2019 has come and gone and the OpIndia team worked throughout the year to bring its readers stories that no mainstream media channel would report. With the increasing decay in the mainstream media, the questions that needed to be asked were not asked, the papers that were longing to be found were not found and the stories that were itching to be told were buried. OpIndia, this year, tried its best to ensure that the truth does not get lost in the cacophony.
Here are 10 Exclusives stories that OpIndia brought to its readers in 2019.
1. As Rahul Gandhi continues Rafale lies, his own link with an arms dealer could spoil his pitch
2019 saw the loudest cacophony by the opposition parties led by Rahul Gandhi on the Rafale deal. Congress led by Rahul Gandhi and aided by the media hurled umpteen baseless allegations against the Indian government alleging corruption in the purchase of Rafale jets. Rahul Gandhi even went on to allege that it was the Prime Minister who was directly involved in this fantasy corruption. Those allegations were summarily shattered by the Supreme Court no once but twice. The Rafale deal with completely exonerated by the Supreme Court and Congress ended up with muck on its face.
However, while the Rafale saga was on, OpIndia found papers that linked Rahul Gandhi with the notorious arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, who is also a close aide of Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law, Robert Vadra.
Through a web of dubious land deals, OpIndia managed to connect Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra with one HL Pahwa who is in turn inextricably connected to the Arms Dealer. They are both close associates of Robert Vadra as well. This story by OpIndia created a storm with BJP picking up this story and doing a press conference on its basis. After the story was published, HL Pahwa was all set to be investigated by ED for the lands sold to Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Robert Vadra.
After the initial story, more papers were published by OpIndia linking Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to the same nexus. While the Congress admitted to the land deal, it is yet to answer questions that had arisen from these dubious transactions.
2. Christian Michel documents: Rafale delayed because of Eurofighter lobbying and Sweden’s Bofors ‘leverage’ over Gandhis?
In 2019, one just had to wonder if there some truth to the allegation that lobbying for the Eurofighter resulted in the delay of Rafale deal during the Congress regime and it is that lobbying because of which Rahul Gandhi is attacking the Rafale deal today.
Rumours had gained strength after an ABP journalist revealed that Rahul Gandhi had met Eurofighters representatives while he was in Germany. However, these were merely in the realm of speculation as no solid evidence had emerged to link Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and the lobbying for Eurofighter.
OpIndia accessed documents that established a direct link between lobbying for Eurofighter and Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi. The documents also establish that the Congress government may have delayed the Rafale deal because of Sweden’s ‘leverage’ over the Gandhis. These documents are secret notes faxed by Christian Michel to Guido Haschke.
3. Papers long buried, questions that were never asked: Was Sonia Gandhi’s Italian family involved in the Bofors scam?
The Congress party has long held that the Bofors scam is a non-issue post the late 1980s when the story was first published. However, the skeletons have continued to tumble out, revealing a new layer to this multifaceted scam every time papers emerge. While so far, only Rajiv Gandhi has been in the eye of the storm and the only connection to Sonia Gandhi has been the fact that Quattrochi, the middleman in the scam was a close friend of Sonia, now, another layer has been revealed that ties Sonia Gandhi to the Bofors scam a little more closely.
OpIndia accessed evidence in 2019 to show that Sonia Gandhi’s Italian family could have been involved in the Bofors scandal, with their names carefully hidden from the public eye. The documentary evidence also points towards the fact that perhaps, the government of India (GOI) under Rajiv Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi himself had knowledge of the alleged involvement and actively tried to cover it up.
4. Interview: Former RAW officer makes further shocking revelations about Hamid Ansari after alleging that he endangered lives of RAW officers in Iran
Former RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) officer had recently made explosive allegations. He had alleged that former Vice President Hamid Ansari who has served as Indian Ambassador to Iran between 1990-92, endangered the lives of RAW officers in Tehran and even ended up exposing the RAW set-up in Tehran. Journalist Chiranjeevi Bhat conducted an interview with Former RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) officer NK Sood who made further revelations about his time in Iran, Hamid Ansari and the vilified scientist Nambi Narayanan.
