'Deep Throat' in Bofors scam breaks cover | delhi | Hindustan Times
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'Deep Throat' in Bofors scam breaks cover

The whistleblower in the Bofors scam in the 1980s which tarnished then-prime minister Rajiv Gandhi broke cover on Wednesday to explain why he leaked crucial documents to the media.

delhi Updated: Apr 25, 2012 12:22 IST

The whistleblower in the Bofors scam in the 1980s which tarnished then-prime minister Rajiv Gandhi broke cover on Wednesday to explain why he leaked crucial documents to the media.

Sten Lindstrom, head of the Swedish police when the Bofors scandal broke in 1987, handed evidence seized during his investigation to newspapers, including to journalist Chitra Subramaniam-Duella.

The case revolved around the sale of 410 artillery guns to the country by Swedish arms group AB Bofors, which was subsequently accused of paying bribes of up to $1.3 billion, notably to a businessman with links to Gandhi.

"I could not count on my government or Bofors or the government of India to get to the bottom this," Lindstrom said in an interview with Subramaniam-Duella on The Hoot media website.

"My only option was to leak the documents to someone we could trust," said the "Swedish Deep Throat" as he was branded in India, a reference to the whistleblower who brought down US president Richard Nixon in 1970s.

Lindstrom said that there was no evidence that Gandhi had received a bribe, but the leader "watched the massive cover up in India and Sweden and did nothing" which meant "innocent people were punished while the guilty got away".

In comments that raise more questions about the investigation into the scandal, Lindstrom added that there was "conclusive evidence" against Ottavio Quattrocchi, the Italian middleman linked to Gandhi.

In March 2012, the police definitively closed down their probe saying they did not have enough evidence to prosecute anyone and that further enquiries were a waste of taxpayers' money.

Rajiv Gandhi was voted out of office in 1989 largely over the Bofors deal. He was assassinated in 1991 by ethnic Tamil extremists.