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BJP targets Congress over Bofors; CBI to examine fresh allegations

US-based private detective Michael Hershman said in TV interviews he was asked by then finance minister VP Singh to probe the Bofors scam, but was later offered bribe and given death threats.

india Updated: Oct 18, 2017 23:15 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bofors,Bofors scam,Congress
Indian artillery men fire 155mm Bofors guns at enemy positions from a gun emplacement in Drass sector of Kashmir.(AFP)

The BJP on Wednesday attacked the Congress, citing recent interviews of a US-based private detective, Michael Hershman, in which he accused the then Rajiv Gandhi government of sabotaging his investigation into Bofors scam.

Addressing a press conference, Union minister Smriti Irani asked the Congress to come clean on the revelations.

Quoting Hershman’s interviews, she said that he had been asked by then finance minister VP Singh to probe the Bofors scam, but was later offered bribe and given death threats when he stumbled on the evidence of bribe. The then finance minister was shifted to the defence ministry, she said.

Meanwhile, the CBI said it would look into the ‘facts and circumstances’ of the Bofors scam mentioned by Hershman.

“The agency has learnt of the matter pertaining to the Bofors aired on TV channels containing interview of Hershman. Facts and circumstances as mentioned will be looked into by the CBI,” said CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal .

Hershman, who is the president of the US-based private detective firm Fairfax, who was here last week to address a conference of private detectives, also alleged that the bribe money of the Bofors gun scandal had been parked in a Swiss account. Irani said the interviews have brought to life the “sordid saga” of Bofors.

“For too long the Congress has kept conveniently quiet. It is time that it answers as to what was the role of its leaders then and now,” she asked.

Irani quoted Hershman to say that owner of a Pakistani-run Bank of Credit and Commerce International that was allegedly involved in money laundering and other crimes met ex-PM.

Reacting to the allegations, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted: “BJP is clutching at straws to save Shah Zada. ‘Beta Bachao Abhiyan’ won’t succeed by flogging dead horses of Bofors by discredited ministers.”

First Published: Oct 18, 2017 23:15 IST