Wikileaks says Rajiv was middleman for Swedish aircraft

Gandhi_SAAB-webNEW DELHI: The BJP has demanded an explanation from Congress on the “serious” “accusation” based on Wikileaks that Rajiv Gandhi may have been a middleman for a Swedish aircraft company when his mother was the Prime Minister and urged the government to make public documents on the issue.

“These revelations are serious. The nation has a right to know the truth. These are 30 years old documents which point out to a possible connection of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi in different defence acquisitions,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

“The party owes an explanation and the government must make all related documents public,” he added.

A newspaper report claimed that as per secret cables leaked by Wikileaks Rajiv Gandhi may have been a middleman for the Swedish company Saab-Scania, when it was trying to sell its Viggen fighter aircraft to India in the 1970s. His mother Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister then. The Congress has trashed the claim as “baseless”.

“There is an accusation that Rajiv Gandhi is playing some role in aircraft purchase and Indira Gandhi taking a final call in defence deals. These allegations become even more serious against the backdrop of the helicopter scams,” Javadekar said, referring to the Augusta Westland deal which came to light recently.

Javadekar maintained that earlier there were charges of Italian businessman Ottavio Qauttrochi’s involvement in the Bofors scam.
“Why is it that in deals of Swedish and Italian firms, there is a reference to the (Gandhi) family,” Javadekar asked.

Cong trashes WikiLeaks claim
The Congress has trashed the reports based on WikiLeaks claims. Making it clear that the allegation against Rajiv Gandhi has no basis whatsoever, party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi referred to the last line of the particular cable to emphasise that there was no foundation to the allegation and and accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of “spreading lies and falsehoods.”
He also urged media not to fall for “temporary gains” and added “we are very hurt with the news” but dismissed questions on whether the party will resort to any legal action into the matter.

“Having noted what the Swede has said, the cable makes the comment that there was no additional information to either refute or confirm the information. The foundation of the whole story falls flat here,” he said quoting parts of the cable.
The leaked secret cable claimed that Gandhi was the “main Indian negotiator” for a massive aircraft deal for which his “family” connections were seen as valuable.

The cable dated October 21, 1975 says that the “Swedish Embassy Official has informed us that main negotiator with Swedes on Viggen (a fighter aircraft) at New Delhi end has been Mrs Gandhi’s older son, Rajiv Gandhi. Latter’s only association with aircraft industry (to our knowledge) has been as pilot for Indian airlines and this is first time we heard his name as an entrepreneur.”

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