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The public face of private demons

HE WAS the public face of his father's very public death. The man who held himself and grieving members of his family together at a time of personal crisis. But the private demons that dogged him remained out of view.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2006 15:08 IST

HE WAS the public face of his father's very public death. The man who held himself and grieving members of his family together at a time of personal crisis. But the private demons that dogged him remained out of view.

In retrospect it would seem Rahul Mahajan held himself a bit too well together. The whispers began almost as soon as news broke that he had been admitted to Apollo Hospital. What was the mysterious white powder found in his house? Why would a man carrying his father's ashes to Assam suddenly decide to pop champagne and throw an impromtu party? And was it true that Rahul had been treated thrice before for substance abuse, so much in vogue in Mumbai's high-flying party scene where he was apparently a regular? There were no immediate answers.

What began as a trickle, soon turned into a torrent. The 31-year-old bachelor's free-wheeling lifestyle, his partying habits and his alleged substance abuse and his lack of an apparent occupation became the talk of the town. 

He worked for a brief while with Jet Airways, but quit after there were whispers of his having got the job due to his father’s political connections.

Rahul, says a friend, kept himself aloof from politics. In fact he lived mainly in London, visiting Mumbai only infrequently. 

It was only after Mahajan’s demise that he showed the first signs of interest in politics. That interest may now come to nothing. It is unlikely that the BJP, wary of another scandal on its hands, will be as indulgent as his father apparently was.