Friday, November 19, 2010

Do not level charges when you dare not name names!

First it was Ratan Tata, now it is Baba Ramdev and Arun Shourie, who have levelled serious charges against people they have not shown courage to name. Ramdev says that a minister of Uttarakhand had demanded a bribe of one crore rupees from him for the favour of changing the land-use of a plot of land to enable its purchase by Ramdev and that when he complained to the chief minister he observed, to Ramdev's horror, that the minister, instead, could have asked the money as a donation for the trust managed by him. Shourie has revealed that there is an officer in the department of Telecom who has got full knowledge of all wrong doings in the allotment of 2G spectrum and sale of licences. Obviously, Shourie, who has been Telecom minister in the NDA government, would be knowing this particular officer but he has chosen not to name him. He says further that some officers of the Telecom department are aware of this officer's involvement and, therefore, are very surprised that he has not been so far questioned by the agencies investigating into the 2G scam.

What do these people, in this case Ramdev and Shourie, seek to achieve by making open-ended charges? Even without this extra information from them, the people of the country are thick with stories of all sorts of corruption, but they are not specific enough to nail the wrong-doers. By giving them similarly vague anecdotes regarding corruption, Ramdev and Shourie have not advanced the cause of probity in public life. One wonders what has held them back, is it the fear of reprisals? In that case they should have kept the information to themselves. By telling half the story, Ramdev has in fact condemned two, possibly three, ex-chief ministers besides the present incumbent. Like-wise, Shourie has put a garland of suspicion around the neck of all officers of the Telecom department who have not yet been examined by the investigative agencies.

Public figures should carefully weigh every word before uttering it, particularly when they are casting aspersions; little carelessness on their part can ruin others' reputation irreparably.

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