Tihar jail awaits how many more high profile?

New Delhi, June 3 (Agencies): Never before in Indian history have so many powerful people been sent to jail on charges of corruption and denied bail week after week. On Monday last, Cineyug Films director Karim Morani became the latest high-profile accused in the 2G spectrum case to enter Tihar jail after his bail plea was rejected by a special CBI court.
Till this case and the Commonwealth Games scam erupted and the courts were seized of the matter, the Kanimozhis and Kalmadis of Indian politics and the Balwas and Goenkas of Indian business could virtually buy anything with their money. They flew in their own planes and helicopters, lived luxurious lives and used their power and influence to not just bend rules but create their own. From this rarefied environment of the rich and the mighty, they have been brought down to living a prisoner’s life and reporting every morning for the mandatory roll call.
At the last count, three politicians who were immensely powerful in their own domains (A Raja, Kanimozhi and Suresh Kalmadi), four heads of large business enterprises (Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka, Sanjay Chandra and Karim Morani) and four high-ranking corporate executives (Gauatam Doshi, Surendra Pipara, Hari Nair, and Sharad Kumar) have been in prison for periods ranging from less than a day to more than three months. Not to be forgotten are the nearly dozen bureaucrats arrested in the CWG and 2G scams. All of them are crying that they are innocent till proven guilty, which is true. It is, however, worth pondering on the judge’s comments while dismissing the bail pleas in the 2G spectrum scam.
On May 23, justice Ajit Bharioke of the Delhi high court observed: “When loss is caused to the state exchequer, every citizen suffers because the money could have been used for the development of the country or for public welfare measures like food, health, education, etc. In this case, the petitioners’ criminal conspiracy caused financial loss and gains in their companies. This is an offence of the highest magnitude, which not only impacts the society at large but also puts a question mark on the governance of the country and adversely affects the economy of the country.”
With a man of impeccable integrity like justice Sarosh Homi Kapadia at the helm of the Supreme Court, do not be surprised if the courts are gripped with a new awakening and seriousness while dealing with high profile corruption cases. In fact, this is already serving as a beacon to the high courts dealing with similar cases (e.g. the Adarsh housing society scam in Mumbai). Being imprisoned — and convicted — on corruption charges is humiliating, worse than any heavy fine that could be imposed for tax evasion. However, prison life per se, is not necessarily humiliating. The great freedom fighters who constantly went in and out of jail, valued their prison experiences — it offered an opportunity for silence, reflection, and contemplation.
Mahatma Gandhi felt it was honourable to go to prison for a just cause. A major portion of his autobiography was dictated in Gujarati while in Pune’s Yerawada jail. Jawaharlal Nehru wrote copiously in prison. His famous Glimpses of World History is a collection of 196 letters that he wrote to Indira Gandhi from various prisons during 1930-33. While in the Dhule prison, Vinoba Bhave gave discourses on the Bhagwad Gita, which were transcribed by Sane Guruji and later published as Gita Pravachane — Vinoba’s incisive commentaries on the Gita. Life in prison can be positive and transformative. If you allow it to be.