She said that her birth name is Sonia, but later it was proven that it is Antonia. This was revealed by the Italian Ambassador in New Delhi in a letter dated April 27, 1983 to the Union Home Ministry which letter has not been made public. Antonia is her real name as stated in her birth certificate. Sonia is the name given to her subsequently by her father, Stefano Maino. He had been a prisoner of war in Russia during World War II. Stefano had joined the Nazi army as a volunteer, as many Italian fascists had done. Sonia is a Russian not Italian name. While spending two years in a Russian jail, Sonia’s father had become quite pro-Soviet, especially after the liberating US army in Italy had confiscated all fascists’ properties including his.
As claimed by her in her bio data submitted to Parliament on becoming MP, she was not born in Orbassano; but in Luciana as stated in her birth certificate. She perhaps would like to hide the place of her birth because of her father’s connection with the Nazis and Mussolini’s Fascists, and her family’s continuing connections with the Nazi-Fascists underground that is still surviving in Italy since the end of the War. Luciana is where Nazi-Fascist network is headquartered, and is on the Italian-Swiss border. There can be no other explanation for this otherwise meaningless lie.
She has not studied beyond High School. But she has falsely claimed in her sworn affidavit filed as a contesting candidate before the Rae Bareli Returning Officer in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, that she qualified and got a diploma in English from the prestigious University of Cambridge, UK.
Earlier, in 1999 in her biographical data given under her signature to the Lok Sabha Secretariat and which was published in Parliament’s Who’s Who, she had made the same false claim.
But later she wrote to the Lok Sabha Speaker, after corruption figter Subramanian Swamy pointed it out to him in a written complaint of a Breach of Ethics of the Lok Sabha, that it was a “typing mistake”. This qualifies her for inclusion thus in the the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest typing mistake in history.
The truth is that Mshe has never studied in any college anywhere. She did go to a Catholic nun--run seminary school called Maria Ausiliatrice in Giaveno. Poverty those days had forced young Italian girls to go to such missionaries and then in their teens go to UK to get jobs as cleaning maids, waitresses and au pair. The Mainos were poor those days. Antonia’s father was a mason and mother a share cropper, however the family is now worth at least $ 2 billion.
Antonia thus went to the town of Cambridge UK and first learnt some English in a teaching shop called Lennox School. That is her “education” - enough English language to get domestic help jobs.
But since in Indian society, education is socially highly valued, thus to fool the Indian public, she wilfully lied about her qualifications in Parliamentary records and in a sworn affidavit, which is criminal offence under IPC, severe enough to disqualify her from being MP. This also violated the spirit of the Supreme Court judgment requiring candidates to reveal their educational qualification on an affidavit.
Upon learning enough English, she became a waitress in Varsity Restaurant in Cambridge town. She first met Rajiv when he came to the restaurant in 1965. Rajiv was a student in the University, but could not cope with the academic rigour for long. So he had to depart in 1966 for London where he was briefly in Imperial College of Engineering as a student. Antonia too moved to London, and according my information, got a job with an outfit run by Salman Thassir, a debonair Pakistani based in Lahore, and who has a export-import company headquartered in Dubai but who spends most of his time in London. This fits the profile of a ISI functionary.
Obviously, she made enough money in this job to loan Rajiv funds in London, who was living beyond his allowances.
Rajiv’s letters to Sanjay filed in Delhi High Court by P.N. Lekhi clearly indicate that he was in financial debt to Antonia because he requested Sanjay also in UK then, and who obviously had more access to money, to pay off the debt.
However, Rajiv was not the only friend Antonia was seeing those days. Madhavrao Scindia and a German by name Stiegler are worth mentioning as other good friends of her. Madhavrao’s friendship continued even after she marriage to Rajiv. Scindia in 1982 was involved in a traffic accident near IIT, Delhi main gate while driving a car at 2 AM. Antonia was the only other passenger. Both were badly injured. A student of IIT who was burning midnight oil was out for a cup of coffee. He picked them up from the car, hailed an auto rickshaw and sent an injured Antonia to Gandhi’s house since she insisted in not going to a hospital. Madhavrao had broken a leg and in too much pain to make any demand. He was taken to hospital by the Delhi Police who had arrived a little after Antonia had left the scene.
