TWO INVESTIGATIONS. BOTH HIGH PROFILE – SAME INVESTIGATION AGENCY – DIFFERING STANDARDS – WHY
The last two years have been the busiest for the premier investigating agency in the country. The last two years saw the surfacing of the biggest scam ever to have surfaced on the face of earth . The scam which is alleged to have caused the nation a loss of 1.92 lakh crore. After having been in denial for two years, owing to media pressure, owing also the weight of contradictions within the coalition government at the Union and perhaps the overwhelming evidence right in the face of the rulers, and also the expendable human face , Raja of DMK, CBI was allowed to investigate after a few raps on the knuckles from the apex court of the Country.
We will not even presently go into the question whether the CBI is the best, does it deserve the seeding it gets amongst the detective agencies in the Country, Is it beyond political manipulation etc. The answers to these are in public domain and we don’t want CBI blushing in embarrassment, if these niceties still govern its conduct, that is.
What is 2G case:
The allegation in the case was that the rules were tweaked, procedures short-circuited and beneficiaries of largesse (2G spectrum) were identified as an official favour. The cut off date was advanced, EMDs were fraudulently secured and equals were elbowed out. A procedure of “first come first serve” was followed even though the advice was to go for “public auction”. The money lost by reason of all the above, presumptive loss, is shown to be at 1.92 lakh crore. The CAG found fault with the procedures.
For years, the Government lived in denial. Only when the Supreme Court directed investigation, did it gather pace. How did the investigation go on :
a) First, the tweaking of procedures, advancement of cut off dates, was evidenced and established
b) Then the Public Servant (the Minister) concerned was questioned and arrested
c) The beneficiary Companies were identified, who are evidenced to have paid in cash or kind to the Minister or his nominees.
d) Money trail was found in respect of one beneficiary.. 200 crores to kalaingar TV.. The decision makers were arrested, Kanimozhi, Sarath of Kalaignar TV
e) Kanimozhi was denied bail after summons were issued by the cognizance taking court under section 309 Cr.P.C.
f) Rest of the corporate arrested
During the course of investigation, Kapil Sibal came on TV, and said there is no loss at all. What did Kapil Sibal say!!
We only followed Arun Shouries policy of first come first serve
CAG report is incredulous.
PAC proceedings were rubbished,
Murali Manohar Joshi was rubbished.
And then the Prime Minister defends Raja in Rajya Sabha saying that the Government stands by the decision in 2G.
During the course of Trial, Raja says, the present Home Minister and Prime Minister were aware of the entire decision making process. The Government said it is the statement of an accused, not entitled to any weight. The CBI does not take cognizance of it. After such statement, when a petition is filed in Supreme Court to enquire into Chidamabaram role, CBI says no need to investigate Chidambaram. The complicity is glaring, with a Minister in Government, Pranav Mukherjee writing that the then Finance Ministry was complicit.
While the course of investigation was sequential, the last phase of the investigation, which included :
giving a clean chit to the Home Minister,
not even touching the Prime Minister,
not questioning Kapil Sibal .
not questioning the PMO when Subramaniam Swamy had sent representations to the PMO since two years
showed that after all it is CBI, and has its fault-lines ingrained in it, to toe the rulers’ line
What is happening in A.P. since the last two years
A 1000 Kms south from the place of action, in a Southern State of Andhra Pradesh there are investigations going on currently into the “new prince on the move” – Sri Y.S. Jagan Mohan reddy group of companies. The allegations against him are that he helped a few corporate and individuals to gain largesse and make money by using the official position of his father, late YSR, who was the Chief Minister of the State during 2004 to 2009. The allegation is
a) A Company floated by Jagan Mohan reddy, Sakshi, received investments from the beneficiaries of State actions, in the years 2004-2009, which are as a quid pro quo for official favours shown to such private individuals and firms
Since the investigation is by the same Investigating agency, (CBI) one would have expected the CBI to
a) First – determine whether there were any official favours at all by YSR Government in favour of those individuals/companies (as was done by CBI in the case of 2G to find out whether there was any change in procedures, cut off dates, DDs being received on the sly towards EMD etc.)
b) Then determine who was responsible for the official favour – ( As was done by CBI in 2G.. question Raja, Shourie)
c) Then identify the beneficiaries of that largesse (As was done in 2G.. Reliance, etc)
d) Identify the trail of money and question the conduits or beneficiaries (such as Kanimozhi, Sarath, Kalaignar TV )
e) And then determine by evidence and trial, as to how the guilt is established.
However, in Jagans case, the investigation has taken a course, which is now in legal circles referred to as “reverse investigation”.
So far, no evidence collected or no Public Servant arrested after collecting evidence that there was indeed an official favour.
There is no material on record whether any person was benefitted, deliberately, in a departure from Rules and procedures
But then, the first person to be arrested is the Financial Advisor of Jagans group of Companies, Sri Vijay Sai Reddy, on the ground that he secured investments into Jagan Mohan Reddy group of companies, as a quid pro quo for the official favours shown to certain known, unknown, named and unnamed individuals.
There is no evidence collected as to
what was the official favour,
loss to the exchequer,
How plausible is it to assume that private citizens could have caused the departure from procedures by the government since Jagan was a private businessman between 2004-2009
Huge rumours are doing the rounds about the imminence of Jagan’s arrest. While the man looks unfrazzled, a neutral observer, is wont to ask : Why this Kolaveri?
This is not a case of complete dissimilarities in investigation.
The striking similarity is : Clean chits being given. While Kapil Sibal was not even questioned, Chidambaram was given a clean chit without investigation.
Down south.. While one after the other kept naming Chandrababu Naidu as the navigator for all these decisions, the CBI bends backwards to give a clean chit to Naidu. Every single time, civil society, law courts and media questions as to why Naidu is not even called for questioning, the CBI hides itself.
The tentativeness associated with any investigation, the open-eyed and open minded investigation which is required to ensure that the truth comes out, are unabashedly given up to respond to a political mandate of putting down an adversary.
CBI is investigating on the basis of a conclusion that there had been official favours, (which is to be evidenced and proved) with no evidence worth the name and then the investigation proceeds into enquiry into the alleged end-user.
Another important issue about the on-going investigation in AP is the “musings” of the investigators. Every day, unofficial briefings are given to rival media houses, who are pitted against Sakshi, about the details of investigation, the statements given by witnesses, the confessions of the co-accused. So much so, that a W.P. was filed in the High Court, by Rama Krishna Raju, a purchaser of a plot in EMAAR case, saying that the CBI , the prosecuting agency which should avoid a trial by media, is promoting “trial by media” by selective leaks, and the call details of the Joint Director, CBI were enclosed to the said W.P.
Where is the country headed? When will the CBI redeem itself? Don’t we a country one billion, deserve a lot better, straighter and cleaner prosecutors? Don’t we need to have a scientific and rational investigative agency, which will do its job and importantly “let the law take its course”.
Sadly, yet another instance where a few officers, motivated by partisan considerations, are taking the CBI down along with them.