TDP Narayana's Bail In Question Paper Leakage Case Mars The Concept Of Justice

13 May, 2022 19:17 IST|Sakshi Post
File Pic of AP High Court| TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu with P Narayana

By Kommineni Srinivasa Rao

The Chittoor Court granted bail to the former minister and the founder of the Narayana Group of educational institutions Ponguru Narayana who was arrested in connection with the leakage of Class X examination question papers. However, within hours of his arrest, he was released on bail on May 11, all thanks to the efforts of the Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu and his expert legal team.

When Narayana was released on bail, several Telugu media houses favourable to the Opposition party went on a propaganda campaign stating that the credit for his release went to the TDP chief. Their media also said that Chandrababu had been monitoring the situation minute by minute till Narayana was released and he was in constant consultation with the lawyers. One can see Chandrababu’s competence in legal matters which had come to the fore after Naryana was taken into custody. While it takes days or weeks for many important people who are arrested to be released on bail, it was worthwhile to note that Narayana didn’t step foot into the jail after his arrest thanks to the battery of lawyers that the TDP chief engaged. Now whether we should congratulate Narayana or praise Chandrababu for this is somewhat a difficult proposition!

There are other versions to this,  where a section of the people are commenting that had it been known that Chandrababu had such a strong legal team, people like economic offenders like Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi, and Nirav Modi would have sought his advice and not fled the country. But getting bail in a case involving the fate of lakhs of students is not a worthwhile thing to boast of and completely mars the concept of justice regarding such people.

Despite a competent police force and prosecution system, matching up to the TDP lawyers had put the government in a spot of embarrassment as they were unable to send the accused to jail in this case. But politically it would be a plus point for Jagan and a minus point for Chandrababu. How one may ask? 

The government under Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy was able to not only take into custody  Narayana  but also register a case at a time when people felt that catching such ‘sharks’ who have deep roots in the education system was an impossible feat.  The AP police arrested Narayana with proper evidence about his involvement in the leakage of the question papers. It is known that the Narayana staff played a key role in these leaks, which they had revealed to the police during the initial investigation and pinpointed the role of Narayana in the case.

However, Narayana was able to get bail when he produced evidence before the court that the former minister ceased to be the chairman of the Narayana Group in 2014 itself.

People know better whether he had really resigned from the group.  If he had no affiliations with the organization then he would have to explain why he conducted video conferences before the exams and explain to his staff how to leak questionnaires and how to lure government teachers into this whole scam. He may have gotten bail through technical reasons but in the eyes of the public, he is still an accused.

Civil society must reflect on the aspect of how people will look at the system if the accused in such organized crimes do not even go to jail even once. In a similar fashion when Chandrababu was in power a case was filed against him in Vijayawada. He was quick to claim that he was not the owner of the concerned company and we all know what the company is!

Corporate colleges have started this new culture of leaking question papers through WhatsApp. It is noteworthy that these colleges which claim to be rivals rally together as one during these circumstances. When the issue of malpractice came to light Chandrababu made a hue and cry about it. But once when his friend and close aide’s name and his institution’s role came into the picture after the police investigation, Chandrababu was quick to change his stance.  He alleged that it was due to mass copying and that the examinations were being properly conducted by the government.

A person of his stature with more than 14 years as a chief minister and 15 years as leader of the Opposition behaving like this was truly appalling.   This is however nothing new to Chandrababu. If one may recollect during his tenure, a paper was leaked from Narayana  College in Nellore in 2017  which was even reported in the Eenadu paper. But no case was registered. This was because Narayana who was a minister in his cabinet and another minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao were closely related ( Ganta's son was married to Narayana’s daughter in 2015), which everyone was aware of.

Chandrababu's coterie at that time consisted of  P Narayana, Sujana Choudhary and CM Ramesh and he relied on them in running the affairs of the TDP in three regions, and this included financial matters as well.

Narayana was given the responsibilities of North Andhra, including Visakhapatnam. It was rumored that hundreds of crores were siphoned during that phase. Political analysts at the time said that he had also brought in students from his educational institutions and campaigned in favour of TDP while raising slogans against the YSRCP. After winning those elections, Narayana who was not even an MLC became a minister in Chandrababu’s cabinet. He became an MLC later. There were also rumors circulating at the time about the 'dubious deals'  that had taken place in the case related to the Amaravati capital land acquisition.

There is nothing earthshattering to note that Chandrababu bailed Narayana in the malpractice case because of his close relationship with him. Getting back to the question paper leaks there seems to be a larger picture in this whole malpractice racket. Normally staff from the corporate colleges would take advantage of the situation and share these question papers on their WhatsApp groups and stay put. But they went a step further with the nefarious idea of discrediting YS Jagan’s government and this brought the case to light. The Narayana School Vice-Principal leaked the questionnaire to a group of reporters in Chittoor and the pandora’s box was opened.

Unaware of that, the Yellow media initially tried to sling mud at the AP government. But when they realised that it was their own media’s doing, in their inimitable style, theTDP quickly changed the version of the story to their benefit. They alleged that how could one arrest such an 'important person' like Narayana.

But at the same time, they could not deny the question paper leaks or the irregularities that took place at Narayana College. When his own staff testified about Narayana's character, the TDP media and Chandrababu could not tolerate it. They released a series of stories condemning his arrest. A TDP MLC Buddha Venkanna went to the extent of saying that if Narayana was arrested he would break open the walls of the police station and bring him out. We don’t know if this act could be judged as treason or sedition. For example, if you look at the case of a Gujarat MLA who tweeted against Prime Minister Modi, he was arrested in Assam and jailed for days. In the state of Maharashtra, an MP and MLAs who announced that they would read the Hanuman Chalisa in front of the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s house were arrested and put in jail for a week. In some states, those who were seen talking ill about the judiciary were jailed for months together. But in one case a person who made derogatory remarks at the chief minister got advance bail.

It would be beneficial for society if there were no such differences in the judicial system. In any case, it would have been better if the government, the judiciary, and the political system had acted more responsibly in the question paper leakage case which has caused severe mental distress to millions of students in the State!

Also ReadClass 10 Paper Leak Case: Chittoor Court Issues Notices To P Narayana

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