From time immemorial, human civilisation’s fascination for riches has urged gold diggers to launch several treasure hunts. From Ghaznis and Ghoris to the British, numerous invaders have plundered the Indian soils in search for gold. While some found the wealth and returned to their countries, others died and their names lost in history. However, a few like India’s first woman Prime Minister Indira Gandhi will be remembered for their infamy and greed forever. Jaigarh Fort loot was the most shameful of all Congress scams in India.
The Emergency of 1975, harbours a secret in Jaigarh Fort. On 10 June 1976, a discrete treasure hunt was conducted by former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during heydays of India’s darkest 21-months period. This infamous quest for money continued for 5 months. Though historians claimed that the richest fort of India had riches worth millions and billions of Crores, the Congress government dismissed these claims saying, “Just 230 kilograms of silver was acquired in this search“. The government’s statement gave way to several questions like:
- Who were involved in this search?
- Why was Congress secretive regarding the search?
- Why did they choose the Emergency to conduct raids?
- Why were Rajasthan’s royal families, especially Gayatri Devi tortured?
- Why did government cease their wealth?
- Where did Congress dispatch all this wealth?
Questions are many, but answers are few. Now that 40 years have already passed since Jaigarh Loot, let’s delve deeper into this mystery, which probably was the first among Congress scams in India.
Legends Surrounding the Jaigarh/Amber Fort
Looming over ‘Pink City’ Jaipur, situated on a mountain top lies the royal fort of Jaigarh, which was built by Kind Jai Singh II in 1726 AD to protect Amber Fort from foreign invasions. As per the legends of Rajasthan Raja Man Singh I of Amber, who was the Rajput ally of Mughal ruler Emperor Akbar, chose the Amber and Jaigarh fort for hiding unlimited wealth acquired during Rajput-Mughal war campaigns. The British made an attempt to plunder this wealth, without success. Soon after the rumour were long forgotten, when Indira Gandhi decided to seize Jaipur Royal Family’s wealth, ever since the Royals decided to contest elections against the ruling Congress.
- When Rajmata Gayatri Devi objected to Gandhi’s emergency, the enraged Congress leadership imprisoned Brigadier Bhawani Singh and Gayatri Devi in Tihad prison. While the queen was in jail, the Income Tax Department raided City Palace, Rambagh Palace, Moti Dungri and 12, Civil Lines to under the pretext of seizing the Royal’s treasures for national interest.
- The royals were tortured to surrender 8.5 quintal gold. This is how the government speculated hidden treasures in Jaigarh and Amber.
- On February 25, 1976, Congress government declared Jaigarh a National Heritage and ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) successfully acquired its proprietorship. Following this, Congress leaders Indira Gandhi and his son Sanjay Gandhi prepared a roadmap for the treasure hunt.
- The descendents of Khwaas Balabaksh, a courtier at Sawai Madhosingh’s palace was politically pressurised to supply the government with old treasure maps (Beejak). Based on these maps, the Income Tax department estimated the total wealth accumulated by palace owners which included: loose currency of 5 crore 93 lakhs, gold coins worth 8 crore 51 lakh 31 thousand, 30 valuable seals and jewellery worth 31 crore. In short, the estimated value of the treasure is around 128 crores.
- Congress Government employed the army and police department to conduct raids at Jaigarh and Amber forts. Though the government claims they didn’t find anything valuable, several media houses have spotted fleet of trucks carrying gold. They departed to Congress’s private jet station, where the treasure was loaded into jets and transported to Switzerland.
- Another interesting story involved with this legendary treasure hunt was Pakistan PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s claim on Indira’s assets. Since both the countries originated from the same homeland, Bhutto demanded his share but his claims were dismissed and the PM refused to share her newfound wealth with him. Bhutto cursed her that this treasure hunt would result in her dynasty’s downfall. Judging by the party’s condition in modern times, Bhutto’s curse seem to hit them hard!
So, this is how India’s biggest political party laid down the foundation of corruption, scams and scandals in India. And this was just the beginning, biggies like 2G, 3G, CWG, Aadarsh etc. followed Jaigarh Fort loot on the Congress Scam List!