POSTED BY Buzz ON Apr 08, 2013 AT 09:51 IST ,  Edited At: Apr 08, 2013 09:51 IST

The Hindu, in investigative collaboration with WikiLeaks, has accessed a new set of U.S. diplomatic communications, The ‘Kissinger Cables, from an earlier but highly turbulent period in India's political history: the early-to mid-1970s that comprise more than 1.7 million U.S. diplomatic records for the period 1973 to 1976, relating to a period when Henry Kissinger was the U.S Secretary of State in the Nixon and Ford Administrations. The first major revelation from these set of cables, as revealed by the Hindu is that much before he joined politics, 'Mr Clean" Rajiv Gandhi "may have been the “main Indian negotiator” for a massive aircraft deal for which his “family” connections were seen as valuable for the Swedish company Saab-Scania, when it was trying to sell its Viggen fighter aircraft to India in the 1970s".

An October 21, 1975 cable from the New Delhi U.S. Embassy (1975NEWDE14031_b, confidential) says:

1. THE SWEDES HERE ARE ONCE AGAIN OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THEIR CHANCES OF SELLING THE VIGGEN TO THE INDIAN AIR FORCE. THE SAAB SCANIA SALES MANAGER AND THE CHIEF TECHNICAL ADVISOR, THE FORMER ACTING COMMANDER OF THE SWEDISH AIR FORCE, RETURNED TO NEW DELHI TEN DAYS AGO FOR CONFERENCES WITH THE INDIANS. THE TECHNICAL ADVISOR IS STILL HERE AND WILL REMAIN AS LONG AS NECESSARY TO HANDLE QUESTIONS FROM THE NEW INDIAN DEFENSE MINISTER AND NEW IAF CHIEF OF THE STAFF, BOTH OF WHOM ACCORDING TO OUR SWEDISH COLLEAGUE, REQUIRE TIME TO BRIEF THEMSELVES ON THE COMPETING FIGHTERS. CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 02 NEW DE 01909 061554Z

2. THE SWEDES HERE EXPECT THAT THE IAF WILL SEND A TEST PILOT TO SWEDEN TO FLY THE VIGGEN SINCE THE CURRENT MODELS COMING OFF THE LINE ARE AIRWORTHY. HE TELLS US THE INDIANS HAVE ACCEPTED THE EXPLANATION FOR THE WING STRUCTURAL DEFECT WHICH TEMPORARILY GROUNDED THE EARLY MODELS.

3. THE SWEDES BELIEVE THEIR MOST TELLING POINT, HOWEVER, IS THE LONGEVITY OF THE AIRCRAFT. THEY SAY THEY HAVE CON- VINCED THE IAF THAT THE REPLACEABLE AVIONICS PACKAGES IN THE VIGGEN RENDER IT CAPABLE OF PERIODIC MODERNIZATION WITH THE RESULT THAT IT WILL BE VIABLE UNTIL 2000 (WHICH SOUNDS A BIT FAR FETCHED TO US). OUR SWEDISH COLLEAGUE SAID THE PROPOSAL CONTINUES TO BE THAT THE INDIANS BUILD THE AIRFRAMES AND POSSIBLY SOME ENGINES OR ENGINE COMPONENTS, BUT THE SWEDES PROVIDE THE AVIONICS. SINCE THE INDIANS WANT "THE BEST", ACCORDING TO OUR SWEDISH CONTACT, THE IAF REGARDS THE AVIONICS AS VITAL. MOREOVER, THE SWEDES WOULD NOT CONSIDER SELLING THE VIGGEN WITHOUT THE "BLACK BOXES." THESE FACTORS, THE SWEDES ASSERT, GO A LONG WAY TO OFFSET THE DISADVANTAGE OF RELATIVELY HIGH INITIAL UNIT COST. ANOTHER INDUCEMENT, AS SEEN BY THE SWEDES HERE, IS THAT SAAB SCANIA HAS COMPLETED ITS SURVEY OF INDIAN EXPORTS AND CONCLUDED IT COULD MARKET SEVERAL ITEMS IN SWEDEN OR THE WEST MAKING A BARTER TYPE ARRANGEMENT AT LEAST FEASIBLE FROM THE SWEDISH POINT OF VIEW.

