Off the record

Not so up-to-date

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) makes high-tech products like missiles, fighter planes, tanks and nuclear submarines, even though its performance in these areas remain a matter of debate. But the agency seems to have failed even in a seemingly low-tech job of updating its website.

Two days after Avinash Chander took over as the new director-general of DRDO and scientific adviser (SA)to Raksha Mantri (RM), the DRDO website continues to show his predecessor V K Saraswat as the director-general and SA to RM, while Chander remained as one of the chief controllers at DRDO headquarters.

All it needed was a change in contents of two pages, which DRDO techies appear to have forgotten. Chander began his three-year stint at DRDO by assuming office at 9.30 am on Saturday, which he believed was an auspicious hour.

His predecessor, Saraswat too was deeply religious and created a miniaturised temple inside his DRDO office at one point of time.

Kalyan Ray, New Delhi

Return of the ghost

Barely two months after he was appointed new president of the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC), the ghost of Rajo Singh murder case has come to haunt Ashok Choudhary.

Rajo Singh was a two-term Congress MP from Begusarai, who was gunned down in September 2005. Nearly eight years after the killing, Rajo’s grandson has now deposed before a local court that Choudhary was a “conspirator” in the killing of his grandfather.

 The timing of the charge has raised many an eyebrow. Choudhary, who has been relentlessly trying to infuse a new lease of life into the moribund Congress in Bihar, was handpicked by Rahul Gandhi and made the BPCC chief on March 31. In two months, he made Congress stand on its feet in the ensuing Lok Sabha bypoll in Maharajganj. Son of a veteran Dalit leader Mahavir Choudhary, who served as a nine-term Congress legislator, the junior Choudhary says his name was included in the FIR when the murder took place, but was subsequently removed after the police found no evidence against him.

“Anyone’s name can be included in the FIR, but as things stand today, my name does not appear in the chargesheet in the Rajo Singh’s murder case,” said the BPCC chief, who was Jail Minister in the Rabri Devi regime.

His supporters argue that the ruling alliance, in tandem with some disgruntled elements within the Congress, had been trying to “fix” Choudhary. Given the history of internecine war within the Congress, where the party leaders never miss an opportunity to backstab each other, this does not appear to be a wayward “conspiracy” theory.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

Jethmalani’s holiday

When Ram Jethmalani was expelled from the BJP, the 89- year old lawyer was holidaying in a foreign country. Upset with the party decision, the veteran advocate shot back to the party top brass saying that some of the party leaders, who were not happy with his war against black money and had hatched a conspiracy to oust him from the party. However, he also said that as he was holidaying abroad, he doesn’t want to spoil his happy moments by discussing the party issues now.

But fearing some more embarrassment from Jethmalani, the party insiders are now praying that his holiday extend further.

Jethmalani, known for taking a different stand than the BJP on several issues, has embarrassed party leadership many times before.

However, the grapevine says, he is still enjoying good backing from party supremo L K Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the party.

Ajith Athrady, New Delhi

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