Unmasking Sonia Gandhi
Author: S Gurumurthy
Publication: The New Indian Express
Date: April 17, 2004
There is no time for side shows. Let us go straight to the heart of the issue. The Indian spy agency, RAW, formed in 1968, had established a clandestine network with its counterparts in different countries with the USA, UK, Israel, France, West Germany and other countries which possessed the capability for exchange of information on terrorism, insurgency, China and similar subjects.
The RAW did not consider Italian spy agencies as worthy of such association, as they did not have any capability. So India did not bother about them.
Rajiv Gandhi entered active politics after Sanjay's death in 1980. He began to participate in the classified briefings of the RAW even though he held no position in the government. Not just he, he wanted Arun Nehru and Arun Singh too to participate in such briefings. The agency protested saying that they had no official position. But Indira Gandhi stepped in and asked RAW to allow them to be present. The agency agreed reluctantly, but told Indira that their names would remain unrecorded in the briefing.
This was when Rajiv was not in the government and was just a general secretary of the Congress party. Soon, even though he had nothing to do with the Government or the RAW, Rajiv began insisting that the RAW should liaise with the Italian spy agencies. Why Rajiv should have insisted on Italy? Did he study the importance of Italian assistance to India? Nothing of that sort. The reason is Obvious. Sonia.
Rajiv had married her in 1968. The RAW felt that it would be a waste of time and money. But Rajiv would not relent. The agency finally gave in. So after more than a decade, the RAW was forced into accepting liaison with the Italian spy agencies whom they considered not worthy of association. Want to know who acted as the go- between for the RAW with the Italian spy agencies and arranged the first clandestine meeting between RAW spies and Italian spies? Believe it: Sonia!
Obviously, she was in touch with Italian spies. An innocent and devout housewife, unconcerned about politics and state, was deep in her contact with the Italian spy agencies. This was when she was still an Italian national, had not yet accepted Indian nationality which she reluctantly did much later. Being in the Prime Minister's household, she was in touch with the spies in Italy. So even when she was just a housewife and Rajiv was not yet in the government, she was linking the Italian spies to India.
An aside. One of the reasons why the RAW would not touch the Italian agencies could be the presence of Sonia in the PMs house. If they officialised the liaison with the Italian agencies, their reach would not be limited to RAW, but may extend to the PMs house.
Next, when after terrorism broke out in Punjab and the security agencies advised Indira Gandhi to travel in bullet-proof car, she wanted the Ambassador car made bullet- proofed. As India developed this capability only much later in 1985, a German company was chosen for the job.
Want to know who brokered the contract with the German company? Walter Winci, the husband of one of Sonia's sisters, Anushka! The RAW suspected that he got a small commission out of it. But the more critical was that a sensitive security work was given through Sonia's brother. Look at the Italian influence Sonia had brought in even when Indira was alive.
It is the same Walter Winci who, two years later, in 1986, insisted and received cash payment made by the Indian government. This was for arranging training by Italian security for SPG which had been established in 1984 for the protection of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
The cash payment was first attempted through the RAW official posted at Geneva. Walter Winci refused to come to Geneva to receive that cash and wanted the RAW official to send it to Milan in Italy. Winci assured the RAW official that that he had good contacts in Swiss and Italian customs and he would not be checked. The RAW official would not budge.
The recalcitrant official was finally told to tell Winci that the operation had been cancelled. But the money was delivered to Winci through the Indian Embassy in Rome.
Want to know what for the cash was to be sent? For funding the traveling expenses of the Italian security officials to come to India and train Indian SPG commandos. This is the payment B.G Deshmukh, who was then the cabinet secretary, has mentioned in his latest book. But this training ended in a fiasco.
The Italian trainers treated the SPG trainees rudely, and even slapped one of them. The RAW brought this to the notice of Rajiv and told him such ill-treatment may develop a grudge in the minds of the SPG against Rajiv which might be a security risk. Panicked Rajiv forthwith called off the training by Italians arranged by Walter Winci.
After Rajiv was assassinated, Sonia began openly relying on Italian and western security for Rahul and Priyanka when they travelled to Europe. When Rajiv went to Paris in the year 1985 along with Sonia, a RAW official proficient in French was asked to go to France to liaise with the French security agencies.
At Leon in France, the SPG officials panicked as Rahul and Priyanka were missing. But Winci told them not to worry. He told them that they were in the safe care of Jose Valdemaro, the husband of another sister of Sonia, Nadia. Winci told them that the two had been taken to Madrid in Spain, where Valdemaro hails from, by train and the Spanish authorities were taking care of them.
The Indian security officials were stunned that, not they, but the Spanish and Italian security agencies were aware of the Madrid visit of Rahul and Priyanka. It is not just that Sonia did not want to trouble the Indian security system, or take the favour of Narasimha Rao who was the Prime Minister then. It was simply that she did not trust them.
You want more clear evidence of her distrust of India? Here it is: In 1986, the RAW official stationed at Geneva was told by Jack Kunzi, the Commissioner of Police at Geneva, that the VIP children had returned safely to Italy after their visit to Geneva. Who were the VIP children? The RAW official had no clue. He knew nothing about their visit.
The Swiss police official who was the RAW officials good friend told him their names. You have any doubt who they could be? They were Rahul and Priyanka. They had come to Geneva by car with Walter Winci, said the Swiss official. He also informed the RAW official he was in the picture and the RAW official was not. He said that the Italian foreign office was the co-ordinator. It had informed the Swiss foreign office, who in turn informed the Swiss police.
Jack Kunzi taunted the RAW official who was his friend, Your Prime Ministers wife does not seem to trust you or your embassy. She gets the security for her children co-ordinated by Italians. Humiliated, the RAW official makes the usual complaint to his boss. The boss files the complaint. There ends the story of humiliation of India in Switzerland and Italy.
Remember this kind of information spreads like wildfire in geo-politics through global spy network. That Sonia did not trust the Indian officials, or the Indian embassies, or the Indian security is now a matter of global geo-political information. Want to know more on this? Read on.
After Rajiv's assassination, the RAW official who was in charge of security arrangements abroad for SPG protectees which included Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka, knew less about her and her childrens travel plans than western intelligence and security agencies. The Indian agencies knew nothing or very little.
George, her secretary, used to directly communicate to western agencies through Italian Embassy in Delhi and the Italian foreign office in Rome. The upright officer informed the RAW chief before he retired that the western agencies were better informed of Sonia's and her childrens travel plans than the Indian agencies. He charged that this had created the unfortunate impression that Sonia did not trust the Indian agencies. His complaint went to Narasimha Rao who was the Prime Minister then. He felt unhappy that George, that is Sonia, was informing the Italian embassy, not the Indian agencies, but he could do nothing about it. You ask him now. Even now he will not tell the truth. But the RAW official would.
So she was linked to the Italian spies and was familiar with bringing about spy connections, a highly skilled and scary business, as early as the early 1980s. Yet she pretended, even now does, to be an innocent housewife.
She brought her family into the security matters of India even when Indira was alive. She forced Italian security on India even when Rajiv Gandhi was alive. She openly distrusted Indian security and diplomatic system and privately liaised with the Italian diplomatic system for her security. If she did this when Indira was alive; if she went as far when Rajiv was alive; if she did this when she was just out of the Congress and out of power, what will she do when put in power?
Or what she will not? Yet she pretends to die for India. This is not real Sonia. The whole western world, not exactly the friends of India, knows about her. But not we, in India. We do not know the real Sonia.
(Writer's email: comment@ gurumurthy.net)