Congress, in pursuit of its vendetta against Modi, subverted and corrupted every institution about which it and the so called liberals are shedding crocodile tears.
Congress and other opposition parties are nowadays busy accusing NDA government of pursuing vendetta politics and persecution of their political opponents through the use of CBI, ED, IT, DRI and other investigating agencies.
Corruption being a major issue in all elections, incumbent governments are obliged to pursue every allegation of corruption, including against their predecessors, who would always try to project themselves as victims of “vendetta” to gain public sympathy. When politicians are in power, investigating agencies in India dare not probe their act of malfeasance. Even if some conscientious officer tried to initiate action, his efforts were nipped in the bud by his colleagues and superiors. It is only when the corrupt politicians lose power that there are some chances of initiating investigations into their misdeeds, though in India politicians rarely end up in jail for corruption. Investigation into cases of corruption cannot as such be described as vindictive actions, as these are always based on tangible evidence in the form of documents, unexplained assets and money trails.
The common man, by and large, perceives that for politicians, politics has become a profession to amass easy money by illegal means. A check on the holdings of politicians in land, residences, petrol pumps, showrooms, industries and businesses before they joined politics and after a few years of their election to a public office would make their indulgence in corruption very obvious. Recruitments, posting-transfers of public servants, grant of clearances for establishing industries, government procurement especially of defence equipment, infrastructure, housing and commercial real estate projects and tariff policies are the major areas for extorting bribes by politicians.
The Augusta Westland helicopter case, the Vadra land deals and the National Herald case are very minor scams being pursued by the current NDA government. Compared to these, the procurement of Sukhoi fighter aircraft, the MI-29K naval aircraft, Gorshkov aircraft carrier, the Scorpene submarines and some other defence equipment involved payments of huge bribes to politicians by foreign sellers. Commissions in defence deals go up to 30% of their value, out of which 10% go into the coffers of the rulers of the seller country and 20% is meant for the buyer country; out of this, around half is pocketed by major industrialists whose names never appear in the media and 10% goes as bribes to civil and military bureaucrats and politicians. Information about these and several other scams is scattered all around government files. It is another matter that the managers of this government do not have the time or the capabilities to dig out these details.
Even vendetta can be good if it comes from the motivation to make corrupt politicians face the law. There are very few cases in which political vendetta, than actual corruption, appears to be the main motive for launching legal proceedings. The case of Rajender Kumar, a Delhi cadre IAS officer and the case of a former CBI director involved in an ego battle with his deputy enjoying political patronage are examples where political vendetta appeared to be the only motive for launching cases of corruption.
On the other hand, attempts by the ruling party to initiate criminal proceedings against its rivals on apparently false charges or murder, or on any offence but corruption, when solely motivated by the malicious intent of neutralising them from posing challenges to its power can be branded as “vendetta”.
Vendetta politics is the gift of Congress to India. Way back in 1975, every opposition leader and worker were put in jail for opposing Indira Gandhi’s dictatorial and illegal regime. Poor George Fernandes was even implicated in a case of Sedition and Explosive Act called the “Baroda dynamite case”. Just because Indira Gandhi had a personal dislike for Rajmata Gayatri Devi and Vijayraje Scindia, they were jailed under MISA, though they never participated in the “JP movement”, which was used by Indira Gandhi as a pretext to impose Emergency.
The politics of vendetta and character assassination was continued by Indira Gandhi’s son Rajiv. The public might have a faint memory of the infamous “Ram Swarup Sabharwal spy case”, which otherwise was the most insidious attempt to tarnish the image of all the important non-Left opposition leaders including A.B. Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani and a dozen other non-BJP leaders, by branding them as agents of the CIA, Mossad and other Western intelligence agencies. The case stemmed from a fictional conspiracy theory floated by a senior Delhi Police officer, who was working on the Indira Gandhi assassination case. Interestingly, while only Ramswarup Sabharwal was shown as an accused in the case, the charge-sheet cast aspersions of treachery on the opposition leaders without any evidence. This chargesheet naming these leaders was approved by a committee comprising Rajiv Gandhi (then Prime Minister), Arun Nehru, Arun Singh, V.P. Singh and P. Chidambaram. Similarly, Ram Nath Goenka, the owner of Indian Express was also the target for implication in an espionage case at the hands of the Rajiv Government for advising Giani Zail Singh, the then President of India. The humiliation of Zail Singh by Rajiv government, just because he was a Sikh was another example of vendetta politics. After the Bofors expose, V.P. Singh and Arun Nehru themselves became the targets of Rajiv Gandhi’s vendetta. A purported telex from the US embassy, forged with the assistance of a non-Congress politician, and falsely indicating the existence of a numbered account in the name of Ajeya Singh, the son of V.P. Singh, in the tax haven of St Kitts was got published in newspapers to tarnish the image of V.P. Singh. Subsequently, more evidence was fabricated to strengthen the false allegations against Singh.
The Congress’ mastery in targeting opponents with false cases was carried forward by the UPA from 2004 to 2014. Narendra Modi became the Congress’ prime target as the party perceived him as their future challenger. In 2008, attempts to implicate Narendra Modi in a case of an alleged fake encounter on charges of conspiracy to murder were made in the so-called Ishrat Jahan encounter case. However, after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) filled an affidavit that the four killed in the encounter, including two Pakistanis, were Lashkar-e-Tayyaba terrorists, the effort was shelved for the time being. Later another attempt was made to involve Modi and Amit Shah in the Sohrabbuddin encounter case. Incidentally, Sohrabbuddin, who was a dreaded criminal operating in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, had live linkages with Pakistan-based underworld gangster, Dawood Ibrahim, and was thus under the close surveillance of the intelligence agencies and the police in these states. The allegation of Shah’s links to Sohrabbuddin for extortion was a total concoction by the CBI, as nothing of this nature was ever noticed by these agencies during their surveillance. Having failed in these efforts, Congress again tried to involve Modi and Shah in the Ishrat Jahan case, even at the cost of tarnishing the genuine counter-terrorist actions by the intelligence and police agencies.
The hypocrisy of the so called “liberals and protectors of institutions” stands exposed when they become the cheerleaders of the Congress whenever the owners of the party attempted to murder democracy by falsely implicating their opponents in heinous offence with the sole intention of preventing them from posing a threat to the Congress’ attempts to retain power. Congress, in pursuit of its vendetta against Modi, subverted and corrupted every—repeat, every—institution about which it and the so called liberals are now shedding crocodile tears.
Rajinder Kumar is a formmer special director of the Intelligence Bureau