The Congress on Thursday dismissed a key Swedish investigator’s claim that the CBI did not properly seek cooperation in probing the Bofors case and that Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi was paid money because of his proximity to the Gandhi family. But he gave a clean chit to the Gandhi family, saying there is no conclusive evidence against them.
Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi declined to react, citing four major reasons for it. “Neither the Congress nor the government has to react to the outpourings of a retired investigators which he publishes much after retirement. Second, this version was itself published many months ago.
Third, out of the last 20-odd years of the Bofors case, there have been at least 10 years of non-Congress governments. Fourth, the allegations are factually wrong because the outcome of these proceedings depends on foreign sovereign courts and not domestic investigations.’’
Principal Swedish investigator Sten Lindstrom, who had started investigating the Bofors scam two decades back in Sweden, told
that CBI officials had met him only once in 1988 for 20 minutes and he felt that they were fooling the Indian people with no proper investigation.
While giving a clean chit to the Gandhi family, he said there was no conclusive evidence against them. But he said though Quattrocchi had no connection with Bofors he still got money because of his connections to the Gandhi family and Indian politicians. It was only because of this, he said, that they wanted to interview Sonia Gandhi. “But we were not able to do that…’’ he said, in response to a question.
Reacting to a specific question whether he was convinced after so many years of investigation that money was paid in the Bofors deal, Lindstrom said: ``Yes, to several persons and to several organisations and among that Mr Q absolutely.’’
He also said that the Indian government was asking things that they had asked before and were contacting the Swedish authorities. He also said that following reports that Quattrocchi’s London bank account which allegedly contained the kickback money was defreezed, the CBI sent a request to Sweden saying that it wanted to interrogate Martin Ardbo, former Bofors chief, who died many years back.