Sunday, February 19, 2006

Daya Nayak Speaks at Last

Daya Nayak has finally spoken. In breaking his silence, he has given himself his best defence.

The purpose of this blog is now complete, I no longer need to speak of the other side of the story when the man himself has stepped forward to speak out. However, comments are still open, so please feel free to post your comments here.

Thank you everyone for reading the blog and for all the comments. Your support was essential for this blog's success. Let us continue to support an innocent man and pray for him in whatever way we can.

Daya Nayak & the ACB - Investigation or Witch-hunt?

As of today, the ACB has gotten a Non Bailable Warrant issued from a trial court for the arrest of Daya Nayak inspite of Nayak's lawyers' intimation to the sessions court that he would be surrendering to the court on Monday morning. By refusing to take into consideration the said intimation, the ACB managed to make it appear that Nayak is absconding; when in fact, Nayak is only acting as per the judgement given by the Supreme Court.

The order of the Supreme Court states that:

"We are not inclined to interfere with the order of the High Court.

If, however, the petitioner surrenders before the concerned court and moves for bail, the court should dispose of the bail application filed on the day it is presented. We make it clear that our non-interference shall not be considered as if we have expressed any opinion on the merits of the application for the bail, if any to be filed and leave the petition to be disposed off accordingly."

As per the order of the Supreme Court, Daya Nayak has the choice to surrender to a trial court or to the ACB; along with the opportunity to file for bail in the trial court. The order does not specify when he is to surrender. By issuing a Non Bailable Warrant, the ACB is in fact going against the order of the Supreme Court; as the order specifically states that he is to be given a chance to file for bail.

Does the eagerness of the ACB to place him under arrest stem from a genuine desire to see justice done? Or are there some other factors at play? Let’s look at some facts regarding the way this investigation is being handled.

The ACB has been gunning for the arrest of Daya Nayak since January this year. The case that it wants to arrest him for is a disproportionate property and assets case, involving a sum of Rs. 41 Lacs. The ACB’s contention is that his arrest is essential for thorough interrogation. This, when Nayak is ready to attend the ACB office as and when required, everyday if needed; just like his wife Komal Nayak has been doing in the past few days. The ACB also contends that Nayak’s staying out of jail will enable him to tamper with evidence. They are talking about a case that has been going on since more than a year. If the man wanted to tamper with evidence, couldn’t he already have done it?

In the last 8 years, since 1999, when the Anti Corruption Bureau was brought back into focus, a total of 29 arrests have been made from the police department under charges of Disproportionate Properties and Assets, as against a total of 4050 arrests made by the ACB under its various functions. [Source Anti Corruption Bureau – Maharashtra] In 2003, when the maximum number of corruption cases[791 arrests in 2003 alone] were registered with the ACB, the number of police officers arrested in connection with Disproportionate Property was... hold your breath, 2. In 2004, when maximum number of disproportionate properties cases were registered [with 55 arrests] the number of police officers arrested was again... 2. And in 2000, when the maximum number of police officers were caught in traps laid by the ACB [179 arrests], the number of officers involved in Disproportionate Properties cases was again... 2!

With this kind of a record, the ACB is itching to arrest one of the best and most successful officers that our police force has produced. If the ACB wants to say that they found only 29 police officers guilty of possessing assets and properties in excess of their known sources of income in a span of 6 years, well, even an idiot could tell them that they’re awfully inefficient! Or blind. Or both. Or that they are, on purpose, turning a blind eye to the big fish. Big fish like our dear Commissioner of Police Mr. A N Roy, who came to Bombay with nothing but a tiny bag 30 years back from Allahabad. And now this same man who has only worked for the government owns a bungalow in Pune, which is worth at least Rs.5 crores, if not more. Why has he never been investigated? Or Mr. Vikas Gaikwad who "my sources" tell me is worth at least Rs.10 crores. And he is heading an investigation of a 41 lacs anti-corruption case. What irony!

What is the job of the ACB in a Disproportionate Properties and Assets case? Any enquiry conducted by the ACB is supposed to deal with any disproportionate properties or assets possessed by a public servant. Not the public servant’s wife, nor the public servant’s friends. The ACB may only investigate the bank accounts of persons whom it suspects of holding money for the public servant.

Is the ACB supposed to question the validity of the accused public servant’s degree? Are they supposed to investigate the validity of his educational qualifications? Most certainly not. And yet, Mr. Vikas Gaikwad thinks it fit to announce in the press conference that the ACB suspects that Nayak’s degree is fake and that he was never eligible to sit for the MPSC exam.

Incidentally, at the end of 2004, when Meera Borwankar took over as chief of Crime Branch, she had raised the issue of the validity of Daya Nayak’s degrees. Some officers of the Economic Offences Wing actually went to the college from where Nayak graduated for investigation. When they saw the principal to enlist his help in the enquiry, the principal rubbished their claims and called Daya Nayak their "college ki shaan". The enquiry was dropped, for obvious reasons.

