Monday, January 31, 2011

Congress, BJP in the dock, duck key questions

Home minister P.Chidambaram blandly said that leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj had objected to the appointment of PJ Thomas as chief vigilance commissioner (CVC). He also said that though a case was registered over import of palmolein, neither the BJP-led NDA government nor the Congress-led UPA government had given sanction for prosecution. He did not say whether the investigating agency sought permission for prosecution and whether the NDA and the UPA governments refused grant of permission. That is the question the Supreme Court is likely to ask. His silence on key aspects of the issue is tactful in contrast to telecom minister Kapil Sibal's onslaught on the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
Another interesting development is the departmental inquiry report submitted by retired Supreme Court judge Shivraj Patil over irregularities in the Department of Telecommunications. The judge said that he had named the erring officials and Mr Sibal said that it was a 'fearless' report. What Mr Sibal did not seem to realise is that the lapses detected by the retired judge in the working of the department is another blemish on the UPA government and that it cannot be used just to blame his predecessor A Raja. The DMK, of which Mr Raja is a member, is part of the government.
Similarly, the judge's report on the vandalisation of churches in Mangalore might have spared the RSS, the BJP and other organisations linked with them, but it does not rule out that it was miscreants from unidentified Hindu organisations who led the attack. Again, the report almost tried to rationalise the attacks by referring to the issue of conversion. Of course, it said the Roman Catholic Church was not involved in the conversion drive and that this was mostly the handiwork of some evangelist groups. Even then, it does not justify in any way the violence of the anonymous Hindu fanatical groups. They broke the law. The ethics and rationality of conversion is a separate issue. It has to be said that the Supreme Court had erred on the issue of debating conversion when delivering the judgment in Graham Staines murder case. But the apex court retracted its observations.

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