Will the CBI file a closure report?
SIR, The CBI has made itself a laughing stock by hastily filing an FIR against Mr Kumarmanglam Birla when the Prime Minister has asserted that there was nothing wrong in releasing coal block allocations in favour of Hindalco, a firm owned by Mr Birla. The sanction was granted on the merit of the application and after all formalities were complied with. In fact, there was no allegation of quid pro quo against him.
While lodging an FIR, the CBI in the fitness of things ought to have considered whether the offence of conspiracy was complete. This means whether or not there was an agreement to do something illegal to further the objective of the conspiracy. Did Mr Birla do anything wrong when he applied for the sanction of coal blocks? As a successful businessman, he was well within his rights to apply for sanction and had every right to pursue the same with the authorities concerned. How does the question of conspiracy arise?
After the Prime Minister’s denial of conspiracy, the CBI seems to have no option than to file a closure report against Mr Birla which should be in line with its legacy of filing closure reports one after another.
Yours, etc., Saswato Gupta,
Kolkata, 21 October.
SIR, The Supreme Court has refused to entertain a PIL seeking CBI probe into licences granted to several real estate developers in Haryana, including the one with which Robert Vadra is associated. While appreciating counsel M L Sharma’s submissions on various issues, the Bench observed that he should focus on the good work instead of hankering after publicity. The court held that the PIL is not well-grounded; it seeks to focus on a particular individual though many others are also involved. The matter is much too complex.
Yours, etc., Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee,
Faridabad, 30 October.
CASTE & POLL POLITICS
SIR, Apropos the report, “Caste conflict comeback” (19 October), the Bihar government is facing the problem of threats and counter-threats from the Maoists and the Ranvir Sena. The Maoists recently killed seven members belonging to a powerful upper caste in Aurangabad district in the wake of a Patna High Court judgment, acquitting all the 26 who had been held guilty by a lower court for the slaughter of 58 Dalit villagers at Laxmanpur-Bathe in 1997.
With the general elections approaching, both the ruling JD-U, headed by Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, and its erstwhile partner, the BJP, appear to have gone on overdrive courting politically significant castes across the state by holding rallies to woo them. The situation has come to such a pass that the erstwhile partners are seeking to encroach upon each other&’s vote-banks.
The BJP is targeting the extremely backward castes, which the JD-U claims represent its own “vote-bank”. The ruling party is trying to lure Bhumihars and Brahmins who are considered the traditional supporters of the saffronite party. The moves picked up momentum after the JD-U started cosying up to the Congress. A further twist has been lent by the senior Bihar BJP leader, Sushil Kumar Modi, who suggested that someone from the backward community should be India&’s next Prime Minister, a shrewd hint in favour of Narendra Modi.
Yours, etc., Arun Kumar Bhaduri,
Kolkata, 20 October.