THE RSS chief in the 1970s, Balasaheb Deoras, had expressed “strong support” for some measures taken during the Emergency and wanted to meet Prime Minister Indira Gandhi but he was not entertained, according to a new book by former director of Intelligence Bureau (IB) T V Rajeshwar.
Rajeshwar, who later became Governor of several states in the 1980s and 1990s, gives an anecdotal account of his long years in the IB, including several incidents of espionage and counter intelligence in Delhi’s diplomatic circles without naming many of his high-profile central characters. He has also mentioned about several cases of corruption and bribes in arms deals in early 1980s and hints that Indira Gandhi ignored the intelligence leads on some of these.
The book, “India: The Crucial Years”, published by Harper Collins, will be launched by Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Saturday. A good part of it is devoted to the Emergency years, when Rajeshwar was a joint director in the IB handling the political desk.
“The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a right-wing Hindu nationalist organisation, was banned in the wake of the Emergency. But its chief, Balasaheb Deoras, quietly established a link with the PM’s house and expressed strong support to several steps taken to enforce order and discipline in the country. Sanjay Gandhi’s concerted drive to enforce family planning, particularly among Muslims, had earned Deoras’s approbation,” Rajeshwar writes at one point.
“A senior IB officer knew some people in the higher echelons of the RSS and had some meetings with them, including Deoras. Deoras was keen to meet Mrs Gandhi and Sanjay, but this was not possible as Mrs Gandhi did not want to be dubbed as an RSS sympathiser,” he writes.
On arms deals, Rajeshwar says “certain scandalous rumours” were circulating in the capital in the 1980s regarding government transactions. “In April 1981, I gave a note to Mrs Gandhi on Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) of Bangalore on the basis of information given by a senior technocrat working there and after making our own inquiries. The report pertained to kickbacks received from a French firm and a German firm. It also spoke about the activities of a Delhi-based firm belonging to some men who were closely related to an important functionary in HAL as well as a politician who was until recently very close to the PM’s family. No action was taken in the matter,” he writes.