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The Rediff Special/ A Correspondent in New Delhi
A cynic's view of the Mahajan affair
June 06, 2006
What happened on the night of June 1 at 7, Safdarjung Road?
Before reading on, this correspondent would like you to know that the following details are based on off the record conversations with a police officer attached to the Delhi police's special cell. It does not mean that this information will hold in court when the trial begins.
On the evening of June 1, Rahul Mahajan, the only son of the late Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pramod Mahajan (who was murdered by his brother Pravin) had champagne (Rahul says it was 'sparkling wine') while lying in the luxurious jacuzzi fitted in his father's bathroom.
The bathroom has huge mirrors on all sides. His father's aide Bibek Maitra sat on a chair nearby, also having champagne, according to the servants in the house, Ganesh and Anil.
Both men had consumed two bottles of champagne; the bottles are in police custody. At around 9 pm, Maitra called Sahil Zaroo, whom he knew through a common friend in Mumbai. Maitra was popular in Mumbai's party circles.
The records of Maitra and Rahul's mobile phone calls establish that Maitra called Sahil, who in turn asked his friends Karan Ahuja, Trishay Khanna and Rahul Malhotra, all in their early 20s, to join him at the Mahajan home.
Rahul Malhotra left early after allegedly having some alcohol. Karan and Sahil, at Maitra's behest, went out to buy cocaine from Nigerian drug traffickers. It seems the Nigerians cheated Sahil.
According to an investigator, it is likely that instead of giving Sahil cocaine they gave him 'inferior' heroin. Although it will take time to prove, the police suspect that things went horribly wrong because the heroin was contaminated.
Sahil was sent back either by Maitra or Mahajan or both since he/they could make out that the drugs bought from the Nigerians was not 'good enough'.
When Sahil returned, he found Maitra unconscious and foaming at the mouth. Rahul Mahajan was semi-conscious. Karan, Sahil and Tishay were frightened and summoned the servants who reportedly called Harish Sharma and Sudhanshu Mittal, Pramod Mahajan's close associates.
Maitra died apparently because he was a diabetic and overweight and the deadly mix of drugs and alcohol created complications. Rahul Mahajan survived because the police think he may have taken a lesser dose and was obviously fitter.
Harish Sharma, two servants and Mahajan's driver reportedly brought both men to the Apollo hospital.
Three years ago, Rahul Mahajan, who returned to New Delhi from London, had been treated at the Apollo hospital, apparently for meningitis.
Why were no drugs found during the tests conducted at the Apollo hospital?
In New Delhi, Apollo hospital is known for its high-level connections and nobody is surprised that its doctors did not discover drugs in Rahul's urine sample.
When the finding were challenged by the newspapers and television channels, Apollo hospital authorities tried damage control by saying the tests conducted by a private laboratory had revealed the presence of drugs in Rahul's urine.
When asked about the flip-flop, Dr Anupam Sibal of the Apollo hospital merely told rediff.com, "It's your personal view that we have changed our stance."
How will it affect the BJP?
'Party mein ab bacha kya hai? (What is left of the party?),' a party worker asked while watching the television coverage of the Rahul Mahajan saga at 11, Ashok Road, the BJP's central headquarters.
The BJP may try to distance itself from Rahul Mahajan and Bibek Maitra's escapades but it cannot.
Pramod Mahajan was a BJP leader for more than 30 years. Maitra was his closest aide, following him to the Prime Minister's Office when the National Democratic Alliance was in power.
It is unlikely that Maitra developed an affection for drugs only after Pramod Mahajan's death on May 3, 2006. He apparently had known Sahil Zaroo for two years.
And since it is said Maitra knew all of Pramod Mahajan's secrets, the reverse could be true too.
The BJP had offered space in the party to Rahul Mahajan in front of the media. Party President Rajnath Singh said last week that 'Rahul is hardworking, a very good boy. The BJP will find work for him.'
Rahul had responded saying, 'I want to fulfil my father's dreams. Let's see where my destiny takes me now.'
In less than a week, destiny landed him in the Intensive Care Unit of the Apollo hospital, with the media covering the incident round the clock.
A woman in New Delhi, watching the drama unfold on television, said, "For the first ten hours my sympathy was with Rahul Mahajan but when the three boys surrendered and said he took cocaine I felt cheated. I was sympathising with the wrong guy. Why should Rahul's mother suffer the humiliation?"
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