Congress Says Bofors Scandal Closed; Opposition Wants to Reopen the Scam

By : Subscribe to Raymond's | April 25, 2012 7:49 PM IST

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The revelation made by former Swedish Police chief Sten Lindstrom in an interview to thehoot.org that he was the whistleblower who leaked documents to journalist Chitra Subramanian-Duella on Bofors scandal, has opened the otherwise sealed Pandora's box.

Indian army soldier walks past a Sweden made 155 mm Bofors artillery gun during "Vijay Diwas" or victory day celebration in Drass, about 160 km (99 miles) east of Srinagar July 26, 2007.

Congress thinks that the issue should remain closed as ruled by the Supreme Court.

"This has been proved again that Rajivji was innocent. This is an issue which has traumatised nation, hurt the family of Rajiv and Congressmen. This issue should be closed now," CNN IBN quoted Law Minister Salman Khurshid as saying.

"The BJP should read the judgements of the Supreme Court and the High Court. I don't want to get into their trap.

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"There was a detailed investigation and there were Supreme Court and High Court proceedings that took place and the decision that came endorsed those proceedings. I don't think we can continue to reopen these issues...We don't want a new chapter to be opened. The final decision of the Supreme Court should not be reopened," he added.

Khurshid also said that all those accusing former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi should offer an apology now that Sten Lindstrom has cleared his name in the scandal.

"It is a matter of regret that without having any proof, such serious charges were levelled (against Rajiv Gandhi). The same people are not ready to feel sorry even today. They should apologise before the public," he told CNN IBN.

However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hit out at the Congress after Sten revealed the involvement of Ottavio Quattrochi in the scandal.

"The way Quattrochi was helped to move out of the country gave a clear indication of the government's intention. We have always raised the question on Quattrochi," BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy told CNN IBN.

The Left said that the new revelation gives a clear picture that Quattrochi was given a safe passage.

"The government and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) cannot ignore this revelation. They have to come forward with a response on how Quattrochchi was allowed or could go scott free or could have a safe passage from India," CNN IBN quoted CPI leader D Raja as saying.

Former Swedish Police chief Sten Lindstrom said in an interview to thehoot.org that he was the whistleblower who leaked Bofors documents to journalist Chitra Subramanian-Duella 25 years ago.

He said in the interview that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was not involved in the bribery.

"Many mentioned Rajiv Gandhi's involvement and that the guns were duds hoping I would react. I am used to these tricks. I told everyone the guns were excellent. The problem was in the procurement process," he said, adding, "There was no evidence that he had received any bribe. But he watched the massive cover-up in India and Sweden and did nothing."

"Many Indian institutions were tarred, innocent people were punished while the guilty got away. The evidence against Ottavio Quattrrocchi was conclusive. Through a front company called A.E. Services, bribes paid by Bofors landed in Quattrocchi's account which he subsequently cleaned out because India said there was no evidence linking him to the Bofors deal. Nobody in Sweden or Switzerland was allowed to interrogate him," he told thehoot.org.

The case involved illegal payoffs and had rocked both India and Sweden in the late 1980s 1990s. Several politicians including the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi were accused of receiving kickbacks from Bofors. The scandal has been speculated to have caused Rs.640 Million loss to the state exchequer.

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