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Allegations against Shinde by his former secretary – will an enquiry be held ?




Sushil Kumar Shinde has had a chequered past as a politician, especially when he stepped into the center. He is counted as one of the rock-solid loyalists of the Gandhis, and in terms of his caste (he is a Dalit), hence he ticks the right marks for the Congress. He was the Union Power Minister, but soon after there were a series of power outs across large chunks of the country, and he was made the Union Home Minister (one wonders whether this was a promotion, or there was a need for a loyal guy once Chidambaram had moved to the Finance Ministry. No matter, now Shinde was the Union Home Minister. The contrast between him and Chidambaram was incredible, given that Chidambaram was a high-profile minister while Shinde has typically stayed low-profile. He did take some critical decisions that won him praise, although these were related to the hanging of convicted men – first Kasab, and then Afzal Guru. But at the same time, he riled the BJP to a large extent with his talk about saffron terrorism.
However, it was a known secret for the past many months that the relation between the Home Minister and the Home Secretary RK Singh were not at all cordial, and both play an extremely important role for the entire security structure of the country, including in the fight against terrorist activities. There were complaints and counter-complaints by both, with the Secretary apparently speaking to the Cabinet Secretary about his issues (which was the recommended approach). There is no clarity whether any of this discussion was recorded in a written or oral recording manner, but these discussions are critical to the dispute.
After he retired from the Government, Mr. RK Singh decided to join the BJP, with his view being that this was the party that best handled security matters. He also made some negative references to Shinde, claiming that Chidambaram was a much better home minister than Shinde, although his tiff with Shinde could have led to the bias. All these were window dressing, with the latest allegations that Mr. RK Singh has made against Mr. Shinde being much more serious, and germane to national security and police reform.
Essentially, RK Singh has alleged that Shinde’s claims that India is working along with the US FBI to get Dawood Ibrahim is false, and even if there was such a discussion, it should have remained under wraps. Now, given the close proximity between Dawood Ibahim and the Pakistan ISI, we can be pretty sure that unless somebody goes in and takes Dawood out, nothing is going to happen in this front. And I would tend to agree that Shinde had no business talking about this if there was coordination being planned. Clandestine police and intelligence operations should not be exposed in such statements.
The next accusation he made was about Shinde getting a businessman, accused in the IPL betting scam, off from official scrutiny. Now, this is something that is easy to accuse, and such matters do require proof (although one would be hard pressed to find a note on a file or a voice recording from Shinde for the same); even if there is some circumstantial evidence, there needs to be a further investigation. I do remember that there was a lot of ongoing reports during the IPL betting investigation, and suddenly one day, it seemed as if a switch had been turned and the investigation abruptly soon after reports started coming in of actors and businessmen being arrested for involvement in the betting racket.
The final accusation was about Shinde interfering in the posting of offices in Delhi police, including at SHO level. Now, it would only be the naive who would believe that police postings happen only on merit and there are no extraneous influences; in fact, these problems in terms of police posting interference are part of what have led the police to be seen as a weak force, not really upto the job of maintaining the rule of law in a country such as India.
The third accusation is very serious, but there would be no proof for such a charge, and it would typically be a case of one person’s word over another person’s word. The problem however in India is that if such a charge was made in an advanced country, it would have created an immense controversy and at the very least, there would be an attempt to have a credible enquiry. And that is what should happen – a quick, time bound enquiry that either clears up Shinde’s name, or finds him complicit or does not have enough information to proceed. However, in a time when premier institutions such as the CBI are seen as corrupted and highly influenced, I find it hard to believe that there will be any sort of enquiry into this matter.




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