Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi
"Just wait and see. Halfway through 2-G spectrum case I will bring in Sonia Gandhi into it. Nothing is going to go wrong in this case. This case is going to make a modern, new and clean India," claims Janata Party president Dr Subramanian Swamy, one of the petitioners in the 2G spectrum scam, which is being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation under the Supreme Court's supervision.
As the Supreme Court's pressure on the CBI mounts, Dr Swamy feels the thrill of success.
After former telecom minister A Raja's arrest, Swamy is now targeting Raja's mentor and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Karunanidhi.
Swamy claimed to rediff.com that Karunanidhi is a worried man now.
Swami and now even the CBI's case is that Raja favoured Swan Telecom to get the 2-G spectrum at a low price. Businessman Shahid Balwa, who was arrested on Wednesday, was a promoter of Swan. Etisalat Dynamix Balwa, which purchased shares of Swan, is also the front company of Balwa. He also launched another company which reportedly gave a loan to a television company ran by Karunanidhi's family. This nexus and sequence of money passing hands is being established by the CBI
'I will ensure that Raja goes to jail for 21 years'
The sceptic may find this complex transaction difficult to prove but Swamy is oozing with confidence. He says, "I will not leave the case half-way. I will ensure that Raja goes to jail for 21 years."
He alleges that Raja gave that licence to Swan Telecom and as a result of this the Karunanidhi family firm got a loan.
Swamy's main contention is that Raja changed 'the cut off date' in the process of allotting spectrum and helped Anil Ambani's Reliance which had a 9.97 percent stake in Swan and the Tata group, which eventually sold shares to Docomo and made profits.
Swan has now been renamed as Etisalat DB and Unitech, which also got cheap spectrum, sold it to Telinor, which now operates in India under the name Uninor.
Once Swamy got the above facts and related papers he took up the case.
In November, 2008, Dr Swamy wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and followed it up with four more letters seeking sanction to prosecute Raja.
When the prime minister didn't take any decision, Swamy went to Supreme Court and the rest is history. Even advocate Prashant Bhushan filed another petition to create a monitoring mechanism to supervise CBI's investigation of the 2G case.
Swamy is out on a mission to hit the UPA government
Swami's worry is that Swan's shares have been sold to people with connections to Pakistan and Chinese investors, raising security concerns.
Swamy has strong reservations about Balwa and his connections in Mumbai but he says, "I may disagree with Ratan Tata's judgment but I don't doubt his patriotism."
Swamy is an odd one out on a mission to hit the UPA government. The maverick's scheming activism is creating headlines these days. His motives are always difficult to grasp because he acts with vengeance against his political opponents.
But there is no one like Dr Swami in Luyten's Delhi.
He first shot to fame during and after the Emergency in 1975 when he became one of the founder members of the Janata Party under the leadership of Jayaprakash Narayan. He heads the almost-defunct party even now.
He has 52 years of experience teaching economics at Harvard University in the US. Even experts stop and take notice when he writes on the economy of China. He is familiar with Mandarin. He has studied the Gita and many other Hindu granthas and has written many books including Hindus Under Siege. He has been always supporter of the market economy and since last few years has been a supporter of Hindutva
'You won't see me at a cocktail party or a new year bash'
He abhors today's politicians and is a rare political animal who is not afraid of the media. His political adversaries have every reason to be afraid of him.
When he fell-out with former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha, she ordered his arrest in Chennai. But Swamy boarded a flight and once inside argued that aircraft comes under the central government's domain.
His greatest strength is his grasp of the law and its bold interpretations.
A very few in New Delhi can match his tenacity in taking on his enemies in a court of law. He is a rare public figure taking on Sonia Gandhi relentlessly. He is not a regular politician with a retinue of chamchas around him round the clock.
He is a one-man party but he reads signals from the grassroots well and knows what pinches the common man.
He says, "The problem with these ancient politicians is that they think they are big if they go around with a big crowd, so 200 people should follow them all the time. I don't believe that. I am in the 21st century and my large network is on the internet/phone."
"There is no part in India where I can't pick up the phone and ask what's going on in your town. You won't see me at a cocktail party or a new year bash."
His drive to carry on his mission has helped him
Swamy is 72 but looks much younger and has been very bullish on India and its future. He says he left a job at Harvard to become part of the 'India story'.
He believes a glorious future lies ahead for India. He lives in a comfortable house in New Delhi's Nizamuddin Colony. Roxna, his soft-spoken lawyer wife, is his strength and carries his briefs to various courts. She works hard maintaining papers of cases Swamy wants to fight. She diligently files petition after petition.
With a 40-year career behind him, Swamy knows what he is doing and talking. His talking, in fact, distinguishes him from other politicians. He is never restrained in expressing his views. Since he speaks only in extreme terms it affects his credibility in the long run but he will bombard you with the very same extreme arguments if you try to tell him so.
He never tampers ideas before he speaks and he is just not afraid of his enemies or their might. His drive to carry on his mission has helped him.
He can't be ignored because if you look closely he does not actually lose many legal battles. From the Islamic bank case to one concerning gold-plating of the Tirupati temple to the issue of Ram Sethu his activism brings the results he strives for.
'You journalists are ignorant'
There are scores of such issues where Dr Swamy has been ahead of all in raising it and taking it to its logical conclusion.
