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Capital Buzz/Virendra Kapoor

Tiger turns alsation

Clever chap, our Central Bureau of Investigation Director Joginder Singh.

After months of bark-less, bite-less existence, the good sardar has decided to go for a bit of barking and biting. Not much, mind you, but a couple of snarls here and little nip there... Just enough to show those darned politicians that he too knows a thing or two about sticking on to his chair. (The new government had been under great pressure to replace Singh with the more viable CBI Special Director R C Sharma, who was a great help to Rajiv Gandhi in capping the Bofors volcano.)

First he started with the barking bit. At a cocktail dinner hosted by a visiting Indian diplomat last week. "I am going to do something in the next 48 hours which will rock the Gujral government. Why should I take the rap from the courts for defending crooked politicians?" he asked an astonished Union Revenue Secretary N K Singh.

"I too can play Seshan, you know," Tiger Jo continued, sitting tall among his attentive audience, "Till now, I resisted the temptation because of my innate decency."

Exactly two days later Tiger went for the bite -- the CBI decided to chargesheet Bihar Chief Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav in the Rs 9.5 billion animal husbandry scam.

With this, Tiger has successfully blocked the moves to replace him -- if he gets the sack now, Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral will have a lot of explaining to do. Whatmore, Tiger, due to retire later this year, may also have managed to get his tenure extended. The case would still be on then, and the courts might ask him to stick around...

Kesri tears

Last day, Congress president Sitaram Kesri sat himself down and had a good cry. On veteran party leader Kunnoth Karunakaran's shoulders. It happened like this:

Karunakaran, it would appear, had been to his usual tricks. He sounded out 11 Congress Working Committee members: why don't we boot chacha (Kesri) out and have another party president?

Soon as he came to know the news, Kesri was all panic. He immediately drove down to Karunakaran's house. "I am willing to resign as party president if you say so," Kesri is said to have told him, openly crying.

Alternating between sniffles, shouts, and sniffles again, Kesri said, "You didn't consult any CWC leader before sending that second letter to the President (which said the Congress was willing to support any UF leader). `Any' leader could have been that Deve Gowda again...And now you are consulting everyone in order to replace me."

Karunakaran, true to form, enjoyed all this immensely -- and recounted with great relish to all and sundry how he had been 'honoured by a visit from Kesri!'

It pays to have a PM for neighbour

Having the prime minister for a neighbour is not without its advantages. Ask the Maharani Bagh-wallahs, they will tell you.

Since Gujral became prime minister, things have been moving at a fast pace in that part of south Delhi. The very first day he was driven to office, he ordered officials to remove the garbage dumps on the road. Now, the upmarket colony where the Gujrals have two bungalows is getting a massive face-lift.

Potholes are being filled as never before, roads re-tarred, new street lights fixed, footpaths freshly tiled... and the central berm on Zakir Hussain and Mathura roads now boasts of fresh plants, even! Better, no longer does Maharani Bagh and the neighbouring colonies have those endemic power breakdowns. The police have even come down heavily on the unlicensed cycle- rickshaw-wallahs who ply the Gujral route!

The secret venue

Former Union minister and Congress Rajya Sabha member Margaret Alva has a new occupation -- hosting secret one-on-one meetings for party bigwigs.

Alva's well-maintained home was the venue of a secret meeting between Gujral and Kesri, long before the former emerged as the UF consensus leader. Kesri assured Gujral of his support in his quest for prime ministership there. Remember H D Deve Gowda's last crack in Parliament when he pointedly referred to Gujral as one of those being roped in by the Congress, and warned him of Kesri's perfidy? Gowda's suspicions were aroused by the Gujral-Kesri tete-a-tete at Alva's house.

Alva's house again served as a venue for a secret dialogue between Kesri and a Communist leader. To be fair to her, Alva did not leak a word about what transpired at these high-level meetings.

Same old Surinder Singh

Once an arm-twister, always an arm-twister. Especially if you have a papa like Haryana Chief Minister Bansi Lal to back you up.

Lok Sabha member Surinder Singh (he of the Indira Gandhi Emergency in-fame) is now leaning -- and heavily -- on builders, colonisers and ordinary businessmen for 'contributions'.

Recently, he summoned a coloniser of Faridabad, a town on the outskirts of Delhi, to his father's official residence in Chandigarh and demanded Rs 50 million to the ruling Haryana Vikas Party.The coloniser demurred. After all, he had paid a huge amount to the previous Bhajan Lal administration for getting his colony sanctioned, and he had no favour to seek now. He refused as politely as he could, and went back home.

A few weeks later, he drove down to visit his colony -- and found the entry barred by an up and coming high wall. The state public works department had suddenly decided to have a wall there and if it blocked entry to any particular colony, well, it blocked entry! Too bad.

The coloniser got the message quickly enough, rushed to Surinder Singh and made peace. Now everything is all right -- a passage has miraculously appeared in the wall.

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