In later years, Madhavrao had become privately critical of Antonia, and told some close friends about his apprehensions about her. It is a pity that he died in mysterious circumstances in an as yet uninvestigated aircrash of his private plane in the year 2001. Mani Shankar Aiyar and Shiela Dikshit were to be on that flight too, but were asked to stay behind at the last moment.
The circumstance under which Rajiv hastily married Antonia in a Church in Orbassano is controversial, but that was his personal matter which has no public significance. What however is of public significance is that Indira Gandhi who was initially dead set against the marriage for reasons known to her, relented to hold a registry marriage with Hindu ceremonial trappings in New Delhi only after the pro-Soviet T.N. Kaul prevailed upon her to accept the marriage in “the larger interest of cementing Indo-Soviet Friendship”. Kaul would not have intervened unless the Soviet Union had not asked him to.
Such has been the patronage from the beginning extended to Antonia and her Italian family from the Soviets. When a Prime Minister of India’s son dates a girl in London, the KGB which valued Indo-Soviet relations, would naturally investigate her. They had, and found out that she was the daughter of Stefano, their old reliable Italian contact. Thus, Antonia married to Rajiv, meant deep access for the Soviets, into the household of the Indian Prime Minister. Hence cementing the Rajiv-Antonia relations was in the Soviet national interest and they went to work on it. And they did, through their moles in the Indira Gandhi camp. After her marriage to Rajiv, the Soviet connection with the Mainos was fortified and nurtured by generous financial help through commissions and kick-backs on every Indo—Soviet trade deal and defence purchases. According to the respected Swiss magazine, Schweitzer Illustrate Rajiv Gandhi had about $2 billion in numbered Swiss bank accounts—which Antonia inherited upon his assassination.
Dr. Yevgenia Albats, Ph.D[Harvard], is a noted Russian scholar and journalist, and was a member of the KGB Commission set up by President Yeltsin in August 1991. She was privy to the Soviet intelligence files that documented these deals and KGB facilitation of the same. In her book—“The State Within a State: The KGB in the Soviet Union”, she even gives the reference numbers of such intelligence files which can now be accessed by any Indian government through a formal request to the Kremlin.
The Russian Government in 1992 was confronted with the Albats’ disclosure by the media. The official spokesperson of the government confirmed the veracity of the disclosure. The spokesperson defended such financial payments as necessary in “Soviet ideological interest”. Part of the funds were used by the Maino family to fund loyal Congress party candidates in the General Elections.
When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, things changed for Antonia. Her patron nation had been disbanded into 16 countries. The rump that became Russia was in a financial mess and disorder. So, Antonia switched and became a supporter of another communist country much to the annoyance of the Russians.
The national security ramification of this ‘annoyance’ is now significant: The President of Russia today is Putin, a former dyed-in-the-wool KGB officer. Upon Dr. Manmohan Singh’s government taking office, Russia called back it’s career diplomat Ambassador in New Delhi and immediately posted in his place, as the new Ambassador, a person who was the KGB station chief in New Delhi during the 1970s.
In view of Dr. Albats revelation, it stands to reason that the new Ambassador would have known first hand about Antonia’s connections with the KGB. He may have in fact been her “controller” and local contact. The new Indian government today which is defacto Antonia’s, cannot afford to annoy him or even disregard Russian demands that come from him. The Antonia coterie will obviously seek to placate him so as not to risk exposure. Is this not a major national security risk for India and a delicate matter for the nation’s sovereignty?
Of course, all Indians would like good normal and healthy relations with Russia. Who can forget their assistance to us in times of need? Today’s Russia is the residual legatee of that Soviet Union which helped India. But just because of that, should we tolerate those in our government set up having clandestine links with a foreign spy agency? In the United States, the government did not tolerate an American spying for Israel even though the two countries are as close as any two countries can be. National security and friendship are as different as chalk and cheese.
