Saturday, April 16, 2011

Anna should lead by example. The Bhushans should be thrown out.....in fact, investigated.

This is beginning to look like the ultimate tear jerker on TV. A script written to bring in the viewers! Old man Anna goes on a fast against corruption. His two closest aides are the father-son duo of Shanti and Prashant Bhushan. Anna wins the battle as the government comes under pressure from a clearly undemocratic blackmail-like agitation. The frenzied mobs hail this as a victory against corrupt politicians. Both Bhushans then get onto the panel which will draft the actual anti corruption Bill.....and suddenly comes the twist in the tale! The two Bhushans are themselves caught......there are accusations of them being corrupt; their integrity is questionable.....the story just got more interesting!

One of the things that irked me the most during the 4 days when democracy was hijacked by Anna and his armchair critics was the smug feeling of self righteousness amongst his followers. Those who crowded Jantar Mantar; those who made their first appearances on TV (especially as members of panels); those who “liked” the movement on Facebook were all right. Those who had a divergent point of view.....even just questioned the methods while supporting the cause otherwise.....were supporters of corruption and in fact, evil. It appeared as though all politicians were corrupt; all citizens were moral uprightness personified. The accusation against the Bhushans should prove a point I have been making all along – all Indians.....OK, let me correct myself....most Indians are guilty of corruption themselves. And I don’t mean of just giving bribes. I mean actually stealing money from the government by not paying taxes as required under the law. Taxes that could have been utilized for the uplift of the poor. It now appears that the Bhushans are guilty of much more.....that of indulging in open corruption. That of trying to bribe the judiciary.

Many of Anna’s supporters are shattered. As I am sure he is himself. He’s made a brave statement that if this is true, then both Bhushans would be dropped. Many who supported the movement feel that this is all a government ploy to discredit the movement. But I fail to understand how this matters. Is the truth more important or the motivation behind the release of the CD? In fact, isn’t this also a whistleblower operation that someone has conducted against a corrupt person? Let’s say the government did engender the release of the tapes at this time. How does that take away from the truth? The forensic labs have said the tape was not spliced. Prashant Bhushan has himself admitted that the voice could be his fathers. His only defense was that the tape was spliced. That’s proven not to be the case. If we ask ministers to be sacked on the basis of prima facie involvement, should the same rule not apply to the Bhushans? Will they now show decency by resigning before they are thrown out by Anna?

Then look at the charges made against Shanti Bhushan in his recent land purchase in Allahabad. A 7800 sq. meter plot of land in the posh area of Civil Lines in Allahabad was bought by him for just Rs 5 lacs when its actual market value is said to be Rs 18-19 crores. Why did Shanti Bhushan underdeclare the value of the land? Obviously to save on the stamp duty. He paid only Rs 45000 as stamp duty when he should have paid more than Rs 1.5 crores. Now isn’t this a copy book case of what politicians are accused of? Did he learn these tricks when he was a politician himself so many years back?! Should this man have been allowed at all by Anna in his coterie of confidantes?

Of course, the world at large may not know that Prashant Bhushan is the lawyer who has petitioned the President of India for clemency for Afzal Guru....the one who was proven guilty of attacking Parliament and was given the death sentence by the Supreme Court. Prashant Bhushan’s argument was that Afzal Guru “was not the main culprit....he didn’t personally attack the Parliament but was only involved in the conspiracy”. Just like Osama Bin Laden, Dawood Ibrahim and their types don’t deserve the death penalty because they didn’t carry out any attacks personally! Frankly, I don’t mind his taking this position in this case.....as a lawyer you often take cases which are interesting and there is nothing wrong with that. My problem is that how can such people suddenly claim to be so morally superior to the rest of their countrymen that they start preaching to them? After all, how can a public personality separate out his “professional conduct” from his personal beliefs?

