Extradition politicking of BJP: Too little, Too late!

Fugutive economic offenders during Modi-Raj

It is no hidden fact that the BJP has come into power in 2014 on promises of curbing corruption and bringing black money back to India by painting a sanctimonious image of Mr Modi. Fast forward to mid-2018 and the smug NDA-government is seen cornered by the opposition, led by INC President Shri Rahul Gandhi, on Rafale deal also known as a ₹1,30,000 crore scam, probably the “biggest-ever defence scam” ever in Indian history. When facts about how defence guidelines have been violated and how crony capitalism has been promoted by the Modi-led BJP government presented by INC communication committee, it became clear that country’s security and sovereignty has been compromised to extend a helping hand to Modi’s old friend Mr Anil Ambani.

Union Minister Mr Nitin Gadkari has made it crystal clear in his interview that BJP made false promises to Indian voters in 2014, so probably voters knew they have been cheated upon. But with Congress President Shri Rahul Gandhi making sure that Rafale deal scam shows the true face of this holier-than-thou BJP-led NDA government to the common masses, the BJP has chosen to do little to save its vote-bank. The extradition of alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper deal Christian James Michel is seen as “Bhramastra” by right-wing political pundits. The extradition of one of the middlemen is a welcome step but the question is, “is it enough?”.

The other two middlemen in the CBI charge sheet for VVIP chopper deal i.e. former AgustaWestland head Bruno Spagnolini and former Finmeccanica (now Leornado) chief executive Giuseppe Orsi are still beyond India’s reach. The Italy court has cleared them of charges related to alleged bribes owing to lack of enough proof to establish corruption in the helicopter deal which raises questions on coordination with Italian authorities, surely to be seen as a diplomatic set-back for our mostly foreign-bound PM.

British national Christian Michel is the 20th individual to have been brought from UAE in the last decade-and-half. Given such a long-established extradition history with UAE, PM Modi did not have to do any ground-breaking diplomatic coup to extradite Michel especially when British authorities were not even involved. This raises the question on the timing of the extradition. Why was it not done before?

The other extradition that is in news is of Vijay Mallya. After helping economic fraudsters like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi etc (collectively worth 40,000 crores) etc to escape India, the audacity of BJP is commendable when they tweet with hashtag #ModiGetsMallya. There are two reasons for which BJP has no moral grounds to use this hashtag. First, it should be recalled it was ex-CBI Special Director Mr Rakesh Asthana who had headed the Special Investigation Team of the CBI after Mallya escaped from India in 2016 and had keenly pursued his extradition from the UK. Now as the date of Mallya verdict was approaching and to probably take all credit of a possible extradite verdict from the UK court (something BJP and Mr Modi did in the case of surgical strikes if you remember) this government has awarded Mr Asthana for his hard work on Mallya case by sending him on leave in extraordinary fashion, without consulting a selection committee, as is the rule for any action against the CBI chief, intend of which even the Supreme Court questioned.

Second, Vijay Mallya flew to the UK in 2016, i.e. under BJP-rule, despite having a look-out notice by CBI against his name. Will anyone in their right senses believe it is possible without the political support of the ruling party? Well, the fugitive economic fraudster has informed Finance minister Mr Arun Jaitley that he will be leaving the country the next day! Ring any bell? Before #ModiGetsMallya, should not BJP been tweeting with hashtag #JaitleyPermittedMallyaEscape?

With election approaching is BJP playing extradition stories to “falsely” claim it has delivered on its corruption promise? After all the nation wants to know what happened to those many tall promises of Mr Modi on corruption? Isn’t the BJP delivered too little? And delivered even that little-bit after being in power for almost 4.5 years. Did the BJP fulfil its promise to get the list of culprits of corruption who have slashed their black money abroad in 100 days? Some media houses even complained that extradite verdict of Mallya, which can still be challenged in the UK courts, has been boosted by BJP brass to overshadow the resignation of RBI Chief Urjit Patel. Reason? When someone is systematically killing the autonomy of institutions central to the functioning of our democracy, they will obviously want you to concentrate on fugitive like Mallya, whom they helped to run away in the first place! Isn’t it?

Disclaimer: The views mentioned in this article are of the writer’s (mentioned as the contributor) in its entirety. Afflatus (afflatus.co.in) does not recommend or endorse the views expressed in the article and in no condition shall be liable for any litigation, otherwise.

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