Did you think, with the Games over, Suresh Kalmadi and his cronies would be in jail by now? And that Sheila Dikshit, Tejinder Khanna, Jaipal Reddy and M.S. Gill would have lost their jobs? Were you expecting guilty IOC, PWD, DDA and NDMC officials to be in chains? Did you,Did you think, with the Games over, Suresh Kalmadi and his cronies would be in jail by now? And that Sheila Dikshit, Tejinder Khanna, Jaipal Reddy and M.S. Gill would have lost their jobs? Were you expecting guilty IOC, PWD, DDA and NDMC officials to be in chains? Did you hope sports bosses who cling like barnacles to a ship’s keel will be removed? Don’t be silly. In India, corrupt politicians don’t usually go to jail; some go to Parliament. If they are lucky, Gandhi sycophants or vote-bank thugs, they may even become Cabinet ministers. So, fat chance sacked chief minister Ashok Chavan will go to prison for his sea-facing role in the Adarsh scam. Vilasrao Deshmukh will continue as the union minister for industries. A Cabinet, which has the 2G-tainted A. Raja as a proud member, doesn’t sack the guilty.Corruption seems to be the 546th member of the Indian Parliament. Some 150 of our esteemed MPs have criminal records. Seventy-two are accused of murder and rape. Corruption is not without its little ironies. Radadiya Vithalbhai Hansrajbhai, Congress MP from Mahatma Gandhi’s Porbandar, tops the list with 16 criminal cases. When it comes to crime and no punishment, the BJP has the most tainted MPs: 42. The Congress follows with 41. When Indian voters are represented by many with criminal records, expecting politicians to go to jail for corruption is naive. In India, corrupt politicians don’t usually go to jail; some go to Parliament. If they are lucky, Gandhi sycophants or vote-bank thugs, they may even become Cabinet ministers.advertisementOfficial corruption is a legacy of the British Empire. When the Indian police force was constituted in British India, the kotwals (aka the chief police officers) responsible for maintaining law and order were paid no salaries. They had to fend for themselves, pay their constables and maintain police stations on their own. Collecting money became a bigger priority than keeping law and order, and extortion got an official face. Villagers, traders and small merchants became victims of police shakedowns and many policemen became henchmen of powerful landlords. The practice continues. A World Bank report calculates that Indian citizens pony up bribes amounting to Rs 21,000 crore yearly. The Central Vigilance Commission receives around 70 corruption complaints a day.Though it must be said that independent India didn’t start off too badly. Jawaharlal Nehru sacked his first finance minister R.K. Shanmukham Chetty for helping industrialists close to the Congress evade income-tax investigations. (Nehru-aide M.O. Mathai’s Reminiscences of the Nehru Age reveals that Chetty was acting on Sardar Vallabhai Patel’s behalf, who made him the sacrificial goat.) Arjun Singh’s father Rao Shiv Bahadur Singh, who was also a minister in Nehru’s Cabinet, was the first Indian minister to be jailed for corruption.Alas, today, the only prison the corrupt politician is in is the helplessness of public imagination. But don’t worry; you will soon forget all this happened. Until another multi-crore scam surfaces and a bunch of self-righteous television commentators invade your drawing room, calling for political blood. Public memory is shorter than newspaper editorials. Until then, stay tuned.