Operation west end



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R.K. GUPTA: And became the sole trustee of Friends of India Society International. This is a society floated by me. I'm still sole trustee. When you come to me, I will take you to BJP. You will see how…see how they respect. 

TEHELKA: Okay, okay. 

TEHELKA: You are basically from RSS? 

[Gupta nods] 

PANT: He's the trustee…

R.K. GUPTA: You have to have this big heart [makes a gesture] if you want to work. This much I can guarantee you, your money will never go waste. I only take personal responsibility. 

TEHELKA: Thank you, sir. Thank you. 

R.K. GUPTA: Because I can force them. 


R.K. GUPTA: I can also slap on the face if they don't do the work. If it's not paid back, I will have to pay the money. I will pay, don't worry. 

TEHELKA: Sir, I have full faith of you. Hundred per cent faith.

* * *

R.K. GUPTA: Monday evening I will be on your work. But you have to have some money. 

TEHELKA: Okay, I have

R.K. GUPTA: You know…[now explains along with hand gestures]…"Sir, this is five lakh rupees." 


R.K. GUPTA: When I do the work…I put 20-25 lakhs in my pocket…


R.K. GUPTA: I will just go and give to these…. Like Defence Secretary…five lakhs…[dismisses with hand gesture] Then Ved Prakash Goyal. Five lakh rupees for the party. "Can I take this work, sir?" Then I go to Bangaru Laxman. You just give them for no work. There are people who don't even….

TEHELKA: We have to give…Bangaru Laxman 

R.K. GUPTA: No, not Bangaru Laxman. Ten lakhs is too less. I will give to Defence Secretary. 


R.K. GUPTA: Then Ved Prakash Goyal, treasurer of the party. 

TEHELKA: Okay. Treasurer of the party? 

R.K. GUPTA: Treasurer of BJP. 


PANT: Ved Prakash Goyal. 

TEHELKA: Okay, Brajesh. 

R.K. GUPTA: Not Brajesh…

PANT: Ved Prakash. 

TEHELKA: Okay, Ved Prakash. 

R.K. GUPTA: Brajesh's price is one crore. I don't want to go to him with money. 


R.K. GUPTA: We will handle them. Don't worry. 


R.K. GUPTA: You keep Rs. 20-25 lakhs ready. Then blast your work. 

TEHELKA: Okay, sir.

* * *

At a later meeting, Gupta discusses the modalities further.

He admits to giving the BJP 3-4 crores every month.

TEHELKA: No, I am telling that, because we have already spent more than 45 lakhs of rupees. 

R.K. GUPTA: That is your job. We are spending crores. 


R.K. GUPTA: Come to the office, then you will know how much expense we're maintaining. 


R.K. GUPTA: Bangaru, I can walk in any moment I like. 


R.K. GUPTA: Do you think I will take you and then give…?

TEHELKA: No, no, sir, tell me, how do I transfer the money? Tell me? 

R.K. GUPTA: Hmm. You give the money to me, I will give it to him…

TEHELKA: Okay, okay. 

R.K. GUPTA: …at my leisure and whenever I think opportunity is right. 


R.K. GUPTA: As I keep on giving every month. 


R.K. GUPTA: …almost three-four crores. 


TEHELKA: Sir, I have to give twenty-five to your hand? 

R.K. GUPTA: Yeah. And you tell me the work also. So that we have to do the work properly. 


R.K. GUPTA: You know, unless your file is prepared from below, nothing can be done. 


R.K. GUPTA: Because up to Joint Secretary and Under Secretary, I have…arrangements. 


R.K. GUPTA: Pay money, get work done. 


R.K. GUPTA: So from below the users, file must move properly. 

TEHELKA: Okay, sir. 

R.K. GUPTA: If there are three bids…

TEHELKA: Okay, okay. 

R.K. GUPTA: …you are also one of them. 


R.K. GUPTA: …then they have the option to select you and reject others. 

TEHELKA: Okay, sir. 

R.K. GUPTA: But from…somebody should work from below, no? 

TEHELKA: Okay. But, sir when…?

R.K. GUPTA: Your work will be done. You will see the result in three-four months. Immediately you will start getting orders. 

TEHELKA: Okay, that I have to give that 25 to your hand…

R.K. GUPTA: Yeah. 

TEHELKA: …and you will give that…[gestures]. That is not my headache. 

R.K. GUPTA: But when your principal comes…


R.K. GUPTA: I'll then take him to our treasurer. Not Brajesh Mishra. 

TEHELKA: Okay, okay, okay. 

R.K. GUPTA: I don't deal with them because they are bureaucrats. 


R.K. GUPTA: This is…

TEHELKA: BJP treasurer? 

