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Politics-Crime Nexus: an overview of Vohra Committee findings

POLITICS-CRIME NEXUS: AN OVERVIEW OF VOHRA COMMITTEE FINDINGS

The Vohra Committee ‘comprised our top civil servants, who are privy to the most sensitive information and who have both, at formal and informal levels a rather intimate view of the actual mechanisms of politics and governance. This comes out from the report in many forms.

  • This is best illustrated by some hesitation felt by some members of the committee inexpressing their views (as the Report avers), particularly because they “smiled unconvinced that Government actually intended to pursue such matters”. Thus the committee did not appear to be too sanguine about the prospects of its labour fructifying into meaningful action.        Politics-Crime Nexus: an overview of Vohra Committee findings
  • This comes out when, in another context, it recognized that the information of this nature makes it essential that it should be handled “without allowing any scope whatever for its being exploited for political gain”.
  • It is a stinging comment on how such information available to those in authority is susceptible of (mis)use for political blackmail and obtaining compliant behaviour, silencing dissent and disclosure.
  • These are no obiter dicta, hut indicate the mindset of the authors of this report which couldn’t have emerged on any basis other than direct experience and perception. With all the above caveats in place, in a nutshell, what do the finding of the Major Conclusions of the Vohra Committee amount to’?

The major conclusions of the Report are:

  • Organised crime syndicates/Mafia have overtime acquired astronomical monetary resources, “invariably packed in suitcases and gunny bags”: which are used to develop an extensive network of contacts with bureaucrats and politicians, media persons and strategically located individuals in the non-State sector, who mount pressure not to take action against the offenders or go slow in the cases against them.
  • These processes go unchecked owing to “the utter inadequacy of the criminal justice system; cases are not heard timely; functioning of the Government lawyers is grossly inadequate”. These elements have also gown into narco-terrorism with links with subversive elements from within and without “smuggling arms, ammunition, explosives, etc., into the country”.
  • Such crime syndicates “have become a law unto themselves”, with “considerable political clout, seriously jeopardising the smooth functioning of the administration and the safety of life and property of the common man”, so much so that “the network of the Mafia is virtually running a parallel Government, pushing the state apparatus into irrelevance” and “even the members of the judicial system have not escaped the embrace of the Mafia”. ‘The cost of contesting elections has thrown the politicians into the lap of these elements.”
  • The Mafias “too big to be tackled”, have “graduated to big business” and their muscle power “is sustained by their enormous financial power, which, in turn, is secured by ‘the Mafia elements committing economic offenses with impurity.
  • The “Mafia giants”, “the economic lobbies”, “the big smuggling syndicates, with inter­national linkage, have spread into and infected various economic and financial activities, including havala trans actions, circulation of black money and operation of a vicious parallel economy causing serious damage to the economic fibre of the country”.                              Politics-Crime Nexus: an overview of Vohra Committee findings
  • Thus, the gigantic black or unclean, illegal economy of India found as a major component of the Indian economy, especially its upper and most organized corporate components, has become a part and parcel of the parallel state run by the “politician-bureaucrat underworld nexus”.
  • Though there are a plethora of public agencies designed to deal with these nefarious activities, they are reduced to ineffectiveness, verging on irrelevance, by means of corruption and kickbacks, as “The financial stakes arc astronomically high” and “pressures are brought to bear” through postings, transfer and sharing of the loot.
  • Moreover, there is hardly any purposive co‑ordination, sharing, of information and its worthwhile use, common command, and accountability.
  • In addition to suggesting a nodal agency for co-ordinating, monitoring and action for dealing with this menacing situation, there are platitudes regarding the need to “mercilessly prosecute the offenders without succumbing to any pressure whatsoever”.
  • A plea for deterrent punishment by the Revenue Secretary for initiating a virtuous circle also finds place in the Report which also suggests action against officers becoming the cronies of the politicians.

It is clear that the plea for upright and stringent law enforcement, howsoever well-meaning, is question-begging. It amounts to assuming away the problem which has reduced the State processes to empty rhetoric.

Similarly, there is clear value in collating all the information and entrusting action to a single nodal agency. But the million dollar question is how to put the information to effective use and prevent its motivated leakage and blackmail.

This remains unanswered. Are administrative-bureaucratic responses ever capable of dealing with such a mindboggling, deep-seated, systemic malaise?

Some elements of the modus operandi of the unholy trinity are thrown in the report but they are left hanging by their own boot straps.                    Politics-Crime Nexus: an overview of Vohra Committee findings

One needs to ask why has our statist system earlier, and the liberalised one now, got mired into a vexatious black economy and its extension into black governance, polity, perversion of culture.

 

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