Off the record

Off the record

CPM’s black money dilemma

The IT department is verifying the income and assets of the Maheswaris, but also six others, including their son and son-in-law, following specific complaints on amassing wealth and buying large tracts of land and other real estate by using fraudulent means.

While the CPM state committee is under pressure from the central committee to take action against the tainted the MP and her family members who enjoy close rapport with many Left leaders, the state unit under Biman Bose — who attended a lavish wedding ceremony of Maheswari’s son Abhimanyu in 2009 — is divided with a majority, including Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharaya supporting strong action against her as an image-boosting measure before the Assembly election. The MP, who was vociferous against corruption in the Upper House, is walking on thin ice!

Kalyan Ray, New Delhi

Ravi has the last laugh

The appointment of more and more Keralite MPs as Union ministers should have been a matter of relief for the LDF government in Kerala to get things done at the Centre. The recent cabinet reshuffle and expansion saw K C Venugopal being made a minister and civil aviation being allocated to overseas affairs minister Vayalar Ravi though as an interim arrangement. Venugopal is the sixth from the state in the Manmohan Singh government.

However, the prime minister’s decision to allocate civil aviation to Ravi has come as a bolt from the blue for Messrs Achuthanandan and company. It was not long ago that Ravi’s name was suggested by the Centre to inaugurate the new terminal of the Thiruvananthapuram international airport. However, the Achuthanandan government would have none of it as it felt that it would give undue political mileage to Ravi. The state government communicated its displeasure at the proposal and wanted the prime minister to carry out the job.

Now, with Ravi being at the helm of the civil aviation ministry, it will be his call to designate himself or a person of his choice to open the terminal. Suffice it to say that Vayalar Ravi has had the last laugh.

R Gopakumar, Thiruvananthapuram

Reverse swing

Ever since Lalu Prasad was routed in the Assembly elections, many of his favourite journos from print media, who used to unnecessarily hang around, have deserted him and treat him like a ‘plague’.

But Lalu continues to be darling of electronic media. Of course, the camera-persons of TV channels these days don’t fall over each other to get his byte, but some or other channel-wallah could always be seen hovering around 10, Circular Road, the official residence of his wife Rabri Devi.

One such channel asked the RJD supremo to give ‘ashirwad’ (good wishes) to the upcoming news channel of its sister organisation. Lalu refused and said, “Send your owner. I will give him my good wishes.”

When another national channel too persisted with a similar request, Lalu said, “The picture of this channel is always hazy. And the news lacks credibility…”.

The recording was stopped abruptly, and Lalu asked why he was breathing fire against the channel, when he was supposed to give a promotional byte?

“You people keep on showing me in poor light, and expect me to say positive things about you,” Lalu retorted, before shooing away the electronic mediamen.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

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