Friday, 13 May 2016
Subramanian Swamy's exclusive interview to Karan Thapar MUST READ
Full transcript of Subramanian Swamy's exclusive interview to Karan Thapar Here is an edited transcript of Subramanian Swamy's explosive interview with Karan Thapar over the AgustaWestland Scam. IndiaToday.in | Posted by Parthshri Arora New Delhi, May 13, 2016 | UPDATED 07:16 IST BJP leader Subramanian Swamy defended his charge against Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the AgustaWestland chopper scandal during an exclusive interview with Karan Thapar. Here is an edited transcript of the interview: Karan Thapar: Mr. Swamy let me start with a simple question. everyone accepts that AgustaWestland paid bribes, many of the recipients of those bribes were Indians. But when you specifically and directly target Mrs. Sonia Gandhi by name you are doing so on the basis of prejudice not proof. Subramanian Swamy: I have heard this before also when your channel interviewed me on national herald and now she is on bail in that case Q: But, not guilty and you have not proven it. A: yeah, I can have an opinion that she is guilty but to prove it to you I have to go through legal procedure. Q: that is the point I'm making your opinion is based on prejudice not proof. It's a vendetta. A: I will not take up a case unless I'm satisfied that the person is guilty. They have a right to appeal in the Supreme court, it's a long process and it takes time. Q: let me tell you why I consider your opinion based on prejudice rather than one based on proof. At least in two interviews, the Italian judge who is the head of the Milan court of appeal, Justice Maiga has said a) there is no evidence connecting Sonia Gandhi to taking of bribe. More importantly when times now asked him : Do you have any evidence to merit the probe against the Indian officials beyond the Tyagi brothers? his answer was absolutely not. A: What he said is that they were Indians hence he had no interest. Q: But, when he was asked specifically do you have evidence to merit a probe against anyone else than Tyagis; he said absolutely not. A: that is your surmise. What I said in my speech is that she is a suspect; she knows something about a crime committed. It's been admitted by her former defence minister. The Italians admit bribe has been taken. So, the process begins by asking questions and she should be questioned. Q: It's not just Mica who says there is no evidence to link her to corruption. The same point was made by Arun Jaitley in Times of India in Frankfurt yesterday. This is what he said 'it is only when substantiated evidence comes out there would be reason to believe who has taken the money. This means there is no reason to believe that Sonia Gandhi has taken the money. A: That you will have to question him. I never asked him about National Herald either. In National Herald also he had said at one stage that if they paid back the money they spent on the fraud transaction everything would be over. That is rubbish. The fact of the matter is that it is my own opinion. Q: Except that the person who is giving different opinion to yours is not just an ordinary individual. He is a member of a party, he is the finance minister, he is a leading lawyer, he is in fact former law minister. So, clearly he knows what he is saying. A: I have been on positions he has held but, the point is I have evaluated the evidence and have a track record of not being wrong so far. I am telling you that she is guilty in this matter. Q: let's then come to the letter you have evaluated. It comes from the Italian judgement and centrally linked to the letter written by Christian Michel on the 15th of March 2012. Infact, four days ago you wanted to cite the letter in Parliament but, you were stopped. What that letter does is that it has Christen Mitchel describing her a) as the driving force and b) the British ambassador should target her and her colleagues. That is a legitimate act of lobbying. It is not a suggestion of leave aside proof of bribery. A: I quoted that letter only because Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad quoted him as having said that PM Modi had a talk with Italian PM to come a deal. So, I said if you read it, the un expunged parliamentary proceedings that I am touched by your reference to Christian Michel and since you are quoting him let me quote what Christian Michel said in a letter that is included in the judgement. Q: and that letter doesn't in any way establish any connection to bribery. A: Wait, wait a minute, first thing you are wrong when you said I relied on that letter. I relied on that only because Ghulam Nabi Azad quoted his name. Now, I will tell you what the letter said. The letter said she is the driving force behind this deal. Now, that means she knew something about the deal. Q: It doesn't mean she is connected to bribery. A:Why don't you just listen. You don't know the law. I am educating you about law. If she knows that there is a deal and that deal is a crime. Then she must be questioned. This is what I said in parliament. Q: But questioned in what connection? Presumably, you are suggesting in connection with taking bribes. That's the implication even if you won't spell it out. A: I am