which BJP had done in cases of Shashi Taroor, A. Raja, Dayanidhi Maran and P. Chidambaram exposing BJP’s double standards.