Lalu’s fodder

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 26 Dec 2017 12:18:26

NOTWITHSTANDING his cantankerous politicking over his conviction in second of the fodder scams, the special CBI court has delivered due justice and dealt a rude jolt to the high-flying Lalu Prasad Yadav. The court has kept pending the quantum of sentence to be awarded to the former Chief Minister and a former Union Minister, that may be in accordance with the seriousness of the matter of the scandal. But the fact remains that the rule of law has caught up with the guilty and that, however high and mighty the person may be, he has to submit himself to the rule of law of the land. 

Soon after the announcement of the conviction, Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav, as is his wont on such occasions, went into a overdrive to see politics and propaganda in the judicial verdict by the ruling party at the Centre and proclaimed himself innocent. If he was innocent he should have been able to prove that before the special CBI court. But he could not because apparently his defence lacked substance and proved to be unacceptable to the court. Ultimately he was taken into custody along with 15 other convicts in the case. Mr. Lalu Prasad will be in a good company during his jail term, what with his comrades-in-arm in the scandal, former ministerial colleagues, other politicians, businessmen and high profile bureaucrats, who will be accompanying him in the jail.

Soon after the verdict was announced, a post on Mr. Lalu Prasad’s Twitter handle said, “Powerful people and powerful classes always managed to divide the society into ruling and ruled classes. And whenever anyone from the lower hierarchy challenged this unjust order, they would be deliberately punished.” This tweet clearly shows, instead of accepting the verdict and his own complicity in the scam, Mr. Lalu Prasad is trying to give the conviction the colour of a vendetta, victimhood from the ruling class belonging to higher social hierarchy. This kind of political reaction may befool the gullible but not the discerning larger society any longer. This old gimmick is past its sell-by date.

For 21 years the case dragged on and enabled Mr. Lalu Prasad freedom from going to jail. For those 21 years he not only enjoyed freedom from conviction but also enjoyed office, both in the State of Bihar and as the Central Minister because the country’s law allowed him to contest elections and occupy offices till he was proven guilty.

This again brings to the fore the issue of the veracity of the grossly misused dictum -- innocent till found guilty. The entire political community seems not to be inclined to change the situation as far as the electoral law is concerned in this regard. This allows a politician to contest elections and even occupy office of profit, ignoring the possibility and even the fact the person concerned, being a powerful and influential political heavy weight, can influence the course of investigation against him and could nullify the effect of any charges. This possibility is always present. But the entire political community is not willing to change the situation. It is very rare that a guilty political leader is proceeded against immediately and expeditiously and sent to jail on charges of corruption and misuse of office.

Ironically such a privilege is not available to the common man. There are thousands of instances all over the country where undertrials are made to languish in jails with a semblance of a trial making any headway for years and even decades. The prolongation of the Lalu Prasad fodder scam case for 21 years is another instance of how powerful political persons try to subvert the judicial system. Nevertheless, though delayed, justice has finally been done in this case.