28 September, 2020

The Would-be Dhirubhai

Jain had ambitions of being India's biggest industrialist

The Would-be Dhirubhai

S.K. Jain had a dream. "I had a desire to become the biggest industrialist of India and to grow on the lines of Dhirubhai Ambani of Reliance," ran Jain's statement as recorded by the CBI. To further his ambition, he added, he was using the Ambani formula of cultivating politicians and bureaucrats "by paying them money".

And he did more than hobnob with politicians. Rajesh Pilot was a "good friend" who was paid Rs 10 lakh before the 1991 polls. A.R. Antulay received an equal amount and Ajit Panja was sent money through Madan Walia, a friend of Jain. Not to mention Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and the late Rajiv Gandhi who Jain claims to have paid off as well.

Claiming to have met BJP chief L. K. Advani twice and paid him Rs 60 lakh, Jain told the CBI: "He (Advani) had visited our house at 14, Link Road for dinner with two or three more persons including the BJP treasurer and I paid this amount to him for political expenses." This was concealed by Vajpayee when he released some portions of Jain's statement pertaining to payoffs to Rao.




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