Terming former media adviser Sanjaya Baru's controversial account of his days in the PMO as "nothing but a stab in the back", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's daughter has accused him of "violating" the PM's trust while branding the book an "unethical", "mischievous" exercise.
Singh's daughter Upinder Singh, who teaches history at Delhi University, said Baru has pieced together "gossip" and unverified quotes, including some of her father's, and used them as statements of fact.
In an interview to The Indian Express, she also questioned the timing of the PM's former media adviser's book, which has hit stand amid general elections much to the embarrassment of the PMO and the ruling Congress, and said it could not be described as an "objective" book.
"It is an audacious account with so-called quotes, of even the prime minister, which have been recorded as facts. Reported speech has been used as direct speech. Is this ethical?," she was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Questioning some of Baru's claims in the book, 'The Accidental Prime Minister: The making and unmaking of Manmohan Singh', she said he was never part of the decision-making process in the PMO.
"He is holding forth and projecting himself in the centre of events which is not true and he had no access to files. It is not as if he was the principal secretary to the prime minister. So what are the sources he has used? I spot an element of self-promotion in these assertions," she said.
She said she was not speaking on behalf of the PM but added that, "we are extremely angry at the exaggerated level of access the author has ascribed to himself".
The family, Upinder said, was aware that the book was in the offing but when she had asked Baru when it would be out, he said, "Naturally, after the elections".
Rejecting the author's claim that the book's publisher chose the timing, she said she had written several books and knew that authors have a say in the timing of the release.
"To me, there are other reasons for the timing. It is absurd to say there is no political motive. Sanjaya Baru cannot describe himself as a well-wisher of the prime minister," she told the newspaper.
Image: Former media adviser Sanjaya Baru