By Santosh Bhartiya
Hon’ble Vice President did not perform his constitutional and moral duty. We would humbly ask him as to why he did not perform his duties. Is it because he is a Muslim and he thought if he does so the pseudo-Hindutva brigade will come down on him? Or, is it because the letter he has been handed over contains the name of a person who was the ex-finance minister and presently holding a higher post than the post he is holding? Or is it because the letter implicates the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice to be (possibly)? Or is it because the letter contains the names of some former and current members of the Rajya Sabha during his tenure as the chairman of the house?
The Vice President’s evading his duties may result in no action if in future a president, or a prime minister, or a chief justice, or a vice-president commits suicide and leaves behind his last statement before the death, because (God forbid) the system will suppress that statement. Jiah Khan, a film actress, commits suicide, the whole system swings into action in forthright manner to implicate people involved in the abetment of the crime. Whereas, a person who was a member of assembly for twenty-five years, was the finance minister and later became the chief minister, committed suicide in the Chief Minister’s residence and wrote a 60-page letter entitled ‘Mere Vichar’ is not a fit case to be investigated on. The police report, after assessing all the documents, gives clear indication that the reason of former Chief Minister’s suicide is present in the document left behind by him. But the police, too, did not investigate those documents. Interestingly the state government has sent its recommendation to the Center to conduct any inquiry of its liking, but the center has not yet ordered the CBI inquiry. The widow of the decease former chief minister called on Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the month of March who assured her that after four or five days he will look into the matter. But those four-five days have not been ended till now. She is seeking time to meet the Prime Minister, but the Prime Minister does not have time to meet her.
I am talking about the former Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Kalikho Pul, who committed suicide in the Chief Minister’s residence, after writing a 60-page document. He signed every page, wrote something on footnotes and spread all the pages around so that they could not be ignored. In the pre-death statement he expressed the hope that the people will raise their voice against the corruption mentioned in his letter. This saga of corruption implicates his party’s Rajya Sabha members, senior lawyers and representatives of Supreme Court judges, and provides a complete description as to how the money that comes in the state does not reach to the people and how that money is robbed. But Kalikho Pul had no idea that his colleagues, people of his own fraternity – the politicians – would send his last words into the oblivion. He had no idea that the media of this country will not pay attention to the questions he was raising. And above all Mr. Pull probably had no idea that the state in which there was no base of the BJP and where he worked hard to form a BJP government, the prime minister of the same party has not only no tears to shed on his death, but he has not time to meet his widow as well.
His wife wrote in detailed to the Vice President, because she cannot go to President Pranab Mukherjee. In his suicide note Kalikho Pul has mentioned the name of the then finance minister, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, the address of his Kolkata home, where Pul gave money to him. Mr. Pranab Mukherjee is the President of the country today, his wife could not go to him, and hence she knocked the doors of the Vice President.
Kalikho Pul has named the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in his suicide note. The Supreme Court had prepared to give an unnatural death blow to the petition, which was submitted by his wife in the Supreme Court in the form of a letter. She requested the court to grant permission to file an FIR against those mentioned in Pul’s suicide note. But when she realized that the letter would be destroyed, because it was converted into a judicial petition; and the way she received the information of hearing the petition from the registrar’s office one day before in the evening, she decided that she should withdraw the petition. After that she went to the most senior officer available, the Vice President, and apprising him of the issue and enclosing all the papers requested him to order an inquiry. But the Vice President due to unknown reasons – perhaps one of those reasons that I mentioned earlier – did not passed that letter to anyone (this is my presumption). We want the Vice President to tell the country whether the members of Rajya Sabha, whose name appeared in the suicide note of Mr. Pul, have denied the charges leveled against them? Has the Rajya Sabha become a hiding place of corrupt politicians? The Supreme Court bench has it that if there is any complaint against the Supreme Court judges, it can be probed by taking permission from the President. But when the President himself is mentioned in the note, not in the capacity of President but as the former Finance Minister, the only place that remain to forward this letter is the office of Vice President. Setting aside constitutional obligation and ethics, what did the Vice President do of the file, nobody knows? Will the Vice President by virtue of being the constitutional head and by virtue of being the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, enunciate the reason behind this? The Supreme Court’s decision and its procedure have come under the scanner due to some people. Rajya Sabha itself has come under the scanner. Will the Vice-President set up a committee of the Rajya Sabha to investigate the matter or will he, by using his constitutional right, ask the Home Ministry to constitute an SIT? This is a very big question.