In December 2001, Subramanian Swamy filed a Writ Petition in the Delhi High Court with the photocopies of the KGB documents, and sought a CBI investigation which the Vajpayee Government was stoutly refusing. Earlier, Minister of State for CBI, Vasundara Raje, on my letter dated March 3, 2001, had ordered the CBI to investigate. But after Antonia and her party stalled the proceedings of Parliament on this issue, the then Prime Minister Vajpayee overruled and cancelled Vasundara’s direction to the CBI.
The Delhi High Court in May 2002 issued a direction to the CBI to ascertain from Russia the truth of my charges. The CBI procrastinated for two years, and finally told the Court that without an FIR registered, the Russians will not entertain any such query. But who stopped the CBI from registering an FIR? The Vajpayee government! And why? Thereby hangs another tale.
The next hearing of the case is imminent. But now Antonia is in the driver’s seat, and the CBI has been reduced in independence even further.
After Antonia married Rajiv, she and her Italian family aided by friend and Snam Progetti’s New Delhi resident Ottavio Quattrocchi, went about minting money with scant regard for Indian laws and treasures. Within a few years the Mainos rose from utter poverty to become billionaires.
There was no area that was left out for the rip-off. On November 19, 1974, as fresh entrant to Parliament, Subramanian Swamy asked the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on the floor of the House if her daughter-in-law, Antonia Maino, was acting as an insurance agent of a public sector insurance company, giving the Prime Minister’s official residence as her business address, and using undue influence to get insured the officers of the PMO, while remaining as an Italian citizen. There was an uproar in Parliament, but Indira Gandhi had no alternative but to cut her losses. She made a rare admission in a written reply a few days later that it indeed was so, and that it was by mistake, but that Antonia had resigned from her insurance agency. But Antonia was incorrigible. Her contempt for Indian law continued to manifest.
The Supreme Court Justice A.C. Gupta Commission set up by the Janata Party government in 1977 came out with a voluminous report on the Maruti Company then owned by the Gandhi family, and has listed eight violations of FERA, Companies Act, and Foreigners Registration Act by Antonia. She was never prosecuted, but can still be prosecuted because under Indian law, economic crimes are not subject to the statute of limitation.
In January 1980, Indira Gandhi returned as Prime Minister. The first thing Antonia did was to enroll herself as a voter. This was a gross violation of the law, enough to cause cancellation of her visa, since she was admittedly an Italian citizen then. There was some hullabaloo in the press about it, so the Delhi Chief Electoral Officer got her name deleted in 1982. But in January 1983, she again enrolled herself as a voter even while as a foreigner.
More recently, A.G. Noorani is his book: Citizen’s Rights, Judges, and State Accountability records said that Antonia had made available to a foreign national the secret papers of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru obviously illegally in her possession, and comments as follows: “Sonia Gandhi [Antonia Maino] has no right to hold them in her possession at all, let alone decide whom to accord permission for access to them”
Such is her revealed disdain for Indian laws and that is her mindset even today. She suffers from a neo-imperialist mentality.
The bottom line observed in Antonia’s mindset is that she can disregard Indian laws with impunity. If cornered or if she becomes vulnerable to prosecution, she can always run back to Italy. In Peru, President Fujimori who all along claimed to be “born Peruvian”, when faced with a corruption charge fled to Japan with his loot and reclaimed his Japanese citizenship. That is Antonia’s bottom line fall-back option too.
In 1977, when the Janata Party defeated the Congress at the polls, and formed the government, it widely known and published that Antonia with her two children abandoned Indira Gandhi, and ran to the Italian Embassy in New Delhi and hid there. Rajiv Gandhi was a government servant then, but he too tagged along and hid in that foreign embassy! Such was her baneful influence on him. Rajiv did snap out Antonia’s influence after 1989, but alas he was assassinated before he could rectify the situation.
Those close to Rajiv knew that he was planning set things right about Antonia after the 1991 elections. He held her to blame for all the financial scandals that led to his defeat at the 1989 polls. She knew of it too because he had told her on his trip to Soviet Union in February 1991. Ever wonder why Antonia’s closest advisers are those whom Rajiv literally hated? Ambika Soni is one such name. Ever wonder why she has asked the President of India to set aside on a mercy petition the Supreme Court judgment directing that Rajiv Gandhi’s LTTE killers be hanged, when she was not similiarly moved for Satwant Singh who killed Indira Gandhi or even recently for Dhanajoy Chattopadhyaya? The explanation for this special consideration for the LTTE perhaps lies in what Rajiv had told her about their future. May be therefore Sonia feels obliged to the LTTE for the assassination.
