How Is Theresa May’s Ally DUP Linked To Purulia Arms Drop Case?

How is the Arlene Foster-led North Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party linked to the 1995 Purulia arms drop case?

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World
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North Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster (left) with Theresa May. (Photo: AP File Photo/Charles McQuillan)

After the Theresa May-led Conservative Party failed to secure a majority in the UK Parliamentary elections on 9 June, the Prime Minister announced that she would form the government with the support of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

A February 2017 report in OpenDemocracyUK suggests that the Arlene Foster-led DUP has played host to murky dealings.

An investigation by the website has also revealed an Indian connect to the dealings, and a big one at that – the infamous Purulia Arms drop case of 17 December 1995.

Foster’s party reportedly received 4,25,000 pounds from an obscure donor group – by the name of Constitutional Research Council (CRC) – for pro-Brexit advertising.

OpenDemocracyUK reported that in 2013, the chairman of the CRC, Scottish Conservative party leader Richard Cook, founded a company with two individuals – Peter Haestrup, a Danish national, and Prince Nawwaf bin Abdul Aziz, the former head of the Saudi Arabian intelligence agency.

As the report suggests, Haestrup – a Copenhagen resident who calls himself a private banker – was involved in the Purulia Arms drop case. But like the alleged mastermind, Niels Christian Nielsen, Haestrup (who apparently met the former to discuss the operation) “was never charged” in the case. Notably, the case still remains shrouded in mystery.

How is the Arlene Foster-led North Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party linked to the Purulia arms drop case? (Image: <b>The Quint</b>)
How is the Arlene Foster-led North Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party linked to the Purulia arms drop case? (Image: The Quint)

When asked about the incident, Haestrup was quoted by openDemocracyUK as saying:

If I had done anything wrong, the police would have come for me. I was working on the right side that time. When you were working in the intelligence services you have to be on the right side... I have a 100 percent clean record... I have never been involved in the arms trade. I have never been accused of anything and never been found guilty of anything.  

While it has not yet been established whether the donation to the DUP came from a source beyond the CRC, the report makes it evident that the donation is not in keeping with the Electoral Commission rules.

What Was The Purulia Arms Drop Case?

The Purulia arms drop operation, which is known as one of the most mysterious cases in Indian criminal history, involved a Russian aircraft dropping a huge consignment of arms and ammunition in West Bengal’s Purulia district on 17 December 1995.

Over the years, the incident was blamed on a number of parties, but Danish national Niels Christian Nielsen alias Kim Davy, is considered to be the mastermind of the case.

The Quint's Chandan Nandy has penned a book, 'The Night it Rained Guns' on the case.

One of the several versions of the case – as claimed by Nielsen himself – propounds that the incident was the brainchild of the Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and was aimed at targeting the then Jyoti Basu-led Communist Party government in West Bengal.

Another version, backed by an Indian court, implicated the Ananda Marga group – a spiritual movement, also labelled as a Hindu extremist group – as being the beneficiary of the arms that were dropped. However, as this report points out, the Purulia arms drop “was a covert CIA operation that went horribly wrong”.

The Purulia case is shrouded in mystery. But is it, really? (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
The Purulia case is shrouded in mystery. But is it, really? (Photo: The Quint)

Nandy writes that the incident was not probed well because India buckled to pressure from the US, Russia and Britain. The result? As this report by The Quint predicted:

The silence on Purulia will continue for another 20 years.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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