The first one was a very hard punch delivered by the veteran journalist Gurumurthy via New Indian Express - "Zero Tolerance, secret billions"
Among many other things that will blot Sonia Gandhi's image forever, also not the first time someone made such accusations, his main focal point was the alleged loot money Nehru/Gandhi family has stashed in secret accounts. Serious money, serious accusation and hopefully, India's grand old party answers it. And by answering, I mean, not the way the party mobs answered a recent accusation by a retired RSS chief Sudarshan, via violence.By any calculation the present size of the $2.2 billion secret funds of the family in Swiss banks seems huge — anywhere between Rs 43,000 plus to some Rs 84,000 crore!
By the time, people were still warming up to the serious details in Gurumurthy's NIE writeup on Twitter and other social networks (visual media wouldn't take trouble in exploring such hot topic involving G family), another bombshell greeted 'Happy new year' to the G family.. This was not a mere news paper article, but a 98 page, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal Order on the 'long dead' Bofors commission. This was literally a dynamite piece of info by mid-day as it not just traced the entire money trail of kickback, but it also proved beyond doubt that Rajiv Gandhi and family had lied when it comes to Bofors kickback involving Ottavio Quattrocchi, the alleged Italian deal maker.
If you have browsed at least a few pages of that 98 page report, signed by a Judicial member, let's take a few minutes to see what are the earlier lies that this categorical official government report exposed - in otherwords, skeletons that got out of closet even after hte most careful coverup operation over the decades.
1. Rajiv Gandhi: The Country’s highest fact finding tax authority directly contradicted the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assertion on floor of parliament, that no illegal commission was paid for the Bofors deal. It exposed that Win Chadda and Quattrocchi received kickbacks in Bofors.
O. Quattrocchi had remained in India from 28-2-1965 to 29-7-1993, except 2 years in 60s. IT tribunal, a judiciary body in India, categorically found an estimated 242.62 mil Swedish Kroners were paid to Quattrocchi & Chadha for securing Bofors deal.
The kickback payment was in violation of govt rule & evaded tax too. Rajiv, as a PM under constitutional oath, had lied to the country on 20 Apr 1987.
"We have been assured by the Swedish government and the company that there have been no payoffs," Gandhi told an unruly session of the lower house which ended with an opposition walkout.So essentially, today, the former PM, a "Bharat Ratna", got exposed we should say.. As a small tidbit, in late 1980's a 10 year old in Patna had recited live, “Gali gali mein shor hai, Rajiv Gandhi chor hai” which got the AIR director suspended. I don't know where that person, now maybe 32 years old is, but surely must be feeling vindicated!
2. Sonia Gandhi: The current all powerful woman in India, the UPA chair person and essentially the Prime Decision maker keeping Manmohan Singh as the face, had lied too, if this official report's data can't be factually proven wrong.
In 1998, long before Sonia Gandhi got into positions of power (she barely had entered full time politics then), CBI had declared: "Rajiv and Quattrocchi used to meet frequently". That of course changed later in CBI affidavits. That came a few years after Quattrocchi escaped from India to avoid CBI Bofors probe, incidentally during a Congress party rule at center, July 29/30 1993 to be precise.
In 1998, barely two months after entering full time politics, Sonia Gandhi had accused the then BJP supremo, Atal Bihari Vajpayee of lying about Bofors.
"They said Rajiv Gandhi took commission (on the Bofors deal). I, Rajiv Gandhi's widow, tell you that what Atal Behari Vajpayee said is a total lie," she declared.
I don't know if Sonia Gandhi would graciously apologize for such a blatant, factually incorrect public statement, but any one neutral would easily know by now what's the real truth. Gurumurthy had said today morning... "The total wealth of both Gandhis, as per their el returns, is just Rs 363 lakh, Sonia owning no car". After the IT expose of Bofors, that sounded really like a cruel joke on the 'aam aadmi' or common man of India <sigh>. By the way on Dec 20, 2010, the same Sonia Gandhi had famously stated.. “Even when no charge has been established, we have asked our ministers and Chief Ministers to step down” while attacking BJP on corruption topic. Walking her own talk, now that a massive corruption loot blame is pointing fingers at her, will she and her Prime Minister quit today? :)
When Subramanian Swamy had seriousy accused Sonia Gandhi of safe guarding the loot from Bofors, citing November 11, 1991, Schweizer Illustrierte expose of Rajiv Gandhi's secret account holding 2.5 mil CHF, things were ignored. Will it be the case this time too? Will have to wait and see how much 'walk' follows the populist 'talk' of Sonia Gandhi.
