By Hilda Raja, Ph.D
The Quattrocchi affair is a blot on the Congress-led UPA government, which it cannot wish away. Never has a government been so consistent and determined in its working against the people. The dropping of the cases against Quattrocchi was expected. First it was the defreezing of Quattrocchi’s accounts. Second it facilitated the withdrawing of Interpol’s red corner alert. Third it gave the final clean chit to him by dropping all charges against him. In this whole sordid drama what comes through is the fact that the Congress-led UPA connived with Quattrocchi in letting him off the hook.
The sum alleged may be small compared to the huge corruption that blurs the whole Indian political scene. But the way it was done and the underhand methods used so blatantly to get Quattrocchi walk free is something that cannot be easily explained off.
Questions that loom large are: Why was the UPA government under Sonia Gandhi hell bent on freeing Quattrocchi? What is the relationship of Quattrocchi to the first family? Is Quattrocchi a benami of very powerful persons? Why did the Law Minister send an envoy to the UK to defreeze his account keeping the Prime Minister in the dark? Why did the government blunt the efficiency of the CBI and made it look as a set of fools on a wild goose chase? Why India was exposed to ridicule and made a laughing stock by the world community? Why had the officers been prevented in their functioning — going to Argentina without the required papers? Why was Quattrocchi not extradited from Malaysia, when the Central government did say that it was a fit case for extradition? Why has the Center so unabashedly admitted its own inefficiency and dropped the case against Quattrocchi because it remained a major cause of embarrassment for the Congress? Why did the Solicitor General argue that all was lost in the fight to nail the elusive Italian when the CBI had once suggested a strong case existed? What happened between then — with a strong case in existence, and now when everything was lost? What was lost by whom and how?
It all started when Margaret Alva was the Minister in charge of Personnel, the Congress Party allowed Quattrocchi to sneak out of the country? After he had left, then began the ruckus and chase for the Rs.64 crore, which may be peanuts for the ministers and the first family. But the fact remains that the Congress Party abetted the fleeing of Quattrocchi. If there was no case then why had he not appeared to be questioned, faced the charges and cleared himself? Instead he was running as a fugitive from country to country. The role of the Congress is suspect. It has brought disgrace and disrepute to the country and its investigation agencies, and made a farce of our whole justice system. The UPA government will not have the credibility to bring back the money of the Indians stashed in foreign tax havens — it will not arrest the amassing of wealth by corrupt means because it is the main culprit.
All the big tamasha of sleeping in a Dalit’s house and sharing a night meal with them is a big propaganda for Rahul. This is another kind of deception. If the Congress Party and Rahul really empathize with the plight of the poorest of the poor, then it is not one night’s business but a whole change in lifestyle and functioning, throughout one’s life. It takes a lot of gumption to fight corruption because corruption is the root cause for all the ills. A dirty hand cannot give a clean government nor redeem it. Like leeches, the corrupt men and women suck the blood of the people leaving them emaciated and weakened. To add insult to injury, the leaders’ visitations to the Dalit hamlets and Dalit houses and sharing one night meal with them are all insults heaped on the people. Does the great propaganda drama of deception — to continue the corruption yet offer a tokenism, and the one-night sharing the poverty — make a whole lifetime of suffering vanish for the poor?
If really Rahul and his mother believe in eradication of poverty then Quatrrocchi’s case should have been different. Because it calls for righteousness and integrity to stand for justice no matter the cost. In this, the Congress Party headed by Sonia Gandhi failed miserably. It has exposed the bankruptcy of values in the Congress and its leaders. Was there not a single person who could have stood up and demanded truth and justice?