Every television channel is talking about the defence deals that have besmirched the names India’s military establishment.
While television channels are going on and on about the names of Indian, Italian, Swiss, Maltese, Mauritian and Bermudan companies that mean nothing to the common man in India that is Bharat, the Congress has gone into the denial mode on the one hand and has pretended to have threatened to scrap the defence deal on the other.
Few have talked about some of the aspects of the chopper deal that would throw light on the dirty politics.
Here they are!
India had been praised in August 2010 for having saved nearly 3000 jobs of the near bankrupt Finmeccanica Agusta Westland chopper manufacturing unit near the global cocaine distribution capital locality – Milan by none other than British Prime Minister David Cameron during his 2010 Indian visit. The deal had been signed then.
Then, the crescendo had begun for the Queen’s Baton Relay in preparation for the Commonwealth Games that had shamed India.
Then considered somewhat politically wet-behind-the-ears, Cameron appeared to endorse India’s clamour for a seat in the United Nations’ Security Council, terming it well deserved.
The chances, he said, were very good as India’s situation had ‘vastly improved’.
India may never get that seat. None remembers the possibility of a UNSC seat for India after strong recommendations from Cameron, Barack Obama, Russia's boss of the day Medvedev and the French President [who since lost the polls] cum nuke reactor global salesman par excellence was simply non-existent since China, the 5th member of the UNSC can veto it any time and every time.
Much water has flowed under the bridges in London [Thames], in Washington [Potomac], in Moscow [Moskva], in Paris [Seine] and in New Delhi [Yamuna].
The British political David of that day has become a Goliath of today threatening that Britain may leave the Europe Union one day and playing hookey poker with the United States of America’s new policy with the EU to remove trade barriers on another.
The process of prosecuting India's fat slob sporting politician Suresh Kalmadi more or less coincided with that David visit.
Kalmadi was jailed for quite some time during which period he claimed to have lost his memory and/or mind. Almost all of his offences, the central government's sleuths found, were committed in the United Kingdom. And he threatened to sue all and sundry television channels that reported them for defamation.
He has been enlarged on bail, since.
Though he is yet to sue a single television channel for besmirching his fair name, the emboldened Kalmadi has dared to wrestle with the authority of the International Olympic Committee that has banned the Indian Olympic Association as one riddled with corruption.
That wrestling as a sport will be banned in 2020 Olympics is a needless aside at this point in time.
The connection in all this is in the company called Finmeccanica Augusta Westland that manufactures helicopters. Some of its shares are still held in Britain.
That it is still got British interests is evident from the fact that David networked the deal with the eyeties managed to ‘sell’ Rs.3600 crore worth ‘flying coffins’ [description courtesy Indian Air Force flying aces’ widows] during the ‘August’ 2010 visit of British premier David.
The then tour showed Cameron hailing India’s concerns against terrorism exports from Pakistan into Indian soil, changing his tune the moment he returned to Britain after a pow-wow with a Pak VVIP as the latter visited London.
However, the two separate incidents coincided with the clamour crescent of a crescendo to expose the shameless side of Suresh Kalmadi with juicy details with regard to the London outskirts’ flying short-skirts' sides during the Queen’s Baton relay scandal.
Why is anyone not asking one single question - what about the British angle in the shocker-chopper-scandal then?
Westland’s chopper making plant is located close to the Italian city called Milan that is part of that nation’s province of Turin which also encompasses a little known place called Orbassano, where the Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi grew up.
Oh, by the way, Milan, the drug capital of the world – is operated by the Italian Mafia.
The strangest of coincidences ... David Cameron is due in India yet again ... this Monday!
Then there is this lovely little question about Kalmadi being a suspected plant into the Congress party by union minister for agriculture Sharad Pawar who had once challenged the imported hegemony on the Indian National Congress in the form of Sonia Gandhi to form the Nationalist Congress Party.
The relationship between the NCP and the Congress is not so cosy in Maharashtra [Pawar's home state] and at the centre where Pawar is a Cabinet Minister.
A person answering to the name of Ajit Pawar had been forced to quit the cabinet over an irrigation scam. Like in the rest of the scandals, a few clever persons managed to exonerate Pawar junior [nephew of Pawar senior].
But, Ajit Pawar is an accused in a banking scam too. He headed a cooperative bank in Maharashtra whose controls are now directly in the hands of a nominee of the Reserve Bank of India. A criminal case in this regard is pending against Pawar junior [incidentally sacked along with the rest of the board of Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank by the Reserve Bank of India] in Mumbai!
Westland - Wasteland?
