, the united Opposition’s vice-presidential nominee, has had a long and
illustrious career in politics. Starting out as a woman’s activist, Margaret
Alva was introduced into politics by her husband’s family. Both her in-laws, Joachim
Alva and Violet Alva, were members of Parliament. Margaret Alva became a member
of the Rajya Sabha in 1974. She went on to serve three six-year terms as a
member of the Upper House. One of the biggest challenges in Alva’s political
career came when the Jain Hawala scandal broke.

At the
time, Alva was a Minister of State for Personnel, Pensions and Public
Grievances. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s top sleuthing
agency, reported to her. The Jain Hawala scandal had broken and several
ministers had been accused of corruption. It was at that time; Margaret Alva
was told: “Then why are you sitting in this ministry like a dumb doll,”
Business Standard reported in a story about her autobiography titled: “Courage
and Commitment: An Autobiography”.

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The Jain
Hawala scandal, also called the Hawala scandal, was a financial scam involving unaccounted
cash payments made through four hawala brokers – the Jain brothers. The $18
million scam implicated some of India’s leading politicians of the time.

The Jain
Hawala scandal

In 1991,
militancy in Kashmir was at its peak. An arrest in Kashmir led to a raid on
hawala brokers that revealed payments made to several senior politicians. Two
diaries and two notebooks were found and leaders across political parties, from
the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to Congress, SJP and Janata Dal were accused
in the case. The accused included LK Advani, Devi Lal, Sharad Yadav, Balram
Jakhar and Madan Lal Khurana, according to the Wikipedia entry on the case.

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none of the accused were convicted largely because much of the evidence was in
the notebooks and diaries and was found inadmissible in court.