Aasman ka thhooka
Anti-corruption charade exposed
There is colloquial saying in Urdu “Aasman ka thhooka halaq mein aaya.” Roughly translated would mean you spit at the Sky and get it in your face.” That’s what has happened to the BJP and its leaders top downwards from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah, Arun Jaitley and not to forget the self righteous Ravi Shankar Prasad under the able and active guidance of RSS supremo Mohanrao Bhagwat, who all went to town in the run up to the 2014 general elections, promising a corruption free government the country seemed to need so desperately and urgently.
Only the other day Modi in his public meeting in Mathura, on completion of one year in office, audaciously announced how in one year he rid the country of corruption. Jaitely parroting His Master’s Voice, repeated the claim at a Press conference. It is disgusting to imagine that by this time they were aware that the Lalit Modi scam was about to hit them anytime but were not deterred from making all the tall claims.
And the most amusing part is that it was not any Opposition party, be it Congress or the Communists or say JD-U, who leaked the information exposing Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhra Raje’s misdemeanor of going out of their way, putting aside all protocol and proprieties to protect and promote IPL scamster Lalit Modi. BJP MPs Kirti Azad and Tarun Vijay tweeted to ascribe this to an “Aasteen ka Saanp (a snake up the sleeve)” who was behind the whole affair to show these two women leaders down. While my Sindhi bhai developed cold feet immediately thereafter, Azad made so bold as to point a finger at Jaitley.
Azad who has been nursing a grudge against Jaitley for long, because of the rivalry of Cricket politics, may be dismissed lightly. But then the way Rajnath Singh, then Amit Shah and the RSS rushed to Sushma’s defence merely showed that the Sangh also suspected this to be an inside job aimed at embarrassing Sushma. Sushma’s bête noire Jaitley was pointedly made to walk down from his office in the North Block to Rajnath Singh’s office in the same sprawling complex, something Jaitley wouldn’t dream of doing in the normal course. Yet Jaitely subtly washed his hands off by declaring that the decision to secure British travel documents to absconder Modi was Sushma’s, though he joined his Cabinet colleagues in sharing the responsibility. How gracious and magnanimous of Jaitley!
Even before the BJP could recover from Sushma’s shock, it was dealt a second and more serious blow by the disclosure that the Rajasthan chief minister had also pleaded with the British government to facilitate Lalit Modi’s activities in England. She also added the rider that her recommendation should not be disclosed to anyone in India. This implied that unlike Sushma who pleaded “humanitarian grounds” to bail out the one time IPL czar, the Rajasthan chief minister was fully aware of the fallout of her act. She accompanied Modi’s wife Minal to the Lisbon Hospital in Portugal and on October 2, 2014, about two months after Lalit Modi’s wife Minal was treated at the Lisbon-based Champalimaud Center her Rajasthan government signed a MoU with this private Portuguese biomedical research organisation, the Champalimaud Foundation, to set up a state-of-the-art cancer institute in Jaipur. Doesn’t this smell of a quid pro quo? If this did not then the next day there was more on the close financial relations between Vasundhara and Lalit Modi. The Enforcement Directorate disclosed that in April 2008, Lalit Modi invested a sum of Rs 11.63 crore in Raje’ s son and BJP’s Jhalawar MP Dushyant Singh company Niyant Heritage Hotels Pvt Ltd (NHHPL). The astonishing part is that the company posted losses. Yet the ED disclosed that Modi gave this loss making company a loan of Rs 3.80 crore and purchased 815 shares of the company at an unusual price; a Rs 10 share for Rs 96,180 each.Now who is the minister in charge of ED? Arun Jaitley of course.
It is widely known that in her last avatar as the Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhra had virtually left the reins of her government in the hands of this enfante terrible who used to sit in his Palace Hotel ordering around the bureaucrats who would be at his beck and call any time of the day or night. The RSS was very unhappy with Vasundhara then and wanted to get rid of her. But eventually her charisma prevailed and finally the Sangh gave in to her persistent demands because to them power by means fair or foul took precedence over any moral questions and only Raje could get them back to power.
That the ED was privy to all this information only leads one to assume that Arun Jaitely a one time supporter of Vasu against Rajnath Singh was well aware of the goings on but continued looking the other side. And why not after all Jaitely, as Lalit Modi has often reiterated, was party to the 2009 decision of the IPL to take the Twenty20 cricket tournament to South Africa wherein huge financial bungling took place, forcing the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) later to exterminate the IPL Commissioner. Why Jaitely alone? His comrade in arms was N Srinivasan of Chennai Super Kings scam fame. Sharad Pawar and Rajiv Shukla were all in it and so were Narendra Modi and Amit Shah Anurag Thakur representing Gujarat, Baroda and Himachal Cricket Associations.
A fair and impartial investigation would reach the doorstep of all these “Honest” anti-corruption crusaders and therefore we should rest assured nothing of the sort would happen. I wonder though if Ram Jethmalani and Subramanian Swamy would now rush to the Supreme Court and whether the court will again take suo motu cognizance of this scam like it did of the so-called 2G and Coal scams. I am almost convinced that this too will not happen for the establishment can ill afford such a thorough deep probe. In the normal course there would have been a fall guy or say a girl. But here if you touch one (Sushma or Raje) you would have to sacrifice the other too and that would be admitting a blemish in Modi’s “corruption free” government which an arrogant Modi would never like to admit.