Westland Aircraft was founded in 1935 when Petters Limited split its aircraft manufacturing from its aircraft engine making concerns.
During World War II the company produced military aircraft including the Lysander, the Whirlwind and the Welkin.
After the Second World War, the company began to build helicopters.
Though the company concentrated on choppers since the mid-1950s and made its presence felt by being included in the fleet of Royal Air Force in 1953, its so-called ‘improved version’ Widgeon, was not a great success.
Between 1959 and 1961, the British government effected the merger of the 20 or so aviation firms into three groups, British Aircraft Corporation [BAC], Hawker Siddeley Group [HSG] and Westland.
While BAC and HSG were somewhat standalone units, Westland was an amalgamation of the helicopter divisions of Bristol, Fairey and Saunders-Roe along with their Hovercraft Division.
In the late 1960s, the company began a collaborative venture with Aerospatiale to design three new helicopters, the Puma, the Gazella and Westland Lynx, with the latter being a Westland design.
Through Saunders-Roe, Westland became first a part owner then, from 1970, the whole owner of the British Hovercraft Corporation, subsequently trading as Westland Aerospace. Most designs were Saunders-Roe or Saunders-Roe derivatives.
For many years Westland owned the main London heliport at Battersea.
Despite good support from the British establishment, the company gradually fell into unprofitability. Sikorsky approached with a bail-out deal in 1985 that split the cabinet and led to the resignation of Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine in January 1986 over the fate of Britain’s sole helicopter manufacturer.
The split, which became known as the Westland Affair, was over whether to push the company into a European deal or accept the American company’s offer.
Eventually, the link with Sikorsky was accepted.
Since the 1990s, the company netted several major contracts from the UK Ministry of Defence for EH101 Merlin helicopters and for 67 licence-built Boeing AH 64 Apache attack helicopters designated the WAH-64.
Some of the company’s Whirlwind and Wessex helicopters served the Queen’s Flight (later merged into No. 32 Squadron).
Guest Keen Nettlefolds Public Limited Company [GKN-PLC], a company with a history over 250 years bought into Westland in 1988, acquiring a stake owned by Hanson PLC.
Soon, shares owned by Fiat too were acquired giving them absolute control.
In 1994 Westland became a wholly owned subsidiary of GKN.
In 2001, the company was merged with Finmeccanica’s Agusta helicopter division.
In 2004, Finmeccanica S.p.A. acquired GKN’s share in the joint venture.
Given hereunder is the L’affaire Westland since 1985
The Westland affair originated with Alan Bristow’s bid for the company in April 1985.
Bristow threatened to end his bid unless the Government assured him that there would be future orders for the company from the Ministry of Defence.
Bristow also demanded the waiver of the repayment of over £40 million of launch aid for Westland’s newest helicopter from the Department of Trade & Industry [DTI].
At a Government meeting it was decided that Norman Beresford Tebbit [now a Baron and Chairman of the Conservative Party between 1985 and 1987] should persuade the Bank of England to cooperate with the company’s main creditors in the hope that a recovery plan and new management would end the threat of receivership.
Bristow withdrew his bid.
Next, Sir John Cuckney became Chairman of Westland.
Shortly thereafter, an American company was thought to be preparing to bid for the company.
Cuckney opposed this particular bid, as did Norman Tebbit and Michael Ray Dibdin Heseltine, another Conservative Party mainstay and bitter foe of British Iron Lady Baroness Margaret Hilda Thatcher.
Cuckney proposed that a new minority shareholder of 29.9% be introduced. However no British firm was willing to enter this but an American company, Sikorsky, was interested.
In November 1985 Sikorsky made an offer and Westland’s management found it was favourable.
Michael Heseltine was opposed to this and called a conference of the National Armaments Directors [NAD] of Britain, France, Italy and West Germany to sign a document which would commit each country to only purchase helicopters designed and manufactured in Europe.
If Westland went ahead with Sikorsky its helicopters, under this new agreement, none of its machines could be bought by the four governments.
Margaret Thatcher’s, Tory barrister and Home Secretary of that era, Leon Brittan [now Baron of Spennithorne] said during that meeting that it was up to Westland to decide which deal it wanted, and not the Government.
Thatcher then convened two meetings to discuss Westland with Heseltine, Brittan, Tebbit, William Stephen Ian Whitelaw [ex-Home Secretary since deceased], Richard Edward Geoffrey Howe [now baron of Aberavon and former Deputy PM], and Nigel Lawson [currently Baron of Blaby and former Chancellor of the Exchequer] on 5 and 6 December 1985.
