Inside track: Leak-proof

To ensure that there was no leak, Law Ministry officials were asked to wait in the Finance Ministry, and the Intelligence Bureau kept tabs till the PM’s announcement.

Written by Coomi Kapoor | Published:November 13, 2016 1:07 am
demonetisation, Rs 500 note, Rs 1000 note, Rs 2000 note, salt shortage, arun jaitley, demonetisation process, ATMs, narendra modi, indian express, india news Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. (PTI Photo)

Arun Jaitley is a newsman’s delight since he is far more frank and forthcoming than the average politician. But Jaitley demonstrated that when he chooses to, he can keep a secret better than most. Even his wife Sangita was unaware that the demonetisation policy was in the works, although the plan was first conceived more than six months ago. Only a handful of people in the government were aware of the full picture, others were provided limited information on a need-to-know basis. Before Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the public announcement on Tuesday night, procedural requirements had to be met and clearances obtained from the Law Ministry and the RBI Board. To ensure that there was no leak, Law Ministry officials were asked to wait in the Finance Ministry, and the Intelligence Bureau kept tabs till the PM’s announcement.

The formal permission of the RBI Board was obtained before the Cabinet meeting and the Board members were asked to stay on for coffee. They had to remain much longer than the coffee session since, apart from the Cabinet, the PM had to also inform President Pranab Mukherjee of the move before the decision was made public. Even Cabinet ministers were kept cloistered in the meeting room until the PM’s speech.

No pressure, please

Rahul Gandhi has given no categorical assurance to the Congress Working Committee (CWC) about soon taking over as party president. Rahul is reportedly upset with the pressure tactics to get him to accept the party presidentship. A K Antony led the ‘draft Rahul campaign’ at the CWC meet last week. Gurudas Kamat even went to the extent of remarking that it was the wish of Sonia Gandhi that Rahul replace her. This annoyed Rahul since Sonia, who was ill and had stayed away from the meeting, had expressed no such desire publicly. Rahul is still not sure of the right timing for his anointment.

Behind the PM’s rap

Two months ago, the corridors of power were abuzz with the story of a minister who was pulled up by Prime Minister Modi so severely that he virtually broke down. Not many, however, are aware of the reason for the PM’s displeasure. It appears that the IB had informed Modi that there were complaints against an aide of the minister, who was close to a member of the minister’s household. The charge was that the aide was taking a cut on all advertisements issued by public sector undertakings under the minister. The IB began an investigation after a newspaper group complained that the aide was asking for a bribe.

Flying ambitions

The late former president A P J Abdul Kalam’s unfulfilled dream was to be a pilot. After he completed his education, Kalam had appeared for the pilot exam and personality test at Dehradun, but unfortunately, he was not selected. Disappointed, he went to see Swami Sivanand at Rishikesh, who assured him that other avenues would open for him. Kalam eventually joined the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) as a research scientist and later worked with ISRO and DRDO. The rest is history. This little known fact is revealed by S M Khan, the late president’s press secretary, in his recent biography on Kalam. Khan recalls that as president, Kalam got a chance to fly a Sukhoi on June 8, 2006.

Modi’s man

When Narendra Modi was chief minister of Gujarat, his chief principal secretary K Kailashnathan was considered the second most important man in the state. Even after he retired, Kailashnathan was retained as the chief minister’s key officer. When Modi moved to Delhi, it was assumed that Kailashnathan would follow him, but to everyone’s surprise, he remained in Gujarat. Kailashnathan continued to be chief principal secretary to Anandiben Patel as CM, and now holds the same post with the new CM, Vijay Rupani. Modi seems to have retained Kailashnathan in Gujarat so that he can keep the PM posted on what is happening in his home state.

Second thoughts

After eight men accused of being SIMI activists escaped from the Bhopal Central Jail and were shot dead in an alleged encounter, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced that he would request the Central government to get the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe the jail break and the encounter. He was advised by his party seniors that it was a bad idea to call in the NIA since there were too many loose ends. Chouhan has now announced a judicial probe by a retired judge, not necessarily a better idea.

