SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: The breaking news that former foreign minister Natwar Singh’s disaster of a son Jagat Singh may have been a direct beneficiary in the oil-for-food scam evoked, as usual, the same reaction in me: a long, deep yawn. And a question: so bloody what?
We have seen bigger, better scams before. With bigger, better personalities with their hand in the till.
Bofors starring Rajiv Gandhi, Ottavio Quattrochi, and the Hinduja brothers. Fodder and other scams starring Lalu Prasad Yadav. Tehelka starring Bangaru Laxman and George Fernandes. Unaccounted wealth starring Prakash Singh Badal and Jayalalithaa. Telgi starring everybody.
Just what precisely has come out of those wonderful scams? And why do our hairs need to stand on end because Natwar is nailed?
Because, at the end of the day to use a horrible television cliché, once the gotcha excitement ends, it will be business as usual in the big, bad but wonderfully paying world of Indian politics.
Till we move on to another scam, another expose, another sham investigation.
Mulling over our country’s law enforcement, the methods of Indian jurisprudence, the process of law as practiced in the courts of our land, I have always slumped down in utter stupefaction at the brazenness of it all—the sheer contempt and the plain lack of fear the so-called rich and famous have for law courts in general.
What does it say of a country where the likes of Lalu and Jayalalithaa, to randomly name just two worthies, repeatedly, routinely, casually, simply and clearly get away from the ‘clutches’ of the law, every time a case is slapped against them for embezzlement or fraud or criminal intimidation or whatever else dirty they seem to be involved in every single day of their existence?
What does it say of a country where not even one, just one, “national level” politician (or bureaucrat) has ever been sent to jail in spite of such mind-numbing levels of corruption all around us?
Look at the paradox. India ranks, quite tragically, among the most corrupt nations on the face of this planet. Yet India does not have even one single major politician belonging to any of the national parties drinking millet gruel in jail!
So, no prizes for guessing how the Natwar saga will play out once the OB vans move out from in front of his house.
What a travesty. Not only of justice but also of life itself. A parody of monumental proportions, a charade that can make you shed ‘nationalist’ tears! What does is it say of the national moral fibre? Of our adherence to righteousness, to rectitude?
I know the law is an ass of sorts. And that it derives its ability to kick from ‘legally permissible evidence’. But it’s hard to comprehend that not even in one major case involving the precious, almost sacred, monies of the tax-paying people of this country which have been tampered with and criminally misused, has any politician gone to jail.
India has a great many intellectuals who have had their say in shaping legal matters. But not one of them has been successful in really making the law work. As it should.
Or is it that our leaders are so adept at leaving behind no trace of ‘legally permissible evidence’ whatsoever? The Houdinis who inhabit a world of decadence and debauchery.
The former chief of Daewoo Corporation, one of the world’s business giants, hs just been convicted. He shall spend almost the rest of his life in jail for wrong corporate practices. How comforting it must for the common man in South Korea to see the law working.
And how frustrating must it be for his counterpart in our country to see a clerk or a cop getting nabbed in the full glare of the Lok Ayukta for pocketing a piddling 500 rupees, but to see the rich and famous, the high and mighty with a flasher light on top of their cars and Z-plus category security getting away—time after time.
Off with the charade, I say.