The Vohra Committee was set up by the P.V. Narasimha Rao Government in July
1993. The Committee was headed by the former Indian Home Secretary N.N Vohra who
submitted the Committee Report in October 1993. The Committee was set up in the
aftermath of the Bombay Blasts in the same year.
The Committee studied the
problem of the criminalisation of politics and the nexus among
criminals, politicians and bureaucrats in India. The report contained several
observations made by official agencies on the criminal network which was
virtually running a parallel government. It also discussed criminal gangs who
enjoyed the patronage of politicians from all parties and the protection of
It was further revealed that political leaders had
become leaders of gangs which operated mafias. Over the years criminals had been
elected to Local Bodies, State Legislative Assemblies and the Parliament. It is
fascinating to note that only 13 pages of the report are made available to the
public and the rest, undisclosed highly confidential pages have been buried deep
inside the corridors of power.
One has to understand the deep meaning of criminalisation of politics in order to grasp the reasons as to why the Vohra
Committee was constituted, although publicly containing only 13 pages, speaks
volumes about Indian politics and how the need for change is of paramount
importance. Many eminent personalities have filed petitions in Court in order to
get the official copy of the Report but even the Supreme Court of India is
reluctant to release the annexures of the Report to the public as it contains
sensitive information that might hamper the functioning of the investigative
agencies of the country.
Be that as it may, the nexus between politicians,
bureaucrats and criminals was, is and will always continue to be a constant
nuisance to society as they are in some way or the other, dependent on each
other. The answer to my preceding statement lies in the analysis that will
follow in the subsequent paragraphs.
Review Of Literature
Statement Of Problem
- For the purpose of my project research, I have analyzed the Original
Copy of the Vohra Report that I received under an RTI request filed by me
bearing Registration Number: MHOME/R/E/21/00750 filed on 23rd February 2021.
- Along with the Report which serves as my Primary source (for the purpose
of this project), I have also briefly analyzed the case of Shri Dinesh Trivedi,
M.P. & Ors v. Union of India & Ors, which entails crucial aspects as to why the
report is not being made public.
- A brief analysis of a recent judgment of the Supreme Court of India in
the case of Public Interest Foundation v. Union of India, also renders
justice to my research work wherein the Apex Court takes up the matter of Criminalisation of Politics in India.
The criminalisation of politics is the harsh reality of Indian Politics and a
nuisance to Indian Democracy. Disgruntled elements within the Government
jeopardise the progress of governance and risk the national security of the
The Criminal-Politician nexus has taken advantage of the weak rule of law in
India and the Vohra Committee report corroborates the same.
Objectives Of Study
- To understand as to why the Committee was setup.
- To understand the criminal-politician-bureaucrat nexus.
- To find out as to why many annexures related to the report remain
- Is there more than what meets the eye, with respect to the Vohra
- Why have many annexures and memorials remained confidential and not been
given to the public?
The following Project Work is based on the Doctrinal Method of research, firstly
consisting of a brief analysis of the views of few members and invitees and
finally with an overall analysis of the report. With respect to my first
research question, after a partially critical yet neutral analysis of the Vohra
Committee Report, the need for constituting a committee by the Government of
India was necessary in order to take stock of all the criminal activities of
mafias and syndicates which had links with political and bureaucratic
The constituted committee consisted of the Home Secretary Chairman), Secretary RAW, DIB, Director CBI, JS(PP)
MHA and SS (IS & P) MHA. The first meeting of the committee was held
on 15th July 1993 as a consequence of the intelligence reports suggesting
linkages of the Dawood Ibrahim gang with the Bombay Blasts of March 1993.
Chairman observed that some of the Members of the Committee were hesitant to
express their views and hence, he addressed individual letters to respective
Members for their recommendations and suggestions. Before getting into the
analysis of each Member, one can observe that every concerned organisation of
the Government did provide suggestions, but at the same time passing the
buck was the sort of well-played strategy adopted by the organisational HODs.
The Secretary RAW stated that RAW wouldnít be able to enlarge its field
activities abroad and as such only dealt with collection of various types of
intelligence. Be that as it may, it only dealt with narco-terrorism, arms and
explosives smuggling into the country and didnít monitor criminals based abroad.
The suggestion of setting up of a nodal agency was also made.
The CBI Director provided an analysis of the nexus of the Bombay Police with the
Underworld based on a CBI report of 1986. He explained as to how it all started
with petty crimes involving gambling, illicit distillation and prostitution in
the bigger cities and smuggling of imported goods in the port cities.
then gradually turned towards drug trafficking and narcotics along with income
from real estate by virtue of extortion. Apart from the various recommendations
made by the Director, he also pointed out as to how money power was used to make
connections with politicians and bureaucrats, which in turn moved on to muscle
power which was used by politicians, for the purpose of elections. He also
stated as to how Iqbal Mirchi gained a lot of political patronage in the city of
Bombay (presently Mumbai).
