One by one, the UPA’s desperate efforts to cover up its own scams by trying to implicate the previous NDA and later Narendra Modi himself, are being shown up for what they are: a sham, and a naked effort to misuse the CBI and pressure the judicial system to constrain and embarrass its main political rival, the BJP.
Yesterday (15 October), a special 2G court delivered a third consecutive slap to the UPA in less a week when it threw out a flawed CBI case to implicate Shyamal Ghosh, telecom secretary during the Vajpayee era when Pramod Mahajan was the minister. The court effectively said that the charge sheet was cooked up “for extraneous reasons”. Ghosh was accused of favouring Hutchison Max (now part of Vodafone), Sterling Cellular and Bharti Cellular with extra spectrum.
It was left to Arun Jaitley to clearly lay the blame in the right quarter. He blogged that, “there is no doubt that the charge sheet was filed at the behest of Kapil Sibal, the telecom minister in the UPA government.” Yes, the same Kapil “zero loss” Sibal, A Raja’s worthy successor, who was handpicked to fling mud on the previous NDA in order to take the heat off the Manmohan Singh government in the 2G scam.
That Ghosh got his reprieve from OP Saini, the Special Judge in 2G cases, is sweet justice for it clearly suggests that the scam had its origins in UPA’s machinations and not the NDA’s. When though the late Pramod Mahajan was no angel, the fact is the telecom policy mess left behind by the Narasimha Rao and UF governments were finally cleared up by the NDA, with Arun Shourie playing the cleanup guy. His clean up set the stage for robust growth, but the UPA messed up again by making the industry again scam-ridden.
The two previous rebukes to the UPA, and especially the Congress, came not from a trial court, but the Supreme Court itself.
On 13 October, the court tossed out the Congress-fostered Kargil coffin scam – intended to tarnish George Fernandes, who was defence minister in Vajpayee’s government. While a trial court had already cleared the name of Fernandes and all accused in the coffin purchase case, including Jaya Jaitley, a PIL was filed against the CBI’s final report. It was this PIL that bit the dust this week.
The most embarrassing setback, of course, came in the Sanjiv Bhatt case, when the Supreme Court dismissed his plea for a special investigation team (SIT) to investigate an FIR against him filed by the Gujarat government that alleges that Bhatt forced his driver to falsely corroborate his claim that he was present at a meeting called by Modi as chief minister of Gujarat on 27 February 2002, after the Godhra train burning had inflamed communal passions.
The apex court flushed this plea down the toilet saying Bhatt had come “with unclean hands”. Among other things, the court found Bhatt, a former Gujarat IPS officer, playing the Congress’ game and using NGOs and parts of the media to pressure the amicus curiae who was asked to vet the SIT that exonerated Modi in the 2002 riots.
This judgment, even though it relates to Sanjiv Bhatt, is actually damning for the Congress, for it clearly establishes that it was mortally afraid of Modi’s rise and wanted him out of the way by framing him for the Gujarat riots when even the SIT had found nothing to implicate him.
That the Lutyens media too was willing to play ball with the Congress to repeatedly waylay Modi is a sad commentary on how the politician-media nexus works in Delhi.