Share this:

" />
Published On: Thu, May 9th, 2019

2 Ex-chiefs of Indian Navy confirm PM Modi’s claim baseless

Share This

6_img19519003544NEW DELHI : Two former chiefs of the Indian Navy and two retired Vice Admirals have also come forward to call the Prime Minister’s bluff on the INS Viraat incident.
In a statement issued on Thursday Admiral (Rtd) Ramdas, speaking on behalf of Admiral (Rtd) Arun Prakash and Vice Admirals (Rtd) Vinod Pasricha and Madanjit Singh, described Narendra Modi’s claim that late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had used the aircraft carrier INS Viraat as a private taxi as incorrect.
All these officers were part of the Western Fleet of the Indian Navy in 1987 barring Admiral Ramdas, who was then the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command based at Cochin.
At yesterday’s rally, PM Modi — who has accused the Congress and other opposition parties of neglecting national security — cited Rajiv Gandhi’s use of the warship as an instance. Days before, he came under intense criticism over his comment that Rajiv Gandhi died as “Bhrashtachari (corrupt) number 1″.
View image on TwitterView image on Twitterice Admiral (Retd) Pasricha was then the Commanding Officer of INS Viraat. Admiral (Rtd) Arun Prakash was then commanding Indian Navy Ship INS Vindhyagiri, which was accompanying INS Viraat. Vice Admiral (Rtd) Madanjit Singh was then commanding INS Ganga.

It is incorrect to suggest that Rajiv Gandhi had commandeered the aircraft carrier INS Viraat for a private cruise over 10 days or that the aircraft carrier hosted his in-laws and relatives of his wife.

Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Mrs Gandhi embarked on board INS Viraat off Trivandrum en route Lakshadweep. The Prime Minister was at Trivandrum as chief guest for the National Games prize distribution. He was going to Lakshadweep on official duty, to chair a meeting of IDA (Islands Development Authority) .
There were no foreigners with them. Four other ships were with INS Viraat as part of Fleet Exercises.
The Prime Minister is authorised to travel along with his spouse on official duties, the statement points out. The former Naval Chief says that Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi went ashore by a helicopter and no other member of the family was with them. The naval exercise in the Arabian Sea at that time of the year had been planned much in advance in the yearly exercise programme, confirms the former chief of the Indian Navy.
“This was an opportunity for the officers and men to interact with the Prime Minister. He addressed the men and had ‘bada khana’ as per Naval custom,” the statement states before adding, “I then hosted a dinner for the Prime Minister that night. And there is a photograph to confirm this.”
”We travelled from Trivandrum, where we had taken them onboard on helicopter because Trivandrum does not have a jetty to berth Viraat. On the islands, he (Rajiv Gandhi) had to go for a number of meetings. He visited three islands on the helicopter and I think two or three islands on the second day by helicopter,” Vice Admiral Pasricha said. ”He visited Bangaram island for about two hours on the morning of the second day [of his visit]. And they had lunch there and then came back.”
Admiral L Ramdas, then Commander-in-chief of the Western Fleet who also on board at the time — also gave a similar version of the events. In a statement, referring to the Prime Minister’s speech, he said it was presumably based on a report by Anita Pratap on India Today.But the sequence of events recalled by the officers who were present, is somewhat different.
“I would like to state unequivocally, that this was not the case,” he said in the statement, which he said was issued after collating email responses from former Admiral Arun Prakash, Vice Admiral Pasricha and Vice Admiral Madanjit Singh, all of whom were then serving in the Western Fleet.
The fleet was meeting with the aircraft carrier as part of naval exercises planned in advance. The Prime Minister’s being on board gave the men a chance to meet them. he said. “No ships were specifically diverted for the personal use of the Gandhi family. Only one small helicopter was left at Kavratti to meet any emergency medical requirements of the PM and his wife,” the statement read.(With Agency Inputs ).





About the Author'

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>