When SBI chairman gave Rs 9 cr

When SBI chairman gave Rs 9 cr

Receiving some Rs 9 crore in tin boxes from then SBI chairman, impounding of his passport when he had none and running a raid raj – President Pranab Mukherjee faced too many allegations and barbs from within and outside Congress soon after the lifting of Emergency.


“I too was not spared,” Mukherjee remembers in his first of the three-part memoir “The Dramatic Decades: The Indira Gandhi Years”.

The main political attack was on Indira Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi, Bansi Lal, Om Mehta, V C Shukla and a few others with Siddhartha Shankar Ray, Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, Chandrajit Yadav and D K Barooah among others liberally bandied terms such as extra-constitutional authority, caucus and gang of four.

“While the others were the main targets at the national level, I was targeted by the Assam and Bengal group, and criticised for intensifying the drive against economic offenders. The detention of Gayatri Devi, the Rajmata of Jaipur, was described as an act of high-handedness. Dasmunsi was particularly critical of me,” he writes.

Refering to the allegation that the SBI chairman personally carried Rs 9 crore in tin boxes to his constituency, he says, “nobody spared a thought about the number of tin boxes one would require to carry Rs 9 crore, presuming that all currency notes would be of 100-rupee denomination.” “This was the level of propaganda some of us faced. And this wasn’t the last time I had to face the brunt of unfounded allegations,” Mukherjee writes.

Though nobody could imagine someone refusing to entertain Mukherjee in the past two decades, he says, he was “avoided by almost everybody” in Parliament and its lobby soon after lifting of Emergency.

Referring to senior leaders like Sidharth Shankar Ray disowning Indira Gandhi after the Emergency, Mukherjee says, “We found our own answers: these ‘big leaders’ were little more than ‘paper tigers’. They had not dared to utter a word against Indira Gandhi when she was in office.”

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