Brittan argued that NAD’s opposition should be set aside, but Heseltine, Howe and Tebbit disagreed.
Thatcher called a Cabinet meeting for 9 December 1985 which Cuckney also attended to give a speech.
Cuckney said that it was the management’s view that the Sikorsky option was the best one.
A majority of the Cabinet meeting agreed to dismiss NAD’s opposition but Thatcher gave consent to both Heseltine and Brittan to explore a possible European deal which Westland’s management could accept. She gave them until 4 pm on 13 December 1985 and if by then Westland rejected the European package, NAD’s recommendations would be formally rejected.
Westland chose Sikorsky instead of the European firms but Heseltine wanted another Cabinet meeting. Thatcher rejected his demands because Westland had made up its mind on which deal it would recommend.
At a Cabinet meeting on 12 December 1985, Heseltine, without warning, tried to discuss Westland but Thatcher was not willing to without the necessary papers. Heseltine was angry and claimed a meeting on Westland had been cancelled but Thatcher argued that no such meeting had ever been scheduled.
Heseltine wanted his views on the alleged cancelled meeting to be included in the Cabinet minutes; it was not going to be mentioned until the Cabinet Secretary noticed they were absent, and added it himself.
Later, the European consortium came up with a new bid and Heseltine thought the Government’s policy should be changed to enable the European bid to succeed.
The disagreements between Brittan and Heseltine over Westland became public and were widely reported in the media.
Westland’s management was worried about future business with European governments and Thatcher replied to Cuckney to the effect that the British Government would continue to support it.
Heseltine wanted to include less supportive views, but Thatcher did not allow this.
In early January 1986 Lloyds’ Bank - the institution that backed the Conservative regime and Westland besides Sikorsky sent Heseltine an angry letter.
In his reply, Heseltine listed the things which in his view would happen if Westland chose Sikorsky instead of the European alternative, claiming, among other things that by contradicting Thatcher’s reassurances to Cuckney, Westland risked losing future European orders by taking up the Sikorsky option.
Heseltine reportedly leaked the correspondence to The Times.
On Thatcher’s request, the letter was referred to the Solicitor General Patrick Mayhew.
In turn, Mayhew pointed out “material inaccuracies” in the correspondence in a communiqué said to have been sent to Heseltine.
On 6 January 1986 Mayhew’s letter was selectively leaked to the Press Association by the Chief Information Officer of the Department of Trade and Industry, Colette Bowe.
Needless to add, it became a festering controversy.
Attorney-General, Sir Michael Havers took a stern view of the leaks and allegedly threatened to quit if a quick official inquiry conducted to find out the truth.
Thatcher agreed to do this.
A Cabinet meeting on Westland was scheduled for 9 January 1986.
Brittan and Heseltine both put forward their views.
Thatcher concluded by saying that as this was a time of business negotiations all answers relating to Westland should be cleared through the Cabinet Office.
Thatcher underlined the need for the Cabinet’s collective responsibility.
Heseltine then reportedly pointed out in a peeved tone that there never had been any collective responsibility in what he termed the “Westland Affair”.
According to celebrated British journalist Peter Jenkins, Heseltine lost his cool, gathered his papers, got up from his chair, angrily proclaiming “I can no longer be a member of this Cabinet” and stomped out of the room, the Prime Ministerial Downing Street residence and announced his resignation to the assembled media.
Within a few hours of his resignation, Heseltine produced a twenty-two minute statement of 2,500 words detailing his grievances charging Thatcher with intransigence and highhanded behaviour.
George Younger moved into the place vacated by Heseltine.
All hell broke loose on the floor of British Parliament January 13 1986 when Heseltine demanded the government to reveal whether or not a letter had been received from British Aerospace with regard to the Westland deal.
On record Brittan replied in the negative in parliament only to return to the House a few hours later to apologise.
Parliamentary debates between January15 and 21 established the following:
There had been no collective responsibility with regard to the Westland deal.
Brittan had asked his private secretary Roger Mogg through telephone to get the all important Mayhew’s letter leaked to the press. The enquiry report had been authored by then Cabinet Secretary Sir Robert Armstrong.
Thatcher claimed that she had been kept in the dark on this by Brittan triggering the statement: “Unless the PM is the most marvellous actress I’ve ever seen in my life, she was as shocked as anybody that in fact [the leak happened upon] Leon Brittan’s instructions.”
Brittan resigned January 24 1986 saying, “it has become clear to me that I no longer command the full confidence of my colleagues.”
Thatcher had been completely cornered January 27 1986 but allowed to wriggle out by none other than Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock.
