In its chequered existence the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been called all sorts of things, for the sin of being a pliant tool of whatever political dispensation happens to be in power. But what must have come as a shocker to the CBI brass was the agency being described as “department of dirty tricks” by former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi — to their face! The occasion was the 5th D P Kohli Memorial Lecture for CBI on “Eclipse at Noon: Shadows Over India’s Conscience” with nearly 3,000 officers of the agency in the audience, including CBI chief Ranjit Sinha and other top brass. Gandhi made this observation during his lecture. He described CBI as “department of dirty tricks (DDT)” which had gained disrepute for being the “Government’s hatchet”, clothed in opacity with a perfume of mystery. The poetic imagery notwithstanding Gandhi’s comments left many in the audience squirming with embarrassment. Clearly running the agency is no joy-ride. Just ask Ranjit Sinha!
The Show Goes On
We may in the throes of a general election but far away from the tumult, the business of Government goes on as usual. Commerce Secretary Rajeev Khar was to lead a delegation of Indian businessmen to Hong Kong for an “India Show”. Khar, a 1980-batch IAS officer from the Uttar Pradesh cadre, may have beeen hoping to notch up some business deals but also knew it was likely he would have to field questions about the likely outcome of the elections. Potential investors have been taking a keen interest in the political developments in India and are obviously hoping that a more investor-friendly regime comes to power. Meanwhile Khar has the unenviable task of convincing foreign investors that the “India Story” is still happening, and also make efforts to rebuild India’s trade volume with Hong Kong, which has dipped in recent years. There are also some in Dilli who feel that doing an India Show in Hong Kong during a national election is nothing more than an excursion for some babus and businessmen. Do you agree?
In anticipation of Narendra Modi becoming the next Prime Minister, several babus in Gujarat are already making plans to shift to Dilli to be with him. While inevitably there will be large-scale changes in the bureaucratic structure after a new Government is formed, many observers believe that the energy sector is going to witness drastic changes. Among the babus who are likely to shift out of Gujarat if Modi comes to power are the present State Energy Secretary D.J. Pandian, a 1981 batch IAS officer, Tapan Ray, a 1982-batch officer who heads the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation, and Atanu Chakraborty, who heads Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals, a State Government undertaking. Seeing their preparations, many believe that the energy sector will be a core focus area of the Central Government. Of course there is still the small matter of Modi becoming the Prime Minister!