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On the CD side

columns Updated: Apr 24, 2011 00:51 IST
Indrajit Hazra

It won't surprise me one bit if tomorrow we learn through all the forms of media available to man — graffiti in public lavatories included — that former law minister Shanti Bhushan and lawyer Prashant Bhushan have riotous toga parties where they hire hookers dressed up as famous politicians. Or that the father-son duo have been caught on camera eating chicken that's been culled with a butter knife after the birds had been stuffed in cages the size of a vanity bag over weeks. Or that they had once represented a tobacco company in court to make selling cigarettes inside schools legal. Or that the Bhushans, in their pathological hatred towards politicians, cut the eyes out from photos of political leaders and then with a thick felt tip pen scrawl on them the words: 'Burn in hell, you scum!' Or...

Yes, you get the picture.

As I do the picture being portrayed with the precision of a Jackson Pollock canvas that Bhushan and son are dirty, rotten, lying scoundrels whose cardinal sin is to be self-righteous and pick on folks who gotta do what they gotta do in the System to feed their families.

So you have the truly surreal image of St Amar Singh, patron saint of the tired and the hungry, telling us in his remarkably effective, passive-aggressive manner that Shanti Bhushan had indeed chatted with Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh regarding a cunning plan to bribe a judge Rs 50 lakh and influence the verdict in a case. The Bhushans say that the meeting never took place and the CD recording the conversation is fake and quotes a scientific lab report to prove it. Amar Singh says that the meeting did take place and that the CD is genuine — kasam se — and a government lab report, attested by those very sound sound engineering experts of Delhi Police, clearly proves it.

And before you can say 'Who's your daddy?' to Prashant Bhushan, we learnt about Shanti Bhushan and his other lawyer son Jayant having been allotted two 10,000 square metres plots of land by the Mayawati government. According to the Bhushans, they did find it surprising to get the plots so easily and cheap. According to Amar Singh, the plots of land were bribes to dissuade Jayant Bhushan, who was appearing against Mayawati in the Noida statue park case. And just to sprinkle some dark chocolate shavings on the smarmy cake, Amar-ji added that the Bhushans were hypocrites, having fought cases "against farmers" and then sidling up to Anna Hazare for farmers' rights.

Anna Hazare. Yes, that rings a bell, doesn't it? Once upon a time, Shanti Bhushan, before he became famous as a CD star, was in the papers for being appointed as the co-chairman of the ten-member committee entrusted to draft the Lokpal Bill, with Prashant as a fellow member. Between the box office allure of the mystery of the seedy CD and the DD Bharati-style journey of the Lokpal Bill, you don't have to be an India TV producer to know which story's going to stick in the public airwaves.

Politics has got personal — with Amar Singh actually doing a 'reverse Anna Hazare' on the Lokpal Bill, which if it was law could actually have got him in trouble for being in a team that, going by his own admission, had attempted to bribe a judge.

Are the Bhushans as squeaky clean as you and I would like to believe by looking at their faces? I don't know. And for the purpose of the drafting of the Lokpal B ill, I don't care. After all, pots are regularly calling kettles black, and as long as grimy utensils are identified and sent to the cleaners, I'm happy.

Which makes me come to what I think the Bhushans should do now: they should remove themselves from the drafting committee. I know, I know. That's exactly what Amar Singh, Digvijaya Singh and others want them to do. But by calling their bluff and sidestepping this stupid 'The CD is fake-the CD is not fake' gameshow and similar digressions sucking out the energy from two of the draft committee's members, the Bhushans should quickly step down for the sake of the Lokpal Bill. I'm sure they would be as useful as consultants to the committee.

By ensuring that the drafting of the Bill leads to its being tabled in Parliament and then — and this is the real road rumbler — its passage into law, the 'rotten' Bhushans can have the last laugh. With the two out of the picture, detractors of the Bill will probably start throwing dirt on the three other non-politician committee members. Digvijaya Singh has already upset draft committee member Santosh Hegde by casting aspersions on his honesty quotient. I can already see the next set of headlines: 'Arvind Kejriwal employed child labour' and 'Anna Hazare drank champagne after breaking fast'. Even Dharmaputra Yudhisthir must be shaking in his chappals these days.