ARTICLES FROM THE SUNDAY GUARDIAN
Copyright. All rights reserved. Ram Jethmalani. 2019.
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It was indeed fortunate that the people of our country got a first-hand opportunity to watch the interview of Mr. Rahul Gandhi, heir apparent and putative Prime Ministerial candidate of the Congress Party with Arnab Goswami on Times Now channel. I am given to understand that this interview took place after Rahul had been supplied in advance the list of questions which he would have to answer from his well known interlocutor, and that he had sufficient time to prepare his answers. I made it a point to hear the interview, because I was genuinely interested to see for myself the progress in Rahul's political and intellectual development, particularly after the poison chalice was administered to him last year by his mother. After having endured the rather repetitive mismatch between question and answer of the maiden interview, I would like to pose a few comments and questions to him.
I think there has been general consensus about your obsessive insistence of replying any and every question with a mishmash of three main answers, namely, transparency and bringing in the RTI Act, (a false assertion, that I have constantly brought to the attention of my readers), women's empowerment, and how you are engineering your own version ofparivartan within your party system.
However, there are several urgent answers that the nation needs from you, to get a better insight into your thoughts and actions, your attitude and intent, regarding several critical issues that haunt the governance of our nation. Particularly in view of your extraordinary influence over the Congress Party and the government, as scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family, the only stretcher that remains for the comatose Congress Party to recline on, while it does its last mile to decimation. I'm confident that you should find no difficulty in confirming or denying the facts that I will confront you with.
Since you have publicly professed that you are a great believer in "transparency", as an essential requirement of an effective democracy, you would agree that the aam aadmi is entitled to information regarding those who control government, be they present, aspiring or potential. And please don't get me wrong. I refer only to information that has or can have a bearing upon governance, and not to the personal and private side of life which does not impinge upon governance. Let me begin with your physical and financial assets that, even according to law, cannot be concealed from the people who have every right to satisfy themselves that you do not indulge in any unlawful activities or make illicit gains thereby, for which some of our politicians have become notorious.
The Indian Express of 27.01.2014 on its front page of the Delhi edition refers to some of your assets. Do you confirm the veracity of this report? Will you kindly inform the nation whether the enormous assets thus disclosed by Indian Express are an exhaustive list or merely illustrative? In other words, I'm sure you realise that in the interest of transparency, something on which you place such high premium, that you should voluntarily declare all the assets owned by you presently or in the past, those that you have alienated, and the subsequent financial deployments of considerations received from such alienations. You also need to inform the people of our country whether you have acquired these assets by inheritance or through your own hard labour, which is the method through which most people, including me, have acquired our assets. The nation would also like to know the business, businesses or professions which you have set up or been involved in ever since you have come of age, and whether you inherited anything from your father or grandmother, and if so what.
You would be aware that soon after the late Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, a respectable Swiss magazine Schweizer Illustrierte in its issue of 11.11.1991 disclosed his foreign bank account with deposits of 2.2 billion US dollars. As an heir, I'm sure you would have some knowledge about your inheritance of these hidden assets. Will you kindly tell the nation what enquiries you made regarding this account, and how much wealth of your father you discovered? And also whether you have been able to inherit this account or whether you have abandoned it.
You would also be aware that not very long ago the governments of Germany and France managed to break the customer confidentiality of the Swiss banks and obtained valuable information about enormous assets held by a large number of persons in secret accounts and both the governments offered to disclose to us the names of Indians having these illicit accounts. With your high level of involvement and engagement in corruption issues that you claim, I'm confident that you cannot be ignorant of this information. I request you to inform the nation as to whether your mother or you as an aspiring Prime Minister of the country took any step to secure this information from the two governments. If yes, I request you to enlighten the nation of what steps you have taken to recover the money.
While preparing yourself for your future role, which is declared by your party sycophants as your birthright, you would have been informed that many governments in Europe and America have taken urgent steps to discover the identity of the money laundering criminals and have been able to recover substantial sums of money. Will you also similarly inform the people of this country the identity of the dacoits who have plundered our country and the poor of the capital that belongs to the nation?
Are you aware that some of my patriotic friends and I approached the Supreme Court with the grievance that instead of getting information about the money launderers, your government has been doing its best to enter into treaties and protocols which should make it impossible to disclose the identity of the criminals to the sovereign people of India who in fact and in law own these assets? Have you taken any interest in assisting or strengthening our efforts to recover our nation's money stashed away in illegal offshore accounts? Do you understand how India's capital, which should be re-invested for the development of India and for removing the curse of poverty, is being siphoned off abroad, and therefore poverty continues to perpetuate? Your government's spurious public programmes will not remove poverty, when their private programmes continue to prevent capital formation in India.
I wonder if you have ever read the judgement of Supreme Court. If not, I request you to read it now. It is reported in (2011) 8 SCC 1. You should feel ashamed that the Supreme Court despite your government's objections ruled that it had done nothing to get this money. Are you aware that the Supreme Court has ordered that a Special Investigation Team headed by two retired judges of Supreme Court of India should handle this job; and that the government must disclose the names of the dacoits and money launderers communicated to them? Both these orders have not been complied with for the last two years. Please inform that nation about what advice you have given to your government and to your mother about this.
The nation also needs to know whether you have ever discussed this urgent matter that involves heinous economic crimes against the nation with the Aam Aadmi government which you have installed in Delhi. Is silence on this criminal default of your government by the AAP also a condition of your support to their government?
Can you blame the people of the country if they come to the conclusion that your silence and inaction in this respect is only because our rulers themselves are the culprits, or at least their accomplices? Taking into account the cumulative evidence, I must inform you that I am one of those who has arrived at this firm conclusion.