Since the Indian courts and law-enforcement agencies do not work independently, Modi is evading prosecution and arrest.
By Rakesh Raman
The Supreme Court of India in its hearing on Rafale corruption case asked the government why an FIR (First Information Report prepared by police) has not been registered on a corruption complaint made to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in October last year to investigate the 36 Rafale jets deal.
Justice K.M. Joseph suggested government Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal on Friday (May 10) that an FIR should have been registered according to the law when the complaint was made. At the end of the hearing, the Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, reserved the Rafale review petitions for judgment.
The Indian government has been trying to scuttle the case by hook or by crook because Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi is the prime accused in the Rafale corruption scandal.
Earlier, a bench of Chief Justice Gogoi, Justice S. K. Kaul, and K. M. Joseph had decreed that the review petitions filed by former Indian ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie along with lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan will be heard in the open court.
Along with the review petitions, the Court also had decided to hear the correction petition filed by the Central Government, and also the petition filed for initiating perjury proceedings against officials who allegedly misled the Court by submitting false information in the notes submitted to the Court.
As Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been openly blaming Modi for corruption in the Rafale deal, Congress party alleges that since it is a case of Section 13(1)(d) in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, an FIR must be registered against Modi. The Congress president even calls Modi a “thief” for stealing Rs. 30,000 crore (~ US$ 4 billion) in the Rafale deal which was handled by Modi in a shady manner.
Since Modi and his party BJP have not taken any legal action against Rahul Gandhi who has been calling Modi a thief with the slogan “चौकीदार चोर है” or Modi is a thief, it appears that Modi was involved in the embezzlement of funds in the Rafale deal.
Twitter is also flooded with reactions that target Modi with the hashtag #Mera_PM_Chor_Hai (my PM is a thief) which is based on a popular dialogue in a Hindi film Deewar.
This article will also be published in The Integrity Bulletin newsletter that I publish to cover international corruption news and issues.
Rahul Gandhi says that if an independent inquiry is conducted in the Rafale case, Modi will be jailed. However, since the Indian courts and law-enforcement agencies do not work independently, Modi is evading prosecution and arrest.
When Modi is asked about his involvement in the Rafale scandal, instead of addressing specific queries he starts accusing Rahul Gandhi’s father and a former PM Rajiv Gandhi who had died in 1991. If Modi believes he is not a thief, he should appear in a public hearing which should be live-streamed.
But he won’t face any independent inquiry because Modi knows he is not innocent. He has been ruling as a dictator who cannot be questioned by the judiciary or investigating agencies. Now it is being observed that under Modi’s 5-year rule, India has become a kakistocracy where the government is under the control of the worst, least qualified, and most unscrupulous people.
Most people believe that India’s neighboring country Pakistan is a true democracy where the Supreme Court of Pakistan removed PM Nawaz Sharif from office on corruption charges and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Pakistan is not the only country that deals with corruption sternly. Operation Car Wash, for example, is an ongoing criminal investigation being carried out by the Federal Police of Brazil, Curitiba Branch to probe the largest corruption scandal in the history of Latin America.
The President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) was sentenced to 12 years in prison and jailed in April 2018 on charges of money laundering and passive corruption. He is the first President of Brazil who was arrested for corruption.
Also, in 2015 Lee Wan-koo, prime minister of South Korea, resigned after being embroiled in a corruption scandal when his name appeared in a suicide note of a construction tycoon who accused the PM of receiving bribe from him. Lee Wan-koo initially dismissed the charges and refused to vacate his position. However, he later apologized for the wrongdoing and resigned.
Similarly, it was expected that Modi will resign from his PM position because he is not able to defend his case honestly in courts. Modi and his colleagues have been offering baseless arguments about the Rafale deal, but they could never present facts that could absolve Modi of the crime.
If Modi and his party BJP won the Lok Sabha election which is currently happening in India, the Rafale corruption case will be mercilessly hushed up and Modi will claim he has been fully exonerated, as he did before in the Gujarat riots case when about 2,000 Muslims were killed.
As the chief minister of Gujarat, Modi was an accused in the 2002 case of mass murder, but he was given a clean chit. Although the Supreme Court of India has indicated that it will reopen Modi’s Gujarat riots case after the Lok Sabha election, he will never get punished. The less said about the Indian courts, the better.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society. He also creates and publishes a number of digital publications on different subjects.
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