Copyright. All rights reserved. Ram Jethmalani. 2019.
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My critics love to accuse me that whenever I criticise Arun Jaitley for his anti-national activities, I tend to sound very personal. Let me assure them and my readers that I have no interest in Jaitley’s personal life or any of his activities if they are confined to it. But if his actions as a person, private or public, compromise public good or our national interest, no force on earth will keep me quiet.
I have written enough about how his actions as finance minister have done everything that is possible to ensure that our black money abroad never returns to India. He has packed the Enforcement Directorate, who are key to the SIT for Black Money, with persons of questionable antecedents, many former henchmen of the former Finance Minister, P Chidambaram, for whom he has appeared as lawyer in the Fairfax case. And now the appointment of the CVC, Mr. K V Chowdary, former Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes, (under Chidambaram) for which Jaitley is reported to have been present in the Selection Committee, (of which he is not and was not member), only confirms in my mind that his actions are anti-national. Chowdary, the new CVC, against whom there are reams of evidence of irregularity and impropriety, is many shades worse than ‘tainted Thomas’ who appears so tame now, whose selection by the previous Prime Minister drew outrage in the nation. The Prime Minister is surely aware that the highest flak he is receiving for anti-national decisions, whether for the black money issue or the selection of the tainted CVC, are all the result of the public action of Arun Jaitley. And the question everyone is asking is how the Prime Minister allowed all this to happen.
The Central Vigilance Commission is required to be an office in combating corruption and he himself should be possessed of unquestionable integrity. Holders of such office have not to prove beyond reasonable doubt to have this great qualification. This is required when a person is to be convicted of a crime and sentenced to a punishment prescribed by criminal law. I had four heavy bundle of evidence of his complete unfitness for the office of CVC yet the gentlemen was appointed after I had sent one bundle to the Prime Minister and promised to send 3 more without any delay. The Finance Minister’s certificate of fitness proves nothing but it certainly proves beyond doubt that Mr. Jaitley is not fit to be a Finance Minister who is not even a member of Cabinet Committee of Appointments. Yet he participated in the process. It reflects on the Prime Minister too. I do not wish to say more because the matter will be hopefully thrashed out in courts of law or the Sovereign People of India.
I was quite surprised to see an article in the May edition of the Caravan magazine that does an in-depth analysis of Jaitley’s rise to power, how he managed always to step higher, through a deliberate cultivation of the media, the power brokers, corporate, the glitterati, and the influence and power that he came to acquire over them, officially and unofficially. Media moguls, many of them his good friends, refused to publish any information that exposed or criticised his questionable, and sometimes corrupt actions. I give my highest compliments for Caravan magazine, for their courageous piece “Talk of the Town”, despite the facts they are writing forthrightly about not only the present Minister for Information and Publicity, but also the Finance Minister, with his intimidating outfit called the Enforcement Directorate.
The article explains Arun Jaitley’s steady rise to the commanding heights that we perceive today, beginning from his student union days of 1974, riding a well calculated, well-orchestrated strategy right from the start of networking, disinformation and manipulation, and befriending and controlling the media. He realised the strategic necessity of befriending media captains. He used the latter as his political career progressed to stifle information about his murky side in some of the prestigious Indian newspapers of some extremely dubious legal opinions given regarding allocation of coal blocs, a scam that the BJP was loudly accusing the UPA Government of. These facts were effectively obliterated from the mainstream national media. So too, have his past relations with Chidambaram and NDTV, with Vodaphone, and Ketan Parekh who faced charges of defrauding the Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank, been deleted by mainstream media.
He also cultivated the right Delhi durbar style for building up his social, corporate and media constituency, in lieu of the political constituency that he so badly lacked, all of it based on expediency to move on, and not ideology. And with their support he appears to have become master of the plantation industry – for planting stories and entrenching disinformation about his political foes and friends, and people whom he wanted to demolish. Several leaks planted in media, that have tried to damage reputation of many of his party colleagues are reportedly traced to him.
According to the Caravan article, Jaitley appears to have hobnobbed with every important politician of the Congress, the BJP and other parties, and is a pathological gossip and bad mouther, even of his friends and political leaders, including Prime Minister Vajpayee, and Advani, who has been his greatest benefactor. He hobnobbed with the Judiciary as Law Minister, misused his power, particularly regarding appointment of judges, inspite of advice and opinions from the IB.
His relationship with Narendra Modi seems interesting. To begin with, both were trying to draw advantage from each other’s strengths. Jaitley, a suave English-speaking Delhi durbari with no political base, but by now, with a vast high society, business and media network; and Modi with a vast political base, but no savvy, sophisticated Delhi durbar. In the Vajpayee years, Jaitley had to play second fiddle to Promod Mahajan, who was much higher in the BJP pecking order, but after Mahajan’s death, he found his great opportunity to rise within the party.
His elections from Amritsar was a disaster, but Modi instead rewarded him and for whatever reason, placed Defence and Finance in his control. His iron fist in velvet glove romance with the press continues, more so, after he was removed from Defence, and given the ministry of Information and Broadcasting, where he can call the shots with greater force to black our stories about his own misdeeds.
I had warned Modi ji not to set him up as the party candidate and I assured him that he will lose. My advice was based on my belief shared by millions that Jaitley is a member of the notorious 160 club which hoped and worked on the project of ensuring that BJP does not get an absolute majority in Lok Sabha.
His role as President of Delhi and District Cricket Association a post he is said to have headed for 13 years, has brought to light by eminent veteran cricketers like Bishen Singh Bedi and Kirti Azad, smacks of nothing less than manipulation, nepotism and corruption. The usual cheap corruption tricks of a low level minion, construction of a stadium, falsification of bills and accounts. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs constituted a three-member team of the Serious Fraud Investigation Office to investigate Azad’s claims, but by the time the SFIO’s report was completed, in March 2014, Jaitley was no longer DDCA president, and he did not contest the 2013 election. The SFIO’s report confirmed Azad’s allegations of financial irregularity, but Jaitley managed to escape any indictment for the corruption under his watch. Clearly, a scam closed up by the scamster who occupies a position of great power in our country.