Leaked diplomatic cables from the U.S. Embassy on the WikiLeaks website have reportedly named the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi as a middleman during the 1970s when he was an Indian Airlines pilot. The Hindu has published findings of the ‘Kissinger cables’, which claim that Rajiv Gandhi may have been middleman for Swedish Company Saab-Scania when it was trying to sell its Viggen fighter aircraft to India in the 1970s.
The October 21, 1975 cable from the New Delhi U.S. embassy says “Swedish emboff has informed us that main Indian negotiator with Swedes on Viggen at New Delhi end has been Mrs. Gandhi’s older (sic) 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 have heard his name as entrepreneur.”
It also states that the U.S. officials have “no additional information to either refute or confirm the above information.”
Later, Saab-Scania lost out on the deal and was forced to withdraw from the “fighter sweepstakes” by the U.S. as the deal was ultimately secured the British SEPECAT Jaguar.
Gandhi later became embroiled in scandal relating to another Swedish arms manufacturer in the Bofors howtizer gun deal.
While, as of now the BJP has said that the Congress should “come clean” on the “WikiLeaks revelations” that the late Rajiv Gandhi had been a middleman for a Swedish company looking to sell fighter jets to India in the 1970s.
“The WikiLeaks revelations are serious. This is absolutely shocking revelation, let us not forget that the revelations are making two specific charges, about two of their late prime ministers Indiraji and Rajivji,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.
“They are connected to the first family of Congress. All defence deals have some relation with the Congress’ first family. They should come clean on this, all the documents should be made public. We want the government, Congress and the family to come clean on it,” Javadekar told a news channel.