BJP launches hunt for Rahul
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has launched a search for Rahul, who offered bribe to former union minister in the video tape, writes Pradip Kumar Maitraindia Updated: Nov 20, 2003 19:53 IST
Stung by criticism over the bribery case involving its senior leader from Chhattisgarh Dilip Singh Judeo, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has launched a search for Rahul, who offered bribe to former union minister in the tape. However, BJP has failed to make much headway in the case as the phone numbers and contact address given by Rahul appears to be fake.
BJP's problem has been further confounded with the fact that no photograph of Rahul exists on record to identify him. The videotape which showed Judeo and his private secretary did not show Rahul even once. Only his voice was heard.
Meanwhile, a section of BJP leaders are now convinced that Judeo has indeed taken the bribe and the Video CD was genuine. They however, still continue to back him in public. The BJP leaders conclusion is based on the fact that Judeo himself had told a private TV channel that there was nothing wrong in accepting money for political purposes.
According to the BJP insiders, a very senior party functionary had cautioned the state leaders in a meeting last month that they should avoid going to any hotel and should be careful while dealing with anyone, particularly during the election period. The senior leader even apprehended that opposition could malign them by trapping in scandals. Interestingly, Judeo who was also present in the meeting failed to heed with the warning.
BJP leaders, who know that Judeo is very careless and known for his `casual' approach, blamed Natwar Rateria, his additional private secretary, for the mess. "He is innocent. He was trapped due to his careless attitude and more dependency on Rateria," said a BJP leader. Judeo was heavily dependent on Rateria, a resident of Raigarh, even before Judeo inducted him into the ministry.
It was Rateria who introduced Rahul to Judeo and finalised the meeting in a hotel in Delhi. But ironically even Rateria knew little about Rahul. He hardly interacted with the Rahul for two or three occasions. "How can a minister share drinks or accept money in a hotel from a person whom he hardly knows?" asked a senior BJP leader.