Mr Pranab Mukherjee offered three broad technicalities in response to the cash for votes scam:
- The correspondence between a sovereign Government and its missions abroad enjoy diplomatic immunity. Therefore, it is not possible for the Government to either confirm it or deny it
- What happened in the 14th Lok Sabha cannot be judged during the tenure of the 15th Lok Sabha.
- It is not admissible evidence in any court of law
Clearly, the court of public opinion will find no reason to doubt why an American diplomat, while writing to his State Department, would be making up stories about Mr Satish Sharma and Mr Nachiketa Kapur, particularly when the cable was never meant to be made public.
To most, the latest revelations only corroborate what was already well-documented. [See full coverage: Cash for Votes]
That some Congressmen were discussing corruption at such a scale with the Americans only shows the cosiness between them (and it seems to be a trait that cuts across party lines).
Also, that the name of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee's foster son-in-law, Mr Ranjan Bhattacharya -- an eminence who figured also on the Radia tapes -- should be brought up so casually by somebody known to be close to Mrs Sonia Gandhi only highlights once again what has been conjectured about a number of times before. As has been the name of a controversial Padma awardee.
And so far, no American official has questioned the veracity of the cables, though perhaps they would be happy to as it portrays them at least as being privy to information about, if not directly complicit in, large-scale corruption.
If anything, these cables, apart from corroborating what has already been in the realm of speculation and even some documentation, also tell us what the American bureaucracy thinks of the UPA and our netas in general: that politiicans happily admitted to subverting democracy by buying votes, thus perhaps clearly conveying that money could also buy MPs, that MPs were on sale, that the PM was isolated and not able to pursue his Pakistan policy, that his PMO was run by a 'Keralite Mafia' which, and not the MEA, actually ran the foreign policy, and that even ministers seen to be pursuing a policy that could be seen as anti-American could be replaced with more amenable ones.
Predictably, all the Indians named have offered strong denials. But the Congress party is demanding certificates from the Americans about the veracity of the cable.
Perhaps one plausible defence could have been for Mr Satish Sharma and Mr Nachiketa Kapur to say that they were "stringing the Americans along"?
Instead, all we had was the old Shiv Sainik Sanjay Nirupam, now an esteemed Congressman, demanding that the links between Wikileaks and BJP be probed!
On Twitter, @sruthijith offered:
Govt's best defence: assange is a sexual offender and hence admitting wiki leaks in prlmnt would be against our culture.
All other suggestions are welcome.