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Deep Throat
Illustration by Saahil
Deep Throat
outlookindia.com
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New Delhi
Walls Have Ears

Bureaucrats in the Modi governm­ent are a completely terrorised lot. So much so, officials across depar­tments are taking extreme, even comical, precautions while talking to journalists. During a regular conversation, a senior IAS officer in Shastri Bhavan first wanted to know if the reporter’s phone rec­or­der was on. He refused to speak another word until he was satisfied the instrument was switched off and put away. He stopped again, in two minutes, this time to confirm if the Reynold’s pen the reporter was using had a recor­der. Excusing himself briefly during the chat, he came back in and, before sitting down, pulled down the framed photograph hanging on the wall in front of him. Checking it thoroughly for a camera, he apologised for demonstrating such trust-deficit: “I am very sorry, but you should understand that we will be hauled up for no reason. Better safe than sorry.” 


Himachal Pradesh
Prize For A Price

Students with, ahem, dodgy degrees have had an easy run so far in BJP-ruled states, but whoever knew there was a market for dodgy awards too? The apple state’s new governor seems to have racked up a couple of them. Dev Vrat may be a humble guru­kul teacher with an interest in the PM’s pet project, yoga, but his ‘worldwide’ recognition comes from an award given out by an Indian ‘international friendship’ society and a medal of honour from the American Biographical Society. All very well, except that these are off-the-shelf awards which can be purchased for betw­een $195-495 depending on the quality of printing and framing. In his defence, however, Dev Vrat says he never had to pay a penny. For the record, Sikkim CM Pawan Chamling has six such awards.


Haryana
Party People

A dinner hosted by MoS for planning Rao Inderjit Singh is the talk of the town after the scramble among BJP leaders (including CM Manohar Khattar) to sec­ure an invite. Reason: Ind­er­jit, an ex-Con­g­ressman-turned-bhakt who had an eye on the CM’s chair, had chosen to invite only MPs and MLAs of southern Hary­ana, where he holds sway. The buzz is Khattar had to use his influence with party in-charge Anil Jain and also sound out the PM to swing things his way. It’s early days, but the CM alr­e­ady seems wary of muscle-flexing by the competition, real or imagined.


Maharashtra
Change In The Air

Is the Mumbai police going to see a change at the top? The buzz is Rakesh Maria may not last till Sep­­tember. Trigger no. 1: public outrage over a raid at a hotel in which many couples were arres­ted. Trigger No. 2: his meeting with IPL founder Lalit Modi in London. Word is national security advisor Ajit Doval has selected ex-IB official Datta Padsalgikar to take over. Pad­salgikar has his own share of skeletons. He and other senior IB officers were questioned by the CBI for ‘critical intelligence inputs’ in the alleged fake encounter killing of a Sadik Jamal Meh­tar. Jamal was allegedly a servant in a D-Company gangster’s house in Dubai who was later deported back to India. The CBI suspects an internal D-Comp­any spat that trig­gered a conspiracy to kill Jamal using the terror bogey.


Heard: A business group, which noisily put its eggs in the BJP basket before the 2014 elections, makes quiet U-turn, returns to the Congress

Overheard: A corporate guru: “By the time Modi gets majority in the RS to push his economic agenda, he will have lost majority in the LS.”


Contributed by Saba Naqvi, Pavithra S. Rangan, Meetu Jain, Chander Suta Dogra and Ushinor Majumdar

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