The son of late Arjun Singh and Congress MLA in Madhya Pradesh, Ajay Singh, on Thursday in strong words condemned external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj for "misquoting" his father in the context of former Union Carbide chairman Warren Anderson's release in the aftermath of the Bhopal gas disaster in 1984.
During a debate on 'Lalitgate' in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, Swaraj quoted extensively from Arjun Singh's autobiography 'A Grain of Sand in the Hourglass of Time' to highlight the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's role in letting Anderson flee India in exchange for the release of a friend, who was sentenced to 35 years in jail by a US court.
Speaking exclusively with HT, Ajay Singh said there was no reference to Rajiv Gandhi in his father's book in the context of Anderson's release. Further, he said the arrangements for his release and visit to Delhi was made at the behest of a home ministry official.
Perhaps anticipating the then Prime Minister's name being sullied in the future over the controversial release of Anderson, in his autobiography Arjun Singh wrote, "I would like to make it clear that at no point of time did Rajiv talk to me about this matter or intercede on Anderson's behalf. I came to know later that Union home secretary RD Pradhan, upon the instruction of Union home minister PV Narsimha Rao, had telephoned Brahma Swaroop to ensure Anderson's release."
Condemning Swaraj for misquoting his father's book, Ajay Singh said, "I only wish to say that to vilify a person who is no longer with us is blasphemous and not befitting the stature of the external affairs minister of India. To quote someone and quote him out of context is one thing, but to misquote someone is absolutely ridiculous."