Law unto himself
While he was still Delhi law minister, Jitender Singh Tomar applied for an arms licence from the Delhi Police to purchase a firearm for personal defence. As per law, the applicant has to personally appear before the concerned police officer, but Tomar’s flunkies pressured the police to clear his licence without him being present. The concerned policeman, however, refused to bend the rules. In his licence application, Tomar attached only his school leaving certificate, and not his ‘fake’ college degree.
An official delegation to China, which included MPs Shashi Tharoor and BJ Panda, was returning to India from Shanghai. At the airport, the delegation members were about to order a meal at a restaurant when somebody suggested they wait till they boarded the flight since they were bound to be served a sumptuous fare with plenty of alcohol to wash it down. However, when the delegation boarded the flight, they discovered to their extreme annoyance that the Chinese airline was serving only simple vegetarian meals and no hard liquor. This was in deference to a Ram Katha troupe on board the same flight. The bhakts were returning after performing the katha in various places in China.
The revelations about Sushma Swaraj family’s ties to Lalit Modi have not surfaced due to a war within the BJP, but because of cricket board rivalries. Modi is believed to have put a former BCCI functionary under surveillance and he, in turn, hired an Israeli security firm to hack Modi’s emails. The emails were making the rounds for some time through intermediaries. Till The Sunday Times expose on Keith Vaz brought matters to a head.
Silence at first
For six hours after Sushma Swaraj’s tweet acknowledging that she had spoken to Keith Vaz and given permission to the UK authorities to issue fresh travel papers to Lalit Modi on humanitarian grounds, there was silence from the BJP. It was so deafening that some suspected a plot within the BJP to oust Swaraj. External affairs minister Arun Jaitley is believed to have called on home minister Rajnath Singh and pleaded for his help. Singh spoke to the RSS leaders and to PM Narendra Modi that it was in the interest of all that a vigorous defence of Swaraj be mounted. Party president Amit Shah, who has had his differences with Swaraj in the past, spoke out in her support along with Rajnath Singh. Shah, before defending her, is believed to have sought legal opinion and also the advice of a senior Lok Sabha official.
Boot on other foot
Our diplomats are used to lording it over Indians settled abroad since it is in their hands to issue travel documents for India. But under the Modi regime, the shoe is often on the other foot, with our ambassadors, who are accustomed to playing bada sahebs, having to chase the NRIs for help. Most recently, our envoys abroad were ordered to organise in their respective regions a mass yoga display on June 21. They have not only to muster up a crowd of participants but also rent large grounds or halls. This necessitated sending out requests to NRI businessman for assistance.
Tapping his expertise
The Centre is attempting to work out a patch-up between CMs Chandrababu Naidu and K Chandrasekhar Rao. On one hand, the Telangana Anti-Corruption Bureau is planning to cross-question Naidu over a tape on bribing of MLAs in an election to the Telangana Legislative Council. On the other hand, Naidu accuses the TRS government of illegally tapping his phone. The government has asked ESL Narasimhan, who is governor of both states, to broker peace. Narasimhan, who was earlier in the Intelligence Bureau, perhaps bring an insider’s knowledge of phone-tapping.
To ensure the International Yoga Day in Delhi makes it to the Guinness book of records, a team of two British nationals and some 50 professionals from Ernst and Young will witness the proceedings at Rajpath with over 500 NSS volunteers. Apart from the Guinness team, no observers will be allowed.