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R.K. JAIN: After that, the bugger could not get lowest into the PNC. Poland become the lowest.
TEHELKA: Okay.

R.K. JAIN: Then he started running around. "Mr. Jain…" I was very angry, "You bastard." And on the instruction of George Fernandes, Rajiv Goba attended that PNC to see that what is happening in the case.
TEHELKA: Hmm.

R.K. JAIN: Party was wanting money. We just came into the power, we had no money.

*  *  *

The story behind Jain vaulting himself into the treasurer's post of
the Samata Party is too interesting to be left out.

TEHELKA: Basically, traditionally you are a businessman?
R.K. JAIN: Yes, just entered into the politics two years back. Not merely entered, but George Fernandes selected me. He called me and said, "You become my treasurer." I used to go to ministers as a industrialist goes at times. One of my friend came and said, "Look, I am going to George Fernandes." I said, "He is a very good man. I want to see him, I have never seen him." I went to him the first day. The next day I got a phone call in the night at 7.30. "Mr Jain, can you come and see me right now?" I said, "Yes." Actually, in the first meeting he said, "Mr. Jain, I want two-and-a-half lakh rupees." When I went without appointment…when I went with my friend, "I needed money. Can you arrange 2.5 lakh?" I said, "What are you talking? You are such a big man. You are asking for 2.5 lakh rupees? I can't give you. You should have asked for 10 lakh, 20 lakh. What is 2.5 lakh?" Then he says, "No, no, no. I am need 2.5 lakh. Can you give it to me?" I said, "Yeah, I'll give it. Give me two-three days' time." Next day again he phoned to me. I thought he'll ask for more. He had agreed for 2.5, now will he ask for more? He said, "Mr. Jain, I want to make you my national treasurer." That is how I became the treasurer.

Later, Jain explains to the President of West End how he lobbied with Defence Minister George Fernandes to get the Air Jet Trainer project for Samata Party.

R.K. JAIN: You know I worked for your project initially here. I started with this project called Air Jet Trainers.
TEHELKA: Okay.

R.K. JAIN: Air jet trainers. And basically, you know there are three major manufacturers. Americans are also there, but since it is banned from America, so they were not competing. The British Hawk, Alpha Jet from France and MAPO-MiG from Russia.
TEHELKA: Yeah.

R.K. JAIN: So the…I…this MAPO people, MiG people, approached me. I went to the boss. I said, "Look, sir, this is something…."
TEHELKA: Mr. Fernandes?

R.K. JAIN: Haan. "…This is a very big job, worth of 4,000 crores, 3,600, to be precise…."
TEHELKA: Okay.

R.K. JAIN (continuing): "And…if you bless me, then I'll take the agency from them and do it." He said, "Look, give me a time. Give me some time. Let me check." So he checked up. He came back to me after two-three days. He said, "Mr Jain, I have checked up, and I feel that they are going to stand the lowest…."
TEHELKA:…Chance of….

R.K. JAIN: They are already lowest.
TEHELKA: In terms of price?

R.K. JAIN: In terms of price.
TEHELKA: Okay.

R.K. JAIN: There is a good chance that the order will go to them. Catch hold of them.
TEHELKA: This is the MAPO-MiGs?

R.K. JAIN: MAPO-MiGs. "You can tie-up with them."
TEHELKA: Yeah.

R.K. JAIN: Then I went to the boss again. I spoke to the MAPO people, MiG people. I said, "Look, well, I can do it."He said, "All right, but you have to get us introduced to George Fernandes. In the sense fix up an appointment. Official appointment. And we will go and see. If you are able to do it, then you will be our representative in this particular deal in India."
TEHELKA: Yeah.

R.K. JAIN: I went to the boss again. I said, "Look, this is the problem." He said, "But they should trust you. You are a treasurer. What is the point of exposing me? Why do you want to expose me?" I said, "I am not exposing you because I am not asking for unofficial appointment. I am asking for a official appointment." He said, "All right". I said, "This is not such a big deal, why they should believe you?"
TEHELKA: Hmm.

R.K. JAIN: He said, "All right, but you can send…."
TEHELKA: When was this? Last year?

R.K. JAIN: Last to…this is…one-and-a-half year's time.
TEHELKA: Yeah, yeah.

R.K. JAIN: Then I…told…spoke to MiG people. He said, "All right, Mr. Jain, after meeting, we'll give you the agency agreement." Then we talked about. I said, "Look, I want 10 per cent commission." The chairman said, "No, Mr. Jain, we can't give you more than seven per cent. Because seven per cent is…. This is a big project of 3,600 crores. Though commission will be higher, but some part of the commission will go to…I mean…wherever it goes. It's none of your headache".
TEHELKA: Yeah, yeah.

R.K. JAIN (continuing): "…But you are going to get seven per cent…."
TEHELKA: Yeah, yeah.

R.K. JAIN: And then I said, "No, I can't do it for less than 10 per cent whether the deal is small or big because in this particular deal the PM is also going to be involved at one stage. It needs a Cabinet-approval. So…my party will expect at least three per cent. PM house will expect at least three per cent. And how do I survive in seven per cent? Then there are bureaucrats, myself, and everybody is there. If you narrow it down, you say two per cent, two per cent…. In India you can't negotiate with ministers. Which means…. Normally, they try and keep three per cent and upto two per cent depending upon size…." And they said, "All right…you…." He went and met George Fernandes. And George Fernandes was laughing to me next day. He said, "The bugger was nervous, he was sweating. The chairman of MiG was sweating." He said, "Then I realised that he is not at ease. So I had to start discussions, I had to, you know, talk to him for 15 to 20 minutes." He was very happy. He came back and he said, "Look, yes, it's all right. Look, you come to Russia, we will sign the agreement." So I flew to Russia. Though I am not allowed to flew without the permission of George.
TEHELKA: Okay.

R.K. JAIN: But I went to Jaya Jaitly. I said, "Madam, they are calling me to Moscow." She said, "No, no, Mr. Jain, it's not safe. You don't fly because you see, you are our treasurer. People are keeping an eye on you." I said, "Look, they have called…unless we sign an agreement tomorrow, I do the job for them…and they turn out…they don't pay me, then where do I go? Party will say 'where's our commission?' What do I do?" [gestures] She said, "All right, go, go." So I went there. The chairman and all seven-eight people of that MiG company…all chiefs and some managers…came and attended the meeting. Then he said, "Mr. Jain, I did a mistake there. You see, we cannot sign an agreement today on the air jet trainers. But we have small, small few jobs like upgradation of MiGs. Why don't you take these small jobs first, and in the process we'll make an agreement with the bigger one." I…I was in a… you know, my mood got spoilt because I took the permission from the boss, I flew down to Moscow to sign an agreement…."
TEHELKA: The problem was from the MiG guys?

   
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