Heseltine’s wish to see a strong European competitor was fructified through the merger of Agusta and Westland 2000 and the entity’s acquiring GKN’s stake 2004.
On 22 June 2006 the UK Ministry of Defence awarded a £1 billion contract for 70 ‘‘Future Lynx’’ helicopters under a strategic partnering agreement with Agusta Westland.
The programme meant to provide the British Army and Royal Navy with 40 and 30 aircraft respectively, with an option for a further 10, split equally between Army and Navy.
If that figure was correct, as on 2006, when UK finalised the price, a chopper cost a little under Rs.112 crores.
In 2010, India bought 11 choppers for Rs.3600 crores. Each chopper then cost the Indian taxpayer over Rs.327 crores!
No wonder, bribes were offered and paid and former Italian PM Berlusconi is telling the truth when he says that international arms deals are only done with the help of bribes!
Notes of caution abound on Westland products:
“Fatigue problems with the existing airframe and rotor system are to be corrected”.
“Despite being well liked by the services, the Lynx does not have a good safety record. The aircraft has been grounded on a number of occasions”.
“In 2000 fatigue problems with the rotor head led to a Dutch aircraft crash and subsequent grounding”.
“In early 2004 three Lynx crashed in a matter of weeks and again some aircraft were grounded”.
“One of the reasons for the Future Lynx programme is to cure some of the known problems with the airframe and rotor systems”.
After a Westland chopper purchased by India in 1986 crashed, it was described by a former Indian Air Force ace’s widow who flew the copper to ferry VVIPs to pilgrimages as a “flying coffin”.
The Commonwealth Games are a thing of the past with India having achieved some glory and a lot of shame.
Kalmadi went to prison, emerged on bail and is now cocking a snook at the International Olympic body by challenging its might, the blame-game has shifted to Italy and the IAF, the role played by the Britain's Conservative regimes of the past and the one led by British premier Cameron.
A person answering to the name of Dr Jagjit Singh Chauhan – the self-styled president in exile of the Republic of Khalistan who lived in some style in central London’s fashionable Bayswater district was rudely asked to remove his ‘Khalistan national flag’ fluttering above a piece of real estate owned by two Sikh siblings generally known as Khera brothers after Margaret Thatcher and Rajiv Gandhi inked the Westland Helicopter deal in 1986.
Westland choppers numbering just 4 were purchased through low interest aid from the British regime amounting to Rs.560 crores in 1986.
We Indians paid huge interest in cash for the buy to fatten it into a Rs.1000 crore plus deal. paid for in foreign exchange to the British.
Before long, after crashing, the choppers became junk metal.
Westland had agreed to take back the junk and paid a princely fee of Rs.5 crores!
Last heard, the junk was transported at India’s cost!
Within a few months of the signing of that deal, the separatist, terrorist Khalistan movement too was junked all the way from Britain to Bhatinda.
Dr Chauhan, a former Finance Minister of Punjab was allowed to return to India and pass away quietly.
There are a few questions to be asked:
Is there any linkable significance in the Westland factory being located in Italy near Sonia Gandhi’s hometown, the Italian Mafia [to which her late father Stefano Maino was linked], the Mafia getting exposed, the sudden resignation of the Pope, the Russian roulette being played with the economies of several EU nations jointly by the Chinese with the help of the scheming brain of Vladimir Putin, the sudden love of Europeans and the sudden lover for Bharatiya Janata Party poster boy Narendra Modi as exhibited by the British, the Americans and the wallahs of the EU?
When the air force can only recommend the purchase of a particular type of equipment, and the final decision will always be that of the bureaucrats and politicians in the Ministry of Defence, how come close relatives of the former Air Marshal SP Tyagi and Tyagi himself met flunkeys from the Italian outfit?
If everything is hunky dory, why are Tyagi and Defence Minister AK Antony hiding behind fig leaves of a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation?
Is Antony himself under attack over the political turmoil in Kerala over the Suryanelli affair that concerns the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha – PJ Kurien, Kerala’s current CM Oomen Chandy, the internal squabble with Congress Party’s PC Chacko – who heads another parliamentary committee – this one over FDI in retail?