After all, who is beyond the purview of questioning? Is it Prime Minister Narendra Modi? When he formed a government in 2014, his first promise to the nation was a zero-tolerance policy on corruption. Perhaps that is why he has trimmed down the status of ministers of his cabinet and increased the status of bureaucrats. Although no matter of major corruption (of his time or of earlier time) reached to its conclusive end during his regime, but the question arises that a person who was the chief minister and who help him to laid the foundations of the BJP and helped to form its government in Arunachal Pradesh raised his voice against corruption of the Congress and wrote a 60-page long note before killing himself (detailing the corruption and the corrupts), the prime minister paid no hid to that note. The deceased also mentioned in the note that who asked him to pay money, why asked him to pay money and from which government project they asked to pay money. The letter that is a confessional statement before death must have reached to the prime minister. Why the prime minister ignored that letter? Why did the Prime Minister ignore him? A document that opens one layer of corruption after another was written by a chief minister of the same political fraternity, which the Prime Minister belongs to. Why the Prime Minister did not take notice of that document? After all, the document did not expose the corruption of the BJP, it is exposing the corruption the Congress party. It contains no name of any person associated with the BJP. It contains the names associated with the Congress, however big the name they be. All the members of the Rajya Sabha mentioned herein are associated with the Congress party. Why, then, Prime Minister Modi did not take cognizance of the suicide note? Why did he not institute an investigation based on that note? Why did he allow such assumption to take root as if the Supreme Court and the Rajya Sabha have sunk to the nose in the mud of corruption? Had he instituted an investigation, had he handed over the investigation to the SIT, had he entrusted the investigation to the CBI from which the Supreme Court and the Rajya Sabha members would have been acquitted, at least this lacuna would have been washed away. But the Prime Minister did not do that. I still believe that the prime minister is an honest person with clean image, but what compel him to ignore the 60-page note written by the late Pul?
I would like to ask the Prime Minister, is it wrong to raise this question? I would also like to ask the Supreme Court, is it wrong to raise this question? I would like to ask Vice President as well, is it wrong to raise the question? I would also like to ask the Rajya Sabha, is it wrong to raise this question? If you feel that raising this question is wrong, then should I publically apologize to you for the same? However, I think there must be certain people in the quagmire of this corrupt system who will stand up against injustice and corruption. That’s why I expect the Vice President that when your term is about to end, you should follow you constitutional and moral duty. You will pay attention to the 60-page note sent to you by Mrs. Pul, and according to her expectation you will order the matter to be investigated by SIT or by the CBI, and you will come clean out of it. Let me tell you that in the police report it is conceded that the cause of death of Mr. Pul is mentioned in his 60-page note. Neither the police nor any other government agency investigated the matter. The Home Ministry sat on the request of the Arunachal government. In this backdrop, Mr. Prime Minister, how do we believe that you adopt a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption? Or, for the sake of political convenience, in order to threaten some people, whether it is a Supreme Court judge or the Congress party, you have put this investigation on hold right now. When you have to pressurize these two, one political party and the other Supreme Court judges, then you will initiate the investigation. I wish I am wrong, because there is no need for the prime minister to apply any additional pressure at least in India.
We are publishing the letter of the Late Mr. Pul in this issue, which opens one layer of corruption after another. We expect the government, the Rajya Sabha and the Vice President to perform their responsibility of examining the truth of this letter and the things written in it. In order to maintain the respect for democracy and democratic institutions in the country, it is necessary for the Vice President to perform his duty. Otherwise, he will be considered as part of the conspiracy to end democracy.
