Congress' duplicity

Congress' duplicity

Immediately after the Maharashtra governor rejected the CBI request for permission to prosecute former chief minister Ashok Chavan on charges relating to the Adarsh Housing Society scandal, the state government has rejected the report of the judicial commission which has indicted many leaders and bureaucrats for irregularities, favouritism and an undue haste to benefit the Society.

 

The leaders include four former chief ministers including Sushilkumar Shinde who is now Union home minister. The state government’s refusal to take follow-up action on the report exposes the duplicity of the Congress on the issue of corruption. It shows that the party has not learnt any lessons from the electoral drubbing it received in many states including Delhi and is grossly out of touch with the mood of the people. All talk by party leader Rahul Gandhi about zero tolerance for corruption sounds hollow in the face of the refusal of the party to take action in one of the most discussed cases of high-profile corruption in the country.

The Commission has found that rules were blatantly violated with regard to membership of the society and construction of the flats. The flats were ostensibly for defence personnel but most beneficiaries were politicians, bureaucrats and other influential people. Successive Congress chief ministers of the state favoured the Society and facilitated irregularities in return for benefits. The Comptroller and Auditor-General had also found that those in power and with responsibility had betrayed the people for personal aggrandisement.  The state government and the party have had no compunctions about rejecting the report even without giving a reason for it. The government has said that it rejected the report in public interest. Actually, public interest would demand that the government accept the report whose conclusions were arrived at after a painstaking and transparent investigation for over two years.

The state government is trying to cover up a very sordid scandal involving powerful people. The party might feel that action against many senior leaders would further confirm the image of corruption the party has. But taking no action and defending those found to be corrupt is worse and would again show the party leadership as complicit in corruption and hypocritical in its claims. Making laws to deal with corruption is not enough. What is needed is the willingness and courage to act in cases of corruption. If the judicial report is to be rejected why was it constituted and tax payers’ money  wasted on it?

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