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Wikileaks and the Shocking Picture of Corruption and Betrayal by Congress and the Gandhi Family!

Estimated Reading Time 10 minutes

This past week has been a treasure trove of Wikileaks information for Indian politics.  And interestingly, it leaves the “First Family” of Indian politics – the Gandhis – in a dump.  Wheeling-dealing Rajiv Gandhi, Authoritarian Sanjay Gandhi, a corrupt household, and unpredictable Indira Gandhi.  The Congress in general has come out to be a cesspool of betrayal and corruption.

First, Rajiv Gandhi was said to be the middleman for the Saab-Scandia deal as early as the 1970s (Rajiv Gandhi played a middleman for Saab-Scania aircraft deal in 1970s).  His clean image notwithstanding, he was a corrupt man, which came out in the Bofors scandal.  Interestingly, the Congress media campaign to discredit Wikileaks has started and Congress cronies are writing Opeds already (read Brijesh Kalappa’s Rajiv Gandhi and WikiLeaks: More noise than substance). His bio gives an insight into this backside sucking: He is gifted with the prowess for distinctive sharp-edged analysis and has the advantage of surmounting well accepted beliefs by his inquiring nature. He continues to work closely with several leaders of the Indian National Congress.

Second, about Sanjay Gandhi, the other son.  The US cables, seem to have predicted and also discussed Sanjay Gandhi pretty accurately.  His influence, his manner, way of governing etc.

“Under his aegis, the Youth Congress is organizing itself for a more activist role as the Congress’s cadre arm,” one cable said. It pointed out that Sanjay has a significant and growing number of “allies” within the council of ministers and the top levels of the bureaucracy who also exert influence on major policy decisions. “Sanjay has so far proceeded slowly, methodically and successfully. But the chances for him to make mistakes or to build up an anti-Sanjay — and indirectly an anti-Mrs Gandhi-lobby may increase as he attempts to widen his personal influence and activities and operates more publicly,” it accurately predicted.

By February, 1976, the cables predicted that Mrs Gandhi’s future decisions would probably be influenced by a swelling cynicism and resentment among the urban educated including the bureaucracy about the increasingly personalised nature of the regime she has been building. “Many who supported the emergency gains in discipline and efficiency are now bitterly criticizing, or at the very least, increasingly uneasy, over the rate at which Sanjay Gandhi is expanding her personal influence with his mother’s assistance in apparent preparation for the succession. Influential opinion makers, including some Congressmen, are becoming progressively less guarded in their private criticism of Mrs Gandhi, the suppression of political and press freedom and the expanding activities of the domestic intelligence apparatus,” the cable said.

Wikileaks also discuss Indira Gandhi and how she was constantly placing anti-American envoys as heads of Indian Consulate in US.

Then American envoy Daniel Patrick Moynihan described Kaul, who was handpicked by Indira as India’s ambassador to the US in 1973, as an extremely “arrogant man whose career was marked by a pro-Soviet bias and concomitant Anti-American words and deeds.”

But the Wikileaks also puts a rather negative spotlight on Indira Gandhi from the stand-point of her evaluation of Pakistan and Bhutto, who went out to humiliate India and Indians in the run up to get the Nukes.

According to WikiLeaks, as reported in TOI, Gandhi had written to the then Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1974, in the wake of India’s first nuclear test in Poharan, offering to share information if proper conditions for trust were created. But he rejected the offer, said the cable.

As per US cables, revealed by WikiLeaks, former Prime Minister Gandhi was quoted as saying, “I have explained in my letter to Prime Minister Bhutto the peaceful nature and the economic purposes of this experiment and have also stated that India is willing to share her nuclear technology with Pakistan in the same way she is willing to share it with other countries, provided proper conditions for understanding and trust are created. I once again repeat this assurance.”

Given the history with Pakistan, and the debacle with China, it seems that Indira was also beset with the same disease of naivette’ as her father, Nehru!

Another damning leak from the Wikileaks is that of the Mole in Indira Gandhi’s household – or her cabinet.

Even though the US establishment struggled during the Emergency to read Indira Gandhi’s political moves, it seemed to have had a source in the Gandhi household between 1975 and 1977.  According to the latest cables released by Wikileaks, on a few instances the dispatches from the US Embassy in New Delhi repeatedly refers to a “household” source and “sources close to the PM’s household.”  By the middle of 1976 the cables had began to accurately predict that Gandhi would be calling national elections in 1977. It is not clear how much of help they had received from this Gandhi household source.

