Date: 06/10/2013

SUB: You Be The Judge

Once there lived an old and pious man, renowned for his honesty. One day his neighbour, a rich merchant comes to him with a request. The merchant was leaving on a voyage and wants the old man to safeguard his wealth, until his return. The old man agrees and with God as witness promises to protect and safeguard the merchantís wealth.

The old man then entrusts the safe keep of the merchantís wealth to his son, from whom he takes an oath of propriety and honesty. Slowly the son starts dipping into the merchantís wealth; people notice this and warn the old man of the sonís misdeeds. The old man calls his son asks him to explain, he also reminds him of his oath on following the right path. The son rubbishes the accusations as rumours and the idle gossip of jealous people, who could bear to see his prosperity. The old man accepts the sonís explanation and things go on as before.

The merchant returns and demands his wealth. The old man calls his son, who hands over a quarter of the merchantís wealth saying that is all there was. The merchant realizing that he has been cheated approaches the King. The King listens to the merchantís complaint and summons the old man. The old man comes to the court with his son and handing him over to the King says ďyour majesty, the merchant is right. My son has confessed to the crime. Please punish him.Ē

The king has the son flogged and imprisoned. He then praises the old man's honesty and dismisses the case.

But the merchant demands punishment for the old man saying, ďI have still not received justice. I had entrusted my wealth to the old man which he swore by God to safeguard. The old manís integrity is intact, but what of me, I have been robbed of my lifeís savings and made a pauper. It was the old manís decision to entrust my wealth to his son for safekeeping. As far as I am concerned the old man is the culprit, and should be punished.

The old man, was neither a party to the theft nor did he benefit from it. In fact, he had sent his son to jail. Yet, the merchant was asking for the old manís punishment.

The Bhetala asks Vikramaditya, ďWhat should the Kings decision be?Ē

Vikramadityaís replies, ďThough the old man is innocent of the actual theft, he is guilty of dereliction of duty. The sonís crime was a straight forward one, the old manís was a graver crime. He did nothing to protect the merchantís wealth. Far from being vigilant he failed to take action even when he was warned of his sonís misdeeds. Because of his laxity the merchant is condemned to a life of penury. He should be punished.Ē

India 2010, Dr Manmohan Singh, esteemed economist, former Governor of RBI, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, former Finance Minister, a man whose personal ethics and integrity are unblemished, takes oath to protect and safeguard the Nation and its assets. He appoints Raja, as his Cabinet Minister for IT & Telecom.

Unlike the story, this heist of a precious national asset is carried out in full view of Dr Manmohan Singh and his cabinet colleagues. Newspapers across the country cry out at this outrage in front page headlines.

The Bharatiya Constitution grants the Prime Minister absolute power in running the country. As per the Transaction of Business Rules the Prime Minister has the unrestricted right to demand and get any file, any record from any Ministry. Dr Man Mohan Singh could have at any time stopped this heist of a National asset, yet he chose to remain silent. The Ministerís failure to exercise his constitutional rights has caused irreparable loss to the Nation.

Dr Singh did not profit personally from Rajaís activities, but his (Mammohan Singh) failure to act, to honour the oath of office, to protect and safeguard the nation and its wealth is unforgivable. Like the old man, he has sacked Raja from his ministerial berth, but does his culpability end there.

The people of India had entrusted their faith and the future of the Nation in Dr Singh, believing him to be a man of integrity and honesty, and not to Raja. Does dismissing Raja absolve Dr Singh or like the old man is he guilty of dereliction of duty and failure to safeguard the Nation and its citizens. Does he deserve punishment?

To the 2G, one can add the CWG, the Coalgate, the Railgate, the Vadragate and many more! It is for the Bharatiya citizen to decide.