April 9, 2013 3:09:20 am
Fresh US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks have claimed that Rajiv Gandhi was the main Indian negotiator for Swedish aircraft company Saab-Scania before entering politics.
The leaked secret cable was first reported by The Hindu on Monday and talked about Rajivs family connections,seen as valuable in connection with a huge fighter deal that was being negotiated for the IAF in the 1970s.
Responding to the report,the Congress accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of spreading lies and falsehoods while the BJP demanded the government come clean on the controversy.
Swedish embassy officials has informed us that main Indian negotiator with swedes on viggen at New Delhi end has been Ms Gandhis older son,Rajiv Gandhi. Latters only association with aircraft industry (to our knowledge) has been as pilot for Indian airlines and this is first time we have heard his name as entrepreneur, said a US diplomatic cable sent on October 21,1975.
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The cables went on to say that French aviation firm Dassault,which was also in the race with its Mirage aircraft,had the son-in-law of the then Air Chief,Air Marshal O P Mehra,as its chief negotiator.
Ms Gandhi (according to Swedish information) has made personal decision not to purchase British jaguar because of her prejudices against British… decision would be between Mirage and Viggen. The Swedish diplomat said that Swedens neutral position in world politics is offsetting Viggens higher cost. He expressed irritation at the way Ms Gandhi is personally dominating negotiations,without involvement of Indian air force officers, the cables said.
A related cable says the Swedes also made it clear they understood the importance of family influences in the final decision. The cable adds: Our colleague describes Ranjiv (sic) Gandhi in flattering terms,and contends his technical expertise is of a high level. This may or may not be. Offhand,we would have thought a transport pilot not the best expert to rely upon in evaluating a fighter plane,but then we are speaking of a transport pilot who has another and perhaps more relevant qualification.
The British Jaguar eventually bagged the deal. Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi trashed the claims made in the cables.
Having noted what the Swedes have said,the cable makes the comment that there was no additional information to either refute or confirm the information. The foundation of the whole story falls flat here, he said.
Dwivedi urged the media not to fall for temporary gains and said the ruling party is very hurt by the news. He said WikiLeaks had collected a lot of so-called information or got it somewhere and published it quoting the American Embassy. Till date it has not been verified. I do not understand what is the basis of what has been published in the newspaper today.
Accusing Assange of spreading lies and falsehoods,he said the WikiLeaks founder wants to form a political party.
With the BJP demanding the Congress come clean on the latest WikiLeaks revelations,the ruling party sought to turn the tables citing another cable that suggested that former NDA convenor George Fernandes had,during the Emergency,sought funds from the US intelligence agency CIA.
The opposition party demanded an explanation from the Congress on the allegations made in the cables and urged the government to make public documents on the issue.
These revelations are serious. The nation has a right to know the truth. These are 30 years old documents which point to a possible connection of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi in different defence acquisitions, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.
Responding to the BJP,Dwivedi referred to the other report in The Hindu about Fernandes.
If it is accepted that there is any truth in this suspicion (about Rajiv Gandhi),then just below that cable is one more report in which the name of a big leader of the NDA figures. I do not want to take his name or level any allegations against him because of the condition in which he is, Dwivedi said alluding to Fernandes health.
But is that also true that he used to get money from the CIA or he had demanded money from the CIA? Should we stretch this story to the extent that the BJP and all its leaders were involved in it,who supported the agitations and the vandalism that took place then? Should we stretch it further and say that all this took place with the knowledge of Jayaprakash Narayan? Dwivedi asked. – With PTI inputs
SANJAY GANDHI replaced pro-Soviet P R Dasmunsi with intellectually weak Ambika Soni at Youth Cong
KAMAL NATH boasted of a nuclear explosion being planned in 1976
KARPOORI THAKURs representative approached the US seeking diplomatic asylum for him
SONIA GANDHI,Sanjay Gandhis sister-in-law,was co-owner of Maruti Heavy Vehicles Ltd.
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