Virendra Kapoor

Time: A little past midnight.
Scene: Tamarind Court café.
Characters: Jessica, Malini, Bina, Dadwal, Manu and many, many others.

15bina.jpg - 11.7 K A sozzled Manu Sharma, currently behind bars for murdering model-turned-bartender Jessica Lal, approaches Malini, socialite Bina Ramani's equally socialite daughter.

Socialite junior is standing near the bar, quite near Jessica. Manu demands another drink. But Malini has other ideas.

"No liquor is to be served anymore," she says, "But you can have a sip from my glass if you pay Rs 1,000."

"For Rs 1,000," says the gallant brat, "I would like to take that sip."

Whether Malini let Manu sip and then he told her to get lost, or whether she simply refused him is lost in the confusion that follows. What emerges next is Manu with a gun and Jessica dead.

Well, this is the sanitised version that the police have been putting out about the murder. The inside account is somewhat different.

The argument allegedly was over taking Jessica out after she finished her duties as bartender and collected Rs 1,500 and a bottle of vodka from the Ramanis. But before that, Manu and his gentlemen friends had to pay their bills. Unfortunately, between them they had only Rs 40,000 whereas they needed Rs 50,000.

Well, one thing led to another and before you knew it Jessica was dead and Manu was out of the door.

Sauce for Lal isn't sauce for Basu

15basu.jpg - 5.5 K When he was the Haryana chief minister a few years ago, Bhajan Lal allotted around 200 residential plots solely on his discretion. All hell broke loose when these allotments were challenged in a public interest litigation. He was accused of misusing his discretion. The public outcry forced Justice M M Punchhi who later went on to become the Chief Justice of India, reject Lal's allotments.

But when West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu does the same, that too on a much larger scale, no one cries foul. Basu allotted nearly 2,500 plots in the plush Salt Lake colony on Calcutta's outskirts. There are only 12,000 odd plots there. Basu's discretion was, of course, in favour of his family members, his Communist Party of India-Marxist colleagues and, above all, the husband of his biographer.

The media's disinterest in the story shows its double standards -- one for Bhajan Lal another for Basu!

Kalyan's problem

He can't help it, we guess.

15kaly.jpg - 4.1 K Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh faced an open revolt from a sizeable number of Bharatiya Janata Party legislators recently. And who was behind it?

Of course, a woman.

Her name is -- yes, you guessed right -- Kusum Rai.

Anywhere's better than Congress

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The suave and very articulate economic adviser of the Congress has been marginalised by the leadership. Ramesh, our sources say, wouldn't mind exploring fresh pastures...

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