The series of allegations by Arvind Kejriwal and his team targeting political leaders for their alleged involvements in malpractices has once again drawn the attention of the people towards the issue of corruption. Immediately after announcing his political foray, he unleashed charges on Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, which was followed by their attacks on Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid and BJP president Nitin Gadkari. Robert Vadra is not a political figure and it is also not clear if he is associated with the Congress, but a negative message was flashed in the public domain with Congress leaders and senior ministers throwing their weight behind him. The strategy chalked out the Congress in order to bail out beleaguered Robert Vadra reflects that the grand old party of India is compelled to be a sycophant of the Gandhi family. The Congress seems to be sinking in trouble in the wake of new allegation against Robert Vadra erupting day in day out.

After the allegations leveled by Arvind Kejriwal, the Vadra case resurfaced when it was reported that Ashok Khemka, a senior IAS officer of Haryana, revoked the land deals between Vadra’s company and real estate giant DLF and consequently he was immediately transferred by the Haryana government. When the story behind the transfer of the IAS officer became public, it caused a lot of embarrassment for the state government. It is quite unlikely that Khemka’s order of cancelation of the land deals will ever be implemented as many of the top officials are showing promptness to offer a clean chit to Vadra. On the other hand, the charges against Vadra are getting more and more serious. Owing to the denial by the Corporation Bank about issuing overdraft to Vadra’s company, a serious question emerges that from where the company got nearly Rs 8 crore to purchase the land which was later sold to DLF for Rs 58 crore. Now Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi is facing heat of the land scam after Vadra for allegedly purchasing land in Haryana by violating norms. Former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala also furnished some documents showing irregularities in the land deals. Though the Congress denied the allegations of Chautala, it did not term the documents presented by the former Haryana CM as fake. It is really stunning that the person who helped Rahul Gandhi in the land purchase deal was allotted Congress’ ticket in the last assembly elections, which deepens the suspicion that something is amiss.

Before the Vadra case, finger was raised towards the Gandhi family when the Bofors scandal had surfaced nearly two and half decades back. The Bofors case was probed, though complete fact could not be known. But in Vadra case, any sort of investigation is being denied outrightly. Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh opined that one should refrain from targeting the relatives of the political leaders who are not in politics. He also warned the BJP saying that the Congress remained silent despite having proofs against the relatives of top opposition party leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani. This kind of politics cannot be endorsed, but it is surprising that the main opposition party, BJP, is doing nothing concrete in Vadra case except for making political statements. It is not yet clear why the party is denying taking to streets in this matter. Whatever be the reason behind the BJP’s silence over corruption cases raked up by Kejriwal, but the logic that accusation by civil society members against political leaders should not be taken seriously cannot be acceptable.

After making stunning revelations against Vadra and Khurshid, Kejriwal, as per his already declared plan, held a press conference targeting BJP president Nitin Gadkari for his alleged role in corrupt practices. Though, he failed to make any substantial revelation about Gadkari except for raising finger towards land allotment to his trust by the Maharashtra government. On the very next day of Kejriwal’s attack on Gadkari, ex-IPS officer YP Singh, one of the former associates of the civil society, accused Kejriwal of overlooking the corruption cases in which senior Union Minister Sharad Pawar is allegedly involved. Now, it seems that there is a race among civil society members to expose bigwigs of the Indian politics. This race has virtually provided a chance to the political parties to say that allegations made by civil society members are frivolous which require no serious attention. However, it is not going to help. It is pertinent that all big and small cases of scams should be probed impartially. Unfortunately, no significant progress is apparent in this direction.

When Sonia Gandhi claims that she has empowered the common people with Right to Information act and is making the Centre act for the interest of the people, she also owes a responsibility to allow a fair investigation into the corruption cases in which politicians, bureaucrats and corporate officials are said to be involved. The disclosures by Arvind Kejriwal and India Against Corruption on the basis of RTI have made people believe that corruption is becoming out of control and all the political parties are tarred with the same brush. Clearly, the political class has to pay heed to these facts otherwise they will have to incur a heavy loss. In fact, they are required to contemplate over changing the present political culture in the country.

Arvind Kejriwal has created a ripple after plunging into politics, but only time will tell whether his party succeeds in leaving any significant impression among masses. Delhi assembly polls due next year will offer first chance to Team Kejriwal to prove their political acumen. If his party succeeds in making a significant presence in the polls, it will definitely be a major cause of concern for main stream parties. Presently, almost all the parties are seen offering buttress to each other after the spate of allegations by Team Kejriwal. No way is it a healthy practice. This demeanour of the parties suggests that they are not ready to mend their ways. The parties which are downplaying Kejriwal’s revelations should not forget that when Anna Hazare had launched a movement in support of Lokpal, it had galvanized the majority of people across the country. These parties at that time were stunned and frightened. They did not allow the passage of the Lokpal bill which has resulted into the perpetuation of corrupt practices. Therefore, the people are still annoyed. It will be better if the political parties agree to understand the mood of the people. Besides, Kejriwal is also required to be wary about the integrity of his associates. His move to allow probe into allegations against his aides like Prashant Bhushan, Mayank Gandhi and Anjali Damania by retired judges does not bear any significance because it is quite clear that political parties are not going to recognize the outcome of the probe.

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on October 21, 2012 translated by the English Editorial. The author is Group Editor of Dainik Jagran)