‘Rajiv Gandhi used INS Viraat for family trip’- navy veterans back PM Modi’s claim

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claims that Rajiv Gandhi used Indian Navy warship INS Viraat as ‘personal taxi’ for holidaying has sparked the latest raw in BJP vs Congress friction. Soon after the former navy chief, Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas joined the debate by choosing to defend the late prime minister, another group of ex-naval officers have backed the prime minister Modi’s claim.

Former Navy Commander VK Jaitly (retired) tweeted to state that the Gandhi family had extensively used naval resources during their holidays.

Another former Navy officer, Lieutenant Commander Harinder Sikka told various news channels, that the Gandhis using naval resources was not appreciated by the naval officers but they were forced to remain quiet.

“We were helpless because we could not speak or raise objections. They would have booked us for mutiny,”

Sikka also said that the presence of Sonia, who he calls a foreign national, was what that irked many parts of the fleet.

“Prime Minister in INS Viraat is ok but his wife was a foreign national and sensitive information was at stake. No one, even Navy officers, was not allowed inside but here they were holidaying. I raised the issue before the Commanding Officer and I was asked to shut up. He is the Prime Minister. Even if you use a pin from a Navy ship, it has to be docketed.” Sikka told the news channels.


Sikka also slammed Admiral Ramdas that how he became Admiral…”He sank a ship with seven officers in peaceful waters near Vishakhapatnam.

Also, he tweeted a canton by legend cartoonist R.K. Laxman on Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi’s “Holiday”


Ex navy chief Ramdas’ explanation on the issue

The former navy chief quoted parts of written responses from retired Vice Admiral Vinod Pasricha (then captain and commanding officer of INS Viraat) and other officials. He also referred to a note from an officer who was then the naval officer in charge of Lakshadweep islands.

“Prime Minister and Mrs. Gandhi were embarked on board INS Viraat off Trivandrum en route Lakshadweep. The Prime Minister was at Trivandrum as chief guest for the National Games prize distribution. He was going to Lakshadweep on official duty, to Chair a meeting of IDA ( Islands Development Authority). This meeting is held alternately in Lakshadweep and in Andamans,” he said in the statement.

Indian Express newspaper published this picture of Rajiv Gandhi on INS Viraat from their archives.

PM Modi, at a rally in New Delhi on Wednesday, accused the Gandhi family of misusing warship INS Viraat for a holiday when Rajiv Gandhi was the prime minister.

“Ever imagined that a premier warship of the Indian armed forces could be used as a taxi for a personal holiday? One dynasty did it,” Modi claimed.

“INS Viraat was insulted by using it as a personal taxi. This happened when Rajiv and his family were out for a 10-day vacation. INS Viraat was deployed for securing our maritime boundary. But it was diverted to take the Gandhi family which was out for a vacation,” Modi had said.

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