Dr Swamy, in fact, is a complex politician carrying too many secrets in his long, chequered career. Once he was close to government in Libya and Iraq, at another time he was influential enough to get one-on-one meet with Premier Deng Xiopang in Beijing and even got Chinese government to open up Mansarovar for Hindu pilgrims.
In 40 years he has been twice minister at the Centre and five times he has been elected to Parliament.
Since the last ten years his target is Sonia Gandhi against whom he has filed a case of smuggling of Indian antiques. He also took up the issue of his foreign origin and the issue of a foreign-born person's eligibility to become prime minister.
Swamy has umpteen times made allegations that Sonia's real name is Antonia and her family background is not what she claims to be. He has spoken so many things against her but he has never been challenged.
His favourite line is: "You journalists are ignorant."
'Only crazy people bring change'
He tells us, "There is no defamation law for a public person. I have won all the cases filed against me. Most people in political life are ignorant they don't know anything they just sit in drawing rooms and make guesses they go to cocktail parties and gossip when Jayalalitha filed hundreds of defamation cases against me, I came to the Supreme Court and read the law. The United States Supreme Court in 1964 has given a judgment that if a person in public life decides to sue for defamation then the onus is on him to prove that the charges levelled are false. Normally, if you are not in public life the defamer has to prove that charges are true. Here the burden is reversed. Recently, Karunanidhi issued me a notice I tore it up his notice in public before the cameras and threw it in dustbin."
He adds, "The law protects me. This is in the public domain out of ignorance people keep giving opinions and discourage you. I speak bluntly. I get irritated to see people's ignorance. I don't speak diplomatically."
When asked, "Do you know people sometime say you are crazy?' Dr Swamy says, 'That's a fact! Only crazy people bring change. I don't want among the sane who are stooges of people in authority today. If that is sanity, I don't want that kind of sanity."
When rediff.com asked him, "Was there any pressure on you to not move forward in the 2G spectrum case?" Swamy's reply was astounding.
He wants to protect the PM but wants to see Sonia implicated
"See, there is a general impression amongst all crooks that if you offer Swamy money, he will take the money and still continue, so no use giving him money!"
Then, giving a playful look, he says, "Since, I am Brahmin getting dakshina is my birthright. If anyone gives me money I will take it. But I will not do their work. I do exactly what I think is right. I play a role of an ancient Brahmin. Today Brahmins are connected to birth. It's nonsense. It has nothing to do with birth. You have to have vidya (knowledge) and you have to have courage. You should not have any personal wealth. I don't have any personal wealth."
He adds, "Ask Roxna. She is constantly complaining that I don't care for money.
She being a good Parsi keeps account of every penny spent. Anyway, I will not take any money for consideration. That's why in these 40 years nobody has charged me with anything."
Swamy's political operations and legal activism is too intertwined making it complex and cunning.
In the 2G spectrum case he wants to protect Prime Minister Singh but wants to see Sonia Gandhi implicated. He speaks ill of the Bhartiya Janata Party and its leaders but he enjoys backing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
'I am playing for removal of UPA'
When asked about his feelings for Dr Singh, he gave a political answer.
"I have said clearly that Manmohan Singh is like Bhishmacharya who watched Draupadi being disrobed. That was unforgivable. This man is also without a spine. But I will not do anything or remove him because a vacancy created will not be filled by the people of India but by Sonia Gandhi."
In 2004, Swamy went to court and even to then President A P J Abdul Kalam to prevent Sonia Gandhi from becoming prime minister.
He is of the view that, "She herself can't become prime minister because of legal bar but she will make her son or someone else who will be worse than Dr Singh."
He says, "I am playing for removal of UPA and in the process Dr Singh will also be removed but I won't be party to anything under which only Dr Singh gets removed."
When asked why he has a soft corner for Dr Singh, he says, "He is a man of integrity. He has personal integrity. He is not the man fit for this job. He has no political backing so he is totally dependent on Sonia Gandhi. You can't have throne of India occupied by a boneless wonder. No matter how good you are its not enough. You must be a person who is able to take risks and make decisions. A man should not look over someone's shoulder. From day one we know he is not an independent person. His background is bureaucratic. It's not political. I know him for so many years. In the present UPA system, I know of no gutsy, no decent or no political person who can be prime minister. They have to be a rubber stamp of Sonia Gandhi."
'You can't ask Sonia any question on Raja because she would never give that interview'
When asked what nailed Raja, Dr Swami says, "That press conference of January 10, 2008 when Raja allotted spectrum on first come, first serve basis. That was his unbecoming. If he had done it with little bit finesse he would have got away with it. It was so crude. He gave one hour for the companies to get demand drafts for Rs 1,650 crore. He gave advance information to those whom he wanted to give spectrum. So those people came with pre-dated cheques. I had a press release of that press conference. Some officers gave it to me."
Swamy claims that his case saw legal success because the Supreme Court could not ignore two things.
"One, why the prime minister did not reply my letter. And, two, he could not say yes or no about my plea to charge Raja for corruption. Obviously, he could not say yes so he kept quiet because he can't even say no."
While ending the interview, he said, "Raja was assured by the Congress and the DMK that he will be protected. Their alliance won't break because both are partners in crime. But Raja was let down by Karunanidhi and Sonia Gandhi because Dr Singh showed individuality in arresting Raja."
Then, giving a mischievous look, he said, "You can't ask Sonia Gandhi any question on Raja because she would never give that interview."