13 April 2001


From Jal Khambata

NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is all set to mount an inquiry against Congress President Sonia Gandhi following the legal opinion it obtained favouring an indepth examination of the "charge-sheet" filed against her by Janata Party President Dr Subramanian Swamy.

The probe may be undertaken by a multi-monitoring agency comprising six ministries, with the CBI as the coordinator, the CBI sources disclosed on Friday. The agency would be something like the MDMA set up by the Government to further probe the conspiracy angle to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

The legal opinion obtained by the CBI points out that six ministries will have to coordinate to go into the depth of the charges levelled by Dr Swamy against Sonia Gandhi as it may not be possible for the CBI alone to handle all issues arising out of his complaint to MsVasundhara Raje, Minister for State for Personnel under whom the CBI falls.

The file is now pending with the CBI director to pass appropriate orders in the light of the legal opinion, the sources said, adding that the CBI may move the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) endorsing the legal opinion for constituting a multi-departmental agency.

The Congress has its own contacts in the CBI as the word has leaked out about the legal opinion on Dr Swamy's complaint and that is why the party is getting back to the attacking mode. When Lok Sabha Congress deputy leader Madhavrao Scindia mounted attack on the government for harassing the Congress President, he was indirectly hinting at this particular case though he also referred to the cases being piled up against her most trusted personal assistant Vincent George.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee hates Dr Swamy as the latter had not spared even him in the shocking charges he is in the habit of levelling against everybody but the same Dr Swamy's letter has been converted into a "charge-sheet" against Sonia Gandhi simply because it politically suits the BJP-led NDA government to put her on the defensive.

The charges which Dr Swamy has levelled against Sonia Gandhi in his letter to Vasundhara Raje who referred them to the CBI in brief are:

-- Sonia Gandhi's parental family (Mainos) have links with the LTTE since 1984 as the family was helped by LTTE in antique smuggling and money laundering. Family friend Quattrocchi, wanted in the Bofors kick-back case, has been also helping the LTTE procure arms from Phuket, Thailand. All these adds a new dimension to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by LTTE and hence the urgency that the CBI-led Muti Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA), set up a after the Jain Commission's finding, should send interrogatories to the Maino family about all this, and investigate the extent of their connections with LTTE in the assassination.

-- Like Fujimoro, a Peruvian leader who bolted to Japan on being caught for corrupt practices taking advantage of the secret Japanese citizenship he maintained while claiming to be a natural born Peruvian national,.Sonia Gandhi also has a long history of committing fraud on the public. For example, in the Lok Sabha Who's Who, on page 290-91, Ms.Gandhi has claimed to have been educated in the Cambridge University. This is utterly and completely false. Ms.Gandhi had gone to the town of Cambridge to learn English in a unrecognised teaching shop.

-- Sonia Gandhi's track record, hitherto unscrutinised, reveals an incredible venality and culpability under criminal laws of the country and as such she is therefore extremely vulnerable to any hostile government, and thus would seriously jeopardise the prospects of an opposition coalition that included the Congress Party in an election campaign against the incumbent in office.

-- Among the cases citec in support of Sonia Gandhi being a habitual law breaker are (A) Becoming an insurance agent of Oriental Fire Insurance in 1972 even while she was still a foreigner and collecting insurance commission by selling policies to Maruti and individuals in the Prime Minister's Office misusing her position as daughter-in-law of then Prime Minsiter Indira Gandhi; (B) Became managing director of Maruti Technical Services Pvt Ltd in 1973 which was subsequently held by the Inquiry Commission of Justice A C Gupta as in contravention of FERA which prohibited foreigners from owning shares in Indian companies; (C) Illegally became a voter in 1980 while she was still an Italian citizen until April 1983 and she cannot say that she was not willfully committing this grievous offence because to become a voter, one has to fill and sign Form 6 prepared under the Electors Rules 1960 in which affirmation of citizenship of India is essential; (D) Archives of the KGB made public has a letter showing regular payment of commission by KGB to Ms.Sonia Gandhi and the Maino family in Italy.

-- Include names of Sonia Gandhi, her mother Paola Maino and Sister Anushka Vinci also in the Bofors kick-back case since the mother and the sister had business connections with Snam Progetti's resident in India, Ottavio Quattrocchi. Affidavits filed in a Malaysian court and documents with the CBI establish that Sonia's sister Anushka and her husband (now ex) Walter Vinci were beneficiaries from the receipts of Quattrocchi from Bofors company.

-- The Mainos have systematically plundered and exported the ancient treasures of India, especially temple sculptures of Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, Mughal paintings and precious gems in Indian Museums, all protected and banned from export under the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972. The CBI had in 1993 registered cases on such illegal exports from a Chennai suburb to an identified person in Italy. Even the Festival of India was used as a ploy to smuggle out such treasures. In arranging these delicate operations the Mainos took the help Arjun Singh [when he was Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and later Union Human Resources Development Minister], art expert Martand Singh, a Pakistani couple Muneer and Farida Attaullah, London based Pakistani fixer Salman Thassir a prince of Kuwait, and even the LTTE.

-- At the time of her marriage with Rajiv Gandhi in February 1968, her father Stefano Maino had lost everything after his party leader, Benito Mussolini, the Il Duce of Fascist Italy, was overthrown and killed. After World War II, Stefano became a brick layer, and Sonia's mother, Paola Predebon, a share cropper. But her marriage changed fortunes of the family as in just 25 years it became the richest family of Italy which was possible only because of the illegal activities in which Sonia Gandhi helped out.

-- Misuse of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, set up with the Government's aid of Rs 200 crores, as only three per cent of its income is used on the stated objects and the rest on her and her chosen few's travels and luxuries.3.

-- Circumstantial evidence linking Sonia's mother and sister with LTTE and how she pleaded for commuting the death penalty for her husband's killers and in providing one acre of land near the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, for housing the Periyar Centre for the pro-LTTE and secessionist Dravida Kazhagam (DK) which had been indicted in Rajiv Gandhi's assassination by the Jain Commission.

-- Sonia Gandhi's family in Italy constitutes a major national security risk for India, but paradoxically they enjoy the cover of the Indian state for their nefarious activities. The RAW, India's foreign intelligence agency has reports of this national security risk. While in service (during Rajiv Gandhi's tenure as PM), the Additional Director of RAW, B.Raman had in a report stated:

"Ms.Sonia Gandhi's umbilical cord is strongly tied to Italy. Her close relatives are Italian citizens living in Italy. India has important national security interest in Italy because of its arms, nuclear and technology supply relationships with Pakistan and China." Raman concluded that no source in Italy or in EU would cooperate with Indian Intelligence on this issue since they would fear that one day perhaps these sources may fall into Italian hands. After retirement from RAW, Raman even published these views in Statesman (May 16, 1999) in an article under his own name. END