Those who have no love for India will not hesitate to plunder her treasures. Mohammed Ghori, Nadir Shah, and the British scum in the East India Company such as Robert Clive, made no secret of it. But Antonia has been more discreet, but as greedy, in her looting of Indian treasures. When Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were Prime Ministers, not a day passed when the PM’s security did not go to the New Delhi, or Chennai international airport to send crates and crates of Indian antiques and other treasures, unchecked by customs, to Rome. Air India and Alitalia were the chosen carriers. For organizing all this, Arjun Singh first as CM, later as Union Minister in charge of Culture, was her hatchet man.
Indian temple sculpture of gods and goddesses, antiques, pichwai paintings, shatoosh shawls, coins, and you name it, were transported to Italy to be first displayed in two shops owned by her sister, Anuskha alias Alessandra Maino Vinci. These shops located in blue-collar areas of Rivolta and Orbassano did little business because which blue collar Italian wants to buy Indian antiques? The shops were there to make false bills, and thereafter these treasures were taken to London for auction by Sotheby’s and Christies.
Some of this ill-gotten money from auction went into the bank accounts of Raul Baba in the National Westminister Bank and Hongkong & Shanghai Bank, London branches, but most of it found it’s way into the Gandhi family account in the Bank of America in Cayman Islands. Rahul’s expenses and tuition fees for the one year he was at Harvard, was paid from that Cayman Island account.
What kind of people are these Gandhi-Mainos that bite the very hand of Bharat Mata that fed them and gave them a good life? How can the nation trust or tolerate such greedy thieves of national treasures?
Since Subramanian Swamy failed to persuade the Vajpayee government to defend India’s treasures from plunder by the Mainos, he approached the Delhi High Court in a PIL. The first Bench of the court issued notice to the Government, but since the Indian government dragged it’s feet, the Court directed the CBI to seek Interpol’s and Italian government’s help. The Italian government justifiably asked for a Letter Rogatory for which a FIR is a pre-requisite. But the Interpol did oblige and submitted two voluminous reports on the shops which the Court directed the CBI to hand over to me. But CBI has so far refused, and has claimed privilege!
The CBI has also been caught lying in court by telling the judges that Alessandra Maino is a name of a man, and Via Bellini 14, Orbassano is a name of a village. Although the CBI counsel had to apologise later to the court stating he had made a mistake, he has been promoted to Additional Solicitor General by the new government! Why was he appointed as the CBI’s counsel by the Vajpayee government in the first place? The Vajpayee-Antonia mutual assistance pact is thus in full view in this episode.
But the most sinister aspect of Antonia’s links is her connection with terrorists. She has had long connection with the Habash group of Palestinians (PFLP), and has funded Palestinian families that lost their kith and kin in a suicide bombing or hijacking episode. This fact, Rajiv Gandhi himself told me and was confirmed by Yassir Arafat.
Besides the Palestinian extremists, the Maino family have had extensive business dealings with Saddam Hussein, and surprisingly since 1984 with the LTTE. Antonia’s mother Paola Predebon Maino, and businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi are the main contacts with the Tigers. The mother used the LTTE for money laundering and Quattrocchi for selling weapons to earn commissions. Sonia’s conduit to the LTTE has been and is through Arjun Singh who uses Bangalore as the nodal point for contact.
There is a string of circumstantial evidence pointing to the prima facie possibility that the Maino family may have contracted with the LTTE to kill Rajiv Gandhi. The family may have assured the LTTE that nothing would happen to them because they would ensure it is blamed on the Sikhs or the evidence so much fudged that no court would convict them[. But D.R. Karthikeyan of the CBI who led the SIT investigation got the support of Narasimha Rao, cracked the case, and succeeded in getting the LTTE convicted in the trial court, which conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1999.
