The first leak: bid documents submitted by Videocon and the Adani group, in the auction round last month, have gone missing. Poof.
The second leak: inspired whispering suggests that Sadanand Sule, Sharad Pawar’s son in law, was part of the Videocon bid. Supriya Sule now in damage control mode, denying all links to the IPL.
The picture sought to be painted? Pawar’s support for Modi, fervent till late last evening, stems from the fact that he through his son in law had a major role to play in the controversial auction.
Is the Opposition now going to demand the NCP strongman’s head in the same way it went after Tharoor? The Congress is half hoping something of the kind happens — a Pawar on the defensive is exactly where the party wants him. Unlikely the Opposition will make such noises, though.
Meanwhile, the rehabilitation of Shashi Tharoor continues apace, with a speech in Parliament just now seeking a full inquiry into the charges against him, and complete exoneration — a speech incidentally laced with rhetoric about the voters of Thiruvananthapuram and the great people of India.
Elsewhere, Economic Times — which has been over the last two days in the forefront of surfacing stories of Modi’s shenanigans — scores a hat-trick:
Story 1 talks of how Suresh Chellaram, Modi’s brother in law, saw his IPL holdings appreciate in value 13 times in course of a single year [eat your heart out, Shah Rukh].
Story 2 details financial skulduggery in the awarding of television rights. Worth noting, the fact that board officials were behind the leaks in the first place, and have been quick to suggest, albeit anonymously, that they have nothing to do with any of this.
While reading all this, keep one central fact in mind: the GoI has been aware of most of this for at least 8, more likely 10, months now. Just in case you were marveling at how efficient the investigative agencies are, and how quickly the whole ball of wax is unravelling. Also, ask the BCCI how long it has known of the Netlinkblue connection, including the systematic defaulting on payments.
Update: A recurring theme on this blog and elsewhere has been how the Congress is using this controversy to whip its allies and opponents into line. A classic example just now: First, Sharad Pawar was whistled into a meeting to “discuss IPL”, with P Chidambaram and Pranab Mukherjee. At the end of the meeting, he was told to go tell Modi that he had to resign.
Classic example of the deliberate and public use of muscle, to serve as a warning shot: Pawar, after all, is not part of the IPL governing council; outside of being Maharashtra Bombay Cricket Association president, he is not part of the BCCI’s decision making body. So why ask him to convey the message, when there are others — the name of Rajiv Shukla comes to mind — who are far better placed to do the deed?
Plain and simple, a power-play: The Congress telling Pawar, right, you were backing this guy, now you are nominated to go chop him off at the knees. Buck us on this, and we come after you too. Pawar has to do that — and in that helplessness lies the message the Congress is conveying to him.