4. THE SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER IS DUE ON A VISIT TO NEW DELHI CIRCA MARCH 1. THE SWEDES ARE BRACED FOR ANOTHER INDIAN APPEAL FOR CREDIT WHICH OUR COLLEAGUE SAYS SWEDEN WILL NOT GRANT, BUT HE DID SAY THE MINISTER WOULD STRONGLY SUPPORT THE VIGGEN SALE. OUR COLLEAGUE WOULD NOT SAY WHAT OTHER CONCESSIONS THE SWEDES MAY BE CONSIDERING. 5. THE SWEDES HERE HAVE ALSO MADE IT QUITE CLEAR THEY UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY INFLUENCES IN THE FINAL DECISION IN THE FIGHTER SWEEPSTAKES. OUR COLLEAGUE DESCRIBES RANJIV GANDHI IN FLATTERING TERMS, AND CONTENDS HIS TECHNICAL EXPERTISE IS OF A HIGH LEVEL. THIS MAY OR MAY NOT BE. OFFHAND WE WOULD HAVE THOUGHT A TRANSPORT PILOT NOT THE BEST EXPERT TO RELY UPON IN EVALUATING A FIGHTER PLANE, BUT THEN WE ARE SPEAKING OF A TRANSPORT PILOT WHO HAS ANOTHER AND PERHAPS MORE RELEVANT QUALIFICATION. CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL

For more context about the Jet Deal, read on at the Hindu: Rajiv Gandhi was ‘entrepreneur’ for Swedish jet, U.S. cable says.

Also See at the Hindu: Fernandes ‘sought CIA funding’ during Emergency

See all the Kissinger Cables at Wikileaks



 

 

 

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Apr 08, 2013 AT 09:51 IST, Edited At: Apr 08, 2013 09:51 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Dec 20, 2012 AT 16:41 IST ,  Edited At: Dec 20, 2012 16:41 IST

Pramod Kumar Singh in the Pioneer: ‘Hafta diary’ helps cops zero in on rape bus

It was the corrupt practice of allowing transporters to illegally run their buses after-hours that helped the police zero in on the vehicle used in Sunday's gangrape, sources say.

A traffic policeman had reportedly recorded the registration number of the bus in a 'hafta' diary - a record of illegally-plying buses for which bribes have been paid for exemption of prosecution. That immunity from police, however, is seen as the sole reason the gangrape was not detected as no cop intercepted it while it circled the area slowly.

The cop identified the bus when the police relayed the description provided by the victims. It finally led the police to zero in on two transporters with Yadav as their surnames. The bus was culled from a list of 370 chartered buses and the owner Dinesh Yadav was picked up by the police from his Noida Sector 62 residence and brought to verify the description of driver Ram Singh and also identify him after his arrest.

The very fact that the bus was plying illegally for hours on Sunday night with impunity suggests the active collusion of traffic police personnel.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Dec 20, 2012 AT 16:41 IST, Edited At: Dec 20, 2012 16:41 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 02, 2012 AT 23:32 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 02, 2012 23:32 IST

In Karan Thapar's Last Word on CNN-IBN, the Janta Party president, was asked why his charges against Rahul and Sonia Gandhi were not as big front-page news as Arvind Kejriwal's charges against Robert Vadra, or Aaj Tak's charges against Salman Khurshid, and if this was because the press was biased against him:

from around 11:48 onwards:

Subramanian Swamy: The press is not biased against me but the press is amenable to pressure and since I have many members of my family who are in the press, I get an inside view of how that pressure works - whether it works through an SMS or a direct telephone phone call...

Karan Thapar: Can you be explicit? Pressure from whom?

Subramanian Swamy: Pressure from people in authority.