sorry, then again you don't know the law. Read chapter 12 of the CRPC. Whenever a crime is committed and a case is registered it is the duty of the police, in this case the CBI... Q: By your logic you will be questioning the British Ambassador as well? A: I do not have the jurisdiction to question the Ambassador. Q: but you would want to. That's the bizarre outcome of your position. A: There is nothing bizarre. You don't understand the law and you go on saying this. I told you that she is a citizen; I assume that she is the citizen of India even today Q: You don't assume it, it is a fact. A: Well, I know you can speak on her behalf I can't because her name is different from her birth certificate and what she uses... Q: let's come back to what we were talking about. A: therefore you don't divert it. The fact of the matter is the duty of the police to question all those they think have knowledge about the matter. Q: You are saying I have no knowledge about the law, let me quote justice mica who was questioned how he evaluates Christian Michel's letter. This is the answer he gave NDTV yesterday, 'for us it is a document of low importance. Something of colour or ambiance. Something of no value at all. A: Absolutely, for his investigation there is no value because it is about contacting Sonia Gandhi and her advisors and it has got no value. The issue today is I never said in Parliament or I have said outside, but let's have it on record, I only said that she should be interrogated. Q: You are relying whether you say up front or whether you do it by implication on something that Christian Michel had .... A: No implication. Q: Okay, he said it up front you are taking it up front. But you are relying.. A: I said she is the driving force. Q: Absolutely! A: therefore, she should be questioned. She knows something. Q: And that has become your basis for questioning. A: That's it. Q: So you are relying on Christian Michel. A: I am not. Q: But you are not. A: I am not. Q: Relying on the phrase that she is the driving force.... A: Is it the interview of yourself or myself? I am telling you, there are four major references to her in the judgement. Q: only four. A: only four! She is completely irrelevant for the case but still there are four references. Q: Can I come back to my question? Because she is described as the driving force by Christian Michel you believe it is the basis for questioning. A: No, that is not the only basis. Q: part of it. A: I again told you that Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad took the name that is why I brought it. Q: Can I finish my question? A: yes. Q: I was going on to say that in one instance you are using this letter Christian Michel has used for preparing the grounds for questioning her. What about the fact that the same Christian Michel in an interview on 27 of April to the Hindu, to your daughter Suhashini, when asked said, 'he was absolutely sure that Gandhis took no money'. When Suhashini your daughter said how can he be so sure? He replied because I was there. Now, if you rely on him on one instance, why disregard what he said in the other? A: I think you are dense or you are deliberately doing this. I told you from the start that Christian Michel was used as an indication because Ghulam Nabi Azad relied on him. Q: But, you also said that the main driving force... A: No no no. Don't Interrupt me. I said this in the Parliament that there are four places her name figures. It is clear that she had knowledge about this and the decision regarding the aircraft in her government could not have been taken without her concurrence Q: All of that I accept but I am going back to something you said crystal clearly and when you hear this interview on transmission you will discover that I am right. A: No, you are right? You are telling me a joke. Q: You said one of the grounds for questioning her was the fact that she was described by Michel as one of the driving force, right and you added that from the driving force you mean she knew about the deal. You built that case up yourself. Now, I am saying to you that you rely on... A: Wait a minute, let me say for the last time because you seem to be tensed. I am telling you that, the letter forms a part of the judgement. Now Mr. Christian Michel is sweating. He may say whatever he likes. This plus other evidence plus my knowledge of how the government of Manmohan Singh worked, I think this lady must be questioned. Q: Precisely, your words are this plus other evidence means this is a reason for questioning her as well as other things. A: Because, this is part of the judgement. Q: Maybe, but when Christian Michel says something contradictory to your daughter, why don't you bear that in mind? A: I will not take any post judgement statement, whether it is my daughter or my grand daughter or it is you. Q: Because it doesn't suit you. A: yes yes (mockingly), it doesn't suit you , to have the opposite view. Afterall, we know you have biases too. Q: Let me come to something else. What you make of the fact that same Christian Michel to our channel India Today has said that he is under enormous pressure from Indian investigative agencies to incriminate the Gandhis in return for having the charges dropped