WikiLeaks haunts Congress, Opposition seeks answers
The Congress trashed WikiLeaks cables which claimed that Rajiv Gandhi was a middleman for a Swedish aircraft company before entering politics.
New Delhi: WikiLeaks returned to haunt the Congress party on Monday which trashed reports claiming that Rajiv Gandhi was a middleman for a Swedish aircraft company before entering politics but the Opposition demanded that the "truth" be made public. The Congress made it clear that the reports had no basis whatsoever, with party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi referring to the last line of the leaked WikiLeaks cable to emphasise that there was no foundation to the allegation.
Accusing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of "spreading lies and falsehoods", Dwivedi said "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."
The Congress leader also urged media not to fall for "temporary gains" and added "we are very hurt with the news". The BJP sought an explanation from Congress on the "serious" accusations made in the Wikileaks cables while the CPI sought a probe by independent agencies like the Vigilance Commission.
"These revelations are serious. The nation has a right to know the truth. These are 30-year-old documents which point out to a possible connection of late Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi in different defence acquisitions," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.
"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 scam," he said referring to the recent Augusta Westland deal. The leaked secret cable claimed that Rajiv Gandhi was the "main Indian negotiator" for a massive aircraft deal for which his "family" connections were seen as valuable.
The CPI also demanded "a permanent independent judicial set up to probe the allegations that are being made in defence purchases, as allegations of corruption and favouritism are cropping up every now and then." As the BJP launched a stinging attack, the Congress general secretary reminded the opposition party of another WikiLeaks cable, which spoke of a big leader of the NDA taking money from the US intelligence agency CIA, a reference to George Fernandes, to organise sabotage activities during Emergency.
Suggesting that the matter should "not be stretched further", Dwivedi said otherwise it would be presumed that all this had happened in the knowledge of all the BJP leaders as well as Jayaprakash Narayan, who had led the anti-Congress movement in the 1970s.
"If it is accepted that there is any truth in this suspicion (about Rajiv Gandhi). Then just below that cable it is one more report in which the name of a big leader of the NDA figures.
"I do not want to take his name or level any accusation against him because of the condition in which he is. But whether that is also true that he used to get money from the CIA or he had demanded money from the CIA," Dwivedi said. Reacting to the WikiLeaks cable, Fernandes' wife Leila called it a "piece of fiction".
The cables during Henry Kissinger's time, made public by WikiLeaks, claimed that then trade union leader Fernandes sought to get funds from CIA and the French government. "This is a piece of fiction. There is no question of George asking for funds from CIA. He was very anti-American and you know this," Leila told PTI. "This is complete falsehood, completely concocted and I strongly refute this false story," she said.