Preeti Sharma Menon
So here is what everyone knows:
1) The central government, in fact the ruling party at the Centre, and even more specifically the PMO’s office, uses the CBI to intimidate rivals and protect cronies. 2) There is no way that the CBI can raid a Chief Minister’s office without clearance from the PMO’s office. 3) There is no way that the CBI can raid anyone against whom there is no complaint or cause.
Yet, the CBI raided the Delhi Chief Minister’s office, went through his files, without any cause or complaint against him. The raid was done on the pretext of raiding the Principal Secretary, on a decade old complaint.
If it was a genuine inquiry into a complaint, there would have been raids on the related departments where the relevant files are stored, as well as on other politicians and bureaucrats who may have been related to the scam. Instead, only the Delhi Chief Minister’s Principal Secretary was raided at the Chief Minister’s office.
The week long investigation yielded nothing, except the Principal Secretary’s declared, tax paid, assets, and yes a few bottles of alcohol.
Even in the height of emergency, Indira Gandhi did not raid opposition Chief Ministers like Narendra Modi has done. Why then is there no outrage? Martin Niemoller’s famous lines are befitting here – In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist; And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist; And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew; And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.
No one spoke up for the same reason that they have not spoken up for decades in India, there is cabal that controls politics, sports and media, and it cannot let a rank outsider like Arvind Kejriwal upset their carefully balanced apple cart. In a world of quid pro quo – “char kaam hum unke karte hein, woh chaar kaam hamare karte hein” is the civilized way the business is conducted. That is why, never mind who is in power, no politician really gets convicted and sent to jail.
In India, there is big money in a few things – infrastructure, natural resources, land, cricket and films. Politicians control almost all, they have had to leave out films (other than as investors in South Indian Films) as unfortunately the common man still decides the box office fate. The rest they can manipulate within themselves, especially since the media is their extended arm as the Radia tapes so clearly exposed.
Now here is this savage Arvind Kejriwal who thinks that sports bodies should be managed by sport professionals. His thought process is like the proverbial bull in a china shop and he has to be stopped. So the media, which will not outrage at how democracy is being threatened by unwarranted CBI raids, will outrage at how a state government can order an inquiry against a sporting body.
That sporting bodies are dens of corruption is all known, what’s new? That administrators siphon of money is public knowledge. That they fudge players’ ages is known. That there is huge corruption in selection is something every parent learns at club/gymkhana level and it continues onwards.
Then why the defamation suit on Arvind Kejriwal – because he is repeating what has been said by many before him, isn’t it? The reason why there are hysterical responses to Arvind Kejriwal is because unlike those who asked these questions earlier, he will not give up, he will raise the national ante, he will order inquires, he will take them to court. He is such a pest.
There is another small innocent voice that wonders that if there was so much corruption how would we be such a successful cricket playing nation. The administrators must be doing something right. Indeed, for the administrators, cricket is a business and the business needs talent.
Therefore they do support talented cricketers and help them progress. So the star cricketers do get a cushioned ride, they get insulated from the politics and live in a bubble. It’s a very comfortable bubble cushioned with wealth and heady popularity, which they themselves don’t want to break even if occasionally they see through what’s going on outside. So whether it is match fixing or selection or siphoning money, they keep quiet. Instead, they make polite comments in support of the administrators when asked, in order to perpetuate their insulation. Like a popular cricketer tweeted his support for Jaitley, though he is himself going to shift out of Delhi to Mumbai soon. One can say he is shifting to Mumbai for the scenery and the company, but it is also because no cricketer wants to deal with the DDCA mess.
So this is how the board is laid out, there is the polished Arun Jaitley who comes with a team made up of viziers and then there is the outspoken Arvind Kejriwal with his team of pawns. It’s a no brainer who will win, right? Wrong. When Arvind Kejriwal was a nobody he pulled out the India Against Corruption movement out of nowhere that rang the death knell for the Congress.
When Narendra Modi was flush with the Loksabha success Arvind Kejriwal pulled out a historic rout of BJP in Delhi winning the election 67/70 with no money and no media support. He plays best when he is pushed into the corner – and Arun Jaitley has tried to push Arvind Kejriwal into a corner with the CBI raid and the defamation suit. And while the hysterical media is trying to bring down Arvind Kejriwal in their allegiance to the I&B Minister, wonder if they would be willing to take bets – as things never turn out in cricket as one expects, do they?
Preeti Sharma Menon is an Aam Aadmi Party leader and views expressed here are author’s own