Acting against the Corrupt

It is not always that in a corrupt system like India you get to see the arrest of top politicians and powerful people in cases of corruption. In fact as per public record there has been only one politician in the history of independent India who has been convicted for corruption. But in a positive change, we are starting to see our investigative agencies doing their job. One reason obviously is the overhaul taking place for instance in such institutions like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). This is hopefully a beginning of systemic reforms which the country urgently requires. In the last few months or so one can sense a quite reformation taking place within the system. There is a sort of awakening taking place with those in the majority (people) who have been silenced by the corrupt and powerful suddenly finding the moral courage to speak out against corruption. As one comment in a national daily puts it: “the UPA has been nudged hard into action by a more unbiased party: the Indian public”. The successful campaign under the stewardship of social activist Anna Hazare has also helped by way of mobilizing people across the length and breadth of the country speaking up against corruption and demanding reforms and accountability. Corruption is no more a taboo topic to be brushed under the carpet. While it will be wishful thinking to expect drastic correction, plagued as we are with decades of subverting the system, change for the better is showing and this should be a hopeful sign for the future.
In a welcome but surprising development well known Congress leader from Pune, Maharashtra Suresh Kalmadi has been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for his role in the ‘timing scam’ related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Mr Kalmadi, who also headed the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), was under the scanner for quite some time. However no one would have expected that the Member of Parliament would land in prison because powerful politicians always find ways to manipulate out of a tight situation. The arrest of Kalmadi comes in the wake of another high profile politician, former Union Minister A. Raja (from the ruling DMK) already serving term in prison for his alleged corruption in the 2G telecom scam. Then another political figure Kanimozhi, Rajya Sabha MP and daughter of DMK Chief M. Karunanidhi has been named in the CBI charge-sheet in connection with the 2G scam. For many years there had been allegations and rightly so about how the CBI was used by the party in power to serve its political interest. And ever since the Congress led UPA government came to power, the Opposition led by the BJP has ridiculed the CBI as a tool at the hand of the ruling Congress. However, the Congress appears to be doing a mid course correction and giving a free hand to the CBI. This should be welcomed. Whether it is Congressman Kalmadi or political ally DMK, the fact that no one is being spared is indication that the Congress led UPA government is willing to clamp down on corruption. The party in power i.e. the Congress under Sonia Gandhi should set the precedent so that the onus remains on other political parties to also follow suit—towards taking on corruption through appropriate systemic reforms and bringing the corrupt to book without fear or favour.