File photo of PM Narendra Modi and former PM Manmohan Singh | PTI
File photo of PM Narendra Modi and former PM Manmohan Singh | PTI
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The arrest of Congress leader P. Chidambaram Wednesday night shows the resolve of the Narendra Modi government to take its fight against corruption to the highest levels. The CBI seems to have put together a foolproof case against the former home and finance minister.

Chidambaram’s arrest also highlights some glaring differences between the UPA regime under the all-powerful Sonia Gandhi, who wielded extra-constitutional authority, and the NDA government headed by an extremely popular leader, who has successfully established himself beyond doubt as a crusader against corruption, running a ‘government with a difference’.

Charges of corruption were levelled against ministers and officials during the UPA tenure, but then-Prime Minister lacked the authority and resolve to take punitive or corrective actions, which prompted many to call him ‘Maun Mohan Singh’.

The current dispensation headed by Narendra Modi has made its point loud and clear – there will be zero tolerance on corruption and misuse of public money.


Also read: Chidambaram arrest shows a new normal. Under Modi-Shah, nobody is above the law


The question of public perception

The other big difference between the two governments is the public perception about them. During the UPA regime, the general perception was that corruption at top echelons was normal. This was a far cry from what the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, had supposedly said – those corrupt will be hanged from the nearest lamp post. Under successive Congress regimes, no one was ‘hanged’, not because there were no lamp posts, but because the political will was missing.

By initiating action against Chidambaram, Modi has sent a strong signal to not only outsiders, but also his own team: corruption at any level will not be tolerated. People of India now believe that the corrupt will not go scot-free under the Narendra Modi government.

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Giving law agencies a free hand

Yet another point that shows the difference between the two governments is the manner in which the law-enforcing authorities have been given time and a free hand to prepare a water-tight case against Chidambaram. The former Union minister knows the law and how law enforcement agencies function. ‘Interim protection from arrest’ allowed him to drag the case endlessly.

Yet the agencies were on his trail, collecting evidence and keeping up the pressure on courts through their hard work. Finally, with the Delhi High Court rejecting Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail plea, his arrest became imminent.


Also read: Chidambaram arrest: Political drama or govt can’t risk it after Mallya, Nirav Modi flight?


Dismissal a setback

The law will take its own course, and it is now for the CBI to fight the case with all the expertise available at its command.

In the past, many such cases of corruption have been dismissed for want of strong evidence or on technical grounds. In the 2G spectrum case, for instance, the court last year acquitted former telecom minister A. Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others and said the prosecution “miserably failed” to prove the charges.

Any such dismissal is a huge setback for the Narendra Modi government and its anti-corruption image. The opposition is already accusing the government of ‘political vendetta’.

But crying ‘vendetta politics’ will not take the Congress anywhere. The UPA government’s alleged acts of commission and omission, especially under Chidambaram as the finance minister, will come back to haunt them. As the case against him unfolds, more skeletons will tumble out of the Congress’ cupboard, revealing the loopholes in governance that encouraged corrupt practices.

The Modi government will earn more praise if it is able to fix these loopholes permanently.

The author is former editor of ‘Organiser’. Views are personal.

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12 Comments Share Your Views

12 COMMENTS

  1. No complaints against Modi fighting corruption but problem is his inspectors selectively target opposition leaders while conveniently looking the other way against BJP leaders or the turncoats from Cong. and opposition parties.I do not have to name or give further explanation because ppl are watching and are well aware of them.

