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August 2018
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Columns
Consensus on Condoning Crime
 
By K. Gopalakrishnan

(Jan 22, 2018): When it comes to dealing firmly with corruption both the LDF and UDF develop cold feet at the last minute. In fact, leaders of both the fronts are shy of prosecuting leaders on charges of corruption and other crimes. Even if someone is prosecuted, the case is not properly followed up. The effort is to see that no one is convicted.

The one honourable exception is V.S. Achuthanandan. He on his own files cases and pursues the same till the Supreme Court level, in some cases effectively. In some cases the Communist Party of India (CPI) also intervenes effectively. In some cases leaders like A.K. Antony, V.M. Sudheeran and V.D.Satheeshan also raise issues. Otherwise a part of the glorious history of the two fronts is virtually condoning crime.

But the leaders of both the fronts speak against corruption full throat. Any allegation is treated as truth and deafening roars begin. In election campaigns their anger can be seen and heard on public platforms at their histrionic best. But once elected to power, all promises to the public are forgotten. They continue with their rhetoric against corruption but fail to proceed against their opponents.

Senior leaders indulging in corrupt practices, misuse of authority, disproportionate wealth accumulated compared to income, sexual crimes of a varied nature, et al go unpunished due to this informal understanding between the two fronts. Some cases are taken up but the technology to lose cases is perfected in the state. In the process, the accused after a few years comes out clean having cleared through a judicial process.

It is reciprocated with equal warmth when the opponents get to power, usually taking turns, and they do precious little to legally proceed honestly and sincerely. Rarely does prosecution take place and even if prosecuted, they conduct the cases in such a way that no one is convicted. The insouciant public get fooled repeatedly. They are aware of these games but they have no third choice to go to.

What is happening these days is the repetition of history. The Left Democratic Front Government managed a resounding electoral victory on the main plank of election. They spoke a lot on corruption of the United Democratic Front government in the campaign.

Names of the UDF ministers were mentioned from public platforms and accusations like some of them keeping note counting machines at home to collect money from under hand deals were made openly. The LDF leaders talked a lot about the innumerable decisions of a questionable nature taken by the UDF ministry in its last cabinet meeting. A ministerial committee was appointed to scrutinise the same. But nothing came out.

Now efforts are on to revisit the vigilance probes and if any suspect it to be a white washing exercise they cannot be blamed. For instance there is an attempt to take a second statement on charges from a leader who wielded authority in the last UDF ministry. Another minister who was targeted is being treated with soft gloves as plans are on to welcome him into the LDF camp. What is more some of the practices and decisions of the LDF are not in conformity with the moral rectitude, honesty and upright behaviour. The LDF government is suffering from lack of openness and transparency. In the process the rich and mighty manage to keep a safe distance away from the long arm of law.

Even those committing immoral acts and indulge in illegal practices manage to escape from legal action. Many a time concerned files in the government offices are missing! Those responsible for lapses are not proceeded against. Encroachment of government land is easy if you know the powers that be.

For the benefit of private commercial corporates government is willing to construct well laid out roads at the cost of the public exchequer. This is at a time when there are no proper roads linking colonies of poor, dalits and adivasis for whom urgent medical assistance is possible only by carrying the patient on primitive make shift carriages on human shoulders and walking many kilometres. For their children, access to primary education is an ordeal walking through difficult terrain. The revolutionary administration rarely looks at them with sympathy and empathy.

The vigilance department of Kerala is the biggest joke. The way they handle cases and change the course according to changes of political masters has made the judiciary pass adverse remarks on a number of occasions. We have recently a case of an upright vigilance officer filing charges against a business man turned leader facing innumerable allegations. His nexus with the LDF and the UDF high and mighty are well known. But on the day the case was filed the upright vigilance officer and his investigating team were replaced by another team.

The functioning of the vigilance department in the state is source of many juicy stories. Few in the state believe it is working for the purpose for which it is meant. So much so many believe if the vigilance department is closed down there would be no increase in corruption from the present levels. On the other hand there can be tremendous saving for the exchequer. The department can’t be blamed. For the high mortality rate of investigations and investigators and course of investigations make it impossible to function effectively. At regular intervals the department is dormant. The public can only watch with dismay having no choice.

The insensitivity of the people in power is of alarming proportions. Since the people in power are sure of getting back to power after losing elections and understanding that the misuse of authority and practises of criminal and illegal nature will not be taken up by the successors make them immune to criticism.

It is a terrible compromise based on consensus. With little or no option outside the existing frame one can now look towards the social media with hope. Fortunately they are taking up genuine cases successfully outside the frame and cutting across party affiliations. What shape this present unorganised formation will take is being watched with interest. Even in the present form they have proved that they can effectively intervene in this consensus and compromise of condoning crime by the two fronts and assure and ensure relief and in some cases justice.


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