As the special CBI court delivered its verdict to pronounce Lalu Prasad Yadav guilty in Fodder Scam case, the memories of late Joginder Singh were rekindled. Had he been alive today, he would be a satisfied man today. It was his painstaking efforts that brought the culprits to books in one of the most talked about cases in the country. If today Lalu is today punished for his brazen misdeeds, it is only because of integrity & uprightness of officers like Joginder Singh.
I never met Joginder Singh personally nor did communicated with him in any manner. However, his name is etched in my memory because it has something to do with my career. When I joined a newspaper as a copy editor cum translator, my job profile included translating English books into Hindi and.sometimes Marathi. They were not meant for immediate publication in print, but formed a ‘morgue’ of reference material. “Inside CBI”, the book that details many high profile cases, was making waves at that time.
Lalu Prasad Yadav had already made himself unpopular by that time. The NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee was at the helm. Singh had already retired and it was clear that he had not left the office with much content. The Fodder Scam was hogging headlines for a year or so. There was hardly any day when one did not bump with one or another story related to scam.
Therefore, translating Inside CBI’ was one assignment that pleased me thoroughly. As an earnest entrant to the mesmerizing world of news, opinions and gossips, this was the very fodder that I looked forward to enrich my knowledge.
And Joginder Singh took me to a different world altogether. Intrigues, bureaucracy, policing and governance!
Admittedly written under the constraints and stipulations of the constitutional body, the book nevertheless gives a deep peek into the working of CBI. One gets to understand what a mountain of difficulties and tribulations Singh had to go just to perform his duty. At one point of time, the Prime Minister of the country himself asked him to stop the investigation. Only an officer with as high integrity as Mr. Singh could answer back in the manner that he did. When the then PM Inder Kumar Gujral asked him to halt the investigation, Singh told him, “Give me the order in writing and I will stop it”. This sturdy stance is the reason we are seeing the looters of the government coffers standing before the court as accused and convicted.
The 1961 Karnataka cadre batch IPS officer was chosen to head CBI in 1996 when H. D. Deve Gowda was the Prime Minister. Besides Fodder Scam, he was also part of the investigation team of Bofors scam and many other sensitive cases like securities scam, the JMM MPs bribery scandal, Rs 133 crore urea scam, telecom deals by the then Union minister Sukh Ram, among others.
In an interview with The Hindu, he had told that many temptations were thrown at him when the agency was probing the fodder scam.
Today, Joginder Singh is not among us. He left us in February 3 this year after a long service and writing over 25 books. And because of one of these books that I remember him. Today is the best day to remember this gusty officer.