Bofors to stay spiked: CBI

The CBI on Wednesday said it is not going to have a re-look in the 23-year-old Bofors payoffs case in the wake of claims made by former Swedish police chief Sten Lindstrom in a media interview.


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Published: Thu 26 Apr 2012, 11:07 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 9:42 AM

CBI sources ruled out any such possibility, saying it has conducted a comprehensive probe of the matter and filed its charge sheet in the case. On the allegations by Lindstrom, who had headed the probe in Sweden, that the CBI did not attempt to meet him, agency sources said it does not procure information from foreign investigators directly through personal meetings and the proper channel of getting probe details is judicial requests which were sent to Sweden in connection with the Bofors case.

They said relevant information was sought from Sweden through Letters Rogatory issued by Indian courts which were complied with.

On the allegations that name of Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan was planted by the agency officials in media in connection with the case, CBI sources said since his name was neither part of FIR nor charge sheet, there was no question of giving any such information to media.

CBI sources said as far as allegations of protecting Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, who is alleged to have received payoff in the case, is concerned, the agency had tried its best to extradite him and even gone to Malayasia and Argentina for the purpose but could not succeed.

Last year in March, a Delhi court had allowed a CBI plea seeking withdrawal of prosecution against the elusive Quattrocchi in the two-decade-old Bofors payoff case.

Earlier, the Delhi High Court on February 4, 2004 had quashed all charges under Prevention of Corruption Act and bribery against Europe-based Hinduja brothers — S P Hinduja, G P Hinduja and P P Hinduja. The High Court had also given clean chit to Rajiv Gandhi and S K Bhatnagar who were dead. Another reports adds: Almost a quarter century after it surfaced, the Bofors payoff scandal created a storm again on Thursday disrupting parliament, as the opposition vociferously demanded a fresh probe into the deal that has long haunted the Congress.

Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were disrupted with opposition members asking the government to explain how the main accused, Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, was given a safe passage to leave the country in 1993 to avoid arrest, six years after the scandal surfaced in 1987.

Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jaswant Singh made a passionate appeal for a fresh inquiry but slammed the Congress-led government for not doing enough to dig the truth behind the alleged scandalous purchase of the 155-mm Howitzer guns in 1986.

“The storm over Bofors has not slowed down...the roar of the gun is still being heard. It is a saga of continuing corruption. I appeal the government to recognise that,” Jaswant Singh said in the Lok Sabha.

“For the sake of cleansing this poison from our system, please appoint a judicial commission to probe this. Do it, otherwise we will continue to suffer pain.”

In the Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said after spending “25 years trying to unearth the truth”, the government was “unable to nail the culprits...despite of having conclusive evidences”. Referring to Quattrocchi as “a gentleman whose name started with ‘Q’”, Jaitley said he had escaped because of “a friendly government and incapable probing agencies”.

As Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the widow of Rajiv Gandhi, listened with rapt attention, Jaswant Singh said: “I feel no delight to raise this issue... It was a mistake and we are still paying for it.”

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