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To kill a mockingbird
Quiet burial of the LC probe panel inTaj case is fraught with more disquieting questions than it seeks to suppress
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Congress party’s Taj Mohi-ud-Din is happy that the Damocles’ sword hanging over his head has been removed; National Conference leadership is happy that its limited objective has been achieved; the Peoples Democratic Conference (PDP) and the Panthers Party (PP) are dissatisfied with the abrupt turn of events but determined to pursue their objective by other means and, last but not the least, the chairman of the state legislative council is satisfied that he had acted in good faith and decided to dissolve a house-committee which he had formed in ‘good faith’. This confusing scenario shrouds the short-lived plot scripted by a conspiratory combination of treasury benches and the opposition in the upper house to pin down the PHE minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din who at one time had estranged his own party colleagues for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time or, as some believe, saying the right thing at the wrong time.

Summary dissolution of the probe panel by the LC chairman Amrit Malhotra on Monday closed the tumultuous chapter that began last month with the opposition allegation on the floor that the PHE minister had illegally grabbed forest land in Shopian area. It appears that the tricky political complications involved in the case had either escaped the attention of those whose concern it was to assert them then and there to foil the move or that there was a calculated move by a section of the ruling coalition partners to corner the Congress minister who had courted the ire of his own partymen for siding with the National Conference at a critical juncture.

It was now the NC’s turn to pay back the debt of gratitude. Soon after realising that Taj Mohi-ud-Din was the wrong target to torment the Congress, the NC leadership arm-twisted its nominees in the probe panel who went public with their resignation, citing less than convincing reasons. The drama over the resignation of the Congress nominee in the probe panel dragged a bit longer until, as they say, it was time for all the ‘good men’ to come on to one side. In the end of it all the chairman of the legislative council discovered his own enlightenment to act in ‘good faith’ in order to undo that which he himself had done in ‘good faith’.

It would be unfair at this stage to express any opinion on the validity of the allegation against the PHE minister because it has not been probed and in all probability will never be probed after what happened to a feeble bid at looking into the matter. However, even while refraining from being judgemental at this stage, this much is clear beyond doubt that the means adopted to achieve the end (scuttling the probe) leave behind several unanswered questions. Even if the technicality adopted in this case was not appropriate the minister concerned should have been the last person to use it as an excuse to kill the move itself in the mistaken belief that he would thus clear his name. On the contrary, he allowed himself to be seen moving heaven and earth to let that happen. Secondly, the stink of corruption in high places has already leaked far and wide as it had in the yet-to-be resolved mysterious death of Haji Mohammad Yousuf last year.

The unavoidable impression is that all sorts of tactics and means are being employed by this regime to save itself from public exposure of rampant corruption in higher echelons. The manner in which the publicly known crucial details about the Haji Yousuf case were either obliterated or tampered with or simply ignored while consigning the case to a commission of inquiry has aggravated public disquiet. The mode of inquiry adopted to deal with that case has failed to inspire public confidence in its efficacy. Public perception in such sensitive matters is a crucial factor that seems not to be bothering the present day rulers.

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News Updated at : Wednesday, November 14, 2012
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