The 80’s Bofors scandal’s details were passed on to the press by the critically placed media assets of what had been the Soviet Committee for Public Safety or KGB that had operated through the Prague HQ of International Organisation of Journalists. The apparent provocation for the KGB had been one simple rhetorical question – we had sewn up the Indian defence market. How dare does NATO move into our area? As a result, Rajiv Gandhi, the so-called Mr Clean of Indian politics then, lost his whopping 80% majority in the Indian parliament and lost the whole thing to VP Singh who became Prime Minister. A few years later, Gandhi even lost his life! Almost immediately thereafter, the Soviets’ unholy alliance with the Nehru Gandhi family was exposed by defector Viktor Chebrikov who provided the West with the original documents showing Sonia as a recipient to KGB money to propel Soviet foreign interests forward.
Now, even as a major defence deal worth well over Rs.1,50,000 crores with the Soviets is getting interminably delayed [including the transfer of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov appropriately renamed after a medieval Indian emperor] – is the re-emergence of Vladimir Putin as the neo-global villain along with the Chinese dragon’s new found wealth by marketing global consumer products made in Communist China in the worst killer capitalist aspects in the West, the pointer of the two red giants wresting control over the Indian Ocean by stringing a set of time-bombs along India’s southern shores in Sri Lanka and in Maldives in the forms of harbours - one being the finished affair in Lanka's southeast called Hambantota?
Is all this being done to help United Progressive Alliance to retain power in the ensuing parliamentary elections since the besmirching of Narendra Modi as a saffron political terrorist did not cut any ice with the Muslims in the light of his party winning the local polls in the 90% Muslim enclave of Salaya?
So, is a game within a game being played by the Italian Mafia and the Russian Mafiya nexus to thwart India’s opposition National Democratic Alliance’s bid to regain power again and help their girl Edvige Antonia Albina Maino a.k.a. Sonia Gandhi continue her stranglehold over India by sicking the West’s entry into the lucrative Indian market for defence products?
A relevant comment of Swedish whistle-blower Sten Lindstrom, the former head of Swedish police who led the investigations into the Bofors-India gun deal is revealing.
There was no evidence that Rajiv Gandhi had received any bribe. But he watched the massive cover-up in India and Sweden and did nothing. Many Indian institutions were tarred and innocent people were punished while the guilty got away. The evidence against Ottavio Quattrochchi was conclusive. Through a front company called A.E. Services, bribes paid by Bofors landed in Quattrocchi’s account which he subsequently cleaned out because India said there was no evidence linking him to the Bofors deal. Nobody in Sweden or Switzerland was allowed to interrogate him.
Martin Ardbo [managing director, Bofors] was terrified about this fact becoming public. He had hidden it even from his own marketing director Hans Ekblom who said marketing middlemen had a role, but not political payments. Ardbo was also concerned about the role of Arun Nehru who had told Bofors in 1985 that his name and Rajiv Gandhi’s name should not appear anywhere. As the stories began to appear, Ardbo knew what I knew. He had written in his notes that the identity of N (Nehru) becoming public was a minor concern but at no cost could the identity of Q (Quattrocchi) be revealed because of his closeness to R (Rajiv Gandhi). He had also mentioned a meeting between an A.E. Services official and a Gandhi trustee lawyer in Geneva. This was a political payment. These payments are made when the deal has to be inked and all the numbers are on the table. I spent long-hours interrogating Ardbo. He told me Nehru was the eminence grise but not much more. He said often that he would take the truth with him to his grave. I met him a little while before he passed away.
Under pressure from Swedish and Indian media and with the threat of a cancellation of the contract hanging over them, Bofors sent its top executives to India with the one-point task of giving out the names. Nobody of any consequence received them.
The Bofors secrets could have been known to the following persons:
Olof Palme – Swedish PM
Palme was assassinated February 28 1986.
On the night of February 28, 1986, the Swedish Social Democratic Prime Minister Olof Palme was shot and killed in Stockholm as he walked home from a cinema with his wife, Lisbet Palme.
Christer Pettersson was accused of Palme’s murder after an extensive investigation by the Swedish police. He was picked out from a police line-up by Mrs Palme.
The .357-caliber Magnum pistol used to kill Palme was never found.
Pettersson was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1988.
However, in 1989 he was freed after an appeal court cited lack of evidence, including the missing murder weapon.
During the appeal, the reliability of Mrs Lisbet Palme’s identification of the accused in a police line-up was seriously questioned.
Besides being acquitted, Pettersson was awarded about $50,000 in compensation for defamation by the police and for wrongful imprisonment.
He blew the money on alcohol and drugs.
In some of the television interviews that supplemented his income – particularly those telecast by TV3 – Pettersson admitted to killing Olof Palme subsequently, but his confession was not treated seriously.
In 1998, the Supreme Court rejected a prosecutor’s appeal to retry Pettersson citing that evidence was not strong enough to place him at the scene of the shooting.
