“Corrupt” Rajiv Gandhi Was ‘Middleman’ For Swedish Aircraft Deal, Says US Cable Released By Wikileaks


NEW DELHI – Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi has been named as an “entrepreneur” for Swedish firm Saab-Scania, when it was trying to sell its Viggen fighter aircraft to India in the 1970s by the US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks, the Hindu newspaper reported on Monday.

“Swedish emboff has informed us that main Indian negotiator with Swedes on Viggen at New Delhi end has been Mrs. Gandhi’s older (sic) son, Rajiv Gandhi. Latter’s only association with aircraft industry (to our knowledge) has been as pilot for Indian Airlines and this is first time we have heard his name as entrepreneur,” the October 21, 1975 cable from the New Delhi US embassy says.

The Hindu published its findings of the Kissinger cables in collaboration with Wikileaks.

Although the cable mentions Rajiv Gandhi as an “entrepreneur”, but it also states that the US officials have “no additional information to either refute or confirm the above information.

Later, Saab-Scania lost out on the deal and was forced to withdraw from the “fighter sweepstakes” by the US as the deal was eventually secured the British SEPECAT Jaguar.

This is not the first instance of corruption allegedly committed by Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, whose wife Sonia controls India’s Congress party and whose son Rahul Gandhi is expected to the PM candidate in next year’s elections. Rajiv Gandhi later became embroiled in another corruption scandal relating to another Swedish arms manufacturer in the Bofors howtizer gun deal.