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Zero Tolerance Towards Corruption

Congress culture of institutionalized corruption that seeped into other political formations must end. Rising above corruption is real tribute to freedom fighters as Bharat enters a new era @75.


When Enforcement Directorate raided Trinamool Congress leader Partha Chatterjee and his associate Arpita, there was hue and cry debunking the move as ‘political coercion’ against Mamta Banerjee’s government in West Bengal.

Trunks full of cash, jewelry, property documents found from two flats in South West Kolkata and Belghoria blunted the opposition tirade against Narendra Modi government of using Enforcement Directorate as a political utility tool.

TMC’s undeclared second in command Partha Chatterjee was audacious enough to claim that he had nothing to do with proceeds of school jobs scam parked in Arpita’s flats. Arpita also denies knowledge of this treasure trove that has turned out to be a billion dollar question for the enforcement sleuths.


Conveniently enough, TMC supremo Mamta Banerjee disowned Partha and refused to take his calls in wee hours thereby making a desperate attempt to wash her hands off the scam or own up responsibility.

The drama that unfolded post-cam drama last two weeks point to criminal collapse of governance structures in West Bengal and institutionalization of corruption that’s practiced with no remorse whatsoever. Should Mamta Banerjee not own up and offer a more rational explanation for using primary schools to fill in the party leaders’ coffers

In the first place, the school jobs scam investigation got underway owing to hard work put in by enforcement officials in sync with a directive from the Kolkata High Court based on an in-depth analysis and findings of a high powered committee.

So, the first argument that Modi went after his political rivals may not stand. Elected representatives’ brazenness to force youngsters to cough up bribes is rather unnerving. Manipulation of merit sheets, in teachers and personnel recruitment in schools reeks of a system that collapsed during previous communist rule. This system has conveniently been used by TMC political machinery and perfected for illegal gains.

Second salvo against Modi government was fired by the Shiv Sena that lost out in Maharastra power slugfest owing to vertical spit in the party run by Uddav Thakarey. When Enforcement officials took custody of Sanjay Raut on charges of money laundering along with Wadhawans, Shiv Sena cried foul and ‘political vendetta’ to finish the Sena.


Corruption and Shiv Sena were never two entities in the latter’s growth under Balasaheb and now Uddav Thakarey. Sena may have grudge against BJP for outwitting it in electoral machinations and managing political equations.

Core question here is whether it can defend its leaders that have seeped themselves in charges of money laundering with select businessmen? Is investigation into a case of money laundering by Enforcement Directorate an illegal and politically motivated operation? Does Sena have plausible explanation for the laundering charges against its biggies? Whose liquid cash was lying in Sanjay Rout’s place? Thankfully, till now he has not dis-owned the retrieved cash like his TMC counterpart Partha Chatterjee?

Third case in point is the huge cash chest recovered from three Jharkhand MLAs of Congress at Howrah by Kolkata Police. Well, are these public representatives available for sale is the moot question? Interestingly enough, the tipoff on cash was passed on to TMC by the JMM political leadership and both seem to have sensed an opportunity to settle their political scores with Congress in Jharkhand as well as West Bengal.

In the process, what happened is that murky side of Congress culture bereft of values got exposed. It’s rather laughable that Congress leadership suspended these MLAs instantly ‘for anti-party activities’. But then, who would hold the Congress leadership to account for having bred a culture of corruption post-independence to benefit a few close buddies of the party’s ‘first family’?

Can one forget umpteen numbers of scandals that tumbled out of Congress cupboard especially during two terms of United Progressive Alliance government at centre? Even today, the Congress first family is under scrutiny of Enforcement Directorate on charges of money laundering through trusts and corporate entities that own National Herald.

Case of Satyendar Jain, an AAP minister in-charge of party’s affairs in Punjab is rather very interesting. Has Enforcement Directorate perpetuated a crime by probing his alleged money laundering activities? Acquiring assets that are disproportionate to his known sources of income is a very serious charge against Satyendar Jain on which the Enforcement sleuths have filed a first information report. Gold coins and cash retrieved from Jain and his associates may be dismissed by the opposition parties as part of BJP and NDA vendetta against its political rivals.

But then, what’s the source of these funds or assets is the key question? AAP, as a party assumed power on an anti-corruption platform about ten years ago. They were given charge of Punjab with a thumping mandate and in a week after the swearing in, the state’s health minister had to be forced out. Sadly enough, top leaders getting netted in laundering cases or corruption is anti-thesis of what Kejriwal’s fledgling formation had promised in initial years.

It’s a double edged sword on which anti-corruption agencies work. In their campaigns against well-oiled machinery of corrupt uncouth individuals, parties and leaders, they are bound to face both bouquets and brickbats from ruling as well as opposition parties. They may have to live with these charges and counter-charges of favouring one or other individual or party.

Zero tolerance to corruption – both political and business linked – should be the state policy unlike Congress regimes of the past that institutionalized irregularities and murky deals with all impunity.

None can be above corruption. Probity in public life is what Mahatma prescribed and that’s precisely why he recommended disbanding the Congress which evolved as a pre-independence political platform of leaders with different ideologies.

Evolving a self-governance model sans corruption will be the biggest tribute to freedom fighters that liberated Bharat from stranglehold of imperialist forces.

(The author is Director & Chief Executive of New Delhi based non-partisan think tank, Centre for Integrated and Holistic Studies) 

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