It is worth recalling a more than a decade old case of cheating and forgery involving a piece of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) land in Model town in North Delhi. The Capital’s who’s who– politicians and bureaucrats– were involved in it.
New Delhi: Thousands of people who have gathered to see the engineering marvel as well as celebrate the decimation of symbols of corruption in Noida broke into a collective thunderous applause as the Supertech’s twin-towers came crashing down on triggering of implosion.
The crowd had gathered near the site both out of curiosity as well as to have the vicarious satisfaction at the demolition of the twin symbols of corruption with a lightning speed. There might have been hundreds of among them who might have seen their shanties bulldozed to the ground with no time to pick up and save their kitchen wares and cots and with no alternative places for days on end to gather their lives again.
They have become so resigned to this cycle of demolition- recuperation and the ruler’s apathy and antipathy that they foresee not much in their material lives. But at the same time, they feel cheated when they see the unscrupulous builders in connivance with the authorities raise building unauthorisedly, land sharks grab public land, ponds and rivers’ flood plains and build apartments on them and sell to the gullible customers.
It is worth recalling a more than a decade old case of cheating and forgery involving a piece of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) land in Model town in North Delhi. The Capital’s who’s who– politicians and bureaucrats– were involved in it. The Delhi High Court had finally declared that the land belonged to the DDA and it was converted into a private land by fraudulent means.The residential building was demolished, but the elite accused were not prosecuted, for obvious reasons.
The decades after Independence saw corruption intrude into almost all the institutions. There have been only a few cases which saw the accused go to jail. The conviction of Lalu Prasad Yadav, the Chautalas and Coal block allocation scam accused are exceptions, which prove that accused go scot free is the rule. All the major corruption cases- Bofors, JMM bribery, 2G spectrum, HDW submarine deal and Lakhubhai cheating- fell through in the trial. This gave a feeling among the masses that the elite criminal can never be caught and punished.
The demolition of the Noida twin towers are more significant than the apartments which were demolished in Kerala in 2019. Being closer to the National Capital, the illegalities committed in its construction got national and international attention, and the demolition sent a message across the country that howsoever the law breakers have access to the corridors of power, the law, if allowed to take its course, can catch up with them. But we should not go gaga over it as the country hasto traverse millions of miles of bumpy roads before it could claim that it has been to contain corruption to the satisfaction of the masses.
The poor masses also know it very well that it is just a flash in the pan. But through the thunderous welcome, they vented their pent up frustration over the elite criminals in this country going scot after committing crime in broad daylight. They also know it very well that from the next morning, they will have to go through the same chores of cringing before the babus or greasing their palms to eke out their livelihood on the road sides.
Though for a few moments, the vicarious satisfaction on their amazed and beaming faces were writ large. They must have gone back to their homes passing judgement with vengeance and expletives that they were rightly punished for the gross wrongdoings. They would have felt contended that it happened, ultimately.
Whether it would make the authorities more careful, alert, and strict, only time will tell. But if the war against corruption is to be won to the satisfaction of the masses, the political class will also take a lesson or two from it.
(Nirnimesh Kumar is a retired journalist of The Hindu. He worked there for 25 years and covered courts)