Facts about rajeev gandhi rajeev gandhi biography Rajiv Gandhi Death secrets rajeev gandhi death

Facts about rajeev gandhi 

Rajiv Ratna Gandhi was the sixth Prime Minister of India, serving from 1984 to 1989. He took office after the 1984 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, his mother, to become the youngest Indian premier.

A scion of the politically powerful Nehru Gandhi family associated with the Indian National Congress party, for much of Rajiv's childhood his grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru was prime minister. For his college education, he went to Britain where he met and began dating Antonia Maino, an Italian waitress. Rajiv returned to India in 1966 and became a professional pilot for the state-owned Indian Airlines. In 1968, he married Maino who changed her name to Sonia Gandhi—and the couple settled down in Delhi to a domestic life with their children Rahul and Priyanka. Although for much of the 1970s his mother was prime minister, and his brother Sanjay wielded significant unofficial power, Rajiv remained apolitical. After Sanjay's death in a plane crash in 1980, Rajiv reluctantly entered politics at the behest of Indira. The following year he won his brother's Amethi seat and became a member of the Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament). As part of his political grooming, Rajiv was made a general secretary of the Congress and given significant responsibility in organising the 1982 Asian Games.

On the morning of 31 October 1984, his mother was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards to avenge Operation Blue Star; later that day, Rajiv Gandhi was appointed Prime Minister. His leadership was put to the test over the next few days as organised mobs rioted against the Sikh community, resulting in the death of thousands in Delhi alone. Nevertheless, that December, a nationwide sympathy vote for Rajiv's Congress party helped it win the greatest Lok Sabha majority (411 seats out of 542) in history.

Rajiv Gandhi was also mired in many controversies: the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Bhopal disaster and Shah Bano case. In 1988, Gandhi reversed the coup in Maldives antagonising militant Tamil groups such as PLOTE. He was also responsible for first intervening and then sending Indian Peace Keeping Force troops for peace efforts in Sri Lanka in 1987, which soon ended in open conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In mid-1987, the Bofors scandal damaged his honest, corruption-free image and resulted in a major defeat for his party in the 1989 elections.

Rajiv Gandhi remained Congress President until the elections in 1991. While campaigning for the elections, he was assassinated by a suicide bomber from the LTTE. His widow Sonia became the president of Congress party in 1998, and led the party to victory in the 2004 and 2009 parliament elections. His son Rahul is a Member of Parliament and Vice President of the Congress. Rajiv Gandhi was posthumously awarded the highest civilian award by the government of India, Bharat Ratna in 1991.

Rajiv Gandhi was born into India's most famous political family. His maternal grandfather was the Indian independence leader Jawaharlal Nehru, who was India's first Prime Minister after independence. His father, Feroze, was one of the younger members of the Indian National Congress party, and had befriended the young Indira, and also her mother Kamala Nehru, while working on party affairs at Allahabad. Subsequently, Indira and Feroze grew closer to each other while in England, and they married, despite initial objections from Jawaharlal due to his religion (Zoroastrianism).

He was born in 1944 in Mumbai, during a time when both his parents were in and out of British prisons. In August 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru became the prime minister of independent India, and the family settled in Allahabad, and then at Lucknow, where Feroze became the editor of the National Herald newspaper (founded by Motilal Nehru). The marriage was faltering and, in 1949, Indira and the two sons moved to Delhi to live with Nehru, ostensibly so that Indira could assist her father in his duties, acting as official hostess, and helping run the huge residence. Meanwhile, Feroze continued alone in Lucknow. Relations were strained further when Feroze challenged corruption within the Congress leadership over the Haridas Mundhra scandal. After Feroze Gandhi had a heart attack in 1958, the family reconciled briefly before Feroze died from a second heart attack in 1960.

Rajiv first studied at Welham Boys' School in Dehra Dun, and then went on to the Doon School. He was sent to London in 1961 to study his A-levels. In 1962, he was offered a place at Trinity College, Cambridge, to study engineering. Rajiv stayed at Cambridge until 1965, got a degree in mechanical engineering. In 1966, he was offered and took up a place at Imperial College London, but after a year left that course without a degree.

Rajiv began working for Indian Airlines as a professional pilot while his mother became Prime Minister in 1966. He exhibited no interest in politics. He married a waitress at a Greek restaurant Albina Màino who later became known as Sonia Gandhi. In 1970, his wife gave birth to their first child Rahul, and in 1972, to Priyanka, their second.

Following his younger brother Sanjay Gandhi's death in 1980, Gandhi was pressured by Congress politicians and his mother to enter politics. He and Sonia were both opposed to the idea, and he even publicly stated that he would not contest for his brother's seat. Nevertheless, he eventually announced his candidacy for Parliament. His entry was criticized by many in the press, public and political opposition. Rajiv also became a member of the Asian Games Organizing Committee in 1982 with his close friend and then sports minister Sardar Buta Singh as president of the committee. He fought his first election from Sanjay's erstwhile Amethi Lok Sabha seat, a Nehru–Gandhi bastion, and defeated Sharad Yadav. It was widely perceived that Indira Gandhi was grooming Rajiv for the prime minister's job, and he soon became the president of the Indian Youth Congress, the Congress party's youth wing.

Rajiv Gandhi was in West Bengal when his mother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated on 31 October 1984 by two of her Sikh bodyguards, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh, to avenge the military attack on the Golden Temple during Operation Blue Star. Sardar Buta Singh, as well as President Zail Singh pressed Rajiv to become India's prime minister, within hours of his mother's assassination. Commenting on the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, Rajiv Gandhi said, "When a giant tree falls, the earth below shakes"; a statement for which he was widely criticized. Many Congress politicians were accused of orchestrating the violence. Soon after assuming office, Rajiv asked President Zail Singh to dissolve Parliament and hold fresh elections, as the Lok Sabha completed its five-year term. Rajiv Gandhi also officially became the President of the Congress party. The Congress party won a landslide victory with the largest majority in history of Indian Parliament giving Gandhi absolute control of government. He also benefited from his youth and a general perception of being free of a background in corrupt politics.

Anti-Sikh riots
At a Boat Club rally 19 days after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv said: "Some riots took place in the country following the murder of Indiraji. We know the people were very angry and for a few days it seemed that India had been shaken. But, when a mighty tree falls, it is only natural that the earth around it does shake a little".

This statement sent a wrong signal to the authorities, who adopted a callous approach of not allowing the truth to come out despite the government setting up probe panels one after the other, including two full fledged judicial commissions (the first headed by retired Chief Justice of India Ranganath Misra and the second by former apex court judge G.T. Nanavati). As mentioned in the book 'When a Tree Shook Delhi' by senior advocate H.S. Phoolka and journalist Manoj Mitta (who have based the details of the book mainly on evidence produced before the nine panels and trial courts and high courts in the form of affidavits by witnesses), the police ironically cracked down on the Sikh victims, who had been defending their properties when they were attacked by hooligans led by local Congress leaders.
Bofors scandal
Rajiv Gandhi's finance minister, V. P. Singh, uncovered compromising details about government and political corruption, to the consternation of Congress leaders. Transferred to the Defence ministry, Singh uncovered what became known as the Bofors scandal, involving tens of millions of dollars – concerned alleged payoffs by the Swedish Bofors arms company through Italian businessman and Gandhi family associate Ottavio Quattrocchi, in return for Indian contracts. Upon the uncovering of the scandal, Singh was dismissed from office, and later from Congress membership. Rajiv Gandhi himself was later personally implicated in the scandal when the investigation was continued by Narasimhan Ram and Chitra Subramaniam of The Hindu newspaper. This shattered his image as an honest politician; he was posthumously cleared over this allegation in 2004.

Opposition parties united under Singh to form the Janata Dal coalition. In the 1989 election, the Congress suffered a major setback. With the support of Indian communists and the Bharatiya Janata Party, Singh and his Janata Dal formed a government. Rajiv Gandhi became the Leader of the Opposition, while remaining Congress president. While some believe that Rajiv and Congress leaders influenced the collapse of V. P. Singh's government in October 1990 by promising support to Chandra Shekhar, a high-ranking leader in the Janata Dal, sufficient internal contradictions existed, within the ruling coalition, especially over the controversial reservation issue, to cause a fall of government. Rajiv's Congress offered outside support briefly to Chandra Sekhar, who became Prime Minister. They withdrew their support in 1991, and fresh elections were announced.

Sri Lanka policy
Then Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa opposed the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord, but accepted it due to pressure from then President Junius Richard Jayewardene. In 1987, When he was inspecting guard of honour in Sri Lanka, he was assaulted by a Sri Lankan sailor Vijitha Rohana de Silva of Naval rating. His own agility and Indian Special Protection Group saved Rajiv from that brutal attack. In January 1989 Premadasa was elected President and on a platform that promised that the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) leave within three months. In the 1989 elections, both the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and United National Party wanted the IPKF to withdraw, and they got 95 percent of the vote.

The police action was unpopular in India as well, especially in Tamil Nadu, as India was fighting the Tamil separatists. Rajiv Gandhi refused to withdraw the IPKF, believing that the only way to end the civil war was to politically force Premadasa and militarily force the LTTE to accept the accord. Gandhi had concluded a visit to Sri Lanka; this was just after the Indian Peace Keeping Force (a contingent of India armed forces sent to Sri Lanka to help with their battle against Tamil insurgents) had been recalled and there was a good deal of resentment that Indian troops had been deployed there. In December 1989, Singh was elected Prime Minister and completed the pullout. The IPKF operation killed over 1100 Indian soldiers, 5000 Tamil civilians and cost over 100 billion.

Shah Bano case
In 1985, the Supreme Court of India ruled in favour of Muslim divorcee Shah Bano, declaring that her husband should give her alimony. A section of Muslims in India treated it as an encroachment in Muslim Personal Law and protested against it. Gandhi agreed to their demands. In 1986, the Congress (I) party, which had an absolute majority in Parliament at the time, passed an act that nullified the Supreme Court's judgement in the Shah Bano case. This was viewed in India that it is against the fundamental rule of the constitution that the law does treat everyone equal and was seen as a strategy to appease Muslims and garner their votes.

Allegations of black money
In November 1991, the Schweizer Illustrierte magazine published an article on black money held in secret accounts by Imelda Marcos and 14 other rulers of Third World countries. Citing McKinsey as a source, the article stated that Rajiv Gandhi held 2.5 billion Swiss francs in secret Indian accounts in Switzerland.Several leaders of opposition parties in India have raised the issue citing the Schweizer Illustrierte article. In December 1991, Amal Datta raised the issue in the Indian Parliament – the then speaker of the Lok Sabha, Shivraj Patil, expunged Rajiv Gandhi's name from the proceedings.In December 2011, Subramanian Swamy wrote a letter to the director of the Central Bureau of Investigation which cited the article, asking him to take action on black money accounts of the Nehru-Gandhi family. On 29 December 2011, Ram Jethmalani made an indirect reference to the issue in the Rajya Sabha, calling it a shame that one of India's former Prime Ministers was named by a Swiss magazine. This was met by uproar and a demand for withdrawal of the remark by the ruling Congress party members.

Funding from KGB In 1992, two Indian newspapers, the Times of India and The Hindu, published reports alleging that Rajiv Gandhi had received funds from the KGB. The Russian government confirmed this disclosure and defended the payments as necessary for the Soviet ideological interest. In their 1994 book The State Within a State, the journalists Yevgenia Albats and Catherine Fitzpatrick quoted a letter signed by Viktor Chebrikov, the head of the KGB, in the 1980s. The letter says that the KGB maintained contact with Rajiv Gandhi, who expressed his gratitude to the KGB for benefits accruing to his family from commercial dealings of a controlled firm, and a considerable portion of funds obtained from this channel were used to support his party. Albats later revealed that in December 1985, Chebrikov had asked for authorisation from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to make payments to family members of Rajiv Gandhi including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. The payments were authorised by a resolution and endorsed by the USSR Council of Ministers, and had been coming since 1971. In December 2001, Subramanian Swamy filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court, acting on which the court ordered CBI to ascertain the truth of the allegations in May 2002. After two years, the CBI told the Court that Russia would not entertain such queries without a registered FIR.

Mistory of Rajiv Gandhi Death secrets :

The mystery behind the Rajiv assassination refuses to die down. We know the killers but without knowing the conspirators. The current controversy arose after a new book was released by Mr. K. Ragothaman who was the CBI”s chief investigating officer in the case. The author has made the sensational charge that evidence in the form of a telltale tape recording the murder scene was deliberately suppressed by the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Mr. Ragothaman repeated his charge over TV. He was refuted by both Mr. DR Karthikeyan who led the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in that case and by West Bengal Governor Mr. MK Narayanan who headed the IB at the time. Both pleaded memory loss after 21 years and the fact that the case had been thoroughly scrutinized by a judicial commission.

Regardless of the validity or otherwise of Mr. Ragothaman’s allegations uncertainty about what transpired in that tragic event has always been voiced. In these columns many inexplicable aspects about the assassination had been pointed out and questions had been raised. Indeed a continuous stream of events and revelations has haunted this case. The SIT chief in that case and former CBI Director Mr. Kaarthikeyan wrote a book about what he described as a successful investigation. However he was almost immediately rebutted by Major Ravi who led the commando team to capture the leader of the LTTE killer squad, Sivarasan. Major Ravi alleged that Mr. Karthikeyan prevented him from apprehending Sivarasan for one whole week by disallowing action. That crucial delay allowed Sivarasan to commit suicide and bury the truth. Major Ravi persisted with his version by even making a film to iterate his allegation.

Also, in March 2009 Mrs. Priyanka Vadhra visited Nalini Sriharan who along with her husband Murugan was serving life sentence as a co-accused in the murder case. Mrs. Vadhra’s visit was secret, unrecorded and in violation of procedure. She was accompanied by a RAW officer who was not allowed presence while she talked alone with Nalini. News of her visit surfaced only after the son of Nalini’s lawyer, Mr. Doraisami, filed an RTI application. Why was the meeting secret and why was Nalini’s lawyer interested in getting it exposed? According to Mr. Doraisami Mrs. Vadhra pointedly asked Nalini if she knew who the mastermind behind the assassination was. Mrs. Vadhra did not deny the meeting after it became public. She claimed that she was motivated by compassion. It might be recalled that Mrs. Sonia Gandhi had subsequently stated that she was not opposed to commuting Nalini’s death sentence. Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyer reinforced this sentiment by quoting Shakespeare’s lines about the quality of mercy not being strained.

On February 11, 2010 it was asked in these columns:

“Surely, the information sought by Mrs. Vadhra was, to say the least, decidedly odd? Except for conspiracy theorists it was widely acknowledged that the mastermind of the assassination was the LTTE leader Prabhakaran… Vadhra’s query to Nalini therefore suggests dissatisfaction with the official view. Such scepticism would not surprise given some unexplained aspects of the assassination.”

The most glaring unexplained aspect of the assassination was of course that the woman suicide bomber, Dhanu, was the tenant of a senior Congress woman leader. Not only that, when she went to kill Rajiv Gandhi, Dhanu was accompanied to the murder site by that senior Congress leader’s daughter who also became a Congress MLA in Tamil Nadu. Obviously both mother and daughter were unaware of the conspiracy because otherwise the daughter would never have accompanied Dhanu to the murder site. But the question that needed to be asked and was never satisfactorily provided to the public was raised in these columns:

“How did Dhanu the suicide bomber succeed in penetrating the Congress circle to become the tenant of a Congress leader and develop such trust that the daughter actually accompanied her for the suicide mission? Who introduced Dhanu to the Congress leader to enable her becoming the tenant? Was it a politician? Surely, the trail of contacts that enabled Dhanu to penetrate the Congress circle needed to be unearthed.”

Currently Nalini’s lawyer Mr. Doraisami has also written a book about Rajiv’s murder and has raised questions expressing dissatisfaction with the probe. Broadly he has raised three queries. Who made the belt bomb used by Dhanu? Who provided the RDX to Sivarasan? Why were AICC officials reluctant to cooperate with the probe? Why was more than Rs. 1 crore paid by Sivarasan to a person who remains unidentified to this day?

To all these questions that are not unreasonable there are no satisfactory answers provided by investigators.

The mystery behind Rajiv Gandhi’s death may never be solved. That should not surprise. Relevant questions related to the deaths of Subhash Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Sanjay Gandhi and Indira Gandhi have never been satisfactorily addressed either. India seems condemned to suffer political conspiracies and unnatural deaths of its leaders. This may persist until government becomes transparent and scrupulously observes norm and procedure. Until then the public will continue to co-exist with half-truths. It is ironic that trenchant critics of the Congress like this writer demanded satisfactory probes of slain Congress leaders, but politicians who thrived under them remained casual.
The mystery behind the Rajiv assassination refuses to die down. We know the killers but without knowing the conspirators. The current controversy arose after a new book was released by Mr. K. Ragothaman who was the CBI”s chief investigating officer in the case. The author has made the sensational charge that evidence in the form of a telltale tape recording the murder scene was deliberately suppressed by the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Mr. Ragothaman repeated his charge over TV. He was refuted by both Mr. DR Karthikeyan who led the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in that case and by West Bengal Governor Mr. MK Narayanan who headed the IB at the time. Both pleaded memory loss after 21 years and the fact that the case had been thoroughly scrutinized by a judicial commission. - See more at: http://www.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Content&sd=Articles&ArticleID=13338#sthash.0VhYWwt6.dpuf

Hidden facts about Rajiv Gandhi

Rajiv Gandhi Death Secrets

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