The Special Court has rejected the petition of Mr. Subramanian Swamy seeking to make Home Minister Mr. P Chidambaram a co-accused along with former Telecom Minister Mr. A Raja in the 2G Spectrum scam. The petition was tactically flawed. The desire to insulate the Prime Minister and single out Mr. Chidambaram was motivated. To accuse Mr. Chidambaram of being actually involved in corruption was arguably hasty. Ironically much stronger evidence exists of not actual corruption but of abetting corruption which is also a cognizable offence. However, that evidence involves not only Mr. Chidambaram but also the PM and his senior colleagues. Did that fact inhibit the petitioners?
|If the government persists in clinging to office it makes mockery of basic democratic norms. Has not the time come for the extreme step of prosecuting the PM and his senior colleagues of abetting corruption?
I have repeatedly drawn attention to the constructive responsibility of individual ministers and to the collective responsibility of the cabinet to point out that the entire government deserve to face the consequences of this mega scam.
Thus far the attempt has been limited to making Home Minister Mr. P Chidambaram a co-accused along with former Telecom Minister Mr. A Raja. But regardless of whether or not Mr. Chidambaram was a beneficiary of the corrupt deal the PM and his senior colleagues cannot escape the charge of abetting corruption which is a punishable offence. It is perhaps the soft corner for the PM that dissuaded the petitioners in this case from focusing on the open and shut case proving the cabinet’s abetment of Mr. Raja’s alleged corruption.
To put it briefly, in a letter to the PM, Finance Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee drew attention to a note dated March 25, 2011 which was prepared with inputs from several ministries including Law, Finance and Telecom, as well as from the cabinet secretariat and the PMO. That note was circulated by the Cabinet Secretariat. The note made clear that after initially opposing Mr. Raja, then Finance Minister Mr. Chidambaram did not prevent him from going ahead with his policy of issuing the 2G licenses. In other words on March 25, 2011, if not earlier, the PM and his senior cabinet colleagues were aware of what Mr. Raja was doing. They took no action against him. On April 2, 2011 Mr. Raja was charge sheeted by the Supreme Court when no action had been taken against him by the government. According to Section Ten of the Prevention of Corruption Act this would amount to a clear case of abetting corruption.
Section Ten of the Prevention of Corruption Act reads:
“Whoever, being a public servant, in respect of whom either of the offences defined in Section 8 or Section 9 (defrauding the state) is committed, abets the offence, whether or not that offence is committed in consequence of that abetment, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than six months but which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine.”
Mr. Mukherjee’s note makes clear from the sequence of events revealed that the PM and his senior colleagues despite knowledge of Mr. Raja’s actions did nothing to prevent him.
If the government persists in clinging to office it makes mockery of basic democratic norms. Has not the time come for the extreme step of prosecuting the PM and his senior colleagues of abetting corruption? That would assume of course that the opposition’s fight is against corruption and not against only Mr. Chidambaram.