An attempt to know, understand (and ultimately, transform) that which occurs on the fields of play - India (her politics, media, music) and beyond ...

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Time to own up: Individual and Collective Responsibility

There is no question about it: Law Minister H. R. Bharadwaj has to go! He is guilty of failure: coming to the defense of Quattrocchi is at best an act of servitude to Sonia, and at worst an act of brazen illegality! Savour the delicious irony of the episode: a law minister doing his best to help a criminal and working against the government's investigative agency! We hear that the Additional Solicitor General of the Govt. of India specifically went on a trip to London to defreeze Q's bank accounts - and pay out Q to the extent that was available in the accounts! [See below: from IBNLive]

The CBI director was also forced to agree to the proposal mooted by the Law Ministry, which resulted in Additional Solicitor General (ASG) B Dutta's visit to London last month.

ASG Dutta met officials in the Crown Prosecution Service and told them to move court and defreeze the operations in two bank accounts of Ottavio Quattrocchi in the BSI AG bank in London.

Interestingly, ASG Dutta's visit to London was sanctioned on November 25, 2005, in a letter from the Department of Personnel and Training, a ministry that comes directly under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The most incredible part of the story is that our [increasingly dis]honorable PM-ji was "unaware" about the minister's and the ASG's shenanigans!

Let's see: every time the UPA Govt. has been caught with its pants down, the PM-ji has done one of the following: a) claimed he was unaware, b) dissembled with sanctimonious stories, c) not offered a reaction, or worse d) spouted platitudes.

Dear Manmohan-ji, you have let us down. We had high hopes that you might bring a breath (or two) of fresh air to governance when you were anointed PM. But it is clear that you have absolutely no control over your Cabinet colleagues - they are running amok, serving themselves and their mistress.

It is all too well to invoke the culpable minister's individual responsibility whenever the minister has been caught red-handed. However, when these acts become commonplace, it is time to own up collectively! The UPA government (in its current form, at least) can no longer govern India: it must go! Perhaps, PM-ji, you can start by tendering your resignation (at least, threaten to resign, like you apparently did last November)!

Update: Swapan Dasgupta is much less polite about Dr. Manmohan Singh, calling him A shamefully, clueless PM (via SomethingLikeLife). Excerpts:

The identity of the all-powerful friends of Quattrocchi is not exactly a secret, although it is being disingenuously suggested that even they were unaware of what Bharadwaj and Pachauri were up to.

The delight of an extra-Constitutional authority is that it cannot be pinned down. There are no tell-tale notings in the files that can be unearthed through the Freedom of Information Act. Nor does anyone have the gumption to say that they did what did in the belief that it would please the invisible hand that controls the government.

The Government of Britain works on the quaint principle that the Queen can do no wrong. In India, there is no formal monarchy but here too the Queen can do no wrong. To uphold the principle, even the Prime Minister has to end up openly proclaiming that he is a cipher whose writ doesn't run in his own office. Even honourable men should not be devoid of shame.


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