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'Sonia must clarify on Wikileaks' charges against Rajiv'

Source: ANI
April 08, 2013 16:16 IST
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Cutting across party lines, leaders of various political outfits on Monday sought an explanation from Congress president Sonia Gandhi over the latest revelations by US cables WikiLeaks naming late former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in a scandal.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut stressed that Sonia Gandhi must now clarify these revelations made by WikiLeaks.

“A lot of points have now come out and they are concerning a former prime minister of this country. Today, his wife is the biggest political figure in the country and it is now Sonia Gandhi’s responsibility to give a clarification on this issue,” Raut said.

Communist Party of India national secretary Atul Anjan said the latest revelations by WikiLeaks would create fresh problems for the Gandhi family, and sought an explanation from them on the entire issue.

"The revelations made by WikiLeaks on Rajiv Gandhi will now create fresh problems for the Nehru-Gandhi family, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. And they would have to answer for these revelations," said Anjan.

"There is truth in these facts as names of other senior administrative officers are there in this expose and there are those people who have been close to the Nehru family, like Henry Kissinger," he added.

Meanwhile, Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Prakash Karat expressed serious concern over the issue.

"What it shows is this a matter of great and wider concern that you have over the years foreign arms dealers and companies having this nexus with Indian people, political connections and the bureaucracy and the system in India. This is a matter which already is there. There are so many recent contracts of arms deals," said Karat.

"So, I think it should be taken as something which confirms that this nexus exists," he added.

However, Samajwadi Party leader Kamal Farooqi said that one should not dig up the past, but try to make corrections in the system.

"I personally feel that we should not go into the past so much rather whatever has happened in the past, it should be a lesson for us in future and we should try to correct our system, we should try to make everything foolproof so that there is no element of correction in all these kinds of deals," he said.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Balbir Punj urged the government to order an independent enquiry in the matter.

"It’s a very serious matter. It is an allegation, very serious allegation on the former prime minister of India. The least the government can do is to order an independent enquiry so that we can know what the facts are," said Punj.

Congress party, however, dismissed this expose by WikiLeaks, and said that the ''magazine reports'' should not be given much importance.

"All these are nonsensical things and we do not comment on reports in a magazine," said Congress leader Rashid Masood.

The latest WikiLeaks revelations from US embassy cables have named Rajiv Gandhi in a scandal.

The astonishing revelation that he was the "main Indian negotiator" for a massive aircraft deal is contained in the latest tranche of US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and accessed by The Hindu.

According to the newspaper, Gandhi became the negotiator for the Swedish company Saab-Scania, when it was trying to sell its Viggen fighter aircraft to India in the 1970s, much before he became the prime minister.

The first cable said that Air Marshal O.P Mehra’s son-in-law was the chief negotiator for the competing Mirage, but it does not give his name, the paper said.

Contacted in New Delhi, Navin Behl, the former air chief’s son-in-law, denied that he was ever involved in any such negotiations, it added.

The paper said that in another cable, the Swedes also made it clear they "understood the importance of family influences" in the final decision.

"Our colleague describes Ranjiv Gandhi in flattering terms, and contends his technical expertise is of a high level. This may or may not be. Offhand, we would have thought a transport pilot (is) not the best expert to rely upon in evaluating a fighter plane, but then we are speaking of a transport pilot who has another and perhaps more relevant qualification," the cable read, said the newspaper.

According to the paper, the British SEPECAT Jaguar eventually won the race, from which Saab was forced to withdraw by the US.

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Source: ANI