The ghost of the 25-year-old Bofors scandal continued to haunt the UPA on Thursday as the opposition forced adjournments in both houses of parliament and asked for a fresh probe by a judicial commission, but the Congress rebutted the allegations.
Opposition MPs led by the BJP and Left said the revelations made by former Swedish police chief Sten Lindstorm prove the Bofors case cannot be treated as a closed chapter.
The opposition charge in the Rajya Sabha was led by the leader of the opposition, Arun Jaitley, and in the Lok Sabha by senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh. Singh asked the government to constitute a judicial commission to look into new issues arising from Lindstorm's recent interview.
Singh said he was saddened that the name of a person like Amitabh Bachchan was dragged into the controversy while the real culprit (Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi) was allowed to escape.
"There should be a judicial commission to investigate the reason and punish the person responsible," he said.
Singh was supported by CPI(M) leader Basudeb Acharia, but Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam rejected the allegations, saying the Bofors issue is raked up time and again to defame former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. "Even the Swedish investigator has given a clean chit to Rajiv Gandhi but the opposition is deliberately trying to mislead the nation," he said.
In the upper house, without naming anyone, Jaitley said there were repeated efforts to cover up the scandal.
"Somebody got the contract and somebody got the kickback....this man (Quattrocchi) is so powerful. Entire Indian state appeared so helpless....this is a textbook illustration of fraud," he said.
Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said the opposition parties had unleashed a campaign of spreading lies on the Bofors case.