The Bofors case has returned to haunt the Congress Party at a time when the government is already dealing with multiple allegations of corruption and scams. The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal has said that the late Win Chaddha got Rs 52.6 crore and Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi got $7 million (about R13 crore at 1987 rates) as kickbacks.
The ITAT’s ruling could have implications for the main Bofors case, in which the CBI is trying to convince a Delhi court to accept its closure report, saying it doesn’t enough evidence to establish the kickbacks money trail. An ITAT bench of RP Tolani and RC Sharma, which dismissed Win Chaddha's son Hersh W Chaddha’s appeal against IT department's claim of R52 crore and R 85 lakh from his father for assessment years 1987-88 and 1988-89, wondered why the department did not investigate Quattrocchi and his AE Services.
The BJP immediately jumped at the ITAT’s ruling, saying it was the “discovery of truth of default”. Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley called for a reopening of related criminal cases.
Jaitley demanded constitution of a SIT to probe the matter. Jaitley also attacked Congress president Sonia Gandhi: “For Sonia Gandhi, this is a timely reminder that the country does not need five points to fight corruption. You just need one point — start sending the guilty to jail and do not cover up. This message to her should be clear.”
Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said: “We have repeatedly said that individuals don’t concern the Congress party. We are only interested in the fair name of the Congress and Rajiv Gandhi against whom after 17 years of misinformation from 1987 to 2004 not an iota of evidence was found.