Its dipped to 12 degrees in Mumbai…effect of the Cold Wave up North….needed something to warm me up so I picked up the Remote on this Sunday Morning and thought maybe Katrina’s belly dance moves in ‘Sheela ki Jawani’ was pouring out from some channel…but was delighted and warmed by something even more Hot !…….The Big Fight Debate on ‘Bofors & After’ on NDTV 24*7 ! that was a repeat broadcast from yesterday….moderated quite well by Vikram Chandra
The Panelists in the studio facing a live audience were
- Dr Subramanian Swamy….yet again in the limelight because , as an individual, he has gone to court to unravel the 2G Telecom Scam and prosecute A Raja the ex Telecom Minister
- Tavleen Singh…..Columnist and Political Commentator….can actually feel her anguish
- Joginder Singh….ex CBI Director….”I will tell the truth and nothing but the truth..so help me God “
- Mukul Rohatgi….ex Additional Solicitor General who appeared for the Government in the Bofors case in 2004…now reveals the searing truth on Bofors
- Manish Tewari…Congress Spokesman…a courageous one at that…appears battered and bruised by the current onslaught by the opposition on Bofors and 2G scams
D Raja,National Secretary of CPI was also participating,though not in the Studio…while sound bytes captured earlier from Arun Jaitley of BJP and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha were played out
At one Point the moderator Vikram stated “my jaw is starting to drop now”…so did mine !….this was at Mukul Rohatgi’s disturbing disclosure that the High Court Judge who quashed the Bofors case on February 4,2004 had mentioned in the order that the ASG (Mukul himself was the ASG at the time who was representing the government and CBI) had stated that there was no evidence that political leaders had received any money as a kickback or a bribe in the Bofors deal…Mukul reveals that he never made such a statement in court !…and goes on to say that CBI had said they should appeal this order,but the Government changed in May 2004 ….and the Judge retired on April 10,2004 and was promptly rewarded with a plump position !…these are all questionable,asserts Mukul !….truth has an uncanny way of coming out,says Mukul…nobody had realised that the Bofors matter was yet being investigated by another body,the Income Tax Appelate Tribunal (ITAT) otherwise it too would have been fixed ! stated Mukul….his anger and frustration at the very high level of corruption prevalent in India came out remarkably as did his guts on now revealing that though he defended the Government in the Bofors matter,the truth was just the opposite…there is corruption that every citizen lives with every single day…railway tickets,school and college admissions,gas cylinders….even 20% of our elected representatives in the Lok Sabha have criminal antecedents….you must clear and clean this rot first at the top and then hope it filters down thinks Mukul
Tavleen Singh states that when she spoke to young politicians as to why they have joined politics,they openly told her “To make Money”…she quoted late Managment Guru,C K Prahlad that before a country becomes rich it has to deal with corruption…there is Corruption everywhere…in all institutions,she cries
Joginder Singh disclosed that it was on the basis of documents that he brought back from Switzerland that the Income Tax Appelate Tribunal has just passed an order that there were bribes paid in the Bofors Deal….there was clear evidence,that even ‘the Hindu’ and it’s editor N Ram probed and exposed in the Bofors Deal of the involvement of bribes and the monies trail to entities controlled by middlemen,Win Chadha,Quattrochi and the Hindujas in the Bofors Deals…..later Joginder Singh stated that no government will want CBI to be made independent…During English rule,when the Police Act was being drafted by the Police Commission when Lord Macaulay was the Governor General it was suggested that the Police should be independent just like the Judiciary…Macaulay called the members of the Police Commission and told them “Are You stupid…we have come here to rule …who will listen to us if we keep the Police away !”….and since then Police and CBI has been a part of the government….Joginder Singh also made a practical suggestion to change the law and put the onus on the person and not the state to prove the sources from which he has created the assets…he recalls his own experience how the judiciary too can be manipulated…he had approached the concerned officer in the Law Ministry for a certain matter requesting advice and direction….”For or Against?” was the reply he received !…so fixing issues is not a new phenomenon
Manish Tewari stated that the ITAT order has now come….but this matter has been quashed four times by different CITs in the past on the same evidence….Mukul says ITAT is the final authority and that this is the truth that Win Chadha had received Rs 52 crs + so why is Manish defending Win Chadha
Arun Jaitley stated that Bofors is the first case that reached the doorstep of the PM of India and the Congress has been playing this game of cover up…erroneous and unappealed judgements point to this…when posed a question by Vikram as to why NDA did not do anything when it was in power,he states that Congress has been in power for most time,but it was the two significant non Congress governments that took action…V P Singh Government filed a FIR ,froze Swiss bank accounts and initiated a Letter of Rogatory to procure evidence from Switzerland….Vajpayee Government actually filed a chargesheet in the Bofors case
Dr Swamy made a closing statement that it was not enough to be honest and have integrity…you must also have the guts…our PM,he says,is honest and has integrity but has no spine !…to which Manish said that the PM would not have put at risk his government in the Indo US Nuclear Deal Vote in Parliament if he had no spine !…Dr Swamy in a hush stated that this too was done by bribing !
