|Tuesday, 19 April 2011 00:00|
While those involved, such as lawyer Prashant Bhushan and politician Amar Singh, will deal with the CD controversy in the manner they deem fit—Bhushan’s father Shanti Bhushan has filed a criminal contempt against Singh in the Supreme Court—the government has done well to get involved at the earliest. Home minister P Chidambaram has said there will be a “free, fair and thorough” probe by the Delhi Police and that the CD will be examined by at least two different labs for separate reports. The CD, where Amar Singh is alleged to have Shanti Bhushan seated next to him and where they are supposed to be talking of how to fix a judge with Prashant Bhushan’s help, goes far beyond the father-son duo who are part of the committee drafting the new Lokpal Bill. The judge whose name is mentioned in the CD is currently deciding on the 2G licensing scam. It is, of course, true that even if the CD is found to be the real thing, this doesn’t mean the judge was in any way compromised. The timing of the release of the CD is certainly worrying. So, it is important the government get its labs to give a final verdict since, right now, all we’re seeing is Prashant Bhushan giving out details of the forensic reports of his experts while some of the newspapers that reported the matter continue to cite their expert reports which say the CD was not doctored.
The CD saga, of course, opens our eyes to the obvious depths to which credibility has sunk, of politicians, of bureaucrats, among others—as Chidambaram said while announcing the probe, he was glad that in this season of allegations, there was a growing recognition that reputation was also important. The fact that Anna Hazare was able to get the attention he did, including from the government, is testimony to this—a nervous government notification even says the civil society representatives on the drafting committee will be those nominated by Hazare, as if there are no other representatives of civil society. The 2G scam, that majorly contributed to this fall in reputation, ironically, also offers the solution. The probe picked up only after the Supreme Court got into the act; indeed, even the public prosecutor had to be selected by the Court—the fact that the assembly elections in Tamil Nadu had still not been held when the CBI filed its first chargesheet on April 2 ensured it did not deal with the money trail into the DMK chief’s wife and daughter’s Kalaignar TV. Hopefully such delays are behind us now. An early end to the case, with appropriate justice meted out to all concerned, will prove that no one is above the law, whether it is a politician, a bureaucrat or a corporate.