‘Na Taala Toota na tijori, Phirbhi BJP Mukhyalaya se dhai karod chori.’
(Neither the lock was broken nor the safe, yet 2.5 crore Rs were stolen from the Party headquarters.)
– An SMS which was circulated widely in the journalist community.
What is the weight of Rs. 2.5 crore if one decides to have the whole amount packed in the denomination of Rs.1,000 notes ?
It is exactly 31 kilograms.
Please do not get surprised over my correct reply. I just wanted to share few details of the ‘theft’ at the headoffice of the main opposition party namely BJP which has appeared in different newspapers.
According to the treasurer of the party there is no cause of worry and once the ‘ankeshan” (auditing) is over then only something definite can be said about it. The latest news is that amount supposedly missing from the coffers has been reduced without any further explanation.
As a recap of the reports one can say that only notes of 1,000 Rs denomination have been found to be missing from the parties treasury. Notes of the 500 Rs denomination have been left untouched. Definitely neither the chartered accountant nor any of her/his assistants can deliberate on this matter. The only sane advice they can give to the party would be to call the police and their sniffer dogs immediately and trace for the ‘missing’ amount itself.
It is also learnt that the party has roped in private detectives to solve the case. The only meaning which one can decipher from this is that the party itself does not believe in the version presented by the treasurer and it wants to find out the truth on its own. Perhaps the best way is to entrust the job to any federal investigating agency which would have helped dispel any misgivings about the lack of transparency in the party. One can be sure that it is not going to happen.
Another notable feature of the ‘theft’ is that it was leaked to the press by some insiders only.Why would insiders of a ‘party with difference’ engage in leaking secret information to the outside world which would definitely bring the party in further disrepute. Either they are very genuine people who want to clear the ‘augean stables’ of the party at great risk to the reputation of the party itself, or the second possibility is that they are the ‘aggrieved party’. People who were left to fend for themselves after the ‘vanishing act’ of the notes.
Whatever might be the case the ‘theft’ at the party headquarters itself has left many people redfaced and top bosses of the party were compelled to cancel/postpone a urgent meeting. The theft has once again brought into sharp focus the inability of the party to have people with unblemished careers. It was not for nothing that recently in a interaction with the members of the mother organisation namely RSS, the BJP leaders were advised to behave like ‘good boys who can behave responsibly.’
The whole episode about the ‘missing’ money has definitely rekindled memories of similar exposures. The great scamster Harshad Mehta – who had mesmerised the chattering classes for quite some time with his ‘Midas Touch’ image – had once alleged that he has bribed the Prime Ministers Office to get his work done. One still remembers articles with illustrations which showed that it was impossible to pack and deliver such an amount without being getting noticed or caught on the highsecurity gate.
In this particular case at the BJP headquarters, people are asking if the said amount really went missing then why noone noticed the bag or packet of 31 kgs passing out through the gate.
This episode reminds one of a similar incident at the party headoffice itself when the then President of the party Mr Bangaru Laxman was caught on camera ‘accepting’ bundle of notes from a ‘arms dealer’. He is also seen asking the journalist who is present there as a ‘arms dealer agent’ to come with dollars next time. There is no point in repeating the aftermath of the Tehelka exposures which demonstrated the manner in which defence deals are managed. Bangaru Laxman saw his unceremonious exit from the top echleons of the party with immediate effect and the RSS declared him to be a ‘failed swayamsevak’. Later the party declared that Mr Bangaru Laxman was accepting donations for the party itself.
Of course as far as matters of financial wheeling and dealing are concerned, the involvement of people who are brought up in the Sangh tradition are numerous. While the world at large saw with its own eyes, Bangaru Laxman accepting wades of notes from a fraudulent arms dealer (thanks to the sting operation done by Tehelka), it also noticed that biggest contingent of MPs who faced expulsion because of similar sting operation, belonged to the Sangh lineage only. People who wear their Sangh lineage on their sleeves had no compunction in even occupying land meant for Dalits for years together ( Venkaiah Naidu) or making a beeline for plots at prime locations in Delhi under fictitious trusts which were existing on mere paper. It is a different matter that RSS still has the audacity to call itself an organization committed to character building.
The world has not forgotten why the ex-spokesperson of the RSS M.G. Vaidya ( who is considered a think-tank in the RSS parlance and expresses views which are still considered very much akin to the RSS patriarchs) had to resign from his post all of a sudden during NDA era itself, when media exposed the dubious role played by his son and daughter in law in a financial company. Perhaps the best example from the Sangh hierarchy could be that of Madan Das Devi, who is one of those who has been asked to maintain liason between the BJP and the RSS. Tavleen Singh, a journalist said to be close to the RSS in a signed article ‘Rashtriya Swayamseva Sangh’ (Indian Express, 2003) had given details of Devi’s very own son’s involvement in the Petrol Pump Scam
Interestingly while the ‘moral degeneration’ of the leaders might have become a cause of concern of late, it cannot be said that it is a recent phenomenon. Balraj Madhok, a senior leader of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, in his autobiography provides details of the lifestyles of senior leaders. Madhok, in his autobiography Zindagi Ka Safar, published in three parts presents vivid description of the way senior leaders functioned then and the manner in which the top bosses of the RSS, namely Golwalkar dealt with issues involving moral turpitude..
Balraj Madhok writes :
Some time back when I was the President of the Jana Sangh, Jagadish Prasad Mathur, in-charge of the Central Office, who was staying with a senior leader at 30, Rajendra Prasad Road, had complained to me that the leader had turned that house into a den of immoral activities There everyday new girls were coming. Now water was flowing above heads. So as a senior leader of Jana Sangh I have dared to bring to your notice this fact. I had some information about character of the leader, but situation had deteriorated that much, I did not know. (Balraj Madhok, Zindagi Ka Safar – 3 : Deendayal Upadhyaya Ki Hatya Se Indira Gandhi Ki Hatya Tak, Delhi : Dinmaan Prakashan, 20003, p.22)
He further provides details about Golwalkar’s reaction to the whole episode as Madhok had discovered then that senior leadership of the RSS was bent upon making this particular leader President of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh. Discussing his meeting with Golwalkar, he tells :
After listening to my talk he kept quiet for some time and then said -‘ I am in the know of the weaknesses of the character of these people. But I have to run an organization. I have to take everybody together, so like Shiva I drink poison everyday. (ibid p.62)
Coming back to the ‘theft’ at the party office, a question needs to be pointedly asked if the party cannot manage even its own coffers properly, then how can it manage the coffers of the nation if it comes to power ? But as of now such chances look remote.
The latest disclosure by Mr Shekhawat wherein he has said that the main reason for the reverses faced by the party in Rajasthan is that tickets were not distributed, they were sold to the highest bidder, has definitely made the task further difficult.