Tag: Supreme Court

2G accused and bail

There is a campaign in the media that 2G accused should get bail. I see a lobbyist behind it.

Radia tapes revealed a lobbyist connected to politicians, bureaucrats, industrialists and journalists. In an Anil Ambani versus Mukesh Ambani case when the judgment went in favour of Anil Ambani she asked Vir Sanghvi to write an article attacking the judge. Barkha Dutt was ready to do her bidding.

The campaign began with Jaswant Singh appearing on CNN-IBN and saying the 2G accused should get bail. TV discussions followed. Ex-CJI Vishwanath Khare and Ex-SG Harish Salve sent unsolicited legal opinions to CBI. On 6/7/2011 the Supreme Court told CBI lawyer K. K. Venugopal “Don’t take these legal opinions into consideration. You reject them outright.”

The issue was discussed on the Big Fight on NDTV 24×7 on 9/7/2011. Jaswant Singh said the 2G accused should get bail and spoke of the tyranny of police officers who put people in jail without procedure. As expected DMK’s TKS Elangovan and Mukul Rohatgi, a lawyer for an accused, wanted the 2G accused to get bail. Tavleen Singh who has written against politicians for many years wanted bail for the 2G accused.

Jaswant Singh is a BJP member and spoke in his individual capacity. DMK is not an ally of BJP. Previously he did not talk about the tyranny people suffer.

Mukul Rohatgi talked about lynch mob and media hysteria. If people want the corrupt punished they do not become lynch mob. If media reports events, that is not hysteria. If people who thought themselves powerful enough not to be in jail could not get bail because of the gravity of the charges judges refused them bail they should not blame people and media. If the chargesheet is 80,000 pages long and the supplementary chargesheet is 25,000 pages long don’t blame CBI and prosecutor but blame the partners in crime. He asked what happens if someone is acquitted after some years in jail. Who will compensate for it? If someone is acquitted it does not mean he/she was not guilty. It may be the prosecution failed to prove the case or judge declared not guilty due to corruption or some other reason. In Priyadarshini Matto case in lower court the judge told the criminal I know you have committed the crime but I let you off.

Tavleen Singh talked of governance coming to a standstill because ministers and bureaucrats are afraid to take decisions due to 2G accused not getting bail. She said 70% prisoners are undertrials without bail and blamed judges for delay in judgments and said it would take 300 years to clear the backlog. It is not governance that has come to a standstill but corruption. If a minister is afraid to award a contract because asking for 15% commission may put him in jail so be it. Judges are to be blamed for condoning delaying in filing appeals and admitting appeals long after the appeal period has expired and granting adjournments that prolong the cases. However criminals who do not plead guilty and lawyers who defend criminals are also to be blamed for delay in judgments.

Tavleen Singh said the accused can influence witnesses from jail also. A. A. Khan countered it saying if the accused are in jail witnesses are not in awe of them. They think if the accused are in jail they are not powerful.

The demand for bail for 2G accused is not about justice and fair play. It is not about employees of telecom companies who are in jail. It is not even about A. Raja. It is about Kanimozhi. Since Kanimozhi could not get bail the campaign started. I suppose the lobbyist tried to influence judges but did not succeed. As in Ambani case the judges are targeted. Jaswant Singh and Tavleen Singh cannot convince people about bail for 2G accused. It made sense for the lobbyist to Jaswant Singh to speak about bail because any UPA MP speaking that would not have carried conviction and would have been brushed aside as defending a colleague. It is another matter that Jaswant Singh is also not effective. People found Tavleen Singh on government side when she participated in a debate on Lokpal Bill on Headlines Today. If Jaswant Singh and Tavleen Singh want to lose their credibility it is their choice.

BJP has demanded resignation of P. Chidambaram for his role in 2G scam and wants him in jail alongside A. Raja. There is a controversy about the shareholding pattern of loop as corporate affairs ministry claimed clerical error. Kapil Sibal is accused of reducing fine on Reliance from 650 crore rupees to five crore rupees.

JPC on 2G scam functions in secrecy. Its members publicly say they cannot give details of meetings or answer some questions but privately they leak information to TV channels and newspapers. JPC proceedings should be televised live. The country has a right to know what happens there.

Anna, Baba and Congress

Veerappa Moily must be a happy man. When four ministers went to meet Baba Ramdev at airport he was not one of them. It was interpreted as he was losing favour. By 5/6/2011 the tide had turned, the pendulum had swung, Kapil Sibal was under attack.

Anna Hazare led a fast for Lokpal Bill and was successful. Baba Ramdev was unhappy about the composition of the drafting committee for Lokpal Bill which had Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal among others. He said, father is chairman, son is member and the secret of Arvind Kejriwal’s seat. Shanti Bhushan replied drafting committee needs legal experts not yoga guru. Anna Hazare spoke to Baba Ramdev and Baba Ramdev muted his criticism.

On 4/5/2011 Baba Ramdev announced his fast beginning from 4/6/2011 against black money and other issues. He wanted the fast on a large scale with one crore people taking part in it all over India. It was a case of my fast is bigger than your fast.

Anna Hazare group wanted PM and CJI under Lokpal. Baba Ramdev said if PM and CJI can be corrupt, so can be Lokpal, and there is a need for debate on including PM and CJI under Lokpal. Congress was happy to hear that.

The government officials met Baba Ramdev and explained him various measures. On 1/6/2011 four ministers went to meet Baba Ramdev. That was criticised and Congress spokespersons refused to defend the government. It is said Pranab Mukherjee did not want to go but went at Manmohan Singh’s request. Next day Pranab Mukherjee was not in the group. After that Pawan Kumar Bansal was out and Kapil Sibal and Subodh Kant Sahay continued negotiations.

