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Does Rao want me in jail, Sonia had asked after Bofors

Author: TNN
Publication: The Times of India
Date: July 16, 2016
URL:   http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Does-Rao-want-me-in-jail-Sonia-had-asked-after-Bofors/articleshow/53235074.cms

Congress was again stung by revelations made in an autobiography, with old loyalist Margaret Alva hitting out at Sonia Gandhi's style of functioning, her relations with former PM Narasimha Rao and suggestions that the father of a middleman whose name has cropped up in the VVIP chopper scam had links with Sanjay Gandhi.

The claims made in her yet-unreleased book hit the Congress just as it was emerging from the shock of revelations by veterans M L Fotedar and Natwar Singh. According to Alva, Sonia reacted to the Rao government's decision to appeal against the quashing of the Bofors case, saying, "Does he (Rao) want to send me to jail?"

What may hurt Congress now is Alva's claim that Wolfgang Michel -father of Christian Michel of AgustaWestland chopper scam -may have had links to an influential member of the Gandhi family during the Indira regime.

Amid reports of an Italian court's unflattering remarks about the Congress brass in the chopper deal, the allegation of old links with middlemen would provide political rivals with serious ammunition.

The ill-treatment to former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao after his death is another recurring theme in the autobiographies that have been coming out of the Congress stable, with Sonia Gand hi as the target. It is bound to rankle the party since Modi government has made the interesting move of honoring Rao as the architect of economic reforms. Congress leaders and spokespersons steered clear of commenting on the claims made by Alva in the promotional interviews.There is concern if there is more in the autobiography than she has revealed in the interviews, with an insider underlining that she was the MoS in-charge of CBI in the Narasimha Rao government.

Alva's book, Courage and Commitment, continues a trend started by the damning insinuations made by Sanjay Baru, media advisor to Manmohan Singh as prime minister, during the 2014 election campaign, hurting Congress badly in the battle of perceptions.
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