Is BJP against corruption or only against Opposition?

The CBI in December 2016 is reported to have been trying to give a quiet burial to the ₹35,000-crore illegal mining cases in Karnataka, while it has been conducting raids against Opposition leaders

Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times
Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times

Vikrant Jha

A letter reportedly written by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in December 2016 to quietly bury the ₹35,000-crore illegal mining cases in Karnataka calls the bluff of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Government on its so-called “anti-corruption” drive by conducting multiple raids on Opposition leaders—which appear more to be fishing expeditions.

According to CNN-News18, the CBI’s Anti-Corruption Branch told the Industries and Commerce Department in a two-paragraph missive in December 2016 that “no prima facie case is made out to justify registration of a case” on the question of illegal export of iron ore from Karnataka through Goan ports.

Gali Janardhan Reddy, the former Karnataka BJP minister and the eldest of the infamous Reddy brothers, is the main player in the Bellary mining scam. Reddy was recently in the news for the lavish wedding of his daughter, on which he reportedly spent around ₹500 crore, that too, during the peak of the demonetisation period.

A CBI enquiry had been ordered on Reddy following the Lokayukta report filed by Justice Santosh Hegde and his team which claimed that “at least 12.57 crore metric tonnes of iron ore was transported from the Goan ports.”

Claiming that the Lokayukta team handled the case properly, without any malice, Hegde had said, “All the documents were produced along with the report. If the material produced by the Lokayukta is of no merit, then I think we have to re-look at the judicial system,” reported News18 quoting Hegde.

Reddy is facing several criminal cases, including in the OMC case where the company is accused of changing mining lease boundary markings and indulging in illegal mining. BV Srinivas Reddy, managing director of OMC, and Janardhan’s brother-in-law, was arrested, alongside Janardhan himself, in September 2011 by the CBI and was put in jail.

The Karnataka High Court, a few months ago, discharged Reddy and his companies, stating that Enforcement Directorate (ED) had used wrong provisions of law in the case. ED, until today, has not challenged the judgement.

The CBI and ED refraining from challenging judgments has raised eyebrows, not only in the political circle, but also of the public. Former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yedyuraapa was accused of taking bribe through cheque, only to be acquitted by the Court later. The accusation, incidentally, had cost him his CM post.

The Congress had recently listed out scams of BJP governments, such as the ₹20,000-crore GSPC scam in Gujarat, Vyapam scam, the Sahara-Birla papers that had purportedly had the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well; and asked the PM what action has been taken so far in all these cases.

The CBI and Income Tax Department had on Tuesday raided the premises of former finance minister P Chidambaram and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Yadav respectively. More raids being targeted at Opposition leaders while being blind to the mega scams involving BJP leaders, was brought under the hammer by some Twitter users:

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Published: 18 May 2017, 10:23 PM