Corruption in 1950s - Revisiting Feroze Gandhi era
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Corruption in 1950s - Revisiting Feroze Gandhi era

New Delhi, Sept 3: The filing of an FIR against Robert Vadra, son-in-low of Congress parliamentary party chairperson Sonia Gandhi, by Haryana police has brought back the issue of relatives' role in corridors of power vis-a-vis corruption.

But compared to Vadra - decades back the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty had their 'first son-in-law' Feroze Gandhi, who was more known for his sober ways of life.

There was another striking difference. Feroze Gandhi had come up in politics through hard way and as MP he exposed the alleged Mundhra scam on the floor of the Lok Sabha itself.

While in circa 2018, Vadra is 'facing' a charge of financial defalcation vis-a-vis DLF land deal, late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's husband Feroze Gandhi had actually made news when he took up the cudgels against lack of probity in at least two popular instances - in 1955 and in 1958.

The incumbent Congress president Rahul Gandhi's grandfather Feroze Gandhi had famously flagged off the Haridas Mundhra scandal in 1958 involving the government controlled LIC insurance company. Feroze Gandhi's observation on Mundhra scam had actually led to the resignation of the then Finance Minister T T Krishnamachari and certainly had left the then Pt Jawaharlal Nehru-led dispensation embarrassed.

"The clean image was hit," says a senior BJP leader. In another case in 1955, Feroze Gandhi had tried to 'expose' how a noted businessman and a chairman of a bank had tried to take over the control of a reputed business house. With regard the contemporary setting, the Congress leaders have said the charge against Vadra is only 'part of vendetta politics' unleashed by the BJP.

"Staring defeat in coming assembly polls in all the four states and staring defeat at the Centre and also in Haryana, the government is only trying to deflect attention from the issue," Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi told TV journalists.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, however, has defended the government move saying - "Our fight against corruption is on. Those found guilty will be punished, probe is underway by different agencies in different cases. This FIR filed by a brave citizen will also be probed".

The BJP leaders are also saying the corruption charge against Vadra had come earlier too. The reference was to the allegation made by anti-corruption body India Against Corruption leaders Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan. Seeking a probe in October 2012, IAC had trained guns against Vadra and had claimed that he had no income from any known legitimate business activity, except by way of interest on an unsecured and interest-free loan obtained from the DLF construction company.

In fact, BJP leaders are also saying that Feroze Gandhi episode ought to be 'revisited' as consequence to the developments in 1950s, Lok Sabha Speaker M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar had in a landmark verdict, ruled that the scope of Article 105 of the Constitution does empower and allow a Member of Parliament to cite documents marked “confidential” in the course of exposing an act of wrongdoing or corruption by a public servant “even if the document has been obtained by stealth”.

There is a well-worn maxim - nothing is permanent except change. The country's polity has certainly undergone a sea change. (UNI)