One can observe that this is where the nexus began.
Politically backed criminal syndicates have muscle men in almost each and every
town in the country. On top of that, the current judicial system and the laws
with respect to Economic Offences have been strengthened to a certain extent,
but it wasnít so in 1993 when the Committee was constituted.
The suggestions and views of the Director of IB were almost similar to that of
the RAW Secretary and CBI Director. He focused on providing more protection to
officers so that they could function without fear. He also pointed out that
there was no central agency involved with compiling intelligence from various
departments and therefore a lot of information got lost in the bargain.
The Revenue Secretary, although not a Member of the Committee, was invited to
give his inputs being the administrative head
of CBEC, CBDT, CEIB, ED and NCB. The functions of each
organisation were elucidated upon along with the problems faced by the field
Finally, it was recommended that a Nodal Agency be set up under the DIB and
that would be a part of a Top Secret Cell which would be headed by the Home
Secretary himself. This was done in order to gather intelligence from various
organisations in order to streamline the follow-up process along with quick
action on inputs and linkages. The Chairman prepared only three copies of the
report out of which one remained with him and the other two were given to MoS
(IS) and the HM.
The 13 Page Report was submitted on 5th October
1993 along with annexures spanning over 100 pages, out of which only the Report
has been made public as the annexures contain highly sensitive information about
some very senior politicians and bureaucrats and their links with the
Underworld. The Report was tabled in Parliament on 1st August 1995 and a Nodal
Agency was created on 2nd August 1995.
One would observe that the Report was submitted within a span of three
months from the date of its establishment, which suggests that it was carried
out in a haste. The Report being tabled in Parliament in 1995 for the first and
last time, became a widely debated topic. The very same month Dinesh Trivedi,
an MP of the Rajya Sabha from the Janata Dal, (who later shifted to
the AITMC and most recently to the BJP) submitted a representation to
the HM, seeking that the Report be made public along with the annexures
containing the names of senior party leaders linked with the Report.
Mr.Trivedi didnít receive a satisfactory response from the HM and termed the
Report as Baseless
. Thereafter, he along with two other NGOs filed a writ petition
in the Supreme Court of India which came to be known as Shri Dinesh Trivedi,
M.P. & Ors v. Union of India & Ors
On 5th January 1996, the Cabinet Secretary of India was appointed as the
Chairman of the Nodal Agency alongside the Home Secretary and others as its
members. Thereafter on 13th October 1996, the Division Bench of the Supreme
Court of India admitted the writ petition and directed the Government of India
to present the authenticated version of the Report before the Court along with
the follow-up measures initiated as per the recommendations of the Report.
N.N.Vohra in his affidavit stated that the Report was indeed authentic and he
did not deem it fit to attach the annexures to the Report as the Report was only
for summary purposes. The Supreme Court of India disposed of the writ
petition and ordered in favour of the Union of India with recommendations of its
own as it stated that releasing details of the Report to the public would be
a threat to national security.
Criminalisation of Politics refers to the rising participation of criminals in
the electoral process and their selection as elected representatives of the
people. The same events take place during elections every year. Money-power,
muscle-power, you name the power, they have it all. This involves bureaucrats as
This is all due to poor investigation of cases along with massive judicial
delays over the years. The Vohra Committee Report corroborates the same with all
the more problems that each investigative agency faces.
Iqbal Mirchi was the henchman of Dawood Ibrahim and had acquired property worth
crores in the city of Bombay. This couldnít have been done had it not been the
outside support of politicians, police and bureaucrats. The annexures contain
the name of the politicians involved with Mirchi and the Bombay Blasts of 1993.
It is an open secret but nobody talks about it. These politicians include the
Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra and also the Former MoS for Civil Aviation.
Dawood Ibrahim funded these politicians over the years and they kept on
shielding him from any stringent action from the governmentís side.
The Vohra Report outlined the views of the Members but the most important input
was that of the Revenue Secretary and his views on liquidating linkages
involving crime syndicates by the way of mass prosecution of offenders without
the fear of pressure from political bosses.
This was also stated by Dinesh
Trivedi in his writ petition but the Court didnít approve of the same, for the
very reason that certain individuals involved with the mafias included high
ranking politicians and bureaucrats and hence prosecution sanction would be
required from the competent authorities to investigate these officials. It is
fascinating yet concerning to note that few of the politicians involved with the
mafia were competent authorities themselves and hence one could and would
realize as to how grave the situation was back then.
The Report was quite comprehensive and clear about the mafias and crime
syndicates that controlled Bombay back then. Various investigative, intelligence
and enforcement agencies didnít like to pass on intelligence to their
counterpart organisations for the fear of sabotage of serving agents and
informants. The same is practiced even today. The syndicate today is not as
powerful as it was in the 1990s because of the streamlined and coordinated
functioning between intelligence agencies.
