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Oct 28, 2012 at 08:27am IST

Conspiracy of silence by all political leaders on corruption: Former CJI JS Verma

New Delhi: Former Chief Justice of India, JS Verma has hit out at the political class saying that politicians are colluding with each other against the fight to end corruption. While speaking to Karan Thapar on this week's Devil's Advocate, he accused the politicians of conspiring to tolerate corruption at the highest level.

Below is an excerpt of the interview:

Karan Thapar: Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh said to this programme just a week ago that he was aware of things done by Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee's foster son-in-law, Mr LK Advani's children which would not only embarrass their parents but were, he said, equivalent to corruption and wrongdoing. Yet he also insisted he would never reveal what he knew. What you make of that position?

Justice JS Verma: Well, that is a very disturbing statement. It reveals if true a conspiracy at the top against the combating of corruption which people are talking all the time and it shows that political morality is at its lowest ebb.

Karan Thapar: But what about Mr Digvijaya's point that it is not ethical to target the children of families of politicians if they themsleves are not in politics.

Justice JS Verma: Anyone in a position to influence decision making should be above suspicion.

Karan Thapar: These same ethics determined the silence of the BJP in March 2011 when the economic times first revealed Rober Vadra's DLF connections and the manner in which, the dramatic manner in which his companies fortunes had ballooned. At that time the BJP decided that it would not be ethical and proper to speak about Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law. Now in that instance was that wise discretion on the BJP's part or wrongful silence.

Justice JS Verma: It was failure of duty because, you see, personalities don't matter. According to me, the higher you are in hierarchy the more strict standard of behaviour you have to answer to.

Karan Thapar: So would you also go one step further and say - given on one hand Mr Digvijaya Singh's ethics and behaviour and given on the other the BJP's initial silence over Vadra - that the impression that is created is that politicians behave like a brotherhood which colludes to protect each other and sometimes colludes to cover up for each other.

Justice JS Verma: It would indicate or reveal a conspiracy of silence to tolerate corruption at the highest level.

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