On Thursday, in a massive development, following the sensational charge by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of using INS Viraat as 'personal taxi' by late PM Rajiv Gandhi, naval officer Commander VK Jaitly has backed his claims. He wrote on Twitter that he was posted on INS Viraat at the time when the Gandhi family was vacationing in Lakshadweep.
Naming Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, he added that Indian Navy resources were extensively during their holiday at Bangaram island in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep.
On Wednesday, May 8, Prime Minister Modi in his mega rally at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi made strongest ever attack the Congress first family, alleging that in 1988, the Gandhi family had stationed the INS Viraat off the coast of the Lakshadweep island on which they were vacationing. Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, their children Rahul and Priyanka along with four of their friends, and a number their family friends also joined them on the island where lavish preparations were made.
Talking to Republic TV, Commander VK Jaitly added:
"I was witness to the entire episode. A room was readied in the admiral’s cabin for the Gandhis. It’s true that the Gandhis used INS Viraat to head towards Lakshadweep. It’s not a small thing. Vice Admiral Pasricha was our commanding officer. He would know about the foreigners. The warship was anchored off Lakshadweep. It’s was not a small fleet. We were told they were coming to ship and that it would sail to Bangaram. One admiral room was readied. The ship went to Kochi to pick them up. They stayed overnight. After that, they left towards Lakshadweep on a chopper. They did stay on a ship. The ship anchored nearby Bangaram. The aircraft carrier never sails alone. Several Naval ships accompanied. Resources were used."
Prime Minister claimed that the Nehru-Gandhi family misused and insulted the INS Viraat after former PM Rajiv Gandhi used the warship to bring his in-laws for their vacation at an island.
"Congress' naamdaar family had misused the pride of the country, INS Viraat, like its personal taxi. They had insulted it. This incident is of that time when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister of the country and they had gone out on vacation for 10 days. During that time, INS Viraat was stationed to guard the maritime boundaries, but it was sent to bring the Gandhi family who was going on vacation. After that, INS Viraat had stopped at a special island with their entire family. It was there for 10 days. Among those who were holidaying with Rajiv Gandhi were his in-laws," PM Modi added.
Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has not responded directly on INS Viraat charge by the PM but has said: "You want to talk about Rajiv Gandhi, you want to talk about me, you can talk all you want. But make the citizens understand what you did in the Rafale matter. You tell the citizens what happened about the promise of employment that you made to the two crore people."