Few politicians can claim to enjoy torturing their voters, at least not literally. Lalit Yadav is a dishonourable exception. A liquor contractor, muscleman, social mover, political provider, man for all seasons not above breaking a few rules and bones, Yadav is not what columnists are apt to call the "consummate" politician. So when last week the police caught up with a badly-battered truck driver and his helper trapped in the outhouses of his sprawling ministerial bungalow on a high-security road named after Lord Hardinge, it merely proved a point.
The police version was filed belatedly after a media expose, some appropriate political noises and a call from an influential Congress politician in Delhi. It says Dinanath Baitha and Karu Ram, driver and helper of one of Yadavs many trucks, reported that their truck had gone missing on the Hajipur highway on the outskirts of Patna. The incident took place nearly a month ago.
What followed would have given a third-rate writer of Hindi potboilers ideas on how to improve his script. The two were repeatedly beaten up with sticks and rods, their nails yanked out by pliers and they were made to drink urine, apparently the ministers. Recalls a wailing Baitha: "Every time the ministers men would tie up my hands and feet to beat me up, he would abuse me and laugh loudly." It was a live show for Yadav, and this show was repeated every alternate day for a month for the non-stop pleasure of the minister, whose portfolio incidentally deals with developing cooperatives in the state of Bihar. Not surprisingly, after the expose, he is also absconding from Patna. According to the police, Lalit was helped by his cousin Surendra Yadav in staging this month-long exercise in sadism.
Mercy comes in various shapes. In this case, it came from a police constable who, sick of...