JERUSALEM (Feb. 2)
Israel has no intention of helping the man who served as an unofficial lobbyist for Israel in the Indian Parliament and is now facing charges of spying for Israel.
According to today’s Jerusalem Post, Rama Swaroop, a leading member of the rightwing Hindu Nationalist Party, Jan Sangh, has been under arrest for six weeks, charged with selling Indian military secrets to Western powers including Israel, and with promoting political support for Israel.
India does not have full diplomatic relations with Israel, and Israel is represented there by a consul in Bombay.
The Foreign Ministry here told The Jerusalem Post that the charges are fabrications and that Israel has done nothing to help Swaroop and knows of no legal or financial aid intended for him.
Former Israeli Consul in Bombay, Reuven Dafni, interviewed in the Post, said that it would be “an exaggeration” to call Swaroop a “lobbyist.” He acknowledged that Swaroop had “arranged appointments” for the Consul and visiting Israeli personalities with Indian politicians. Dafni said that he thought Swaroop had been paid expenses rather than a regular “retainer” fee.
The former Consul felt that direct Israeli help or involvement in the case could only “harm” Swaroop.
Swaroop is understood to have served at different times as the lobbyist for various countries, including West Germany, South Korea, South Vietnam and Taiwan.
A leading Indian jurist, Ram Jethmelanie, who was in Israel for the World Jewish Congress Assembly last week, has agreed to defend Swaroop. The jurist said, according to Dafni, that the charges are “unfounded” and that he believed Swaroop would be freed.