You better believe it. Corruption levels in India are down. That’s the only way we can explain Horlicksgate, the biggest scandal to rock the country, at least if you believe the country’s prime watchdog, AmmaLeaks a.k.a.
J. Jayalalithaa. The AIADMK has supposedly uncovered a racket conducted by none other than members from the DMK, the ruling party in Tamil Nadu. It turns out that on July 12, some 9,000 jars of the malt-based ‘health’ powder, brought from Haryana, vanished from Sholavandan near Madurai. If that didn’t raise her antennae, the free distribution of Horlicks by DMK Union Minister M.K. Alagiri in the chief minister’s Andipatti constituency six days later certainly did.
Ms Jayalalithaa is absolutely sure that the Horlicks that Mr Alagiri had doled out at Andipatti on July 18 was contraband and — here comes the coup de steaming mug — the very same batch that was mysteriously nicked. Naturally, Ms Jayalalithaa has demanded that the state government ask for a CBI probe into the incident as Mr Alagiri’s ‘widely suspected’ to have a ‘link’ between the two Horlickses.
The DMK may have not have taken, what in investigative jargon is known as the AAA (Allegations Against Alagiri) kindly. But surely, we, people of India weaned on tales of crores being siphoned off, deals being made under the table and quid pro quos being quaffed all the time, can feel relieved and proud that the latest scam involves a few thousand jars of a concentrated health drink being lifted. The makers of Horlicks, the British pharma and healthcare giant GlaxoSmithKline, must be quaking in its boots awaiting the subsequent fallout.