Jeep scandal case: Indira Gandhi was arrested on corruption charges

October 4 is an important day in the history of Indian democracy. It was on this day in 1977 that former PM Indira Gandhi of the country was released from jail. At that time, the Janata Party government was led by former PM Morarji Desai in the country and Chaudhary Charan Singh was the Union Home Minister. Indira Gandhi, who was arrested on corruption charges, was later released on technical grounds on this day. In fact, Indira Gandhi was accused of corruption in the purchase of jeeps used in the election campaign. In Rae Bareli, 100 jeeps were purchased for Indira Gandhi for the purpose of campaigning. HER opponents alleged that these jeeps were not purchased from congress party funds, but were paid by industrialists and government money has been used.

Some also believe that emergency was also one of the reasons behind Indira Gandhi's arrest. According to the theory, the atrocities and injustice committed during the Emergency had angered Indira Gandhi among the leaders. Several leaders were jailed by Indira Gandhi during the emergency. This angered them and they wanted Indira Gandhi to be put in jail. Indira Gandhi's arrest was further cleared after her defeat in the elections. The then Home Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh was in favour of arresting Indira Gandhi as soon as the Janata Party came to power, but the then PM Morarji Desai was not willing to do anything against the law. He said indira gandhi should not be arrested without strong proof. Chaudhary Singh was looking for a strong case on the basis of which he could send Indira behind bars. They got a strong case in the form of a jeep scam. The date for Indira Gandhi's arrest was initially fixed for October 1, but it was stayed by the home minister's wife. He said that October 1 is Saturday and arrest on that day could cause trouble. Chaudhary Charan Singh then wanted to keep the date of arrest on October 2, but his special assistant Vijay Karan and a close friend of Chaudhary's son-in-law IPS suggested arrest after October 2. An FIR was registered against Indira Gandhi on the morning of October 3. Director N K Singh, the then CBI director, handed over a copy of the FIR to Indira Gandhi and was arrested on the same day.

She was to be kept in custody at The Barkal Lake Guest House after his arrest. But for some reason Indira could not be kept there and was brought to the gazetted officers mess in the police line of Kingsway camp at night. The next day, on the morning of October 4, 1977, he appeared before the magistrate's court, where the magistrate sought evidence in support of the allegations. When no evidence could be produced in support of his arrest, the Magistrate was surprised and Indira Gandhi was acquitted on the ground that no evidence was given in her custody. Indira Gandhi was thus released 16 hours after she was arrested on charges of political corruption.

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