Wikileaks exposure on Rajiv Gandhi
THE Congress Party is scurrying for cover as it is in for a major snub as the Wikileaks, Kissinger cable revealed that the former Prime Minister late Rajiv Gandhi was involved as a middle man for a Swedish aviation firm Saab–Scania in the 1970’s. The Cables also revealed that Rajiv was lobbying for Saab-Scania’s Viggen fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force.
Rajiv was, according to the Cables, used by the Swedish aviation firm for getting the order from the Government of India for its Viggen fighter aircraft.
The Cables indicate that the Swedish company had “understood the importance of family influences in the final decision in the fighter sweepstakes.” An October 21, 1975 Cables from the New Delhi U.S. Embassy details information given to it by a diplomat in the Swedish Embassy. “Mrs Gandhi’s older son’s only association with the aircraft industry (to our knowledge) has been as a pilot for Indian Airlines and this is the first time we have heard his name as entrepreneur.”
The Cables adds, “Mrs Gandhi (according to the Swedish info) has made the personal decision not to purchase the British Jaguar because of her prejudices against the British. The decision would be between the Mirage [Dassault Mirage F1] and the Viggen.”
However according to the Cables the British SEPECAT Jaguar got the contract as Saab was forced by the United States to back out.
The Congress Party which has been claiming Rajiv Gandhi as a honest and clean person has already come out in the defence of the late Prime Minister. The Congress spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi while speaking to media persons said that Wikileaks was totally unreliable and should not be seen as any relevant document.
However the Congress Party has to answer as to how Rajiv Gandhi’s name has propped up as a middle man in the Viggen fighter aircraft deal. The deal did not materialise not because of any glitch from the Indian side, but, according to the Wikileaks Cables, the Swedes were forced to do an abrupt about turn with what appears to be a bit of arm-twisting.
An August 6, 1976 Cables titled “Saab-Scania requests for U.S. permission to export Viggen and license to India” almost confirms this with a blunt message: “The USG, after careful consideration, has concluded that no version of the Viggen containing any classified U.S. components would be acceptable for transfer to India. It would also oppose any transfer to India, for local production, of the advanced U.S. technology represented in the Viggen’s aerodynamic design, engine and flying controls, navigation system, electronic components and weapons systems.”
A 1976 Cables also details the negative USG response to Saab-Scania president’s informal request for export of Viggen aircraft in India and the licence to manufacture such aircraft in India. Senior Swedish officials have clearly stated “that the most important consideration to their government was preservation of cooperation with the US on military R&D, which they recognised as vital to maintenance of a viable Swedish defence effort and that the sale of the Viggen to India was of secondary consideration to them in comparison with the value of military cooperation with the U.S.”
This shows that the Swedes did not back off from the deal owing to some technical or political objection from the Indian side but owing to arm twisting tactics adopted by the US, mainly owing to the US interests in settling the deal in favour of the British Jaguar.
This shows clearly that if the US had not put pressure on the Swedish company the deal would have materialised as Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had a definite distaste for British Jaguar and hence Viggen was the front runner. This means that if the deal had materialised, then Rajiv, being the person, according to the Cables who had introduced to the Indian government, would have got a hefty commission according to standard practices which were in vogue then.
Coming back to the Swedish aviation firm Saab-Scania, it is clear that Rajiv has always been into arms deals with Swedish firms. It started when the Indian government decided to purchase 400 155mm Howitzer guns from Swedish company Bofors for $1.4 billion in 1986. In 1987 Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and several others were accused of getting commission in this deal. The controversial middle man in this deal Ottavio Quattrochi who was close to Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi was the middle man in this deal along with Win Chadha who represented Bofors in India and also the Hinduja brothers. The case against Ottavio Quatrochi was dropped by the CBI from the wanted list and this led to the Interpol removing a red corner alert against him. This points that Rajiv Gandhi and his Italian wife Sonia Gandhi has always been in the centre of corruption and corrupt practices.
The Congress party must have to give an explanation as to why Rajiv is having Swedish connections, first with Saab-Scania and then with Bofors . The Congress had blatantly negated that the late Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi never had any knowledge on the Bofors gun deal. This time when the Wikileaks, Kissinger Cables, exposed Rajiv’s direct contact with Saab-Scania, the official Congress leadership is up in arms with the theory that the Wikileaks is not reliable. This shows that the Congress party is in the sycophancy mode and that it can never change from its prostration before the first family in the Congress culture of dynasty politics and prostration before the leadership.
The issue now facing the Indian leadership is how, Congress, a party led by Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi can give common man a corrupt free government. The Congress, a party of the sychophants does not have any proper answer to these nagging questions and with the recent exposure on the Agusta Westland Helicopter deal, it was clear that money had changed hands forcing the Defence Minister AK Antony to admit that some one has taken money in the deal.
Old habits die hard for the Congress Party and the business of wheeler dealing seems to be continuing.