Arun Shourie confirms to Karan Thapar that yes, he indeed was supposed to open the debate from the BJP and that Mr Venkaiah Naidu at the last minute replaced him, thus ensuring as recorded in this audio tape that the line taken by the BJP was more accomodating...
Karan Thapar: Now the voice on the tapes speaking to Nira Radia who I have been referring to all along, hasn’t been identified. Do you recognize that voice?
Arun Shourie: No doubt. Everybody who listens to the tapes will know it is my good college friend NK Singh. What is the problem with that?
Karan Thapar: The gentleman who was the secretary to Vajpayee.
Arun Shourie: He was the secretary to the prime minister. He was the finance secretary at some stage. He was a member of the Planning Commission and my college friend.
Karan Thapar: Were you surprised by the role he was playing?
Arun Shourie: No, we have known him since college.
Karan Thapar: Does that suggest that you expected no better?
Arun Shourie: Well this is his habit and his skill.
Karan Thapar: Now second thing revealed in the tapes is the belief is that the reason you would have taken a hard line on this proposal that would benefit Mukesh Ambani is because you had already allied with his brother Anil who had undertaken to help you get re-elected to the Rajya Sabha. Is that true?
Arun Shourie: No! This is the conspiracy theory by which this kind of a liaison is being justified and the fact of the matter is nobody ever said this to me. An if the BJP as it was is not prepared to sponsor me or nominate me to the seat, why would some Samajwadi Party fellows waste their votes on a fellow like me when the BJP itself is denying me the ticket.
Karan Thapar: So this is fanciful?
Arun Shourie: This is just a theory to rationalize and justify what is being done.