By Arun Srivastava
Even before Hanuman’s ‘gada (mace)’ could smash and decimate Bajrang Dal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is gearing to strike a brutal assault on the Congress leaders and social activists.
Contrary to the common belief that Modi will restrain use of the police, ED and CBI against his political detractors, his choosing the Karnataka police chief Praveen Sood the next director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sends a clear and loud message that he is ready to silence the opposition, especially the Congress leaders through any means.
On the surface assigning the task of Director, CBI, to Sood looks like a regular exercise of transfer and posting of the officials. But a deeper look turns one sceptical of the real intentions of Modi. Sood will succeed current director Subodh Kumar Jaiswal, whose term ends on May 25.
Sood’s name was cleared at a meeting of a high-powered committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. Chowdhury, a Congress leader, had reportedly given a dissent note on the selection of Sood as the next CBI director. However, his opposition was ruled out by the Modi government which eventually opted for Sood.
The other two claimants were Sudhir Saxena (DGP Madhya Pradesh) and Taj Haasan. Taj is currently serving as the Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic). He has never been a favourite of the Delhi establishment for his pro people stand. He has also been the Chief Spokesperson of Delhi Police, a first of its kind post. Hassan was also Special Commissioner (Crime) of Delhi Police.
Sood had hit the headlines in March this year when Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar accused him of protecting the BJP government in the state. Mr Shivakumar sought the arrest of the state’s Director General of Police claiming that he was filing cases against Congress leaders
Sood has always courted controversy for his proximity to the top BJP leadership. He faced controversy earlier when he was transferred from his position as Bengaluru city police commissioner. The transfer allegedly took place to multiple complaints against Sood received by then Congress chief minister Siddaramaiah.
Six years later, in March this year, Sood faced criticism from DK Shivakumar, Congress Karnataka president, who accused him of unfairly targeting Congress workers while ignoring the actions of the BJP leaders. Shivakumar warned that if the Congress party returned to power, it would take action against Sood and labelled him as a “BJP agent”. He even called the DGP “nalayak” and said the Congress will take a strict action against him, after coming to power. “A case must be filed against him for not doing his duty in a proper way,” Shivakumar had cautioned.
Shivakumar charged him of being biased against Congress and alleged he has registered around 25 cases against Congress leaders and not even a single case against BJP leaders in the state. We have also written to the Election Commission about his duty and conduct.
It is also alleged that Sood did not prevent the BJP workers from erecting a controversial arch in Mandya, honouring Vokkaliga chieftains Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda, who are claimed by some to have killed Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan. The arch was constructed ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Mandya. It is a known fact that Tipu was killed by some other people, but for getting the votes of Vokkaliga, the arch was constructed as a mechanism to appease the people of this sect.
The haste shown by the Modi government in transferring Sood simply reinforces the belief that he was shifted to Delhi for primarily two reasons; first, to protect him from being harassed by the new Congress government that will come to office within a week. Shivakumar is already on the records to have said that Sood would be booked for his pro-BJP activities.
The CBI is currently investigating a disproportionate assets case against Shivakumar and in December conducted searches at properties belonging to the Congress leader as well as at educational institutions run by his family. The case dates back to allegations dating back to the time Shivakumar was a minister in the Congress-led state government. Last month, a single-judge Bench of the Karnataka High Court dismissed Shivakumar’s appeal against the CBI investigation. Another appeal by Shivakumar challenging the First Information Report filed under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act will be heard on May 30.
If protecting him from the wrath of the Congress leaders would have been the only reason, soon might have been given some other responsibility. But making him the CBI Director, just a year ahead of the Lok Sabha elections reveals the real intentions of Modi.
Apprehensions are being expressed that fresh actions may be initiated against the Congress and opposition leaders facing some sort of CBI actions. Sood will have to ensure that these leaders do not go unpunished. Of course the BJP leaders do not subscribe this as an act of revenge, aimed at soothing the hurt feelings of Modi and to discourage the Congress and opposition leaders from taking proactive role in opposition unity. This has become imperative as the people have started nursing the view that Modi’s wave is ‘over,’ and Rahul wave is coming. A day after the Karnataka poll result was announced, incidentally the Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Rout had said that the ‘Modi wave’ is coming to an end, while the ‘opposition’s wave’ is coming across the country. (IPA Service)