This Article is From Mar 18, 2014

Julian Assange never said Narendra Modi is incorruptible: WikiLeaks' firm clarification

File picture of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

New Delhi: WikiLeaks has firmly rebutted claims that its founder Julian Assange called Narendra Modi "incorruptible." Today, it also tweeted a 2006 cable in which a senior US diplomat described Mr Modi, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate as "distrustful" and a leader who "reigns more by fear and intimidation than by inclusiveness and consensus." (See the WikiLeaks cable here)

The whistle-blower site says a BJP worker from Maharashtra, Priti Gandhi, orchestrated the "fake Assange endorsement" of Mr Modi, who is running for prime minister. A poster featuring Mr Assange and his signature is accompanied by the quote, "America fears Modi because they know he is incorruptible." It was circulated by BJP supporters and fans of Mr Modi. "Don't shoot the messenger, concentrate on the message," Ms Gandhi tweeted today. A day after the BJP had lapped up the 'endorsement', it had to switch to damage control mode following a series of tweets from WikiLeaks denying any such validation of Mr Modi.

WikiLeaks said that in 2006, it was Gujarat Congress leader Manoharsinh Jadeja who told US Consul General Michael Owen that the Gujarat Chief Minister "is viewed as someone who is completely incorruptible and can deliver the goods." (Read WikiLeaks cable here)

"No WikiLeaks document say #Modi is 'incorruptable', rather he is popular because 'viewed' as 'incorruptable'," said a tweet from the WikiLeaks account.

The BJP said the controversy was irrelevant. "We don't need a certificate from WikiLeaks or Assange on Modiji," BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had said.

WikiLeaks also tweeted a cable from 2006 filed after Mr Modi met with the US Consul General. The cable states, "In public appearances, Modi can be charming and likeable. By all accounts, however, he is an insular, distrustful person...He reigns more by fear and intimidation than by inclusiveness and consensus, and is rude, condescending and often derogatory to even high level party officials." (Read the full cable here)

The same cable goes on to say that "All our interlocutors acknowledge that Modi is a modest man who, unlike many elected officials in India, has not used his position to enrich himself or his family."