By K Raveendran
The courts are making it increasingly clear that they are not impressed with the way the central agencies are proceeding with action against their victims. Going by the sharpness in the courts’ remarks, it seems that the day may not be far when the selective manner in which the law is taking, as claimed by the ruling party politicians, or allowed to take its course, is questioned by the courts.
The other day the Supreme Court asked probe agencies to show proof of Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia’s role in the alleged liquor policy scam, saying that the AAP leader didn’t appear to be involved in the case. The court asked the agencies to show evidence the jailed minister.
“Where is the proof? Where is the evidence? You have to establish a chain. The money has to flow from the liquor lobby to the person. Where are the proceeds of the crime?” the Supreme Court asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) while hearing a bail petition filed by Sisodia.
In almost the same fashion, the Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Delhi police why the grounds for the arrest of NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and his HR manager Amit Chakravarty were not provided to the accused and cited Supreme Court decisions that those getting arrested have a right to know why they are being arrested.
The last couple of days have seen the central agencies getting into what appears to be ‘crash programme’ of raids at multiple locations in several states ahead of the coming assembly and later parliamentary elections in which the ruling BJP is finding itself increasingly vulnerable due to what it fears as a consolidation of the anti-Modi parties and elements.
In the continuing drama over the alleged Delhi excise scam, AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh has been arrested and sent to ED’s custody until October 10, while three of his aides have been summoned for questioning as well. In down south, income tax officials swooped down on as many as 50 premises belonging to the DMK Member of Parliament K T Jagathrakshakan, alleging amassing of wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income. The MP had declared assets of Rs 200 crore in his declaration for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
In West Bengal, food minister Rathin Ghosh’s house has been raided in connection with the alleged job scam in which the CBI had registered an FIR in April this year, for suspected irregularities in the appointments to schools as well as various municipalities in the state.
Both Stalin’s DMK and Mamata Banerjee’s TMC have been complaining about the use of central agencies as a tool in the hands of the central government to intimidate the states and discredit them. Both parties are key components of the opposition INDIA bloc, making the reason for the stepped up action by the agencies very obvious.
Minister for information and broadcasting Anurag Thakur has been taking potshots at the opposition parties, claiming that the raids are a manifestation of the law taking its own course. But Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi is asking why the ED is not going to Madhya Pradesh, where corruption cases of the magnitude of Vyapam have escaped scrutiny.
While Thakur can keep repeating the law taking its own course ad nauseum, the actions of the central agencies give a lie to whatever is happening on the ground. Cases are dusted out from time to time and used against adversaries so as to suit the whims and fancies of the ruling party and its leaders, driving dispassionate observers to the conclusion that the law is selectively blind and does not see what is happening under its own nose. The law goddess statue with eyes covered in black cloth has become a misnomer.
This is not just conjecture there is enough empirical evidence available as to how the central agencies have become a political tool in the hands of the ruling party. It has been established that 95 percent of the raids conducted by ED and CBI are against members belonging to opposition parties as well as activists of organisations perceived to be unfriendly to the ruling dispensation. The doctored blindness of goddess of law cannot be a reassuring sight and the courts cannot be looking away for much longer. (IPA Service)