India’s First Scandal

V.K Krishna Menon & Nehru

In 1948 V.K.Krishna Menon the Indian diplomat to Britain directly signed a 200 Jeep contract with the company for an amount of Rs 80 Lakh. However, the company delivered only 155 Jeep. The Indian army was forced to accept this substandard JEEP by Nehru.

What Happened to V.K.Krishna Menon? After a lot of media pressure, V.K. Krishna Menon was forced to resign. An inquiry commission was set up. However, on 30 September 1955 Govind Balav pant, the then home minister, informed the house that the Jeep scandal case was closed for judicial inquiry ignoring suggestion by the Inquiry Committee led by Ananthsayanam Ayyangar. He even went on to say that “as far as Government was concerned it has made up its mind to close the matter. If the opposition was not satisfied they can make it an election issue”. Soon after on 3 February, 1956 Krishna Menon was inducted into the Nehru cabinet as minister without portfolio and later the Defense Minister.
Who Was V.K.Krishna Menon? He was many many things but a nationalist. He always had a communist leaning. The labour party had even kicked him out of the party for the same reason.  He was also accused of misusing of the fund by Gandhi but Nehru managed to get him reinstated. Post-Indian independence he was appointed as the high commissioner to the UK.  Below are some very interesting facts/ observation made by various organisation and individuals.
“The potential for [communist] infiltration of the [Indian] armed forces is probably enhanced by the fact that Defense Minister V. K. Krishna Menon is a member of the extreme left wing of the Congress Party and has associated with known Communists and fellow travellers. He is highly ambitious and would probably cooperate with and accept support from any group which might enhance his prospects for becoming Prime Minister.” – CIA 1951(5)
“a sick man whose relations with fellows can never be normal or happy” and “utterly unscrupulous…impairing the whole conduct of India’s foreign relations…” – MI5
So why was Nehru so protective of V.K.Menon?
We can only draw a conclusion based on the circumstantial evidence. The most successful legacy of the Nehru was Sino-India pact signed in 1954 also sold out a deal between Menon-Nehru-Communists. It must have been on behest of him that India would have proposed China’s name for UN permanent membership. 

Author: Amit Anshu

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