The purpose of this piece is not to belittle the anti-corruption movement. India needed one and it’s finally had one. All thanks to Anna. But the purpose of this piece is to drive a little sense into the million of followers who believe that hunger strikes are the way to rule the country. It is to stop Anna Hazare’s ambitions to start one more hunger strike.....this time for the right to recall MPs. It is to remove the self righteousness that pervaded the entire movement. It is to bring back a semblance of maturity to the issue and force a more balanced debate. It is to make sure that democracy is not replaced by mobocracy. I strongly decry the fast-undo-death route as being blackmail against a legally elected government. But I decry even more the idiotic role of the followers.

The real truth is that the Bhushans should resign. And be sued. In fact, Anna Hazare should sue them personally. It’s a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. If we drill deeper, we will realize that before we can point fingers at politicians, we need to point them at ourselves first. We cannot take the “holier than thou” attitude we have taken so far. We need to do many things that I have listed in my earlier posts to root out corruption; not just go out in frenzied morchas to enact a bill that will most certainly harm the very democracy that has given us the freedom to carry out such morchas in the first place.....

14 comments:

  1. I always said,, we all Indian should uplift our morals and should be honest by ourselves, I drop and lost my iphone two days back, with all efforts not to get back.Even paying request did not helped.
    We should be honest by ourselves. Politicians are not someone outside the world but are part of us and reflects the society as a whole.

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  2. Very well articulated Prashant. Just what I was thinking. Can we all resort to blackmail and request for panels for everything that WE feel is justified? We elect the government to enact laws. If we do not like what they do, do not elect them. Electoral reforms are a must. As are police reforms. And so many others. We cannot resort to blackmail every time we dislike something. And also from the other side of the fence, if we all stopped giving, they would stop taking.

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  3. Very valid point. Unfortunately, many people in the country are misguided and just have the heard mentality. We have a long way to go...

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  4. Once again you have started your hyperbolic excrement.
    Even the name of the investigating agency isn't stated. Why shouldn't we believe that the CDs are fake?
    Nothing was done so far on the basis of merely prima facie evidence. Don't make up facts. That there was a huge 2G scam has been unanimously agreed upon because THERE WAS A SCAM. No minister has ever stepped down on the basis of a prima facie evidence only.

    All the things you have stated about Shanti Bhushan have been refuted. They are clearly attempts at maligning him.

    I can clearly see why anyone would have problems with the Lokpal. The corrupt of course.

    However, I think Shanti Bhushan can be removed from the panel but should be replaced by Kiran Bedi and no one else. Prashant Bhushan is completely untainted and your baseless allegations just expose your ulterior intent.

    No one's a bigger armchair Rommel than you yourself as you and your ilk, the sycophants, links of the same chain, haven't even read the Jan Lokpal bill. Which is why everything you have written on the Lokpal has so far been full of trash and excrement.

    The movement is noble and the people are still supporting it. Of course the corrupt ones are opposed to it because of the fear of getting exposed. But exposed they will be...be warned, hey corrupt ones.

    You do not speak for the people of the nation, stop acting like you do.

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  5. Full marks to Anna, most people support him and the India against corruption group. Come out of your fancy luxury life and face reality for a change. Everything was done up to this point as per the constitution. The efforts all went in vain. The top ministers are clearly corrupt too. So Anashan was the only way out. And there is nothing undemocratic about it. It is VERY democratic because it seeks to gather support from public. Very few people would give a damn if someone like you say would have sat for a hunger strike. Anna has impeccable integrity. And more importantly, the issue of corruption is of gargantuan importance. So HUGE support was generated. The corrupt govt was forced to pay heed because of the people's support. If Anna would have had little support, they would not have budged from their position of stubbornness, even though the intent of the hunger strike might have been noble and the issue important.

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  6. it is becoz of lying media people like you that india suffers....

