Has an Alps Climber traced mystery crash that killed Homi Bhabha? - The Fearless Indian
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Has an Alps Climber traced mystery crash that killed Homi Bhabha?

  • Mrinalini Singh
  • July 31, 2017
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This question would interest many in India after reports said Swiss climber Daniel Roche, who has a hobby of combing the Alps for remains of old plane crashes, reported that he came across the remains of an Air India crash on Mont Blanc, either from 1966 or from 1950. The crash of Air India Boeing 707 in January 1966 into Mont Blanc in the Swiss Alps killed 117 onboard, including the head of India’s nuclear establishment Homi Bhabha, however, recent reports suggest that the CIA might have had a role to play in the unfortunate accident.

A conversation that took place between a journalist Gregory Douglas and a CIA officer Robert T Crowley on July 11, 2008, hinted at an involvement of the US intelligence agency in the crash that killed Homi Bhabha who had been flying to Vienna to attend a meeting. 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 programme focussing 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.

Homi Jehangir Bhabha, regarded as father of the Indian nuclear programme, was the founding director and professor of Physics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.

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