18 June, 2021

Next, The Captain May Sink

On the JMM trail, the CBI stumbles onto a much bigger hunt—Satish Sharma's shady petro-deals

Next, The Captain May Sink

BUT for the probe into the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) payoff, allegedly organised by Satish Sharma to save P.V. Narasimha Rao’s government, the celebrated captain of Amethi would have gone scot-free yet again. This fortnight, when CBI sleuths took away Sharma’s personal secretary B.N. Safaya for questioning, they did not quite bargain for what the ageing Man Friday would come up with.

Safaya, a long-time Sharma loyalist, was kept for long hours at the CBI headquarters for what was to be just a cut-and-dried interrogation. Then, suddenly, he began spilling the beans on the former Union minister’s various petroleum and even telecom deals, and the routine affair seemed to be developing into something bigger. Perhaps, a full-blown case of financial misappropriation and criminal misconduct by people in charge of the Union Petroleum Ministry during the Rao years. Or even earlier, which could then bring into its ambit some of Sharma’s predecessors.

Responsible for the upkeep of Amethi in Sharma’s absence,...

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