Defence expert Hemant Mahajan speaking to ANI in New Delhi on Thursday Photo/ANI.
Defence expert Hemant Mahajan speaking to ANI in New Delhi on Thursday Photo/ANI.

Defence experts seek probe into PM's statement about Gandhi family using warship for family vacation

ANI | Updated: May 09, 2019 14:56 IST

New Delhi [India], May 9 (ANI): Defence analysts have varying views on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's claim that INS Virat was used as a "personal taxi" by former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and his family in 1987.
Hemant Mahajan, a defence expert has called for an investigation into the allegations made by Prime Minister Modi about Rajiv Gandhi, the late father of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
"If Prime Minister Modi has made such an allegation then it calls for an investigation because INS Virat is a battleship and cost billions of dollars to the country. Operating the ship also involved huge cost, so it cannot be used as a private vehicle including the ruling class," Mahajan told ANI.
During an election rally in New Delhi, the prime minister said that the Gandhi family compromised national security as Indian Navy personnel were stationed in Lakshdweep in service of late Rajiv Gandhi and his family.
"The Navy does not permit families to come on board. So if such a thing has happened it should be investigated. In these elections, there have been accusations and counter-accusations and I wish this should not escalate," Mahajan added.
P K Sehgal, another defence expert, said that defence services and politics should not be mixed up.
"Given the present atmosphere, Rahul Gandhi is repeatedly making allegations against the Prime Minister that he is using defence as if it is his personal property.. These allegations must be brought out into public domain. Navy cannot be used for anyone's personal use," Sehgal said.
PM Modi, last week, called Rajiv Gandhi the "bhrashtachari number one" (corrupt number one) at an election rally in Uttar Pradesh.
"Your father was termed Mr Clean by his courtiers, but his life ended as bhrashtachari no 1," PM Modi had said in
Rahul Gandhi responded and wrote on Twitter, "Modi Ji, The battle is over. Your Karma awaits you. Projecting your inner beliefs about yourself onto my father won't protect you. All my love and a huge hug. Rahul"
On Wednesday, his comments that the former prime minister used a naval warship as his "personal taxi", stirred up a fresh controversy.
"This statement of Prime Minister Modi is not useful because it is a norm for Prime Ministers and Presidents to travel on Navy ships and Air Force planes. Even nowadays film stars are seen on Navy ships...It is an election gimmick and armed forces should not be used in speeches during the poll campaigns," said Defence expert DS Dhillon. (ANI)