Under attack from BJP on his reported remarks on Bofors, former Defence Minister George Fernandes on Sunday sought to downplay the controversy, saying then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was "joking" when he asked him not to touch the Bofors file.
"I have been misquoted in my interview. Vajpayee was joking when he asked me not to touch the Bofors file," he told reporters.
Fernandes clarified that he wanted to go through the file to see how the Bofors guns performed in the 1999 Kargil war.
He said that he was not probing the Bofors scam. A website recently carried his interview claiming that when Fernandes wanted to see the file, Vajpayee asked him to keep his hands off.
To a question, on whether he felt sidelined in the NDA, Fernandes, who is the convenor of the BJP-led opposition alliance said, "not at all".