Now Mr. Vikas Gaikwad wants to check Nayak’s degrees again, which he claims are from Osmania Open University and not from the Mumbai University. Next thing you know, he will be accusing Nayak of being part of the MPSC scam and will be saying Daya Nayak bribed the officials to get through the MPSC exams which he gave in 1994-95. The current MPSC scam has shown some candidates between 1998-2003 to be possibly guilty of using unfair means. If another officer of the ACB who is investigating this scam has her way, all the candidates who have ever sat for the MPSC exams right from its inception should be investigated as part of the scam!

In another instance of how the ACB is trying to link Daya Nayak to any possible scam that has received media attention, Mr. Gaikwad has accused Daya Nayak of being part of the Punjab Petrol Pump Scam. This is supposedly based on the fact that Mrs. Komal Nayak was a director of Ojus Finances at one time. Ojus Finances was involved in illegal activities; the involvement of that company in the petrol pump scam cannot be denied. But the ACB coolly forgets to mention that Komal Nayak resigned from the board of directors of Ojus Finances in January 2004, when she came to know about the unsavory activities of the company. The owner, Srinivas Naidu, was arrested 6 months later. The ACB has been continuously saying that Naidu was a close friend of Nayak, when in fact he was only a business acquaintance of Mrs. Nayak.

The ACB is also trying to put the ugly accusation of the cricket betting network on Daya Nayak’s name. They are trying to drag him in on the basis of a suicide note of one Mr. Shetty, who was a bar owner, that mentions Daya Nayak’s name in it in connection to massive sums of money lost by this Mr. Shetty. The ACB’s statements to the media make it sound like Daya Nayak killed Shetty. If he had mentioned say Mr. M N Singh’s name in his suicide note, does that mean he would be involved rather than Daya Nayak? He could be out to settle an old score. He could be insane. He could be drunk. He could be lying. How is it relevant to a disproportionate assets case anyway?!

The ACB claim that they want Daya Nayak’s custody for investigating "unconfirmed" media reports about Nayak’s Swiss flat and Dubai hotel. They so easily pretend to forget that it was Mr. Vikas Gaikwad who spoke to the media about the Swiss flat and the Dubai hotel. Along with the non-existent fleet of luxury buses and a couple of hotels in Goa. Now they are speaking of "several properties in Madh Island". Where is the proof for all these properties? If the ACB has been so eager to share its news with the media, why are they now shying away from sharing any hard proofs mentioned in their progress report? Perhaps because they have nothing substantial to report..?

The ACB in its earliest reports said that Nayak had attended a wedding in Canada for which he had to declare all of his property. That is how they got the information about his Swiss flat and his disco-cum-hotel in Dubai. How convenient for them that Nayak was stupid enough to declare all of his property! But now they have Nayak’s passport. Which clearly shows that Mr. Nayak has never been out of the country. So what does that make the ACB other than a bunch of liars?

Now, the ACB wants to question all the donors to the building trust of the Yennehole school. Is it because they sincerely want to find out the truth or is it because they are maddeningly jealous of a junior officer who is beloved in his native place because he helped to build their school? Mr. Vikas Gaikwad has further gone on to question the validity of the reports filed by 3 senior IPS officers namely Addl. CPs Bhujangrao Mohite, Uddhav Kamble and Bishnoi in the matter of Nayak’s involvement in the finances of the Yennehole school; all three gave him a clean chit. Gaikwad is trying to brush off the reports as "superficial". He even wants the ACB to conduct a probe against these officers...

None of these allegations - fake certificates, petrol pump scams, cricket betting or Swiss flats - are going to stand in court. Because they do not exist, therefore there is no proof. But until the case does come up for hearing in court, the ACB can hold a gun to Nayak’s head when he is under their custody in jail. They can harass him all they like. Just like they have been harassing P. Manivellan until now. The poor man still hasn’t gotten bail, which means that he’s been in custody since a month now. It’s like he’s Abu Salem and his being at large is such a threat to society that he needs to be kept in jail!

Whatever the ACB is out for, its certainly not to find the truth. Not even an altered version of the truth. What they want to do is to finish Daya Nayak; in name, in spirit and maybe even in body. That’s why they want to arrest him so badly. That’s why they have been making such a hue and cry over a measly case. That’s why they are launching a manhunt of four squads, something’s that done exclusively for hardened and dangerous criminals. And because it makes interesting news, the media goes around following every slimy word they utter.

If you face a strong man in a fight and you know you’d never get the better of him by fair means; then you wish him to be handcuffed and tied down because that alone can make it possible for you to kick his face in. It gives you a feeling of power over that man’s life, a power you’d never have had if he stood before you unbound. What sort of men would want that? Plenty, I’m guessing. And Mr. Vikas Gaikwad along with the rest of his ACB team are just those kind of men.