No one favours corruption. Not you. Not me. Not the court which earlier on Friday ordered the demolition of the 31-storey Adarsh co-operative Housing society in Mumbai.
Now, that is a lot of cement and steel and a jolly impressive structure. If the high court in its wisdom has found it to be a scam and now wishes to have the officers involved face criminal charges so that the anti-corruption message goes out strong and clear, so be it.
But how is it the fault of the building? It is an inanimate entity just standing tall and serving no purpose if it is bulldozed to the ground besides adding a huge cloud of pollution and harassment to the neighbourhood. It didn’t do the dirty, it didn’t break the laws, it didn’t make money, it is just there screaming to be saved and used effectively.
Does this option actually reduce the power of the message or strengthen it? There is the evidence soaring into the sky but it is not yours.
Would it be less of a punishment if the Union environment ministry (also responsible for pollution control) was given the building as is and then a panel was set up to decide what to do with it? Take it away from the scam artists and throw the book at them but don’t punish the building.
We didn’t throw out the 411 Bofors 155 mm guns because of corruption. We used the bloody things in Kargil.
Don’t get all sweaty, it is a logical comparison. Keep the building and use it as an old people‘s home, turn it into a school or hospital, or make it an orphanage.
Frankly, no reason why it cannot be given back to the war widows for whom it was originally allotted. Instead of six storeys they now have a bonus of 25 more, so what better salute to our killed soldiers than to have more war widows be given a roof over their heads?
And if that cannot be done, though I do not see why not, need be make it into a commercial venture and sell it to the highest bidder. Turn it into a mall or a research institute…resell the units, anything constructive.
So far those involved are robbed of enjoying their spoils. Isn’t it poetic justice for them to have to see the edifice prosper rather than turn it into rubble?
And if it turns into rubble then there will be corruption charges against the money made by those authorised to get rid of the pile and it is a pretty large pile with a lot of money to be made.
Perhaps the courts should add this clause to the judgment because in a nation like ours it makes only sense. It also establishes a sensible precedent that illegal constructions will be taken away and made use of, not destroyed.
We would like to see the corrupt pay the price as much as would like to witness the war widows marching in and settling down. What no one would like to see is truckloads of concrete and wood and steel being trundled out by the chosen contractors who will be smacking their lips with glee.