Time and again, there has been evidence of a reluctance to investigate swindles and scams of a former government when a different political party is elected to power. In India, there have even been instances of a newly elected political party choosing not to investigate scams and symbols of the earlier government fully in order to bring about a total exposure and subsequent pel action against the crimil elements. This is an attitude that seems quite inexplicable. If anything, one would expect a political party to do the utmost in exposing corruption in an earlier government under a rival political party since this would go a long way in ruining the electoral prospects of the rival party in future elections. One can think of two reasons why political parties newly installed in power are reluctant to be over-zealous about exposing the misdeeds of previous governments to the hilt. One is that what works for Peter can work for Paul as well. Political leaders in India are aware that no political party is absolutely clean and entirely beyond reproach. Exposing the sins of a rival political party to the hilt would be a way of asking that political party to do likewise whenever an opportunity arises. The other reason is also moored in pragmatism, but can be shown to stem from a certain sense of grace. Letting off a political party after a point creates the impression that the party in power is not vindictive and its actions are not motivated by vendetta.
The people of Assam are bound to ask whether the scams and highly corrupt practices of the previous State government that was in power for 15 years at a stretch deserve to be treated with any kind of leniency. The answer should be an emphatic “no” considering what Tarun Gogoi and his council of ministers did to the State and its people during these 15 years. Tarun Gogoi recently admitted at a press conference that he was uble to rid the State completely of corruption. This comment takes the cake for understatement. What he did during his 15-year rule was to take corruption to new heights with a determined effort to make the entire population corrupt. There are reports of how tax revenues collected at check gates would be shared by some ministers, bureaucrats and officers with only what remained being passed on to the exchequer. So it is not without good reason that the voluntary organization called Assam Public Works should have demanded a probe into an alleged scam worth Rs 3,000 crore involving the top officials of the Agriculture department of Assam. The court of the Special Judge of Guwahati had apparently written a letter to the Chief Secretary of Assam about two months ago, seeking permission to conduct investigations against Agriculture Director Kabindra Barkotoky and his subordites Majam Ali Akand and Upen Bora in connection with the above scam. There has been no response to the letter. There is also a case connected with the alleged recovery of a huge number of pump sets in a warehouse owned by the son of former Agriculture Minister Nilmani Sen Deka. Considering the large sum of Rs 3,000 crore involved and the recovery of the huge number of pump sets in the warehouse of the former Agriculture Minister’s son, there is really no altertive left to the Sarbanda Sonowal government except to order a very thorough probe into the scam and to make the findings public as early as possible without worrying about where the chips fall. The people of Assam are gratified to find that Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma is determined to get to the bottom of the frequent rhino killings in Assam even though she may find the going very tough because of the nexus between the killers and some officials of the Forest department as well as some influential politicians. The standard procedure in respect of all major scams of the earlier government should be that all major scams should be investigated and the findings made public as early as possible. Any government planning to take corruption head on has no other choices in such matters.