5. Ulrik McKnight, Gautam Makkar, Sonia Faleiro, Congress, a defence deal and how it all relates to Rahul Gandhi
When trying to find out details about Rahul Gandhi’s nationality, we stumbled upon a mysterious, elusive name, Ulrik McKnight. Since his name appeared in the document shared by Congress as ‘proof’ of Rahul Gandhi’s nationality, it is only imperative that we try to dig deeper. And deeper we did dig.
6. The Bofors scam angle to Rajiv Gandhi’s vacation on-board INS Viraat
When the conversation around INS Viraat and Rajiv Gandhi’s impropriety started, it was only about Rajiv Gandhi using Indian Naval assets for his personal use. However, as our investigation into the series of events revealed, with Walter Vinci and Arun Singh’s family vacationing with Rajiv Gandhi months after Walter Vinci and Val de Moro’s names came up in the Bofors scandal and were hidden from the JPC, several other more serious questions about not only impropriety but compromisation of national security and quid-pro-quo arise.
7. Dr Allah Nazar Baloch of BLF speaks exclusively to OpIndia
Allah Nazar Baloch was born on 2 October 1968 in Mashkai, Awaran District, Pakistan. He has a premedical degree and now heads BLF, which has been designated a terror organisation by Pakistan. Dr Allah Nazar Baloch is perhaps one of the most wanted men in Pakistan as he has been at the forefront of Balochistan’s struggle for independence. In July, he gave an exclusive interview to India where he spoke of the manner in which Pakistan was plundering Balochistan and appealed to Prime Minister Modi to support their freedom struggle.
8. The Hauz Qazi Temple Desecration
On 30th June 2019, in the very heart of Delhi, the ugly truth of ‘Ganga Jamuna Tehzeeb’ was exposed. A strong Muslim mob proceeded to desecrate a temple in Hauz Qazi, break the idols, and allegedly, urinate in the temple. The fight apparently escalated from a fight over parking space. We published a ground report on the entire matter that documented the manner in which a communal mob rioted and desecrated the Temple and tale of a missing boy and the agony his parents were in. Fortunately, the boy returned afterwards.
9.Rahul Gandhi’s lucrative and seemingly clandestine means of income and his links to scam accused FTIL, Unitech
Rahul Gandhi’s assets per his election affidavits went up from Rs 55,38,123 in 2004, to over Rs. 2 crores in 2009 and finally, over Rs 9 crores in 2014. It must also be remembered here that in 2011-12, there are allegations that Rahul Gandhi had escaped incomes of Rs. 155 crores through AJL for which, the IT department has slapped a Rs. 100 crores tax notice on Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.
With such astronomical increase, one is bound to wonder what Rahul Gandhi source of income is, considering, the only legitimate income according to his public record is that of the salary drawn by him as Member of Parliament, and that interest he earns of his deposits.
While disclosing one’s source of income is not asked for in the affidavits, Rahul Gandhi was neither a professional before getting into politics nor has any declared interests in any legitimate business.
We tried to dig into and piece together what Rahul’s source of income might be and realised, that his source of income was tied to scam-tainted companies.
On the basis of this story, then Finance Minister, Late Arun Jaitley conducted a press conference. The presser was blacked out by several channels including ABP News. In his interview to ABP News, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had mentioned the OpIndia story and questioned the media.
— Rahul Roushan (@rahulroushan) April 5, 2019
10. The BHU Saga
OpIndia was the first media outlet to come out in support of the students of SVDV, BHU who were protesting over the appointment of a Muslim in their department. The students wanted Hindu Dharma to be taught by someone who actually believed in Hindu Dharm. We published a comprehensive rebuttal to each and every claim that was made to portray the students as bigots. After our reporting, many people who had falsely believed the BHU students to be bigots had changed their opinion on the matter and came to the conclusion that theirs was a very fair demand.
We interviewed scholars and alumni of BHU who had come out in complete support of the protesting students and helped clear the air around the controversy. We published a series of reports from the ground and kept our readers updated on the entire saga. Eventually, the Muslim Professor was shifted to a different department within the BHU and that was the students demanded.