Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa was Arunachal Pradesh Governor from May 12, 2015 to September 12, 2016. On February 19, 2016, Rajkhowa had sworn in Kalikho Pul—the rebel Congress leader backed by BJP MLAs—as the chief minister. The move was seen as the Governor displacing an elected Congress government bypassing constitutional norms. The apex court dismissed the Pul government in July 2016. A month later, on August 9, Pul committed suicide at his home in Itanagar. Rajkhowa spoke to India Legal about his suicide note and why the allegations made in it must be investigated by an independent agency. Excerpts:
Did you see any hand-written “suicide note” written by Kalikho Pul?
I have not seen any handwritten note. What I have seen was the typed version which was signed on each page by the late chief minister. The same one that is doing the rounds of the national media now and everyone is talking about.
There are some very serious allegations made in that note…
Yes, the allegations are indeed of a very serious nature and involve very powerful people—politicians, members of the higher judiciary, prominent lawyers and what have you. It also talks of the rampant corruption that exists in the North-east.
Is there some truth in these allegations?
There is no reason to disbelieve Pul’s allegations. In fact, there is every reason to believe them. Everyone in Arunachal Pradesh knows that such things happen here all the time.
What do you think needs to be done now that the “suicide note” is out in the open?
Given the persons who are named in the note, a thorough probe has to be initiated to verify the allegations. It is also very essential that the investigations are carried out by an independent agency, if not the truth will never come out. I don’t know whether it should be the CBI or the CVC or some specially constituted team—an SIT monitored by the court—that should carry out the probe. But the verification exercise has to be conducted in a thorough manner.
Do you believe a high-level probe can really get to the bottom of things?
Well, for a start we have to verify and establish the truth of what has been alleged. He has alleged that several local politicians, ministers and others were involved in siphoning government funds meant for development. Let us look at these corrupt people and the wealth that they and their families acquired suddenly. How did they amass so much wealth? Let us find out the source. That could be the start; then we can move up the ladder and investigate the bigger people involved.
If we are serious about preserving and protecting our democracy, then we have to root out such corruption. Prime Minister Narendra Modi keeps harping on fighting corruption. What has been alleged in Pul’s suicide note is corruption at the highest levels, including sitting judges of the highest court in our land. Pul’s suicide note must not and should not be ignored.