R.K. GUPTA: …the treasurer and the president. 


R.K. GUPTA: I have been asked by…PM only to meet with them and they will get our work done. 


R.K. GUPTA: Settle with them…


R.K. GUPTA (continuing): …your work is done…we will pay you so much. 

TEHELKA: Sir, I don't know how to work out. That is the problem.

Gupta also talks about how they build up a project from Brazil for two-and-a-half years. How they employed Generals and Brigadiers from the Indian Army and spent Rs. 10 lakh a month and how they are confident about getting an order before December 31 [ 2000]. But moving on, Gupta details further how he will handle the project. He is confident of doing the project within 6 months.

R.K. GUPTA: And we take from them. In six months the project will be built up. Complete project will be built up. 

TEHELKA: Okay, okay, okay. 

R.K. GUPTA: Then at the highest level…


R.K. GUPTA: Secretary of Defence is the highest boss. 

TEHELKA: Okay, okay. 

R.K. GUPTA: That "Sir, we are interested in this project. How should we go?" Once you have built ground below. Then he will say, "Okay, I will charge this much. One per cent, one-and-a-half per cent." Then rest you manage below. Everything. Users and other things…. Then when 40 crores…total expense how much is possible…six per cent, seven per cent, eight per cent. 


R.K. GUPTA: Okay? 

TEHELKA: I got it. 

R.K. GUPTA: Then we give…when the tender is given to us…we are the lowest, we have been granted… They'll place orders, open the LC. It is very, very clear.

Gupta admits to expecting commissions of around Rs.100 crore in

the year 2000. He says if the Defence Secretary wants money, 

he will give it with his 'own' hands.

R.K. GUPTA: I have direct relations with the Defence Secretary. 

TEHELKA: Sir, Naresh Nigam entered the plan and I had some doubts about him.

R.K. GUPTA: Nigam is a small type of person. Give him 10,000, 4,000, plane ticket to Bombay. We oblige him. 


R.K. GUPTA: How does it matter? When the game is big, when I am expecting commission this year…myself commission…100 crores…


R.K. GUPTA: …why should I bother about him, giving him, two, three, four, ten lakhs? 

TEHELKA: Yeah, yeah, that's all. 

R.K. GUPTA: I don't care. 

TEHELKA: Okay, okay. 

R.K. GUPTA: He's a small timer. 

TEHELKA: Now I got it, the picture, sir. 

R.K. GUPTA: Defence Secretary when he wants money, I'll give him with my own hand. That, "Sir, this is a cheque worth two crore…" So I'll tell your principal to deposit in his account. 


R.K. GUPTA: Hmm. 

TEHELKA: That's all. 

R.K. GUPTA: And this party people…that they are supposed to settle for two per cent. 


R.K. GUPTA: Out of 40 crore order, suppose it's one crore per annum. 


R.K. GUPTA: For one or two crore. 

TEHELKA: That also…that also is sanctioned...one crore? 

R.K. GUPTA: No, no. Just listen. When the order is with us…LC is with us…then we are paid. Drawdown 30 per cent payment they give, no? Twenty per cent payment. When you get the payment, then you pay them. Which account, they will nominate it. Send. Finished. 

TEHELKA: That's all.

* * *

R.K. GUPTA: Now we have beaten everybody. Americans had come, Israelis had come, South Africans had come. European friends. 


TEHELKA: Sir, Defence Minister, he will not take the money. 

R.K. GUPTA: Who? 

TEHELKA Defence Minister. 

R.K. GUPTA: We have already tied with Jaya Jaitly. 

TEHELKA: Tie-up? 

R.K. GUPTA: Samata Party General Secretary. 


R.K. GUPTA: Defence Minister. One or two per cent. We'll settle with Jaya Jaitly. It's her job to give him or not give him. Our file is signed. She takes the money. 

TEHELKA: That's all. 

[Gupta makes gesture]

Shockingly, fuelled by a sense of his own power, he talks again about

how he cut-up Ranjan Bhattacharya in a deal. Bhattacharya has

a reputation as a fixer-dealer. The gory details…

R.K. GUPTA: Ranjan Bhattacharya is doing for himself. He is Prime Minister's son-in-law. 


R.K. GUPTA: You know that? 

TEHELKA: Pant Sahib told me. 

R.K. GUPTA: He is Prime Minister's son-in-law. I've cut him into pieces. I've gone through the party. PM can't say no. Party's getting 100 crores. He won't say, "No, my son-in-law's getting 100 crores. Leave it." We are his father's father [pointing to himself]. 


