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The Amit Shah factor: The travails of Subramanium and 2 former CBI chiefs

One is a former solicitor general now fighting what he calls character assassination by the NDA government, one a former CBI chief who just resigned as Nagaland governor following pressure from the NDA government and the last is a former CBI chief with the taxman now on his tail. So what do Gopal Subramanium, Ashwani Kumar and AP Singh have in common?

The answer: Amit Shah, the BJP's general secretary who will soon be overseeing preparations as the BJP aims for a clean sweep as 12 Assembly seats go to bypolls in Uttar Pradesh.

The announcement of a new president of the Bharatiya Janata Party could take place any day now, but there is little doubt about who  is will be handed the reins of the party. The signs are writ large in news reports of his imminent ascent, and in the behaviour of BJP leaders.  It is no coincidence that when BJP's Maharashtra leaders wanted the government to roll back the rail fare hike, it was Amit Shah they approached. And then there are the travails of the beleaguered three.

Amit Shah is expected to remain Narendra Modi's confidante. AFP

Amit Shah is expected to remain Narendra Modi's confidante. AFP

Subramanium has made it more than apparent that the NDA rejection of his Supreme Court nomination was motivated by his role as amicus curiae in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case -- in which Shah is an accused. The court came down strongly on the Narendra Modi government in that case.

Ashwani Kumar, on the other hand, approved a note necessitating the arrest of Shah in the Sohrabuddin case -- an action that led the BJP to accuse him of serving the UPA agenda. The Economic Times points to a blog post by BJP leader Arun Jaitley in february last year in which he lashed out at the UPA for turning the CBI into its lapdog.  Kumar recently resigned as governor of Nagaland, one of a number of UPA appointees asked to vacate their post.

In that blog post, Jaitley also said pliable CBI bosses had caused the internal checks and balances system to completely collapse. "The Directors were offered fresh jobs on the eve of retirement. A post-retirement job would be suggested to them. This would contribute to their pliability. Factually, the Directors were offered post-retirement jobs ranging from Governorship to the membership of the UPSC," he wrote.

The last was a direct reference to Ashwani Kumar's predecessor, A.P. Singh, who was later appointed as member, UPSC. CBI filed a supplementary charge-sheet against Shah in the Sohrabuddin case and another chargesheet in the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case during Singh's tenure.

Singh is now reportedly under pressure to step down as UPSC member after the Income Tax department served notices to him and his family members in an investigation into alleged tax evasion by meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

A report in The Economic Times says meat exporter Moin Qureshi's telephones were placed under surveillance late last year -- it was telephonic conversations with his family friend Singh that led to the current investigations. While the investigation was initiated seven months ago, the I-T department's probe is picking up pace now,  and BJP leaders certainly have something to cheer about in private.

Meanwhile, a judge in a Mumbai court was transferred to Pune days after he pulled up Shah for failing to make an appearance. A report in The Indian Express said the judge had sought the transfer himself, but here's what he had said about Shah's absence to the latter's lawyers: "Every time you are giving an exemption application without assigning any reason."

Reports have already pointed to Shah's growing stature in the party. He is now among the most sought after leaders in states that go to polls later this year. Units in Maharashtra and Haryana have made requests for him to camp in these states in the hope of repeating the grand success of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. In UP itself, the party banking on Shah to ensure a clean sweep in the coming Assembly polls.

The Modi sarkar broom has swept many a UPA appointee away to make way for a new regime. It is also, however, determined to clear the path of a man who is poised to lead the party to greater victories.


Updated Date: Jun 27, 2014 12:37 PM

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