Was the CIA responsible for the crash of Air-India’s Boeing 707, which was carrying the head of India’s nuclear establishment? Homi Bhabha was flying to Vienna to attend a meeting when the plane crashed into Mont Blanc in the Swiss Alps.
On July 11, 2008, an alleged conversation between a journalist Gregory Douglas and a CIA officer Robert T Crowley, which was reproduced by a relatively unknown news media TBRNews.org suggested that the US intelligence agency had a role in the crash.
The transcript of the conversation was sent to this correspondent by a top official in November 2008.
The CIA officer was quoted as saying: “We had trouble, you know, with India back in the 60’s when they got uppity and started work on an atomic bomb…the thing is, they were getting into bed with the Russians.”
Referring to Homi Bhabha, he said, “that one was dangerous, believe me. He had an unfortunate accident. He was flying to Vienna to stir up more trouble when his Boeing 707 had a bomb go off in the cargo hold….”
In October 1965, Bhabha had announced over All India Radio that if he got the go-ahead, India had the capability to make a nuclear bomb in 18 months.
According to experts requesting anonymity, Bhabha was convinced that if India had to become a major force to reckon with, it had to launch a nuclear program focusing on its peaceful role in areas like power, agriculture and medicine. But they said he also had a hidden agenda: developing an atomic bomb to defend the country.
Though Bhabha died in the AI crash, his dream was fulfilled when India tested its first atomic bomb code-named “Smiling Buddha” at Pokharan on May 18, 1974.