By Kanchan Gupta
There have been more than 5,000 “encounter deaths.” Over 1,700 “encounter death” — related complaints are pending in various courts and before the Human Rights Commission. More than 800 “encounter deaths” took place in the last few decades in Uttar Pradesh alone. More than 400 police “encounters” took place in Maharashtra. None of these (incidents) has come to trial as has the Sohrabuddin case. We have never heard that anyone has been convicted for these thousands of “encounter deaths.” No policemen have been found guilty or even arrested as it has happened in Gujarat,” says Devang Nanavati, an Ahmedabad-based lawyer, who is associated with the BJP, while highlighting the strange obsession with which the death of a notorious criminal, who had a mile-long record of serious crimes and whose links with Dawood Ibrahim qualified him as a terror accomplice, is being pursued by the Congress Party, the Central Bureau of Investiga-tion, congenital liars, who pose as human rights activists and a corrosive media which has lost all sense of balance and fair play.
The Supreme Court, which asked the CBI to inquire into the “larger conspiracy” behind the killing of Sohrabuddin Shaikh and his wife, Kauser Bi, nearly five years after the incident had occurred, was no doubt motivated by the noble intention of getting to the truth. However, such lofty intentions need not necessarily be attributed to the sustained pressure from the slain criminal’s apparently inconsolable bro-ther and jholawallahs, who would be rendered jobless (and thus find themselves starved of generous funding by a variety of sources and agencies) if society were to be cleansed of malcontent, to punish those responsible for what they allege to be extrajudicial killings carried out by the police on the instructions of BJP leaders. Their pre-determination of guilt, both by implication and association, which finds more than an echo in what the CBI now alleges through stories which are touted as “investigative journalism” by newspapers and news channels, whose bias renders them incapable of distinguishing between fact and fiction, cannot be allowed to supplant the judicial process.
Events over the past fortnight have removed all doubts, if there were any, about the CBI’s motives that are anything but lofty. The agency has been most brazen while pursuing a political agenda set by the Congress to defame Chief Minister Narendra Modi through slander and worse with the sole purpose of tarring his reputation and hobbling his government to a point where it begins to lose credibility among Gujarat’s voters. For, the real target of the Goebbelsian propaganda orchestrated by the Congress with the help of the CBI and a craven media is not Amit Shah, who has resigned as Minister of State for Home after being charged with murder, extortion and obstruction of justice in the Sohrabuddin “false” encounter case and is currently in jail. It is Modi — his invincibility is being sought to be weakened. At the national level, the purpose is to force the BJP on the back foot and tie it down to answering allegations instead of leading a robust campaign to oust the Congress from power.
The use of manufactured taint to stun and paralyze political foes is nothing new for the Congress; it’s a past master at the game of misusing agencies of the state, most notably the Intelligence Bureau and the CBI, to further its political interests. When the Congress needed to put down the Raja of Amethi Sanjay Singh after he fell out with Rajiv Gandhi, it used the CBI, which was inquiring into the murder of badminton champion Syed Modi in 1988, to plant salacious stories in newspapers — there were no 24×7 news channels those days — eager to oblige the party. “Excerpts” from what was alleged to be the personal diary of Syed Modi’s widow, Amita, found their way into the front page of these newspapers day after day, suitably embellished with insinuations and slanderous concoctions attributed to “sources” in the CBI. Public memory being proverbially short, few people would remember today that the charges against Sanjay Singh and Amita Modi did not stick — the courts contemptuously threw them out. Twenty-one years later, the CBI quietly closed the case, having failed to establish the “larger conspiracy” behind Syed Modi’s murder which, not surprisingly, it had claimed to have established in 1988-89.
Nor would too many people remember the so-called “St. Kitts scandal” that was manufactured by the Congress with the help of an obliging CBI to embarrass V.P. Singh and divert attention from the Bofors bribery scandal in 1989. An elaborate exercise was undertaken to forge documents to allege that V. P. Singh was a beneficiary of his son Ajeya’s “offshore account” in First Trust Corp, a little-known bank in St. Kitts of which nobody had heard till then. The forged documents showed that the account contained $21 million. Once again, eager-to-oblige newspapers published the bogus story and the Congress’s dirty tricks department had a field day painting V. P. Singh in the most lurid of colors, pronouncing him as a villain, who was not quite the knight in shining armor that people thought he was. In the end, of course, the forgery was exposed, the conspiracy to defame V. P. Singh unraveled and the Congress lost the general election. Similarly, the Congress had tried to frame L.K. Advani in the so-called “hawala case” on the eve of the general election in 1996. Not only did the Congress lose that election but Advani – and the BJP — emerged stronger from that attempt to sully his and the party’s image.
Examples of the Congress misusing the CBI abound. It is no secret that after the UPA came to power in the summer of 2004, the agency not only ensured Ottavio Quattrocchi remained at a safe distance from India where he was wanted to stand trial in the Bofors bribery case in which he was the prime accused, but also facilitated the emptying of the London bank accounts, where the bribe money had been parked by the Italian middleman. Subsequently, the case was “closed,” much to the relief of a Prime Minister who actually believed prosecuting those behind the Bofors scandal was “a shame.” We also know how the CBI’s investigations into the disproportionate assets cases against Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav are used to secure their support for the government at moments of crisis.
In the Sohrabuddin “false” encounter case, the CBI is back to using its old trick of planting stories about “evidence” that has been clearly concocted to suit the Congress’s insidious game plan. The fact is, it has filed a charge sheet but has no evidence to substantiate its allegations. And so the CBI has sought more time from the Supreme Court for “investigation.” Doesn’t prosecution follow investigation? Or is it the other way round for the Congress Bureau of Intimidation? And is that why it wants the case transferred out of Gujarat?
Courtesy: The Pioneer