The babu-builder nexus
The raid on Paradise Group, a big real estate company, by the Income Tax authorities has sent shock-waves through the bureaucracy. The reason is that several IAS and IPS officers have either lent money to or invested in the projects of this group and they are afraid that their names would be made known by the I-T sleuths. So efforts are being made to prevent the names being leaked. A similar thing happened a few months ago when another builder was raided and a media channel flashed a document that was supposed to contain the names of about 100 babus who stashed away their black money running into hundreds of crores with this builder. The vital document was never made public. Such is the power of babulog. The close nexus between the builder lobby and the bureaucrats has to be seen to be believed at the plush SoBo apartment of a leading builder during Ganesh festival. At least 100 officers, including many from the IPS, make a beeline to his house with their wives in tow. Gifts include expensive watches, Kanjivaram sarees, gold jewellery etc.
The neta and the actress
These days a sleek imported limousine is often seen parked near a building in Goregaon (East), not far away from the railway station. Nothing wrong with that. But a ‘khabri’ informs that an important neta of Maharashtra has, of late, been a regular visitor to a flat in that building. And the flat belongs to an upcoming and extremely talented actress. This neta, who is in his mid-fifties, is known for his aggressive speeches and has a huge following. A wag observed: “Maybe he is trying to enrol this beautiful actress in his party in view of the civic elections, which are round the corner.” Election or no election, this neta appears to be enjoying the company of the young thing, considering the frequency with which he drives down to her place.
Fadnavis forced to play second fiddle to the CM
All is not well between Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis. Apparently, Shinde has become extremely close to a senior BJP leader from Delhi who has promised to look after his political and other interests. This has given Shinde the confidence to disregard Fadnavis at times. The incident at Manpada Police Station in Dombivli is yet another instance of this. The senior inspector Shekar Bagade registered an FIR for alleged molestation against Nandu Joshi, local BJP leader, apparently on the orders of the CMO. This has shown Fadnavis in poor light because BJP cadres are asking how Bagade registered the FIR when the home department is with the deputy CM? Similarly, BMC Commissioner IS Chahal is known to take orders only from Shinde. The BJP’s allegation of massive corruption in the BMC has been treated with utter contempt by him. Even in bookie Anil Jaisinghani’s case, the cops embarrassed Fadnavis to no end. It remains to be seen how Fadnavis responds to these developments.
Who is the person called Bapa Armstrong whom NCP leaders are mentioning these days? Apparently he is very close to a prominent woman leader of the BJP. It’s not clear if this woman is a Trojan horse sent by the NCP into the BJP camp to ferret out its secrets. But, suffice to say that this Armstrong guy knows a good deal already.
Compiled by S Balakrishnan