With a lot being spoken about the nexus between politicians and big businessmen, we wanted to look at the role of the judiciary in this infamous nexus, says Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, co-author of the book Loose Pages. In this interview with Cherry Agarwal, Thakurta, along with the book’s other co-author Sourya Majumder, a researcher and journalist, talks about the Sahara-Birla case, the suicide of Arunachal Pradesh’s former acting chief minister Kalikho Pul, and what went into the making of the book.
Loose Pages: Court Cases That Could Have Shaken India is a book that explores and simplifies—for the common reader—the numerous jargon-filled reports involved in the Sahara-Birla case. Majumdar and Thakurta open up about what made them write a book about it in the first place, and the unprecedented manner in which the case was dealt with. “The Supreme Court took a very narrow or legalistic view of the documents and the evidence,” says Thakurta. What raises many questions is the fact that the pages made available were not looked at by the court on the grounds that it did not follow the Indian Evidence Act. Similar to the Jain Hawala case, this one too had alleged the involvement of many important politicians, thereby making the court’s different treatment of this case “unusual”, if anything else.
The authors talk about how they corroborated information available in the public domain when most of the media organisations refused to work on the Sahara-Birla papers. They tell us how the explanations given to the court in order to justify the cash found at the Sahara and Birla offices were “fascinating”. The book explains how government agencies like the ED, CBI, Income Tax department as well as the court could have done a better job in this case.
“It’s not that we have done this great muck-raking job where we found papers which were not there. It’s more like collating the information, connecting the dots,” says Thakurta.