WikiLeaks cables on Rajiv baseless, unfounded: Congress

An explosive Wikileaks cable that claimed the late Rajiv Gandhi may have been a middleman for a Swedish firm trying to sell its fighter aircraft to India has led to a storm, with the Congress dismissing it as “baseless” and the BJP asking the government to “come clean”.

The Congress slammed the claim in the WikiLeaks cable as “baseless” and “unfounded”. Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi asserted there was no basis to the allegation against Rajiv Gandhi that he may have acted as a middleman much before he became prime minister.

In black, white: Rajiv Gandhi was also accused of receiving kickbacks from a Swedish company winning a bid to supply India with 155 mm field Howitzers. The scandal led to the defeat of the Congress in 1989 elections. File Pic

He accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of “spreading lies and falsehoods”. “There are no grounds for WikiLeaks story and it is baseless and unfounded,” Dwivedi said. Referring to the BJP’s comments, Dwivedi said, “We should think where we are taking politics.” The Congress leader said there appeared truth in apprehensions that an attempt was being made to create an atmosphere of suspicion.

Dwivedi also hit out at the BJP-led NDA about socialist leader George Fernandes being prepared to accept money from US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). If it was assumed that there was some truth in reports of cable information, was it also true that information pertaining to Fernandes was true, he asked. Dwivedi said Fernandes was not well and he did not want to make an allegation against him.

“But, is it true he got money from CIA,” he asked. Fernandes was a senior minister in the NDA government. If the story was stretched, Dwivedi asked, “Were the BJP leaders also involved?” The BJP told the Congress to “come clean” on the “WikiLeaks revelations” reported in the media that the late Rajiv Gandhi had been a middleman for Swedish company Saab-Scania when it was trying to sell its Viggen fighter aircraft to India in the 1970s.

It also reported that US diplomatic cables claimed that Fernandes had said in November 1975 -- some four months into Emergency -- that “he was even now prepared to accept money from the CIA”. Leaked diplomatic cables from the US embassy on the WikiLeaks website have reportedly named the late prime minister as a middleman during the 1970s when he was an Indian Airlines pilot. 

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