There is no bigger taboo in India’s free press than asking hard and pointed questions of the Nehru-Gandhi family. Few Indian journalists have ventured into this territory. Fewer still have asked the really uncomfortable questions. Questions that demand answers but have been conveniently ignored, dismissed and even forgotten.
Questions for example about Swiss bank accounts apparently held under the name of Smt. Sonia Gandhi containing approximately 2.5 billion SFr (~$2.7 billion) reported in the media more than 20 years back. Although the matter has been raised several times since (including in the print media), it has been met with a stonewall of arrogant silence.
More damning than the questions around Swiss accounts are allegations of funds having being paid by foreign intelligence agencies to Smt. Gandhi and members of the family going back more than 3 decades. These allegations – to the best of my knowledge – have never been responded to, denied or contradicted. Neither has anyone filed a defamation suit alleging slander against the author of the book where these details were first mentioned.
Such questions abound. They also go a long way in the past. Such as questions around shares acquired by Smt. Gandhi in Indian companies in 1970 & 1974 (while still being a foreigner) in direct contravention of the infamous FERA (Foreign Exchange Regulation Act) which was in force at the time and violations of which could have led to imprisonment for up 7 years.
Or questions around the inconvenient fact that her name appears in the electoral register in 1983 (prepared on the basis of the voters’ list as of 1st Jan 1983) even though she first applied for Indian citizenship only on 7th April 1983.
Or questions around the apparently misleading information regarding her educational qualifications in the affidavit filed in 2004 which mentioned a course in English Language from “Cambridge University”?
Or questions around the basis for her becoming the head of “Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Library and Museum, one of the principal institutions for research on contemporary Indian history” and the awkward, almost surreptitious manner in which she became a President for life of IGNCA, meticulously documented by the redoubtable Arun Shourie.
Or the remarkable increase in his total assets between 2004 and 2009 as declared in his affidavits filed with the Election Commission, even though he was engaged full-time in politics?
None of these questions have been publicly answered (to the best of my knowledge). None of the allegations have been openly challenged or followed up – neither by journalists, nor investigative reporters nor the opposition.
Particularly ominous is the thundering silence around disturbing questions to do with Smt. Gandhi, arguably the most powerful woman in India today. Why has there been no discussion on these numerous transgressions and apparent violations?
Why is there no demand for any investigation? or even an explanation? Why are no questions asked? Why are the allegations dismissed with a practiced air of nonchalance?
What explains the thundering silence? And what is the price for this silence?
P.S. Note that this is not meant to be a calumny or attempt at defamation. It is an attempt to find the truth. The questions I posed are based on widely available public sources. I am willing to amend this post if evidence is presented to me contrary to any of the points raised. May the truth prevail. Jai Hind, Jai Bharat!