August 08, 2020
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More Cause For Concern
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THE past is catching up furiously with P.V. Narasimha Rao. Notorious criminal ‘Babloo’ Srivastava told the Jain Commission last fortnight that Chandra-swami broke into a ‘dance’ when he heard the news of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination on May 21, 1991. "Bomb se uda diya. Narasimha Rao ab prime minister banega," the swami is reported to have said. Babloo was with Chandraswami at his New Delhi ashram when the news of Rajiv’s killing arrived 10 minutes after the former prime minister had been assassinated by a suicide bomber. Babloo’s latest revelation, coming as it does when Rao’s trying to escape a slew of cases, might provide enough grist to the Commission which is exploring the conspiracy angle in the killing, feel officials.

As per Babloo’s account, Chandraswami did a little jig, then ordered his followers to observe a two-minute silence for the departed soul. Immediately after, he spoke to Mallya for five minutes. When Rao returned the call Chandraswami had made 10 minutes earlier, he asked his supporters, barring his nephew, to leave the room. The nephew later told Babloo the call was from Rao.

The following day, according to Babloo, Chandraswami convened a meeting in his ashram which was attended by some politicians and Bangalore-based liquor baron Vijay Mallya. The evidence of the meeting was corroborated by Chandra-swami’s aide, Vikram Singh, whose statement was recorded for four days. Singh admitted he knew Mallya well and that he used to personally receive them at the airport whenever he went to London with the swami. This isn’t a first for Mallya who hit headlines also when he arranged for an aircraft for Deve Gowda after he became Prime Minister and accompanied him from Bangalore to Delhi.

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