against him. He said that bluntly and by the way, he has written formally to the President of the International Tribunal on the law of the sea to make precisely the same point. A: Let him say it to a court of law. Q: But he said it to something that is close to a court of law. He has written to the President of the Tribunal on the law of the sea. That is close to the law. A: That has no locus here. Ha ha.. Q: I want to quote to you, you are laughing because you don't want to consider it law. A: I am laughing at your ignorance. Q: the point is that the Indian government at the moment has accepted it as a court. The marine case is handled there. We have accepted its jurisdiction. So, in the eyes of the government it's a court. Even if, it is not a court in your eyes. A: Please don't shift the ground. This has nothing to do with that court or the international court. It has got to do with the arbitration for which both of us went to that court. Q: Can I quote what Christian Michel on 23rd of December last year wrote to the President of the International Tribunal on the law of the sea, it was made very clear to me through a number of obtuse channels that if I was willing to denounce any member of the Gandhi family to the so called VVIP helicopter scandal, all charges and investigation against me will be dropped and by the way , when you wrote to the Prime Minister in November last year, he refers to something similar as well. A: Who, I mean... Q: Christian Michel, that is Christian Michel... A: Who told him that we will settle? Q: He doesn't reveal. A: Aah! That's right, and you believe him. That is what I am saying you are completely complicit in this. Q: But you are prepared to build a part of the case on his language of driving force. A: Either you are dense I told you or you are doing it deliberately. I said Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad mentioned him as evidence. Q: I know, but you also went on to say that it was part of the reason the word driving force... A: It is because that particular letter is a part of the judgement. Q: Can I point out something else? A: Yes. Q: The same Christian Michel in an interview to your daughter, published by the Hindu. A: Again you are back to my daughter. Q: No, because she's a very important journalist who got the interview. A: So what? I brought her up. I know it. I think your parents did not bring you up properly. Q: Therefore you should take credit for her interview even if it contradicts your position. A: I am sorry I can't disclose what she told me altogether. It's irrelevant. Q: He has also said to The Hindu that the Indian prime minister and the Italian prime minister in September last year had a brush-aside meeting at the UN and the Indian prime minister proposed a deal that if you give incriminating evidence against the Gandhis, we'll let off the marines and since then one of the marines have asked by the Italians to be sent back. That is the matter coming in front of the Supreme Court. Is there any connection? A: I am not making any connection. Don't put any words in my mouth. I have got a track record unlike you of taking everything to a logical conclusion. In this particular case, Christian Michel's only factor I took into account was placed in the judgement. Since it was a document in the judgement, I quoted from it because Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad raised it. I am saying that based on the CAG report and the changes made and my knowledge of the Manmohan Singh government works, she has a person who has to be examined Q: I am making a different point altogether. I am saying that the meeting that allegedly happened between the two prime ministers in the UN.. A: According to whom? Q: According to Christian Michel. A: Oh, I see.. Q: Could the possibility, in fact there is a link between that meeting and the request from the court that the Italian marine now be released - could that link up with the possibility that in fact Michel himself is under pressure from Indian agencies to incriminate the Gandhis. Are these documents linking up to suggest that you are putting pressure on Michel to incriminate the Gandhis? Is this an attempt to get at Sonia any which way? A: I have already got her in National Herald despite all the rubbish you said. Q: You think you've got her. Her lawyers are saying the opposite, they're confident you haven't. A: You will also say because you are her advocate too. You don't understand the law. Let me educate you. She has been found prima facie guilty of the charges I made. Now the charges have to be framed and the trial has to start. Q: I don't know what you mean by prima facie guilty. A case to be heard does not mean prima facie guilty. A: What is the reason for her to take bail. Q: That there is a case to be heard, not that she is guilty. Bail is part of the procedure. A: Oh really? I know that your Anglo-Saxon education has poorly educated you about Indian law. Q: Are you and your government trying to get back at Sonia any which way? A: First of all, what Christian Michel says is pleasing to you. Ask him to put it on affidavit, then I will take it seriously. Otherwise, like journalists like you, he can say all sorts of rubbish. After all, he