It is not every day that a thief cries foul and tries to blame others for his pitiable conditions. It is even more hilarious when in the process the thief himself accepts his misdeeds. When the Congress mouthpiece National Herald India, tried to cry foul in the Rafale deal it did exactly that perhaps unintentionally. The article titled “Rafale: Modi’s Bofors” tries to incriminate the PM Modi led government for alleged discrepancies in the Rafale deal with Dassault Aerospace, France. The title itself is acceptance of the fact that Congress leaders and the party at large had indeed taken part in fraudulent activities in the Bofors scam. The interesting thing is that both the Bofors and National Herald are controversies which surround the Congress party and its top leaders. It is therefore cute when a Congress mouthpiece which is itself surrounded by allegations of scams ends up incriminating its own party while trying to defame the government.
The Bofors scandal had created quite the stir back in 1990s. The Swedish Bofors was surprisingly chosen over the French Sofma gun in spite of being inferior in impact and range to the French arms. Retired Army General Sundarji who had just taken over as Army chief weeks before the Bofors deal started gaining ground, had this to say about the reasons for choosing the Swedish gun over its French counterparts, “The fact is that irrespective of which weapon is chosen, if the intention is to cream a certain amount off the top for party purposes or whatever, it could be creamed off whichever weapon is chosen”. A Rs 64 crore scandal done back in the olden days when it still was a huge sum of money had been enough to make Congress lose. Rajiv Gandhi, the Prime Minister as well as the Defense Minister (he had removed PV Narasimha Rao from the Defence Minister post to oversee the Bofors deal) had faced a lot of flak for his involvement in the first of its kind defence scam in the country. The Swedish radio on April 16, 1987 broke the news of Bofors having paid Indian politicians in order to land the deal, and the case is still ongoing. Congress suffered a heavy defeat in the ensuing polls and Rajiv’s image was tarnished forever.
National Herald itself is embroiled in a controversy surrounding its owners the Nehru-Gandhi family. Therefore, on the 29th when it published the story blaming the present government for Rafale and comparing it with the Bofors scam, it can mean two things. One, the Congress and its mouthpiece are alleging that the Bofors scam indeed did take place or two, the NDA government and BJP today are being dragged into a futile controversy surrounding the defense deal. Both prospects look bleak for Congress, thanks to its team of writers and editors it has done something which will spiral out of its control. There are prices to be paid for every mistake, this mistake by the National Herald team could well prove to be the costliest one for them.