On 4/6/2011 Baba Ramdev began his fast. At 6 p.m. he announced that the government had agreed to bring a law against black money and he was waiting for the letter. His original demand was an ordinance against black money. Then Kapil Sibal made public the letter written by Baba Ramdev’s aide Balakrishna that the fast would be called off in two days. Journalists questioned Baba Ramdev about the secret deal and he had no proper answer and accused Kapil Sibal of betrayal. Kapil Sibal in turn accused Baba Ramdev of betrayal. A letter was given to Baba Ramdev at 11.30 p.m.

On 5/6/2011 during the early hours the police entered Ramlila Ground and forcibly put an end to the agitation. It is said the permission was for yoga camp for 5,000 people and there were 30,000 people on an indefinite fast. Baba Ramdev was caught and sent to Dehradun. Some compared the police action to emergency or Jallianwalla Bagh. Someone said history repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce. Someone called it the Theatre of the Absurd. Devender Sharma said that at the airport the ministers praised Baba Ramdev saying you have said PM and CJI should be out of Lokpal and Baba Ramdev replied that he has not said that and had said there should be a debate about PM and CJI being under Lokpal, Kapil Sibal was aggressive at Claridges, he did not want Anna Hazare to be on stage with Baba Ramdev, he would not have allowed the fast to take place and the letter given by Baba Ramdev was a strategy. Many people will call it cheating not only the government but many followers who had come for an indefinite fast against black money.

Congress said RSS and BJP are behind Baba Ramdev and Baba Ramdev is nobody. BJP sat in protest at Rajghat. Sushma Swaraj’s dance to a song there created another controversy. Digvijay Singh called BJP a party of dancing people. Sushma Swaraj said dancing is her birthright, she danced to a patriotic song and internet is full of clips of Indira Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Sheila Dikshit dancing. Omar Abdullah tweeted “My father is a better dancer than Sushma Swaraj.”

Baba Ramdev continued his fast. In the film The Guide, Dev Anand plays a character who is trapped by circumstances to undertake a fast and fails to escape from the place. He dies. It seems Baba Ramdev wanted to give up fast on 7/6/2011 but continued after his followers told him not to give up fast. Haridwar is not Delhi. Mayawati did not grant him permission to enter UP. That ruled out fasting in NOIDA.

Anna Hazare group condemned the police action and boycotted the drafting committee meeting on 6/6/2011. The government said they will draft the bill with or without Anna Hazare group. On 8/6/2011 Anna Hazare group held a fast at Rajghat in protest against police action. Anna Hazare reiterated 15/8/2011 as deadline for passing the Lokpal Bill failing which he will go on an indefinite fast from 16/8/2011. Same day Baba Ramdev announced combat training to 11,000 men and women in the age group of 35-40 so that next time when police attack them they will hit back. Mohammed Ali Jinnah was once ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity. He did not get power through constitutional means. He became a leader of Muslims, resorted to violence and was successful.

Congress distanced itself from the crackdown. When things go wrong the party is not responsible, it is government’s action. You can not fool all the people all the time. Congress is the main constituent of UPA. The ministers who went to meet Baba Ramdev were Congressmen. Home Minister P. Chidambaram is a Congressman. If the argument is that Congress president did not know about the police action that was to take place, that is difficult to believe and a channel had reported that Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi knew about it.

When NDA was in power Manmohan Singh and Pranab Mukherjee want PM under Lokpal and Atal Behari Vajpayee was ready for it. The Lokpal Bills of 1979, 1989 and 1998 had covered PM. The constitution does not exempt PM from criminal prosecution.

Digvijay Singh consistently attacked Baba Ramdev. Balakrishna referred to Digvijay Singh as an unemployed person rejected by people not deserving any reply. Digvijay Singh says he is a street smart politician and street fighter in reference to beating up Sunil Kumar, a person who took off his slipper at Congress office.

Fight against corruption

The events of the last few days have shown that fight against corruption will be hard and the corrupt will do everything to scuttle the Lokpal Bill.

A nameless and faceless coward sent a CD that caused problems for Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan. The Bhushans have gone to Supreme Court. Some want Bhushans to quit the drafting committee and that seems to be the reason for sending the CD. Not many top lawyers joined Anna Hazare in his fight against corruption. Most of them have taken briefs of 2G companies and various criminals. On TV channels they may talk of probity, integrity and transparency but when it comes to briefs they have no compunction in accepting any brief from anyone whether murderer, rapist, molester, swindler, fraudster or some other high criminal.

Some attacked Anna Hazare when he said votes are bought for 100 rupees, liquor and sari. Within days TV channels reported distribution of money and liquor to voters. The amount was not 100 rupees, it was 500 rupees or more. Election Commission confiscated about 40 crore rupees and many liquor bottles.

Anna Hazare wrote to Sonia Gandhi whether she personally approved Digvijay Singh’s attacks on him. She did not reply. Congress spokesperson said that in a democracy everybody has right to his viewpoint. He did not say the views of Digvijay Singh are personal and the party does not endorse them. Digvijay Singh is a general secretary and he would not survive in the party if he expresses views contrary to that of party leader.

Some say why the hurry to pass Lokpal Bill. The bill has been pending since 1968. It will be discussed from 2/5/2011 to 30/6/2011. After that there is enough time for parliament to discuss and pass before 15/8/2011. Where is the hurry? Nobody questioned when Lok Sabha on several occasions passed a dozen or more bills within a few minutes.

India has not been a party to UN Convention against corruption. India’s leaders talk of action against corruption but action is zero.

There is anger among people against corruption. So far the protests have been peaceful. If people lose hope about parliament combating corruption they may resort to violence.