By K.N. Pandita
Two judgments of the Supreme Court coming in quick succession last week have put UPA government to embarrassment. Add to it the row over Salman Rushdie’s aborted participation in literary meet in Jaipur that exposed Congress’ feigned secularist stunt in the background of elections to the state legislature in UP.
In the 2G Spectrum scam, the UPA government tried to shield former Telecom Minister A Raja. For nearly a year and half, the PMO delayed permission to the prosecution of the dismissed minister in the hope that the culprit would manage to wriggle out somehow.
That did not happen. The Supreme Court made a sensational comment saying the deposed Telecom Minister had violated the instructions from the PM within just an hour or its receipt. The PM did not react and did not feel that his authority was being undermined. No strong and purposeful Prime Minister would have accepted this position. Evidently Raja derived strength from a superior support structure that made the PM shut his mouth, and close his eyes and ears to what was happening in the Telecom Ministry.
Why did not the Supreme Court pass stricture against the PM by demanding his role in the light of his instructions being violated? Does it not mean that the PM agreed to become a silent party to the plans and conspiracy of the Telecom Minster since he was privy to what Raja was up to? A strong and deeply committed PM would have threatened to resign if his instructions were violated. Alas the PM succumbed to unidentified power source to which Raja had easy access.
The second case is the disputed date of birth of CAS General V.K. Singh. While the case is sub-judice, a junior babu in the Defence Ministry wrote an undated letter to the Army Headquarter to change the date of birth of the General to May 10, 1950 instead of 1951. Can a junior official of the rank of Joint Secretary in the MoD send a missive to the Adjutant General who is of the rank of Lt. Gen of the Indian Army directing him to tamper with the record? Nowhere in the world will one come across an instance wherein a Defence Ministry officer sends an undated dictation to the AHQ to tamper with the record. Did he obtain the sanction of the higher authorities before sending the letter?
Before the court hearing on February 3 and soon after the indictment verdict of the Supreme Court Bench on 2G Spectrum case, the Defence Minister Anthony came out with cryptic statement saying that the mistake in the entry of General Singh’s date of birth had happened in the Army. What does he mean by that? Does he mean to say that concerned departments of the Army meaning the Adjutant General and Military Secretary bungled about the issue? If yes, how then did he pronounce his negative judgment on the appeal of General V.K. Singh for setting the record straight at the level of Military Secretary? It was because of the rejection of his petition by the Defence Minister that General V.K. Singh was left with no option but to seek judicial redress.
What is very clear and indisputable is that a big conspiracy was hatched at the highest levels of the Army with the intention of doing harm to General V.K Singh and seeing his ouster one year in advance so as to secure the Line of Succession in the Army according to their choice. It has been established beyond doubt that General V.K. Singh refused to compromise on Adarsh scam in which some senior Army officers are involved. He has been tough on maintaining the highest profile of the Army and has not given corner to pressures brought on him for wrong doings. One is surprised that the rot should have gone deep into the UPA government that even the most prestigious national institution of the Army has not been spared. When a middle rank bureaucrat issues an illegal and ill-intended letter to the Adjutant General asking him to tamper with the official records, it is something which in ordinary course of things would not be sent even by the Defence Secretary, then we say the conspiracy against the Chief of Armed Staff is deep rooted. It would be in fitness of things that the Prime Minister orders an enquiry into this scandal that has brought the UPA government into disrepute. By advising the government to withdraw its order on General’s complaint, General V.K. Singh stands vindicated. The next hearing hopefully will be a verdict plus stricture against the government.
The UPA government has ceased to be an elected government working in the interests of the nation. It is involved in conspiracies, antics, fabrications and whimsical and arbitrary decisions. Look at the embarrassing situation it created for the Rajasthan government, for the participants in the literary meet at Raipur, for Rushdie and for an ordinary Indian citizen interested in the meet. The British government has been providing security to Rushdie for last twenty or more years during his stay in UK. But our government was incapable of providing him security for a week at Jaipur. It brought in the issue of law and order situation which his visit would give rise to forgetting that Islamic fundamentalists are much more active, and in stronger nexus in UK than in India. By denying permission to Rushdie, the UPA government has proved that it is spineless in the wake of pressures from Islamic fundamentalists; or that it made law and order an excuse to denigrate Rushdie and those who are liberal in expressing their views.
UPA government has supplied enough gun powder to the guns of its political opponents. An assorted group of undisciplined, directionless and disjointed Congressmen has hijacked the PMO and the country has been made an object of ridicule. It cannot take any decision much less implement it. That is why matters that could and should have been settled by the government are brought to the Supreme Court and the precious time of the Apex Court is wasted. How long can people remain silent on such a rot gone deep into the UPA?.