Cong, BJP go selective to claim Bofors victory
On Wednesday, Bofors returned to raise political temperatures with both the government and the Opposition claiming "victory" in the revelations made by former Swedish police chief Sten Lindstrom. HT reports. 'Deep Throat' breaks cover | Chronology of Bofors scam | The scandaldelhi Updated: Apr 26, 2012 01:56 IST
More than 20 years after the scandal broke and a good year after the case was closed, Bofors continues to boom.
On Wednesday, it returned to raise political temperatures with both the government and the Opposition claiming "victory" in the revelations made by former Swedish police chief Sten Lindstrom — who has identified himself as the 'Swedish deep throat' who blew the lid off the scam.
Latching on to Lindstrom's statement in an interview that "there was no evidence he (late Rajiv Gandhi) received any bribe" in the 1986 deal with Swedish arms firm AB Bofors for howitzer guns, the government said it had maintained all along that the former prime minister was innocent.
The BJP, on its part, took up Lindstrom's claim that Gandhi had done "nothing" to prevent a cover-up of the probe against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, who received "kickbacks". Party leader Arun Jaitley will raise this issue in the debate on defence in Rajya Sabha on May 2. "Someone close to the then prime minister's family got kickbacks and 25 years have been spent in a cover-up," he told reporters.
"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," law minister Salman Khurshid said, obliquely attacking the BJP.He added that there was no need to reopen the case.
"There was a detailed investigation, Supreme Court and high court proceedings, and the decision that came endorsed those proceedings. We don't want a new chapter to be opened. The final decision of the Supreme Court should not be reopened."
But BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad pointed out that the UPA government had allowed the de-freezing of Quattrocchi's accounts.
The CPI, too, attacked the government. "It is deplorable. It is a slur on the image of the country," said Gurudas Dasgupta. "It only means the investigation procedure was false and the government had no political will to identify who actually was behind the malpractice."