R.K. GUPTA: And he doesn't know my name also, though he has been coming to my office hundred times. He doesn't know that my uncle has cut me to pieces. He calls me uncle. I've cut him to pieces. He doesn't know it. Who's the man who has taken half the order and we're left high and dry. He's still trying to find out who is the man behind it. He can't find out. If he find out then I'm not a good operator. 

[The Tehelka Investigative Team member gets up and shakes Gupta's hand]

* * *

TEHELKA: Okay. No, the people told me. Mr. Pant also told me. In fact, users also told me that this man is behind CSF-Thomson. 

R.K. GUPTA: Then they get more money. 


R.K. GUPTA: These generals-venerals, you keep…you strike them off. There's a question of fighting for the divide. 

TEHELKA: And I got the information that CSF-Thomson is not allowing to...West End into...enter the defence sector. 

R.K. GUPTA: We will see. 

TEHELKA: This is the...scenario. 

R.K. GUPTA: That is…we have to fight for that. We would have fought against him and then got this order. 

[Pause. Tehelka journalist makes another drink] 

TEHELKA: Ranjan is powerful manhain? 

R.K. GUPTA: Naturally. 

TEHELKA: Last time PM visited in US…for that function. That time the CSF-Thomson people tie up with Ranjan in US. 

R.K. GUPTA: They met the PM? 

TEHELKA: Yeah, they met the PM. 


TEHELKA: So, our people went there to meet PM. 


TEHELKA: We won't allow to…(laughs

R.K. GUPTA: You know...how to cut him into business. The party will first go to PM. "Party is getting so much of money from them. We want to do this work." 

TEHELKA: Not individual? 

R.K. GUPTA: Not individual. 

TEHELKA: Party gets it. 

R.K. GUPTA: The Prime Minister has no guts to say he should be given, not party.

TEHELKA: Naturally (laughs). 

R.K. GUPTA: So we operate in a different manner. 

TEHELKA: Yeah. Operate it through party…Okay. 

R.K. GUPTA: And Ranjan knows my strength in the party. The RSS. 

TEHELKA: That is the backbone of BJP. 

R.K. GUPTA: Once he comes to know his uncle was operating behind the scene, he'll come running here that "Uncle, why are you doing this." 

[Both laugh] 

R.K. GUPTA: "You are not talking to your uncle. Uncle is bloody no man. You are the PM's son-in-law. Uncle has given his life for the this...party." 


R.K. GUPTA (pointing to his left leg): I have four bullet wounds here. 


R.K. GUPTA: I have four bullet wounds in this leg. It's all because of them. 1947…6th March, 1947. Riots. I got six, four bullet wounds here. 


R.K. GUPTA: Atal-ji has been staying in my house for 17 years. 

TEHELKA: Who? Atal-ji. Here?

R.K. GUPTA: Chandigarh. Here, he has come three-four times.

* * *

R.K. GUPTA: Sukhoi deal I got done. 

TEHELKA: Okay. Sukhoi? 

R.K. GUPTA: I got done. 

TEHELKA: Russian deal? Sometime…?

R.K. GUPTA: I called them. 

TEHELKA: Why? From Russian deal? 

R.K. GUPTA: T-90 I got done. 


R.K. GUPTA: They signed. They were very happy. They said, "It is very easy now." I said, "Look, you do like this, your files will be locked here." Again they…something went wrong with them. When the files were locked, then they came back. I said, "You can't eat up money like this. Because we are not eating your money ourselves. We have to pay to persons. The user will bloody well tell you if there are hundred defects in your product. Or bureaucracy will put a spoke in the wheel. Politicians will say it is not good. I told them, "You can't eat up people's money. Whom you have promised." So they came back to their senses. 

TEHELKA: It's a game, basically. 

R.K. GUPTA: They were here for seven days. They studied everything. Then they spoke to me, "Send your son. We'll do the agreement." I said, "First decide finally. So that he goes there, again you say 'No, no, no. This much percentage.'" I said, "Whatever was decided. We're not working for free. Our percentage, party percentage, bureaucracy. Everything should be first told on the telephone. Then we'll come." 


R.K. GUPTA: After we bring up your project to a level… Then we can jointly sit and assess. 


R.K. GUPTA: How much commission do we pay to each person? The complete equipment bill is 12 to 15 per cent. But 50 per cent they take back. 


R.K. GUPTA: With Russians that is the practice. They take back 50 per cent. 

TEHELKA: Take back? 

R.K. GUPTA: They have Swiss accounts or other accounts, wherever…they channelise and all. 

TEHELKA: The Russian accounts, everything, is in dollars or Indian currency? 

R.K. GUPTA: In dollars. 


R.K. GUPTA: For our expenses, they were opening LCs for us. 