  2. Dear Shekhar and the Print team,
    After the results of 2019 general election, I see a marked shift in the texture of articles and programs of both my favourite outfits – Shekhar Gupta and NDTV. The stance regarding Modi regime seems be under a re-consideration and appears to be conciliatory. May be rightly so. Chest beating and cursing Modi by a few, even though justified, was not going to do any good when the public just refused to agree to the particular point of view that people NDTV, Shekhar Gupta, the Hindu etc held. So, from what I have noticed, even the strong critics of the Modi regime are trying to see a method in the madness called Modi regime. I personally agree to this idea, especially when the entire section of alternative options is empty.
    Not that supporting the government where support is deserved is a bad thing, I am not very sure if I’d buy the idea that Modi regime is giving a free had to investigating agencies for preparing a fair case against the people from opposition parties or those who the current dispensation doesn’t consider friendly teams/communities. Only recently we were crying foul for not letting Pronoy Roy leave the country. And Pehlu Khan verdict..?! The CBI may indeed have conducted a thorough investigation and the case against Chidambaram may well be fool proof., but let us not give a certificate of fair play to this government merely based on this case. We have seen judges, public officers and others coming out in public and crying for help in saving the institutions from government interventions. So NO. This regime has many answers to give and many miles to go before they can stand on the pedestal to receive fair play award. Election results and public preference is not the barometer with which the character of the government can be measured. Public view is fickle.

  3. Why no action has been taken by NDMC,DDA and L &DO for removal of GLARING ENCROACHMENTS,RAMPANT MISUSE, ILLEGAL and UNAUTHORIZED CONSTRUCTION on GOVT AND PUBLIC LAND attached to Flat No’s J1-4, B.K.Dutt Colony, New Delhi-110003againstT NDMC Medical Officers Dr Mrs Manisha Sharma and Surinder Sharma since retired and his 2 brother and also against Ex IAS OFFICER M.Ravi Kanth now CMD, HUDCO together with his mother in law behind Flat No’s J11-13,B.K.Dutt Colony, New Delhi-110003 on PUBLIC and GOVT Land owned by L&DO but under the jurisdiction of NDMC and Site No 7 owned by DDA and earmarked for DDA Park on which Double Storey Building has been ILLEGALLY CONSTRUCTED for running SHEMROCK PREPARATORY SCHOOL by Vinod Sharma of J-1 despite my 629 Tweets, several emails to all concerned Authorities including PM by name as well as 20 Complaints registered by Special Task Force constituted by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India since August, 2018?

  4. Your government was in no hurry to take action against murderers in the mob lynching cases and all the corrupt BJP politicians. The difference between Manmohan Singh’s and Modi’s government is that under Singh institutions could still function with some independence. Under Modi, rather Shah, every institution has been destroyed. BJP leaders will know this well when the same agencies will be sent after them when there are disagreements between them and Shah. As of now, that is not an issue as all your leaders are sheep-like who have no spine to question Shah. Wait till your sheep like spinelessness comes to bite you and your own family members. Then you will realise the importance of the independence of institutions. In cases against Shah and other leaders like Pragya Thakur, all measure were taken to destroy evidence, not to mention the mysterious death of a judge. In cases against others, action is taken on no evidence, not to mention the death of the judiciary.

  5. The writer here forgot to talk about the corruption of Mukul Roy, Yeddiyurappa and so many other politicians who are in BJP. CBI ED are only targeting the opposition politicians.

  6. I may agree to the writer’s one sided writing, if some of the corrupts were not allowed to join BJP to get protection from CBI and ED cases.

  7. What happened to VYAPAM SCAM , RAFALE SCAM, REDDY BROTHERS, SHARADHA SCAM ACUUSED, HEMAND BISWAS of ASSAM. You Scoundrels a tamilian who is standing tall against these feku nationalists are considered as corrupt? Please ask your CBI to show case diary to public and his answers to their questions that is more than enough where MODI and SHAH stands. courage is will not be interested in optics but will make people to feel so. Only coward is interested in optics

  8. How many Modi govt have hanged. What about those who have taken shelter and got all their dirt washed in BJP washing machine. Why agencies have not shown the same zeal on those inside BJP. Until all are seen equal caged parrot cannot become Chidambaram Bureau of Investigation.

    • One after another, it takes time to collect all evidence to take someone to court. And as far as the crooks coming to BJP, they will be investigated once Modi gets all the opposition parties demolished. then these crooks will have nowhere to go. Modi is the Principal of Indian School of Politics.

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