31 C
New Delhi
Saturday 19 October 2019
Views Editorial Singh No More King

Singh No More King


- Advertisment -

Of honesty, that is. Even the most apparent epitome of clean conduct can have a blemish or two.

Images From A Coal Wholesaler As Modi Seeks To End 40 Year GoverThe summons issued to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the case of alleged coal block allocation scandal has a lot of merit. Aditya Birla group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla asking for the Talabari II block for his company Hindalco and getting it through the then premier’s exercise of discretionary powers indicts both the apparent crony and his benefactor. “The PM desires that this matter (KM Birla’s letter) be pursued on priority so that a decision is arrived at on this long-pending matter (allotment of coal block) at the earliest so that the employment and revenue potential of the project is fully achieved,” one file noting quoted in the court order said. Singh, the court said, had allowed the coal block allocation to be “reopened” although he had initially permitted approval of the minutes of the 25th screening panel recommending allocation to Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd. As per the court’s observations, Birla “tapped all his political channels” to secure the block, including persuading Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to write a recommendation letter to the then prime minister. The judge is convinced, however, it was not Patnaik, but Singh who ensured that “Talabira II, reserved for the public sector, ended up being allotted to a private firm and therefore his actions “prima facie resulted in loss to NLC and facilitated windfall profits to a private company…” In doing so, the court notes, Singh disregarded the opinion of senior PMO officers KV Pratap and Javed Usmani. Remember that serious judicial pursuit had begun after the Supreme Court-appointed special public prosecutor RS Cheema submitted to the court last November that there was enough evidence to take cognisance of offences against Birla, former coal secretary PC Parakh and others. Simply, if Birla is accused of pushing the then government for a block, how can Singh be not guilty of yielding to the pressure? As for law, Section 319(1) CrPC states, “Where, in the course of any inquiry into, or trial of, an offence, it appears from evidence that any person not being accused has committed any offence for which such person could be tried together with the accused, the court may proceed against such person for the offence which he appears to have committed.” Hence, the argument that the CBI had not found enough evidence against Singh initially does not wash.

The accusation that the present government is indulging in a witch-hunt against its political adversary sounds like a drowning man catching a straw. First, the much maligned CBI had only hinted at Singh’s role in the scam; it was Singh who owned up the decision that the court finds misplaced. Second, it was a junior investigating officer, hardly a political player, who had insisted before then CBI director Ranjit Sinha that Singh must be questioned. We all know now how ‘impartial’ Sinha was, thanks to the efforts of activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan. Third and most important, it is the court that has asked the CBI to examine Singh. The investigating agency may be accused of being a “caged parrot”, the court is not. This is no case of political vendetta or witch hunting. It is clear from the demeanour of the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and spokespersons that they are not gloating over the summons served to the former prime minister. Indeed, as the news about the special CBI judge’s order spread, there was palpable sympathy in the ruling party ranks for the former PM. “Whatever else you may hold him guilty of, his integrity cannot be questioned,” said a senior minister, surprising many engaged in an intense debate over the merits of the order. If we must turn the debate political, it can also be speculated that the Congress is rallying behind the accused lest he should spill the beans in case he feels marginalised or deserted in his party! In fact, political executives across party lines in different States will be indicted if the investigation is thorough and prosecution unrelenting.

Anyway, what stand a political party would take on a given issue is that party’s prerogative. From a neutral perspective, it must be said that our society’s fascination for angels and demons must end. Leaders from Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi to Manmohan Singh to Arvind Kejriwal have been deified and demonised by rival political camps. It is time we realised we are all ordinary mortals, capable of making bad judgements and even turning corrupt, and the Gandhis, Singhs and Kejriwals have risen from our midst. At best, a Singh can betray more integrity than many; that does not make him an unquestionable saint.

Subscribe to our newsletter

You will get all our latest news and articles via email when you subscribe

The email despatches will be non-commercial in nature
Disputes, if any, subject to jurisdiction in New Delhi
Sirf News Editorial Board
Sirf News Editorial Boardhttps://www.sirfnews.com
Voicing the collective stand of Sirf News' (सिर्फ़ News') editors on a given issue

Leave a Reply


Karva Chauth: Faith, legend behind viewing the moon through a sieve

The legend and Karva Chauth rituals vary across Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and, in south India, Andhra Pradesh

Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, Here We Come!

Study Wuhan and Mamallapuram in the backdrop of the fact that things are not quite working out in China-Pakistan economic relations, notwithstanding the urge of the communist state to contain India and that of the Islamic state to challenge it

Slowdown Has Reasons Other Than GST, Demonetisation

When all economic sectors decline, the mood of the market turns sombre, turning investors all the more reluctant to pump in money; the interdependence of industries means that the slowdown suffered by one would affect many

Where China & India, Resisting & Improving Democracy, Meet

What you see in Hong Kong is China resisting democracy; what you see in Kashmir is India promoting it; a reasonably capitalist China does not offer freedom politically but India, held back at times by the choice of the people, is still opening up; there could be a point of convergence as the two nations move in opposite directions

Omega-3: Study published in BMJ claiming no benefit for type 2 diabetes has myopic vision

Most respondents in the omega-3 study published in the BMJ are from Europe and North America; such results can hardly be applied worldwide
- Advertisement -


Pakistan under Indian pressure freezes terrorists’ accounts

The global community is crediting Indian diplomacy at the FATF via Asia Pacific Group with forcing Pakistan to take this action under the 4th Schedule of its Anti-Terrorism Act

Delhi police stations may come under Islamist suicide attack

Tight security arrangements have been made in about 200 police stations of Delhi; people visiting police stations are being closely monitored

Mexico deports 311 Indians trying to infiltrate into US

One of those deported from Mexico narrated how dead bodies of others who had tried to sneak into the US were strewn around in a Panama forest

CCTV camera catches killers of Kamlesh Tiwari

Police began scrutiny of footage from CCTV cameras in the neighbourhood soon after the murder of Kamlesh Tiwari; the killers have been traced but not yet identified

ISIS emerges as most probable killer of Kamlesh Tiwari

The assailants who came to kill Kamlesh Tiwari were carrying two kinds of weapons, a knife and a gun, but they did not shoot and kill him

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you

%d bloggers like this: