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RAM JETHMALANI
ETHICS & POWER

Ram Jethmalani is a senior politician and eminent lawyer.

An appeal to all loyal citizens of India

ur Constitution makers dreamt of governments under the rule of law controlled by statesmen of integrity. Instead we have today a government controlled by the corrupt, engaged in stealing the wealth of India.

It is almost 20 years ago that the most popular magazine of Switzerland, Schweizer Illustrierte in its issue of 11 November 1991 did an expose of 14 Third World politicians who, it said, had stashed their booty in Swiss banks. The title of the expose in German read "Fluchgelder — Die Schweizer Konten der Dictatoren", meaning in English, "Curse of money: The Swiss bank accounts of the Dictators". Rajiv Gandhi was named in the list, as well as a figure put in the account he allegedly held. This report found no echo in the Indian press. Who could have muzzled the otherwise noisy and free press of India? No one made any public denial nor took legal steps.

There is another disclosure in a book called The State within a State: The KGB and its Hold on Russia: Past, Present, and Future by Yevgenia Albats, a journalist working for Moscow News and Isvestia, published in 1994. It claimed that KGB funds had been sent to support the Congress as well as the family of the Gandhis. The author cites the KGB letter and file reference in her book. All major newspapers, the Hindu and the Times of India included, had carried the expose on KGB payments even before the actual publication of the book in 1994, when the KGB papers were unveiled in the year 1991-92. Even before Dr Albats' book came out Russian media had leaked out details and, based on the leaks, on 4 July 1992, the Hindu had reported that "the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service admits the possibility that the KGB could have been involved in arranging profitable Soviet contracts for the company controlled by Rajiv Gandhi family".Image 2nd

There is the well known instance of Ottavio Quattrocchi, principal actor in the Bofors scam, who was very close to the family of Sonia Gandhi. The Italian born Ottavio Quattrochhi's association with the family is more than three decades old. No one has disputed that Quattrocchi got the first instalment of $7.3 million out of the total payoff of $36.5 million (3% of the contract value of $1.2 billion) from Bofors in the arms deal that he had procured from the Government of India as he had promised to them before 31.3.1986, for swinging the gun deal for Bofors. The slush money of $7.3 million was traced to Quattrocchi's account by the CBI, which got it frozen some 20 years ago. But when the law was closing in on Quattrocchi in the early 1990s, the Congress government allowed him to escape from India. He turned fugitive, but his slush money had continued to remain frozen.

Subsequently, in 2004, the CBI, obviously under pressure from the Congress government, quietly allowed Quattrocchi to withdraw the money under attachment. The then Solicitor General of India was sent to London to facilitate the release of the money. This was in media and the public domain. This shows that the present government, far from being keen to recover the slush money is anxious, if not determined, to help the thieves defeat all law enforcement. It should thus be clear to every right thinking citizen of India that so long as the Congress has Soniaji at the helm and son Rahul as Prime Minister in waiting the nation has to forget this enormous wealth and leave it in the hands of our corrupt rulers. By now the Sonia family's inheritance must have swollen to nearly $10 billion. What is more disconcerting and disgraceful is that credible evidence has emerged that many Indians including politicians and leaders of the corporate world and humbler benaamidars (cover for the real thieves) have stashed away a mind boggling sum of about $1,500 billion in secret foreign accounts equivalent of about 750 lakh crores in Indian rupees. The above mentioned Swiss magazine has confirmed in 2002 its expose of 1991 about the 14 international criminals.

Citizen India, a group of patriotic citizens of whom I am one, finding total absence of will, courage and honesty to prosecute and punish the powerful thieves or to retrieve the money that belongs to our poor nation approached the Supreme Court more than a year and half ago for relief. Currently, the matter is being heard and fortunately the Court prima facie shares our worst concerns. The proceedings are being widely reported by media, both print and electronic. While exercise of judicial power to retrieve our lost wealth is absolutely essential, we can hasten the arrival of relief by knocking out the current government controlled as it is by suspects, if not the real guilty ones. They can frustrate even judicial verdicts and much more easily the work of well meaning citizen groups.

But they cannot defeat you the people.

Are you ready to join our holy crusade?

This appeal is meant for all parties as well whether in coalition or Opposition and even for good Congressmen. Party loyalty is a necessary virtue for all politicians, whether powerful leaders or humble workers. But party loyalty is a blunder and a crime when the party is on an evil course and it has become a shield and hiding den of diehard criminals.

Relief of starving millions and saving desperate farmers committing suicide trump all subordinate loyalties. When you decide to take the plunge, please call or communicate.

 
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