is an arms middleman. He has lived a life of lies. He can say anything. Q: What is the case that you have that convinces you, maybe not the rest of the world, but you that she's actually guilty of some form of corruption in the AgustaWestland matter? A: I am not gonna tell you. No, because I don't trust you. Q: What do you mean you don't trust me. Whom I gonna tell? A: You are not the person to be trusted with what I know. I said the same thing to you on National Herald, you have forgotten. Q: Are you scared that I will reveal your secret to Sonia? A: I am not scared of you. You are nobody. I have fought much stronger people. Q: You are smiling and your eyes are particularly twinkling. As I know from the past that when your eyes twinkle you are only being mischievous. You don't mean what you say, but the audience will say that the reason he refuses to share is not because he does not trust Karan, but because he doesn't have any? A: What audience? Q: The audience who are listening to this interview. A: They will all tweet and you will see. They'll say awful things about you. Q: They will say you are simply targeting Sonia. A: Yeah, yeah..only a handful of people who go around in your cocktail party. You just see your Twitter and be honest to put it on TV. Q: If you have evidence to suggest she is corrupt... A: I will not tell you because I don't trust you. I am telling you frankly. I don't trust most journalists who belong to Anglo Saxon stock because we know what your inclinations are. And therefore, I have told you what I have put on record. You have tried to twist that, I have put it straight. As far as her guilt, I will tell you on this channel - she's guilty as hell. Q: I have to tell you at this moment that she is completely innocent until proven. If you don't show the evidence you claim to have, most people will say you don't have it. A: There is no most people. The only way to test is social media. And you see what they say about you. Q: It doesn't matter. The social media is not the final authority, but the verdict of the judges. A: Certainly. Absolutely. That's what I am saying. Please go through the due process. Call her. Question her and then find out whether she has told the truth. +++ Q: Let's come to the case you attempted to make in your Rajya Sabha speech yesterday. First, on the decision to alter the height from 6,000 m to 4,500 m. That decision was first recommended in December 2003 by Brajesh Mishra, Atal Bihari Vajpayee's national security adviser and principle secretary. UPA simply stuck and followed that advice. How then can you accuse UPA of this? A: You have not been in government. You don't know how governments run. Mr Brajesh Mishra was a bureaucrat. He had said to the ministry of defence that this is something they can consider. But the letter that went to MoD has only two criteria. There is no mention of 4,500 m at all. It is true that in the December 2003 he recommended why don't you consider this, and that was minuted, and it was not binded or a governmental decision. Congress decorated Brajesh Mishra with the highest possible award below Bharat Ratna. Q: What are you suggesting? A: I am suggesting that he was a bug for the Congress. A Trojan horse. Q: That's unfair to the man. A: Well that's your concept of fair and unfair. He worked for the Congress party. I am telling you that. Q: You really mean that? A: What do you mean that I really mean. I really mean what I say. Not like you. He was a Trojan horse. Q: And worked for the Congress party? A: That's right... I said it was a bureaucrat's opinion which was not taken on board with the MoD. It was in November 2013, very soon afterwards the elections came. The letter that went originally was that SPG should be consulted, and that the single vendor thing should be avoided. Q: On the decision to fix the cabin height to 1.8 m. You and the defence minister argued that this reduced it to a single vendor situation and both of you relied on the CAG report to back up your argument. The CAG report says something significantly different. It says that the MoD insisted that there were six other original equipment manufacturers who could produce helicopters with a 1.8 m height, if not more. The single vendor situation, it says, was opaque. Their conclusion is that the single vendor situation became questionable, if not reliable. But you are relying on it. A: Your knowledge is all half-baked. I read out a question in the Rajya Sabha which Mr Antony answered. Please go and see my speech. The question was - Is it a fact that the Indian Air Force has said that the 6,000 m is an inescapable requirement. And Antony answers - Yes sir. Now second, the papers, not of CAG, the government papers itself show that the cabin height size was arbitrarily changed without anybody asking for it... You may argue this in a court in Pakistan but not in India. If the accused will have their lawyer they can argue this and that time the evidence will be shown that the only helicopter which has 1.8 m cabin height is the AgustaWestland's. Q: For the record, the CAG itself says that the MoD had six other QEMs.. A: The MoD may have said, but they include it in the list. Why? Q: I don't know the answer to that. A: Aah.. so