BJP Says, Bofors ‘Genie’ Will Haunt Congress Unless It Is Investigated

The decades-old Bofors case returned to dog the Congress in parliament today as the ruling BJP raised a storm over Swedish chief investigator Sten Lindstrom's revelations on the role of then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Asked for a response, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, the son of Rajiv Gandhi, told reporters at parliament: "They (BJP) have been responding for the last 30 years, let them continue to do so for another 30 years."
The case involves allegations of kickbacks paid by Swedish defence manufacturer Bofors to Rajiv Gandhi and others for the sale of its artillery gun to India in the 1980s.

Mr Lindstrom has told senior journalist Chitra Subramaniam, who broke the scandal, that Rajiv Gandhi and his Swedish counterpart prime minister Olof Palme discussed the details of a financial quid pro quo before the gun deal was signed in March 1986.

According to this deal, he alleged, Bofors would pay money to a foundation in Sweden to make it easier for payments to be made in India. The two prime ministers discussed such an arrangement two months before the Howitzer deal was signed, Mr Lindstrom has told Ms Subramaniam.
The scandal was raised in the Lok Sabha by BJP lawmakers Meenakshi Lekhi and Nishikant Dubey.

"The genie of #Bofors is out of the bottle again, the issue remains that proper investigation never took place... in fact it was scuttled. It is for everyone to see that the skeletons will keep coming out till they have a decent burial," Ms Lekhi told reporters.

Mr Dubey has said that the CBI must reopen the investigation and challenge a Delhi High Court order in 2005 cancelling the case.

The Bofors case devastated the Congress government of Rajiv Gandhi and became a taint that India's oldest party has still not been able to wash off.

Days ago, a panel of MPs examining an audit report on Bofors said the CBI must reopen the case, calling it a "clear example of systemic failure and reflection of criminality".



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