Capital Buzz/Virendra Kapoor
Power brokers all
There is more to the Rs 1.33 billion urea scam than meets the
eye. Since hawala channels were used to bring back
the commission paid by the Turkish firm, Karsan, to the Indian agents,
a house in Delhi's Greater Kailash- I area was raided by the enforcement directorate.
The house's owner is a well-known power broker in the capital's political
circles and close to, among others, former fertiliser minister
Ram Lakhan Singh Yadav (right). He also represents
a fertilisers company in India.The CBI is investigating
his possible connection with the US-based company, Rea Brothers, in
which Yadav's son, Prakash, is said to have
deposited $ 200,000 which was his share of the commission in the deal.
Soon after the raid, the agent left for London. It was no
coincidence, the CBI believes, that Pinaki Misra,
newly elected member of the Lok Sabha from Puri in Orissa and
an associate of Chandra Swami,
was in London at the same time.
Also giving him company in London was another power broker close
to former minister V C Shukla.When
the Greater Kailash bungalow was raided, "Vidya bhaiyya's man"
had pulled strings to hush up the inquiry. The CBI will pick up the thread of inquiry
from the point where it was abandoned by the enforcement directorate.
The rotten core
Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda (right) is not entirely
innocent of the ways of the capital's wheeler-dealers. Therefore,
he is at pains not to be seen with the wrong sort of guys, especially
after he committed the faux pas of flying in the private jets of a booze
baron and a textile tycoon in the company of a wheeler-dealer.
A few days ago, an industrialist member of the Rajya Sabha met
Deve Gowda. The meeting was fixed by a particularly unsavoury wheeler-dealer.
At the end of the meeting, Deve Gowda confided
his anguish to one of his callers. "I want to stay away from
crooks and fixers. Now here is a man who is a well-known industrialist,
besides being an MP. Did he have to come through that power broker?
He could as well have picked up the phone and rung my office.
You think I would have said no to meeting him?"
The moral rot is deeper than anyone can imagine.
Yadav's gang of four
Resentment is growing in the Samajwadi Party against what its
rank and file calls the gang of four. Defence Minister Mulayam
Singh Yadav's (right) proximity to the SP member of the Rajya Sabha, controversial industrialist Sanjay Dalmia; Dalmia's
relative and Yadav's PR manager, Amitabh Adhar; another party MP,
film star Raj Babbar; and above all, budding industrialist and
the Bhartiyas's liaison man, Amar Singh,
has caused much heartburn among senior SP leaders.
Raghu Thakur, the Madhya Pradesh SP leader,
left the party in disgust sometime ago. Another senior SP leader who lost
narrowly in the recent Lok Sabha poll is ready to quit the party, in protest.
On the fringes of the group is Subroto Roy,
the owner of the Sahara airline. Roy was last in the news
for alleged attempts to rig the election in Lucknow in Babbar's favour. The BSP's
alliance with the Congress is a godsend for SP leaders to protest
Yadav's marginalisation of all but the group of four.
Ignorance is bliss
Thanks to Janata Dal president and Bihar Chief Minister Laloo
Prasad Yadav, there are plenty of greenhorns in the Deve Gowda ministry
who had not stirred out of the state before the parliamentary
election. Minister of State for Environment Jai Narayan Nishad (right)
was clueless about his brief. His private secretary, a Bihar cadre IAS officer,
hands him the brief which Nishad dutifully parrots whenever pushed
into taking a public stand
In a recent face-off with one of his predecessors, Maneka Gandhi,
over the need to ban experiments on animals in
educational institutions, Nishad kept harping on the 'need to
consider what will happen to rural schools.' When told that a vast majority
of village schools did not have the wherewithal to dissect frogs and
mice, he said, "Then we will provide them this."
It was not enough for him that both the law and human resource
development ministries had cleared the recommendation of a panel
experts to ban experimentation with animals. "I cannot gazette
this order till I have studied how they deal with this in England
and America." So there you have the makings of an official
tour by the hon'ble minister.
Bhagat's cup of woes
Former minister H K L Bhagat (right, below) recently
sought an audience with Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda.
Deve Gowda was surprised when Bhagat let loose a tirade against Congress president
P V Narasimha Rao.
Warning him against trusting Rao, Bhagat cited his own case,
"Look, how he treated me. Got me involved in false murder cases
and when I filed my nomination papers for two parliamentary constituencies
in Delhi, he personally assured me all help in ending my persecution
on trumped-up charges. Made me a deputy spokesman of the AICC,
but not for one day has he allowed me to brief the press once I withdrew
from the electoral fray."
Deve Gowda heard Bhagat in silence but did not utter a word against
Rao. The former Delhi Congress strongman left with the promise
that the premier will have the cases against him re-examined.