3. Manmohan Singh: In 2009, the supposedly "very honest" Manmohan Singh defended Ottavio Quattrocchi and withdrew the red corner notice.
Today, the Q man confirmed fraud when it comes to Bofors kickback! After avoiding JPC in late 2010 and after sitting through as a PM during the worst mega scams India has seen, such as 2G and CWG, this was the last thing Manmohan Singh needed as a new year gift..
4. Rahul Gandhi: Undoubtedly being tipped within media and Congress circles as the next PM of India, he had already seen a disastrous 2010. Under his 'able' campaign leadership, Bihar saw the worst ever route of Congress party since independence. I don't know of any other state in India today where Congress is less than 5 in terms of total MLA count! Also WikiLeaks had exposed his utter disconnect with the reality of India when he was caught expressing concern over mostly imaginary 'Hindu' terrorism when 800 pound gorillas like Lashkar or Maoist terrorism is staring at his face.
So where exactly did Rahul Gandhi got exposed by today's IT report? Congress' prince charm had loudly stated, "No apologies for Bofors; it was a lie", during 2009 elections.. AND this guy would be a PM of India someday !!
5. Veerappa Moily: India's law minister, is usually a much moderate voice, compared to the louder spokespeople. But he also got exposed by today's report. Veerappa had confidently backed Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi to drop Quattrocchi cases in September 2009. Now that his backing was misinformed, should he take responsibility as law minister giving critical suggestions and resign? After all under UPA government, exactly 15 months before today, CBI, snubbed as Congress Bureau of Intimidation on casual circles, suggested to drop Qauattrocchi's name from Bofors! Such a collasal blunder by an agency that is dedicated to fight criminal activities.
6. Hansraj Bharadwaj: Joked in southern India now that he has been the 'best' opposition party leader in Karnataka, for his frequent tussle with BJP led state government as a governor, he also happened to be occupying the same seat Veerappa Moily occupies today.
On Jan 7, 2006 : "An erring & a delinquent minister" as Arun Jaitley had commented, HR Bharadwaj, defroze Q Bofors accounts! This was done as a law minister of India and shouldn't he be facing the music today after committing such a big blunder?
Interestingly, the main opposition party BJP, had accused that Ottavio Quattrocchi's son was funding BJP rebels during a late 2010 state government toppling scheme in Karnataka. Connect the dots.. The Q man taking Bofors kickback, Congress government letting him leave India in 90s, Bharadwaj defreezing his accounts and now both Q man's son as well as Bharadwaj in the same city Bengaluru, incidentally when BJP government was facing a rebel crisis!
Fallout of today's report:
As expected, the opposition party, BJP, seized the opportunity to corner the blatant lies exposed above of the Gandhi family as well as key people associated with them. Arun Jaitley's hard slam on Bofors & Quattrocchi was out by late afternoon.
Jaitley also made a direct reference to the Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi’s five-point programme on nailing corruption by saying, “Ironically, the revelations by the Income Tax tribunal are a grim reminder to Sonia Gandhi that the country does not need a five-point programme to check corruption. What all is needed is a one-point programme of sending in jail all those who are accused, which will act as a deterrent.”
We will have to wait and see if this latest resurrection of Bofors ghost rattles Congress, in particular, the Sonia Gandhi family that has been blamed most in today's reports. The hapless 'aam aadmi' or comman person in India must be humming tonight.. "Baar baar looto.. hazaar baar looto.. yeh lootne ki cheez hain.. hamaara Hindusta.. taali ho"
But since Satyameva Jayate (satyam-eva jayate सत्यमेव जयते "Truth Alone Triumphs") is the national motto of India, this expose had to happen.. Isn't it friends?
Credits: My social network buddies for a wide variety of information & thoughts. Picture credit to original photographers.