In Defense of Whistle-Blower Beni Prasad Verma.

In the season of corruption scandals, where mind boggling figures that run into 15 digits are norm of the day, Rs. 71 lakhs [7.1 million] indeed looks like a piffle. But it is precisely this loose change that has got Salman Khurshid into trouble if allegations by आजतक [Aaj Tak] news channel and Arvind Kejariwal of India Against Corruption stand proved. This allegation of petty corruption, that is misappropriating loose change, is what   provoked a reaction of disbelief from Union Steel Minister, Beni Prasad Verma. But before one comes to Verma, some words about Salman Khurshid’s troubles.
India Today Group that owns the आजतक news channel had this provocatively titled, Who is Salman Khurshid?,news item. Provocative because he is not an unknown entity. Not only he holds at present the portfolio of Union Law Minister, but has an impeccable pedigree in having scholarly and erudite  Dr. Zakir Hussain, India’s third President, as his maternal grandfather. The news item then goes on to say, ^^Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid has landed in a controversy after TV news channel Aaj Tak exposed financial impropriety in an NGO run by him and his wife. The channel, in a sting operation , said the NGO, Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust , run by Khurshid and his wife Louise forged signatures of senior officials in several districts of Uttar Pradesh depriving the physically challenged who were eligible for grants under a scheme. Louise Khurshid, however, has denied the allegations and said it was devoid of any merit, and is false, malicious and baseless^^. The allegations have most unfortunately emerged in the conduct of a trust that bears the name of Dr. Zakir Hussain and which is avowedly working for the benefit of differently challenged persons. 
The truth should hopefully come out soon, but there are a medley of colourful responses from Khurshid’s colleagues in the union ministry and Congress party. The one that stood out was of course by Verma.
The media has gone to town and pilloried the statement by Verma: ^^Salman Khursid is a responsible person. He is a Central Minister. He was a Central Minister earlier as well. When he is saying there is no scam, he should be believed… I don’t think a person like Khurshid will do anything for an amount like Rs 71 lakh. It is a very small amount for a Central Minister. If it would have been Rs 71 crore, even I would have been serious^^. What is factually incorrect in what Verma has stated? Nation should be grateful for this rare honest statement from a thoroughly dishonest  establishment. Verma should definitely be trusted for what he is saying because he has first hand knowledge. Isn’t he a Central Minister too? His feelings are best captured by an Hindi idiom, हर एककी औकाद होती है, बस जानना चाहिए वोह क्या है. English has its equivalence in, Every Man has a price, one should only know what it is. The founder of the foremost industrial house in India famously rode this idiom to fuel phenomenal growth of his empire and smothered out all competition with bought aid from conniving bureaucracy and politicians. Verma’s defense of his colleague is both powerful and convincing. Why would a leading Central Minister stoop so low for measly 71 lakhs? And he bolsters his own argument by adding that had it been a corruption charge of 71 crores rupees (710 million), then he would hold it worthy of attention. In effect he is saying that the establishment is so rotten that it would not even see lakhs or crores of rupees lying around when its rapacious greed is insatiable even with hundreds or thousands of crores. This logic is so sound that only imbecile would miss its import. Instead of rising to the defense of whistle-blower Verma, the media is on an all round condemnation spree. The time is to rise against this calumny that attempts to repress this honest statement.
In fairness I must also point out what detractors of Verma’s impeccable logic say. The contrarian position states that in a Kleptocracy stealing becomes a habit, a kind of instinctive behaviour governed by cerebellum [which is in charge of autonomous actions], and therefore conscious thoughts about utility, risk-benefit analysis, are completely absent. One steals out of sheer habit without any play of consciousness let alone conscience. There are instances where corrupt government functionaries were caught in the act of stealing small change and punished, when charges of much larger embezzlement by them could not be proved. It may happen that one is careful when stealing a Taj Mahal, but totally unaware and unguarded when pinching a penny. Thus a single  thoughtless act can undo a successful and flourishing career in government. This argument has compelling merit, but going by the experience of empire founder cited before and also the age old idioms in Hindi and English quoted earlier, one is overwhelmingly inclined to vote in favour of Verma’s assessment. But for Verma’s stand to be vindicated, the allegations made by Aaj Tak [India Today Group] and Kejriwal would have to be proved wrong. I wish Verma all the best, but have lurking doubts they would be of any help.
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2 Responses to “In Defense of Whistle-Blower Beni Prasad Verma.”

  1. SANTOSH. K . RAI. raisk2002@rediffmail.com Says:

    Beniprasad verma comes from the most populist of the country.Unfortunately the state which gave prominent freedom fighters and good prime ministers has so degenerated that its lower ebb has to be probed. This is an open confession by a congress leader , so deep in corruption that 71 lacs look small. As if their targets are very high. KEEP IT BENI AND PRESCRIBE A CODE OF LEGITIMIZING CORRUPTION.SANTOSH. K . RAI

  2. Trust Irregularities Says:

    Salman Khurshid trust: In 10 out of 17 UP districts, officials reported ‘forgeries’….The trust claims to have conducted works in 17 districts. Officials from 13 districts are reported to have alleged irregularities. The Indian Express has reports regarding 10 of those districts………A verification of the test check reports was ordered during the previous BSP government after the union Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment wrote to the state, saying the trust had submitted these directly to the ministry. Under the rules, the trust was supposed to submit the reports through the state government. ….

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