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ON A PLEASANT WINTER DAY in November 2010, as the afternoon sun shone on the leaves of the Katsagon trees outside Shastri Bhavan, the telephone rang in room 302, C-Wing—the office of Kapil Sibal, the Minister for Human Resource Development. The prime minister’s office was on the line, and Sibal calmly adjourned a meeting to take the call.
After the brief distraction of US President Barack Obama’s four-day visit to India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had decided Sibal would be the man to replace A Raja, the communications minister tainted by the 2G spectrum scam. Sibal’s office wasn’t expecting a call from the prime minister, but he was not surprised: according to one ministry official, TKA Nair, the principal secretary in the PMO, had been a frequent visitor to Sibal’s office in the preceding days. Raja soon submitted his resignation, and the very next day Sibal took over.