Chidambaram’s arrest a political witch-hunt in the garb of corruption crackdown

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In the medieval world of kings and queens, vendetta was an essential part and parcel of politics, very often leading to assassinations and court intrigues. Even in the age of revolution, as shown by Eric Hobsbawm, revolutionary terror was unleashed on class enemies by the winning masses.

But since the advent of democracy, with perhaps the exceptions of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy, no other government has actually gone for the jugular of its critics and opponents as doggedly as the present Government of India. The government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, has not been resting since the BJP was voted to power in 2014 and re-elected in 2019.

They have wrongfully used the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax (IT) department and others to target and character assassinate people not in agreement with the government. And they have found a reliable ally in a section of the pliant media in demonizing these targeted individuals. The latest Opposition politician to be hounded and arrested is former Union Finance and Home Minister P Chidambaram, who along with his son, has been in the sight of the government’s gun for quite some time now.

Calling his arrest the “broad daylight murder of democracy”, Congress ideologue Surjewala pointed out that the arrest has been made based on the “statement of a jailed woman who is charged with murdering her own daughter and the approver ship statement was given from prison”.

He was referring to the statement given by Indrani Mukerjea, the promoter of INX Media. Her statement to the CBI and ED after she turned approver has been used as a key piece of evidence by the probe agencies. She is currently in jail, along with husband Peter Mukerjea, for the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora.

The current campaign to dub such a senior statesman and politician as an absconder is shameful. The CBI has also booked news television network NDTV’s founders Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy and its former Chief Executive Officer Vikram Chandra in a new case for alleged violation of foreign direct investment rules. They were booked under charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption. NDTV has been one of the few prominent news organizations, which have refused to fall in line with the government and have been critical of the Centre’s destructive policies.

We have earlier seen the same script being played out with Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati. Raj Thackeray of MNS has also received ED summons recently, no prizes for guessing that this is payback for his vociferous campaigning against the Modi sarkar in the last General Election. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s kin has been targeted. Prominent Congress leader of Karnataka, DK Shivakumar, has been repeatedly targeted.

Trinamool Congress leaders like Partha Chatterjee, Derek O’Brien, Madan Mitra and others have been repeatedly harassed by the central agencies. But very interestingly former Trinamool leader Mukul Roy, allegedly one of the main suspects in the Saradha scam, has not received a single summon from any agency ever since he joined the BJP.

It is the same with BJP’s North-East general Himanta Biswa Sarma, a former Congressman. Out of the TDP MPs who defected to the BJP a few fortnights back, two were being probed by the CBI, ED and IT department. However, the probes seem to have been frozen. All this is another proof of the lack of regard the Modi-Shah-led BJP seems to have for the Opposition and critics.

This translates into disregard for democracy. That is not good news for India. The country is looking at its judiciary as its last hope. Hopefully, it won’t let Indian democracy down.

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