From Feroze to Vadra

Two sons-in-law of Gandhi family are like chalk and cheese

As the allegations against Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi cause embarrassment to the party and country’s first political family, few would be aware that another son-in-law of the Nehru–Gandhi dynasty, Feroze Gandhi (September 12, 1912 – September 8, 1960), was instrumental in exposing independent India’s first corruption scam.

“A mutiny in my mind has compelled me to raise this debate. When things of such magnitude, as I shall describe to you later, occur, silence became a crime…..” were the words of Feroze Gandhi, son-in-law of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, when he rose to speak in Parliament in 1958 on the shabby deal between government-controlled Life Insurance Company and businessman Haridas Mundhra.

Feroze Gandhi, husband Indira, had won the 1957 Lok Sabha elections from Rae Bareli and belonged to the Treasury benches at that time, but nothing stopped him from exposing graft.

The whole House listened in pin-drop silence as Feroze spoke, exposing the murky deal and concluded by establishing a conspiracy in which public funds were wrongfully employed for financing the interests of an individual at the cost of the insured. The expose resulted in the resignation of Finance Minister T T Krishnamachari and imprisonment of Mundhra.

The revelations caused embarrassment to the Nehru Cabinet; however, the family could take pride in having a parliamentarian of high moral values. While Robert Vadra, husband of Priyanka Gandhi, is accused of having close links with real estate giant DLF and helping the debt-ridden company, Feroze Gandhi had reportedly exposed various corporate houses for using public money by running banks and insurance companies and transferring it to their own business.

While Feroze Gandhi, two-time Lok Sabha MP excelled in politics and would be known as a parliamentarian of impeccable image, Robert Vadra, surrounded by graft charges failed to achieve anything on political turf despite his new-found status by virtue of his marriage to Priyanka Gandhi.

Robert Vadra did express his intent to join politics during the run–up to the recent Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. However, Priyanka Gandhi rejected the idea, saying he is a businessman and was content with his work.

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