When a person commits suicide, the police investigate to find out people who aided and abetted that suicide. The police arrest such persons and the court Punish them. We want to ask the people of the country why this did not happen in this case. Mr. Pul, in his suicide note, has mentioned the name of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the person who will probably be the Chief Justice after him. If the allegations against them are false, then who will investigate them? The police did not investigate, the Prime Minister ignored, the vice-president did not perform his duty, and the President himself was indicted into it. Why no one denied the charges? The deceased person was not an ordinary person or a common man. The person who committed suicide, who made this accusation before dying, why his suicide note was ignored? It is believed that the statement of a dying person is 90 percent correct. These questions are part of a long series of questions. If these questions are not answered today, then tomorrow the system, the Supreme Court judges, the Prime Minister and the Vice President have to answer them.
Saga of Killing of a Suicide Note
- On 17 February 2017, Dangwim Sai, the wife of Kalikho Pul, wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of Supreme Court Justice J.S. Khehar demanding investigation against the judges whose names appeared in Kalikho Pul’s suicide note in connection with bribery.
- Kalikho Pul had alleged in his suicide note that in July 2016 the judges of Constitution Bench that ordered the dismissal of his government has passed that order under immoral /undesirable influence.
- The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court heard the letter of Dangwim Sai and ordered to file it as a criminal writ petition.
- The Registrar of the Supreme Court had registered the writ petition and sent it to the bench of Justice A. K. Goyal and Justice U.U. Lalit for hearing.
- The Registrar of the Court, officially, informed Mrs. Pul (Dangvim Sai) about the date of registering writ petition on her mobile one day before the hearing.
- During the hearing of the case, Dushyant Dave, the counsel for Mrs Pul raised many questions about the judicial hearing of the matter.
- Mr. Dave disclosed in court that in this matter a judge of the Supreme Court has recently handed him many sensational information. But it is not fair to disclose them in the court.
- He said that the petitioner has requested the judicial inquiry of the allegations of corruption charges on judges in the suicide note and not requested administrative inquiry.
- He also questioned changing Mrs Pul’s letter into a writ petition.
- Mr. Dave also commented that sending this writ petition to the bench of Justice Goyal and Justice Lalit also creates suspicion. He said that Justice Goyal is a junior judge and he has worked as a judge in the Punjab and Haryana High Court where the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Justice Mr. Khehar was a judge.
- Dave said that in the suicide note of Kalikho Pul, there are allegations of corruption against Justice Khehar as well, and it has also been said that he used his son in Rs. 36 crore deal.
- Mr. Dave cited K. Veeraswami vs. Union of India case, and on the basis of that case he requested administrative inquiry into the allegations of corruption against the judges mentioned in the
- K. Veeraswami was the Chief Justice of Madras High Court and father-in-law of Supreme Court judge Justice V. Ramaswamy. Veeraswami was charged with accumulating more wealth than known sources of his income. Against these allegations, he filed a petition in the Madras High Court which was subsequently rejected.
- He was the first Chief Justice of a High Court against whom impeachment ordered was issued.
- Veeraswami challenged the order in the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court upheld the Madras High Court verdict and finally Veeraswami was dismissed.
- Mr. Dave also said that conducting the hearing of this case in court no. 13 and hearing of the matter at 1.30 PM during the lunch break also create suspicion as this was not the proper time to hear a case.
- During the hearing the bench of Justice U. U. Lalit and A. K. Goyal said that if Mr. Dave or his petitioner wants to withdraw the petition, they can do so. But Dushyant Dave continued to press for administrative investigation. When the bench refused to consider the plea by Dave, and Mr. Dave thought that the petition would be rejected and all the doors of pursuing the case would be closed for them, he with the consent of Mrs. Pul withdrew the petition. Mrs. Pul said that she had approached Prashant Bhushan for taking up her case in the Supreme Court, but he was busy in another case. Meanwhile, Prashant Bhushan talked to Dushyant Dave and Mr. Dave pursued the case only on the basis of merit. This petition was withdrawn on the advice of Prashant Bhushan.
- After hearing the case, the Bench dismissed the writ petition by saying that the petitioner has withdrawn her petition.
- The Bench also said that if there are serious allegations against Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or other judges, the government with permission of the President can take a decision to constitute a bench of senior judges to examine the matter.