Customs and Excise officials posted
at the airports and docks were hand in glove with these underworld dons. The
local police also played a vital role in allowing the same. Back in the day, the
state police used to provide security cover inside and outside airports. Today,
we see officers of the CISF manning the posts at airports and that is why the
corruption rates and smuggling of arms and explosives have drastically reduced
Be that as it may, the Report has played a major role in bringing effective
changes within the government machinery followed by the case of Public Interest
Foundation v. Union of India
, wherein the Court issued the following
- Candidates must fill up forms containing all particulars
- In the said forms, criminal antecedents to be stated in bold.
- Candidates must inform the concerned political party of pending criminal
cases against them.
- Concerned political party to put up such criminal antecedents of
candidates on party website.
- Wide publicity by both candidates and parties in press and media of the
criminal antecedents. Wide publication meaning at least thrice after filing
Although the Court stated that it didnít have the powers to disqualify
candidates with criminal charges, last year Justice Nariman ordered political
parties to publish the entire criminal history of candidates contesting for
Assembly and Lok Sabha elections within 48 hours of selection. Also, a
compliance report had to be submitted to the Election Commission within 72
hours, failing which contempt of court action would be initiated.
judgment was in regard to a contempt petition filed by Advocate Ashwini
Upadhyay regarding the disregard of the 2018 judgment and it is this very same
person who filed a writ petition in November 2020 seeking details of the Vohra
Report and action taken over the years.
Even after seeking the Vohra Report through the RTI portal and asking for the
annexures, I received a letter from the DS CTCR Division of MHA along
with the 13 pages of the Report and not once was there a mention about the
CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS
The Vohra Committee Report which was submitted 28 years back has always been a
bone of contention for opposition parties who are in power today. There is a
possibility of the Report being tabled in Parliament in their near future.
Recent judgments based on the criminalisation of politics have proved to be
beneficial but at the same time, eradicating the nexus between criminals,
politicians and bureaucrats will be a difficult task as these are
The Nodal Agency that was set up in 1995 has
remained top secret till date and works under the aegis of the Cabinet
Secretary. Intelligence agencies today are working in close coordination in
order to protect the national security of the country but at the same time
the weak rule of law has been outplayed by the strong rule by law.
politicians have used the bureaucrats and police to get their works done and the
same has been reciprocated to these public servants in the form of post
retirement constitutional posts. Even today, we see the controversy involving
the Mumbai Police Commissioner and the Maharashtra Home Minister, who
transferred the former as DG Homeguard due to lapses with respect to the Sachin
Vaze Investigation. The Commissioner then alleged charges of extortion worth 100
crores on the part of the Minister.
Instances like this happened in the past, they are happening in the present and
they will happen in the future as power corrupts and absolute power corrupts
. With that being said, my overall impression of the Vohra Report is
satisfactory and the views raised by its Members are indeed genuine as that is
how the system functions and one cannot change it overnight. Members of the
Dawood gang still control pockets of Bombay from the ISI protected White
House in Karachi.
The Supreme Court took a right decision in 1995 not to release
the annexures as the same would create political havoc and at the same time
jeopardize the cover of active field agents working on busting the Dawood gang.
With the ruling dispensation at the centre, the release of the annexures seems
pretty evident and a national security crisis would be all the more imminent.
My suggestions are as follows:
Power doesnít corrupt people, people corrupt power
- Fast track courts should be established to try politicians with criminal
- Impartial appointments of Election Commissioners should be made.
- Hefty penalties should be imposed upon political parties that field
candidates having a criminal background.
- Individuals who have served a jail term of more than 5 years should be
banned from contesting elections
- The Vohra Annexures should not be made public documents.
- The Government should provide details about the follow-up action with
regard to the Committee recommendations at the earliest.
- Inter-Services Intelligence.
- Deputy Secretary
- Counter Terrorism and Counter Radicalization.
- Ministry of Home Affairs.
- Public Interest Foundation v. Union of India, (2019) 3 SCC 224 (India).
- Central Industrial Security Force
- The names will not be disclosed and can be assumed as per the readerís
- Minister of State for Internal Security
- Home Minister.
- Member of Parliament.
- All India Trinamool Congress.
- Bhartiya Janata Party.
- Supra note 15.
- Non-Governmental Organizations.
- Shri Dinesh Trivedi, M.P. & Ors v. Union of India & Ors, (1997) 4 SCC
- Central Board of Excise and Customs.
- Central Board of Direct Taxes.
- Central Economic Intelligence Bureau.
- Enforcement Directorate.
- Narcotics Control Bureau.
- Research and Analysis Wing
- Director Intelligence Bureau.
- Central Bureau of Investigation.
- Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs
- Special Secretary, Internal Security and Police, Ministry of Home
- Head of Department.
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Eshaan Luke Jacques
Authentication No: MA114820305952-28-0521