DailyPost 2177

If you have not heard of this terminology even if you belong to the investigative world, you need not get taken aback, as might be it is being used for the first time. Its purpose will just get unravelled. Investigations are meant to be fact finding exercises, without fear or favour, to get to the truth of the offence, based on connecting the facts, documents and circumstances and come with the final authenticated, validated, and fully substantiated narrative, which can stand the test of evidence or judicial scrutiny. A worthy investigation stands on its own feet. It can take place on accidents too. Investigations happens when a crime gets committed or an accident or even at times when some weird or non-normal incident happens.

Veering away from the normal understanding of investigations, what are required today is what I call as peace time investigations. This happens in complex nature of world we live in, when lots of activities and processes happen to destabilize the system or rule of law, due diligence, lots of persons in responsible positions being unmindful of things they do for gain, but do not get caught; either by criminal or civil law, not even by service rules, code of conduct and what not. The impact of this can be seen all around; the backdrop to Bangalore floods, errant companies appearing again and again, the promoters taking everybody for a side, creation of online and other hazy recruitment mechanisms, abysmal quality of construction and what not. I am sure the criminal case investigations have been able to take care of any on the above mentioned and worldly known flaws.

While individual investigations can take care of a few criminals / deliberately errant characters, book them and take them to the gallows, if necessary, peace time investigations can bring the broken to book, which is being allowed to remain the way it is for vested interests. While they keep committing all sorts of crime, as the backend system supports to an extent that nothing happens to them, if action were to be taken on one of these persons also, it would be a humongous exercise, while nobody would see any merit in it. One drop of sewage cannot give you the feel of a gutter, nonetheless the gutter is there. The state of Bangalore only earlier this week is no secret, how did it all happen? Does it not involve criminal breach of trust, flouting all rules, throwing environmental rules through the window, cheating, fraud and what not? A thread bare investigation of scale and complexity commensurate to the issue will lead to people, systems and gains way beyond our imagination.

Social contract also needs civil will. Do we have that? Today we professionals and technology which can support humongous peacetime investigations, are we ready for that? It can change our quality of life, transform ease of living and of business. The cost of such investigations would be peanuts compared to the damage it does. Take another example of private business enterprises, the promotors and their well-known business antics, criss-crossing companies, the flow of funds et al. It needs a peace time investigation to bring the issues to light. It would be hart hitting facts. Cleansing would be another story. Money laundering, shell companies, shady fund flows, and suspect promoters, need to worked upon as a research project in the so-called peacetime investigation. Don’t we need a peace time investigation on civil construction projects in this country – contractor raj / nexus, on whatever we have seen and been hearing of, for decades? Don’t we need a peace time investigation on the procurement processes itself, how and why it has been designed the way it is. Has it created the morass called India?

Sanjay Sahay

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