- But later, the President, the Central Government, the opposition and the media all became silent and the suicide of a Chief Minister became a riddle.
Letter to Vice-President
- On 28 February 2017, Mrs. Dangwim Sai wrote a letter to Vice President Hamid Ansari and demanded to set up an SIT (Special Investigation Team) to conduct an impartial investigation into allegations of corruption leveled against the judges in Mr Pul’s suicide note.
- Mrs. Pul maintained that the suicide note of Mr. Pul should be seen as a pre-death statement. Since the charges leveled in the suicide note are of grave nature, it indict the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and another senior judge, therefore it is necessary to be investigated by an agency which is outside the control of the government, and which can protect the honor and freedom of judiciary. He also cited Veeraswami vs. Union of India as an example.
- She also argued that there is a provision for conducting inquiry through President, in case of a corruption complaint against a judge of the Supreme Court. But in this case the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, a senior judge and the President are indicted therefore I am writing to the Vice President seeking a probe.
- Mrs. Pul also urged the Vice President to issue directive to constitute an SIT and a bench of three to five judges (other than Justice Khehar and Justice Deepak Mishra) to investigate the matter properly. Otherwise, the honesty and integrity of those politicians and judges will continue to remain murkier whose names appear in Mr. Pul’s suicide note. Vice President has not yet taken any action on the letter of Mrs. Pul.
Letter to Home Minister
- On 22 March 2017, Mrs. Pul called on Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi and wrote him to investigate the matter through SIT. She maintained that the investigation must be conducted under the supervision of the Supreme Court, because the dignity of the judiciary is at stake as the two Supreme Court judges are accused of corruption. She also demanded protection from the Central Security Agency for her and her family.
- Among those who met the Home Minister along with Mrs Dangwim Sai were her son Ojing-So Pul and R. N. Lollum the secretary of Kalikho Pul. The Home Minister sent off Mrs. Pul by saying that he is going out for 4 to 5 days now, after returning, he will study the case. However, the Home Minister has not taken up the matter till date.
- Mrs. Pul revealed that in March 2017, the Arunachal government had sent this matter to the Home Ministry with the recommendation that they should make a proper decision about the investigation, but the Home Ministry gave a cold shoulder to it.
Letter to Jual Oram
- Similarly Mrs. Pul wrote a letter to the Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Orom on 24 March 2017, seeking justice. In her letter, she mentioned that she is a tribal woman and as a minister of the concerned department, he also has the obligation to help her investigate the causes of the death of Mr. Pul and the charges he leveled in his suicide note. Mr. Oram too did not take action on this.
- On 22 March 2017, Mrs. Pul wrote a letter to the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women demanding intervention and assistance in this matter, but the Women’s Commission too kept silent.
- On 3 April 2017, Mrs. Pul has written to three senior judges the Supreme Court – Justice J. Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Madan B. Lokur – demanding to register an FIR and investigation of allegations leveled in the suicide note. She argued that since Mr. Pul’s suicide note has the name of Chief Justice Khehar, Senior Judge Deepak Mishra and President Pranab Mukherjee, only these three senior judges are capable of making a decision in this regard, that is why she is appealing to them.
- She attached a copy of the suicide note and the letter she has written to the Chief Justice of Supreme Court with the letter to these judges. She has got no response from these three judges as yet.
- Meanwhile, Mrs. Pul also met the Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and demanded the investigation of all the cases from a neutral agency. Mr. Mehrishi replied that he is taking legal opinion in this matter, but no action has yet been taken by him.
- Mrs. Pul has tried several times to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi with her plea, but it is a matter of regret that the PMO did not give her time to meet her till date. The irony is that the PMO has been showing such an indifferent behavior to the widow of the chief minister who formed the government in Arunachal with the help of the BJP.
- The supporters of Mr. Kalikho Pul are still holding agitation in Arunachal Pradesh to investigate the mysterious death of Mr. Kalikho Pul and allegations of corruption he leveled against many top leaders and judges in his the suicide note. But neither the state government nor the BJP government at the Center is taking any cognizance. This is the situation when Union Home Minister Kiran Rijiju represents the same area in Parliament.