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Rahul led life in fast lane

Not much interested in studies, Rahul was obsessed with flying and trained as a commercial pilot.

india Updated: Jun 02, 2006 18:05 IST

Late Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Pramod Mahajan's son Rahul Mahajan, battling for life in a Delhi hospital after reportedly consuming alcohol and drugs, is known to love life in the fast lane.

Many who know the 31-year-old say that he has been a regular in Mumbai's party circuit, keeping late hours. "On one occasion, I told him not to drive back at high speeds and that too after consuming alcohol. But he laughed it away," said a close associate of the Mahajan junior in Mumbai.

Not much interested in studies, Rahul was obsessed with flying and trained as a commercial pilot.

He even took up a job in Jet Airways some years back but quit inexplicably when a whisper campaign gathered momentum that he got the post because of his father's connections.

Then, a couple of years ago, Rahul moved to London but nobody quite knew what he was doing there.

Those close to him say he was never keen on entering politics but was active during the run-up to the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, mobilising film actors to campaign for the BJP.

"He was familiar with the Bollywood crowd and knew many in the film industry," said an aide.

When his father was the Information and Broadcasting Minister in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, Rahul landed himself in a spot of trouble because of a television programme that ran in Doordarshan, the national broadcaster, causing a loss to the exchequer.

The Delhi High Court even issued notices to Prasar Bharati, the public broadcasting corporation, on a petition alleging that Pramod Mahajan used his official position to favour a television software company where his wife, Rekha and Rahul had a stake.

The controversy related to the approval given by Prasar Bharati for the telecast of the serial Truck Dhina Dhin by Integral Productions in June 1999 when Pramod Mahajan was holding the Information and Broadcasting portfolio.

The company agreed to give Prasar Bharati a minimum guarantee of Rs 3.5 million per episode for the 26 episodes. The petition alleged the extension was given to the series without proper norms.

Rahul, however, came out unscathed from the controversy.

After Pramod Mahajan's death -- shot at his Mumbai residence at the hands of his brother last month, Rahul has been tipped as a potential political heir to the charismatic leader.

His unscheduled appearance at the BJP national executive meeting in the capital early this week during a lunch-break created quite a flutter among the delegates and hordes of media persons covering the event, prompting many to ask if this was his initiation into politics.

When it later transpired that he had been extended a special invitation by party president Rajnath Singh, the talk veered to his induction into the youth wing of the party.

First Published: Jun 02, 2006 18:05 IST