Rajiv Gandhi?????


 OMG what the hell these are all about?? Have your ever felt in that way? But I felt in that way so why I went for some study about Bofors scandal…I found some interesting facts and I want to share them with you… go ahead…..

Before getting know about what the scandal is exactly about, let me tell you something about Bofors. It was an Iron and steel company established some 350 years back in the year 1646. I think all you know about Alfred Nobel, who has introduced prestigious Noble prize, was owned the company for over two years. he was the one who changed the Iron and Steel company to the Canon manufacturing company. After his era and s world war-II, the name Bofors became a synonym for automatic canon.

Coming to the bofors scandal, it was all about bribing the Indian higher officials like army officers and even Prime Minister for winning a bid to supply 155 canons. The value of the scandal was expected to be somewhere around 400 million rupees, which was the worst scandal till that time.

The scandal revealed by two journalists who was working for Times of India and The Hindu. But what was there behind that scandal. What made the govt to stretch for such a prolonged period? And what made them( Govt) to spend more than the scandal amount in the name of investigation ( not officially recorded, so I cant give any proofs for that). The main players in the investigation and expose of the Bofors corruption scandal have been Dagens Eko (the news service of Swedish Public Radio), sections of the Indian press, the Swedish police, the CBI when it has been allowed to do its job by its political masters, and the Swiss authorities. The leading contribution made by journalistic investigation to this case must be understood as a response to the challenge, an extraordinary attempt at cover-up and obstruction of justice. Had there been no cover-up of this kind, making a mockery of the rule of law and also professions of public morality in India as well as in Sweden, the role of the media in the investigation would have been far less important. L'affaire Bofors is an example of an issue where the relatively independent press, under the press of circumstances, performs better than most other institutions in society. The CBI, under independent professional leadership, has demonstrated in the recent past that it can do as well as any criminal investigation agency anywhere in the world.

The open secret is that our former Prime Minister had an involvement in that scandal. Actually the Italian broker Ottavio Quattrocchi was a family friend of wife of Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in the year of 1991, when the investigation was still running. May be because of sympathy or may be to protect the pride of assassinated PM, I don’t know why, Indian Government has very much struggled to stop the active investigation of the case. The cover-up of the truth behind Bofors continued long after the death of Rajiv Gandhi. This unstated Congress(I) policy was reflected, in the post-Rajiv period, in the motivated internal decision to transfer K. Madhavan, the upright and independent CBI officer, from the case (October 1991); the transfer of Joint Director M.D. Sharma (February 1992); and various obstructive tactics and collusive proceedings that culminated in External Affairs Minister Madhavsinh Solanki's hard-to-believe act of malfeasance and political stupidity in Switzerland.

Gandhi’s lawyer had a plan to meet Ml,kiartin ardbo, the managing director of Bofors, on July 2, 1987 according to the diary entry of Martin. Im giving the scanned copy of that dairy entry.  But before to that date a lot of unexpected things happened, which lead the Rajiv’s government to crisis. Therefore that meeting never happened.

As I said before to that date(july 2), in April 1987, Swedish media broadcasted allegations about Bofors paying bribes to the Indian individuals. At that time Indian ambassador to Sweden was Mr. B.M. Oza. He pursued a no-nonsense line of pressing the Swedish government to investigate seriously into the allegations (rather than accepting Bofors denials at face value). But he learnt soon enough that Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi did not want the truth to be revealed. The CBI's investigation has revealed that after receiving Bofors' letter of denial, dated April 24, 1987, as well as the views of Ambassador Oza, Rajiv Gandhi spoke to Swedish Prime Minister Carlsson and told him that in view of Bofors' letter of denial, there was no need for any further investigation of the allegations. This high-level message was, in fact, "just the contrary" of "what the Government of India had requested through official channels" and, not surprisingly, Ambassador Oza was "kept in the dark" about this development. When, in consequence of Rajiv Gandhi's request to Carlsson, the Swedish government reversed its stand on an official investigation and announced that there would be no investigation, Ambassador Oza stubbornly persisted with his original demand - until Prime Minister Carlsson informed him about what Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi actually wanted. This high-level message was, in fact, "just the contrary" of "what the Government of India had requested through official channels" and, not surprisingly, Ambassador Oza was "kept in the dark" about this development.

In June-July 1987, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi asked the Ministry of Defence for an evaluation of the cost to, and effect on, national security of the cancellation of the Bofors contract. Asked for his views on the subject, General Sundarji wrote a note, dated June 13, 1987, stating that obtaining complete information about the moneys paid by Bofors in connection with the contract was very essential and that, if Bofors did not part with the required information, "we should go to the extent of threatening to cancel our contracts." He recommended that the Army could take a calculated risk: "in the interest of vindicating National Honour we apply full pressure on Bofors to part with the information needed for legal action against the culprits and accept the risk that this might in the worst case lead to a cancellation of the contract." Bhatnagar received General Sundarji's recommendation on June 13, 1987 and kept it to himself. A week later, he personally returned the note to the Army Chief, requesting him to change his recommendation regarding the cancellation of the contract. Sundarji refused to do so and reiterated his views in a note dated July 15, 1987. This document was also withheld from the man who was directly handling the matter, Minister of State in the Defence Ministry, Arun Singh.

Minister of State Arun Singh wrote a reasoned minute dated June 10, 1987, which was approved and endorsed by Defence Minister K.C. Pant. The minute argued that "we as GOI must pursue this matter to a logical conclusion." It specifically recommended that the Indian Ambassador in Sweden should be instructed to "inform both the Swedish Govt., and the company that unless they give us the information we want, we will have no alternative but to cancel the contract for the FH 77B 155 mm Howitzers."

Arun Singh's minute concluded: "I am fully cognisant of the fact that this cancellation will have some negative impact on our defence preparedness but you may like to reconfirm with COAS (Chief of Army Staff) whether we can live with that. In my view we must be prepared to go to this extent of cancellation because our very credibility as a Govt. is at stake and what is worse, the credibility of the entire process of defence acquisitions is also at stake. I would be most grateful if this note and the draft letters could be forwarded by you to the Prime Minister after you have seen them."

And what was Rajiv Gandhi's response to this reasoned suggestion endorsed by Defence Minister Pant? In a minute ostensibly dated June 15, 1987 (which appears to have been recorded later and antedated to cover up the Prime Minister's embarrassment over Arun Singh's resignation over the Bofors affair on July 18, 1987), he lashed out against his ex-friend………………………………………..

I cann’t tell the entire story in a single story/article. I’ll post the remaining story in the part-II, which also will be interesting.  Do wait for the second part of the story…..


The Hindu news paper

Indian express and many…………