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  7. stop misleading....no facts are out yet

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  8. Dear Anonymous,

    The only thing you are proving by your comments and the attacking tone is that Prashant is right in saying "Those who had a divergent point of view.....even just questioned the methods while supporting the cause otherwise.....were (considered to be)supporters of corruption and in fact, evil.". The point of a blog is to have a free and open debate, and if you dont agree, its fine, but then there are people like us who do appreciate what Prashant is saying in this blog and may disagree with him in another blog. but we cant make personal comments about the blogger and say he is lying..simply if he is saying something you dont want to hear.

    Lets try to get our existing institutions in working order before we create new ones. Lets all be clean in our public and personal dealing before we support others who are supposedly "uncorruptible".

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  9. The CDs are sliced. The CDs were part of the smear campaign that has been going on ever since Anna sat on the hunger strike.
    Bhushan's press conference says it all. He has reports of two well known forensic labs, unlike those, even the names of which were not given, whose "reports" (Which were not published by the lying media like Times, Headlines today consisting of journalists like yourself who specialize in only thing - deception) were cited in Times, Headlines today, CNN etc.

    WATCH THIS VIDEO EVERYONE....That the CDs are fake will be clear on seeing this video.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJGuJYW5MZ8

    If anyone needs to be "thrown out", it is people like you...who are part of the propaganda and deception machinery of the corporate-politicos-media nexus.

    The media has been constantly trying to shape public opinion about the CD even though the contents of the CD were strangely not made public. They were trying their best to make the public believe that some forensic labs, whose names were also not published, had said that the CD was indeed genuine. THE REAL TRUTH is that the public were naturally suspicious as to the identity of the forensic lab as well as the real contents of the CD. Everyone in India now is wary of lying journalists like you.

    No attempts have been made to catch those who circulated the CD. Clearly, senior politicians, surely from Congress and perhaps also from Samajwadi Party, Amar Singh, the media and the Delhi police etc. are behind this smear campaign.

    All the criminals need to be put behind bars for such a defamation campaign.

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  10. The CDs are sliced. The CDs were part of the smear campaign that has been going on ever since Anna sat on the hunger strike.
    Bhushan's press conference says it all. He has reports of two well known forensic labs, unlike those, even the names of which were not given, whose "reports" (Which were not published by the lying media like Times, Headlines today consisting of journalists like yourself who specialize in only thing - deception) were cited in Times, Headlines today, CNN etc.

    WATCH THIS VIDEO EVERYONE....That the CDs are fake will be clear on seeing this video.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJGuJYW5MZ8

    If anyone needs to be "thrown out", it is people like you...who are part of the propaganda and deception machinery of the corporate-politicos-media nexus.

    The media has been constantly trying to shape public opinion about the CD even though the contents of the CD were strangely not made public. They were trying their best to make the public believe that some forensic labs, whose names were also not published, had said that the CD was indeed genuine. THE REAL TRUTH is that the public were naturally suspicious as to the identity of the forensic lab as well as the real contents of the CD. Everyone in India now is wary of lying journalists like you.

    No attempts have been made to catch those who circulated the CD. Clearly, senior politicians, surely from Congress and perhaps also from Samajwadi Party, Amar Singh, the media and the Delhi police etc. are behind this smear campaign.

    All the criminals need to be put behind bars for such a defamation campaign.

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  11. And now even Times is forced to accept the REAL TRUTH...which is that journalists like you and those of Times, CNN, Headlines Today etc. are just plain deceivers. The CD was indeed fabricated

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Bhushan-cites-experts-asserts-CD-was-spliced-to-tar-graft-war/articleshow/8007849.cms

    I hope this will silence loud mouths like you even if for a little while. The Jan Lokpal movement has tremendous civilian support and corrupt individuals are obviously feeling the pinch. Clearly, empty vessels sound much.

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  12. @ Anonymous.....now its clear why you are so supportive of Shanti Bhushan and co.....you simply cannot take an opposing point of view.

