Mumbai: Neither the CBI nor the Mumbai
Police can confirm, almost two weeks after the alleged event, whether
gangster Abu Salem had been arrested in Sharjah. On October 22, a Pakistani
called Mohammad Ali was arrested with his female companion from his plush
Sharjah residence. This sparked off a flurry of charges and counter-charges
over extradition and identity. Finally, 48 hours later, Ali walked free.
While CBI officials are certain Ali was Salem-as per "informal information"-the
official stand is "the UAE has denied Salem's arrest".
Salem is wanted in over 20 cases by Mumbai Police,
including the serial bomb blasts of 1993. The Dawood aide runs his underworld
empire from the UAE. The police has managed to foil five recent murder
attempts, including one on Ashutosh Gowarikar, director of Lagaan, apparently
inspired by Salem. While India had tipped off Interpol on Salem, the FBI
traced calls he made on an American visit. They had references to the
ongoing Champions Trophy in Sharjah. The British press reacted to Salem's
arrest by wondering if cricket fixing earnings ended up helping terrorists.
Another version of the slippery Salem story
came from Ahmad Musali, UAE ambassador in Delhi. He was quoted as saying
the Indian Foreign Ministry had sought Ali's arrest. Musali, however,
told India Today he had been misquoted. A media report in UAE added Salem
was tracked through cell phone calls to his girlfriend and film starlet
Monica Bedi. The conclusion: she was his "female companion".
SUKUMAR NAMBIAR, BJP treasurer
Treasurers of political
parties are not supposed to be high-profile, flamboyant people. A typical
example was Sitaram Kesri, money manager of the Congress for aeons and
as dour as they come. In the BJP, the venerable Ved Prakash Goyal did
the job for an equally long period. Sensing the need for a generational
change, the BJP appointed the Chennai-based M.N. Sukumar Nambiar as its
new treasurer. Nambiar, 52, is anything but a regular politician. A black
belt in the Shorinjiryu Kenkokkan school of karate, Nambiar has trained
Army commandos as well as the security guards of J. Jayalalitha, former
Tamil Nadu chief minister. The relationship with Jaya ran so deep that
Nambiar was his party's ambassador to her court during the tempestuous
BJP-AIADMK alliance of 1998-99. Son of M.N. Nambiar, legendary Tamil screen
villain, smooth Sukumar is also an industrialist, heading the Sabari Group.
Nambiar has got an MBA from a US university. If all that were not enough,
he is skilled in rifle shooting too. Now as BJP President Jana Krishnamurthy's
handpicked coffer keeper, Nambiar has shot himself into the national political
Vice-Admiral Madhvendra Singh as new chief of naval staff and Air Marshal
S. Krishnaswamy as air chief marshal.
Nehru, 93, ICS officer, former ambassador to US and governor of Jammu
and Kashmir. The title of his memoirs, Nice Guys Finish Second, summed
Congress leader Margatham Chandrasekar, 83, in Chennai. She had served
as a minister in the Nehru, Shastri and Indira Gandhi cabinets.
Pradeep Kumar, film actor, of a heart attack, at the age of 77 in Kolkata.
Beginning his film career in 1942, he played historic roles in Taj Mahal