Ok for Peter but not for Paul!

I must say a new respect has dawned in my heart for noted lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani. He was candid enough to admit that if any of the ministers in the Jan Lokpal Committee had to have been caught out in various acts like the Bhushan father-and-son duo have been, he would have been baying for their blood.

“Of course, I would have demanded action against them because I have a certain bias against the Congress. But since the Bhushans are my friends and I know them, I say let the committee go on.”

Nothing could be more candid – or more hypocritical. And that’s what this entire scam about the Jan Lokpal Bill is all about – hypocrisy. I agree with noted Marathi editor Kumar Ketkar that former Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh is the Raj Nath of Indian Politics rather than a hero or quite the villain. But, for once, I found myself agreeing with this joker in the pack – though I would like to point out to him that he has been rather mixing up his metaphors.

“What is ok for Peter Amar Singh is not ok for Paul, the Bhushans,” he said (he should actually have said, ‘what’s sauce for goose Amar singh is obviously not sauce for the gander, the Bhushans,’ but we will let that go – he made himself understood).

The civil society members on that committee had crowed when they said some nasty things about Sharad Pawar and the Union Agriculture Minister resigned from the drafting committee, without a shred of evidence against him in that particular case (though, as my former Editor Vir Sanghvi points out elsewhere, Pawar has a career full of corruption charges against him). I still maintain that Pawar’s resignation was not out of pique but had some more sinister design to his purpose. But that’s now beside the point.

Obviously the same yardstick is not applicable to the Bhushans or any other civil society member on the Jan Lokpal Committee. Probity is only for ministers. And that, too, Congressmen. Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan had to resign on charges of corruption while Karantaka chief minister B S Yedyurappa continues even as his party chief Nitin Gadkari gives him a clean chit saying he might have done things immoral but nothing that was illegal.

The Bhushans seem to have taken that very leaf out of the BJP’s book to have themselves investigated by themselves and give themselves a clean chit, while Pondicherry governor Iqbal Singh is being questioned by the Enforcement Direcotrate and the CBI files charge sheets against both Chavan in the Adarsh scam and various DMK personalities in the 2G scam.

Amar Singh was right: what’s ok for Peter is most certainly not ok for Paul!

Moreover, their refusal to quit the Jan Lokpal Committee on the grounds that their resignation would derail the committee is plain insult to so many other capable lawyers in this country. I have no opinion on the Bhushans or the scams they find themselves in – I only object to the superciliousness of the civil society members who act as though the Bhushans are indispensable and there is no one else in this country capable of honesty or even drafting a good Lokpal (or any other) bill.

For all those trolls who went viral attacking my senior colleague Vinod Sharma on his blog for his meticulous investigation (and `due diligence’, as he puts it) into the Bhushan CD scam, I think the report of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) has come as a blow in the face of the Bhushans. When I saw Prashant Bhushan hold a press conference on Sunday evening (April 17, 6pm) and provide two reports, one from the US, I wondered how they had obtained at least the American one so quickly. Considering that nothing works in the US on a weekend and that it would have been then 6am Sunday morning US time when Prashant was holding the press conference, the US agency had had to have worked overtime to prove their innocence, given that the CDs became public only on Thursday and could not have reached the US before the weekend. Yet, Vinod Sharma’s two-day probe and 12-hour test of the CD was too little for his critics. That is a question that needs to be asked by everyone who wants to get to the bottom of the truth.

I do not know the Bhushans and have nothing against them – I am only pointing out to the gaps in the stories/defences and the hypocrisy indulged in by all of them. Even social worker Arun Kejriwal on television was quick to point fingers at all the ministers on the committee, without any allegations against them, and say, rather plaintively, “No one is saying anything against them!” As though people need to bring allegations against ministers just because they are politicians. In the same breath Kejriwal was saying, “I think there are some allegations about some letters against me, too, that will be out in a day or two.”

He’s been saying that for a week now and there are still no allegations or letters against him. Makes me wonder what he was expecting and who exactly is indulging in a smear campaign.

Forgive me, if I now think I am so ‘conphujed’ that I do not know who is saying what or where all those allegations are coming from.

And while we are on the subject of hypocrisy, this is another one for the trolls: without naming names (for they are all in the public domain), those in the media who had cried out the loudest against Vir Sanghvi and Group Editor of NDTV Barkha Dutt over the Radia tapes, are now having fingers pointed at them: for their alleged association with, hold your breath, former telecom minister A Raja and, hold your breath again, getting paid for the same. At least the Radia tapes concerning the journalists were only about some faffing and loose talk and obviously the CBI, in their questioning of Niira Radia, has either discounted them or not thought them important enough to question the lobbyist about those conversations.

So will all those self-righteously pious types now apologise?

Or at least acknowledge that, for all their supercilious holier-than-thou attitude, their double standards are now coming home to roost?

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