Thursday, October 18, 2012

See the difference between allegations and facts??? SC order on Rahul Gandhi a pointer….

The Supreme Court agreed with the UP High Court’s verdict that the petitioners who had alleged that Rahul Gandhi kidnapped and raped a girl had done it for political reasons and had presented lies in the court. The High Court had levied a penalty of Rs 50 lacs on the petitioners. One of the petitioners had confessed that it was Akhilesh Yadav himself who had plotted the plan. The SC has now agreed with this view and in fact, repeated even more forcefully, how the reputation of a politician was targeted by another one. In the meanwhile, whatever damage had to happen to Rahul Gandhi’s image has already happened. That can never be undone. But maybe we can all learn a lesson; to guard ourselves from such misinformation in the future. Unfortunately, the same thing continues day after day on TV and we lap it all up assuming every allegation to be the gospel truth.

Back then, TV news channels and newspapers had declared Rahul Gandhi guilty and accorded the petitioners a hero-like status. Because of a few rotten apples, there is a public perception that all politicians are criminals. Any charge of wrongdoing hurled against them tends to stick. So strong is the public perception that even good politicians, those that do genuine public service, suffer. This starts a self-fulfiling prophesy where the good guys start staying away from politics and the bad guys start to dominate it. If we recognize the trap for what it is, then we would learn from it and make sure we did not become victims all over again. But that’s the trap that is laid out everyday by the Joker in the political pack (henceforth, just Joker for brevity) Kejriwal. Everyday he makes an accusation against someone, brandishing documents that no one has vetted, making charges and pronouncing guilty verdicts like he’s the accuser-investigator-prosecutor-judge all rolled into one, and undoing the good work of decades in just a few moments. Every single day, this Joker lays the trap and we become victims. It is time we break free from this.

The Joker steadfastly refuses to go to the courts and present his documents there. Maybe he knows the pitfalls of any sane judicial process. The first limitation the process would put on Joker is that it would disallow him from becoming the judge himself. With that power gone, Joker’s documents would be submitted to extensive scrutiny by the courts, something that media does not do. My guess is that most of these docs would just be thrown out. The court would also insist on the counter party being heard and their views being taken into consideration. They may have their own documents to present. The court’s scrutiny would reveal the truth – did Gadkari get the 100 acres land for 99 years as Joker claims or just 11 years as Gadkari does? Further, the court proceedings would make the matter disappear from TV studios; as subjudice matters cannot be discussed in public. In a sanitized environment provided by courts, the truth comes out unlike what happens in the politicized kangaroo courts run by TV channels – especially the one I call Scam TV (the one whose content is only scams). But all this rigor is inconvenient to Joker. That’s why he avoids the courts. That’s why he rushes to media. And look at how he makes a fool of the people – by saying that the courts will take forever to decide. The crores of people who wait for justice in the courts are all idiots, it would appear. Maybe all of them should just approach media to find a solution. Maybe Joker can start a judicial service of his own. This is exactly how totalitarian regimes have started in the past – by the leader becoming the settler of disputes. This is what is sought to be wreaked on India. When Dileep Padgaonkar says that India’s democracy is under threat, don’t take it lightly.

The problem with Joker is that he is interested in mere sensationalism. And he has understood the mad competitive rush for TRPs in the TV business. So many accusations have been hurled at politicians in the past. Does anyone remember what happened to the charges against Praful Patel for some apparent favors granted by Air India to the IPL organization? Or for that matter, to charges that he ordered 40 odd new planes for Air India at “double quick” speeds (it’s a different matter it still took 17 months to place the orders!). Do we remember the heated debates in the papers just a few months back when General VK Singh had made startling accusations against the Government on the matter of his age? What did the SC do? Threw the matter out. Or the matter raised by Subramaniam Swamy against Chidambaram that he was involved in the 2G pricing decision? That too was thrown out by the Supreme Court. Media had of course irresponsibly treated Scam TV, General Singh and Subramaniam Swamy as though they were all Harishchandras.

There are thousands of such examples, when the truth is the exact opposite of the charges levied. That is why we need an independent judical process to investigate the charges. Opposition leaders say that the judiciary is handicapped because the investigating body, the CBI, is in the hands of the central government. But they fail to explain why they themselves turn to the CBI whenever they are in an inconvenient position. If the CBI were indeed the Congress Bureau of Investigation (a good punchline, but a hollow one really), then why do they turn to it for their own investigations (BJP in Shehla Masood case in MP, Jayalalitha in TN)?

Joker claims the judiciary is too slow. That it is indeed and the judiciary must do something to rid itself of this charge. So what’s the solution – jump the queue and take decision making in your own hands? The way Joker conducts inquiries, any defence by the charged party is impossible. When Salman Khurshid sued him for defamation (a step that should prove his confidence), Joker alleged this was a threat. He said that the Akhilesh Yadav government would wipe out the evidence (yes, the same Akhilesh Yadav who apparently plotted the rape charge against Rahul Gandhi; but logic seldom matters to Joker). When the farmer who Joker alleged was hiding in fear in Nagpur suddenly surfaced, Joker said that he had been “bought” over by Gadkari. As far as Joker is concerned, no defence of the accused is permissible. His original charge is final. And of course, anyone who challenges Joker is either corrupt or anti-national or both. Isn’t it time we show joker his true place?

The real truth is that media needs to wake up. If it continues to be this irresponsible, and continues to misinform the public, it will see its credibility being eroded. If it still continues, it will see bodies like the Supreme Court (if not Parliament) put restrictions on it. For a free press, this has to be avoided. But then with freedom comes responsibility. Its time media realized this…..

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