While debate about CBI’s independence has come to fore again in the context of alleged massive coal scam’s investigation, there are other pressing questions pertaining to integrity and honesty of this premier institution and also Government of India which needs answers. It is not reasonable to find an equivalent for every issue with previous governments. For all recently unearthed scams Congress/Government maintained that it merely continued previous government’s policies or it did with the concurrence of state governments, the ones we are talking about is 2G Scam, Chopper deal and Coalgate scam.
In a country where political & bureaucratic corruption is rampant, CBI understandably is a last straw of hope to uphold the very notion of Justice. At least from the time we know about 2G scam, strategy of the government seems to have been to first deny any wrong doing, then become silent and make the whole issue disappear in the name of an enquiry. We can recall how in 2G scam Kapil Sibal propounded a baseless zero loss theory to see himself that around 122 2G licenses were cancelled and court ordered for re-auction. The moment they realized that re-auction did not generate the revenues of what has been claimed by CAG report on 2G allocation, congress spokespersons wasted no time to drumbeat that whole loss figure arrived in CAG report is mythical. Failing to realize that Indian citizens are now a days have become more proactive and their common sense and IQ levels have been improved much when compared to as citizens of British India or of 1947. The whole loss was specific to a particular time only. At a time when we have already immersed ourselves in 3G and are marching towards embracing 4G technology, what revenue a 2G re-auction would generate?
In my opinion the counsels must have argued for a different deal instead of a simple re-auctioning, ie., in future generation technology auctions (3G,4G) etc., those who have bought 2G spectrum in throw away prices must pay more than the new entrants and that amount must make up to the lost revenue. Because this is a peculiar case and you cannot just makeup for the losses by re-auction because it (the technology) is outdated already. And allegedly there has been an attempt by vested interests to weaken the whole investigation. Truth must prevail.
But in case of Coal scam there is a possibility to make up for revenue losses highlighted in CAG report probably through re-auction unlike 2G spectrum. Because coal is a coal, a natural resource. Congress to get rid of pressure it is facing tried to pass the buck to BJP claiming that it was states that approved or concurred with giving licenses to respective players. But people of India are not witless mortals to accept that untenable argument. Because state government’s view is only ‘Recommendatory’ in nature and are not binding on Government of India and that is why we have a central government department called as Coal Ministry. Even if for the sake of argument let’s assume that a state government has recommended an undeserving player to be allocated a coal block, is it not the responsibility of the Coal Ministry (GOI) to detect that player or company in question and say that he is not suitable for allocation and henceforth reject it? So arguing that all is done at the behest of state governments is not an alibi at all, and will collapse like a house of cards in a legal scrutiny. To be on a safer side to project that current government is not the only one to be called in for shots it released a report rubber stamping it by a parliament standing committee, which says that all allocations from 1993 to 2008 needs to be reviewed, exactly as in 2G Scam it said that it just followed previous government’s policy.
It is only after an enormous opposition pressure GOI gone in for a CBI enquiry. It has to be noted that this time around BJP did not insist on JPC because it has learnt its lessons through the JPC formed on 2G Scam and insisted on independent enquiry. Now the only way the government can manipulate truth is through coercing CBI.
A layman would understand that CBI is a part of the government; we never needed a lesson from either the current CBI Director Ranjit Sinha or from Government of India. Are we to assume that the current CBI director has a plump post like governor of a state is waiting for his retirement life as a quid pro quo to his loyalty to congress? It is an open truth that CBI has a functional autonomy (at least that is the statutory intention). It is only administrative control which government holds something like approving leaves and allowances? But it can never and it should never interfere with the ongoing cases which CBI is investigating. After the appointment of former CBI director Ashwini Kumar as Governor of Nagaland, it makes one to think how effectively CBI has been utilized? Should we call it as classical utilitarianism? Jeremy Bentham would be appalled. If CBI’s Motto is Industry, Impartiality, Integrity it must seem to be. But you will not get that feeling if you read this report
The recent incident which came to light where Government intervening in CBI’s investigation by trying to tweak a status report which CBI has to submit to the court is a telling example of how notorious the government is in saving its face from the onslaught of scam revelations. And it is both shocking and laughable to listen to government’s defense that law ministry intended to correct grammatical mistakes in CBI’s report. Who will accept such a callous argument? It is quite natural that Justice Jodha frowned up on the government counsel, see his comments.
When the whole investigation is to find out whether government of the day is involved in any wrong doing and investigation is under the nose of highest court, how can the accused verify a report before it is submitted to court which could possibly implicate him? How can the government be a judge in its own cause, there by violating fundamental principles of natural justice and moral sanity? As leader of opposition, Rajya Sabha claimed that the “government is caught when its pants are down” that is indeed true. Unless arrogance of the two power centers- congress president and prime minister is so hardened, it is time for the head of government to dissolve the parliament and go for elections or just resign, only and only if he has any semblance of morality left in him.