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Capital Buzz/Virendra Kapoor

Marriage of hatemanship

Listen to us, gentle folks, listen to us well
We have a story, gentle folks, a story worth a tell...

Of tea, terror and a very senior bureaucrat in Assam.

Or, to be more precise, how this senior civil servant reportedly married off tea to terror and is now enjoying himself immensely.

The man in question is a nice enough chap, co-workers say, if you don't have much to do with him. But if you cross him, well, then it's altogether a different tale.

And that, apparently, is where Tata Tea officials faulted.

The bureaucrat, senior government officials say, has been plenty miffed with the Tatas. Because they wouldn't do business with people like him. Also, being a very ambitious man, he felt that action against them would please certain industrial houses which are known to do business only with bureaucrats!

Which, sources say, is why he went after the Tatas the moment he took charge.

Our friend who is distinguished with a dubious past -- he is known to be extremely close to a BJP wheeler-dealer and has been under CBI scrutiny for 'accepting undue favours' -- denies he is being vindictive towards the Tatas. (For that matter, he claims he does not have a 'murky' past either!)

"Vested interests, vested interests," he muttered, "People are jealous about my appointment -- that's why they are planting stories against me."

Well, that's one way of putting it, we guess!

Hafta tales

While on the tea front, we might as well touch upon the hafta business.

That the large business houses are obliged to pay protection money to ULFA terrorists is known. But what about government servants? Well, it appears they too have been paying off outlaws.

Although things are far from normal in all the seven states, it is in Nagaland the situation is by far the worst. Intelligence sources were aware of certain senior bureaucrats's links with the outlawed body. But even they were shocked to find out recently that no less than the chief secretary of a state was regularly paying hafta!

Of course, the chief minister concerned did not order any action against the man -- after all, as a senior bureaucrat reasoned, if the state abdicates its basic responsibility, you are entitled to your own life-saving strategy, aren't you?

The not-so-humble son

What is it with politicians that makes them automatically unmannered? Power? Or maybe it is genes?

Whatever, H D Kumarasamy -- yep, Humble Farmer Deve Gowda's son -- is a classic example.

Recently while on an Indian Airlines flight from Bangalore to Delhi, Kumarasamy, who happens to be an MP, found himself getting sleepy. So he spread himself in his executive class seat, put his feet on the two seats in front and, like his father, went off to sleep with a great accompaniment of snores.

Fellow passengers could take Kumarasamy only for a few minutes. They appealed to the cabin crew for help.

"The least he can do is remove his feet from the seat," the gentleman in front said.

The message was promptly relayed to the MP by an air hostess who, together with the suggestion, found herself being brusquely dismissed by an imperial wave of the sleeper's hand. She tried again, was waved off, tried again, was waved off... all without a break in Deve Gowda junior's snores!

Finally, it was left to a senior Congress leader from Karnataka to bring the show to order. He berated Kumarasamy in chaste Kannada.

"You," the leader thundered at a suddenly-awake Kumarasamy, "are a disgrace to all politicians!"

Fortunately, that brought the MP -- as well as both his feet -- down to earth.

Basu cocks a mock

On August 11, in a well-publicised order, the authorities had asked Star TV chief executive in India Ratikanth Basu to pack up and leave his office. Permanently, within '15 days of the receipt of this order.'

The government had threatened legal action, should he fail to obey the order. It has now been nearly two months since, but Basu is still sitting pretty (thanks to the pressure certain fixers brought on Gujral junior).

And the man who is really in a fix is the department of personnel Additional Secretary V Lakshmi Rattan -- how dare he issue such an order?

Now, a couple of fixers are busy fixing a punishment posting for Rattan...

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