E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: I saw the the Ace Political Expert (ACE) near Nalpak Restaurant in Vontikoppal.
It was a long time since I had had the benefit of his political insight. I jumped at the opportunity and we sat down at Nalpak’s new open-air lounge where you can eat while looking at the traffic passing by.
“What do you make of the David Coleman Headley issue?” I asked as we started attacking the bisi bisi ragi roti with two different types of chutney.
“Headley traveled all over the country planning terror attacks left, right and centre. He freely met film and filmy people in Bollywood who gave him a red-carpet welcome. He even spent a night with his wife at the Taj Mahal Hotel, ate at the Oberois. Yet our intelligence knew nothing about his visit.”
“Don’t we have intelligence bureaus precisely for such things?” I asked.
“And we will not give visa to known Pakistan cricketers. What’s more, our Karnataka Police arrested a member of the Jammu and Kashmir Ranji Trophy cricket team member under the impression he was a terrorist! KSCA and police thought he might terrorise our players and win the Ranji tie!”
“How come our intelligence totally missed any information on him and our external affairs ministry cleared his visa?”
“It can happen only in a Mahesh Bhatt film! We had no inkling until US authorities caught him and all the information is coming during his interrogation in Chicago. There’s one more thing…,” continued APE.
“It appears their FBI had clear information about the impending attack on Bombay, but our supposedly closest friends kept quiet about the whole thing! Now we know how close our friendship with the world’s strongest democratic power is!”
“This is a crying shame! Our Prime Minister swears friendship with all US Presidents after the nuclear treaty.”
“And we signed a nuclear treaty with Russia without breaking in to a song and dance! We have to get this straight. To the US, we come after their security which means keeping Pakistan in good humour with billions of dollars as a toffee so that they don’t hand over the bombs to the Taliban and others to the target US. We come after China because of their huge economic interest; forget human rights, Tibet etc.”
“India isn’t even protesting why the US didn’t share the information on Headley. They will say he was a triple or quadruple agent and they will use him to their advantage. Thanks to our bureaucratic bungling we are not sure if we have his visa papers. S.M. Krishna, Shashi Tharoor and MEA spokesman say different things on different days on the same subject!”
“It’s pathetic. Maharashtra Government did the same thing with protective tunic of Hemant Karkare feeding contradicting bits of information to the media.”
“This is an expertise that is developed over the years. Reject the charge outright and gradually admit it step by step.”
After we had coffee, I asked him who will become the next CM as one hears the BJP government might fall any minute.
The APE said, “That’s a long story. We will keep it for the next time as so many are aiming for the position. We have to find a process of elimination before we zero in on one,” as we walked out.