Virendra Kapoor

You, we are certain, must have heard of Ram Jethmalani. Big man, very clever. Urban development minister. In addition, a highflying lawyer -- a ruddy legal eagle, in fact!

But the eagle may -- just may, mind you -- have fallen.

In plain words, the ace appears to have gone and got himself incriminated in a violation of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act.

The controversial minister had explained the receipt of a sizeable sum of foreign exchange from arms dealer Adnan Khassogi a few years ago as necessary expenses to investigate the Bofors deal. The confession had come during the course of his cross-examination by godman Chandra Swami's lawyers, in a defamation which Jethamalani had filed against the latter.

Latching on to the confession, the Enforcement Directorate under M K Bezbaruah has now registered a first information report. Though sources insist it is only a preliminary inquiry, Jethmalani is a mite worried. As he should be, with Bezbaruah back atop the ED.

Atal at his best

Thank god, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has got it back.

We mean, of course, his vintage wit, which had been playing hookey for some time now. Indeed, the man is looking quite presentable these days -- a far cry from the Independence week, when he was alleged to have been suffering from many, many diseases. He smiles easy now, looks healthier, cheerier.

Above all, he has regained his silver tongue.

The other day at a function marking the release of the audio cassette of his select poems, Vajpayee had the audience eating out of his palm. Such was his magic that the audience was on their feet, clamouring for the recital of one of his verses. Vajpayee, after initial reluctance, obliged, and duly won another round of standing ovation.

The comments, true to the man, were laced with the usual dollops of humour. Here's a sample:

"I was born in Gwalior. But I am ashamed to say I do not know how to sing or dance. For even a crying baby in that historic city is quietened by mothers singing one or the other ragas. Like sa re ga ma pa da ni ..."

The audience, of course, loved it!

Born again PM

Item two on Atal baby... nooo, don't logout!!! This is the last one on the man this time round, promise!

The PM, like we mentioned before, is a resurrected man, a changed man, a different man. Absolutely. Full of beans, and raring to go. Even the medicos have given him a clean bill of health.

He now exercises regularly, eats well, sleeps well and does the sundry other thing associated with good health with zilch trouble. He even manages a post-lunch siesta, has curbed his propensity for sweets and is seriously thinking of getting his kurta measurement reduced a little.

All in all, a fitter Vajpayee has emerged since that pathetic mis-step on the ramparts of the Red Fort this August 15.

Swamy and his friend

Dr Subramanian Swamy, Janata Party president and self-proclaimed thorn in the PM's side (see, we are not mentioning his name again!), is planning to visit China. Again.

Swamy's nth Chinese visit shouldn't surprise anyone - since his doctorate at the prestigious Harvard University on the Chinese economy, the good doctor has been going over every now and then.

But what should cause surprise is Swamy seeking a meeting with the PM. Quite clearly, the relations between the BJP leader and Swamy are back to being civil, if not really cordial. Not long ago, Swamy had nothing but the unprintable for the PM while the latter always responded with stony silence.

Swamy, incidentally, is due for a visit to the PMO later this week.

This one, or that..?

Another son-of-a-politician has been bitten. Badly, by the bug.

Former prime minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh's elder son, Ajeya is now planning to enter politics. While Pa Pratap has taken to painting landscapes, exotic flora, fauna and such, the son, a banker by profession, wants more from life.

Pa's political rivals had tried to malign Ajeya in the St Kitts forgery case. Luckily, he didn't have a dime in the St Kitts bank despite documents showing him to hold 21 million dollars.

Nonetheless, Ajeya has built up a sizeable nest of financial assets, thanks to high-paying jobs with foreign investment banks. Which, probably, is why he feels secure that he can plunge into national service without being tempted to milk it for personal gains.

The current trouble is which group to join.

Sonia Gandhi's Congress does not inspire him much. Neither does Advani's BJP. And there is little else for him to identify himself with in the arid political climate. The next few weeks, hence, promises to be clear confusion to him.

Capital Buzz