A day after Indira Gandhi announced the emergency on June 26, 1975; a US Embassy cable said the key figures behind her move were son Sanjay Gandhi and her secretary R K Dhawan. “This is confirmed by a source close to the PM’s household. Both are non-ideological, extremely authoritarian in their general approach, and focused only on keeping Mrs. Gandhi in power,” the dispatch said.

The Wikileaks also goes on to say that YB Chavan was being courted by the Americans.

Yashwantrao Chavan, finance minister under Indira Gandhi was a key politician courted by the Americans as a possible counter to the Prime Minister, who US President Richard Nixon famously abused.

So, was YB Chavan the mole in Indira’s cabinet?   In his controversial book, “India’s Biggest Cover up“, Anuj Dhar had suggested that India was cowed down during the 1971 war, due to the leaks made by a mole in Indira’s cabinet to the Americans.

The 1971 case relates to an alleged mole in Indira Gandhi’s Cabinet who was reported to have leaked information on Cabinet meetings to the CIA. The leaks, it has been alleged, could have adversely impacted the India-Pakistan war.

His attempts to get the name through RTI have been thwarted.

The 1971 case relates to an alleged mole in Indira Gandhi’s Cabinet who was reported to have leaked information on Cabinet meetings to the CIA. The leaks, it has been alleged, could have adversely impacted the India-Pakistan war.

When you look at what this mole “achieved” for US and for Pakistan, it is no less than shocking!

THE Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is one of those organisations that are commonly and freely talked about in India but about which informed studies are scarce. The role of the mole in Indira Gandhi’s Cabinet in December 1971 is very evident in Jack Anderson’s Papers and those released by the United States State Department much later.

Indira Gandhi, true to form, tried to make political capital out of the affair during the election campaign in 1979, immediately after the publication of Thomas Powers’ authoritative work The Man Who Kept the Secrets. Neither critics nor fawning admirers called her to account.

What steps did she take against the mole? His identity was no great secret. It is surely a matter of deep concern that at the height of the Bangladesh war a record of the Prime Minister’s talks with the Soviet Ambassador should land on the table of Henry Kissinger within 48 hours or less. Three things are incontrovertible. A mole did exist; he was not officially identified; and Indira Gandhi did not punish him ever.

Anuj Dhar moved the Central Information Commission on this matter. After its direction to provide the information, the Ministry of External Affairs accepted that records of discussions of meetings between the then External Affairs Minister, Swaran Singh, and U.S. Secretary William Rogers on October 5, 1972, were available; but, PTI reported, “it refused to disclose them claiming confidentiality”.

Dhar rightly complained, “While the Ministry is claiming confidentiality clause, the U.S. government has declassified the memorandum of conversation between Singh and Rogers titled ‘Indian Allegations Regarding CIA Activities’.”

freedom of information act

The author’s researches have sadly received little notice. This book testifies to his labours and his grasp of the material on the subject. He explains how the Freedom of Information Act can be invoked to unravel secrets about India. The memo of the October 5, 1972, talk is reproduced:

“Secretary [Rogers] initiated discussion this subject saying he was perplexed at Prime Minister Gandhi’s public remarks regarding CIA activities in India. Initially [Swaran] Singh tried to side step issue in light hearted manner saying Mrs. Gandhi paid compliment to CIA for its activities.” But shedding flippancies, he added: “It has not been difficult for GOI to come to know of CIA activities. … For example, GOI had information that proceedings of Congress Working Committee were known to U.S. officials within two hours of meetings. Said when this happens it offends people.” Were the delinquent members of that body identified and punished?

CIA infiltration

Anuj Dhar writes, “The final twist in the tale came in 1988 in Bombay. … Now defunct newspaper Independent carried a story reportedly based on a (R&AW) communication to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi exonerating Morarji Desai and implicating deceased stalwart Yashwant Rao Chavan, Finance Minister during the 1971 war. This led to an ugly uproar and the paper’s editor Vinod Mehta, in his words, ‘had to flee Bombay’.

“Now, the story from the horse’s mouth. Documents 27 to 30 in this book confirm the CIA’s infiltration of Indian establishment at the top level in December 1971. Rendered unidentifiable due to redactions, a ‘reliable source’ (see back cover for the first page of document 29) leaked out the details of confidential Soviet-Indo deliberations and, more horrendously, ‘India’s war objectives’ as elucidated by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi….

What we are seeing is the unravelling of one of most corrupt and betraying political organization in India.  It is important to look at Congress for what it entails and what it has given to Indian in terms of legacy.

In short, the history .. .and the future needs to be rewritten!




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