Monday, March 26, 2012






General V.K.Singh has done well to come out with revelations about the rise of corruption in the Armed Forces.

Putting aside the inconsequential and directionless sparring matches that happen between the Congress, the BJP and other Politicos in the media – the fact of the matter is that neither the Hon’ble Minister for Defence Sri A.K.Antony  nor General V.K.Singh  can be the butt of any investigation  either by the CBI or by any organization on the sum of Rs.14 Crores that was very casually mentioned in a casual conversation between the General and a retired Army official. 

The instant case of Rs.14 Crores is not the  important aspect that needs investigation. For one reason that – no one has really offered this Rs.14 Crores nor has any one accepted nor is there any credible, legally acceptable evidence of bribery in this instant case. 

Whom are we going to prosecute for a casual conversation in which a casual remark was made? It looks extraordinarily naïve – from my personal view point to castigate either General V.K.Singh or the Defence Minister – for not acting more seriously on this casual Remark at the time it was made. Even Now, simply for the reason that the General has revealed it in press, a CBI or such other investigation is not called for on this Rs.14 Crores against either the General or the Defence Minister.  

In other words, This huge uproar on this one case of Rs.14 crores which was neither offered nor accepted nor is there any credible, legally acceptable evidence of an actual bribe – is therefore meaningless. But, if there is an investigation exclusively on this Rs.14 crores, which doesn’t exist, the CBI investigation has to look at the laxity of both the Minister and the General – and neither can be excluded from the purview of the investigation – for not taking preventive steps  - which is also a crime. 

Will Government accord sanction for investigating the General and the Minister – and then for their prosecution?

The direction of this effort, the chasing of these shadows, looks ridiculous to me.

Leave the General and the Minister. They are both Honest Men. The General’s whistle blowing focuses attention on  the corruption on Defence Purchases. And, it is Good – coming from the senior most officer of the Army.

What matters to be seriously considered and accepted therefore is – that there is huge corruption in Defence purchases and that needs to be totally eliminated. 

Dr. Manmohan Singh, the prime minister, needs to decisively tell his colleagues – that “India needs a strong Lok Pal Bill. We can’t waste a single day on this. Let there be a strong LokPal Bill, which is acceptable to the Majority in Parliament.”- and he must ensure that Parliament passes a Strong Lok Pal Bill. The whole country will remember him for this one noble act – for all time to come.  Like - we remember Dr.Seshan for his bold measures in cleaning the election processes.

Aiming for consensus on this issue is meaningless.

It is in this context that - whatever Team Anna members are saying, makes sense. Some members of Parliament may not want a strong Lok Pal Bill – for purely personal reasons – that they may become the immediate target of the strong Lok Pal. So, they will oppose a strong Lok Pal Bill. So, there can never be CONSENSUS on this. Saying this – by Arvind kejriwal or other Team Anna Members should not be construed as an affront to Parliament itself.

The point they are asking is – Is there huge corruption or not? If yes, why are you not passing a strong Lok Pal Bill? Why is there a very weak Lok Pal Bill before Parliament?

With the stink of Corruption emanating from all corners of Government, can we still hold on to an elusive consensus – which implies support for the Anti-Corruption bills from the corrupt people also – and can we go on postponing the passing of a strong Lok Pal Bill on that pretext?

Today, it is the General who blew the whistle. He is an honest man and he has brought the attention of the whole Nation to this urgent task of cleansing the Defence Purchases from the stink of corruption. Did he put out a paper yesterday on this? Why did he not act as per law this way or that way – are meaningless questions – in my view. 

Had he done that – somebody would have tried to find some small omission or commission on the part of the General in his service career and put him in a dock for a flimsy reason – which is what happens in India. That is what is happening to team Anna. That was what happened to Baba Ram Dev. Many RTI activists and whistle blowers are actually getting killed – by the corrupt and the mafia – and still we are not serious about the corruption. And, we want to proceed against whistle blowers. 

In this case, it is the General. Why doesn’t the Government proceed against CBI itself which came out with startling figures of Black money? After all, somewhere, CBI also may have failed – which is why ( we can say) so much Black money has reached foreign banks. Can we say, why didn't you give the info, when the amount was one fourth of this? why did you not stop the black money from going out?

But, is this a sensible direction to take, when the CBI has given valuable information, even if a little belatedly,  to the Government  - to act? It is for the Government to act on this - not to castigate CBI for coming out with these figures.

We must proceed against corruption and Black money and not against people who point at it or against people, who agitate against it. If CBI has said something against Black Money, it is for Government and Parliament now – to act – to bring back that Black money and arrest their further channels. If the General has said some thing - it is for the Government to act on the larger issue he is focusing on.

I think, the country must wake up to the useless diversions that we are taking and we must demand a commission consisting of higher judiciary, the CVC and some retired Generals to investigate the whole gamut of corruption in the Army and put in place strong measures to root out corruption in the Army. 

At this point of time, witch hunting will only demoralize the whole Army – by taking directions which we do not intend today.

In other words, stop the diversion of CBI enquiry and appoint a high level commission to  root out corruption in Army.

This is what is needed.

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