Although on the involvement of some members of the Congress Party in the assassination, DRK soft peddled it ignoring a number of leads perhaps because he did not want political controversy to put road blocks on his investigation as a whole.
The Justice J. S. Verma Commission, which was set up as the last official act of the Chandrashekhar government before demitting office on June 21, 1991, did find that the Congress leaders had disrupted the security arrangements for the Sriperumbudur meeting. The Commission wanted further probe into it but the Rao government rejected that demand. In the meantime under Antonia’s pressure, the Jain Commission was set up by the Rao government, which tried to muddy the waters and thus exonerate the LTTE. But the trial court judgment convicting the LTTE came earlier than the Commission could conclude, and that sinister effort therefore too failed.
Nowadays, Antonia is quite unabashed in having political alliance with those who like MDMK, PMK, and DMK praise Rajiv Gandhi’s killers. No Indian widow would ever do that. Such circumstances are many, and raise a doubt. In a best seller titled Assassination Of Rajiv Gandhi—Unasked Questions and Unanswered Queries, Swamy has given some indications of this possible conspiracy.
Is it not significant that the political career graph of Antonia advances concomitantly with a series of assassinations and apparently accidental deaths?
How did Sanjay’s plane on June 23, 1980 nosedive to a crash and yet the plane fuselage failed to explode upon impact? There was no fuel! How was that possible since flight register shows full tank before take-off? Why was there no inquiry conducted?
Is it not a fact that Indira Gandhi died because of loss of blood from the wounds and not directly due to a bullet impacting her head or heart ? Then is it not strange that Antonia had insisted that the bleeding Indira be driven to Lohia Hospital - in the opposite direction to AIIMS which had a contingency protocol set up for precisely such an event? And after reaching Lohia Hospital, did not Antonia change her mind and demand that they all drive to AIIMS thus losing 24 valuable minutes?
The same kind of mystery surrounds the sudden deaths of Antonia’s other political roadblocks such as Rajesh Pilot, Jitendra Prasad, and Madhavrao Scindia. Such untimely deaths happened in the dark ages in Italy. Should we allow it to happen in India like dumb cattle going to slaughter?
We have to ensure that the Maino clan does not stay in power. Dr. Manmohan Singh may be PM, which is a small relief, but he is not a fighter. The real power in government today is wielded by the Maino mafia gang. Can they be dethroned? They must be, for India’s integrity and democracy.
In Indian democracy, other than by losing majority, only a shocking scandal can unseat a government. Today’s priority is however not for toppling the Congress government as such, since Manmohan Singh is a decent and scholarly person, but in driving the Maino clan out of India. If the only way that can be done is by toppling the Singh government, then so be it. But the successor government should be such that it will not protect Antonia and her clan as Vajpayee’s did.
It will although not be long before Antonia will give Manmohan Singh marching orders, and he will march out meekly. We should not expect him to resist. Thus time with patriotic Indians is limited.
With Antonia’s defacto government in place, it is also unrealistic to expect that I can get an early victory in the courts on the KGB and antique smuggling cases. The most potent scandal at hand, therefore, that can dislodge the Maino clan, including Raul Baba and Priyanka Gandhi lies in exposing their existing Italian citizenship. That will galvanise the people.
In 1992, Antonia had revived her citizenship of Italy under Article 17 of the Italian Citizenship Law. Raul and Priyanka were born Italian citizens because Sonia was Italian when she gave birth to them. Hence, they continue be Italians since they have never renounced their citizenship upon becoming 21 years old. Both, Raul and Priyanaka have been traveling abroad on Italian passports. They may now acquire Venezuela passports too, since Rahul Gandhi’s wife, Veronica, is a Venezuelan. That means one more foreign bahu for us tolerant Indians. The Maino-Gandhis are certainly getting Indian society globalised in their own selfish way.
To end Bharat Mata’s shame and pain, what can patriotic Indians do in a democracy?
As a first step there is an urgent need to document the facts about their citizenship on notarized paper, for which we need to set up a network in London, Milan, Hongkong, and in Venezuela. Those persuaded by my above stated facts and arguments may join in and help set up this network. Other steps can come later once this is accomplished.