Off The Record

Off The Record

From khaki to khadi

Remember UN Biswas? The firebrand IPS officer, who as a joint director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), investigated the multi-crore fodder scam and ensured the arrest of the then powerful Chief Minister of Bihar Lalu Prasad.

The former IPS officer has now changed colours. After giving up khaki, he has now donned khadi. And like his stint as a successful police officer, he has emerged as a successful leader too after he won the Bengal Assembly elections on a Trinamool ticket.

Making his debut in the hurly-burly of Indian politics, this greenhorn politician defeated Forward Bloc’s Mrinal Kranti from Bagada constituency in West Bengal by 21,000 votes.

On Friday, when the results started pouring in, the RJD leaders in Bihar remained glued to the TV to know whether the upright ex-IPS officer, who is considered as the man responsible for Lalu’s nemesis, romps home or not.

“He is the same Biswas who had requisitioned Army’s assistance before arresting Lalu in July 1997,” remarked a senior RJD leader, and recalled how he had run into controversy for his uncalled help without the approval of the CBI director. “Now that Biswas has become a law-maker, hope he does not treat himself above law,” another Lalu’s associate quipped.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

Too much to ask of Isro

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro), which is on top of the moon with claims of finding traces of water on earth’s satellite, did not have its top brass on a comfortable dais last Saturday.

Among many uncomfortable queries posed to them, interrupting Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan’s discourse on the agency’s future programme, a question on why Isro had failed in detecting Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu’s missing chopper was the most painful one. And even as Radhakrishnan who, some senior scientists observed, had come in with a lot more patience than he is known for, was constructing a “technical come back,” describing emergency locator terminals, personal locators and so, his colleague and Isro’s Space Application Centre Director R R Navalgund said: “…It is too much to ask of us!”Before the dumbstruck audience at the Isro Telemetry Tracking and Command Network in Bangalore could recover, two junior scientists were heard whispering among themselves: “Aren’t we a strange kind of achievers? We have discovered water on the moon but could not discover a chopper within our country…”
Chethan Kumar, Bangalore

Scams that none knew of

How well informed is your public representative? The biggest scam that hit the news stand in 2010, not comparable to the 2G spectrum losses, was the Commonwealth Games scandal. With every newspaper in town and abroad slamming the scamsters, it was but obvious that every public representative would have been aware of it in India.

At a recently concluded interaction with ‘eminent personalities’ in Bangalore over the Jan Lokpal Bill, two public representatives were at the forefront in reminding people about a scam that none knew! Bangalore North MP D B Chandregowda felt the country needed the Jan Lokpal Bill to ensure that the ‘Asian Games fiasco’ did not occur ever again. This was received with approving nods from other members on the discussion panel, including the much revered Lokayukta and former Supreme Court judge, Justice Santosh Hegde, none trying to correct him.

Immediately after this, yet another public representative from Karnataka, MLC P V Krishna Bhat was quick to agree with Chandregowda, saying: “I agree with him that the Lokpal Bill will be effective in seeing that the Olympic Games scandal will never haunt us again.” Perhaps, the only thing that haunted this reporter was, this breaking news. Two scams unheard of and two pubic representatives who could have been the first to break it.    
Sandeep Moudgal, Bangalore