Sabotage attempt

Sabotage attempt

While fresh corruption scandals are falling out of the closet, there is reason for serious concern over the fate of those that are being investigated and have even reached the trial stage.

The 2G licence allocation scam has been the biggest corruption scandal to hit the country, involving political leaders, high officials and important business houses. Fresh disclosures have given rise to genuine suspicions that attempts have been made to soften the case and to help the accused to get away. An audio CD of a conversation purported to have taken place between a senior CBI prosecutor, A K Singh, and an accused, Sanjay Chandra of Unitech, which has come to light, shows the former revealing the prosecution’s strategy in the case and advising the latter how to scuttle the case. This is not only a violation of professional norms but a gross undermining of national interests which are involved in the case.

The authenticity of the tape has not been established yet but it does not seem to be in serious doubt. The CBI has sent the tape for forensic testing but has removed the prosecutor from the case and instituted an enquiry against him. The revelations also cast doubts about the role of a  star witness of the prosecution who should actually have been an accused. What the conversation points to is a conspiracy to weaken the case by flouting the norms  for questioning, manipulating their sequence and producing testimonies favourable to the accused during the trial. There are also indications that the prosecutor’s attempt to sabotage the case went beyond protecting Sanjay Chandra, as there are also references to his contacts with another accused in the case.

The matter assumes serious dimensions because the entire 2G case investigation and prosecution were being  done by the CBI under the supervision of the Supreme Court. It now appears its instructions have been flouted. Any attempt to manipulate the trial amounts to hoodwinking the court. If this happens with the highest court of the land in a case which has attracted national attention, it could happen in any case. The disclosures have again put a question mark on the CBI’s credibility and its ability and will to bring wrongdoers to book. The CBI director’s comment that its prosecutor’s alleged misconduct is only a stray case is difficult to accept in view of its own record. If the prosecution works for the defence, what happens to the rule of law?

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