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CBI raid at Stalin's house: who's calling the shots?

The government's left hand doesn't know what its right hand is doing

Aditi Phadnis  |  New Delhi 

You’d suspected it all along. Now it is proved: Truly, this government’s left hand doesn’t know what its right hand is doing.

How could the government not have known that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was going to raid Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader MK Stalin’s home a day after his party withdrew support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)? Were they so naive that they thought they could get away with it without inviting the routine charge that the CBI is a plaything of the government and that it uses it to punish those who don’t fall in line? Or did them deem the citizens of India too naive to just brush it off as a non-event or just another headline? How ON EARTH, did the government think it would get away with it?

DMK leader, seasoned politician Karunanidhi has spared the government blushes by reacting to Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s statement that the CBI action was not timed with the withdrawal of support by DMK and was not act of vengence. But by his statement the Finance Minister has confirmed what we suspected all along: that the various wings of the government don’t talk to each other.

The facts of the case are: the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is investigating a number of cases of duty evasion in the import of vehicles. By the way, it is not just vehicles, it is also purchase of yachts and aircraft. Some of the most powerful and wealthy in India are guilty of this. A case is also going on in the Supreme Court but has not reached the stage of arguments.

As part of this exercise, DRI also found that Stalin’s son had bought a foreign car via a middleman. They wanted to establish a link and build a case against the middleman so they asked CBI (DRI does not have an investigations wing) to raid the house of Udayanidhi: who turned out to be Stalin’s son and Karunanidhi’s grandson.

Karunanidhi, sarcastically has said he believes a central minister (Chidambaram) when the central minister says the government didn’t know what was going on. Yes ! so do we !

But the government is caught in a muddle now, entirely of its own making. It is saying the CBI is autonomous. In which case, why should Chidambaram ‘disapprove’ of the CBI’s action ? Isn't it free to act any time and against any one if it has evidence.

And yet, the coincidences are just too many to ignore. The CBI was used to proceed against Jaganmohan Reddy after he laid claim to his father’s mantle: and yet, it is now clear that some of his criminal dealings took place while his father was CM. Then, he was protected against the CBI; when he became a nuisance, the government used the CBI.

Similarly, why isn’t the government moving on the Disproportionate Assets case of Mulayam Singh Yadav or Mayawati? Is it because they are allies of the government? After all, on 13 March 2013, the CBI told the Supreme Court it had evidence to proceed against Mayawati in the Taj Corridor case. Then why isn’t the CBI acting with the same alacrity?

Doesn’t it make you angry that the government is so inefficient - or, worse, complicit - in wrongdoing?

First Published: Thu, March 21 2013. 16:51 IST