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Want to write tell-all book on Indira and Rajiv, says Dhawan

R K Dhawan says he is “inclined” to write a book that will “reveal a lot” about the former Prime Minister.

 R K Dhawan says he is “inclined” to write a book that will “reveal a lot” about the former Prime Minister and her son and successor Rajiv Gandhi. R K Dhawan says he is “inclined” to write a book that will “reveal a lot” about the former Prime Minister and her son and successor Rajiv Gandhi.

On the 30th anniversary of Indira Gandhi’s assassination, one of her closest aides has a message to convey that could add to the prevailing gloom in the Congress camp. R K Dhawan says he is “inclined” to write a book that will “reveal a lot” about the former Prime Minister and her son and successor Rajiv Gandhi.

The party has already paid the price for a series of books alleging indecision, corruption and intrigue in the previous UPA government – by former PMO advisor Sanjaya Baru, former CAG Vinod Rai, and finally ex-Foreign Minister Natwar Singh. Now, 77 year old Dhawan says he wants to “put everything down”.

“I haven’t thought of a publisher but I have almost decided that I want to put everything down, the good and the bad,” says Dhawan, who was with Indira Gandhi for 22 years and is still a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC).

“My book will not be like that of Natwar Singh which says nothing. It will reveal a lot. This is because I strongly feel a leader should not appoint any friends or relatives to posts like that of a minister. This is the mistake Rajiv Gandhi made with the likes of Arun Nehru, Arun Singh  and M L Fotedar, all of whom poisoned him against me.”

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Asked about the current Congress leadership, Dhawan says it is “unfair to blame” Sonia and Rahul Gandhi alone for the state of the party. He adds, however, that he is disappointed at the party not making available to members of the CWC the A K Antony report on the reasons behind the defeat in the Lok Sabha elections.

“Rahul did whatever best he could but it is the rank and file of the party which had to back him up, and work in the districts after he had addressed rallies,” Dhawan says. “What I am disappointed about is the fact that the A K Antony report has still not been made available to members of the CWC. I am waiting for the CWC to discuss it so I can speak my mind.”

Asked about the performance of BJP’s Narendra Modi as PM, Dhawan says, “At least let one year pass. All I can say is that the present Prime Minister appears to be active, much more active than Manmohan Singh. There is no doubt that Manmohan Singh had a very bad last year and that all the alleged corruption scams that broke during his tenure demoralised Congress leaders and workers.”
Dhawan traces his bitterness back to the months following his leader’s assassination, when he was put on the list of suspects behind the gunning down of Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.


“During the Janata Party years, I faced J C Shah Commission (formed to inquire into events during the Emergency), and I was raided by Income Tax but nothing compares to the humiliation I faced due to allegations against me by Justice M P Thakkar (who headed the commission of inquiry into Indira Gandhi’s assassination). That ruined my life.”

Analysing Dhawan’s responses to questions, Justice Thakkar had noted that the ‘’needle of suspicion significantly points to his complicity or involvement” in the assassination,  particularly pertaining to the posting of the Sikh guards on security duty that day.

Recalling that day, Dhawan says he was walking beside the Prime Minister, updating her about the instructions he had followed – speaking to President Zail Singh; the guest list of dignitaries invited for dinner that night. It was just then, Dhawan says, that Beant Singh opened fire from ten steps away. Seconds later, he adds, Satwant Singh started firing from his automatic weapon and the Prime Minister fell.
“I still shudder to think about that moment, my throat still chokes. There is perhaps nobody except me who has witnessed a world leader being gunned down from such close quarters as I have.’’


Once the stigma associated with Justice Thakkar’s observations had faded, Dhawan says, Rajiv Gandhi brought him back to the PM’s house in 1989. Then, a year after Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991, Dhawan was inducted to the CWC and later completed two terms in the Rajya Sabha.

First published on: 31-10-2014 at 01:57:21 am
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