We should wind up the CBI. Forget the truth about Bofors. Although it is incontrovertible that Rajiv Gandhi deliberately misled Parliament by asserting no money had exchanged hands just days after our ambassador to Sweden sent him contrary facts in an official message. That is why I sought President Zail Singh's permission to prosecute Rajiv Gandhi. It was not my case that Rajiv accepted a bribe—who did, matters little—but his cover-up to protect the reputation of his government made him complicit. Former chief justice Y.V. Chandrachud studied my petition. He told the president there was a prima facie case but advised him against granting permission to prevent political destabilisation. From there the controversy wandered into the irrelevant question about the President's right to dismiss a PM. All Zail Singh had to do was to give me permission. He got sucked into politics. The rest is history. After retirement, he sadly confessed his error to me. Too little, too late!
After the UPA government assumed office last year, Sonia Gandhi told the media that money probably had exchanged hands in the Bofors case. After Arun Nehru joined V.P. Singh, he was quoted saying by Calcutta's Sunday weekly that if he opened his mouth the government would fall. Records in the Swedish parliament tell of a secret meeting between top Bofors officials and Arun Nehru in Delhi although the latter's official position precluded connection with the transaction.
Forget Bofors. Consider CBI. After 18 years and crores spent, CBI has not produced authenticated documents. Worse, it presented xerox copies of unsourced, unauthenticated information as evidence which even village yokels know courts cannot accept. So, was cbi unbelievably stupid or committing sabotage? With monotonous regularity it has failed to convict celebrities. The Jain hawala case provided just one example.
In the ongoing Telgi case, major politicians across parties were named. Recently the CBI filed a chargesheet reducing the public money defrauded from Rs 30,000 crore to a mere hundred crores! Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal spent months detained in jail as an accused. But his name does not even figure in the chargesheet. Bhujbal should sue the police for damages. He will do no such thing, of course.
The CBI is the government's instrument to intimidate opponents, destroy reputations and protect favourites. It reflects the national ethos. It is without truth, without honour and without justice. And it runs on public money. Why not end the charade and disband it?
(Puri can be reached at email@example.com)