Counting Bills Sons & Fathers
- Published 15.10.17
It was the same week economist Richard Thaler got the Nobel for Behavioural Economics. An exposé by The Wire revealed that Amit Shah’s son had increased the turnover of his business by 16,000 times, since 2015.
Yes, 16,000. The thrust of Thaler’s work — that people are predictably irrational.
Papa Shah kept preaching in Amethi, but everyone else in the saffron family went into a tizzy. Rail minister Piyush Goyal held a presser, additional solicitor-general Tushar Mehta literally leapt to Jay’s defence and Rajnath Singh, who’s in charge of Home and from the looks of it, hearth too, said — “No investigation is required.” News reports are all agog about Thaler’s concept of nudging. Arre baba, we are also going nudge, nudge, and wink, wink.
It’s a punny name. The Shehzada ribbed Jay for taking zyada. But the Congress shouldn’t talk. Even if we were to excuse Vadra and his DLF zillions — arre damaad hai — there are those charges against Karti, son of P.C. Chidambaram. It’s all in the family here too.
Kapil Sibal, the former law minister, is Karti’s lawyer. Yes, yes, we are nudging.
Nitish Kumar neither nudged, nor judged Jay. He said, “I haven’t read the newspaper today.” Lalu Prasad, who is living down his own scandals — his children have allegedly amassed benami property worth Rs 950 crore — was quiet. Lalu’s children called their company Delight. Jay’s companies were called Temple and Kusum. Vadra’s companies, Sky Light, Blue Breeze, Real Earth, etc. With all that money, one would think you could buy better names.
And this is how it has been. 1970s. Chandan Basu was a junior executive till Baba became Bengal CM and he could float a biscuit empire. 1990s. Parliament erupted when it was revealed that the then PM, P.V. Narasimha Rao’s son, Prabhakar, had taken a Rs 2-crore loan from a scam-tainted broker. Then there was the Urea Scam. Deve Gowda showered paternal affection in the form of gas agencies. As Thaler would say — predictably irrational.