Karan Thapar: The Congress party or the Gandhis directly?

Subramanian Swamy: Well, of course the Gandhis. Definitely they've their hatchet men who perform that role...

Karan Thapar: Can I interrupt and ask as to how come that pressure didn't apply when Vadra got exposed as that was front page news repeatedly for a long time.

Subramanian Swamy: Well, I can say that there is an explanation for that. You want to hear that explanation?

Karan Thapar: Very quickly, yes.

Subramanian Swamy: Well, I think Mr Vadra is not a very popular man in the Gandhi family... and there is... I know... you'd say I am getting into personal matters, but there is a separation process going on...and there is a division of property which has become very messy...

Karan Thapar: You are being Machiavellian. Are you suggesting that the Gandhis themselves saw it in their interest to allow stories about Vadra to hit the front pages?

Subramanian Swamy :
That's right, that's right...That's what I am saying...

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 02, 2012 AT 23:32 IST, Edited At: Nov 02, 2012 23:32 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Oct 26, 2012 AT 22:27 IST ,  Edited At: Oct 26, 2012 22:27 IST

Swapan Dasgupta in the Telegraph: Black sheep in all parties

In defending its president, the BJP appears to have got itself into an almighty jam...

If the logic of Advani’s contrived distinction between business and politics had indeed been pursued, the BJP should have left the defence of Gadkari to the man himself. Since the business dealings of Gadkari were undertaken independent of his party, there was no earthly reason why Sushma Swaraj and Jaitley should have appeared before the cameras to defend him. Most surprising of all was Advani’s intervention on behalf of Gadkari the politician. Popular memory may well be short but BJP workers at least may not have forgotten that last year Advani expended a huge amount of the party’s resources organizing a nationwide yatra against corruption and black money. At that time Advani did not care to make a distinction between unethical business practices and corrupt politics. To him, at that time, both fed on each other. Why should the ground rules be changed for Gadkari?

This is a question that must also be addressed to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh whose chief, Mohan Bhagwat, devoted a large part of his annual Vijaya Dashami address to attacking corruption. ...

For the BJP, the political cost of Gadkari and Vadra being put on par will be more damaging than for the Congress.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Oct 26, 2012 AT 22:27 IST, Edited At: Oct 26, 2012 22:27 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Oct 17, 2012 AT 23:26 IST ,  Edited At: Oct 17, 2012 23:26 IST

Pratap Bhanu Mehta in the Indian Express:

India’s political elites present a dismal spectacle. Like elites in denial, they pity the plumage, but forget the dying bird, to borrow Thomas Paine’s immortal words. They fret at the symptoms, but do not address the causes; they blame the messenger but do not go after the culprits; they worry about being declared guilty without a fair hearing, without introspection on why their credibility is so low. It is an elite now so estranged from reality, that it simply does not recognise how the world has changed. It is not a world that can be managed by old rules. India is on an astonishing cusp; the tragedy is that politicians, for the most part, are not running with the winds of change. But they still complain about the dust that is blinding them.

Delhi’s corridors of power are now echo chambers of whining. Arvind Kejriwal is running a lynch mob, the CAG is taking over the country, environmental NGOs have stopped all development, the RTI is vexatious and so forth. It is as if a vast conspiracy of non-political actors has hamstrung a virtuous political class. But the truth is the opposite: it serves the interest of this political class to present itself as victim, now that it has no authority to do business as usual.

Arvind Kejriwal’s methods should cause disquiet. He does give the impression of a closed circle of certitude: guilt is pronounced with unbreachable confidence. Sometimes the lines between political accountability and an inquisition are blurred, and often the attacks seem too personalised. But whatever the infirmities of the movement, we should not be blindsided by the fact that this mode of seeking accountability is an inevitable consequence of the decimation of institutions.

Read this must-read article at the Indian Express

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Oct 17, 2012 AT 23:26 IST, Edited At: Oct 17, 2012 23:26 IST
     
 
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