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Jethmalani blames Brajesh Mishra for Kandahar fiasco
April 27, 2006 17:06 IST
In a new twist to the Kandahar controversy, the then Law Minister Ram Jethmalani has blamed the then National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra for the hijack of the Indian Airlines flight and claimed his counsel against the release of the terrorists fell on deaf ears.
Virtually dismissing suggestions that the then Home Minister L K Advani had reservations about the release of hostages in lieu of hostages, he said, "If he had opposed it in his capacity as Home Minister, why was it not brought before the Cabinet? Such sensitive issues should have been discussed in the cabinet."
In a no-holds barred interview to Hindi 'Outlook' magazine, Jethmalani said he suspected the hand of Mishra behind his removal from the government. "What happened after the December, 1999 Kandahar hijacking? I had asked Vajpayee to remove Mishra forthwith, "You have made such a person the NSA who allowed the plane to leave the country from Amritsar. This man did not do anything to stop the plane. Something that could have been done by a school student. It was certainly surprising.
"The plane could have been stopped by placing a bench before it or by puncturing its tyres." Asked if there was a conspiracy behind the "inaction," he said, "It was incompetence crossing all limits and an incompetent advisor was actually running the entire country.
"At that time I was in Madurai in connection with an official function and I called Vajpayee on his mobile phone and told him to take out all the terrorists, put the pistol on their temple and tell the hijackers that they would be shot if even a single passenger is killed.
"We will not succumb even if you kill all the hostages -- that should have been our stand", Jethmalani said.
Asked what was the government's "compulsion" to pay a "huge ransom," the 82-year old leader said, "I don't know what all happened. But this was no way to run the government."
"Even after the deal, I clearly said the government did a washerman's job, who delivers the clothes after washing and ironing them.
Similarly, the government 'home delivered' the terrorists. There cannot be a greater example of incompetence," he said. Asked if similarly Congress President Sonia Gandhi has also surrounded by sycophants, Jethmalani, who has been recently nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the UPA government, charged, "Everyone in the party and government were engaged in sycophancy."
"Beside the party, there are also many advocates in the government. Couldn't they have advised her not to occupy an office of profit? It is not necessary that everyone knows the law but didn't anyone know which were offices of profit? Had it been known, she would not have had to campaign in Rae Bareli in this scorching heat."
The noted criminal lawyer said the credit for his entry to the Lok Sabha goes to RJD chief and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, whom he is defending in the fodder scam cases. Jethmalani reiterated that he felt "extremely ashamed" over the manner in which he had attacked Rajiv Gandhi on the Bofors issue but said apart from wrong advice and misconduct in the investigations, the late prime minister had also used "insulting language" against him.