Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Saturday described the Bofors kickback allegations against his family as lies indulged in by non-Congress governments and asserted he saw no reason to apologise on the issue.
The normally unflappable Gandhi lost his cool momentarily when a woman journalist said he stood on a pile of rubbish as far as the allegations against his family on the Bofors gun controversy and the anti-Sikh riots were concerned.
"I don't appreciate terminology that you stand on a pile of rubbish. That's not nice word usage," he told the questioner who asked whether he will apologise for the Bofors kickbacks rows that rocked India in the late 1980s.
"There's absolutely nothing that I have to apologise on Bofors," he said. "It's a complete lie. And it's a lie used by opposition governments for 20 years. So there is absolutely nothing I have to apologise for about that."
The Bofors controversy relating to kickbacks allegedly received by persons close to the Gandhi family for the defence purchase during the prime ministership of Rajiv Gandhi became a national issue and was one of the causes for the Congress losing power in 1989.
The Bofors howitzer deal was a $1.4 billion contract signed between the Rajiv Gandhi government and A.B. Bofors of Sweden for supplying 410 field howitzers and accessories to the Indian Army. The deal was signed March 24, 1986.