People like Nitesh Rane think they can get away with anything | comment | Hindustan Times
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People like Nitesh Rane think they can get away with anything

‘Do you know who I am?’ This question is often asked by the influential when they are caught redhanded committing some offence or the other.

comment Updated: Dec 05, 2013 00:03 IST

‘Do you know who I am?’ This question is often asked by the influential when they are caught redhanded committing some offence or the other. The official who had the temerity to try and bring the high personage to book often retreats in sheer fear of retribution for asking a person to follow the law. This ability to disregard the law has become something of a status symbol for the rich and powerful. The latest in a long line of worthies trying to subvert the law is Nitesh Rane, a Congress leader and son of Maharashtra industries minister Narayan Rane. He is reported to have vandalised, along with his friends, a toll plaza after they were asked to pay the toll fees at Dhargal, near northern Goa.

Nitesh was arrested but got out on bail later. His supporters meanwhile created a ruckus at the police station asking that he be let off. This is not the first time a politician has flexed his muscles at a toll plaza: in September, NCP corporator of Jalna, Noor Khan’s supporters were caught on camera vandalising a toll plaza; in August Shiv Sena MLA Anil Kadam wrecked a toll plaza in Nashik when he was asked to play the toll fees... the list is long. Add to this the news of how Narayan Sai, the son of self-styled godman Asaram, was caught by a team of police after evading the law for almost two months, and how Tarun Tejpal, founder and editor-in-chief of Tehelka, kept the Goa Police guessing until he appeared before them much after the initial deadline the police had set and you get a clear pattern of how people in positions of influence subvert the law in the belief that they are “more equal than others”.

The penchant to break the law arises largely from the belief that the powerful will get away with it. There is an entrenched system of entitlements with the main culprits being our elected representatives who while making the laws want to live by their own rules. They seem to harbour a belief that to obey the law somehow diminishes their status or authority.

If the police were allowed to function without fear or favour, many of our worthies, people in power and people with power, would be behind bars. Then it would not really matter who they are, they would be just ordinary citizens like the rest of us.