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Friends say Judeo was sophistication personified

Judeo, was an incorrigible shayar who used to pick up Shayri books from any roadside stall at sight.

india Updated: Nov 26, 2003 13:10 IST

The Judeo bribery tape episode has come as a shock for those in Ranchi who knew Dilip Singh Judeo as "Kumar Saheb" during his St Xavier's College days in the late sixties. Though no one is willing to believe that he accepts bribe they are not surprised by his quote Paisa khuda to nahi, par khuda ki kasam khuda se kam bhi nahi.

The one-time BJP chief ministerial candidate for Chhattisgarh, Dilip Singh Judeo, was an incorrigible shayar who used to pick up Shayri books from any roadside stall at sight. Harpal Singh Pali, his old chum and a local businessman, says one of Judeo's favourite songs then was Mere desh ki dharti sona ugle

Ask Gul Mohammad, administrative officer of Chhotangpur Law College, from where Judeo got a degree in law and he was ready to sing paeans for the prince of Jashpur. Dittoes Dr RP Sahu, the College's Secretary, to whom Judeo was sophistication personified. "A nice boy to know."

This notwithstanding, controversies did have a liking for Judeo. Always. "He was equally 'famous' for his two loaded revolvers, which he use to carry in holsters while he was a student of Law College here," said Lal Kishore Nath Sahdeo, a lawyer at the Ranchi district court. Judeo was equally possessive about his famous handle-bar moustache, which he used to twirl at the drop of a hat.

"He had a black Bullet motorcycle which he used to drive at a very slow pace, as if enjoying himself. He also kept changing vehicles," he said. However, he also switched to the fast track when needed.

"Once the district administration tried to stop him from participating in a BJP meeting in Lohardaga district. Judeo, then driving a jeep, challenged them: Ham jarur jayenge; agar aap rok sakte hain to rok le," recalled Chandra Chudamani Sahdeo, Judeo's relative and former Vice-Chancellor of Ranchi University. "And Judeo drove so fast that the police vehicles lost him," he recalled.

Judeo, a political science graduate from St Xavier's, also had family background in politics. "His father Raja Bijay Bhusan Singhdeo was an MP and a very open-hearted man. Judeo was however little dominating and a determined person. Once he decided to have a new model of Standard Herald Car, and he did not keep quiet till his father gifted him one. He then put a Jashpur-1 plate on it," Chandra Chudamani Sahdeo added.

Judeo's was also a colourful personality, always proud of his blue blood. His friends loved their Kumar Saheb, and he never let down. "He was famous for benevolence. Once he offered his car to someone after he lost a bet," Harpal recalled. And when he became minister of state for forest he appointed two of his friends - Gopal Prasad and Prakash Anand Singh - his official representatives in Jharkhand. Gopal, a local builder, admits that the posts carried weight.

Coming back to his revolvers, Judeo was an ace shooter. Not only with clay pigeons, the former minister of State for Forest was equally "good" at shooting down leopards and bears. His friend, Gopal Prasad, however, defends him. "It was inevitable. The wild animals otherwise could have killed him. Moreover, it was done when hunting was not banned," he says.

Judeo's was an also exciting personality, cracking jokes, taking friends to picnics and being very particular about his choices. "He was so particular that he had selected one Dhammi Bhai specifically for sewing his clothes," Harpal says. He also had a belt with gold plated buckle, besides a gold chain that were considered his trademarks.

He normally used to wear safari and other formal wears. Besides, Judeo during those days was passionate about bodybuilding. "He was a teetotaller. We had some dumbbells and a bullworker in his three-room house near Kadru. We use to have regular sessions of exercise followed by body massages by his servants. Dilip also had a special liking for cow milk," recall Harpal and Gopal.

For these two friends, and so many others, Judeo was a lion-hearted man, and a real friend indeed. "Recently, when he visited during the rainy reason, he had to cross a huge muddle to reach my shop. He did it just to say hi to me," Harpal says proudly.

But, the bribery episode has left his friends shocked as Judeo never seemed to attach much importance to money. "We used to go Dutch to arrange picnics," Harpal says. "The barbers never used to ask for money after a haircut. Dilip often gave them more than what they wanted," says lawyer Lal Kishore Nath Sahdeo.

To his friends, the present episode was a passing phase for Judeo, which he can handle. They all are die-hard optimists.

However, the locals agree that the BJP's attempt to defend him, saying it was all trick photography, would come to a nought. Judeo was a good photographer himself and therefore he knows the limitations of special effects.

First Published: Nov 26, 2003 13:10 IST