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Whistleblowing hot and cold

What is it that makes us take Sten Lindstrom at his word but not Sanjeev Bhatt? Badri Raina writes.

india Updated: May 02, 2012 21:38 IST

Here is what interests me about the Swiss cop Sten Lindstrom: one, he took his own time in whistleblowing; two, did he ‘blow’ it on his own or was he gently prodded to do so by extreme nationalists who can’t wait to see the back of the current dispensation? Three, pronouncing the late prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, innocent of bribery, and having failed to investigate AE Services at his end — the case against Ottavio Quattrocchi notwithstanding — Lindstrom claims to know with authority that Gandhi, in effect, shielded the despicable Q. Is there any evidence? Lindstrom leaves that to posterity. Or, maybe he now expects the not-so-mysterious N from the diary of Martin Ardbo, chief executive of Bofors, to carry the whistleblowing further. If only he would.

What interests me is the passionate credence being given to the Swiss cop a quarter of a century after the event by the BJP and other well-wishers of Bharat, despite their own failure (or unwillingness?) to unearth the ‘truth’ of the case while in office over a period of six long years — not to speak of the failure of many other non-Congress regimes well up to 2004 and in the teeth of closures to the imbroglio on behalf of some of the highest legal luminaries in the land.

Lucky Lindstrom! By far luckier than another whistleblower closer home — our very own serving IPS officer, Sanjeev Bhatt.

Do not ask why the BJP and RK Raghavan — once appointed the chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by the BJP-led NDA government — seem to have decided a priori that the foreign cop is to be trusted more than the one in Gujarat, who continues to go from pillar to post with evidence far more striking than anything Lindstrom has on Gandhi’s alleged complicity, incurring, unlike Lindstrom, lasting damage to his career.

Inescapable conclusion: it is not at all material who blows the whistle, or with how much substantiation; the moot point is who the whistle is blown at. And, in recent times, did anyone discover the truth of that reality more fatally than the late Haren Pandya, a minister in Narendra Modi’s government?

In this season of scams, from Kashmir to Karnataka, Bihar to Gujarat, would someone please now investigate whether or not Lindstrom has benefited by his whistleblowing. It’s just a thought, since purges are the order of the day. After all, is it not propagated that Bhatt has been put up to whistleblowing by the enemies of the nation? Then how is one to know that Lindstrom has not been encouraged by those who claim to represent the best interests of the nation?

Badri Raina is a retired University of Delhi teacher

The views expressed by the author are personal

First Published: May 02, 2012 21:34 IST