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Why Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal cannot dodge responsibility for the excise scam

Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind kejariwal

Finally, CBI decided to summon Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to question him regarding his role in the now ill famous Delhi Excise scam.

Since the time the excise scam got unearthed few months back, Kejriwal has only been playing victim card and has failed to reply any of the questions raised regarding his decision to implement a policy which on the face of it looked dubious. He also did not make any sincere effort to come before media and explain logically any of the charges levelled against him and his colleagues who are languishing in jails for months now. Any person who claims to be honest, truthful and has nothing to hide, shouldn’t have shied away from explaining his conduct to the people at large who have been posing faith in him and voting him to power.

After the CBI summons, the battery of his party men started repeating the same old tactic of diversion rather than clarifying the charges levelled against them. Kejriwal also had nothing more to say on the issue except the fact that no money was recovered during the raids conducted by the enforcement agencies either from Sisodia or from others and all the actions are only result of political vendetta unleashed by BJP who are scared of his popularity. He again failed to clarify the accusations made against him and his excise policy.

The genesis of current Delhi excise scam is the massive changes carried out in the earlier excise policy, with the approval of Delhi government’s cabinet, headed by Arvind Kejriwal. Those who have served in governments and know a thing or two about the decision making processes, will vouch for it, that whenever the cabinet clears any proposal, it cannot happen without the direct approval and tacit consent of the concerned chief minister.

As is the practice, the chief minister himself approves the list of items to be presented in the cabinet. Any government department or ministry which decides to undertake the exercise of taking the issue before cabinet, it first prepares a cabinet note containing the background of the issue involved, arguments for it, and the contours of proposed decision, which is circulated to concerned departments including the Chief Minister. A chief minister cannot absolve himself of his culpability in any scandal when the decision was approved in the cabinet that he headed. Hence, in this excise scam Kejriwal is directly responsible and culpable. Kejriwal needs to understand that more than half a dozen accused persons involved in this scam are behind bars for months and they failed to get their bail applications approved by courts despite several attempts. This fact proves the point beyond any doubt that there is enough evidence available on the case record file and courts, after examining all the papers, evidence and testimony of several witnesses, came to the decision to deny bail to the accused persons including Deputy CM Manish Sisodia whom Kejriwal portrays as an absolutely honest person and the best education minister, our country has ever produced.

During the past couple of decades, the art of lying has been mastered by such people to such a perfection that they create a mountain out of nothing. To hide their culpability in excise scam, attempts were made repeatedly to sink deep in us the false narrative that India has in its midst best education minister of the world in Sisodia. Now the slew of lies began to be perpetuated with the active help and connivance of paid media that his government did wonders and this was wrapped up and packaged as ‘Delhi Model’ to befool the country. It is often said that if you tell a lie long enough, it becomes real and then the lie no longer exists and all you are left with is your version of the truth.

The unfortunate part of Kejriwal’s political journey is that though he used the anti-corruption campaign platform to launch himself in politics, he never strictly adhered to the path of truth and honesty and rather followed “politics of narratives” which were never nearer to truth.

As the old saying goes a lie is two lies, the lie we tell others and the lie we tell ourselves to justify it. But ultimately lie remains a lie and it doesn’t pay in the long run. This is a lesson for everyone whether in politics or anywhere else.  Kejriwal must remember that in a scam of this size involving hundreds of crores of rupees in which not only senior officers but his deputy in the Delhi government is also in jail, the Chief Minister cannot claim innocence on the pretext that he did not sign any file.

This is an argument of a novice, not of a person who was been himself a government servant not long ago and has been occupying the chief minister’s chair for almost a decade. In our democratic governance, in all such matters the buck stops only at the Chief Minister. Any one indulging in this kind of scam, will have to pay for his deeds, come what may.

Also Read: Kejriwal brings political discourse to a new low

(Vijay Shankar Pandey retired from the Indian Administrative Service. He has an established record of raising his voice against corruption in public life. Views expressed are personal and exclusive to India Narrative)