Operation INX Media scam is sub judice? Former FM P Chidambaram is cooling his heels in Delhi’s Tihar jail. All tactics to delay the proceedings have failed.

Prosecution sanctions has been granted  by the Govt to  CBI to proceed against four  ex-officials of  Finance ministry who are allegedly involved in the scam. The controversy suddenly took a curious turn creating ripples in  bureaucratic circles. Reason? A cabal of 71 ex-bureaucrats recently wrote to PM Modi expressing annoyance, displeasure against the ruling dispensation for granting  prosecution sanctions.The protestorsinclude ,among others, former cabinet secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar, former foreign secretary and NSA Shivshankar Menon, former Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and former DGP of Punjab Julio Riberio.

While  expressing concern over prosecution of  four former officials , the group of 71 ex-bureaucrats has sought to defend the accused by raising fallacious arguments. Briefly stated, some prominent arguments are : (a) Serving officials will be demotivated if diligent and honest officers are selectively targeted for punishment for no fault of theirs other than that they were implementing the policy decisions of the government of the day ;  (b) It will not be surprising if civil servants procrastinate before processing and examining every proposal of importance, as they have no guarantee that they would not be implicated in criminal proceedings many years later; ( c) "selective targeting" of retired and serving officers, apparently for "gaining narrow political advantages”.

One is entitled to know the rationale of raising simplistic issues.Did the ex-bureaucrats  have access to actual records? If not, how could it pre-judge the case and give  clean chits to the four accused,portraying  them with same dirty brush? How could the protestors attribute motives to the Government, accusing it of political vendetta? There is surely something  more than meets the eye. Unholy nexus in a high profile scam involving a former union Finance minister of UPA vintage seems  a certainty. The  matter cannot be allowed to rest. Why not await court’s verdict on  the charge-sheet framed by the CBI? On what basis, is the court being brazenly influenced by extraneous  considerations ? Some invisible political power is at work to protect the principle accused.

Recall the background of introducing prosecution sanction by competent authority. Taking prior sanction for prosecution of officers of the level of Joint Secretaryies and above, was included to safeguard the  honest civil servants and senior PSUs executives,who are engaged in rendering policy advice and taking commercial decisions. The  requirement is mandatory under Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and Art  197 of IPC. Further, CVC has also to recommend sanction for prosecution. The  cabal of  71 ex-bureaucrats ,has no business to interfere and vitiate the process of law. Only a special judge is competent to take cognizance of an act of corruption.

While , honest public servants do require protection,it is equally necessary to assure the public that  provision was not meant to be misused as tools by the Government to protect its  favourite public servants,who are otherwise corrupt. The sanctioning authority must have taken into account all facts and circumstances of the case before  granting prosecutions sanctions. 

The CVC has been regularly urging successive governments in its annual reports to expedite prosecution sanctions in several cases to facilitate investigation by the CBI.  The CVC is furnishing statistics of cases pending prosecution sanctions cases by the Government. On the contrary, in present case,71 ex-bureaucrats are  questioning the issue of prosecution sanctions. Worse still, they are trying to obfuscate the government and the court rather than enlighten them by bringing in extraneous factors like ‘political vendetta ’. Does this not attract the Contempt of Court?


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About A.K.Saxena

A K SAXENA, an Indian national, is a retired civil servant from Government of India He is also a freelance journalist with several published investigative articles and columns in various fields to his credit. His writings are a reflection of his interest in writing on divergent themes and making the topics relevant to a wider audience. A post graduate in Chemistry from University of Delhi,he could not sustain his interest in pursuing research and instead chose to enter the government service through the IAS etc exam held by the UPSC. “KALASAVYA” that brought out several publications besides organizing cultural shows.

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