All hands went up in the audience when Vikram asked them in essence if they believed that no political leader will ever be convicted of corruption !…and there was appreciative clapping when panelists other than Manish Tewari were making their points…… that should tell the defiant, and I must say, courageous Congress Spokeman,Manish Tewari something !…he is pretty much ad nauseam and like a stuck record when he vainly defends the Congress in the scams that have taken place…methinks he should write a revealing book on all the situations that he has had to defend Congress and it’s leaders……and not be miserly on the truth…it would be a runaway bestseller if allowed to be published !
Phew ! It’s really Hot in Mumbai….funny that New Delhi continues to remain Cold !
….and am truly warmed to know that India yet has some great watchdogs who can turn bloodhounds too when needed to expose the corrupt…as Dr Swamy rightly states that we need to be both…honest and courageous…in this context,and better late than never,that ex ASG,Mukul Rohatgi,has come clean on Bofors….when defending the Government and CBI on Bofors when he was ASG,the judge’s order in Feb 2004 had ascribed comments to him that CBI had not found any evidence to link any politician to any bribe…he stated that he had never made any such comments…then,as Manish rightly points out, why did he not file an application to correct the order to this effect…Clearly Mukul was less courageous and more compromised as an ASG..probably his career was at stake……like many things that were questionable at the time in 2004,as pointed out by Mukul above,even this was too !….but as he himself states…truth has an uncanny way of coming out !
My 15 year old daughter was intrigued at my intrigue on this Debate !…”What’s Bofors ?…and how does it affect us ? ” she asks innocently on something that is now 23 years old …Interestingly her Finals are from Monday and History and Civics is her first paper…and I’ve been revising our Constitution and our Fundamental Rights,including our Constitutional remedies and writs, and Duties and Directive Principles with her !…..Judiciary is independent of the Executive and Legislature arms…but in application when even it is compromised then what does an ordinary citizen do ! ?…..searching for some answers here
…..but it was fun explaining to her,as it was relevant to her studies too,why Industrialist Ratan Tata has filed a writ on ‘Privacy’ in the Supreme Court regarding his telephonic conversations with corporate lobbyist Niraa Radia that have been tapped in 2008 and 2009 by the Income Tax authorities when she was under survelliance by them…and why in this case the citizen’s right to know may override the individual’s right to privacy in larger national interest
….or even the situation of possible judicial compromise by the ex CJI K G Balakrishnan. His son in laws have amassed huge wealth in quick time and that Balakrishnan should be removed as the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission as accusations have been levelled at him that he was lying that the complaint letter by Justice H L Gokhale, then the Chief Justice of the Tamil Nadu High Court and now a Supreme Court Judge, relating to a complaint by a Tamil Nadu High Court Judge,Justice Raghupathi,did not have the name of the Telecom Minister A Raja as the Minister who had called Justice Raghupathi through an advocate to try and influence him to grant bail to his friends…. Justice Raghupathi had refused to take the call
I hope she maxes her Civics paper !
Click on the above link to watch the NDTV Big Fight debate on ‘Bofors & After’ and warm up your day !