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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kalmadi And Kanimozi - Divided By Parties, United By Corruption


For a change it was refreshing and a day of reckoning; yesterday that was. Seldom do you find our politicians even been chargesheeted, let alone being arrested for the worst of their crimes. But yesterday could be an exception in that direction when we saw two of our beloved politicians brought to task for their ultra-corrupt activities of the recent past. One was send behind bars while another was chargesheeted, with in all probability of thrown behind the bars anytime soon. Call it Anna Hazare effect or anything – the crooks were handed over with their long pending dues.

Now the question arises – is it enough? Aren’t we a good year and half too late? Have we intentionally or un-intentionally only rounding up the dolphins, leaving the whales of the corruption ocean untouched? Is there still politics and coalition Dharma doing rounds on whom to arrest and whom not to? Will the CBI mess up things at the last minute which they are quite habituated with? Last but not the least – are we going to be happy by this rhetoric arrest drama alone or would make sure the culprits were meted with exemplary punishment? Uneasy questions and a general fear that seems to have inculcated in our mindset – thanks to examples of the past and the amount of politics involved in either of the case.

Let’s start with the bigger of the two. Even though the long pending arrest of Kalmadi brought a sudden sense of Déjà vu, I do have a fear that things might not be directed towards conclusive closure. Few days back, the cronies of Kalmadi were promptly being arrested by the same investigating agency. But what followed was for everyone to remember. After 60 days the crooks were let off the hook as CBI failed to gather enough documentary evidence to nail the thugs. Now the million dollar question is – are the CBI sleuths having enough evidence in their hands to keep Kalmadi behind bars and force him stand trial? Might be or might not be, but looking at the not so bright past history of CBI, I would rather keep my fingers crossed. It was July last year that Times-Now managed to break the queens baton relay scam involving the organizing committee (OC) and a lesser known farm called AM Films and Travels of UK. As generous as one can get, the OC were alleged to been paying a whopping 25K pounds every month to this farm for no apparent reason or service. There were enough such incriminating evidence but for last 9 months we only did beat around the bush with at times few muted voices from the government confirming on how Kalmadi is too indispensable, looking at the upcoming Commonwealth games. If it is true then it is anything but laughable. There could be a possibility that all this while the CBI was busy gathering evidence against him so that a real water tight case could be constructed. Or was it just another political trick that was thrust upon us where in reality Kalmadi was given enough time to clean all the mess that was created by him and his cronies, so that when the CBI does close in on him, there would be no evidence left for them to frame him? If anything the confidence of the lawyer defending Kalmadi was scary. When he has to say that they would challenge in the court on what ground CBI should take Kalmadi in remand; more than confidence it gives a feeling that CBI actually doesn’t have enough at their disposal to nail the crook. So I won’t be surprised a bit if the courts do grant bail to Kalmadi the very next day for the lack of any proper evidence. But one thing for sure – Kalmadi is fast running out of friends and loyal, both at his party and the sports management fraternity. The immediate expulsion from the party, post his arrest is an indicator of that.

The next good thing that happened yesterday was the name of Kanimozi appearing in the 2nd chargesheet filed by CBI on 2G spectrum scam. The daughter of the great Karunanidhi and a 20% stake holder of Kalingar TV; she was alleged to have taken a bribe of around 200 crores to push through some favored company for spectrum. Thank God, my stand was vindicated as I always said Raja alone can’t be the architect of this mega scam. But the question arises – if a 20% stake holder can be chargesheeted for bribery how in earth one can spare someone who holds a major 60% in the same farm? The second wife of Karunanidhi, Dayaluammal, who happens to have the biggest share in the company, remained untouched. This is unbelievable to start with. If some insiders were to be believed then, during the seat sharing discussions for TN poll, it was decided that Congress can have the desired number of seats provided they agree not to chargsheet or arrest Dayaluammal in no circumstances; whatever it may be. If it is even half of its truth then there can’t be any bigger dangerous precedence for our democracy than this.

Let it be getting the ministry of their choice, pushing seasoned crooks for the post, forcing the laws to be broken; it was always the art of blackmailing that saw DMK through. At the drop of a hat, they would threaten to withdraw their support from the government, which more often than not succeeded. When Raja was all but arrested, they furnished the same trick before the ruling party. I am not sure of the reasons but for the first time they failed in that and it is a month since government is paying for Raja’s meals in Tihar jail. Will they carryout similar threat if it becomes a certain that Kanimozi would be arrested? The bigger question is – are they in a position to furnish such threats now?

Let’s look at the TN political picture to assertion if they are. There is no doubt; the DMK has misruled the state for quite some time and there a general feeling of huge governance deficit. If that is not enough a bad news for DMK, one of their stalwart politician is languishing behind bars on corruption charges. The in-family fighting between M.K.Stalin and M.K.Alagiri is not helping the cause either. WithJayalalitha on their heels the anti-incumbency factor is going to add further load on the tarnish image of the party which is already overloaded with corruption charges, Mafiosi, nepotism and family drama. The numbers are not in favor of DMK either. To form a government in TN you need at least 119 seats. But due to a smart seat sharing mechanism DMK is only contesting 109 of the total seats. Even if by some miracle DMK manages to win all 109 of them (as unlikely as NDTV not airing any news on SRK someday), they would still need someone’s support to form the government. In the present scenario and looking at their tarnished image, I don’t see anyone but only Congress coming up with a helping hand. So there is a bigger loss looming large at DMK if they withdraw their support from central government. First they would lose the power they enjoy being at the center and they might very well have to give their way to Jayalalithato become the next chief minister. This act could lead to a huge love lost with Congress resulting all their crooks getting arrested on daily basis that are now protected by Congress. In nutshell, I don’t think DMK would appreciate a two fringe attack from both sides – from center as well as from the new incumbent CM Ms.J. Jayalalitha. This is not a situation which Karunanidhi would enjoy, barely three weeks before the poll results are out. Honestly, I don’t want to be in Karunanidhi’s shoes now as I can clearly see a no-win or worse lose-lose situation ahead. At the end of the day Congress seems to have the last laugh with tactically paralyzing DMK of their blackmailing phenomena.

In any whichever way, it was a good day for us citizens who have only seen our politicians looting, without being held accountable. Hope the apprehended crooks are not let off the hook through some nasty legal gimmick that we seems very accustomed to. For God’s sake, let’s for once teach the scoundrels that every day is not a Sunday and at some point they would be held accountable for all their crimes and stripped in public.

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