Rajiv Gandhi, elder son of Mrs Indira Gandhi, was “unfairly involved” by Bansi Lal in the Defence Ministry’s 1976 Boeing affair. Stating this, the third and final report of the Reddy commission adds that while no corruption charges could be proved against the former defence minister in this regard, the turn of events between the ministry, the Air Force and Indian Airlines suggested that Bansi Lal did take “great interest”. The commission draws attention to the fact that one officer — joint secretary K R Ballga — who disagreed with Bansi Lal on the purchase o f Boeing aircraft, was not only transferred but an adverse entry was made in his file.
PM Defend Govt
Prime Minister Morarji Desai refuted criticisms that the Janata government’s foreign policy had sold the country away. On the other hand, the government had established close relations with countries in the true spirit of non-alignment, he told a public meeting organised by the Tamil Nadu unit of the Janata Party in Madras. Desai claimed that for the first time in the last 30 years the country’s relations with its neighbours were becoming more and more friendly. He dismissed Indira Gandhi’s criticism of the Janata Party as born out of “frustration and a sense of hopelessness of getting back to authority”.
Events took a dramatic turn when Mirza Afzal Beg, deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, submitted his resignation in quick response to Chief Minister Sheikh Abdullah’s call for him to quit the council of ministers. The two leaders have thus parted company after having worked together for 40 long years. Soon after his meeting with journalists in the afternoon, the chief minister wrote to Beg stating that there was “unimpeachable evidence” about the deputy CM’s “involvement in causing defections” within the National Conference during the recent elections to the State Legislative Council.