On September 29, 2004 Pettersson died at the Karolinska University Hospital after he supposedly fell and suffered a cerebral haemorrhage.
He had been in a coma since September 16, 2004 when he underwent emergency surgery for unspecified head injuries.
Pettersson had reported being harassed by the police on September 15, the day before he was found with head injuries, with unsubstantiated rumours circulating that he was a victim of police violence.
Shortly before Pettersson was taken to hospital, he had contacted the son of Olof Palme, Mårten Palme, explaining he had something to tell the family. Palme said he was willing to meet Pettersson if he was ready to confess to the murder. But the meeting did not take place, and what Pettersson had to tell was never revealed.
According to a documentary aired on the Swedish television channel SVT in February 2006, associates of Pettersson claimed that he had confessed to them his role in Olof Palme’s murder, but with the explanation that it was a case of mistaken identity.
In an op-ed in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter [Sweden’s largest circulated newspaper] on February 28, 2006, two senior SVT reporters criticised the TV documentary severely, claiming that the filmmaker had fabricated a number of statements while omitting other contradictory evidence.
Bernt Carlsson, political protégé of Olof Palme
Appointed United Nations’ Commissioner for Namibia in July 1987, Carlsson died following the Libyan terrorist bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland December 21 1988.
The Lockerbie bombing has an interesting history.
Pan American World Airways’ daily transatlantic flight – a Boeing 747-121 aircraft called Clipper Maid of the Seas was blown up by Libyan terrorists December 21 1988.
It had taken off from London Heathrow Airport and had carried 243 passengers and 16 crew members.
The bombing jointly investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the USA and the smallest police force in the UK – Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary for 3 years resulted in the conviction of two persons Abdelbaset Ali al-Meghrahi and Lamin Khalifah Fhimah – Libyan intelligence officer and head of the oil rich north African nation’s airline LAA and its station manager based in Malta respectively.
Significantly, Malta is a nation known for untraceable slush funds that prop shell companies worldwide. At least, that is what Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram has been quoted as saying!
The current helicopter scandal has its fair share of links with Malta!
Among other things, such entities have been accused of operating the Indian share market through a set of complex remote controls. The allegation has been made by none other than the blue eyed boy of the Congress P Chidambaram!
The Lockerbie trial began 1991.
The Libyan duo had been handed over to the western authorities by the longest serving villain of the African north – ‘Colonel’ Muammar Quadhafi in Netherlands 1998.
While Fhimah was acquitted despite his choosing to remain completely silent in court, Meghrahi was convicted January 31 2001 to 27 years in prison.
Abdelbaset Ali al-Meghrahi was born on All Fools’ Day 1952.
He died of cancer 20 May 2012.
Abdelbaset Ali al-Meghrahi was head of security for Libyan Arab Airlines, director of the Centre for Strategic Studies in Tripoli, Libya, and an alleged Libyan intelligence officer.
On 31 January 2001, Meghrahi was convicted, by a panel of three Scottish judges sitting in a special court at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, of 270 counts of murder for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on 21 December 1988 and was sentenced to life imprisonment. His co-accused, Lamin Khalifah Fhimah, was found not guilty and was acquitted.
Lamin Khalifah Fhimah born 4 April 1956 was a station manager for Libyan Arab Airlines at Luqa Airport, Malta.
On 31 January 2001, he was found not guilty and acquitted of 270 counts of murder in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial by a panel of three Scottish judges sitting in a special court at Camp Zeist, Netherlands, in light of evidence that he was in Sweden at the time of the sabotage and could not have been a participant.
Several legal experts as well as the UN observer at the Lockerbie trial had vehemently challenged the verdict that convicted Meghrahi.
Meghrahi was freed on compassionate grounds by the Scottish Government on 20 August 2009 following doctors reporting on 10 August 2009 that he had terminal prostate cancer and was expected to have around three months to live.
On his return to Libya, al-Meghrahi was initially hospitalised but was allowed to leave on 2 November 2009, taking up residence in a villa in Tripoli.
In October 2011 Al-Meghrahi gave an interview from his bed in which he claimed that he had only days, weeks or months to live.
He died on 20 May 2012 nearly three years after his release.
While persons like Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein were quickly tried and hanged, despite having plotted against the West for too long, Quadhafi remained free – untouched by the “long arms of the free world's justice”.
He was finally trampled to death during the ‘Liberation of Libya’ after the advent of Arab Spring October 20 2011.
Within a year, J Christopher Stevens, US Ambassador to Libya was killed by terrorists in Benghazi.
