Virendra Kapoor

They will never leave a good man alone.

Now that Ajay Raj Sharma has done a few things to straighten out the Delhi police, efforts are on to ease him out.

Ironically, it is his success as the police commissioner that is being touted as the reason why he should be sent out on, well, "a more challenging assignment".

Men with their eye on Sharma's job claim he would be "just great" as director general of the Border Security Force. DG E N Ram Mohan is due to retire on November 30 -- and who else would be better than Sharma for the BSF "at a time when it is engaged in combating militancy in Kashmir"?

There are at least five senior Union Territory cadre IPS officers who have set their heart on heading the Delhi police. At the head of the pack is Kulbir Singh. A 1965 batch officer, he is presently the DGP, Home Guards.

Next, Ajay Aggarwal of the 1966 batch, now DGP, prisons, Delhi, and R K Sharma, 1967 batch, special CP, administration, Delhi police.

Then come S Ramakrishnan, 1967 batch, special CP, intelligence, Delhi police, and R S Gupta, 1968 batch, presently the special CP, security, Delhi police.

However, Union Home Minister L K Advani is not at all tickled about letting Sharma go. In July 1999, when Sharma was appointed to the post, Advani was unenthusiastic about inducting 'an outsider' -- Sharma is from the UP cadre -- as the head of the capital's police force.

A year-plus on, Advani is glad that he did. But for him, Sharma's detractors would have by now launched Operation Remove-Sharma.

Bonanza for the IPS!

By the way, there are quite a few plum postings that our senior IPS officers can aspire to in the next couple of months.

To begin with, T R Kakkar, special secretary, Jammu and Kashmir, in the home ministry, will retire this December. So will A S Daulat, head of the Research and Analysis Wing.

Central Bureau of Investigation chief R K Raghavan should take up gardening and such from April on. National Security Guards Director General Nikhil Kumar is set to follow suit in July. Ditto for Intelligence Bureau chief Shymal Dutta,

The post of chairman, Joint Intelligence Committee, too will fall vacant soon. And the post of special secretary, security, Cabinet Secretariat, is already lying vacant.

Begs a question, this does: why don't our friends leave Sharma alone and go after these posts?

Videshi ain't always the best!

Indians have a tendency to run down all things Indian. But you will be pleasantly surprised that some of our five-star hotels are easily the best in the world.

This became clear to everyone in the official party accompanying the prime minister on his American sojourn. Vajpayee and his officials stayed at the Waldorf Astoria.

The hotel, which plays host to visiting heads of states, where US President Bill Clinton invariably stays, might be reputed and large, but is no match for the opulence and grandeur of the Oberois, Tajs or Mauryas in India.

As for the quality of service, some of the lesser-known Indian hotels would beat the Waldorf hollow. It was so poor that you ordered an hour in advance for your coffee or tea, and never took chances while expecting a guest.

The management at the Waldorf maintained that during the Millennium Summit it had a surfeit of VVIP guests. At one time, it was playing host to 20 visiting heads of State, including Clinton.

Self before RSS

A senior advocate, who for long has served the cause of the RSS-BJP in the capital, recently approached Home Minister Advani.

He wanted to be governor somewhere. "It doesn't matter even if it is a tiny state in the North-East," he said.

But Advani wasn't sympathetic. In no uncertain terms he told him off.

The result: the RSS bhakta has now started spewing venom against Advani!

Najma rebuffed

Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson Najma Heptullah was in the US for an extended period recently.

While in Washington, she tried for an appointment with the speaker of the House of Representatives. In vain.

Apparently, that gentleman was miffed with her unbridled criticism of the US policy towards Cuba.

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