investigation. Q: The field evaluation, you said in your speech, was done overseas. You said that was wrong, unorthodox and against the rules. You overlooked that the NDA under Mr Vajpayee tweaked this to overlook the rules, and secondly the Brazilian plane which was bought under Mr Vajpayee was done overseas. So the rule and precedent was changed by Mr Vajpayee. A: Please read my speech. Q: I heard your speech. A: No you didn't. You should get a doctor for your ears. The fact is, I said I don't care where it was tested. What I objected to was that instead of the helicopter you were buying that was to be tested, they took another surrogate model. Q: In Rajya Sabha, you didn't use the word surrogate, but said that the wrong plane was tested. A: Surrogate is the wrong plane. Q: MoD said they used a representative plane. A: Rubbish. What are you talking about. He may have used a different word. Don't be silly, I can't believe this. Q: Language is important. A: Oh, really? This is not a St Stephen's debating club. We are dealing with evidence. When the time comes for the evidence, what was the model used has to be put before the aeroplane you purchased. Q: Representative means a plane that represents the plane that was being bought. A: Why didn't you use the original plane - AW101? Q: Because it was under construction at that time. A: Then, what was the hurry? Hurry to close the deal. Q: The defence officials used a different word. A: They didn't use a different word. I don't know where you have been taught the english language. Babu english that you have .. that this word and that word. There is a certain flexibility in the use of words. There are antonyms and synonyms... Q: These are not.. A: That may be your view. I don't know which Anglo culture you are coming from. I don't see any difference any representative and a different plane. Q: Who is the invisible hand guiding the IB and CBI led investigations? Whose invisible hand ensured an appeal when Modi came to power? A: At last we have something to agree on. Yes, it should be investigated who was behind it. I know who it is, but I can't tell. The next thing you will ask me what proof do you have. I don't trust you. Q: So, this is a lapse on the part of the Modi government. A: Not lapse. It was a complicity to see that it doesn't go any further. I didn't say Modi government. Not someone in the government. Q: Then who? A: Somebody. I am not going to tell you. A letter can be sent to mislead the government. Q: Are you suggesting the attorney general. A: I am not suggesting anybody. I am not telling you. You can go on examining me like a second-rate criminal lawyer. Q: Arun Jaitley? A: I have heard of fishing expeditions, but this is most outrageous fishing expedition I have ever come across. You are not gonna get a word out of me on this. Q: Except that it is an indication of complicity. A: Yes, of course. Somebody was trying to protect Sonia. I don't know who is somebody, it has to be investigated. Q: Your interpretations of the initials AP as if they were Ahmed Patel. The prosecutors in Italy have no clue of that. It was googled. What sort of evidence is that? You are a lawyer and you know that. A: I know I am lawyer and you are not one. You don't even know the law. You are an illiterate as far as this is concerned. See interview given to one of your rival television channels by the judge, who says in that AP is Ahmed Patel. Q: The judge's quote to NDTV yesterday: "At best, the initials AP were an indication" and he then added there was no conclusion. It was a guess. A: That is why I say that he should be examined. On the joke that it could be Anandiben Patel, I joked that the Italians must be madder than I thought. Therefore, we must ask Ahmed Patel what is your connection. Q: On Dr Manmohan Singh... and a letter from Guiseppe Orsi. A: First of all, I have very regard for Dr Manmohan Singh. I stood up for him in 2G even though he cracked up after his initially right correct reaction. He then got an got an order from above and he melted. The fact of the matter is that something has been raised and it is part of the judgement. There's no harm in going to his house and asking him a question - Did you delay the supply of documents? - that is now repeatedly being told by the judges that except some downloadable items, nothing else came. Q: Going by your tone, it means that he is not a suspect, but you are simply fulfilling a procedure. A: Yeah, I agree. He's not at the moment a suspect in my eyes. Q: You treat him therefore at a different level than Sonia Gandhi. A: Yes. And also Antony. I don't think he is a suspect. Q: Is Ahmed Patel in the Manmohan or Sonia category? A: Ahmed Patel and Sonia Gandhi are not too different political personalities. Q: Everyone accepts today that AgustaWestland paid bribes. Most people in India readily agree that some people in India accepted them. A: Not most, but the minister of defence himself - on the floor of Parliament. Q: But then to put in your phrase, this is not a fishing expedition but a deep sea diving. A: In my opinion, you have no credibility in the public when you make an allegation. Whereas when I make an allegation, because of my track record, people believe what I say.