R.K. GUPTA: They will import something from here to their country at a little higher price so that our margin is…

* * *

Of course, R. K. Gupta wasn't the only middleman in the Sukhoi aircraft

deal. A mysterious gentleman by the name of Sudeep Chaudhary was

the main broker in the Rs. 36,000 crore fighter aircraft deal. More of 

him later. Our next stop will be Mohinder Singh Sahni, Consul General

of Belize and resident of Vasant Vihar. Pant takes us to him. 

In the beginning Pant talks about the deals Sahni has done.

PANT: …six crores that was…924 crore. That was the biggest deal he made. 

TEHELKA: 924 crore that was the Czechoslovakian deal. 

PANT: Czechoslovakian deal. Skoda. 

MOHINDER PAL SAHNI: Pipeline and other things. 

TEHELKA: Pipeline…it is a defence deal? 

PANT: No, pipeline. Petroleum and Natural Gas and all…

TEHELKA: That is what that Oman, that Oman, that pipeline of…

PANT: Gandhidham, he used to go. GAIL, Gas Authority Of India. He used to go to Gandhidham, Gujarat, Jaipur and all those places. 

TEHELKA: He is going to be, paid for also in that dealing. 

PANT: 924, 26 crore only was there. 

TEHELKA: This man was the mediator? 

PANT: Haan, he is the man basically, who got it done. 


PANT: That's how he got the money for his farmhouses and all this everything. Twenty crore was paid. 

TEHELKA: Twenty-four crore.

* * *

In a subsequent meeting with Sahni when West End was lobbying with

him to become their middleman, he sets up an internal evaluation

meeting of West End's products, comparing them with the specifications

of their competitors. Sahni himself has more than a dozen top 

ranked army officers on his consultancy rolls.

LT.COL. BERRY: Whatever he is saying is right that way and things are workable. 

MOHINDER PAL SAHNI: If we put a political pressure…

LT.COL. BERRY: Exactly, exactly. We'll talk about these things tomorrow. First you talk. 

MOHINDER PAL SAHNI: That talks will be done, that is our internal matter. Your technical advice is that this product can beat others.

LT.COL. BERRY: Can fit into…

KALIA: …and get into the next lot. 

LT.COL. BERRY: Next lot. 

KALIA: Do not interfere with what has happened so far. Talk about the next lot. You should come into that, whatever evaluation…new piece…

MOHINDER PAL SAHNI: So we will put pressure for it. If it doesn't become final.Behan chod, so we will put pressure on him this way if it is not…we will get the orders. When the next one will come, then the inquiry will start on it. 

MOHINDER PAL SAHNI: And do you have any idea whether the government will take out a fraud one or not. 

KALIA: I'll tell you. 


KALIA: He is basically himself involved in it. 


LT.COL. BERRY: Technical…technical I can tell you…

MOHINDER PAL SAHNI: Rest, whichever government is there that will take it out, that I will find out myself. 

LT.COL. BERRY: All right. Okay. If that's the way you want to do, it's okay. 

MOHINDER PAL SAHNI: No, no, I will tell him. But the question is in this he has no role. You try to understand this matter. 

LT.COL. BERRY: All right. Okay. 

MOHINDER PAL SAHNI: His role will come when he will handle this particular file. At this point of time, I wanted your advice…

LT.COL. BERRY: That technically…

MOHINDER PAL SAHNI: That this product is better than the competitors. You say "yes"… 

LT.COL. BERRY: Technically it is workable. 

MOHINDER PAL SAHNI: You are not understanding what I'm trying to say. Workable means it is at par. What they are claiming that minus 40 degree, whether it is…

LT.COL. BERRY: No, minus 40 is more than par but it is got to be put by them that it should be…this is what we want. 

KALIA: How many pieces do they require which will work under minus 40

LT.COL. BERRY: Yes, yes. 

MOHINDER PAL SAHNI: Listen to me, isn't it Sukhwinder's subject? 

LT.COL. BERRY: No, no. 

MOHINDER PAL SAHNI: Once he came to me with some specific issues of his product. Do you remember that at that time you said it was his subject? 

LT.COL. BERRY: No…technical… If I can…he'll also understand…no problem. 

MOHINDER PAL SAHNI: No, why I am saying…

LT.COL. BERRY: Technically…

MOHINDER PAL SAHNI: …Probably it is not Signal's demand. 

LT.COL. BERRY: No, this is not Signals. This is not Signals. 

MOHINDER PAL SAHNI: This is not Signal? 

LT.COL. BERRY: No, no. 


LT.COL. BERRY: Bombay. It is…

MOHINDER PAL SAHNI: It is infantry…do they require? 

TEHELKA: This is the infantry. They are the users. 

MOHINDER PAL SAHNI: Shankar Prasad? 

TEHELKA: Shankar Prasad. 

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