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    Creative Commons License
    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    December 10, 2003


    Well I'm not sure if its politics, but I'm quite befuddled at the way politicians, bigwigs, industrialists etc. have reacted to the murder of Satyendra Dubey, a 31-year-old civil engineering graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology (Kanpur), by unknown assailants around 10 days ago in Jharkhand. Dubey was working on the PM's dream project - The Golden Quadrilateral, which is a 600 billion rupees attempt to connect the 4 corners of India through modern multi-lane roads and high speed railway lines.

    Mr. Dubey had written around a year ago to the Prime Minister's Office complaining about financial and other irregularities during the project. He had specifically asked for anonymity, lest he be targetted by those who he sought to expose. Yet the PMO, in its infinite wisdom, circulated the letter amongst the various departments he had accused. Each department bureaucrat made his/her own jottings on the letter and after a while Satyendra Dubey obviously became persona-non-grata and bureaucracy-enemy-number-one.

    A couple of days ago the Infosys Chairman & Chief Mentor, Mr. Narayana Murthy condemned his murder and urged the PM to conduct an investigation and punish the guilty while also wishing that this would be the last such tragedy in India. He even proposed that the IIT alumni setup a fund to help Mr. Dubey's distraught family.

    While I'm sure Mr. Murthy is a good, honourable man with noble intentions, I wonder whether we'd have had such a reaction if the murdered person was not an IIT alumnus, or if he wasn't as educated. Several people die of government, police, bureaucracy and public apathy everyday, some of them literate but a whopping chunk of them illiterate and poor with no means to approach any of the fora for justice. What about them? As the saying goes in Hindi, 'Tumhara khoon khoon, hamaara khoon paani?'. I suspect its true after all.

    The other issue is the way the PMO handled Dubey's letter by leaking it to all and sundry. Was it a threat to other whistleblowers? The NHRC has already started asking uncomfortable questions about the PMO's actions in this issue. The PMO works for the PM, yet the PM has now asked the CBI to investigate the case. Will the officials at the PMO be interrogated?

    I wonder if the CBI doesn't have enough on its plate as it is. Do they have an endless and enormous supply of good investigating officers? How come every issue gets transferred to them? They need to walk a tightrope though. If any case points fingers at the opposition, they risk being called government stooges. If the case charges someone in/close to the government, those affected call it a political case and hence claim immunity from criminal charges. Of course, they do always have the option of ensuring the case gets diluted or buried.

    The Bofors gun, the early 90s stock market scam, the JMM case, the Babri Masjid demolition, the Jain Hawala case, Jayalalitha-Sashikala's money laundering, the Gujarat riots, the Tehelka expose on the weapons purchasing process, Bangaru Laxman receiving wads of notes, Jaya Jaitley agreeing to accept money in return for favours, the recent shenanigans of Ajit Jogi and Dilip Singh Judeo, there's one for just about every alternate year since the 1980s! In how many of these have the accused been convicted. The funny bit is that we as the public know whodunit, but the investigating agencies somehow fail to see the wood for the trees.

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