CPI-M seeks reopening of Bofors case
New Delhi: The CPI(M) today sought reopening of the Bofors case, an independent probe into it and extradition of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, alleging he was allowed to leave the country "mysteriously".
Senior CPI(M) leader Basudeb Acharia alleged that the erstwhile government of Rajiv Gandhi had "sincerely and seriously tried to cover up the Bofors case, tried to save and protect Quattrocchi who had taken the kickback money in 1986."
"This approach was similar to that of the Prime Minister now, as he says he was not aware of what was happening (in the 2G case) in 2008. That means the Prime Minister had not discharged his responsibility in the 2G case", he claimed.
Quattrocchi, who was in India till 1993, was "mysteriously allowed to leave the country. No serious effort was made by the government to get him extradited or take any action against him," Acharia told reporters here.
In an interview, former Swedish police chief Sten Lindstorm, who owned up being the whistleblower in the illegal payoffs case, has said there was no evidence to suggest that Rajiv Gandhi had taken a bribe in the Bofors deal but that he did nothing to prevent the cover-up that followed in both India and Sweden to protect Quattrocchi.
Asserting that Bofors scandal was "not a closed chapter", he said the CPI(M) wanted the case to be reopened and an independent inquiry launched so that "a logical conclusion is brought to the first major defence scandal in history.
Attempts to cover up the pay-offs scandal and to protect the culprit" should also be enquired into, he said. "What was the interest in not allowing a proper enquiry into the issue? What was the cover-up, who protected Quattrocchi, what interest did he have … All these issues need to be probed," he said.
Acharia, who has been a Lok Sabha member consistently since 1980, recalled that the entire Opposition had resigned from Parliament in July 1989 demanding action against those involved in the Bofors scam.
Maintaining that the people have "not forgotten Bofors", he said the Congress, which had got a historic victory in 1984 elections winning 404 Lok Sabha seats, was reduced to 114 in the next polls only on the issue of corruption.