The bad luck for the UPA Government continues. Firstly, the Solicitor General, Rohinton Fali Nariman, a person of impeachable integrity and stature, resigned, reportedly because he had some differences with the Law Minister. The corridors of power are buzzing with rumours that the difference of opinion was over corporate houses. Obviously the Minister wanted to take a particular view but Rohinton Fali Nariman, as the Solicitor General, declined to change his view. This is bad. The Prime Minister should have intervened and not accepted the resignation of the Solicitor General. If people of integrity leave the Government, it causes damage not only to the Government but also to the nation.
Secondly, the President took a decision on the long awaited mercy petition of Afzal Guru, rejecting the mercy petition. That is OK. But, after that the normal procedure should have been followed. The family could have been informed. The family could have gone to the Supreme Court. People have gone into further litigation in court after the rejection of a mercy petition. But, that is the law of the country.
What is the unholy hurry of hanging a man so that his family cannot go to the court? And worse, the family is not allowed to meet him. This is barbaric and inhuman. It is not the Indian tradition. Forget about the Constitution, thousands of years of Indian tradition does not allow this. In free India, there has never been a situation or scenario like this one. There has been flaying of our neighboring countries on the grounds that you are throwing our norms to the wind and creating problems. Moreover, in Kashmir it has not been received well. In fact, this is one of the cases where the President could have considered changing it to a life sentence because even the Supreme Court has said that there is no direct evidence. It is circumstantial evidence on which Afzal Guru should be hanged. That is a President’s prerogative. But, not following procedures and not allowing the family to meet him are different matters and yet the Home Minister is saying we have wanted to avoid litigation in court. All this does not augur well for the Government.
The third thing which happened is the sudden surfacing of the helicopter scam. It is irrelevant when the procedures, specifications, etc., were changed. The fact is that the orders were placed during the UPA Government rule and the issue is again, not on the fitness or the efficiency of the equipment, the issue is about bribes changing hands and here the figures are big. Bofors’s figure were big for those times, today they look small. These figures are big for this time. For such figures in India, everybody knows that unless there is a political patronage at higher levels these deals cannot go through. You can make a scapegoat of any Air Force Chief or some bureaucrat or somebody but it is the political leadership that has to answer. A CBI inquiry has been ordered, it is good. But if they had ordered the inquiry 11 months ago when this scam surfaced, then by now we would have been wiser. The combination of circumstances does not augur well for the Government. The earlier it holds elections, the better.