The killers are suspected of owing allegiance to the slain Quadhafi.
All this leads one to think Carlsson was the target and the 270 others lost their lives as mere collateral damage.
Rajiv Gandhi, former PM, India.
He was assassinated May 1991.
His female human-bomb killer Dhanu died on the spot.
Other murderers directly linked were gunned down.
Some of the accused capable of blowing the lid off most of the aspects of the well planned assassination ‘managed to commit suicide’ while in police custody.
Finally in 1998 India’s Supreme Court confirmed the death sentences of 4 persons – viz. Nalini Murugan, her husband Murugan alias Sri Haran, Santhan and Perarivalan.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi managed a pardon for Nalini Murugan.
The other 3 have not been touched since.
Since the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly has passed a unanimous resolution against their hanging, it will be difficult for anyone to hang the 3 persons despite death sentences having been passed against them.
And their continuing to live at the cost of Indian exchequer will increase the faith deficit in the Indian state within places like Tamil Nadu and amongst the Islamic community which has now acquired a ghetto mentality after the recent hanging of Kasav and Guru.
Was Rajiv Gandhi killed to bury the Bofors secrets permanently?
Is that why his killers are managing to ease themselves into positions of strengths?
Is that why, despite Lanka continuing to insult India, New Delhi is virtually obeying the diktats of Rajapakse?
Martin Ardbo, Managing Director, Bofors has since died of natural causes 2004.
Win Chadha – agent of Bofors – who received part of the kickback – died of natural causes 2001.
S.K. Bhatnagar, India’s Defence Secretary during the Bofors Era. He died 2001 after spending his autumn years as Governor of Sikkim – a post that ensured he could not be prosecuted.
Ottavio Quattrocchi is an Italian businessman who was being sought until early 2009 in India for criminal charges for acting as a conduit for bribes in the Bofors scandal.
Quattrocchi’s role in this scandal, and his proximity to Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi through his wife of Italian original Sonia Gandhi (Antonia Albina Maino), is thought to have contributed to the defeat of the Congress Party in the 1989 elections.
Ten years later (1999), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) named Quattrocchi in a chargesheet as the conduit for the Bofors bribe.
The case against him was strengthened in June 2003, when Interpol revealed two bank accounts, 5A5151516M and 5A5151516L, held by Quattrocchi and his wife Maria with the BSI AG bank, London, containing Euros 3 million and $1 million, a “curiously large savings for a salaried executive”. In January 2006, these frozen bank accounts were unexpectedly released by India’s law ministry, apparently without the consent of the CBI which had asked for them to be frozen.
On 6 February 2007, Ottavio Quattrocchi was detained in Argentina on the basis of the Interpol warrant. The Indian investigating agency CBI came under attack for putting up a half-hearted effort towards his extradition and India lost the case for his extradition in June 2007, the judge remarking that “India did not even present proper legal documents”.
Embarrassingly, India was asked to pay Ottavio’s legal expenses.
Ottavio’s financier son, Massimo Quattrocchi, grew up with Sonia Gandhi’s children Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, who are currently rising through the political hierarchy in India. Massimo was reported to be advising the Luxembourg-based firm Clubinvest on business opportunities in India.
He was also reported as visiting India frequently, and running an office in Bangalore.
A note on Massimo Quattrocchi – courtesy Tehelka magazine:
A day before CBI announced Ottavio Quattrocchi’s arrest, his son Massimo Quattrocchi left for Milan from New Delhi (Lufthansa flight no.761).
Quattrocchi Jr. had been in India for the previous seven months. According to Quattrocchi’s immigration documents, he arrived in New Delhi on July 21, 2006 (Lufthansa flight no. 760), on an Italian passport (E 810484).
He visited several cities including Mumbai and Bangalore during his stay.
Massimo Quattrocchi was camped in India for the last seven months. His company has an office in Bangalore
According to the membership records of the Italian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (IPEVCA), Massimo owns a company called ci partners in Milan, which provides consultancy services to multi-national-corporations to help them establish commercial presence in different countries.
The records state that CI partners have in depth knowledge of international markets, especially India, and that it has an office in Bangalore.
The fact that Quattrocchi Jr. chose to trade in a country where there is a court case, a non-bailable arrest warrant and several litigations are pending against his father is remarkable.
It is also remarkable that he left the country just a day before news of his father’s arrest in Argentina became public knowledge.