    Let me join issue with you. The fact that the tapes are doctored are claims made by Prashant Bhushan. The sources he has quoted are private sources....which may have been influenced themselves (isn't that possible?). My point here is that eventually it may well be proven that the tapes are doctored. Just as eventually it may be proven that Shashi Tharoor was not guilty of his connections with the Kochi team. But in public service, we expect people to resign before proven guilty.....why not with civil society experts?

    Besides, don't forget the other point about the land deal.....

    And what about all those charges of nepotism that we levy against politicians? Why do we need two people from the same family anyways? If they are two independent people (and should not be seen as family members), then why should the same rule not apply to politician sons and daughters, who are independently elected?

    For your comfort, let me tell you that I am not a journalist. And I often write views opposed to my group's. So this has nothing to do with any media bias. In fact, I feel media is giving the Bhushan's too much footage.....and drowning out any voices of dissent....given its own agendas.

    One request: Please don't get personal. And please have an open mind to listen to a different point of view. There are many like me who are writing on similar lines....we are also civil society.....I dont even know any politician.....and no I don't even have anyone working in telecom (so am not a beneficiary of 2G scam)....so relax buddy.

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  13. I can take an opposing point of view alright.
    But there has to be merit in such a view. There isn't any in yours.

    1."The fact that the tapes are doctored are claims made by Prashant Bhushan. " >> Nope. They have reports of two forensic labs. They, unlike the media, have a)disclosed the names of the labs and b)have also given the details of the reports to the media itself. In that video link I gave, anyone would clearly find out the real truth - that the cd was doctored. Entire parts were tampered with and copied and pasted from old conversations between Mulayam Singh and other persons. So that the CDs are doctored are proven beyond doubt.

    2. "The sources he has quoted are private sources....which may have been influenced themselves (isn't that possible?)" >> Nope. They haven't merely cited the reports. They are very keen to make the cd public. And they even played parts of it during the press conference which clearly proved that the CD was a fake.

    3. There is no question of a person resigning on the basis of a fake CD. On the contrary, that the CD is fake just goes to show why and from where the other allegations are coming.

    4. Why are you constantly saying that it is not yet proved that the cd is fake? When will it be proved? INDEPENDENT forensic labs have proven it. The Indian public wouldn't settle for the corrupt govt-run/influenced forensic lab reports, unless of course everything is made public. But the intent of making things trasparent, including assets, videographing of all drafting sessions etc. has only come from the civil society members.

    5. It is obvious that this cd was part of a smear campaign. Why are you not talking about that? What about nabbing the culprits and throwing them behind bars?

    6. Prashant Bhushan had himself raised the point about him and his father being present on the committee simultaneously. He was PERSUADED to stay on the committee.

    7. There is no "scam" involved in the Bhushan property issue. Shanti Bh. has said that if there are any dues pending, he will have them cleared. They have a clean record and clearly, their efforts at transparency at every step clearly vindicates their stand.

    It is the media now that should be made to stand in a trial. Why did they mislead the people of the nation? Why were they advertising the mysterious forensic experts/lab whose mere identity wasn't even disclosed??

    It is time to move on with the Lokpal drafting and catch the real culprits.

    Anyone can make a fake cd about any of these members...then no one will be deemed fit as a suitable replacement, unless of course it is someone the media-corporate-politician brotherhood would prefer!!

    8. "I feel media is giving the Bhushan's too much footage and drowning out any voices of dissent"

    Nothing is further from the truth. The media, which was practically silent for a long time regarding the Radia tapes, which were NOT fake and which proved BEYOND DOUBT the dirty nexus and corruption, were trying their best to instil in people's minds that the CD was genuine. They were playing their part, with all guns blazing, to establish the false claim and somehow derail the movement or defame the honest crusaders.

    Finally, it was not without reason that I assumed you were a journalist, as in your profile it is written that you work in the media or communications industry.
    Anyway that was a wrong assumption on my part.

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  14. Anna is misguided and being misused by corrupt and greedy people like bhusans and agnivesh.

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