Restricted entry: What doesn't make national headlines, but could, makes it here
Quresh Tapes, a la Radia
This could be the second scandal of tapes in the Indian capital, the first revolving around ace lobbyist Niira Radia. The Income Tax Department has handed over to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) 350 hours of taped conversations of Moin Qureshi, meat exporter and film producer with a hotline to almost all bureaucrats in Delhi and the entire UPA2 cabinet.
The names include Ahmed Patel, Sonia Gandhi’s political advisor, Jitendra Prasad, who was introduced to Qureshi by London-based CA Ajit Prasad, the latter’s son married to Qureshi’s daughter Pernia. Conversations indicate how files from the CBI office and landed on Qureshi’s table, thanks to his proximity to the then CBI director Amar Pratap Singh, and subsequently, Ranjit Sinha.
ED plans to question all, including a top lobbyist whose proximity to former aviation minister, Praful Patel, is known. The two had plans to start a joint venture. ED wants to know whether Qureshi’s cash was illegally parked abroad by Paris-based Jean-Louis Deniot, a global interiors’ star.
Every time a new government takes charge, those close to the party wait to seek favours. In the age of social media, it is difficult to push candidates without drawing flak. Instead of pushing friends in government or quasi-government positions, the ruling party has started plugging them in the corporate sector. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs is saddled with a huge list of new government-appointed directors on various boards of companies.
FM Arun Jaitley — for almost a year — has been at the forefront of removing ‘corrupt officers’ from Central Excise and Customs Departments. So ministry officials are puzzled about why he is unable to remove two most powerful bureaucrats despite scores of complaints against them — Noida Central Excise Commissioner Manoj Srivastava and Ghaziabad Central Excise Commissioner JR Panigrahi. Both are thick with north India’s gutka and pan masala lobby.
Can’t forget Dalmiya
A book, Open Mind, Open Eyes, penned by Biswanath Dutta, a former BCCI president, talks of sports management in India and the way BCCI became the world’s richest cricket board. Dutta has avoided mentioning Jagmohan Dalmiya, who was responsible for filling up BBCI’s coffers. Sports cognoscenti are aghast at the omission, since the book released a week after Dalmiya’s death. Worse, the introduction was written by former BCCI president from Haryana, Ranbir Singh Mahendra.