It’s been more than 35 years since Sanjay Gandhi, the scion of Indira Gandhi died in a plane crash, but speculations and theories about the tragedy refuse to die down. On June 23, 1980, the 33-year-old grandson of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru met his death when the plane he was flying nosedived in Delhi.
A year after Sanjay married Maneka in 1974, India witnessed great political turmoil, and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared national Emergency in a bid to retain her seat of power. During this period, Sanjay, who was very close to his mother, started acting as her political advisor. And the woman, who was known to have nerves of steel, started yielding the reigns of the nation to her favourite son.
All this while, the elder son Rajiv and his family were happy being away from the politics. While he flew Indian Airlines planes as a commercial pilot, his wife Sonia contributed to the household management in Safdarjung 1, the Prime Minister’s house, and busied herself in bringing up her two children, Rahul and Priyanka. Sonia, like a willing-to-please bahu, did everything to be in the good books of her mother-in-law. Indira Gandhi made it very evident that she favoured her foreigner bahu rather than the Indian counterpart Maneka.
The rivalry of the two daughter-in-laws is quite well-known. Writer-journalist Khushwant Singh, who was a close member of Maneka’s family, mentioned in his memoirs that Indira Gandhi decided to appoint Maneka as her political secretary. But then the Sonia intervened and persuaded the PM against such a move. One thing led to another, and after the death of Sanjay, his widow Maneka and son Firoze Varun were ousted from the PM’s residence in full media glare. I believe this incident might have fanned the imagination that it was the mother who could have been behind her son’s death.
It intrigued me that Sonia, who was known never to show any interest in politics, dissuaded her mother-in-law from appointing Maneka. It turns out that Indira Gandhi discussed with Russia before declaring Emergency. Russia was in the know that Sanjay Gandhi was the force behind his mother’s political decisions, and it is quite likely that Russian intelliegence KGB orchestrated the plane crash to tick off Sanjay.
But then, why would Russia gain by doing such a thing, when Sanjay had hordes of enemies within India? If we look at certain declassified Indian intelligence report found in the internet, we will see a picture emerging in the haze. There is a ‘Russian hypothesis’ supported by the Indian intelligence during that period, which move the needle of suspicion towards Opus Dei, the top secret intelligence of the Vatican. Alleged reports say the Opus Dei and parts of Russian intelligence collaborated on certain matters, and the country assigned its intelligence the task of eliminating Sanjay.
So KGB made Sanjay’s plane crash, and paved the way for the PM’s eldest son Rajiv. It might seem quite far-fetched a theory, but it is not entirely impossible that a Rajiv’s Roman Catholic wife, whose family had ancient ties with the Vatican, was to derive benefit out of Sanjay’s death.
Read on to find more.