Monday, May 10, 2021
Home News Reports 'I was a witness to Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi using INS Viraat to vacation...

‘I was a witness to Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi using INS Viraat to vacation on Lakshwadeep’: Commander VK Jaitly (Retd)

Former Naval Commander, Harinder Sikka, also made sensational claims after the controversy broke out. He said that the 1987 vacation of Rajiv Gandhi using INS Viraat was not a one-off.

A massive controversy has broken out after Prime Minister Modi raked up Rajiv Gandhi infamous holiday in Lakshwadeep, at a remote, uninhabited island called Bangaram. The charge is that Rajiv Gandhi, along with his wife Sonia Gandhi, kids and others used INS Viraat for his personal use as a ‘taxi’ for his vacation.

India Today had covered the story exclusive back in 1988, Anita Pratap writes, “The island had been chosen with care: it is the only one in the strategic archipelago on which foreigners are not banned. It is also the exception in the group of islands in that prohibition is not in force”. The story categorically states that there were foreigners and Sonia Gandhi’s Italian relatives present onboard INS Viraat.

The Gandhis were accompanied by their personal cook. The India Today story says, “A consignment of wines and liquor was also brought in from the capital. A poultry farm with 100 chickens was set up in Agatti. Apart from sugar and freshly – caught fish, island fruits like the Lakshadweep papaya, sapota, small yellow bananas, and guavas were sent. Butter and some 100 loaves of bread were despatched from Kavaratti and from Cochin came Cadbury’s chocolates, 40 crates of cold drinks, 300 bottles of mineral water, Amul Cheese, cashew-nuts, sweet lime, condiments, 20 kg of flour, 105 kg of basmati rice, and fresh vegetables. The first consignment of non – perishable items was moved to Bangaram by ship on December 23. The second arrived three days later and replenishments came on January 1”.

The story goes on to say, “Questionable actions were, however, in evidence. India’s premier warship, INS Virat, was used to transport the Gandhis and moved in the Arabian Sea for 10 days. Its daily expenditure at sea is astronomical as the Virat travels with an entire retinue of escort ships. A submarine was also reported to be in attendance and some defence experts questioned the justification of depriving the navy of its most effective fighting component merely to suit Rajiv’s holiday plans. The considerable expense was also incurred in setting up a special satellite link up at Agatti for the duration of the holiday”.

Interestingly, at that time, the story was never questioned or contradicted. Speaking to India Today, the reporter who broke the story, Anita Pratap, said that she would not have written about it had she thought there was no impropriety.

Several other testimonies have come to the fore that corroborate the story today, though, several others have also surfaced that rubbish the story and raise questions on it.

Indian Express had reported in 1988 that at least eight foreigners joined the Prime Minister and his family during their New Year holiday here. It was reported that the group consisted of 24 men, women and children. Looking after their needs were 70 persons from various departments, cooks and valets and naval personnel. Nearly 1,200 policemen drawn from Lakshadweep Police and Madhya Pradesh Armed Special Police, based at neighbouring Agatti island, were on patrol on the periphery of Bangaram.

The drain on the resources was evident from the fact that according to Indian Express, innumerable boats of the local administration, including 40 hp high-speed boats, and the Navy’s yachting boats were pressed into service. The Navy also provided a windsurfer for the holidaymakers.

After PM Modi opened Pandora’s box, several people came forward to testify that the holiday did indeed take place. Commander VK Jaitly (Retd.) who was posted on the INS Viraat and says he was witness to Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi “using INS Viraat for travel to celebrate their holidays at Bangaram island.

Commander VK Jaitley also testified that a lot of resources were used for the holiday and routinely so and that the Navy staff were used as personal staff for the Gandhis during these vacations.

Former Naval Commander, Harinder Sikka, also made sensational claims after the controversy broke out. He said that the 1987 vacation of Rajiv Gandhi using INS Viraat was not a one off. In fact, he had been doing it consistently since 1985 every year using Naval warships. Says that ship logs will prove everything.

The claim is rather sensational. Saying that the Rajiv Gandhi holiday wasn’t one off and that Sonia Gandhi used these ships since 1985 for regular holidays is an indication that India’s national security might have been severely compromised. Navy warships generally go out to sea on specific excercises, accompanied by several other ships, boats, submarine and resources. That the Gandhi family used to divert resources regularly for personal use is a concern that should not be glossed over.

INS crew member, retired Commander VK Jaitley had explain, while talking to Republic the expense to the country’s exchequer when Rajiv Gandhi or his family would have used Naval resources for personal use, especially, while travelling on INS Viraat for personal vacation.

