The release of an audio clip in which Health Minister Vishwajit Rane purportedly can be heard claiming that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told ministers at a recent cabinet meeting that he had the Rafale file in his bedroom has put Rane and the ruling BJP in an embarrassing position. Though Rane held a press conference to tell the world it was not his voice, suspicion runs deep. People who have had conversations with Vishwajit observe that not only the voice in the audio is very much Vishwajit Rane’s, but also the manner, modulation and rhythm of the voice they are familiar with. If there really is such a man who can mimic Vishwajit’s voice so indistinguishably, he must be an artist of a matchless dexterity and devil of a mind. He must be tracked down and prosecuted. We have known of mimics who can imitate voices of political and film celebrities. This would be the first case in which a mimic of incomparable skill has copied the voice of a not-so-famous minister of a small state. As far as we know there is no mimic of such a high calibre in Goa. If a mimic of Mumbai or Delhi did it, he must have asked for hours of taped conversations of Vishwajit Rane and practised for days before he told his employer (allegedly the Congress party) that he was ready to record the mischief!
It sounds like a major conspiracy and needs a very transparent probe by a central investigative agency. Vishwajit Rane too would like it to be probed whose voice is there in the audio. Why not allow him a good sleep by ordering a probe, because he claims he is innocent? The BJP held a press conference to demand an inquiry too. When Congress president Rahul Gandhi raised the matter in the Lok Sabha, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan asked him to authenticate the audio before playing it in the House. In short, everyone wants a probe, so why not set up one? A thorough probe would help unearth the truth about two things. One, we will come to know whether it is Vishwajit Rane’s voice or a mimicry artist’s. Two, we will come to know who he is talking to. So far, the identity of the other person has not been traced. Only a central agency probe, which will include investigation into the call records with the service provider, can reveal who was the person to whom Vishwajit Rane (or the mimic) was having such a lively conversation with.
Prima facie, the scope for the voice being the mimic’s looks limited, as the ‘mimic’ is not only talking about the Rafale file but also about some ministers who the ‘mimic’ obviously does not much like, as also about Speaker Pramod Sawant, who has been authorized by the Chief Minister to represent him at Independence Day and Liberation Day functions and whose name is circulated by the grapevine among CM aspirants. If you were to hear the audio again you would reach a conclusion that it is the voice of someone who wants to kill two birds: one, Manohar Parrikar, by provoking the man he is in conversation with to take his ostensible ‘blackmailing boastfulness’ to Delhi (meaning Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.) The ‘mimic’ is clearly aiming at Parrikar’s head by provoking the BJP high command through the other man’s ‘revelation’ about what he (the mimic) was telling him. Two, Pramod Sawant, by branding him a RSS puppet. Why would the ‘mimic’ want the two out of the way, unless he himself wants to sit in the chief minister’s gaddi?
The conversation with the yet-unidentified man may still point to the voice being not of a mimic’s but of Vishwajit Rane’s on grounds of circumstantial evidence of the political situation too. Becoming an MLA, then becoming a minister, then becoming chief minister – this is the dream of every politician in every state, so we cannot fault Rane for chasing his ambition of the next big leap. Much like the grapevine has been talking about Pramod Sawant as a CM probable they have been noting Vishwajit Rane cozying up to the BJP high command. The more the political circles and the media talked about the BJP choosing a man from the BJP as a successor to Manohar Parrikar and not anyone from the allies, the more frequent was the mention of Vishwajit Rane. Sensing the opportunity, Vishwajit made himself look all-powerful and all-important by keeping himself almost daily in the news, talking of government policies, relegating other ministers to the background. The audio tells more about Rane’s chief ministerial ambition than about Rafale deal. The Congress would not have hired a mimic of world class to pin down Vishwajit Rane!