DailyOh! The politician who came out unscathed despite murder charges
SC ruling on disclosure of criminal charges has left politicians worried. This story from 1988 should encourage them to just chill.
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This morning, the Supreme Court passed a directive that most people have embraced with loud cheers. We think the only quarter that has not liked the news is the political quarter. Now, whenever there is a judgment that political parties do not like, it is sure to be liked by people. Political parties are also made of people but by people, we mean, people who are not politicians.
Oh, but we did not tell you what the judgment was. So, the Supreme Court has ordered all political parties to make available to the public comprehensive information on the criminal background of their election candidates. So if the candidate you're planning to vote for has a murder charge on him or an extortion charge, you will know before going to the booth to get your finger inked. Wondering where you can find this information?
The SC has ordered parties to make comprehensive information on the criminal background of their election candidates available to the public. (Photo: Reuters)
You can find it right on the websites of political parties and also in newspapers. Hope that gives you an additional reason to read newspapers. And that is not all. Yes, there is more good news. Parties should also have to explain the reasons behind their choice of candidates. There are so many people with criminal backgrounds who enter politics and then win elections because of their muscle power. Hopefully, the move will force parties to stop giving entry to people with dubious backgrounds.
You must have heard that a lot many candidates say the charges against them are politically motivated, which means the charges against them have been levelled because a political rival wanted to settle scores. While that can actually happen, they can always fight the cases in court and trust the judiciary to give them a fair chance to prove their innocence.
Remember the 1988 case in which BJP leader Sanjay Sinh was implicated? Let us take you back to that year. But first let us tell you that we didn’t spell Sinh incorrectly. But that’s how he spelt it.
So, Sinh was a politician from Amethi and considered close to the Nehru-Gandhi family. Why was a BJP leader close to the Nehru-Gandhi family? Because Sinh joined the BJP in 2019. Before that, he was a Congress leader though he did quit once in between to join the BJP. Let’s not get lost in Sinh’s switchovers. Let's just say he is a member of the BJP now, but when the incident we are talking about happened, he was with the Congress.
In 1984, Sinh’s current wife Ameeta was married to national badminton champion Syed Modi. Their marriage ended when Syed Modi was shot dead in 1988. The CBI, in its chargesheet, made a shocking revelation. It said Ameeta was in a relationship with Sinh. Now, Sinh himself was married to Garima Sinh when the revelation was made. The motive of Syed Modi’s murder, according to the CBI, revolved around Sanjay and Ameeta’s extramarital affair.
The court, however, acquitted both. Sanjay and Ameeta got married in 1995. Examining the letters written by Ameeta to Sanjay, Lucknow District and Sessions Judge OP Pradhan said, "These letters indicate a normal sex life between Modi and Ameeta, who does feminine chores for Modi and prays for his success."
Politicians who have not done anything wrong have nothing to worry of the Supreme Court order. (Photo: India Today)
The judge noted: "Despite her illicit intimacy with Sanjay, Ameeta's love and attraction for Modi had not diminished." If you had any doubts over whether it was possible for someone to love two people at the same time, this should be your answer.
Anyway, we brought up this story because we wanted to draw the point that politicians who have not done anything wrong have nothing to worry about the Supreme Court order. Like Sinh, they too would go on to have great careers. Sinh went on to be a Rajya Sabha MP.
But the voter must know who she is voting for. Most people wouldn’t deliberately want to vote in a criminal. Some may still want to. Who knows? Now that we are talking of criminals, let us dig further into what the word means and where it comes from. Let us also call criminal our Word Of The Day. The word criminal comes from the Old French crimne, which came from the Latin crimen meaning accusation and the Latin root cerno meaning "I decide. I give judgment." In the world of crime, one can actually feel powerful enough to decide and pass judgments — only till the law catches up with them.
Rabbi Ernest Klein, a Canadian linguist, suggests that crimen is actually derived from the phrase, "cry of distress". The Latin was derived from the Ancient Greek word krima, which means a judicial sentence or condemnation. The Oxford dictionary defines crime simply as activities that go against the law. The older meanings actually accord so much colour to the word crime. It is perhaps this colour (read glamour) that draws many towards crimes, so let’s just stick to the Oxford meaning and understand that crime is what goes against the law, and criminal is the person who goes against the law. Perhaps, someone should also add, if caught, criminals are punished.
Enough talk about crime and criminals. Now let’s take you to America where Donald Trump and wife Melania Trump must be packing their bags for their India visit. Or maybe not. The visit is still about two weeks away. And if they are last-minute packers like many of us, they might just do it around February 23. But do President and First Ladies pack their own bags? We do not know.
Talking of the US President’s visit, we do know that there is speculation onwhether the two would be going to visit the Taj Mahal or not. Now, most foreign dignitaries go to see the iconic monument. Nobody talks about people who have no interest in monuments though. The speculation over the Taj visit for the Trump couple however reminded us of Bill Clinton’s 2000 visit to the site.
If you have visited Taj Mahal, you must be aware that only electric vehicles can go to monument from the outskirts. That is done to protect the monument from pollution. So, Clinton also took the electric bus from the outskirts of the monument to its gates. He went inside, and got pictures clicked. So far so good. It was while Clinton was returning that the car broke down. Imagine a US President is in India and the vehicle he is travelling in breaks down. How embarrassing that must have been for the authorities. We can’t even begin to imagine. But then, that's yeh jo des hai hamara.
Clinton then had to walk back to the outskirts of the monument. Now, walking is good for health but this walking was a bit of a diplomatic disaster. Thankfully, it was March. Imagine if it was May or June! We hope that doesn’t happen again to any foreign dignitary. We wish that for Indian non-dignitaries as well but that would be too much to ask for.
Meanwhile, we are looking forward to February 24-25 when Trump comes in because Modi has promised him a grand reception and we want to see just how grand it would be.
If you're travelling by air, the shortest distance between India and the US is 13,595 km. A normal flight takes about 15 hours to cover the distance. But look at what technology has helped achieve. It takes no time to talk to someone over these 13,595 kms.
You can just connect over a call. And if you connect over WhatsApp, the call is free. Yes, you pay for data but that is nothing compared to what we paid for international calls earlier. A lot of us didn’t even make ISD calls back then.
But talking of WhatsApp, do you know the app now has over 2 billion (20,00,000,000) users, ie, 200 crore people? That's about 70 crore more people than the entire population of India. And India is the second most populated country in the world, as you know. If you were to compare 200 crore to the population of the entire world, it would mean more than one-fourth of the world.
And it is said 70 per cent of these 200 crore people are using the app regularly.
You must be aware that WhatsApp was founded by former Yahoo employees Brian Acton and Jan Koum, in 2009. But they sold WhatsApp to Facebook in 2014 for US$ 19 billion. You know how many employees WhatsApp had back then? Just 55.
In an alternate universe, if each employee were to be given an equal share, it would have gotten them US$ 350 million each. But we have still not figured out an alternative universe, not one where life as we know it exists.
For the sake of imagination, imagine each employee got that money. We guess the person would have stopped being an employee then. Or maybe not. Maybe they would have continued to serve a company that gave them so much. Who knows? We don’t.
But we do know of a song that you can listen to as you think over this.
Here it goes:
Listen to it because we saying bye to you for today.
We will be back tomorrow. Oh, and tomorrow is Valentine's Day. Have a happy one!