Sunday, November 27, 2011

Kiran Bedi in trouble once again…..

There is an old saying that there cannot be smoke without fire. In the case of Kiran Bedi, there is suddenly a lot of smoke all around her and her NGOs. Does this mean that there is a fire somewhere nearby?

Some months back, it was the Indian Express that carried a story alleging that Kiran Bedi charged her conference organizers business class fares but actually traveled economy. Even the economy tickets she bought from Air India were discounted to the extent of 75% – as she availed of the benefits that the government gave her as part of her Gallantry Awards entitlement. At that time, she had said that the conference organizers knew about what she was doing. When TOI did a check with a few organizers, they denied being aware of this. This time around, it’s a lawyer who has filed a complaint against the Kiran Bedi. Again, the nature of the accusation is similar to the one in the past – Kiran Bedi (it is alleged; not proved yet) has misappropriated donations made by foreign companies.

As expected, Kiran Bedi responded by tweeting about her innocence. But rather than giving an explanation, she played the “I am always under attack” card – again. This time she apparently tweeted “For me now nothing is a surprise” making it appear that she was the victim of another campaign of slander against her. But if there really wasn’t anything at all in the case, then why did the
Delhi Court
order the Delhi Police to file an FIR at all? Why did the court simply not throw out the complainant’s case?

That brings me to the point of abuse of power that Kiran Bedi has been exercising. Why was the Delhi Police averse to registering an FIR against her? Because she was their former boss? Because she still has friends in the organization? Or because she is a part of Team Anna – and any action the cops took against her would be seen as the Central government victimizing her? Now that it is the court that has ordered the filing of the FIR, the Central government can heave a sigh of relief!

The allegation against Bedi is serious. She apparently took a donation of Rs 50 lacs from Microsoft Corporation with the purpose of giving free computer training to children and families of BSF, CISF, ITBP and CRPF personnel, besides other state police organizations. Apparently, she cheated an organization called Vedanta Foundation and asked it to pay Rs 6000 per month per center to her two foundations on the grounds that she had arranged for land and electricity for the center. The allegation is that it was the police that organized the land and electricity; not Kiran Bedi. Apparently, Microsoft discontinued the donation to her NGO.

Of course, Kiran Bedi’s defence will again be that she has not done anything for herself. It is all for her NGOs! Even if this is for the NGO’s, is this the kind of moral conduct we expect from one of the most visible; the most loud; the most vitriolic and sarcastic member of Team Anna? Kiran Bedi of course has another excuse for all the charges against her. It appears that everyone is out to get her. First it was the media that was out to get her. Now it appears that it is the judiciary that is out to get her. In this respect, she is similar to many politicians. Politicians earlier used to claim the “foreign hand” for every problem that struck them. Even now, politicians always claim that it is the media that is out to get them. Remarkable similarity between the two, isn’t it?!

I wonder what Anna is going to do now. Is he going to ignore the charges against Kiran Bedi – all in the interest of not derailing the anti-corruption movement? Or is he going to say: Enough is enough and ask her to leave the team? He’s promised to reconstitute his team – but again that’s been more of an empty promise than actual action. Anna’s own credibility is under pressure – what with recent stories about his “Talibanisque” ways of treating people who drank liquor in his village and the ridiculous comment he made after Sharad Pawar was slapped by a goon. When Prashant Bhushan had been attacked by another goon, Anna didn’t comment the same way as he did when Sharad Pawar was slapped. Is this what we expect from a so called Gandhian?

Kiran Bedi should herself step down from Team Anna to avoid any more problems. That’s the only solution left for her now. Her continuation is an embarrassment for the movement itself. But will she? Unlikely. Here again, she’s like many politicians. Refusing to step down unless sacked by their parties.

The real truth is that Kiran Bedi’s credentials have been completely eroded. She thinks she is morality and honesty personified; instead she’s turning out to be just another ordinary citizen. One who has many skeletons in her cupboard. She throws stones at other’s glass houses; but she’s forgotten that she’s living in a glass house herself!

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