In a big embarrassment to the BJP led NDA-2 Government, former Union Minister and noted journalist Arun Shourie on Wednesday furnished bail bond and two sureties before the Jodhpur trial court in a case registered and later closed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for a cabinet decision taken by the NDA-1 Government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee for sale of Laxmi Vilas Hotel, Udaipur. Interestingly the two persons provided Rs. One lakh of each sureties for Arun Shourie were his old colleague Jaswant Singh’s son Manvendra Singh and his wife Chitra Singh. Shourie also provided a personal surety of Rs.2 lakh bail bond.
Talking to media, Arun Shourie said that CBI decided to register the case in August 2014 based on an anonymous complaint forwarded by Finance Ministry’s Disinvestment Division. Denying the allegations, the former Union Minister said a strict procedure was adopted under Vajpayee’s supervision. “This was my principle and direction of Atalji to adhere to the procedure,” he told reporters in Jodhpur.
After the CBI registered FIR, Shourie and Modi’s two-decade-long friendship collapsed. This bizarre incident shows the pettiness, vindictive nature of politicians by misusing the authority.
Shourie stressed that the matter had first come up before an inter-ministerial committee after which it was taken up by a committee of secretaries and then the Cabinet Committee on disinvestment, which was headed by the late Prime minister. “The CBI filed a closure report twice, stating that there was no irregularity in the deal. There were 14 points in support of the CBI’s observation and the High Court has also admitted it,” he said, adding that even if the CBI court felt there was something wrong, let the re-inquiry happen.
CBI in 2019 filed a closure report and was rejected by the trial Judge. The Judge even ordered for arrest Arun Shourie, whose name was not even mentioned in the CBI’s First Information Report (FIR). The trial court even ordered the seizure of the hotel and handover to the State Government. Later Rajasthan High Court stayed the trial court wondering on many aspects of the lower court’s order. The High Court also ordered that Shourie will not be arrested and must be given bail by the trial court.
PGurus have earlier reported in detail about the origin behind this dubious case foisted against Arun Shourie by Narendra Modi led Government. Those days in mid-2014, relations between Arun Shourie and Modi were bickering as the former was not included in the Cabinet. It is shocking to note that then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley forwarded an anonymous complaint against Shourie to CBI. It is interesting to note, this hotel deal was approved thrice by none other than Arun Jaitley as Law Minister in Vajpayee’s Government before Cabinet approval. And look at the fraud – the same Jaitley forwards the anonymous complaint to CBI on the decision approved by him and CBI under Modi registers case for Vajpayee’s Cabinet approved decision! After the CBI registered FIR, Shourie and Modi’s two-decade-long friendship collapsed. This bizarre incident shows the pettiness, vindictive nature of politicians by misusing the authority.
The CBI court in Jodhpur has listed the matter for hearing on Thursday (October 15). The other accused in the case are former disinvestment secretary Pradip Baijal, MD of Lazard India Limited Ashish Guha, MD of Bharat Hotels Limited, Jyotsana Suri, and hotel’s valuer Kantilal Vikamsey.