25 February, 2021

The Man In The Middle

The Nandas' links with the establishment helped them get around the ban on arms brokers

The Man In The Middle
George Fernandes has denied many aspects of the Tehelka tapes but what he hasn’t is perhaps more significant than what he has. For one, he hasn’t denied what former Samata Party treasurer R.K. Jain told Tehelka—that Suresh Nanda paid Rs 1 crore to Fernandes. Neither has Nanda denied this charge.

The name Suresh Nanda is expected to haunt Fernandes for some time to come. So, who is he? He is a former navy man and the surviving son of Admiral Sundarilal Mathuradas Nanda (pvsm), who was Chief of Naval Staff between 1970 and 1973. After demitting office, Nanda Sr became a defence middleman and floated a firm called Global Tech. Using his outstanding contacts in the services, bureaucracy and among politicians, the admiral soon became the country’s biggest arms dealer, leaving behind such names like the Hindujas, the Chaudhury brothers, Chetan Shah, Win Chadha, Vipin Khanna and Vinod Khanna (who was even arrested in the ’80s). And he managed this despite a ban on agents.

When Global Tech flourished, Suresh quit the navy and joined his father. The duo then...

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