Samata Party treasurer (since sacked) R.K. Jain's involvement in the Tehelka sex scandal is the latest example of the sleazy underbelly of Indian politics. Delhi's five-star hotels and the 'safe houses' in plush upmarket colonies are witness to the wine-and-women evenings—considered an essential part of any important deal struck at the highest level. Arms dealers, blackmailers, even intelligence agencies use call girls to good effect. Insiders say womanising is the most popular pastime of some powerful politicians and businessmen who frequent the five-star health clubs.
Twelve years ago, when the Crime Branch of Delhi police busted a flesh trade racket in South Delhi and arrested Kamaljit—still the most notorious supplier of high-class call girls in town—they stumbled upon a long list of clients including bureaucrats, journalists and of course the all-powerful politicians of that time. With their careers destroyed, those from the first two professions faded into oblivion. But there were no full stops for the politicians. One of those who figured prominently in the list of 'clients' then, now holds an important portfolio in the Vajpayee cabinet.