Prior to founding Clubinvest, Massimo was working as a freelance consultant undertaking business development and investment assignments for a number of investors in the Energy, Real Estate and Tourism sectors. Until December 2001, Massimo worked on supply chain, broadband and wireless initiatives at ant-factory (Madrid & Milan), a venture capital fund with over US$600 million to invest in technology ventures. Massimo spent a total of two years until ant-factory was liquidated and was responsible for initiatives covering the supply chain, broadband and wireless space.
Prior to ant-factory, Massimo worked at A.T. Kearney, Management Consultants for 3 years in Milan/London and two years as an Economist for the World Bank in Washington.
Massimo has an MSc in Development and International Relations from the London School of Economics, a BSc in Economics from City University London and is fluent in Italian, English and Spanish.
There is no explanation as why Club Invest [CI] operates in India and yet has a fugitive Mr Ottavio Quattrocchi as Business Development Advisor.
Excerpts from an interview with Quattrochchi Jr. [translated from Italian]:
India has been and remains a nation that imposes enough high custom offices, until 300% on the cars and sure assets of wide consumption. Their protectionism is of historic importance.
The Italians in average do not speak English well.
In perspective India is a great market.
But, there are great opportunities to import a lot of materials from Europe – defence items like helicopters, instrumentation for satellite technology, floor tiles, mining technology, food processing and delivery in retail chains.
India is rife with bad planning.
For example, India manufacturers butter but imports cheese!
In India sometimes there is even too much precipitation and the errors will be looked at soon, but also the excessive slowness could reveal a handicap for us Italians.
Sonia Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi’s widow:
She has been accused of being a double agent of the KGB and Pakistan’s Inter-Services-Intelligence.
Reports suggest that Sonia plotted the murder of Rajiv Gandhi to hide the Bofors scandal, got several thousand innocent Lankan Tamils killed to hide that secret and is aware of the truth behind the so-called killing or escape of Tamil terrorist V Prabhakaran.
According to a report published in The New Indian Express (April 29, 2009) Sonia told a Congress audience in the south Indian city of Mangalore that “the Congress was taking steps to address the issue of untaxed Indian money in Swiss banks”.
In India Today (December 27, 2010) senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani has referred to the Swiss exposé and demanded to know where that money was finally parked.
Amal Datta (CPI-M)) had raised the US$ 2.2 billion issue in Parliament on December 7, 1991, but Speaker Shivraj Patil expunged the Gandhi name from the proceedings!
As early as February 2008 the German authorities had collected information about illegal money kept by citizens of different countries in a Lichtenstein bank.
A German minister offered to provide the names of the account holders to any government interested in the names of its citizens.
There were media reports that some 250 Indian names were found in the Lichtenstein Bank list. According to reports some of the account holders are very close to Sonia Gandhi herself!
Yet, despite the open offer from Germany to provide the details, the UPA-II government has never showed interest in the Indian accounts in Lichtenstein Bank.
The Times of India reported that “the ministry of finance and PMO have, however, not shown much interest in finding out about those who have their lockers on the secret banks of Liechtenstein which prides itself in its banking system”.
But under mounting pressure the Indian government asked for details not under the open offer but strategically under India’s tax treaty with Germany.
Under the tax treaty the information received would have to be kept confidential; but, if it were received openly, it can be disclosed to the public. India wanted to keep the news secret, but is blaming Germany for it!
According to the tax returns filed by Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, their wealth is a mere Rs. 3.63 crores.
Sonia Gandhi does not even own a car in her personal name.
Sonia Gandhi controls India without any constitutional power.
The United Progressive Alliance coalition government is given instructions on all policy matters by the National Advisory Council [NAC].
The NAC is headed by the ex-officio head of the Congress Party as per the rules that govern the existence of the UPA.
And the UPA’s largest constituent is the Congress Party.
The Congress Party is headed by Sonia Gandhi where organisational elections are generally never held for any of the top posts.
The number two in the party is now Rahul Gandhi as its Vice President a reported recipient of the Bofors and other items of financial largesse paid as bribes through defence deals – all of which are stashed in Swiss Banks!
Many amongst us can discern that details of the shameful acts of Kalmadi became available through channels in London and it acted as a diversion for various other pressing issues in 2010 when Cameron managed to swing the Westland deal.
In the eighties when the Westland deal was inked, the Khalistan movement, it appeared, was sold down the Thames River.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation [NATO] nations' thrust into the lucrative defence market of India are being stymied again thanks to the chopper expose.
NATO's entry into the Indian defence deals' market was frowned upon by the Soviets who engineered the expose against Bofors.
Will the current chopper expose benefit sections of the new avatar of the old, moth-balled Soviet KGB in the light of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier and other aircraft deals between Moscow, Paris, Washington and New Delhi?