History of Words and the Analysis of Deeds
BY RK MISRA
Pious platitudes and phony posers are pack pacifiers but poor substitute for pure performance. If the proof of the pudding lies in the eating so must deeds justify words. Do they?
Not so, if the 13-year-long record of Chief Minister Narendra Modi in Gujarat and his continuation in the Prime Ministerial incarnation is anything to go by.
Last week, he urged the country’s bureaucracy (over 80 secretaries over high tea) to act fearlessly and shift from output to outcome, assuring to protect them.
Ask Dr. SK Nanda, the additional chief secretary (Home), an endearing and efficient officer who was seniormost in line to be the Gujarat chief secretary but was superseded last month at the list minute after a phone call from Dehli. He was succeeded by his rank junior DJ Pandian. Happy for the out-of-turn favour, the grateful officer was in Delhi within hours to seek the ‘blessings’ of Prime Minister Modi.
Also, ask two senior IPS officers of the Gujarat cadre what it means to them. Inspector General of Police Satish Verma and DIG Rajnish Rai had fearlessly done their duty. After Modi took over as Prime Minister Verma was shunted out as Chief Vigilance Officer in the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd, Shillong, Meghalaya and Rai as CVO in the Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) at Jaduguda, Jharkhand. Both joined duty at their respective posts last month, but not before challenging their transfers in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), New Delhi. The two have clearly stated in their petitions that they are being harassed for doing their jobs diligently which led to the arrest of numerous IPS officers as well as BJP leader Amit Shah.
Braving all manner of harassments at the hands of his own government, 1986 batch IPS officer Verma led the High Court directed investigation in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case to it’s logical end. After the Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) of which Verma was a member concluded that it was indeed a case of fake police encounter that led to the cold blooded killing of a 19 year old college student, Ishrat and two others, the investigation was handed over to the CBI. Verma assisted the CBI and several top cops including DIG, DG Vanzara (since retired), Additional Director General of Police , PP Pandey, SP GL Singhal besides numerous others were suspended and imprisoned.
Rai, a 1992 batch IPS officer investigated the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case and arrested fellow DIG Vanzara and IPS officers Rajkumar Pandian, Dinesh MN of Rajasthan. It was his investigation that led to the arrest of former Gujarat Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah who is now the BJP president. Shah had to spend a fair time in Sabarmati jail before he was bailed out. Rai was sought to be implicated in ‘copying’ while appearing in his law exams and was set to be debarred and even suspended but it was a stinging rebuke from the Gujarat High Court that made the University and the government back off.
Rahul Sharma, another senior police officer of impeccable integrity is locked in a judicial battle against his own government for his investigation of the 2002 riots which exposed the nexus between rioters and officialdom, even cops through his diligent analysis of mobile call data. Sharma was the police chief of Bhavnagar during the riots and was summarily transferred out for preventing the rioters from running amuck in the areas under his charge.
Another suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma facing the fury of a government scorned, bring up the rear. Everytime Pradeep trudges the serpentine legal alleys to secure bail from the Supreme Court, the state comes up with a new charge to send him packing back to jail. And now after 2014 general elections upturned the political applecart, every conceivable central investigating agency is working over him with a toothcomb.
If these two brave cops have been sent packing, those in jail on serious criminal charges are out on bail and getting reinstated. Those cops bailed out include IPS officers GL Singhal, Abhay Chudasama and Rajkumar Pandian (Gujarat) and Dinesh MN (Rajasthan). Vanzara who retired from service while in jail has been bailed out in one case but stays put as his name figures in other encounter cases as well.
CBI has named the involvement of Singhal, then ACP, Crime branch at every stage of the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case from planning planting of weapons, abduction and confinement. He is also the cop who figures in 267 ‘snoopgate’ voice recordings in conversations with the minister of state for Home Amit Shah in the illegal tailing and tapping of a woman architect. Out of jail, Singhal is back on job.
Also back is 1999 batch IPS officer Abhay Chudasama. Under suspension for his alleged involvement in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, Chudasama spent four years in jail. He now holds a very key post in the Gujarat DGP’s office. IPS officer, Rajkumar Pandian who also figures in the case and had been in jail for over seven years was granted bail in March and now awaits his return.
The CBI has already chargesheeted 37 accused including BJP president Amit Shah, the then minister of state for Home when these encounters had taken place in the Sheikh and Prajapati encounter cases. Some of them including Shah had since been bailed out.
At the other end of the spectrum those bureaucrats and top cops who figured in the good books of the then Modi government in Gujarat have either moved already or are now readying for key positions in Delhi. At last count 16 Gujarat cadre IAS officers are working in Delhi. The PMO offcourse, is packed with serving as well as retired Gujarat officers.
Those already in position including PK Mishra, Arvind Sharma, Sanjay Bhavsar, Jagdish Thakkar (PMO), Rajesh Kishore, HD Dash, Tapan Ray, Guruprasad Mohapatra and Hasmukh Adhia, the new secretary of Financial Services.
Officers indebted and on the way to Delhi include 1984 batch IPS, Rakesh Asthana, the present police commissioner of Surat whose name has been cleared by the union Home Ministry for appointment as additional director in the CBI in Delhi and AK Sharma, joint commissioner of Police (crime branch), Ahmedabad. So much for stated piety!