New Delhi: Former Jammu and Kashmir governor and BJP-appointed governor for four other states Satya Pal Malik, who made many revelations about national security and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s approach to corruption in an explosive interview to The Wire last week, will be questioned by the country’s apex investigating agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), on April 28. While he was initially summoned to the CBI’s guest house on Akbar Road in New Delhi to answer questions, Malik told The Wire that the CBI had now informed him that they will come to his house instead.
It is reliably learnt that the ‘questioning’ will be on the Reliance Insurance issue – the scheme that RSS and BJP leader Ram Madhav was allegedly pushing Malik to pass while he was the governor of Jammu and Kashmir, and which Malik cancelled.
On April 14, Malik had given an explosive interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire, in which he had specifically spoken of this deal. Bharatiya Janata Party and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Ram Madhav, Malik said, paid the then Jammu and Kashmir governor a special visit to try and get him to pass a scheme proposed by Reliance Insurance. When Malik made it clear that the scheme had been cancelled and the paperwork was done, Madhav left disappointed, according to Malik.
The multi-party petition in the Supreme Court against the role played by central agencies (including the CBI) to play to a political tune was not heard by the apex court as they claimed they could not look at issuing broad blanket rulings, but needed to look at matters case by case.
Read the precise transcript (translated from Hindi) of what Malik said about this scheme and Madhav’s involvement to The Wire:
On Ram Madhav and Reliance Insurance
KT: I want to speak about something else that you mentioned in that YouTube interview that you did, because I think it is very important. You spoke about Reliance Insurance wanting to open an insurance scheme in Kashmir. You said that Ram Madhav came to see you at 7 am at your residence to get you to clear it? You also said that you hadn’t even showered by then?
SM: I had [said that], and I don’t even meet people before a shower, but that day I had to meet him.
KT: He came to you at seven in the morning and asked you to clear it and you said, and I am quoting you, “I will not do anything wrong.” What was the wrong thing that he was trying to make you do?
SM: I also got a notice from him.
KT: Yes, it is also in the papers that he sued you for defamation. But that’s just proves that you are a brave man and that won’t put you off, so let’s not worry about that.
SM: Ask him to tell me why he had shown up at the residence, what did he want to talk about? Did he want to talk about murder? One day earlier we had closed the matter and he came back again very early in the morning. He asked me if I had closed the matter on insurance and I said that I had. He asked me if the letter had gone and I said that it had. Then Ram Madhav got upset.
“He asked me if the letter had gone and I said that it had. Then Ram Madhav got upset.”
Satyapal Malik has been summoned by the CBI for questioning on the Reliance Insurance Scheme – which he alleges Ram Madhav wanted him to push forward.
— The Wire (@thewire_in) April 21, 2023
KT: Tell me this, why did you refuse Reliance Insurance permission for starting the insurance scheme that it wanted to in Kashmir?
SM: I had initially passed this scheme but a lot of people asked me to take it back. The first thing that happened was that government employees were really unhappy with the coming of the scheme. That is because all government employees had to pay Rs 8,500 a year for the scheme. Retired officers had to give more than Rs 20,000. So I said in Delhi, under CGHS, we don’t have to pay anything, so why would they pay here? And on top of that, the hospitals that had been listed in the scheme were bad hospitals. None of the hospitals were of national repute. I realised that the hospitals were bad and then good treatment would not be meted out even after taking large amounts. That’s why I told them to do it on CJHS pattern.
KT: Then did Ram Madhav come to meet you in the morning because he wanted you to accept this scheme? He was quite happy with these charges; he was okay with having these bad hospitals involved?
SM: No, he did not ask me to do anything. He just asked me whether I had cancelled it and then whether I had sent the letter. He was upset; I understood what was happening.
KT: You also understood that he wanted you to pass the scheme?
SM: But I had already refused.
KT: But he came to get it passed?
SM: Yes, he had never before visited me.
KT: He wanted to change your mind?
SM: Yes, but no one can. Even if the PM had said I would not have agreed.
KT: But Ram Madhav tried?
Note: In an earlier version of this story, a tweet by a handle using Satya Pal Malik’s name was mistakenly quoted as representing Malik.