There was always an uncomfortable relationship between Rajiv Gandhi and Giani Zail Singh. The former Prime Minister and the President of India never showered any trust on each other.
A plot to topple Rajiv Gandhi was known to Zail Singh, a book titlted The Untold Truth, by Lt General P N Hoon, a former Army commander of the Western Command suggests.
Rajiv Gandhi himself was not too confident about Singh either and had unleashed officials of the Intelligence Bureau to snoop on him extensively.
The trust factor was the problem between the two, several officials have revealed.
Rajiv Gandhi was extremely suspicious of Singh ever since his mother Indira Gandhi was gunned down by her Sikh bodyguards.
Singh on the other had felt that Rajiv Gandhi was corrupt.
He cast a shadow over Gandhi's intention to bring justice to those Sikhs killed in the rioting following the death of Indira Gandhi.
Here let us explore the troubled relationship between the two and how both try to outdo each other.
What Lt P N Hooon's book states?
According to the book there were three para commando battalions which were asked to move to Delhi and take over the government then led by Rajiv Gandhi.
The book states that some politicians too who were not happy with Rajiv Gandhi too were in the know of the plant.
Further it also states that Zail Singh had said at a function that he held Rajiv Gandhi responsible for corruption and also said that he was never bothered about the Sikh riot cases.
Singh who is alleged to have been in the know of this operation however did not pursue it.
Singh felt that any such move by the armed forces to topple and take over a government in Delhi could have a disastrous effect.
Singh also felt that such a move could transfer power to the armed forces and hence he did not pursue the plan any further.
Rajiv Gandhi was always suspicious of Zail Singh
While the revelation by Hoon is quite telling, one must also recollect that Rajiv Gandhi himself never trusted Zail Singh too much.
Following the death of his mother, Rajiv Gandhi was extremely suspicious about Singh.
Rajiv Gandhi believed that Zail Singh was in touch with leaders of the Khalistan movement and ordered that every conversation be recorded.
The snooping had reached such heights that the conversations made by the President both inside and outside the Rashtrapathi Bhavan were recorded.
The late Maloy Krishna Dhar who was one of the best intelligence officers the country has seen writes in his book that it was Rajiv Gandhi who had ordered the snooping of Zail Singh.
The book by Dhar titled Open Secrets, India's Intelligence Unveiled speaks about the agency being used for snooping often by the Gandhis.
Former prime minister Indira Gandhi was one of India's first politicians to indulge in snooping. She asked the IB to keep a tab on the then home minister Giani Zail Singh.
Zail Singh's conversations were tapped at the behest of Gandhi. His talk with Khalistan militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was recorded and handed over to her.
The book also claims that Singh was aware that he was being snooped upon. He always met his guests only in the garden of the Rashtrapathi Bhavan.