Jayalalithaa Convicted: WILL NETAS SEE LIGHT?…

By Sarkaritel September 30, 2014 09:56

Jayalalithaa Convicted: WILL NETAS SEE LIGHT?…

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Jayalalithaa Convicted


By Poonam I Kaushish

What goes around comes around. Circa 1996: Subramanian Swamy, then Janata Party leader files a case against AIADMK Chief Jayalalithaa and three associates, close friend Sasikala, Sasikala’s nephew Sudhakaran and sister-in-law Illavarasi of amassing Rs 66.65 crore assets disproportionate to their known income during her tenure as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister 1991-1996. The next year she is convicted by a court.

Circa February 2000: CBI raid finds 13 glittering diamond, emerald and rubies necklaces, 350 diamond bangles, 38 rings, 26 bracelets, eight gold belts, five gold miniature idols, four more suitcases stuffed with ‘blinding’ jewellery, 300 pairs of shoes, over 1000 saris etc all belonging to Jayalalithaa.

Circa May 2001: The same Jayalalithaa nee Puratchi Thalaivi was sworn-in as Chief Minister again thanks to a massive popular mandate bagging a three fourth majority in the State Legislature. Creating a history of sorts, first leader, convicted for corruption and legally barred from fighting an election, to assume the high office of Chief Minister. But this was short lived with the Supreme Court striking down her appointment. Jayalalithaa anointed junior Minister Paneerselvan as her successor. Only to be sworn-in again in 2002.

Circa 27 September 2014: The curtain finally rang down on the Amma Jayalalithaa saga whereby she was sentenced to four years jail and fined Rs 100 crore under Section 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and Sections 109 and 120 (b) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The second time in 18 years.

The issue is not who will head the AIADMK Government in Jayalalithaa’s absence or the fate of AIADMK and who will lead the Party in the next Assembly election due in 2016. Nor is it about how it will totally alter political equations in Tamil Nadu. Importantly, it has once again shown the aam aadmi a ray of hope, whereby our corrupt leaders have been put on notice. Dher hai andher nahin.

True, Jayalalithaa is not the first or will be the last leader to be put behind bars. From RJD’s Laloo Yadav in the Rs 900 crore chara ghotala, A Raja’s Rs 1.76 lakh crores 2G spectrum scam, Kalmadi in the Rs 70,000 crore CWG scandal and Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda for amassing over Rs 4000 crores in two years have languished in jail.

There are others under investigation. Ex-UPA Ministers in the Rs 1.86 crores Coalgate, our homegrown dalit ki beti — Maya Memsaab aka Behnji Mayawati. Stories abound of this teacher from a Ghaziabad shanty many an alleged financial irregularity during her five year rule in UP. Three properties on New Delhi’s millionaire’s row and Lutyens zone, hotels in Mussorie, houses in Ghaziabad and Moradabad, shops and flats in Noida, commercial building in Lucknow and many more.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s Adarsh Housing Society scandal. In Karnataka, we stood witness to the ex-BJP Chief Minister Yedurappa’s unholy surrender before the mine-rich Reddy brothers, now languishing in jail. Then there is Mulayam Singh, Dayanidhi Maran, Ju Dev, Sukhram etc? Remember Suraj Mandal, who blew the whistle in the JMM case in 1996 in the Lok Sabha. He asserted: ““Which MP does not take money… Paisa boriyon main ata hai, gathriyon main nahin.” Not one MP present protested.

All highlighting the epitaph of political India: Power of Greed. Whereby, the lust for riches overpowers all else. Dictated by two dictums: Politics is all about money and there is no such thing as enough money, honey! Alas, with each passing year the under-belly of power politics has become more shameless, rotten, ugly and raw to the gutter level.

Bluntly, wads of notes are exchanged at a drop of a hat. In a chor-chor-mauser-bhai political milieu of you-scratch-my-back- I-yours, our leaders have left it to the “call of conscience” of individual leaders and going to jail is fast becoming a badge of honour! Highlighting the deep decay in our political system

Arguably, in a milieu wherein large suitcases are proving too small to stuff political skeletons, the definition of an honest neta stands for one who is not caught. Succinctly remarked a charge-sheeted MP, “It has nothing to do with being corrupt or clean. We shall be judged of course by the law of the land. But the main verdict comes from the electorate”. Conveniently forgetting that an electoral victory does not erase a legal wrong.

All contemptuously dismiss corruption as old as history in India. Only political reactions have changed with the changing times. For Nehru corruption was “always distasteful” which he considered as “highly derogatory and highly objectionable” while his daughter Indira dismissed corruption as a “global phenomenon”.

Narasimha Rao merely called it “a systems failure” and Vajpayee asserted, “law will take its own course”. Culminating in Manmohan Singh helplessly dismissing it as “the compulsions of coalition politics”! All eyes are on Modi of what actions he takes in eradicating this scourge.

What next? It would be presumptuous to presume that Jayalalithaa’s conviction will sound the death-knell of the corrupt. Yet it should hold a mirror to our crooked politicians that a vigilant public and heedful judiciary will not tolerate sleaze. It also underscores the time has come for our leaders to introspect and cleanse the system before the rot overpowers them. Our netagan need to undergo a catharsis.

Time for them to realize that there are moments when cynical calculations of political expediency become repugnant. The aam aadmi is damn sick of political corruption and want accountability, honesty and transparency. Notably, even as the judicial verdict is a welcome sign of the maturing of India’s democracy. But it also involves effort, determination and imagination to take on the immoral perpetrators.

This calls for a complete revamp of the criminal-justice system. All cases must be disposed off in less than two years. All this can happen, provided we muster the political will and clarity that corruption is not just about a squeaky knee joint but an active impediment to growth and prosperity. So, instead of bemoaning our moral squalor and throwing up our hands, we need to focus on how to fight this hydra-headed monster.

High time our leaders wake up from their deep slumber of self conceit and deception of money hai to power hai! And minutely read the writing on the wall that India is not their personal jagir. They need to become accountable, usher in probity and morality. Rectify the ills to ensure that the aam aadmi no longer needs to pay bribes for his survival to the police thanedar, patwari, block development officer, Government peon or babu up to his MLA and MP.

The question ultimately is, Will our netas put on their running shoes to prove that nothing is impossible by stalling the corruption juggernaut? Or will they end up running a little harder and faster along the path to corrupt fortunes? —- INFA

(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

By Sarkaritel September 30, 2014 09:56