There are other testimomies that contradict the story completely. Vice Admiral Vinod Pasricha said that the contents of the story are completely incorrect and that the INS Viraat was there in Lakshwadeep only for 2 and a half days and not 10 days. Former Lakshwadeep administrator said that Rajiv Gandhi was on an official visit and the INS Viraat was not used for vacationing.

However, the evidence that points towards the fact that, in fact, Rajiv Gandhi did use the INS Viraat for vacationing is true. The news reports have eminated from 1980s itself.

Veteran political cartoonist RK Laxman had also captured Rajiv Gandhi ‘Viraat’ fiasco in his cartoons at the time.

Rk Laxman’s cartoon

The tradition of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has also been of misusing resources of the Navy. We had reported how the tradition was started by Jawaharlal Nehru who had vacationed using INS Delhi and used Countess Edwina Mountbatten died in 1960, and was buried at sea by Lord Mountbatten in accordance with her wishes, Nehru sent the Indian Navy frigate INS Trishul as an escort and had a wreath cast in her memory.

In fact, from the official Madhya Pradesh archives, we reported that once, when Nehru was visiting Bhopal, the Rajya Bhavan staff had realised that he had forgotten to carry his favourite cigarette brand ‘555’. Nehru reportedly had a habit of smoking after his meals. The Rajya Bhavan staff sent a plane to Indore to pick up the packs of smoke and transport to Bhopal. The packs of ‘555’ were kept ready for Nehru at the Indore airport.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

Hemkunt Foundation, Rana Ayyub and Jignesh Mevani: How Covid-19 fundraisers could possibly be violating FCRA laws

A deep dive into fundraisers for Covid relief with questionable management which may be violating FCRA laws.

Chinese state media Editor accuses Subramanian Swamy of being ‘ungrateful’ over ‘war on COVID’, it doesn’t go down well for him

Chinese state media Global Times Editor Hu Xijin on Sunday accused BJP leader Subramanian Swamy of being 'ungrateful' after he tweeted that India is...

Patanjali was the first Indian company to publish a research paper on the new Covid-19 drug approved by DCGI: Read details

Patanjali had published a research paper on use of the drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose for Covid-19 treatment in March 2020

West Bengal: BJP leader Swapan Dasgupta files a complaint with the police on targeted persecution of its party workers

Dasgupta in his complaint to the police mentioned on record the names of all 260 victims, some of whom have been unable to return home after the TMC goons unleashed violence post their victory in the state.

Netizens call out actor Sonu Sood’s claims of arranging for plasma, bed for COVID patients

After multiple media reports and social media posts on how Sonu Sood was helping out migrants go back home last year amid the nationwide lockdown, Sood had written an autobiography, 'I am no no messiah'.

Here is how The Lancet used dubious sources to blame Modi Govt for the Covid crisis

Following the abrogation of Article 370, The Lancet had issued a strong condemnation of the Indian Government.

Recently Popular

Meet AAP’s ‘Delhi ke Nirmata’: Who is Navneet Kalra, the businessman on the run after oxygen hoarding scandal was busted

Oxygen Concentrators have been found at Khan Chacha, Nege & Ju bar and Town Hall restaurants in Delhi, all owned by Navneet Kalra

Arvind Kejriwal govt expels 7 journalists from Whatsapp group after report critical of govt handling of oxygen crisis, senior journalists keep mum

The Arvind Kejriwal government has been the darling of the media for a long time but it seems to want absolute devotion

Comedian Sanket Bhosale who had featured in ad mocking Rahul Gandhi booked for violating Covid-19 norms in Punjab

A week after the vandalism by the Congress workers in Mumbai, the Congress-led Punjab government has now booked comedian Sanket Bhosale, the actor featured in the advertisement, on the pretext of violating Covid-19 regulations during his wedding.

‘Dominance of one religious group cannot prevent religious celebrations of other’, says Madras HC after local Muslims object to Hindu procession

The Madras High court concluded that similar acts of 'resistance' by other religious groups would result in loss of lives, destruction of properties, riots, religious fights and chaos.

Chinese research paper, published 6 years ago by Chinese military backed authors, discussed weaponising Coronavirus: Reports

A 2015 research paper by Chinese scientists reveals nefarious plans to weaponise the SARS Coronavirus against the world.

Call girl from Thailand passes away in Lucknow due to Covid-19, had come to India recently with help from agent Salman

A call girl from Thailand has passed away in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh at the Lohia Hospital due to Covid-19.
- Advertisement -

 

Connect with us

254,876FansLike
540,595FollowersFollow
24,300SubscribersSubscribe