I refer to the report, “Sanjaya Baru’s book is fiction, says PMO” (April 12). Instead of welcoming a book on the way our systems work, our officials, as is to be expected, end up criticising the publication. As has been the practice, they may even ban it like the works on current leaders and other historical personalities.
That a high-ranking appointee in the Prime Minister’s Office could betray the confidence of no less a person than the Prime Minister himself, who had reposed faith in him for almost five years, by not only revealing what ought to have been kept a shared secret but exaggerating a few events, is reprehensible. That this has been done by a person like Sanjaya Baru, whose books have been appreciated for their scholarship, is extremely unfortunate, to say the least. It is being rightly said that Dr. Singh has been “stabbed in the back” because this book has come out in the middle of the general election and may affect the prospects of the Congress. The timing of the book’s release indicates active deliberation and collusion with the Prime Minister’s detractors. Causing maximum damage and hurt to both Dr. Singh and the Congress seems to be the intention here.
Those who handle politically explosive matters must remain true to their post even after their retirement, in order to guard the sanctity of the confidentiality reposed in them. They should not resort to “sell” all the sensitive information in their possession by virtue of their having been privy to confidential and sensitive matters. Commercialising such inside information is highly unethical and improper. In this affair, Sanjaya Baru comes out in poor light.
Sanjaya Baru’s book does not add anything new to the widespread perception that Sonia Gandhi made decisions regarding ministerial appointments and portfolios, was privy to and dealt with important files, laid down policies, etc. — except that his statements come as direct evidence.
The question is whether such a proxy arrangement was anybody’s concern or in any way objectionable. The answer is yes: the dispensation, if true, had many repugnant aspects. For one, it was dishonest to accept that Ms. Gandhi would not be the Prime Minister and then put her in de facto power. For another, Dr. Singh was violating his oath of office and secrecy if PMO files were made available to Ms. Gandhi, who was not under such oath and had no accountability.