RSS and BJP

Why did the RSS decide to weigh in on the Jay Shah controversy?

Sangh leader Dattatreya Hosabale said ‘allegations of corruption’ must be investigated if there is ‘evidence of wrongdoing’.

Weighing in on the controversy around the business dealings of Jay Shah, son of Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on Thursday said “allegations of corruption” must be investigated if there is “evidence of wrongdoing”. With this, it struck a different note from the dominant consensus in the BJP, which has rejected the charges against Jay Shah as well as demands from Opposition parties for an investigation.

On Thursday, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale was reported to have told media persons in Bhopal, “If there are corruption allegations against anyone, they should be investigated. But there has to be prima facie evidence of wrongdoing.”

Hosabale’s statement came after a meeting in Bhopal on Sunday between RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and BJP Margdarshak Mandal (guidance council) member Murli Manohar Joshi. This seems to have set the ground for the RSS – the BJP’s ideological parent – to formulate its own position on the matter.

The meeting came hours after The Wire reported that the revenues of Jay Shah’s company, Temple Enterprises, had jumped enormously in 2015-’16, the year after the BJP came to power. It also gave details of loans received by companies connected to Jay Shah, based on documents filed with the Registrar of Companies.

The BJP has said that all loans to Jay Shah’s companies were obtained in a transparent manner and repaid in full, with interest. Jay Shah, on his part, has filed a defamation case against the news site.

How RSS came to a decision

On Thursday, when RSS leader Hosabale was asked if he thought there was a case against Jay Shah, he said: “It is for those who made the accusation to prove the charge.”

This was not an off-the-cuff remark. It followed a high-level meeting on Wednesday evening in Bhopal at which where select office-bearers of the RSS discussed the matter for almost two hours , people privy to the discussions said.

“At the meeting, [the] sarsanghachalak [Mohan Bhagwat] presented inputs he had received from Joshiji on Sunday,” a senior Sangh functionary said. “This was followed by a detailed discussion on the charges against Jay Shah and the way the BJP had dealt with them.”

At the meeting, Hosabale was given the responsibility of making the RSS’s view public. “It was decided that the Sangh’s position on the issue would be made public not by communications chief Manmohan Vaidya but by an office-bearer whose words would carry considerable weight with the BJP and the government,” the functionary said.

Hosabale is one of the Sangh’s four joint general secretaries and he is being considered for the post of sarkaryavah (general secretary), who acts as the organisation’s executive head. His name may be proposed at the Sangh’s ongoing Kendriya Karyakari Mandal (central executive group) meeting in Bhopal, though a final decision would be taken at the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha – a meeting of the organisation’s highest decision-making body – scheduled to be held in Nagpur in March 2018.

At Joshi’s meeting with Bhagwat, he is also said to have apprised the RSS chief about the BJP’s style of functioning – which has assumed significance in the wake of party veteran Yashwant Sinha’s attacks on the government last month for allegedly mismanaging India’s economy.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Tracing the formation of Al Qaeda and its path to 9/11

A new show looks at some of the crucial moments leading up to the attack.

“The end of the world war had bought America victory but not security” - this quote from Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, ‘The Looming Tower’, gives a sense of the growing threat to America from Al Qaeda and the series of events that led to 9/11. Based on extensive interviews, including with Bin Laden’s best friend in college and the former White House counterterrorism chief, ‘The Looming Tower’ provides an intimate perspective of the 9/11 attack.

Lawrence Wright chronicles the formative years of Al Qaeda, giving an insight in to Bin Laden’s war against America. The book covers in detail, the radicalisation of Osama Bin Laden and his association with Ayman Al Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor who preached that only violence could change history. In an interview with Amazon, Wright shared, “I talked to 600-something people, but many of those people I talked to again and again for a period of five years, some of them dozens of times.” Wright’s book was selected by TIME as one of the all-time 100 best nonfiction books for its “thoroughly researched and incisively written” account of the road to 9/11 and is considered an essential read for understanding Islam’s war on the West as it developed in the Middle East.

‘The Looming Tower’ also dwells on the response of key US officials to the rising Al Qaeda threat, particularly exploring the turf wars between the FBI and the CIA. This has now been dramatized in a 10-part mini-series of the same name. Adapted by Dan Futterman (of Foxcatcher fame), the series mainly focuses on the hostilities between the FBI and the CIA. Some major characters are based on real people - such as John O’ Neill (FBI’s foul-mouthed counterterrorism chief played by Jeff Daniels) and Ali Soufan (O’ Neill’s Arabic-speaking mentee who successfully interrogated captured Islamic terrorists after 9/11, played by Tahar Rahim). Some are composite characters, such as Martin Schmidt (O’Neill’s CIA counterpart, played by Peter Sarsgaard).

The series, most crucially, captures just how close US intelligence agencies had come to foiling Al Qaeda’s plans, just to come up short due to internal turf wars. It follows the FBI and the CIA as they independently follow intelligence leads in the crises leading up to 9/11 – the US Embassy bombings in East Africa and the attack on US warship USS Cole in Yemen – but fail to update each other. The most glaring example is of how the CIA withheld critical information – Al Qaeda operatives being hunted by the FBI had entered the United States - under the misguided notion that the CIA was the only government agency authorised to deal with terrorism threats.

The depth of information in the book has translated into a realistic recreation of the pre-9/11 years on screen. The drama is even interspersed with actual footage from the 9/11 conspiracy, attack and the 2004 Commission Hearing, linking together the myriad developments leading up to 9/11 with chilling hindsight. Watch the trailer of this gripping show below.

Play

The Looming Tower is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, along with a host of Amazon originals and popular movies and TV shows. To enjoy unlimited ad free streaming anytime, anywhere, subscribe to Amazon Prime Video.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon Prime Video and not by the Scroll editorial team.