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Ex-Naval chief refutes claim on use of INS Viraat by Rajiv Gandhi

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 09, 2019 Published on May 09, 2019

Politics over the late PM continues a day after Modi claimed the Gandhis compromised national security by using naval ships for family vacations

Politics over late Rajiv Gandhi continued on Thursday even after former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral L Ramdas (Retd) denied Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s allegation that the former PM used INS Viraat for a family vacation.

Admiral Ramdas refuted Modi’s comments at an election rally in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan that Rajiv Gandhi had used Indian Naval Ship INS Viraat for a personal cruise lasting 10 days to Lakshadweep Islands.

In a statement, he said the PM and Sonia Gandhi embarked on board the INS Viraat off Trivandrum en route Lakshadweep. The PM was at Trivandrum as chief guest for the National games prize distribution. He was going to the islands on official duty, to chair a meeting of IDA (Islands Development Authority), which is held alternatively in Lakshadweep and Andaman. He also said there were no foreigners with them.

“I, as Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Southern Naval Command based in Cochin, also boarded INS Viraat,” he said.

“Four other ships were with the INS Viraat as part of fleet exercises. As FoC in C, I hosted a dinner for them on board. There were no parties held on board or for that matter on any other ship in the fleet during that time,” Ramdas said. However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley carried forward the political message in the PM’s assertions in Ramlila Maida. “The Kaamdars (those who work) use India’s naval assets to strike at terror. The Naamdars (entitled dynasts) use them for personal vacations with family and in-laws,” Jaitley tweeted.

The Congress, on its part, alleged that the BJP and the PM are spreading falsehood because they sense their “imminent defeat” in elections.

“Modi is a master of sis-Information and his party is “Bahut Jhooth Party” (BJP), Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said. “Lies, propaganda and canards can never succeed beyond a very short shelf-life. Truth has to triumph,” he said.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel added another dimension to the politics around the late PM by suggesting that the BJP was responsible for his assassination. “But who is responsible for his assassination? The BJP backed VP Singh government refused to provide him with additional security and left him with one PSO despite credible intelligence inputs and repeated requests,” Ahmed Patel said. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991, at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. Patel’s allegation was rebutted by Jaitley who said the Congress, which had blamed DMK for Gandhi’s assassination, has now tied up with the regional party in Tamil Nadu.

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Published on May 09, 2019
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