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  1. P
    Prashant
    Nov 13, 2016 at 5:56 am
    He is better than Chiddu chor,,no one honest in this cunning world,,,it's all about who is better,,,I thnk jaitley is less corrupt than Chiddu,,,,, chidambaram earned billions in Stock market policies,,,
    Reply
    1. K
      K SHESHU
      Nov 13, 2016 at 2:11 pm
      Rahul is now trying to ' capitause' on black money he may consider the CWC later after the heat us over
      Reply
      1. A
        amoret
        Nov 14, 2016 at 1:36 pm
        Why are so many journos trying to prove that Jet-Li was in the know?
        Reply
        1. A
          ashok s
          Nov 13, 2016 at 6:15 am
          Mr jaitly must swear on oath that info was not leaked to anyone a inquiry to this should be conducted asap.
          Reply
          1. B
            Barb Dewyre
            Nov 13, 2016 at 12:58 pm
            All political parties deal with black money to fund their election campaigns. To ume that BJP is any different and holier than thou is questioning our intelligence. To further ume that the government chose to throw out all that unaccounted money, especially in the face of major state elections, is adding insult to our mental capabilities.
            Reply
            1. D
              dhananjay kumar
              Nov 15, 2016 at 7:22 am
              Ma'am...the anecdote about Dehradun is also present in Kalam's Book Wing of Fire.
              Reply
              1. F
                FC
                Nov 13, 2016 at 7:29 pm
                check TOI @mayurshetty01 tweet
                Reply
                1. F
                  FC
                  Nov 13, 2016 at 7:26 pm
                  SBI informed of demonetisation in Apr-2016
                  Reply
                  1. M
                    Mukesh Goswami
                    Nov 13, 2016 at 1:54 pm
                    If Modi is really honest then he should ban all corporate and cash donations to the political parties.. If he cannot do this for all, let him do this for BJP at least.. else stop this nautanki of fight against coruption..
                    Reply
                    1. H
                      H.Balakrishnan
                      Nov 13, 2016 at 3:10 am
                      Sir, The FM's presser on 12 Nov 2016 was a DISASTER - to say the very least. Having heard every word on TV, to me, the FM resembled ' Queen Marie Antoinette ' of the French Revolution Fame !! and her infamous 'Give them Cakes if Bread is not available'. So out of touch with reality on ground was the FM, that he spoke irrelevant things - like moving to cashless transactions et al. But what took the cake was his take on the Rs.2,000/- new note. How does one run his daily life with the new Rs 2,000/- note, when he/she cannot expect to get change after purchase of goods of value lesslt;br/gt;than Rs. 2,000'- ? Also, he kept harping on the fact that there is no need to panic as the old notes can be deposited till 30 Dec 2016. The query : Between and the present, how does one run his/her daily life ? On love and fresh air ? Regret to say Sir, a 'Good Policy' has been 'Bombed by extremely poor implementation'. Doesn't reflect too well on the Finance Ministry and the RBI. On ground, people's patience has worn thin.
                      Reply
                      1. A
                        ashok
                        Nov 13, 2016 at 7:12 am
                        By the way the latest IT report says that only 7000 crores is in black money. Out of this only 5% is in cash which 350 crore. So the old money for new will not work. Instead the common people have been taken for a ride to create only a perception.
                        Reply
                        1. N
                          Naganathan Krishnavathyar
                          Nov 13, 2016 at 11:31 am
                          Government implemented 7th pay commision recommendation and paid arrears in full on September. Further it also paid revised pension for pre 2006 pensione s as accepted by previous government accepting CAT order, but payment for 10 years paid only on . All payments are through bank , hence huge surge in bank deposit of more than 60 thousand crore. Proof I am a pre 2006 pensioner receiv d arrears more than 3 lacs through bank on 29th october
                          Reply
                          1. N
                            Niladrinath Mohanty
                            Nov 13, 2016 at 2:47 am
                            How and from where Arvind Kejriwal has got information that Narendra Modi had informed his key party members and favourite industrial in advance so that they can stash away their black money before demonetization comes into effect? It appears that Kejriwal has become a loose cannon.
                            Reply
                            1. N
                              Naresh
                              Nov 13, 2016 at 6:06 pm
                              Have great respect for Coomi Kapoor. But how can she justify or prove that Jaitley wife didn't knew. Sorry....
                              Reply
                              1. N
                                Niranjan
                                Nov 13, 2016 at 3:27 am
                                There were clear signs that something drastic was coming after the September 30th deadline for declaring black money expired. All the msart businessmen saw it and acted accordingly. The fools who thought Modi was too weak to make such a move are suffering and crying foul.
                                Reply
                                1. G
                                  gho
                                  Nov 13, 2016 at 4:29 am
                                  Our Fm has a PR too!!lt;br/gt;Way to go!!!
                                  Reply
                                  1. P
                                    paresh mehta
                                    Nov 13, 2016 at 9:54 am
                                    This is a good move, one should appritiate it rather then to give unwanted comments people has to wait for betterment of the country.no body can expect rosy rosy picture all time.some people have habbit of crying, some politiations are always in habbit of doing nonsence likr rahul, kejrival manish lalu etc and some has habbit of joining the bandwaggons.let them cry, take action on them
                                    Reply
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                                      Parth Garg
                                      Nov 13, 2016 at 4:38 am
                                      Keeping a secret? Ha! Ha Ha!
                                      Reply
                                      1. R
                                        Rajeev
                                        Nov 13, 2016 at 2:31 pm
                                        Why to target just one person (and his party) who is ready to take the charge against corruption? Is it just because no other politician would give a d*a*m*n to your opinion?
                                        Reply
                                        1. X
                                          xyz
                                          Nov 13, 2016 at 12:45 pm
                                          As far as I read from the newspapers, it seems that no Gujarati businessmen, especially diamond merchants who usually deal in cash, are affected by this demonetization. They must have been forewarned before.
                                          Reply
                                          1. S
                                            Snkr
                                            Nov 13, 2016 at 8:33 pm
                                            No,I cant trust a looser who had bn voted out by people in lok sabha election..he was rewarded by modi by sending him in rajya sabha coz he was d man pla d role of BRUTUS in killing d advanis and his teams pol.carrier,actually jaitely,sibbal,diggy,manish,have a complex of so clld superiority. .who think dat de can make d people fool by putting wrong thing in right time and space..his formula ..if u cant convince someone confused dem and go away...wrkd most of d time coz so clld expert like columnists keep doing his task aftr using der formula...columnist. ..hahaha...kity kity khelne k pahle aaina to saaf kr dekh jate..
                                            Reply
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