Virendra Kapoor is a political commentator based in Delhi
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An educated man's paranoia, Arun Jaitley's health and Mamata Banerjee's standoff with the Centre

THERE IS A class of people who when they get their wish, it is a win for pure merit. And when they don’t, they are victims of an ingrained system of discrimination. Unfortunately, even the most educated suffer from this sort of paranoia. A case in point is the recent selection of the Madhya Pradesh cadre 1983 batch IPS officer, RS Shukla, as the new CBI chief. The selection committee consisted of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India RS Gogoi, and the leader of the largest group in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge. Among the officers shortlisted was the 1984 batch UP cadre officer Javed Ahmed. Soon after he got to know that Shukla had made the cut, Ahmed reacted in a WhatsApp group, ‘It is Allah’s wish…. of course, I feel bad, but then it is a crime to be a ‘M’’. When the communal nature of his comment dawned on him, he, a serving police officer of a very high rank, promptly deleted the message. But the damage was done. Someone in his group took a screen shot of the offensive comment and posted it on social media. Soon, the ‘M’ in question was flooded with a lot of sharp comments, exposing the hypocrisy of the former UP Director General of Police. Most wondered whether it was merit when he himself had superseded a record number of 15 officers to be nominated as DGP by the Akhilesh Yadav government. Others commented on how Kharge alone supported him while Modi and Gogoi, after fully taking into account the merits and demerits of all shortlisted candidates, had picked Shukla for the coveted job. However, a succinct but sharp reaction to Ahmed’s malicious post was: ‘A ‘M’ will remain a ‘M’’. Meanwhile, as is widely known by now, Kharge had strongly opposed the selection of the previous CBI chief, Alok Verma. But once the latter got on the wrong side of the Government due to his own personal grudge match with his No 2, Rakesh Asthana, the leader of the Congress party discovered until- now hidden qualities in the controversial Verma.

EVER SINCE UNION Finance Minister Arun Jaitley flew to New York for the treatment of his sarcoma, a rare type of cancer of the soft tissues, everyone in his vast circle of friends and others in the political and media world has been curious about his health. But for want of an official word, all sorts of rumours are rife. We can report that he is doing fine, having rented two flats near the world-renowned Sloane Kettering Hospital, for self and the immediate family and domestics. Incidentally, this is the same hospital that Sonia Gandhi has been visiting in recent months for the treatment of an unknown ailment. Jaitley, who flew in on a regular commercial flight, moved out of the hospital some weeks ago after a surgery and now visits it regularly for follow-up checks. The skin from the clean thigh was later grafted on to the affected thigh from where the mildly malignant outgrowth was surgically removed. He is set to address via video-link a book-release function later this week. A select audience has been invited by Bharti Nayar, widow of the eminent journalist Kuldip Nayar, for the release of her husband’s last book. Maybe Jaitley will address first-hand the question of his own state of health at this gathering.

WE DO NOT lend any credibility to social media posts doing the rounds listing a large number of residential and commercial properties supposedly owned by a former CBI chief and his immediate family. Even if he comes from a business family, the properties listed, complete with names and addresses and in some cases with their market value as well, do add up to a mindboggling sum. If even a portion of this is true, it does require further investigation, doesn’t it?

THE STAND-OFF between Mamata Banerjee and the Centre over the interrogation of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajiv Kumar by the CBI in ponzi scheme-related scams has inevitably led to this question: Who stands to gain from this confrontation? The truthful answer is: We don’t really know. However, sheer facts show the West Bengal Chief Minister in poor light. Be that as it may, the public spat has led some wags to quip that when they finally fly the fugitive Vijay Mallya home, they will be well advised to avoid landing in Kolkata. You ask why? Simple. West Bengal still does not have an extradition treaty with India.