This is the phase of democracy which I love the most. Pre-election time when affidavits reveal how much or how little, some of the most worthless people are worth.
I am one big sucker for numbers. These numbers. Who-has -what -and –how- much -more -of -what, has always been a point of fascination for me.
The icing on the cake is what I have listed here. Cherries which baffle me no end. (Or maybe I am sheer jealous).
STARS AND CARS:
Stars (read Bollywood) who gift their friends expensive cars. It is not about cars. I am not a car freak. So often have I read such stories in newspapers or doing the rounds, which it has made me wonder.
I am not talking about the story of a poker-faced star gifting two jeeps to the Mumbai police. Or the much trended story of the Poor Little son of a Rich Big man and how the son got away after Big Rich man ‘gifted’ a fancy car as compensation.
I am also not talking of instances where actors ‘ gift Jaguar car to wife’. (One TV actor recently did that). Or Sanju gifting a Rolls Royce to Manyataa. (I hope I have got the right number of AAAs in Manyataaaa).
But stories like SRK gifting his friend Farah Khan (or when she was a friend) a Black Merc. Gifted. Not sold. And this was the third car that he had gifted her. Similarly, Vidhu Vinod always dreamt of working with Big B and when that dream came true, he gifted the senior B with a Rolls Royce worth 3.5 crore. Fascinating isn’t it.
Apparently, Sanju baba gifted a fellow Director a wrist watch (obviously an expensive one) worth several lakhs (the cost was the numeric followed by eight zeros) because he shot a particular scene with sanju in a certain way which made Sanju happy. Sanju baba happy so gift worth lakhs.
The movie didn’t make as much money as the price of the watch, is a different matter altogether. Sanju was happy gifting. The Director was ‘gifted’.
One actor gifted four of his team members a seven-series Beamer, one to each of them, out of ‘love’. (Beamer is a BMW and not the style of bowling in cricket which some cricket pace bowlers excel in).
Post-script. The gifts are not ‘instead’ of the money but over-and-above what the person is due. I cannot even imagine what the Chartered accountants of these stars would get as gifts.
MAKE IN INDIA:
My other favourite past-time is reading about people who stash away the moolah. I read with great envy about the deputy collector whose salary was a little over 20,000 rupees but what the IT guys recovered was documented wealth over Rs. 200 crore.
The IAS couple in Madhya Pradesh too, had ‘MADE’ over 100 crore. (Here I quote a friendly IRS officer who told me that once caught, if the bureaucrat has declared X amount, that means he has ‘MADE’ ten times that amount, because he knows he has to live the rest of his life under suspension, but maintaining the same lifestyle.
But this is about people who ‘invest’. What amazes me are the CASH people.
WHERE THE %@!$# DO THEY STASH IT?
Sukhram, the once-upon-a-time telecom minister had stuffed the cash in mattresses. So filmy. The only other place he could have was in the bathroom in a ‘hidden safe’.
I vividly remember the anti-corruption raid in Bandra, Mumbai, where cops were caught with tons of cash and they had no choice but to fling bags and bags of currency out of the third floor bathroom window.
It rained money and how. Stories like these are endless. My charcha over chai is always about such people. I have met a few, very few, who have unabashedly admitted that they make money. I have never managed to garner courage to ask them, paisa rakhtey kahan ho. Where the hell do you stash it.
But what excites me is election time. When reams of newsprint talks about the houses, cars, yachts and bullocks owned by the mantris and their santris.
It is interesting to read how much some of these worthless are worth.
A cop, once dismissed from service for having money more than his income (and now reinstated) has declared assets worth 39 crore. T H I R T Y N I N E $$%%x C R O R E no less. And one of the assets declared is a 1200 sq feet house in Andheri east which he has declared to be worth 69 lakh. Isn’t there someone who scrutinizes the claimed value? An 800 square feet house in the same area as the cop’s, was almost sold for 2 crore a few months ago. This cop claims his flat is worth ONLY 69 lakh. Will you sell it to me for 70 lakh, Mr. Cooper? His wife has given loans worth 11 crore.
Pray how does the money multiply so fast, when there is no known source of official income? At least the cop had a salary from his vardi. What about the other unworthies who graduated from cycles to now drive around in fancy imported 4WD (four wheel drives).
It is time these questions were asked.
And last but not the clichéd least is the declaration by some ministers and politicians who have spent decades politicking but, shockingly, their affidavits show their financial worth not more than a few thousand or barely kissing the six figure mark.
One way to look at it is that there is hope. So untouched by corruption some of these ’poor’ politicians are.
One of course does wonder that if in four decades of political service they have not planned on how financially run their own life, how they can plan for an entire constituency.