Capital Buzz/Virendra Kapoor
Hassles of an uncommon accused
The Deve Gowda government is in a tizzy over former Congress president
Narasimha Rao's increasing discomfiture at the hands of the courts.
Now that the former premier is scheduled to appear in the
Tis Hazari courts in Delhi to answer charges in a cheating
case, federal Cabinet Secretary T S R Subramaniam
called a high-powered
meeting on Monday, September 23, to ensure that there was no untoward
incident while the VVIP accused answered the metropolitan court's summons.
Fire brigades will be in place in the Tis Hazari complex on Monday,
September 30. All visitors will be screened and as far as possible kept
away. Jammers will ensure that no cellular phone worked in the
vicinity for as long as Rao is in court. (Jammers are necessary
to block remote control explosive devices and land mines.)
hospital will follow Rao's motorcade. Further, the elite Special
Protection Group will ensure that no photographs are taken
of Rao if the court decides to send him to Tihar jail. The
last detail is necessary in order to avoid the humiliation of
a photograph of a former PM being shown in newspapers across
the world going to jail in a cheating case.
The ways of VVIPs
Top businessmen and corporate managers do it all the time.
So do most ministers and politicians. When flying within the country
or abroad, they invariably send their factotums with their tickets
and bookable luggage in advance to the airport. With the luggage
booked and a comfortable seat of one's preference assured, the
VIP lands up minutes before the flight takes off.
Sometime this neat little arrangement leads to complications.
Like the other day, federal Sports Minister Dhanushkodi
Athithan dispatched his secretary to do the needful
to Delhi airport. For some reason when the minister reached
the airport to take the flight to Madras, his secretary was still stuck
at the airline counter. And the cops wouldn't allow Athithan entry
into the departure lounge without his producing the airline ticket
in spite of his insisting that he was a minister.
One big VVIP tantrum ensued, with threats to have the cops
suspended. The cops stood their ground. ''If you are a passenger,"
they told DA, "show us your ticket. Otherwise,
get yourself a valid pass for entry
into the departure lounge."
Athithan called Delhi Police Commissioner Nikhil Kumar,
even as a curious crowd gathered
around the minister. Soon a small posse of uniformed men surfaced to prevent
any untoward incident. A few moments
later, the minister's secretary appeared with his boarding pass. Athithan,
we hear, took it out on his hapless secretary as well.
Rani and her cell phone
Congress member of the Lok Sabha, Ratnakumari Rani, the daughter
of the late foreign minister Dinesh Singh, stands out among women
MPs for her immaculate dress sense and her proper
New to active politics, her manner is still aloof. A little
problem arose the other day when the aging CPI-M MP Nirmal Chatterjee
heard the youthful lady's cellular phone in her bag emitting
the offending musical ring. She was embarrassed and immediately
switched off the phone which she had forgotten to do while entering
the House. But the old codger that he is, Chatterjee sees cellular
phones as another symbol of the economic liberalisation gone wrong.
He wanted someone to tell Rani that she shouldn't carry the phone
into the House.
Who would tell her? Chatterjee wasn't willing to
do so himself. The back benchers he talked to did not know her.
But one of them suggested that the task be assigned to the DMK
member of the Lok Sabha, Pudukottai Siva, with whom
she is often seen talking in parliamentary precincts. This has led to some malicious tongue-wagging in the central
hall of Parliament.
Were Rani and Siva as
friendly in this House as former ministers Selja Kumari
and Mukul Wasnik were in the last one? The point is that when
it comes to some innocent fun the nation's law-makers are no better
than young college kids.
Only crusading for publicity
Rare is the man in these days of sleaze who allows his self-interest
to suffer for the sake of his principles. The story of Chief Election
Commissioner T N Seshan's sapphire ring, which his old buddy
Subramanian Swamy insists came from
is well known by now. So is Seshan's use of the private plane
of an equally controversial industrialist.
Now hear this about a
publicity-seeking IAS officer who along with a host of other
government servants became a member of a co-operative housing
society in east Delhi after its management was taken over by the
Delhi Development Authority. Having got himself a plum flat,
the self-styled crusader was quick to sell it at a huge premium.
In this he was following the lead of some of his colleagues
who became members of the society once it came under the control
of a fellow civil servant.
But our crusader was amiss in not informing
the housing finance company from whom he had taken a loan to buy
the flat that he had sold it. The buyer was told
that all loans against the house were cleared.
the crusading officer, an executive of the finance company was
a resident in the same colony. When the finance company approached
the crusader, he pleaded amnesia and reluctantly paid back their
dues. So much for the integrity of present-day crusaders!
Kesri : Bania or backward?
The provisional Congress president, Sitaram Kesri, is an enigma
wrapped in a mystery. How anyone handling the party's finances
could survive for seventeen long years is a wondrous feat by itself.
But Kesrai's mantra has been loyalty to the super boss. He has
that rare ability to mould himself according to the demands of
the changing times.
Despite the current confusion about his caste,
those blessed with long memories recall how he exploited his
bania caste in the eighties to stake his claim, though in vain,
to become Bihar's first bania chief minister.
Now that political correctness puts a premium on being a Mandal
backward or even a Muslim, Kesri camouflages his bania origins
to paint himself as a backward who pines for reservations for
the Muslims as well.
Not long ago, there were some among the so-called lower castes
assuming higher caste surnames like Sharma or even
Verma. Clearly, in the Mandal Era, the order has reversed.