Bofors case: Appeal against HC order escalated Sonia Gandhi-Narasimha Rao friction, says Margaret Alva

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New Delhi | July 15, 2016 9:08 PM

The decison by then Narasimha Rao government to appeal against a Delhi High court order quashing the Bofors case linking Rajiv Gandhi had deepened Sonia Gandhi's suspicion over Rao, escalating friction between the two, says veteran Congress leader Margaret Alva.

Ahead of release of her book "Courage and Commitment", which is an account of her chequered political life, Alva said following the decison, she was asked by a furious Sonia whether Rao wanted to send her to jail. (PTI)Ahead of release of her book “Courage and Commitment”, which is an account of her chequered political life, Alva said following the decison, she was asked by a furious Sonia whether Rao wanted to send her to jail. (PTI)

The decison by then Narasimha Rao government to appeal against a Delhi High court order quashing the Bofors case linking Rajiv Gandhi had deepened Sonia Gandhi’s suspicion over Rao, escalating friction between the two, says veteran Congress leader Margaret Alva.

Ahead of release of her book “Courage and Commitment”, which is an account of her chequered political life, Alva said following the decison, she was asked by a furious Sonia whether Rao wanted to send her to jail.

Alva, who held various positions in Congress before she was asked to resign in 2008 after her allegations that party tickets were “sold” in the Karnataka Assembly polls, appeared critical of Congress leadership for “centralised decision- making” system in the party.

She also spoke about relationship between CPN Singh, a Minister of Indira Gandhi’s government and Wolfgang Michel, father of middleman Christian Michel whose name had cropped up in the AgustaWestland chopper deal.

Alva talked about supply of tanks to South Africa in 1980 and how Wolfgang Michel, then based in London, was influential and may have had links with Sanjay Gandhi.

Recalling tense relationship between Sonia and Rao, Alva said the PMO’s decison to deal with the CBI directly over the Bofors case without her knowledge had deepened Sonia’s suspicion towards Rao.

“I was the Minister in-charge of the CBI and she asked me that. The decision was taken without my knowledge. The file was dealt directly by the PMO,” she told Karan Thapar of India Today TV.

Alva also disapproved of the party leadership not showing respect to Rao in his death. “His body was even not let into the AICC compound. Gun carriage was parked on the pavement outside the gate.

“Whatever the differences were, he was the PM, he had been Congress president, he was Chief Minister, he was party general secretary. When a man is dead you do not treat him that way,” she said.

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