An eye-wash

The Maharashtra government’s  farcical follow-up of the report of the judicial commission that went into the Adarsh society scam exposes not only its unwillingness to act on corruption cases but also the inability of the Congress leadership to persuade it to do so. Party vice-president Rahul Gandhi had openly asked chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to review the state government’s decision to reject the report.

What the government did was a partial acceptance of the report, limiting its proposed action against 12  bureaucrats who had been indicted by the commission. All the politicians, including four former chief ministers and the present Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, have been let off by the government. The state government’s decision is unfair and discriminatory and is only meant to shield the politicians who were involved in the irregularities and who benefitted from them.

The commission had clearly indicted the politicians also. Chavan’s claim that there was “no criminality” in the decisions of the politicians is wrong and disingenuous. It was their political patronage and approval of irregularities that led to illegal allotment of flats to undeserving persons and benami holders including their own kin. Yet the chief mister has wrongly, and blatantly, claimed that there is no actionable wrongdoing on their part. The CBI had moved to prosecute one of them, Ashok Chavan, but the state governor,  refused permission for prosecution. The action proposed against the bureaucrats is also a sham. The procedure is to institute departmental enquiries against them. Nine of the 12 bureaucrats have retired and they will be out of their purview. These inquiries in any case do not culminate in any action. Politicians will ensure that they do not come to any harm because all of them were together and thickly involved on the subversion of law. The partial acceptance amounts to its rejection only.

Rahul Gandhi should explain to the public if this is what he expected when he wanted a review of the government’s decision. He has tried to assume the role of crusader against corruption and has promised that it would not be tolerated.  But his words have not carried weight with a government of his own party. The Congress is a centralised party where the words and wishes of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are followed without questioning. But when it comes to actions against its senior leaders it is hypocritical and duplicitous. 

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