Advani's Frankenstein

According to growing evidence sections of the Sangh Parivar are implicated in terrorism. Some reports say that BJP leaders will be questioned. There is evidence of hawala funds coming to pro-Hindutva elements organizing terrorist acts. Given previous police records, it is entirely possible that all this will end as a damp squib. Indeed, to go by the perversity of India's electoral politics, it is entirely possible that the BJP will eventually gain from such allegations! But public perception about the BJP's link to terrorism will stick. Despite no convictions in various mega scams, public perception about corrupt leaders remains intact. Links to terrorism, if proved, will dent the core agenda of the BJP. Indeed, if proved, they could disastrously damage the BJP. One doubts if these allegations coming on the threshold of a general election will bring cheer to LK Advani, who looks to becoming the next prime minister. But Advani needs to reflect. Does he or does he not deserve this fate? Did he not thoughtlessly create the BJP link to terrorism? Recall recent history. 

In 1991 during a general election campaign the police stumbled on the Jain Hawala diaries that contained the names of over 40 national leaders cutting across parties. The names of Advani, Madhav Rao Scindia and VC Shukla were prominent in the list. It transpired that the same hawala conduits used the same hawala funds to pay terrorists in Kashmir. It became a TADA case. It was transferred to the CBI. 

Apparently, because big politicians were involved, the CBI arrested two small fry who received the funds for terrorists, and buried the terrorist angle of the case. One of the relatively unknown separatists at that time in Kashmir who benefited from the burial of the case was Salahuddin. Today he is based in Pakistan and heads the Hizbul Mujahideen. The CBI charged the politicians with committing corruption and with violating foreign exchange laws. Four political leaders admitted to newspapers and to TV that they had received the funds, which authenticated the Jain diaries. Later, though, some of these politicians contradicted their own telecast confessions when questioned by the police to state that they had not received the funds. The newspapers, committed to one political leader or the other, seized upon falsehoods to protect their respective favorites. The most widespread falsehood was that Prime Minister Narasimha Rao was pursuing this probe to target political adversaries. In fact Rao did not lift a finger to advance the police probe. Instead he used his influence to bury the probe. 

Rao buried the probe because he was falsely implicated in the case. He was not mentioned in the Jain diaries. After he became PM the Jains paid him a sum of money. Jain confessed this to the police, much after the probe began. This merited a separate corruption case. One police officer probing the case, friendly to BJP leader Madan Lal Khurana, who was a strong Advani loyalist at that time, was persuaded to rush to the Supreme Court and enter the Jain confession about payment to Rao as evidence. He did this without permission of his seniors who were handling the case. Ironically for BJP leaders, that police officer, now retired, has obtained a Congress ticket from Delhi to oppose the BJP! The inclusion of Rao's name in the Jain Hawala case altered the government's attitude. 

Displaying shocking ineptitude the Supreme Court buried the case for lack of sufficient evidence. Thanks to the PIL, of which this writer was one of the four signatories, the SC closely monitored the entire probe. The CBI deposed before it in camera on the progress of the investigation before launching prosecution. And yet, the prosecution failed due to insufficient evidence! Did not SC condemn itself by this ruling? In its final ruling on the case the SC sought a change in the procedure of appointing the Central Vigilance Commissioner. It expanded his power. How could the SC alter the prevalent system by invoking the Jain Hawala Case, which, according to its own ruling, lacked sufficient evidence? Much later Chief Justice JS Verma, who headed the Bench hearing the Jain Hawala Case, said in a seminar that the case had been mis-handled and deserved to be reopened. Who mis-handled it? He and his fellow Judges monitored the entire investigation! 

Now connect the Jain Hawala case with Advani's failure to check terrorism. Jain's money transactions were made before a general election. Apart from a few black sheep who received huge hawala funds that clearly belonged to them, either through corruption or through transfer of their own foreign funds, the rest received campaign donations unaware that money was linked to terror. Through a press conference I urged Advani to reveal the truth for sake of fighting terrorism. I reminded the media that Advani had championed electoral reform by seeking poll donations only through cheques. This case vindicated him. It exposed the dangers of cash donations. Yet, Advani remained silent. 

The case has a further link to terrorism. A year after the police probe began the Babri Masjid was demolished. It was a terrorist act. Contrary to what certain Indian and foreign commentators continue to repeat, immediately following the demolition there was a score of Muslim residents of Ayodhya who were killed by pro-BJP mobs. The police rounded up 35 suspects for the killing. There was insufficient evidence. They were all released. The case was buried. The killings were forgotten. 

A year later the retaliatory bomb blasts occurred in Bombay. Among those convicted for involvement in the terror blasts was Moolchand Shah who acted as the conduit for funds to the Bombay terrorists. Who is this Moolchand Shah? Why, the very same gentleman who was the main conduit for the hawala funds to the Jains and through them to the cream among India's politicians, including the late Rajiv Gandhi and Advani. Do not Hindu terrorists benefit India's foreign foes as much as do Islamist terrorists? Both divide the nation. So should Advani be surprised if it is found that hawala funds and terrorism have penetrated his party? Consider Salahuddin, Moolchand Shah, the Jain Hawala Case, the Bombay bomb blasts and the Malegaon blasts. Are not current developments a logical outcome of previous lapses?

Long back there was a fictitious scientist, Dr Frankenstein, who created a robotic monster. The monster is popularly named Frankenstein. The monster went out of control, spread terror, and destroyed the scientist. Has Advani, through his failure to nip terrorism when he could, created his own Frankenstein? It remains to be seen whether Advani destroys his Frankenstein, or whether his Frankenstein destroys him.        


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

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