DISAPPEARING FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tom, Jerry and Bofors

Are the CBI and Bofors like “Tom and Jerry” in the eponymous world-famous animated cartoon-show created by Hollywood? Shouldn’t be quite so, one reckons! But, that is precisely how the newly-appointed Director of the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), Mr. Ashwini Kumar, has, reportedly, described the two recently. If that is what he thinks, it would seem to be indicative of the shape of things to come, at least, during his stewardship of the prime national investigative agency.

Evidently, the CBI, like Tom, will be eternally goofing up its chases of culprits in the Bofors pay-off case, who, like smart and agile Jerry, will always give it the slip. Jerry is always far smarter than Tom, who mostly ends up with eggs all over his face. Mr. Kumar, therefore, seems to be nursing a hope that is at best fond – that of nabbing the culprits one day.

Bofors culprits, including Ottavio Quattrochi, will be always ahead of the CBI – and, quite contrarily, not because they are far more nimble than the CBI. If Mr. Kumar, having spent decades in the Police, has failed to realise it all these years, he has inhabited some amorphous worldof his own making. The culprits in the Bofors pay-off case have been eluding the CBI because it has acted as the “poodle” that Tony Blair was likened to. It has always been obedient of the commands of its masters in the government and refrained from sinking its teeth in the flesh of the culprits, leave alone bite or bark at them.

If the CBI under Mr. Kumar continues to be the “poodle” it has been in respect of the Bofors case, and there is no reason to believe that it will not, criminals of the political variety will always elude it.

And, as far as the Bofors case is concerned, people of this country would much rather like Mr. Kumar to apply the closure instead of continuing to play, as indicated by him, the “cat and mouse” game with it, blowing up millions from the public exchequer in these days of double-digit inflation.
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