Christian Michel: The Latest Face of the Venomous Hydra-Headed Dynasty Scam Pit

A commentary on how the arms dealer Christian Michel extradited to India from Dubai is just the latest face of successive dynastic governments that compromised national security.

First, there was only Bofors. But ever since the UPA returned to power in 2009, we lost count.

This pretty much sums up the full story of the Congress Dynasty’s scamster friend Christian Michel who was recently extradited from Dubai and is now reluctantly singing before the CBI. Quite obviously, the names and the numbers are tumbling out. The latest ones as reported by media headlines:

Of course, this data excludes the earlier, sordid revelations of how the (retired) Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi was allegedly “owned” by sleazy defence dealers and referred to in such contemptuously colourful language as “gorgeous girl,” and “reduced him to the level of a gangster’s moll, a Mona Darling to Lion.” Oh, it also doesn’t exclude the fact that Christian Michel had earmarked a grand ₹ 50 Crore “specifically to manage the Indian media.” In public interest, one of the first things the CBI should do is release the full list of these journalists and media heads who were on Christian Michel’s payroll.

In a line, and borrowing from the Russian archivist, Vasili Mitrokhin, the whole of India was up for sale this time as well. Under Mrs. Gandhi, the price of each person could be well-hidden thanks to her hegemonic power. Both her sons, Rajiv and Sanjay Gandhi at various times acted as brokers and water-carriers for various foreign agencies and business houses. But the basic point remains: give power to the Congress party (synonymous with Dynasty), it will indulge precisely in such anti-national and nation-breaking brokering. It is also why Pakistan and every terrorist front feels secure when the Congress is in power.

There is quite an important, related point to be noted in this connection. Books. Especially, the books that were written roughly beginning at the late 2013 when it was clear that the Congress would be clobbered in the coming summer. Personal memoirs. Exposes. Autobiographies. By the very people who had been lifelong Dynasty courtiers—some, even generational courtiers—or had benefitted from the Dynasty ecosystem. Against the Nehru Dynasty. Raking carefully-buried muck. Unearthing titbits of past filth. Doing the unthinkable: renegading.

A common feature underlining almost all these books is the topic of Sonia Gandhi’s rise to power and superpower. And how this would have been not even in the realm of dreams had Sanjay Gandhi not died. Most importantly, how all manner of Italians had a free pass in South Block, and how ministers, bureaucrats, businessmen, and media heads were being wined and dined and bought and sold.

Christian Michel is simply a continuation of the same auctioning of Bharatavarsha by her own children.


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Nothing clarifies both the present and the past like literature.

Dr SL Bhyrappa’s 1980’s Kannada novel Anveshane (Quest/Search) has a situation set in the late 1940s where an underage boy is imprisoned on a false charge by a corrupt police inspector. A compassionate lawyer while freeing the boy chides the police inspector: “Aha! So early after Independence and you’re already this corrupt!” This scene is Dr Bhyrappa’s own experience as a teenaged waiter in a hotel in Hubli whose owner bribes a cop and foists a false case against him.

Needless, the story ofPrime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s morbid addiction to the USSR and how he allowed their funds to sponsor various anti-India Communist activities inIndia is well-known. A policy which his daughter, Indira Gandhi continued withgreater vigour and insecurity (the full dreary tale is recounted in this bestselling essay on The Dharma Dispatch).

The common theme and outcome: the monumental and generational financial corruption apart, a reckless disregard for national security by three former prime ministers belonging to the same bloodline.

Innumerable reports and books have repeatedly exposed how foreign agents of various hues had acquired powerful clout in the successive governments run by said bloodline. All for the family, of course.
And so, the ongoing national outrage over the AgustaWestland scandal should surprise no one. The AgustaWestland scam couldn’t flower but for the six decade-long preparation of this soil of corruption made fertile with such toxic manure.

The Congress party which morphed into a “government of usurpers” in Philip Spratt’s words, during Indira Gandhi’s free-for-all regime, eventually morphed into a government by proxy under Sonia Gandhi. What else does one call a government whose prime minister reported to an ordinary Member of Parliament who in turn sought inputs from an extra-Constitutional body styled the National Advisory Council?

When the AgustaWestland scam erupted in 2016, two other crucial revelations surfaced around the same time: the role of former home (and later finance) minister P Chidambaram in the Ishrat Jahan case, and his son Karti Chidambaram’s global “benaami” empire (to quote S Gurumurthy) via Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited, which is valued at hundreds if not thousands of crores.

In the first instance, Chidambaram misused his ministerial position to target his political opponent and shore up his own political strength. In the second, he again misused his official position to enhance his family’s fortunes.

The first instance is significant because it concerns national security.

Right from its first innings in 2004, the Congress-led UPA government has demonstrated with sickening frequency that it cared zero about national security and failed to carry out a basic duty: ensuring the safety of Indian citizens. Former home minister Shivraj Patil’s shameful legacy remains an ignominious monument to this fact: after brazenly disregarding repeated terror attacks on Indian soil, it finally took 26/11 for the Congress to show him the door.

Neither did things improve after P. Chidambaram replaced Patil as the home minister, as the Ishrat Jahan revelations demonstrate. In fact, it shows the opposite. Equally, the recurring deaths of Indian scientists involved in national security projects during the UPA era, and the existence of a Pakistani mole (in our Intelligence apparatus) codenamed “Honey Bee” among others show the chilling extent to which national security was compromised.

Christian Michel and his sprawling global empire of sleaze and scam won’t be the last of the skeletons to tumble out of the cupboard of the erstwhile UPA regime. If some Congress-era scam still lies buried, it’s not because it is buried but because the institutional damage that the Dynasty has wrought has kept it yet undiscovered.

In fact, to gauge the extent of this comprehensive subversion, one can recall the instant uproar by Congress MPs in the Rajya Sabha in April 2016, when Subramanian Swamy as much as uttered Sonia’s name. What is it about the her that her party members insist that she be beyond the law? And why is she being shielded in this manner when there is every real possibility that nothing good (?) or bad went on in the UPA without her consent if not collusion?

Just what has the Congress reduced Bharatavarsha to?

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Sandeep Balakrishna
Writer, author, and translator. Author of the bestselling "Tipu Sultan: The Tyrant of Mysore," "The Madurai Sultanate: A Concise History," and "Seventy Years of Secularism." English translator of Dr. S L Bhyrappa's blockbuster Kannada novel, "Aavarana".