Bofors Scandal, Rajiv Gandhi & Ex-CBI Chief’s Half-Truths!

I refer to the news stories from the Times of India & The Indian Express regarding the Bofors Scam and Rajiv Gandhi that got published today and are half-truths only!

I invite discerning readers to refer to pages 32 , 33 and others where I refer to the Bofors scandal in my book. This is what I had written:

“ऐसे में भीतरघात का अस्त्र अचूक साबित होना था। बोफोर्स नामक जिन्न अभी बोतल के बाहर है। उसे उसके आकाओं ने सही समय पर बाहर निकाला था, मिस्टर क्लीन की असलियत जाहिर करने के लिए। पर असलियत यह थी कि, उसे अस्त्र के रूप में इस्तेमाल किया गया था। जो दिल्ली के वातावरण से वाकिफ हैं, वो अच्छी तरह जानते हैं कि किसी भी भले मानस के मुंह पर कालिख मलने के लिए यहाँ विशेषज्ञ भारी मात्रा में उपलब्ध हैं। वरना कोई बताये कि क्या एक दिन में बोफोर्स जैसा घोटाला घट सकता है? क्या सीधे प्रधानमंत्री किसी भी प्रकार के खरीदने या बेचने का आर्डर देते थे, देते हैं या देंगे? क्या तत्कालीन रक्षा मंत्री और वित्त मंत्री इन सौदों से कतई अनभिज्ञ थे? तो क्या कर रहा था उनका रक्षा मंत्रालय का आंतरिक वित्त सलाहकार? क्या उसने वित्त सचिव को तथ्यों की समय-समय पर जानकारी दी थी? क्या वित्त सचिव ने वित्त मंत्री को सूचना दी थी? क्या वित्त मंत्री के हाथ ऐसा भेद लग गया था जिससे राजीव से आसानी से मुक्ति पाई जा सके? या फिर इस सारे घोटाले को बड़े शातिर तरीके से अंजाम देकर राजीव को फंसाया गया, जो अपने वित्त मंत्री पर जरूरत से ज्यादा भरोसा करते थे? क्या राजीव को बहलाया, फुसलाया, बहकाया गया कि सब ठीक-ठाक हो रहा है? क्या वित्त मंत्री ने समय पर अपना विरोध लिख कर दर्ज कराया था? क्या ओवररूल किए जाने पर वित्त मंत्री ने अपना इस्तीफा दिया था? या फिर नदी में भँवर तक जानबूझ कर राजीव की  नॉव ले जाकर उसे डुबोने का षडयन्त्र रच लिया गया था?  इन प्रश्नों को मिस्टर क्लीन से जोड़कर देखेंगे तो काफी दिलचस्प विवेचनाएं सामने आयेंगी। “

The Excerpts from the autobiography of Dr. A.P. Mukherjee, the former CBI Chief, which the two national English newspapers have carried in their editions of 14th November 2013, highlight the moral dilemma faced by Rajiv Gandhi regarding the corrupt practice of commission in almost every defence deal. Rajiv had banned the middlemen in all defence deals. Along with other policy initiatives as contained in my book, the ban on middlemen specially irked many important agents and their political patrons in India, who were the beneficiaries of such illegal operations. So someone simulating loyalty to Rajiv Gandhi was roped in to trap Rajiv Gandhi into considering a little flexibility in enforcing the ban on middlemen in defence deals. The selected details of the meeting  Dr. Mukherjee has included in his autobiography does not reveal the name of the man who was trying to tutor &  influence Rajiv’s decision to adopt a bit of flexibility on the ban on middlemen. The loud thinking of the Prime Minister in the presence of the CBI Chief could be for nudging him to reveal the surreptitious activities carried behind his back to sabotage the ban on middlemen he had imposed. Why else would Rajiv discuss with the CBI Chief the plan for getting commission in defence deals for party use? Was the CBI Chief Rajiv Gandhi’s friend or philosopher or guide or tutor or mentor or conscience keeper? He was just an officer, nothing more. The Prime Minister would not be so naïve as to discuss such matters with the Chief of the organization created to investigate corruption cases. Chances are that he was carrying some message from the communist party, who were the bigger beneficiaries of cuts in defence purchases from the USSR, as Dr. Mukherjee worked for Indrajit Gupta, Communist leader, who had become Home Minister of India in the subsequent government. Dr. Mukherjee has been quite liberal in including other details, such as the creation of some non-government entity to keep the money which could be utilized for meeting the inescapable expenses of the party. Since the gang knew that Rajiv Gandhi would not fall for anything else, they had devised the mechanism of the non-government entity. To really understand the nuance of such suggestions and the people giving them, one has to know in detail the Indian politics, its regional variations, caste behaviour, religious composition, gender responses, linguistic nuances etc. It was for this purpose only that I chose to write my manuscript in Hindi language. The verb, the idiom, the connotations of the Hindi language are beyond translation in capturing the political scene succintly, but the Bofors scandal can be appreciated only if my book or other such works are read. Bofors was only a weapon of political attack which worked in India most successfully. Just compare the corruption cases under the UPA-I & II governments and the arrogance with which the government has faced the challenges posed by these scandals. Instead of taking action against the corrupt, the government has criticized the Comptroller & Auditor General of India (C&AG), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Judiciary and the media. Contrast it with the Bofors scandal, where a mere unsubstantiated allegation made Rajiv Gandhi lose the next election and Brutus & co of Indian politics to enter office. It was the power of the weapon of corruption charges in those days, though the nearly ten years of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government has made this weapon effectively dysfunctional now. It is now for the readers to make their own judgement after reading the news stories from the TOI & IE quoted below:

1) Times of India article dated 14th November 2013 titled “Rajiv Gandhi wanted money to run Congress: Ex-CBI Chief

2) Indian Express article dated 14th November 2013 titled “Rajiv Gandhi told me to use arms deal payoffs for party funds: Ex-CBI Chief

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