oppn parties Tapas Paul Arrest: Why This Drama?

News Snippets

  • In reply to a question in Parliament, the government says it is empowered to lawfully intercept, monitor or decrpyt information stored in a computer resource in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
oppn parties
Tapas Paul Arrest: Why This Drama?

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Every time the investigative agencies or the police lay their hands on some politician or bureaucrat, they invariably hit back with what is now becoming the stock allegation – the government is indulging in vendetta. It has been the same with the Aam Aadmi Party, whose MPs and MLAs must have made a record of sorts by being, percentage wise, the most raided or arrested legislators. Arvind Kejriwal never tires of saying that Narendra Modi is using the power of the state to crush the party’s voice by targeting his leaders. Now Mamata Banerjee has joined the list by terming the arrest of her party MP Tapas Paul “political vendetta.” What do these leaders want? That the state should ignore charges of wrongdoing against legislators only because they are politicians? Do they want two set of laws – one for the common man and another for politicians?

Tapas Paul has been accused of taking favours from the scandal-tainted Rose Valley group that had swindled a huge amount of money from the people across several states. Paul had served on the board of the chit fund and was being investigated for his role. He was arrested when he was unable to explain how payments made to him were written at reduced figures in the books. Common people are arrested for lesser things. Politicians are given a huge leeway in any case. Agencies are already under pressure as they have to always protect their backs against raiding big names. If the opposition piles further pressure by alleging vendetta, no politician will be touched in future. Even a few years earlier, it was “let the law take its course.” The change in the attitude of opposition parties shows that either they have lost faith in the course of law or they want a carte blanche for their leaders. Why can’t Mamata let the law take its own course in case of Tapas Paul? If he is innocent, the agencies and the central government will have egg on their faces.

The behavior of these politicians every time one of their party leaders is arrested has emboldened others too. The manner in which former chief secretary of Tamil Nadu, P Rama Mohana Rao, chose to rubbish the Centre for raiding a serving chief secretary was most distressing, to say the least. What did Rao want the Centre to do after it found many charges of corruption and nepotism against Rao and his family members? Ignore them, just because Rao was on the chair he was? Rao could muster the courage to say things against the central government only because he, like misguided political leaders, feels there are two set of rules and politicians and bureaucrats enjoy a special immunity. He took his cue from politicians.

If corruption is to be eradicated, the law must be allowed to take its course. If a political leader or a highly placed bureaucrat is to be arrested, he or she must be. The opposition leaders should refrain from indulging in high voltage dramatics or terming it as “political vendetta.” The Sharada and Rose Valley chit fund scams have wiped out huge sums of money from the savings of the poor in Bengal, Orissa and Assam, among other states. As a peoples leader, the least Mamata can do is to ensure that the guilty are punished, even if they are from her own party. Similarly, Kejriwal should acknowledge that in his hurry to catapult himself in politics, he has admitted riff-raff in his party who are bringing it a bad name and shame. He should rid the party of such people instead of crying wolf. By taking off on a tangent, these leaders are trying to protect the guilty and attract a certain amount of guilt through association.