Swamy in waiting
On paper, Subramanian Swamy has denied being offered the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s VC post, but for almost a week, he has met several middle-rung leaders of the BJP, lobbying for a cabinet berth. PM Narendra Modi once ignored the former Harvard professor but to placate him, recently — probably tired of his claims that he was neglected within the party — even pushed Rajnath Singh to re-open the National Herald case, which was relentlessly pursued by Swamy.
So, what would make Swamy happy? His personal choice is Ministry of External Affairs but Modi has not uttered the last word on Sushma Swaraj. A deputy’s role, with special focus on the Middle East could have been offered, but already standing in the queue is a hopeful MJ Akbar. The other option is the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. This could suit Swamy, whose excellent due diligence on international companies has helped many. He could be given a Minister of State (Independent Charge), now that American companies are picking up a stake in Indian media, including radio channels.
The gold shifts East
For years, small dhows bringing gold across the Arabian Sea have been a recurring image in Bollywood. Mumbai — then Bombay — was considered its biggest smuggling hub. Now, it seems, the action has shifted to the East, where Kolkata and Siliguri are gaining, baffling officers of the Enforcement Directorate and Customs. A bulk of the supply is coming from Myanmar. The kingpin has not been identified, but all leads are hinting at the possible involvement of Santiago Martin, Asia’s biggest illegal lottery operator, who runs an empire from Chennai. A huge cache of Rs 45 crore in cash was recently recovered from his agents in South Kolkata.
Questions for MS
The recent Nestle fiasco, which resulted in losses worth Rs 200 crore for the brand, raised the important question of celebrity endorsement. A host of famous faces said they did it just for cash, unlike in the West where checks are conducted by agents of stars. The latest to get embroiled in such a case is MS Dhoni. His advertisements for the Amrapali group in Noida pushed thousands to acquire flats but now, delivery seems doubtful due to a farmers’ agitation. The builder, Anil Sharma, who once claimed to be Dhoni’s friend, is close to former UP CM, Mayawati, and had shaped condominiums during her regime. Now that she is out of power, and Sharma is embroiled in a legal wrangle, lawyers of distressed flat owners are getting ready to rope in the Indian skipper to solve their problems. Dhoni’s agent had initially rejected all requests on mediation from flat owners but it seems that sooner or later, Dhoni will have to offer a statement.
Two issues are bothering the people of Delhi. Is goat milk — it stinks — the answer to dengue? And how do you find out if a dog was ill treated by its master? The first can be proved medically and doctors are already pronouncing their judgments. The second — which is part of the investigation into AAP’s Somnath Bharti’s involvement in a case of domestic violence filed by his wife – has had the city’s top cop in a spin. The dog has been found but it does not talk.