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Oh look how the mighty have fallen
With the Bhawari Devi scandal in Rajasthan brimming over, sexual peccadilloes of Indian politicians are tumbling out of their closets
Issue Date - 08/12/2011
Hoary milestones

2009: Rajmohan Unnithan, 57, a senior Congress party leader and a movie star, arrested for trafficking.
2008: Manmohan Samal, minister for revenue and disaster management, Orissa, resigns when his involvement in a sex scandal becomes public.
2006: Kashmir Sex Scandal – High profile politicians and officials in Jammu and Kashmir accused of being involved in a sex scam. Some 14 persons were implicated but there is still no resolution.
2005: Sanjay Joshi, RSS leader and BJP general secretary, is caught in a sting operation, while in the act. He resigns soon afterwards.
2003: Harak Singh Rawat, a former revenue minister in Uttarakhand belonging to Congress, faces a CBI rape case and quits.
1998: JB Patnaik, chief minister of Orissa, accused of being involved in sex scandals in affidavits filed by two former senior government officials.
1997: P. K. Kunjalikutty, senior Muslim League leader from Kerala accused of running a whorehouse from an ice cream parlour, named the “ice-cream parlour scandal”.
1994: Jalgaon rape case: Influential politicians, businessmen and officials are accused of running a long-running forced-sex racket in Maharashtra involving 300-500 young women.

John Barrymore was once famously quoted describing sex as “the thing that takes up the least amount of time and causes the most amount of trouble.’’ In Indian society, where sexual misdemeanours of politicians, or of anyone else, are rarely discussed, some cases are beginning to tumble out of the closet.

They are not happening like Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s sexual peccadilloes, which have just cost him his job, nor in the manner of prowess in the bed that was attributed to a string of American presidents, from John F. Kennedy to Bill Clinton.

Yet in its own quiet little ways, India is making a mark. In Rajasthan, sex has claimed its latest victims in cabinet ministers Mahipal Maderna and Ramlal Jat.

In Uttar Pradesh, Narain Dutt Tiwari continues to be embroiled in a long running and messy paternity court case where the 87-year-old – the state’s uncrowned king of Emergency back in the mid-1970s – is battling to stay away from submitting a blood sample for a DNA test on the grounds that he is a veteran freedom fighter of 70 years standing! In Haryana, back in 2009, its youthful deputy chief minister Chandramohan not just lost his job and an assured Congress ticket but found his political career in the doldrums after marrying Anuradha Bali alias Fiza after converting to Islam. During the last three months, Rajasthan has been rocked by the Bhawari Devi sex scandal. At the centre of this is Rajasthan’s (now former) Water Resources Minister Mahipal Maderna, seen in explicit sex scenes with a nurse.

After the ever-alert TV channels displayed the lascivious tape with the two in action, the Congress high command and the state leadership were left with no option but to show Maderna the door. The case is currently a subject of CBI probe. Such has been the angst of the Maderna family that his enraged wife and daughter encouraged their supporters to pounce upon a TV crew for ‘distorting’ facts. Maderna, like most politicians, took the obvious recourse: an admission into an intensive care unit. But the Jaipur High Court would not let matters rest. They forced the CBI to send the former minister’s health report to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), where it was established that the accused was hale and hearty. Maderna had to skip the hospital overnight.

Reason? The lady in question, Bhawari Devi, has disappeared for the last three months and her family has given up hope. Clearly Maderna, despite the loss of his ministry, has not seen the last of this sleazy stake out. In an effort at damage control, the high command dispatched Digvijay Singh to Jaipur, where the Congress leader bragged about “bringing out CDs of BJP leaders in similar situations.’’ Normally, out of news Rajasthan appears to have a surfeit of these cases. Close on the heels of the Bhawari Devi scam came the Ramlal Jat episode. This forest and environment minister of Rajasthan had to suddenly quit on November 16, his official car snatched from him, after he was `indirectly’ linked to the death of Paras Devi, wife of Ratanlal Jat, chairman of the Bhilwara dairy, in a case of mysterious poisoning. The former minister has offered no explanation why he was most keen to ensure that the deceased’s body was not sent for post-mortem or even about his association with her. Despite the all round denials, after more lurid details became public, he had to quit.


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